One of the most intriguing features of Maya calendrics is the fact that the energies of the days work in cycles and it is often easy to see how events within earlier cycles point towards current or forthcoming events. The final trecena of the 260-day count-of-days, in particular, can often herald what is to come. And as we journeyed through the last 13 days we certainly saw some strong signals relating to what we might expect as we embark on this new 260-day cycle now coming into place.
The last time we were at this point the new school year was about to begin and people were returning to work after summer vacation. The “new beginnings” that are characteristic of this time frame were very evident.
[Click here for the Podcast for this trecena]
And now here we are again at the start of a new Tzolk’in (count-of-days) cycle and the beginnings that are on the agenda at this time are highly unusual. During the last half of the last cycle we have been locked down, quarantined, and separated from “life at large” in so many previously unfathomable ways that the very essence of “life at large” now has to be reconceptualized as we come to terms with the implications of what has been happening on this planet, and learn to deal with what is continuing to unfold. Many are now hurling themselves back into that “world at large” and expecting everything to be the same, often putting themselves and others at great risk.
Thankfully most are maintaining caution and looking for creative ways to “reinvent a world” to make it habitable and sustainable in the midst of a great many unknowns.
Traditionally, this trecena was seen as a kind of “realm of all potential”, a birth-oriented “generative nucleus” that can be quite chaotic, but contains within itself myriad possibilities. The emphasis tends to be on “world-making”, in the sense of setting the stage for new ideas or opportunities, or opening up vast new arenas for engagement. And after weeks of isolation or “hibernation”, many may be feeling this “call” to get on with new things at this time. This is already evident in places where people are already putting economics ahead of safety (or are being “pushed” to do so). And in places like Hong Kong, where the need to push back on government edicts is strong, large scale protests are already starting to happen even though coronavirus restrictions have not yet been lifted. Several hundred have already been arrested on charges such as unlawful assembly and refusing to abide by social distancing guidelines.
As always, this first trecena of the new cycle begins with the Moon Goddess (aligned with the “initiating” energy of the Number One and the power of birth) working in tandem with Imix, the birth-oriented “generative nucleus” that begins and carries forward this initiatory 13-day period. The patron of this time frame was known to the Aztecs as Ometeotl, a dualistic “creator” deity who was often shown as a male and female pair, a “Lord and Lady of Our Sustenance” known as Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl. As this binary deity was seen as the ultimate progenitor, this does truly suggest that “anything is possible” at this time.
Sometimes there is a clear signal that something new is being “generated” – a signal that can be more of a small spark rather than the roar of a cannon, as could be seen on the first day of this trecena late last August when Greta Thunberg sailed into New York’s harbour after spending all of the previous trecena sailing across the Atlantic aboard a solar-powered, zero-carbon producing yacht, in order to attend UN climate summits in the US and Chile (before they decided to move it to Spain). Near the Statue of Liberty she was met by a flotilla of seventeen sailing boats, each with one of the UN’s seventeen sustainable development goals written on their sails. This young girl’s arrival was the start of a North American tour that generated a great deal of attention regarding the need for climate change action. And, as if to punctuate the climate change issue at that time Hurricane Dorian became a Cat. 1 hurricane on that day as it lashed the Virgin Islands and parts of Puerto Rico, en route towards Florida. As the energies built up during the trecena Dorian reached Category 5 strength and brought catastrophic destruction to the northern Bahamas and to parts of the US East Coast.
In the UK at that time there were nationwide protests after Queen Elizabeth approved Boris Johnson’s request to suspend the UK’s Parliament over the Brexit issue, which infuriated opposition leaders. More than 1.2 million people had signed a petition to stop the proroguing of parliament after the petition was launched the day before (on 13 Ajaw). This came one cycle after the day it “nearly all ended” for Theresa May in December of 2018 when she managed to survive a leadership challenge (a confidence ballot) by a majority of 83 votes. Overall, the first day of this trecena was a critical “turning point” day in the UK that ultimately led to Theresa May’s resignation last summer.
And on the other side of the world at that time Chinese military vehicles began moving across the border into Hong Kong amid fears that the city might see a Beijing-led crackdown. In both those regions at the current time things are far from settled, as Hong Kong is on the brink of exploding once again and the UK is dealing with both Brexit and the pandemic.
In the US it is no surprise that the political situation is more volatile than ever with the mental state of the disruptor-in-chief becoming more and more problematic. The fact that the legal cases relating to his taxes and financial records are now being reviewed by the Supreme Court, with their decision due to be announced within the next few weeks, is adding fuel to an already highly unstable situation, as is his battle with scientists who are constantly being thwarted in their efforts to provide solid science-based guidelines for how to deal with the pandemic in the US. The word “chaos” perhaps best sums it up.
But looking back for a moment we have the reminder that this was the trecena in place five cycles ago, in October of 2016, just before the U.S. presidential election. Doubtless, everyone remembers the tensions in place at that time as FBI director James Comey announced that he was reopening his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server in light of “new information found but not yet examined”. That was the action that ultimately changed the course of the election, and millions now see this as “a mistake of historic proportions”. Ten years prior to that huge upset this same trecena brought forth a major Democratic sweep in the U.S. midterm elections, as the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress. At that time Nancy Pelosi was elected as House Democratic leader, becoming the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in American history.
And speaking of US history, and “devastating news” (apologies), this trecena is currently bringing in the exact (day plus month) energies that were in place one Calendar Round (52 years) ago, in late May to early June of 1968, at the time of the shocking, world-turning assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, another huge punch to the world after the assassination, a few weeks earlier, of Martin Luther King Jr.
On a very different note, during this trecena there is often a focus on the cosmos (the “cosmic abyss”) as many pioneering events have occurred during this period, as when the astronomer Edwin Hubble chose this trecena in 1925 to announce the existence of galaxies other than the Milky Way, which greatly expanded our awareness of the universe. In 1931 the first human ascent into the stratosphere took place during this period. And then in 1957 the launch of Sputnik I (on the final day of this trecena) kicked off the space race. In 2013 this was the trecena that saw the launch of the European Space Agency’s Gaia probe on a 5.5 year observational campaign to map this Milky Way galaxy. Then, six cycles ago, in early February of 2016, came the historic announcement about the discovery of gravitational waves that cause distortions in spacetime, as anticipated by Albert Einstein decades ago. This “transformational” new discovery, seen as the beginning of gravitational wave astronomy, opened the door to the detection of completely different kinds of information, and is now prompting inquiry into vast unexplored new frontiers.
Currently things continue to move forward rapidly in this push into space as SpaceX is due to launch, shortly after this trecena begins, 60 more Starlink satellites into its broadband network – more satellites to clutter up space! The fact that there doesn’t seem to be much control over some of the re-entries from orbit is also more than a little unsettling in these already stressful times.
So here we are at the beginning of a new cycle, with the idea of “new beginnings” on everyone’s mind, with the central questions being: “when will the pandemic end?” (or “will it ever really end?”) and “what can we expect will be our new normal?” As always with this Imix trecena this is a time for the “birthing” of new possibilities, which (even at the best of times) can be a bit chaotic and even dramatic. But during THESE times . . . . ?
As a general rule, this trecena has a tendency to prompt people to think “beyond the box”, embark on new adventures, and possibly even find solutions to long simmering problems. Often it can be an exciting and even adventurous time frame – a period that can offer opportunities for people to make life-changing adjustments, if needed. Now, of course, “opportunities” have become imperatives and we shall see what the new cycle brings into being. Here are the energies that will come into play:
1 Imix (May 14th) – the initiation of the “realm of all potential” as the new 260-day cycle begins, as the moon conjuncts Mars in the pre-dawn sky, which (from the perspective of Western astrology) could add to the feeling of “conflict” or duality as this might feel like a tug-of-war between the sensitive or intuitive, and the more outward-reaching, aggessive side of things. The duality of that “do I stay in” or “do I go out” question may loom large at this time.
The current battle between science and politics in the US will likely heat up on this day when Rick Bright, the whistleblower who was ousted from the position of Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (a key federal office in charge of developing medical countermeasures) testifies in front of the US Senate concerning the Trump administration’s lack of preparedness regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Bright has been warning that without a response “based in science” the pandemic will get far worse and that the US will face “unprecedented illness and fatalities”. CNN reported that his prepared documents indicate that he will be warning that “without clear planning and implementation of the steps that [he] and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be [the] darkest winter in modern history.” He was recently ousted because he voiced dissent to the widespread use of the anti-malaria drug Trump was touting, with no scientific backing, as a potential cure to the virus.
One cycle since climate change activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York and Dorian became a hurricane as it began its rampage through the Caribbean and along the US East Coast.
In October 1969 this was the energy in place when the first host-to-host connection was made between computers (from UCLA to SRI). At the time it was a small action, but the consequences were world changing!2 Ik’ (May 15th) – a dynamic energy associated with “wind, breath, and spirit”, currently coinciding with the 15th annual Endangered Species Day. This is coming in just three days after it was announced that Canadian Marine biologist and seahorse expert Dr. Amanda Vincent won the prestigious Indianapolis Zoological Society’s $250,000 Prize for her work protecting seahorses. The influential prize recognizes conservationists who have made significant progress in saving a species, or multiple species, from extinction.
This is also International Conscientious Objector Day, associated with raising awareness of those who refuse to participate in armed conflict, which is marked around the world. In addition this is the day when the US House of Representatives will vote on The Heroes Act, a new $3 trillion Covid relief package, said to be the largest relief package in history.
In addition this is the 72nd anniversary of Nakba Day (“Catastrophe”), marking the explusion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes when their land was expropriated by the Israeli government during the creation of Israel. Many fled to Gaza where they are currently “under seige”, under Israeli blockade, a situation made even worst by the Covid-19 crisis and the sparce supplies available for medical care.
In 1974 this was the energy in place when the impeachment process against President Nixon was formally initiated, and in December of 2018 this was in place when Trump’s former “fixer” and personal counsel Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for various crimes associated with the 2016 US presidential election. He was the first member of Trump’s inner circle to be jailed (for lying to Congress, campaign finance violations, and tax evasion). During his sentencing he told the judge that Trump had caused him to “follow a path of darkness rather than light”, and that at the time he felt it was his duty “to cover up his dirty deeds”.
3 Ak’b’al (May 16th) – the “activation of darkness”, associated with deep mysteries and sometimes the unexpected, as happened last summer when Hurricane Dorian intensified to Cat. 4 under this influence, as a state of emergency was issued for North Carolina and all 67 counties in Florida as people began taking measures to prepare for its landfall.
It has been one cycle exactly since Greta Thunberg and about 1000 young protestors staged a climate change demonstration outside the UN headquarters in New York; that afternoon Greta and 2 others were invited inside the UN for an impromptu meeting with general assembly president Maria Fernanda Espinosa. This protest was seen as a galvanizing moment for America’s climate movement.
It has been precisely 12 cycles since the UN announced (in 2011) that the global population officially hit 7 billion. We are now close to 7.8 billion, and will likely reach 8 billion sometime this year.
Currently this is Armed Forces Day in the US, and the day when SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral.
4 K’an (May 17th) – a “defining” energy associated with the resurrection of youthful vitality, coinciding at this time with the last day of the Canadian Nursing Association’s National Nursing Week, and with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), a worldwide celebration of sexual and gender diversities, with this year’s global focus being “Breaking the Silence”. This event is celebrated in more than 130 countries.
5 Chikchan (May 18th) – associated with the “blessing of lifeforce”, coinciding at this time with Victoria Day in Canada, celebrated as the official birthday of the Queen of Canada.
This is the at the start of a wideranging virtual program of media events in support of this year’s IDAHOTB theme, sponsored by the World Bank (WBG), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with these events taking place from this day through to May 22nd.
Maya birth energy of ground-breaking astronomer Harlow Shapley who is credited with being the discoverer of the dimensions of our Milky Way galaxy, and of finding the location of its centre.
This is a Maya Calendar anniversary of the energies that were in place three cycles ago (at the end of March, 2018) at the start of the Great March of Return protest demonstrations in Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinians called for an end to the blockade to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their villages. This was the start of a six-week sit-in demonstration during which time dozens of Palestinians were killed and more than 2700 wounded. Since then there has been continuous conflict.
6 Kimi (May 19th) a “foundational” type of energy that can often manifest as a kind of “equalization everywhere” type of force, which can often bring a sense of “release”; sometimes oriented around the setting of foundations for restructuring or for “regeneration”, coinciding at this time with the Oregon primaries in the US, with many people choosing to vote-by-mail.
Three cycles ago this was in place at the time of the private funeral service held for famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, at Great St. Mary’s, the University Church in Cambridge, UK. His ashes were later interred near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton at Westminster Abbey.
7 Manik’ (May 20th) – a “self-generating” type of energy generally associated with the idea of reciprocity, symbolized by the Deer – often a good energy for “generating sustenance”, for being involved in humanitarian activities, or for working through negotiations or joint ventures.
Traditionally it was recognized that there could be a strong sacrificial aspect to 7 Manik’ as well, as happened five cycles ago, in October of 2016, when FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress indicating that he was “reopening” the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, an action that had catastrophic consequences.
Currently this is the United Nations’ World Bee Day, which is oriented around raising awareness of the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators, of the threats they face and of their contribution to sustainable development. The goal is to strengthen measures to protect bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.
In China this day is like a second Valentine’s Day since the Mandarin pronounciation for 5.20 (“five-two-zero”) sounds like “I Love You”. This is also Cher’s 74th Gregorian birthday.
8 Lamat (May 21st) – a “resurrection” type of force associated with Venus as a “heralding” energy, aligned with leadership; traditionally a Maya “Celebration of Abundance” day, this energy was known as “Rabbit” in some ancient Mesoamerican regions, and was seen as a symbol of abundance and proliferation. At this time this energy is coinciding with Ascension Day in the Christian liturgical calendar, in observance of the “ascension of Jesus” 40 days after his resurrection. It is also Red Nose Day in the US, with its mission to end child poverty, and UNESCO’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In addition this is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, associated with spreading awareness about how to make technologies more available to people with disabilities.
It has been three cycles since the 2018 launch of an experimental satellite research project called RemoveDEBRIS, which is conducting research into various possibilities for capturing and cleaning up Earth’s space junk-littered atmosphere, wherein some 900,000 pieces of defunct satellites, used rocket boosters, and other bits of space junk are posing a serious threat to other orbiting objects.
Maya birth energy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who has been steadfast through this pandemic in providing straight-forward daily news briefings relating to how Canada is handling this crisis. This was the day when the agreement about keeping the Canada-US border closed was set to expire, but that agreement has now been extended to June 21st in keeping with the Prime Minister’s announcement that Canada is in no rush to ease travel restrictions at this time, as he emphasized the importance of being “very, very careful about reopening any international travel” before the time is right.
9 Muluk (May 22nd) – representative of “the outward projection of water”, this is a path-finding and often “shape-shifting” type of force, coinciding at this time with the New Moon and with World Biodiversity Day, with this year’s theme being “Our Solutions are in Nature”
This is also the day of the Hawaii primary, and the 40th anniversary of the day when 10,000 people welcomed Terry Fox as he arrived in Toronto, on his cross-country Marathon of Hope run. The Cancer Society collected $100,000 in donations on that day alone.
This is the Maya birth energy of both 92-year-old Sir Sidney Poitier, the first black actor to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the celebrated fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy.
10 Ok (May 23rd) – a Burner Day representative of “foundational” fire (or “heart fire”), often associated with love, protection, guidance, and justice. Traditionally this would have been seen as an energy that “takes the fire”, as in the sense of setting something up for action. This energy can also provide a “course correction” if some significant adjustments are needed to a course of action.
At this critical time on the planet the 10 Ok 13 Sip energy in place at this time is the Calendar Round return (New Fire) of the energy that was just coming into play in 1968 when Senator and prominent civil rights activist Robert F. Kennedy was mortally wounded (shortly around midnight) during the California Primary convention. He died some 26 hours later.
This is the Maya birth energy of Florence Nightingale, whose 200th Gregorian birthday was on May 12th.
The evening coincides with the beginning of Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking the fast), marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
11 Chuwen (May 24th) – a “change” oriented, “timeweaver” type of energy – the Calendar Round return (New Fire) of the energy that was in place at the time of the death of Robert Kennedy, a shock to the world, particularly as it happened so soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1920 this was the energy in place when the Treaty of Versailles came into force after the first world war, formalizing the end of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.
Currently this is the legendary Bob Dylan’s 79th Gregorian birthday, and renowned naturalist/artist Robert Bateman’s 90th Gregorian birthday. It is also the Maya birth energy of Stanley Kubrick, the filmmaker whose 2001: A Space Odyssey has been seen as one of the most influential motion pictures ever made.
12 Eb’ (May 25th) – a “gathering together”, “stream-of-consciousness” type of energy, this force can be quite intense, often containing within it a “spark” or “essence of revitalization” that hints at refreshing new possibilities, coinciding at this time with Memorial Day in the US
13 B’en (May 26th) – “transformational personal authority”, an energy under which many strongly transformative events have taken place in the past, as in the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, the inception of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the launch of Sputnik I by the USSR (signalling the beginning of the Space Age) in 1957, the toppling of the monarchy in Iran in 1979, and the election of Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.
Currently this is the Calendar Round return (New Fire) of the energy that was in place at the time of Robert Kennedy’s high requiem mass, before his coffin was put on board his funeral train for the slow ride to Washington DC and his dramatic night burial at Arlington National Cemetary.
This is the Maya birth energy of Robert L. Behnken, a veteran of two space shuttle flights, and one of the two US astronauts who will launch at the beginning of the next trecena from Kennedy Space center aboard the SpaceX’s Crew Dragon in the first US manned mission into space since 2011.
[Please note that the brief descriptions of the days provided above are only “thumbnail sketches”. Much greater detail can be found in Manual for the Soul: A Guide to the Energies of Life.]