Lately I’ve been going over my Grammatēmerologion text again—you know, that gigantic calendar ebook I put out that goes from March 2015 to March 2053. It’s essentially my exploration into a lunisolar calendar that maps the letters of the Greek alphabet to the days of the lunar month as well as to the months of the lunar (really, lunisolar) year. It’s up on my Books page for free download, if you’re interested. It’s a beast of a PDF, and it’s roughly broken down into three parts: a description of how the Grammatēmerologion is constructed as well as how it can be used, an “almanac” that lists certain types of days as they occur in the 2015—2053 period, and the actual calendar of months. A preview of October 2018 can be seen below giving you an idea of what it looks like:
Well, I’ve been taking another look at it. Since printing out a copy for my own temple use, I’ve noticed that there are a few typos in it, a few things that need correcting, and just general improvements to formatting that can be made. The content is largely the same, but I’ve been mulling lately how to better ply the Grammatēmerologion for calendar-specific ways to organize and arrange my rituals. As I see it, there are three ways the Grammatēmerologion can be used for this specific purpose:
- Use the correspondences of the letters to the Greek, Hellenic, and other gods according to the letter-days. For instance, given Agrippa’s Orphic Scale of Twelve (book II, chapter 14), we know that the zodiac sign of Cancer is associated with Hermēs. Because the letter for the sign of Cancer is Zēta (book I, chapter 74), we can give the letter Zēta to Hermēs. Thus, the fifth day of the lunar month, given to Zēta, can be used for worship and ritual of Hermēs.
- Use the interlocking cycles of letter-days and letter-months. Because most (not every) month is also given a letter of the Greek alphabet, every lettered month will have one lettered day where the letters of the day and month match up; these are termed the Megalēmerai, the Great Days of the Grammatēmerologion. Thus, the Gregorian calendar month of October 2018, which starts in the grammatēmerologic month of Sigma, October 1 has the letter of Sigma associated with it. Thus, October 1, 2018 is the Megalēmera of Sigma, because it’s the day of Sigma in the month of Sigma. Sigma is associated with Aquarius, and further to Hēra.
- Use the interlocking cycles of letter-days, letter-months, and letter-years. Just as the days and months are associated with letters, so are most of the years of a single 38-year grammatēmerologic cycle (composed of two modified 19-year Metonic cycles). Just as Megalēmerai are days when the letters of the day and month line up, there are also days when the letters of the day, month, and year line up as well; these are the Megistēmerai, or the Greatest Days of the Grammatēmerologion. Unlike Megalēmerai, which occur for every letter and which happen for all but maybe one month a year, Megistēmerai are significantly rarer; only twelve Megistēmerai are possible across an entire 38-year cycle, and those only for the letters of Γ, Δ, Η, Θ, Ι, Μ, Ο, Π, Τ, Υ, Φ, and Ω. Megistēmerai are essentially superpowered Megalēmerai, though I’m investigating to see if there’s any reasonable pattern or thread that can be used to connect those letters given above to see if something special can be done with them above and beyond their usual significations.
These days can be plied so that you could do monthly rituals of a god that’s important to you—for instance, celebrating Hermēs every month on the day of Zēta—or you could tone it back to just monthly ceremonies for the gods, one each on their own proper Megalēmera across a two-year period. Megistēmerai would be big festivals, as I’m thinking of them, since they’re so uncommon, and any given Megistēmera would be a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime event. For the record, the Megistēmerai of the current cycle according to the Grammatēmerologion are:
- Gamma: June 6, 2019
- Deltla: July 13, 2021
- Ēta: September 30, 2025
- Thēta: November 9, 2027
- Iōta: December 17, 2029
- Mu: March 4, 2034
- Omikron: June 20, 2038
- Pi: July 27, 2040
- Tau: October 15, 2044
- Upsilon: November 24, 2046
- Phi: December 31, 2048 (happy New Years, indeed!)
- Ōmega: March 18, 2053
The next one after that, another Megistēmera of Gamma, would occur in June 2057. Never let it be said that I don’t enjoy long-term planning.
These are all useful ways to consider ritual according to the Grammatēmerologion, but there are other ways to ply special dates out of it, too, based on the interaction of the seven-day week. Even though I don’t make use of such a cycle as part of the Grammatēmerologion proper, as there’s no way to get a seven-day week to fit neatly with any of the cycles already in place, I still make use of it in tandem with the Grammatēmerologion, and based on the intermeshing of these two cycles, there are other nifty days we can recognize. I go over this in the ebook about it, but to summarize:
- Planētēmerai or “Days of the Planets” are days when a day with a letter associated with a planet falls on the weekday ruled by that same planet. For instance, if Alpha is associated with the planet of the Moon, then the Planētēmera of the Moon occurs when the day of Alpha falls on a Monday, which is also ruled by the Moon.
- Astrēmerai or “Days of the Stars” are days when a day with a letter associated with a zodiac sign falls on the weekday ruled by the planet of that sign’s domicile. Thus, if Mu is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, and if Venus has its domicile in Libra, then the day of Mu falling on a Friday would be an Astrēmera. Because Venus also has domicile in Taurus, itself associated with the Greek letter Gamma, then the day of Gamma falling on a Friday would also be an Astrēmera; any planet that rules two zodiac signs would also have two Astrēmerai.
- Doksēmerai or “Days of Glory” are days when a day with a letter associated with a zodiac sign falls on the weekday ruled by the planet of that sign’s exaltation. Thus, if Mu is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, and if Saturn has its exaltation in Libra, then the day of Mu falling on a Saturday would be a Doksēmera.
- Phthorēmerai or “Days of Ruin” are days when a day with a letter associated with a zodiac sign falls on the weekday ruled by the planet of that sign’s fall. Thus, if Mu is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, and if the Sun has its fall in Libra, then the day of Mu falling on a Sunday would be a Phthorēmera.
- Phugēmerai or “Days of Flight” are days when a day with a letter associated with a zodiac sign falls on the weekday ruled by the planet of that sign’s exile. Thus, if Mu is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, and if Mars has its exile in Libra, then the day of Mu falling on a Tuesday would be a Phugēmera. As with the Astrēmerai, planets with two domiciles also have two exiles, so the Phūgemera of Mars would also occur when the day of Gamma, associated with Mars’ other exile Taurus, falls on a Tuesday.
As I reckon it, the strictly Grammatēmerologion letter-based days above (the monthly rituals for the gods, the Megalēmerai, and the Megistēmerai) are good mostly for days of worship for the gods, though the Megalēmerai and Megistēmerai can be used for astrological and stellar rituals as well. However, these five types of days that work with both the Grammatēmerologion and the seven-day week are excellent for planetary rituals, and can offer some insight into how strong a given day might be based on how the Grammatēmerologic lunar day of the month plays with the seven-day week and planetary rulerships—or, conversely, how strong or weak a given planet’s influence can be on its day of the week based on where it falls in a lunar month according to the Grammatēmerologion.
Of course, all of these are divested from any properly astrological phenomena, save for the phase of the Moon itself; this is an alternate system of reckoning fortuitous or appropriate days for ritual instead of using electional astrology, which (of course) is an entirely different field, and I don’t mean to supplant electional astrology nor claim that the Grammatēmerologion system used for this type of thing is as powerful or as good as it. It’s just another alternative system for those who don’t bother or don’t know about it, and for that purpose, is fine for most non-astrologically-minded magicians. Still, of these five latter types of days can be useful if you want to, for instance, plan a particular ritual of Venus and want its domicile quality of being in Libra or Taurus instead of its exaltation quality of being in Pisces. That said, in all honesty, I’d probably just use the Planētēmerai before any of the other such days given here, because it’s such a strong connection that overlaps these two cycles.
Still, I feel like the Grammatēmerologion can be used for more that just playing with cycles of letters or how those cycles play with the seven-day week. It’s this that I’m trying to expand on most now for the Grammatēmerologion ebook, but also for my own practice. How can I better ply “days of power” out of this system? Consider my Mathēsis system that uses a Great Tetractys with its Gnosis Schema, a set of twelve paths that traverse the ten sphairai on the Tetractys, paths which I liken to the twelve signs of the Zodiac as the Sun travels in its course through the ecliptic every year:
One of the reasons why I want to develop the Grammatēmerologion is to develop ways to time certain rituals, such as my Ingress Rituals (which I still need to work on fleshing out more). So, let’s say I wanted to perform a Path Ritual of Aries, which connects the sphaira of Mercury to the sphaira of Jupiter (or of Air). Aries is associated with the letter Bēta, so I’d want to pick a time associated with Bēta. But, here’s the thing: how? Do I want to use any old day of Bēta? I could, but why not a Megalēmera of Bēta? This makes sense, to use a Bēta-day in a Bēta-month, but the month of Bēta occurs only once every two years, which would be unfortunate if I miss it. More than that, though, performing a ritual of Aries seems odd if there’s no connection going on with Aries, so why not a time when the Sun is actually, yanno, in Aries, especially if the whole idea of traversing the Gnosis Schema is to mimic the passage of the Sun through the signs of the Zodiac. So, the obvious solution would be to pick a day of Bēta—essentially the day of Aries—when the Sun is in Aries.
This idea led me to a new kind of ritual day, the Kōmastēmerai or “Days of Revel”. The term comes from Greek κωμαστηριον, literally “processional way” originally referring to a meeting-place of Bacchic celebrants, but which is used in the Greek Magical Papyri to refer to the Sun’s or other stellar passages through heaven along the ecliptic or other celestial routes. Thus, “Days of Revel” could also be called “Processional Days”, days with a letter associated with a zodiac sign that fall while the Sun is in that same sign. In this way, every month of the year, regardless whether any given month has a letter at all or what it might be, has at least one Kōmastēmera, and every sign of the Zodiac can be celebrated every year as opposed to once every two years using the Megalēmera-based method. Interestingly, some signs have two Komastēmerai, if the letter-day falls on the day of or just after the ingress of the Sun into that sign, which means that some calendar years can have as many as 16 Komastēmerai, though most years just have one per month.
As an example, consider October 2018 again. In October 2018 (as in every other October every year), the Sun is first in Libra (associated with the Greek letter Mu), then it passes to Scorpio (which is associated with the letter Nu). The Sun passes into Scorpio at 11:22 UTC on Wednesday, October 23, 2018, which happens to be a day of Mu. Where I live, the Sun enters into Scorpio just before sunrise, and because days in the Grammatēmerologion are reckoned from sunrise, this means that by the time the day of Mu starts at sunrise, the Sun will already be in Scorpio. This means that the next day, October 24, which happens to be a day of Nu which is associated with Scorpio, is the Kōmastēmera of Scorpio. This makes Thursday, October 24, 2018 an excellent day to perform a Mathētic Ritual of the Sun’s Ingress into Scorpio.
Like how there can be weekday-influenced days of power and days of weakness, as with the Astrēmerai and Phugēmerai or the Doksēmerai and Phthorēmerai, why not make similar corollaries to the Kōmastēmerai? If these days occur when the letter-day of the month lines up with the sign the Sun is currently in, why not make days when the letter-day of the month lines up with the sign opposite the Sun? Thus, we can also envision Kruphēmerai, “Days of Hiding”, days with a letter associated with a zodiac sign that fall while the Sun is in its opposing sign. Recall that the next Kōmastēmera is that of Scorpio, falling on the day of Nu on October 24; the opposite sign of Scorpio is Taurus, which is associated with the letter Gamma, so the corresponding Kruphēmera of Scorpio would be the day of Gamma, which happens to fall on November 10, 2018. While the purpose of the Kōmastēmerai seem pretty obvious to me, it’s not clear what purpose Kruphēmerai would serve. What comes to mind are days of danger, harm, or otherwise ill omen due to the mismatch of ebbs and flows of power between the zodiac signs of the current time of the lunar month versus those in power of the Sun. Again, something to be experimented with.
One could expand this system a bit more, too, by not just recognizing the solar Kōmastēmerai and Kruphēmerai but also their lunar equivalents of Epainēmerai, “Days of Praise”, and Aiskhēmerai, “Days of Shame”, which would be the same idea but for the Moon. Interestingly, because of how the Grammatēmerologion works, I don’t think there can reasonably be a day that is both Kōmastēmera and Epainēmera at the same time; this would require the Sun and Moon to be in the same sign or conjunct and on a day given to a letter associated with a sign of the Zodiac. A day when the Sun and Moon are so close only happens around the New Moon, but the last few days of a Grammatēmerologic month aren’t associated with signs of the Zodiac, and the first day of the lunar month is given to Alpha, which is associated with the Moon. I haven’t done the calculations, but this means that such a day probably couldn’t occur, except extraordinarily rarely and then only for the sign of Aries (the second day of the lunar month). I’d need to check to see whether this is a thing. Even then, though, I don’t think such days could be that common anyway, given how the synodic lunar months don’t really match up well with the Zodiac, given the variable start date from month to month. For instance, consider that the Kōmastēmera of Scorpio on October 24, the day of Nu, falls on the Full Moon, which means the Moon is in Taurus opposite the Sun in Scorpio, and the next time the day of Nu comes about, the Moon will again be approaching fullness in late Taurus. I’d need to do the calculations on this, but I don’t think Epainēmerai are really that common, or if they are, whether they can equally happen for all of the zodiac signs. Thinking about it more, though, if you end up with one Epainēmera, then you might end up with two in a row, if the Moon changes sign at some point between those two days, though that might be even rarer. All that above is ditto for Aiskhēmerai. Still, given the solar focus of so much of Mathēsis ritual work and timing, I’m not sure Epainēmerai and Aiskhēmerai would have much of a place, especially given how rare or odd they might be.
What if we were to bring the seven-day week into this mix? Now we’re getting into some really unusual or rare alignments of conditions, and I’m really not sure how many of these there might be. Some ideas of possible things to recognize would be:
- Sigēmerai, or “Days of Silence”, days when a day with a letter associated with a planet falls on the weekday ruled by that same planet but only while that planet is retrograde. For instance, if Epsilon is associated with the planet of Mercury, then the Sigēmerai of the Mercury occurs when the day of Epsilon falls on a Wednesday while Mercury is retrograde. In other words, Sigēmerai can only occur on their corresponding Planētēmerai while that given planet is retrograde. Sigēmerai cannot occur for the Sun and the Moon, because they cannot be retrograde. A real example of this is the Sigēmera of Jupiter coming up on June 27, 2019; this is a day of Upsilon on a Thursday, and so would normally be a Planētēmera of Jupiter if it weren’t for the fact that Jupiter is retrograde from April 10 to August 11 in 2019.
- Khrusēmerai, or “Days of Gold”, days when a day with a letter associated with a planet falls during the sign in which the Sun is currently to be found and which that planet has domicile. For instance, if the Sun is in Scorpio, then the planetary ruler of Scorpio is Mars, which is associated with the letter Omikron. So, the day of Omikron while the Sun is in Scorpio (or in Aries!) becomes a Khrusēmera. Just such a day is coming up on Friday, October 26, 2018, the day of Omikron (Mars) while the Sun is in Scorpio.
- Argurēmerai, or “Days of Silver”. Given the whole parallel structure I’ve previously set up with the Sun and the Moon, this could be used to refer to days when a day with a letter associated with a planet fall during the sign in which the Moon is currently to be found and which that planet has domicile. However, given how rare and unlikely this seems, I’d rather give this instead to days when a day with a letter associated with a planet falls during the sign in which the Sun is currently to be found and which that planet has exaltation. Thus, consider September 14, 2018; this was a day of Epsilon, and thus associated with Mercury, that occurred while the Sun was in Virgo, the exaltation of Mercury. (Also note that this would also be a Khrusēmera, too, because Mercury has both exaltation and domicile in Virgo.)
- Rupēmerai and Aukhmēmerai, “Days of Filth” and “Days of Tarnish”, respectively, which are basically like Khrusēmerai and Argurēmerai except, instead of relating to the current Sun sign’s domicile and exaltation, the current Sun sign’s exile (Rupēmerai) or fall (Aukhmēmerai). So, if the Sun is currently in Libra, the corresponding Rupēmera would be the day of Omikron (associated with Mars, which has exile in Libra) and the day of Iōta (associated with the Sun, which has fall in Libra).
- What if a Khrusēmera, Argurēmera, etc. happens while the planet in question is retrograde? In this case, if the planet is the current Sun sign’s exaltation or fall or exile (but not domicile), then they cancel out and the day becomes just another ordinary day, but if it’s the current Sun sign’s domicile planet, then it becomes Arrhētēmera, or “Unspeakable Day”.
- What if a Khrusēmera, Argurēmera, etc. happens on the proper weekday of that planet itself? In other words, what happens if a Khrusēmera is also a Planētēmera? At this point, why not just recognize them separately? No special term needed for this; the day of Alpha (of the Moon) while the Sun is in Cancer falling on a Monday can be a Khrusēmera and Planētēmera, though the terms can be combined: Khrusoplanētēmera, or “Golden Day of the Planet”. Likewise, we could have a Arguroplanētēmera or Rupoplanētēmera or Aukhmoplanētēmera, depending on what the type of day is, though if the planet is retrograde, it would simply be Sigēmera or Arrhētēmera, as above.
- The prefixes Mega- and Megist- can be applied to any of the above terms if they also happen to be a Megalēmera or Megistēmera, respectively. For example, April 7, 2020 is a Tuesday, and is also the day of Nu in the month of Nu. Because the day and the month share the same letter, this is a Megalēmera; because the letter Nu is associated with Scorpio and this day falls on a Tuesday, which is ruled by Mars as the domicile-ruler of Scorpio, this is also an Astrēmera. Thus, because this day is both Megalēmera and Astrēmera, it can be called a Megalastrēmera. Similarly, March 4, 2034, is the day of Mu in the month of Mu in the year of Mu (Megistēmera), which also happens to fall on a Saturday (day of Libra on the day of Saturn, the exaltation of Libra). Thus, this would be a Megistodoksēmera. (And a Full Moon, no less, so plan early and mark your calendars!)
I’m sure I could come up with other terms to mix the weekday cycle, the Grammatēmerologic cycle, and the actual astrological phenomena of the skies, but I’m not sure all such possible combinations of interactions would need terms. Heck, in this post alone, I’ve introduced over twenty types of “special days”, and I’m starting to feel like a bad fantasy author who’s badly trying to incorporate some kind of elvish or alien conlang. Even if I were to come up with names, that doesn’t mean that they’re all equally valuable. Honestly, I think the most important regularly (or semi-regularly) occurring special days to keep track of are:
- Noumēniai, the celebration of a new month just after the New Moon
- Megalēmerai and their rarer version Megistēmerai, the celebration of matching cycles of days
- Planētēmerai and their retrograde version Sigēmerai to mark especially potent days (if the former) or days to be utterly avoided (if the latter) for planetary works
- Kōmastēmerai to mark the passage of the Sun through the signs of the Zodiac
- Khrusēmerai and their retrograde version Arrhētēmerai to mark the ruling planetary power of the current Sun sign, whether direct (if the former) or retrograde (if the latter) and how to approach that planet’s power
It’s good that we’re developing a technical vocabulary for specific workings, but let’s be honest, not all of these need to be known or marked, especially given how obscure or rare some of them might be. When it comes to writing and developing (and redeveloping and refining) this Grammatēmerologion ebook, it also becomes a question of what really needs to get accounted for in the calendar and almanac itself, and how easy it is to calculate certain things. Megalēmerai and Megistēmerai are near trivial to calculate, and figuring out the weekday special days (Planētēmerai, Astrēmerai, etc.) are easy enough as well. It’s when we get into the astrological bits that I start having to bust out the algorithms and programming, and I haven’t yet gotten around to coding the relevant parts of Jean Meeus’ Astronomical Algorithms to determine whether any given planet on any given day is retrograde is not.
Even then, with this small selection of eight (really five if you don’t count the variations) special days, we’re coming up with a regular and notable ritual schedule that arises from the use of the Grammatēmerologion apart from simply using it to order rituals of worship and sacrifice to the gods, and a sort of regular theurgic and spiritual practice begins to take form. This is precisely just what the Grammatēmerologion is designed to help with: a temporal tool and aide to structure and organize rituals in a lunisolar calendar based on the letters of the Greek alphabet. The current Grammatēmerologion ebook suffices for this, but I am working on getting a better version out that incorporates some of these other special days in.