Greetings everyone! As we enter the last quarter of 11.720, I have posted a new calendar for 11.721.
I’ve made a few changes. First, I’ve dropped all references to the idea of a metric time of day. I’ve been playing with the concept of metric time for years, and I now find myself wanting to drop it. I’m doing so for the same reason that the French Revolutionaries dropped it in 1795–too hard to adopt it and not worth it.
I have, however, created a sister calendar which has its new year around Halloween rather than the December Solstice. This is because a number of people who feel spiritually attuned to the Earth–many of whom call themselves Pagans–celebrate the new year on that day, which they refer to as Samhain.
This calendar has been a pet project for several years, and has taken on a life of its own. I don’t know how many people will ultimately adopt this, but I believe in the power of ideas. While I personally prefer to see the new year start at the December Solstice, if there are enough earth-conscious people who want hold on to their tradition of starting the new year at Samhain, who am I to decide for them? I’ll be keeping track of downloads for each calendar, so we’ll see how it plays out.
As usual, I am including the last month of the previous year (117.19).
I made one change to this calendar–something that I’d debated with myself for a while. I have decided to give religiously and culturally neutral names to the days of the week. Previously, I’d said that the seven-day week was not officially part of the calendar but was being used for practical reasons. I’d suggested that in the future, people may want to change the arrangements of the weeks–perhaps so that every day ending in 0, 1, 2, 3, etc., would, in effect, be its own day in a ten-day week.
It’s clear to me that the seven day week is here to stay and will be as long as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are strong social forces in the world. (Unless they decide that having a sabbath day every seventh day isn’t important. And that’s their choice–I have no inherent criticism of the seven-day week.) Weeks also roughly correspond to quarters of the moon, and as such, have been deeply ingrained in human society for millennia. People may choose to change the lengths of the weeks in the future–the seven-day week is still not an inherent part of the Earth Epic Calendar.
I have named the holy days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Islam, Judaism, and Chrisitanity respectively. The remaining days are named after the four elements, Water, Earth, Wind (or Air) and Fire, which are important in Buddhism, as well as many indigenous religions in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
One other change you’ll notice in the calendar’s design: I’ve replaced the seasonal pictures with graphics that explain different aspects of the Earth Epic Calendar.
I discovered an error that I made in calculating when the leap years occur. I thought this year, 11.719, was itself a leap year, but it turns out I had the leap years wrong. 11.717 was a leap year and 11.721 will be one, too.
I’m not sure how I made the error but I discovered it when calculating the likely leap years going into the future. As such, it was necessary for me to change the calendar for this year, 11.719. I had it down as starting on December 21, 2018, but it actually began one day later on December 22. Eastlight also started one day later.
However, the fact that this isn’t a leap year means that Eastlight has only 91 days instead of 92. This is because the leap day is currently added to the end of Eastlight if this is a leap year. By beginning the first day of the year one day later and removing the leap day from the end of Eastlight, the calendar actually “catches up” with itself by Northlight 0.
In the Earth Epic Calendar, the New Year is based on the actual time of the December Solstice. To be precise, the New Year begins at the midnight closest to the time of the solstice according to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). If the solstice falls before the stroke of noon in the UTC time zone, the New Year begins that previous midnight–if it falls after that stroke of noon, then the new year begins the following midnight.
Most of the time, 365 days elapse between the two New Years on the calendar, but occasionally, 366 days elapse, which makes the year a leap year. The Gregorian calendar has a formula for determining the year–every four years except for years ending in “00” that are not divisible by 400. (Thus, 2000 CE was a leap year, but 1900 wasn’t and neither will 2100).
On one level, determining the day of the New Year in the Earth Epic Calendar is very simple, but it requires knowing the precise time of the December Solstice. Modern astronomy has been able to predict the precise time going several hundred years into the future. But the further in the future or the past the prediction is made, the less accurate it will be. To some extent, it’s due to the unpredictability of the Earth’s rotation. A discussion on this topic is here.
This challenge is also shared by both the Solar Hirji calendar and the Baha’i calendar (the latter starting only in 2015 CE), both of which have their new years tied to the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. So, while the Gregorian calendar bases its leap years on a simple mathematical formula, such a simple formula isn’t availalbe for the Solar Hijri, Baha’i, and Earth Epic calendars. Attempts have certainly been made, but nevertheless, a formula has proven elusive.
I calculated the dates of the New Year from a database developed by Barry Carter that I downloaded from GitHub. He has acknowledged its limitations in the discussion I previously referenced. I’ve made the corrections on the downloadable calendar and the Google/iCal file that you can link to your own smartphone calendar. I have also added a list of leap years on this website for between 11.283 and 12.000 EE (1582-2300 CE). The year 1582 CE is the year the Gregorian Calendar was first implemented.
Analyzing the data, most leap years occur every four years, but once every 33 or 37 years, an interval of five years occurs. In looking at the years between 11.283 and 12.000 EE, the pattern of 33 and 37 years isn’t fully predictable. Sometimes the 33 and 37 year cycles alternate, and sometimes two 33 year cycles will occur before alternating with a 37 year cycle. The original data base dates from 13,201 BCE to 17,091 CE, so theoretically, I could put together a database for the entirety of Epoch 12, which runs from 9,701 BCE to 15,299 CE. But in looking at the data, I can see how the dates for the December Solstice drift several months, which shows the limitations of the Gregorian calendar.
Okay, so I have a right to change my mind, right? I made changes to the Earth Epic Calendar because some things didn’t seem to fit right.
I had previously been telling people that they could choose between using the Millenium and the Century and between the Milliday and the Centiday. I’ve now dropped the Century and the Centiday from being official units of measure on the Earth Epic Calendar.
Why? Because of the rule of KISS–Keep It Simple, Stupid. (Or Sweetheart.) I felt that this change would make the calendar much more intuitive to understand.
But the system already forces exceptions. If I continued the rule of one hundreds with decimal time, I would have centidays (roughly equivalent to 15 minutes), and, um, myriadays that are 8.6 seconds. Yeah, not useful, right? (Just try to watch football, basketball, and hockey with those units. Especially with those famous game-changing plays at the buzzer.) Units more useful to us would be millidays (roughly 1 1/2 minutes) and secs (equal to 0.86 seconds). That’s easier for us to imagine, since they are most similar to
Likewise, two hundred fifty centuries or twenty-five millenia equal an epoch. But when you think about it, which is easier for us to imagine–250 centuries or 25 millenia? I would say 25 millenia, because 25 is smaller than 100 while 250 is bigger–and in my view, an awkward number. We’re used to thinking in terms of millenia because most world calendars encompass several millenia (even if they have to go before the start of year 1 of their calendar). Plus, the year 11.719 can easily also be read as 11,719, which is the number of years since the start of this epoch. And for those who don’t always want to be formal can just refer to this year as the year 719 of this calendar. Just don’t confuse the year 700 (2000 CE) with 0.700 (the approximate year the ancient city of Jericho was built, or 9000 BCE).
The exceptions to the rule can be easily recognizable with the prefix Mill in Millenium and Milliday since that prefix is associated with “one thousand.” As for 91-92 days in a quarter, well, there’s not much I can do about that unless I want my years to be 400 days each (which was probably true of the Earth two eons ago when days were 22 hours each–but not now). And as for there being 25 millenia in an Epoch, well, I’m sticking to my plan that takes advantage of the 100:1 difference in time years ago between the dawn of the dinosaurs and the dawn of the genus Homo.
Oh, and you might notice that I’m using the word Epoch when I’d previously use the word Age. That is also to avoid confusion. Remember when I talked about the axial precession as a unit of time? That period, roughly 25,000 years, corresponds to a period of time when the view of the universe appears to rotate through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Most astrologers would say that the Earth is in the Age of Pisces. But the reference to an age here is only about 2,000 years, with roughly 25,000 years being the period of time the Earth passes through all twelve signs of the zodiac. So if I were to call that 25,000 period of time an “age,” it would be confusing to people familiar with astrology. Therefore, to keep consistent, I chose the next measure of time above Age on the Geological Time Scale, which is Epoch. Coincidentally (are there coincidences?), the Holocene Age and the Holocene Epoch are one and the same, and the Holocene dates from the beginning of this Epoch that began 11, 719 years ago.
This calendar went through many refinements before I made this calendar public, and it might go through a few more. This is the biggest one n years, but fundamentally, it changes the calendar very little. I need to make a couple more changes in order to be completely consistent across the board. I need to redo the history of human civilization so that it shows years in the millenium.year format instead of the century. year format, and I need to change the calendar link that is also responsible for the date that appears on this website.
The Earth Epic Calendar for the year 117.19, which starts this December 21, 2018 on the Gregorian Calendar, is now available as a downloadable .pdf. This is a five-quarter calendar that spans from the last quarter of 117.18 through the last quarter of 117.19.
The publishing of this calendar is also a good opportunity to announce a tweak that I’ve made to the calendar. I have changed the international names for the quarters so that they better reflect what they describe.
I have altered the names of those quarters slightly, which you will see reflected in this calendar download. Originally named Southtide (near the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere), Easttide (Spring Equinox), Northtide (Summer Solstice) and Westtide (Autumn Equinox), I’ve now changed them to Southlight, Eastlight, Northlight, and Westlight. As before, the North and South references indicate the part of the Earth tilted towards the sun at the beginning of the quarter (Southern Hemisphere in December, Northern Hemisphere in June). The East and West references are more metaphorical–the East and West refer to the earlier and later parts of the day just as the sunrise in the East and the sunset in the West do. I changed the suffix from -tide to -light to better describe the astronomical phenomenon.
Enjoy your calendar, and I always like hearing your feedback!