The biggest trick the devil ever pulled
Last time the Tzolkin was at the current juncture (13-Oc/1-Chuen) was 26 April 2014, which already feels like a decade ago. Why is that?
Today, my friend’s 10 year old boy flipped through my cellphone photo gallery in nimble-quick-finger-breakneck speed. It looked like he was watching a stop-motion animated movie of my life in the past few months.
The scenes switched from work-related photos, to family get-togethers, to cute ones of babies and children, back to some important work stuff, and then all of a sudden – the bare limbs of Summer.
… naturally, he was watching the movie backwards, beginning with today’s photos and going back in time.
It made me wonder about this fascination with documentation of experience fragments (also known as Instagram/Facebook photos, What’sApp ad infinitum).
Then IT made me feel guilty about doing all this wondering. Why am I not in the sacred HEre and NOw?
Then it was time to go back home and load my Pantax with some new ASA 400 film, all ready to shoot some new color negatives I can take back to my lab to develop.
What this soon-to-be teenager guy did with the emotional retainers that over-populate my cloud drive is that he used it as a time machine to go back in time quickly.
When history ends, it does so on a silent note. There is a gap, a hairline fracture in the everyday routine, something which only a few people can become aware of.
Then something new begins; something that finds no real use in history, let alone flash-drive memories.
THE EMPEROR IS ALWAYS NAKED
Extreme seriousness, displayed today in all newsrooms, eventually dissolves tomorrow into some bad joke – into a twist in the plot. As Michel Foucault (11-Imix, coming up) once said:
“The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end.”
Because nobody knows what will be the end of anything, there is always a gap through which the unexpected can sneak in. New ideas, mindsets, solutions and philosophies are constantly bubbling under the surface, searching for this elusive gap, and for the right timing – simply because there is a gap.
New threads of reality are now being woven by the unknown artisan.
They are the threads of exposure.
Under the Hood
The previous trecena (1-Edznab) marks the end of the first Tzolkin semester and the current one (1-Chuen) marks the beginning of the second. In other words – the end of winter and beginning of spring. In the solar year, this is called the spring equinox, since the day and night are of the same length. This midpoint of balance exists also in the Tzolkin, since the count of days before 13-Oc and after 1-Chuen are also the same (130).
The Mirror of Reality (1-Edznab ) took me on a sharp and introspective voyage deep inside my mind and soul. To find my way out the other side I now employ the guidance and beauty of the artisan monkey Chuen, also known as the Weaver of Time.
1- Chuen is located around the dead-center of the Tzolking round. After inhaling there is an opening — a Gap. After exhaling there is another one. So it is in the 260-day round. Breathing is interacting with the world; the spaces between breath-pulses is interaction within.
This is consistent with the fact that artistic (Chuen) expression begins from within.
1-Chuen: Seed of imagination
Born on this day: Ronald Reagan (40th US president), Roland Orzabal (Tears for Fears), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Winston Burdett
Being well aware of his/her own little imperfections and evils, the artist finds a sublime/sublimated way to harness maladjustment and flaw to create something new, beautiful, and meaningful with slender fingers – something that’s a little closer to perfection.
Both the artist and artisan (who are considered to be one and the same according to the Mayan philosophy) share this trait of truth-seeking. Some artists dedicate their talent to exposing and accentuating what’s wrong in their world. Their presented artwork is an original and fresh display of sanity and truth for everyone to digest, within works of prose, comedy and art.
The artist’s hallmark is an innate ability to rearrange existing materials and ideas in a unique and imaginary way, which actually creates a new reality. S/he takes ideas and perspectives, which were collected during 1-Edznab and before, and weaves them like fresh and colorful threads to create a new tapestry of existence. When existing threads are entwined with new ones – patterns that were never seen before begin to take shape.
1-Chuen is the right time to begin viewing the old and mundane through the curious eyes of a child, who cannot accept a fossilized definition of reality and needs to experiment. It is the perfect time to reinvent myself and redefine the meaning of innocence. To a child, most of reality is interesting and engaging. It seems that there are always new things to create out of the old, and novel experiences are waiting just around the corner.
Here is Dave Gahan (1-Chuen), the lead singer of Depeche Mode, singing “Freelove”:
“If you’ve suffered enough
I can understand what you’re thinking of
I can see the pain that you’re frightened of…
Let go of complicated feelings
Then there’s no price to pay.”
2-Eb: Road less traveled
Born on this day: Ben Stiller, Stan Laurel, Steve Gadd, Mark Grace, Bob Fosse
Originality is not a result of comparison; it is an extension of individual uniqueness. Unique talent begins taking form right after the tendency to compare myself to another (or to my past or future self) is overcome. When I begin to follow my own art and viewpoint, moment-by-moment, a new road is blazed, branching off from the one I traveled so far.
On 2-Eb I become aware of my separation from the well-trodden path, and there comes a longing to return to the familiarity and safe shores of whatever’s left behind. In addition, Eb’s humble nature teaches me that art can be found everywhere, even in a simple word.
I realize today that I cannot actually tread another’s road. It’s always been my way, even when it ran parallel to my ex-girlfriend’s way or anyone else’s. TV might convince me that a particular viewpoint I hold TODAY resonates with a couple of middle-aged commentators, who used to be generals. It might even resonate with the masses who are standing under a particularly-colored flag.
The artist’s way is a continuous nurture and celebration of the unique, the subjective, the beautiful.
And now for some Steve Gadd (2-Eb) and Paul Simon (2-Edznab) counting the ways to get yourself free from old attachments:
“And then she kissed me, and I realized she probably was right…”
3-ben: Rhythmic Reed
Born on this day: José Mourinho, Joni Mitchell, Sarah Alexander, Pete Sampras, Erwin Schrödinger, Marina Sirtis (ST-TNG), Brendan Gleeson, Achinoam Nini, Jim Henson, Carl Benz
The 3rd stage of the trecena can be referred to as the driving force behind the process. It takes the theme of stage 1 and challenges it (Ben-east vs. Chuen-west here) in all respects in order to create a background rhythm. 3-Ben provides rhythm to my artistic expression by applying a conduit of destiny between the physical and the spiritual.
The artist within is never content with past achievement and so s/he continuously channels his/her visions down to earth. In turn, these manifested works of art spark spiritual visions and experiences for the artist and the audience. Therefore, 3-Ben can be depicted as a dynamic triangle connecting the Artist, the Audience, and the Art.
Here’s Joni Mitchell (3-Ben) singing the ballad of Amelia Earhart (10-Manik, 6 days ago):
“I’ve spent my whole life in clouds at icy altitude
And looking down on everything, I crashed into his arms.”
4-Ix: Define art
Born on this day: Viggo Mortensen, Mark King, Emilio Estevez, Paul Simonon (The Clash), Elia Kazan, Ivo Pogorelić
In order to convey a coherent message, the urge for artistic expression must be applied within the boundaries of skill. The artist is not necessarily a virtuoso, but rather one who is aware of both his/her strengths and weaknesses. This is the message of 4-Ix. S/he is a master of the subtleties of skill required to turn meandering musings into art that is communicative both within and without.
What further defines the true artist and his/her work is the mystery and inexplicable nature of the Jaguar (Ix), which seems to affect me indirectly, unexpectedly, and profoundly. What is audible in a musical piece only scratches the surface, while the underlying composition and silence between notes eventually taps into and feeds the elusive unconscious.
Here’s the song “Running in the family” sung by Mark King (4-Ix) on bass, shining among many other stars:
“And we all have our daddy’s eyes…”
King’s slap technique is phenomenal, especially when considering the fact that he’s singing on top of his playing. Bass guitarist usually don’t do that, since they must be very precise in their playing, to support the band from below.
Born on this day: Muammar Gaddafi, Moshe Dayan, US Civil War began, Xander Berkeley (Year One), Eckhart Tolle
The 5th stage is when the cardinal direction of the trecena (in this case – west) reappears for the first time, and its purpose is guidance and empowerment of the process thus far. The eagle (Men) contributes to the overall artistic transformation process through the gift of vision and freedom.
Vision is the undefined message-in-the-making, which guides artistic expression throughout, from the first brushstroke to the final finishing touch. It begins with an idea that the artist just has to enclose within a vehicle and express to the world. During the course of artistic expression, and with continuous clarity of vision, this idea is refined and honed.
Besides vision, true art means expression that is unique and altogether free from existing convention. Emotional tethers such as fear of rejection can never inspire sincere expression.
Without the eagle’s eye there can be no such thing as creativity.
OK, I ran out of musicians. Back with more music on 7-Caban…
Instead, here’s a voice from the underworld. Muammar Gaddafi (5-Men) gave this speech to the united nations back in 2009 on the Tzolkin date 2-Men. Get a glimpse of what he saw back then, and how it’s all still playing out on the global stage today:
6-Cib: Traditional Art
Born on this day: Oliver Stone, Neve Campbell, Tommy Lee Jones, Kenneth Branagh, James Earl Jones, Edward Bernays, Don Cornelius (Soul Train), Chad Wackerman
Wisdom is the deep and sacred repository of our ancestors that can be tapped only from within. At stage 6 the sun-sign of wisdom (Cib) provides much-needed inner strength, so that my personal creative process of reinventing myself continues to flow on.
The essence of Cib means being very aware of limits and staying pragmatic. 1-Chuen’s message of self expression doesn’t mean producing a masterpiece every single day – that’s a typical misconception of many aspiring young artists. Later down the line of maturity, the artist realizes s/he must create more and judge less, or at least – don’t allow judgement to interfere with his/her work. On this day, cib’s practicality dictates keeping it real and refraining from overdoing it.
And now for some Shakespeare. Here’s Kenneth Branagh (6-Cib) playing Hamlet, along with Billy Crystal (6-Ik) as the gravedigger and Nicholas Farrell as Horatio. Indicative of the sun-sign cib, Branagh delivers a sensitive eulogy to his childhood friend – the court jester Yorick, and discusses the limits that death places upon kings and peasants alike:
7-Caban: Earth’s axis
Born on this day: Bill Evans, Richie Blackmore, Shaul Mofaz, Jeff Suppan, Davy Jones (The Monkees)
Like 7-Kan in the previous trecena, 7-Caban resonates closely with the overall frequency of the Tzolkin half-time break (7th uinal), and marks the final 4 introspection and reflection days of the current uinal.
Caban represents profound sensitivity – an integral component of art, facilitating the subtleties of its creation and the depth of its appreciation. At the 7th stage, this aspect provides purpose to the entire artistic process, and connects conception with manifestation.
In addition, 7-Caban reflects individual expression on a global scale. This means that truth and beauty expressed through art have no borders of land or language. It is simply a pristine reflection of human experience.
From the perspective of the entire Tzolkin round, now is the chance to survey this amazing scenery one last time; a sight which can never be repeated after beginning to come down and manifest. Everything is visible for the first (and last!) time – where I come from and where I am going.
It’s oddly comforting to find the lead singer of a band called “The Monkees” born on the monkey trecena, don’t you think? The singer in this next one is actually the Monkees’ drummer Micky Dolenz (9-Ahau) and not Davy Jones (7-Caban), but I just had to select this next one:
“I’m a believer I couldn’t leave her if I try…”
8-Edznab: Mirror of Harmony
Born on this day: Angela Merkel, Suzanne Vega, George Harrison, Charley Boorman, Ayelet Zurer, Ephraim Kishon, Jorge Posada, Wesley Sneijder, Marcel Marceau
8-Edznab literally means infinite/harmonious reflections. Reality is a mirror, my internal world is a mirror, my art reflects my psyche, my relationships with other humans reflect to infinity. They all interrelate and synchronize to distill truth.
In Clint Eastwood’s movie Midnight in the garden of good and evil Kevin Spacey (10-Ben) said:”Truth, like art, is in the eye of the beholder.” Before the beholder comes along, truth and art abide side by side in the artist’s heart. S/he always knows when s/he’s faking it, or not going all the way in putting the whole truth across, or worse – trying to be someone else.
8-edznab establishes coherence and clarity within the smallest details and around the whole message.
Here’s George Harrison (8-Edznab) learning the sitar with Ravi Shankar (8-Cauac):
9-Cauac: Almost rain
Born on this day: Muddy Waters, Ray Brown, Ted Turner, Laurie Anderson, Michael Richards, Kaká, Mike Dirnt (Green Day), Sarah Silverman
9-Cauac is a gift of perspective, patience, and constant improvement. The artist’s heart never grows old. As long as their bodies can support them they’ll be engaged in the creative process, they’ll have something new to contribute. When they perfect a piece, or bow down before a cheering audience – there’s always something new to learn, some little piece of performance that they’d like to improve next time.
This is the essence of cauac, especially 9-Cauac in this particular trecena.
Born on this day: Pope John Paul II (died 5-Ahau), Edmond de Rothschild, Graham Chapman, Asdrúbal Cabrera, James Van Allen, Annabella Sciorra (Sopranos), Tricky, Mike Patton (Faith no more), François Mitterrand, Viktor Schauberger
This is the last day of the 7th uinal.
10-Ahau is the day the magical art of 1-Chuen manifests. It’s a day to take a step back and appreciate beauty. It’s a very real and physical kind of illumination, which serves to apply creativity to everyday concerns and needs.
In addition, 10-Ahau introduces lofty expectations on the day of manifestation. In other words, once a new creation is complete and available it can be criticized or praised.
Ahau types usually pay attention to the criticism…
Here’s the late (but always on time) Graham Chapman (10-Ahau) trying to convey to the masses the one thing they can never digest:
“Look, you’ve got it all wrong. You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves. You’re all individuals (Crowd: Yes, we’re all individuals). You’re all different (Yes, we are all different). You all have to work it out for yourselves… Don’t let anyone tell you what to do!“”
11-Imix: Upgraded beginning
Born on this day: Michel Foucault, Sarah McLachlan, Simon Le Bon, Joan Baez, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Manu Katché, Shirley Manson (Garbage), Roger Taylor (Queen), Eliot Ness
11-Imix basically means back to school after enlightenment manifested. Imix accentuates the anti-climax theme of the 11th stage of resolution. It’s like an artist coming back home after attending the opening of his gallery showcase – to find a big empty canvas waiting on his easel.
Under the Hood
The 8th uinal begins today.
Everything you ever read about stage 8 (8-Edznab – see above, 8-Lamat, 8-Eb, etc.) is true for the 20 days of the 8th uinal beginning today. This is an aspect of the holographic nature of time and creation as a whole: whatever’s true for micro-time (day-level) is also true for macro-time (20-day uinal, 360-day tun, 7200-day katun, etc.). Likewise, an atom is a universe in itself.
Keywords for the meaning of the 8th stage (a.k.a. 4th Night): harmony, infinity (horizontal 8), balance, order from smallest details to the overall unity.
And now for some Simon Le Bon (11-Imix) and Duran Duran live on stage:
12-Ik: Deep Idea
Born on this day: Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Pacino, Derek Jeter, Roger Federer, Liam Hewlett (Pridigy), Ron Perlman, Jon Polito
The language of art is universal.
A good piece of music reflects truth beyond and before dissecting it into words of appreciation or critique, as does an inspiring sculpture or a good-tasted necklace. On 12-Ik a deep understanding dawns, which involves the wind’s lack of boundaries.
When my communication is artful, i.e., when my art is true in its form and content – there is no frontier on earth that can stop the global spreading of its truth. No language, no distortion, no subversion, no firewall – nothing.
13-Akbal: The Story
Born on this day: Al Di Meola, Neil Simon, Michael Caine, Courtney Love, Diane Keaton, Lee Strasberg, Rabin assassination (born 12-Eb)
13-Akbal means encapsulating the art lessons of the last fortnight within a fable, to be retold and reflected upon later down the road, especially on moonless nights, by the fire.
13-Akbal also provides the infrastructure upon which a creative future is built. It expands the artful method into perpetuation.
Art has its place and time, and must now dissolve into the next trecena – the seed of basic abundance. The next stop on the journey through time is the most balanced trecena of them all, during which the Tzolkin new year takes place.
Here’s Al Di Meola (13-Akbal), at the tender age of 27, playing solo acoustic guitar in front of a whole lot of people. Around the 5:35 minute mark a dog walks across the stage while Al is playing. His reaction, and that of the crowd, makes me laugh every time. He does regroup quickly and continues his dazzling playing: