How does that Nina Simone song go? . . . . It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life . . . and [we’re] “feeling good”. . . and, amazingly, these are the kind of sentiments being expressed by many at this time. It’s as if the first few rays of dawn have broken through the dark, ugly, storm-laden clouds that have been in place for four harrowing years, and people are having to shake themselves as they start to realize that those clouds, indeed, are starting to dissipate. Those first rays of light could be seen on the day of the Biden/Harris inauguration when sunlight broke through the early morning snow and people were smiling – and singing. Even the poem (called “The Hill We Climb”) read by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman during the ceremony included the line: “The new dawn blooms as we free it.” And, as it happens, this radical change in “atmosphere” is coinciding with the start of a brand new 260-day cycle in the Maya Calendar.
It has only been a few jam-packed days since Joe Biden, the newly minted president of the U.S., has taken office, but he has already put together a competent, dedicated team and launched widescale administrative reforms, including a comprehensive plan to tackle the coronavirus; a sweeping economic rescue plan; a series of measures related to environmental protection and climate change; measures to address ethics issues, human rights, and systemic racism in the US; and measures to address issues associated with immigration. Not only is he tackling an unprecedented public health crisis, a “once in several generations” economic crisis, as well as challenges associated with the deep divisions in that country fomented by the previous administration, but he also has to deal with the “spiritual decay and moral decrepitude” (as Dr. Cornell West of Harvard University put it) that is the legacy of the past four years of unhinged chicanery at the highest levels of power.
To boot, he also has to stabilize relationships with the rest of the world that were severely eroded during that same period. And if that isn’t enough the U.S. Congress is still contending with the legacy of that chicanery as a number of GOP “muckrakers” continue to put their own self-serving interests above the interests of the country or the constitution as they continue with their efforts to disavow the process of holding people accountable for their vile actions. For some, it seems that even the fomenting of sedition is not enough to override their own predispositions. As a result, there is still a major “crisis of division” playing out in Congress, which is threatening to impede justice and stall some aspects of the new administration’s agenda.
But, even with the machinations of Congress grinding on, the Biden administration has made an impressive start, and – as noted above – a great deal has been accomplished in just over a week. Not only did the stately, dignified, and joyful Biden/Harris inauguration represent a “profound change of attitude”, with the emphasis placed on “restoring the soul of the country”, but suddenly people throughout the country and the rest of world dared to “hope” again. It was as if, almost instantaneously, the whole world realized that “help was on the way” – and that day was accompanied by a great deal of singing, dancing, and old-fashioned Hallelujahs. The very high approval ratings given to the Biden administration over the past few days provides testimony to the fact that, indeed, it IS a new dawn, a new day, a new world. Amazingly, after four years of miscommunication, distortions of truth, or no communication at all, the White House is once again engaged in daily press briefings, and as various departments click into gear there is strong evidence that, finally, that country and the rest of the world can, at last, get down to tackling the big issues that are crying out for attention.
As it happens, the first full trecena of this new calendrical cycle begins on the ninth day of the Biden administration, which seems auspicious since “nine” is associated with longevity. This Imix trecena, the first FULL trecena of this administration, is associated with birth, and the realm of all potential (symbolized by the nourishing waterlily) – fitting in well with Joe Biden’s long time focus on the opening up of “possibilities”. So this is right in keeping with the inception of this new chapter in American and world history.
This “realm of all potential”, or birth-oriented “generative nucleus”, can be quite chaotic at times, but also 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.
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. This is a rare binary deity that was seen as the ultimate progenitor, a generative kind of force that suggests that “anything is possible”.
As we venture forth with this new cycle the world at large is in a precarious position, with over 100 million coronavirus cases reported, and the US continuing to far outstrip the rest of the world in terms of case numbers and ongoing deaths.
Normally this would be the time of the year when many wonderful festivals would be clicking into gear, such as the spectacular Carnevale Di Venezia, the Nice Carnival, the Sappora Snow Festival, Ottawa’s Winterlude, and the Quebec Winter Carnival. But these are all cancelled or greatly scaled down at the moment, with online offerings substituting for the real thing as billions of people remain under lockdown restrictions. Life, as we used to know it, is “on hold” and we are all in the process of coming to terms with the inevitability of the long haul that will be required to curb and eventually halt the pandemic. So this particular “new beginning” is not just a reboot, but a time for profound adjustment and reconceptualization. As we come to terms with this we also have to factor in the profound changes that will be needed to sustain life on this planet, given the climate crisis imperatives. And, as much as hundreds of millions are extremely happy to see a new administration in Washington, right wing extremism is still a major threat – even in the Chambers of Congress themselves.
Looking back, we see that six cycles ago, in October of 2016, this was the trecena in place just before the U.S. 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 now, Democrats again have control of both houses of Congress, but just barely . . . . and that is under seige by that extremist faction.
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 beginning of gravitational wave astronomy, that opened the door to the detection of completely different kinds of information.
So here, at the beginning of this new cycle, we are again looking at many unknowns, many of which are existential in nature. Many key questions still need to be answered, such as: Now that new variants of the coronavirus keep appearing, what does that mean in terms of stopping it? Do human beings have the collective “wherewithall” to get through this? When (and how) will the pandemic end? Will it ever really end? How are our lives going to be different when this is all over? and How is Congress and the new administration in Washington going to deal with that radical extremism that is still lurking in the shadows?
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 (Jan. 29th) – the initiation of the “realm of all potential” as the new 260-day cycle begins, with the Full Wolf Moon from the day before still lighting up the night sky.
This is the Maya birth energy of Thomas Ustick Walter, the 4th architect of the US Capitol, who oversaw the construction of the wings and the new cast-iron dome that was constructed between 1856-1866. No doubt he would have been horrified to see it under attack, as per what happened on Jan. 6th.
As of this day it has been one full cycle since 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), testified in front of the US Senate concerning the last administration’s lack of preparedness regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Bright has been warning that without a response “based in science” the pandemic would get far worse and that the US would face “unprecedented illness and fatalities”. He had been warning that “without clear planning and implementation of the steps that [he] and other experts had outlined, 2020 would be [the] darkest winter in modern history.” He was ousted because he voiced dissent to the widespread use of the anti-malaria drug that the former “president” was touting, with no scientific backing, as a potential cure to the virus. Politico saw this as a critical moment in the virus crisis since Dr. Bright was the first federal health official to publicly and harshly criticize the former administration about the issues related to what they were (or weren’t) doing in that regard. Dr. Bright is now part of President Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board.
It has now been two cycles since climate change activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York to begin her North American campaign.
2 Ik’ (Jan. 30th) – a dynamic energy associated with “wind, breath, and spirit”, as was in place last May when the US House of Representatives passed the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill dubbed the HEROES Act that included $75 billion for C-10 testing and tracing, and nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments. Unfortunately, bipartisan talks later stalled in the Senate. On that same day international news networks were talking about how the White House at that time was utterly dysfunctional and how the rest of the world was looking at the situation with disgust, horror, and pity. At that time there were close to 1.5 million cases in the US and the numbers were rapidly climbing.
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 the dumpster’s former “fixer” and personal counsel Michael Cohen was sentenced to prison for various crimes associated with the 2016 US presidential election, the first member of that inner circle to be jailed. Since then Cohen has been highly cooperative in terms of working with the justice department.
3 Ak’b’al (Jan. 31st) – the “activation of darkness”, associated with deep mysteries and sometimes the unexpected; coinciding at this time with the first anniversary of Brexit day, the day when the UK left the EU. Unfortunately things have not gone well over the past year, as journalist William Keegan pointed out a few days ago in The Guardian when he called Brexit not only a disaster, but a “Conservative act of conscious economic self-harm” that is completely unravelling. Between that and the UK having one of the highest per capita death rates in the world from Covid (as of mid January), things in that country are looking very grim at the present time.
Things are not going well in Russia either, and supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny have called for a new wave of protest demonstrations on this day to underscore their discontent with governmental corruption. It has been two cycles exactly since climate change activist Greta Thunberg and about 1000 young protestors staged a climate change rally outside the UN headquarters in New York in what was seen as a galvanizing moment for America’s climate movement. It has been precisely 13 cycles since the UN announced (in 2011) that the global population officially hit 7 billion. We are now over 7.84 billion.
4 K’an (Feb. 1st) – a “defining” energy associated with the resurrection of youthful vitality, coinciding at this time with the beginning of Black History month in the US.
5 Chikchan (Feb. 2nd) – associated with the “blessing of lifeforce”, coinciding at this time with Groundhog Day, at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
This is also World Wetlands Day, with this year’s theme being “Wetlands and Water”, and Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas) a major fiesta in Mexico that comes in 40 days after Christmas and heralds the arrival of spring. The lighting of candles is a big part of this celebration.
In Puna, Peru this is the start of the colourful 10-day Candlemas fiesta in honour of the Virgin of Candelaria, the patron saint of Puna. This is one of Peru’s biggest cultural festivals and is strongly associated with pachamama or “mother
earth”. Since Peru has recorded well over a million cases of coronavirus, it is likely that this year, this celebration will be significantly subdued. Since the festival is also known as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it will likely be an important day for prayers for healing.
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 four 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 (Feb. 3rd) 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”. It has been one cycle exactly since museums began reopening in some countries as governments eased coronavirus restrictions as safety measures were put in place, but experts warned that one in eight museums worldwide could face permanent closure due to the pandemic. Studies by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums showed that 90 per cent of the planet’s museums, some 85,000 institutions, had to shut at least temporarily.
The last time this was in place (last May) more cases (106,000) were reported to the World Health Organization than at any time since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the most in a single day since the outbreak began. Sadly that number has skyrocketed, with the daily average currently at least five times that number.
Four 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. Currently this is the day when the ashes of one of the police officers who was killed during the Washington DC riots on Jan. 6th will “lie in honour” at the Capitol before being interred at Arlington National Cemetary.
7 Manik’ (Feb. 4th) – 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 six 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 for the US and the world. Currently this is World Cancer Day, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting positive action.
8 Lamat (Feb. 5th) – 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. Although this is the opening day for Winterlude, Ottawa’s 18-day winter festival, and the 67th Quebec Winter Carnival, usually the “World’s Biggest Winter Carnival”, most in-person events are cancelled this year, due to the pandemic, but there will be some online programming.
This was the expiration day for the Strategic nuclear disarmament treaty between the US and Russia that became effective in 2011. Just in the nick of time (at the end of the last trecena) President Biden and President Putin “agreed in principle” to extending the treaty for another five years.
It has been four 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.
9 Muluk (Feb. 6th) – 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 69th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. This is the opening day for what is normally the spectacular Carnevale Di Venezia (Venice), one of the most famous in the world – and one of the world’s most elegant masked events. But, as with everything at this time, this will be virtual this year, due to the pandemic. This year there will be Venice Carnival virtual rooms, oriented around topics such as storytelling, history, and mask-making.
This is the Maya birth energy of both 93-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 (Feb. 7th) – 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.
In the US this is Superbowl Sunday, which has the potential to become another covid “superspreader” event if people do not exercise caution. At this time some 22,000 fans will be allowed inside the stadium to watch the game, including 7,500 health care workers.
This is the first Gregorian anniversary of the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor who issued the first warning to colleagues that there were 7 confirmed cases of coronavirus. It is also the Maya birth energy of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
11 Chuwen (Feb. 8th) – a “change” oriented, “timeweaver” type of energy – in place on the day when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his fellow defendants are scheduled to appear in the Jerusalem District Court to respond to the indictments against them for breach of trust, accepting bribes, and fraud. [As with everything, this date is subject to change due to Covid restrictions]
This is one of two days associated with the Buddhist Parinirvana or Nirvana Day, celebrating the day when Buddha was said to have achieved Nirvana or full enlightenment (this is the one celebrated by most Buddhists, the other day is Feb. 15th)
It has been five cycles since Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE) departed from office. Given how frequently the dumpster’s White House had disregarded his recommendations, he felt that his job was “pointless”. As he left he said that the US was “close to a Laughingstock”. It was his assessment the dumpster’s administration had created a historic ethics crisis. Shaub called for major changes in federal law to expand the power and reach of the oversight office and combat the threat.
As of this day it has been 3 Calendar Rounds (3 x 52 years) since the Congress of the Confederate States adjourned for the last time, near the end of the US Civil War. This is also the Maya birth energy of Stanley Kubrick, the filmmaker whose 2001: A Space Odyssey has been seen as one of the world’s most influential motion pictures.
12 Eb’ (Feb. 9th) – 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. This is the day when the UAE’s Hope Orbiter is due to arrive at Mars. It is also the start date for the dumpster’s second impeachment trial.
13 B’en (Feb. 10th) – “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.
At this time it is likely that, as usual at this time of year, millions will be travelling in China as they make preparations for the forthcoming Chinese New Year, which could be highly problematic due to the pandemic. This is the day when China’s Tianwen-1 mission is due to arrive at Mars.
The last time this energy was in place (last May), the US erupted with widespread protests and rioting after the horrible death of George Floyd the evening before during his arrest by a police officer. This marked a major “turning point” that rapidly escalated the Black Lives Matter protest movement for racial equality and justice. One cycle before that, in 2019, this was the energy in place when the House of Representatives reconvened in Washington DC. and Democrats began strongly advocating for gun safety action. That was the day when the House Judiciary committee laid out its procedures for their first impeachment investigation of the dumpster. And by now his second impeachment trial will be underway.
[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.]