Lunisolar Grammatomantic Calendar in Use

Now that the lunisolar grammatomantic calendar (LGC) is explained at length, let’s talk about how it actually might be used.  To refresh your mind, dear reader, the LGC is a modern variation on the old lunisolar calendar that the Athenians used in classical Greece to determine their festival dates and religious observances.  The months are marked by the passage of the moon, with adjustments made every so often to get a calendar year to match the actual solar year.  With grammatomancy, they days are assigned a particular Greek letter for use in divination, magic, and advising on specific actions based on the day in the calendar; some days, however, don’t have letters.  Months and years, likewise, can be assigned letters (or not depending on the circumstances), and there are overall cycles of 38 years which repeat a certain set of letters for the year, month, and days.  All this to produce a calendrical divination tool, hence the LGC.  I made a solar version as well, the SGC, with which the LGC shares a number of similarities, especially in terms of how they might be used.

Again, the core point of the LGC is for divination.  Much as with the Mayan calendar stuff, or with the planetary weekdays and other Western ideas, different days will have different effects and different forces in effect; the use of the letters is to indicate what those forces might be and how we might align or counter them.  By using a calendar to map these forces out, we have a tool to help us prognosticate and plan for different events and circumstances that we can harness for our own ends.  With the Greek letters, each letter represents a different oracle, advice, planet, sign, element, god, number, and more; whole worlds can be unfolded from the use of a simple letter through the arts of stoicheia and isopsephy, as well as grammatomancy.  In this regard, both the SGC and LGC can be used to determine on a day-by-day, month-by-month, or year-by-year basis how a particular period of time will go.  By inspecting whether a day has a particular letter assigned to it, we might plan events for that day or avoid it entirely.

However, how these letters might be applied to the days can differ; for example, compare my own SGC and LGC, both of which have the same intention and the same core idea, but reflect it in different ways.  Depending on the need, the use of the SGC might be more preferable than the LGC, or vice versa.  Specifically with the LGC, the calendar is lunisolar, which is fantastic for most magical activities undertaken nowadays, especially by people in neopagan or reconstructionist traditions.  Since these guys, as well as farmers and other people who work with lunar forces in some regard, all use the Moon as a focus for determining time, using the LGC can help with augmenting their current style of working with time and lunar forces.  Another draw to the LGC is that it’s grounded in actual historical usage of an actual calendar, complete with its own cycle of festivals, religious observances, and power.  For the Hellenismos crowd especially the LGC would be of help in combining religious observances with magical forecasting beyond other augury and divination.  Being more in tune with natural cycles than artificial precision as the SGC has, the LGC would also be better in charting planting cycles or other worldly/earthy/natural events.  Of course, this is all based on the Athenian ritual calendar, some of the days of which are associated with particular deities; for instance, Apollo is associated with the seventh day of the month, which is assigned the letter Ζ.  This gives Apollo a similar connection, and can help explain other attributes of his or explain those of the letter itself.

One notable difference between the SGC and the LGC is that the LGC has far more unassigned periods of time than the SGC.  To clarify, the SGC year has only five to six days that have no letters at the end of the year to make up for the difference between the total duration of the letter-months and that of the solar year.  Further, only days can miss a letter; the intercalary days are not assigned to any month, and all the months, years, ages, eras, eons, and so forth are all labeled with letters.  On the other hand, the LGC has roughly 65 days per year that are without a letter due to the length of the lunar synodic month, and even whole embolismic months or leap years have no letter assigned, either, according to the system I proposed.  Similarly, embolismic months and leap years might be considered special times for settling debts, finishing work, and clearing out the old brush to make way for new growth, since these times always represent some kind of closing or coming to an end of a cycle.  This would especially be true of the last embolismic month of the 38-year cycle for the LGC, which I envision as something of a party month.

That also brings up another important difference between the SGC and LGC: the use of the obsolete letters in the LGC.  Digamma, qoppa, and sampi are ancient letters that were used in very early forms of Greek as it began to borrow the Phoenician script for its own use; however, these letters were no longer in use at the time of the Greek alphabet oracle I use, and hadn’t been for quite some time except to mark numbers.  As such, they have no oracular meaning ascribed to them, nor are they used in stoicheia, qabbalah, or magic.  Due to this, days that are marked with these obsolete letters are effectively letterless, or explicitly unlucky days as opposed to the otherwise unlettered days, which might be considered more like a Moon void of course period or “thin time”.   Since these letters were overall dropped due to their uselessness, not even retained for their etymological value, these days might also be considered “dropped” from usefulness, with business being avoided entirely or similar prohibitions observed.  Since in the second and third decades of the lunar month the last day was letterless and the second to last had an obsolete letter, this gives the calendar a type of “weekend” for rest or for other observations.  The first decade, on the other hand, would be focused on ritual and sacrifices throughout those ten days.

Another change in purpose is how dates are even used between the SGC and LGC.  The LGC is focused on near-term natural cycles that have an immediate and direct need, and doesn’t really have much of a convention for calculating or even denoting dates far into the future or the past outside of the current cycle.  This follows the traditional view of time, where these things simply had no real meaning; events far in the past were history-myths, and events far in the future were undetermined and up to the gods.  What was needed was individual human timeframes that one could deal with and live within.  On the other hand, the SGC is meant for determining times and dates far into the future and the past, around 7000000 years in either direction when used with the letter-eon place, or around 13000 years without it.  This calendar might be considered more “scientific”, determining astrological or astronomical events or determining mystical transitions of the cosmos and universe over large stretches of time.  The enforced precision of the SGC and the organic flow of the LGC can easily compliment each other, much as the Mesoamerican calendar systems were used in tandem with each other.  In other words, I see the likely scenario to be the Babylonian magus or Academic geometer making use of the SGC, and the common families and townspeople making use of the LGC.  It’s like the difference between someone giving you an informal calendar date for ease and a Barycentric Julian Date for exactness.

Because of its regularity and association with the Sun and solar movement, I’m more likely to use the SGC in my Work, mostly because I resonate with that kind of independence from imperfection that the SGC (mostly) allows; plus, its ability to mark specific times arbitrarily is useful, especially when planning long-term effects that might not be immediately seen or noted.  That said, I can see the use of the LGC being helpful as well in determining lower or more nature-y rituals, such as offerings to the gods or the Earth as well as planning out lunar effects through a grammatomantic lens, especially in determining the letters associated with lunar months.  I know that a lot of this was an exercise in complexity, but it was helpful for me to get ideas, especially if I ever get into mobile platform programming or Twitter bot programming if I want to make a bot or a mobile app for these calendars (or to help others do the same, just let me know!).  Being able to use grammatomancy in a new way beyond “mere” letter-drawing is a useful thing, I think, and brings the power of time a bit closer than would otherwise be possible.

Solar Grammatomantic Calendar in Use

In the last post, I unleashed a terrifying yet really not that complex new calendar system based on the Greek alphabet.  To summarize, I made a cycle of days, where “months” are 24 days long, each day corresponding to one of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.  A “year” of these days starts with the spring equinox, and there are 15 “months” in a “year”, leading to 360 days.  The leftover days between the end of the last “month” and the start of the first “month” of the next “year” are left as letterless.  In effect, I produced a solar grammatomantic calendar, or SGC; I expanded it to be able to note dates and times (down to periods of around one hour long) millions of years in the future, though this was just adding completion to the system for its own sake.  The heart of the SGC is the day cycle of letters to produce a usable cycle of days for divination.

How might calendars be used for divination?  Well, consider the cycle of the weekdays: there are seven days in a week, and each one is associated with a particular planet among the seven traditional stars so used.  We might expect more solary things to occur on Sunday, for instance, or cytherean things on Friday.  We might also use the weekdays for particular aims or purposes benefitted by the planet ruling the day, such as writing letters on Wednedsay for Mercury, or beginning business proposals on Thursday for Jupiter.  This system, combined with that of the planetary hours, forms much of the framework within my own ritual construction, which uses the ebb and flow of planetary forces as they change throughout the days and hours of the week.  In a sense, “divination” here can be expanded to the use of omens or the change in power or dignity of forces to achieve a particular end or to understand the world around us.

A similar thing is done with the tzolk’in, the Mayan cycle of 20 days, each with their own name, symbol, and oracular meaning.  I mentioned this before, that one of my friends on Facebook started doing a daily tzolk’in interpretation of the day, allowing for people to prognosticate based on the symbol representing the day in the cycle.  To an extent, this is still used in modern Mayan and Mesoamerican societies, though it’s mostly in the hinterlands and rural areas.  Still, the idea is the same: by recognizing the natural flow of powers, one can tap into them to forecast or to alter the future based on what one plans to do. Other such prognosticatory calendars have been used across the world, even if they’re in a debased form that notes only what “lucky” and “unlucky” days are.

What this all inspired me to do was to see if I could create a flow of the days such that each one might be associated with a particular letter.  With the SGC, we have a method to do that, and with varying levels of specificity.  The most important part of this is the use of the letter-day, which for 360 days of every year will have one of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet.  Those days are held to be “ruled” or signified by the influence of that letter; thus, if the letter-day is Α, the oracular statement for which is “[Apollo] says that you will do everything well”, then the day is highly fortunate and beneficial for all endeavors.  This doesn’t bar more specific divination just for that day; I could always still ask the gods for a particular letter-divination myself and apply it just for my own ends, but the influence of the letter-day is universal across all places, peoples, and endeavors.

I also mentioned in the SGC a method of attributing the hours to the individual letters, much as in the same method as the planetary hours: take 1/12s of daylight and 1/12s of nighttime, and ascribe each to one of the Greek letters starting with Α at the dawn “hour”.  Thus, every day will have a cycle within itself of the 24 Greek letters, with different hours indicating different flows of power.  Unlike the system of planetary hours and days, where hours are held to be of more importance than the days, the grammatomantic hours here are less important than the days, since their effect is less and dependent on the overall letter, and is detached from any one grammatomantic day.  After all, the order of the planets used for the planetary hour changes from day to day depending on the planet ruling the day, but the order of the letters is fixed for every day.

Going bigger than individual days, I also set up a method of noting years and months using the SGC.  For divination, long periods of time such as eons, eras, or ages don’t have much bearing on divination using the SGC, but years and months may.  Whole lengths of time can be said to be under the sway of the force of the letters, but again, these are of less importance than the individual days themselves.  The months are less important than the days, and the years are less important than the months.  Trends may be predicted based on the letters for larger spans of time, but the letters become less and less meaningful as the length of time increases.

To make use of an example from last time, let’s look at September 1, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. for Washington, DC, USA.  We converted it into the SGC date 6.19.23.6.22:4, or Ζ.Τ.Ψ.Ω.Χ:Δ.  The letter-day is Χ, the oracle for which is “in succeeding you will fulfill a golden oracle”; this is a great day for success and carrying on great plans that may reach beyond one’s knowledge.  However, the letter-month is Ω, “you will have a difficult harvest, not a useful one”, indicating that this general time is difficult to achieve much at all.  The letter-hour is Δ, “in customs inopportune strength is weak”, indicating that for the moment it is unhelpful to force one’s way through; working with others, over approved channels, or according to protocol is best for attaining what can be attained at all.

If one looks at the general patterns of the oracular statements for the Greek letters, you’ll note that the best oracles tend to be clustered towards Α, and increase in difficulty, strife, or cheer as they get closer to Ω.  In fact, among the oracles in grammatomancy, Α is the best and Ω is the worst.  Extrapolating this towards the SGC, we can say that as time goes on, things get progressively more difficult and arduous after pleasant and easy starts.  The first days of the month, or the first days or months of the year for that matter, or the first hours of the day, would be considered the best for any working, while as the day (or month, or year) goes on, things get worse and more unfortunate.

Using the longer date form, incorporating the letter-era, letter-age, and letter-year, we might also say that the more there are of a certain letter in the date, the more powerful that force is.  Thus, if the date were Α.Α.Α.Α.Α, then this would be the best of all possible days in the calendar, happening only once every 13100 years or so.  Likewise, if the date were Ω.Ω.Ω.Ω.Ω, then this day would be the utter, absolute worst, and also the end of the entire cycle.  For most prognosticatory purposes, if the letter-month and letter-day coincide, it might be said to be a day of power suitable for any number of things, but especially those that the letter itself might portend through its divinatory meaning.

Alternatively, one might use the other occult meanings of the figures.  We might assign a set of lucky numbers based on the isopsephic (gematria) or ordinal values of the letters.  For instance, on letter-day Π (day 16), we might say that one could use the number 16 as a lucky number (ordinal value), or 8 or 80 (isopsephic) as lucky numbers.  So, if one were going to the market on a Π letter-day, one might buy things in amounts of 8 or 80, or one might go with the obvious pun and get maybe an eighth of a pie for oneself.  Instead of the numeric value of the letters, one might go with their stoicheic meanings, the elemental, planetary, and zodiacal indications of the letters.  For instance, on the letter-day Ι, we might say that anything particularly solar would be favored, since Ι is associated with the Sun; on the letter-day Β, which is associated with the sign Aries, anything involving rams would be good, as well as fighting, war, leadership, and the like.  By associating the different forces with the Olympian gods, either through their planetary equivalents (Jupiter for Zeus, Moon for Artemis), their zodiacal correspondences (cf. Agrippa book II, chapter 14), or the like.  For the qabbalistically inclined, you might choose different days to work with a particular path on the Tree of Life using the Greek letters instead of the Hebrew alphabet.  For those so inclined, I lay all this out in my ebook on grammatomancy (available here!).

Since the SGC is a solar calendar, with the start date of the years tied to the spring equinox of the year, we can use the SGC to approximate other solar phenomena.  For instance, the passage of the Sun through the zodiac can be approximated through the use of the SGC.  Since the Sun travels about 30° around the ecliptic every 30 days, the Sun travels through four complete signs after five-letter months, with an error of about 1.75 days.  Thus, the passage of the letter days can mark the passage of the Sun through the ecliptic in a fairly orderly way.  Marking the letter-months with Arabic numerals (to avoid the complicated assignment of letters to the letter-months based on the letter-year):

  • 1.Α or 1.1: Sun ingress Aries, spring equinox, Ostara
  • 2.Η or 2.7: Sun ingress Taurus
  • 2.Χ or 2.22: Sun midpoint Taurus, Beltane
  • 3.Ν or 3.13: Sun ingress Gemini
  • 4.Τ or 4.19: Sun ingress Cancer, summer solstice, Litha
  • 6.Α or 6.1: Sun ingress Leo
  • 6.Π or 6.16: Sun midpoint Leo, Lughnasadh
  • 7.Η or 7.7: Sun ingress Virgo
  • 8.Ν or 8.13: Sun ingress Libra, fall equinox, Mabon
  • 9.Τ or 9.19: Sun ingress Scorpio
  • 10.Κ or 10.10: Sun midpoint Scorpio, Samhain
  • 11.Α or 11.1: Sun ingress Sagittarius
  • 12.Η or 12.7: Sun ingress Capricorn, winter solstice, Yule
  • 13.Ν or 13.13: Sun ingress Aquarius
  • 14.Δ or 14.4: Sun midpoint Aquarius, Imbolc
  • 14.Τ or 14.19: Sun ingress Pisces

Since the letter-days will be the same across years, we can say that Α, Τ, Ν, and Η are solstice days, and Χ, Π, Κ, and Δ are cross-quarter days.  Further, because five letter-months cross four signs of the Zodiac, this links different triplicities together, such that all the days of the fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius share the same letter-days as each other, all starting off on Α days.  Thus, we might call the letter Α fiery (since it starts off all the fire signs), Η earthy (since it starts off all the earth signs), Ν airy (since it starts of all the air signs), and Τ watery (since it starts off all the water signs).  Viewed another way, we might divide up the letter-year into three divisions of five letter-months each: months 1 through 5 are first “season”, 6 through 10 the second “season, and 11 through 15 the third “season”.  In other words, a season begins at the start of the fire signs of the Zodiac: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius.  Considering where I live in a costal area in the the Northern Hemisphere, I’d name these seasons “warming”, “cooling”, and “dark”, respectively.

Of course, since the Sun doesn’t exactly travel 360° every 360 days, this attribution of the letter-days to specific solar phenomena doesn’t quite hold, and the dates will slip a little earlier as time goes on in the year.  This is why, at the end of every letter-year, there is a short period of five or so intercalary days to fill in the gap between the end of the last letter-month and the beginning of the first letter-month of the next year.  The intercalary days are meant to adjust the SGC so that it doesn’t get out of sync with the solar year, and as such don’t belong to the proper cycle of letter-days or letter-months.  These intercalary days have no associated letter and their hours have no letter attribution, as far as divination and magic are concerned.  Much like the intercalary wayeb’ days of the Mayan haab’ calendar, these days would be considered completely unfortunate.  Consider that it’s basically a gap between the proper letter-days, and that the most recent letter day (15.24) would be Ω, a bad omen; this would stick around and linger, filling the gaps in time and space and force.  Similarly, as a gap between the cycles, the intercalary days would be considered a time when the veil between the worlds or cycles is thinnest; just as the saying that “it’s darkest before dawn”, these days are those immediately preceding the spring equinox, the solar “dawn” of the year.  Alternatively, as might be done in Egyptian or Hellenic times and cultures, these might be considered a time of celebration, partying, and loosening of social rules and rites, for the same general idea that this is a time in-between, when cycles and routines are temporarily thrown off, when no work can properly be done anyway.

So, those are my thoughts on how one might apply the solar grammatomantic calendar for magic and divination in a few ways.  Of course, this is just one of the two possible grammatomantic calendars I suggested using in my first post on this; this calendar is based on the simple cycle of letters to form discrete months of time.  The other idea I mentioned exploring was combining a historical calendar, the Attic festival calendar, which is lunisolar and has a number of quirks and irregularities that make the SGC look simple in comparison.  Although grammatomantic days will still be used, the method to ascribe them to the days will be much more complicated, based upon the phases of the Moon and fitting it into a system complete with other religious and mystical observances.  Let’s save that for next time.

Solar Grammatomantic Calendar

So, based on that last post where I discussed possibilities of forming a divinatory cycle of days based on the grammatomantic meanings of the Greek letters, I came up with my first draft of a kind of grammatomantic calendar, based on a simple cycle of the letters.  In many ways, this functions much like the tzolk’in calendar of the Maya, but with a little bit of their haab’ thrown in, too.  Essentially, I’ve created a cyclical calendar capable of dating many years into the future or, with some modifications, to the past.  For simplicity, I use the Greek alphabet itself as the core cycle used for this calendar, which is tied to the spring equinox every year.  In effect, I’ve developed a solar grammatomantic calendar, or SGC.  While an interesting little system of noting dates and times in a really obscure fashion, it is at heart a divinatory tool expanding on the methods of grammatomancy applied to a general flow of time, noting how a particular person or event might be affected by the forces at work in the cosmos at that particular time.

So, let’s set some rules and definitions to calculate dates and times in the SGC:

  • Letter-day: Duration of time starting at a particular sunrise and the next sunrise. The first value in a cycle of 24 letter-days is Α, then cycles around as expected
  • Letter-month: 24 consecutive letter-days. The first value in a cycle of 15 letter-months dependent on letter-year, and cycle around as expected:
    • Α if letter-year is Α, Ι, or  Ρ
    • Π if letter-year is Β, Κ, or Σ
    • Η if letter-year is Γ, Λ, or Τ
    • Χ if letter-year is Δ, Μ, or Υ
    • Ν if letter-year is Ε, Ν, or Φ
    • Δ if letter-year is Ζ, Ξ, or Χ
    • Τ if letter-year is Η, Ο, or Ψ
    • Κ if letter-year is Θ, Π, or Ω
  • Letter-year: 15 consecutive letter-months, or 360 consecutive letter-days plus some number of intercalary days. The first value in a cycle of 24 letter-years is Α, then cycles around as expected. Begins from the first sunrise after or coinciding with the spring equinox
  • Intercalary day: Days used to align the cycle of 15 letter-months with the solar year. Not associated with any particular letter, nor are they considered letter-days or belonging to a letter-month. Placed at the end of the letter-year, after the last day of the 15th month of the current year but before the first day of the 1st month of the next year. There are as many intercalary days as needed to fill the gap between the number of letter-days and the number of days in the solar year.
  • Letter-age: 24 letter-years, 360 letter-months, or 8640 letter-days plus some number of intercalary days. The first value in a cycle of 24 letter-great-years is Α, then cycles around as expected
  • Letter-era: 24 letter-ages, 576 letter-years, 8640 letter-months, or 207360 letter-days plus some number of intercalary days. The first value in a cycle of 24 letter-ages is Α, then cycles around as expected.  At most 13824 years can denoted using only 24 values for the letter-era.

A table for converting one of the larger units of letter-dating into smaller ones shows the relationships between the units.  Note that asterisks in the letter-day column indicate that intercalary days will cause this number to increase as the number of letter-years increases.

 
Letter-day
Letter-month
Letter-year
Letter-age
Letter-era
Letter-day
1
       
Letter-month
24
1
     
Letter-year
360*
15
1
   
Letter-age
8640*
360
24
1
 
Letter-era
207360*
8640
576
24
1

Of course, even though I’ve listed only five place values for a SGC date, we’d end up with a weird kind of Y2K-esque problem once we finish the ultimate letter-era Ω completely, approximately 13824 years after the first possible date.  Although it’s unlikely to be needed, further spans of time may be indicated by adding larger units, such as a letter-eon which is equivalent to 24 letter-eras; 24 letter-eons would be equivalent to 576 letter-eras, 13824 letter-ages, or 7962624 letter-years.  This easily reaches up into geological or cosmological timeframes, but could be useful for indicating distant, mythological, or astronomical/astrological phenomena.

As noted above, all the cycles have 24 values, each lettered according to the Greek alphabet starting at Α and ending with Ω, with the exception of the letter-months.  Instead, the cycle of letter-months within a letter-year is dependent on the value of the letter-year itself.  Though this seems arbitrary, this is to preserve the cycle caused by there being 15 letter-months within a letter-year.  For instance, the first letter-month of the overall cycle of letter-months is Α, the first letter in the Greek alphabet; the last letter-month of the same year is Ο, the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet.  The second letter-year continues the pattern of assigning letters to the letter-months: since Ο was the previous letter used, Π is the letter assigned to the first letter-month of the second letter-year.  Continuing this cycle, the first letter-month of the third letter-year is assigned with Η, the first letter-month of the fourth letter-year is assigned with Χ, and so on until the last letter-month of the last letter-year is given to Ω, after which the cycle begins anew with Α.  This produces a cycle of eight letter-years; since there are 24 letter-years in a letter-age, this cycle repeats three times.  By taking the remainder of dividing the letter-year ordinal value by eight (substituting 8 for a result of 0), the table below shows the letters associated with the letter-months for a given letter-year in the cycle.

Year
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
1
Α, Ι, Ρ
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
2
Β, Κ, Σ
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
3
Γ, Λ, Τ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
4
Δ, Μ, Υ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
5
Ε, Ν, Φ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
6
Ζ, Ξ, Χ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
Κ
Λ
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
7
Η, Ο, Ψ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω
Α
Β
Γ
Δ
Ε
Ζ
Η
Θ
Ι
8
Θ, Π, Ω
Κ
Λ
Μ
Ν
Ξ
Ο
Π
Ρ
Σ
Τ
Υ
Φ
Χ
Ψ
Ω

As for the epoch, or the reference date from which the letter-calendar is calculated, I’ve settled on April 3, 1322 BC as the first date in this letter-calender system.  My readers will likely be utterly confused as to why I chose such a distant year and date.  Since I’m a fan of ancient Greek history and civilization, I decided to look back as far as I reliably could, and recalled dimly somewhere in my memory that archaeoastronomers had calculated a date in the Trojan War based on mentions of eclipses in book 17 of the Iliad as well as Hittite and other archaeological records.  As it turns out, such an eclipse happened on November 6, 1312 BC at around 12:35 p.m.  Since the Trojan War took about ten years according to the myths, I wanted to set the epoch date to the day after the spring equinox ten years before the year in which this eclipse occurred.  Looking at an ephemeris for the year 1322 BC, we know that the spring equinox (Sun ingress Aries) occurred sometime on April 2, 1322 BC, making the following dawn of April 3, 1322 BC the start of the first official day of the SGC.  Negative dates, or dates that come before April 3, 1322 BC would not be possible in this system, making the first day “day zero” and anything before prehistory or mythical.  If reverse calculations were desired, the rules to convert dates could be adapted for this, with some kind of inversion applied to the notation (writing it upside down, for instance).

To mark a given date using the SGC, let’s use the notation A.B.C.D.E, where A indicates the letter-era, B indicates the letter-age, C indicates the letter-year, D indicates the letter-month, and E indicates the letter-day.  Each of these could be represented equally well in Greek letters (Α.Ρ.Ψ.Χ.Ε) as they could in Arabic numerals (1.17.23.22.5), so long as one uses the ordinal placement of the letters in the Greek alphabet in mind as well as the funky letter-month 8-year cycle given above.  For intercalary days which don’t belong to any letter-month, a dash, dot, or zero is used for the letter-month position and a Greek letter to indicate the intercalary day.  So, for the fourth intercalary day on the letter-era Α, letter-age Ρ, and letter-year Ψ, we might use the notation Α.Ρ.Ψ.–.Δ with the dash, Α.Ρ.Ψ.•.Δ with the dot, or Α.Ρ.Ψ.0.Δ with the zero.  Arabic numeral representations of the intercalary “month” should use the numeral zero.

Now that we have the units defined, the cycles understood, the epoch proclaimed, and the notation set up, it’s time to begin our rules for converting dates from this letter-calendar to Gregorian dates and back.  Let’s use E, A, Y, M, and D to indicate the ordinal values of the letter-era, letter-age, letter-year, letter-month, and letter-day in these conversions; in other words, these variables represent the Arabic numerals associated with the place values, bearing in mind the funky ordinal values associated with the Greek letters for the letter-month.

To convert a Gregorian calendar date to a letter-calendar date:

  1. Find the number of years elapsed (J) between the Gregorian calendar year (GY) and the epoch year (EY).  If the Gregorian calendar date falls on or after the first sunrise after or coinciding with the spring equinox in its year, J = GY − EY.  If the Gregorian calendar date falls before the first sunrise after or coinciding with the spring equinox in its year, J = GY − EY − 1.
  2. Divide J by 576 and take the whole part to find the number of letter-eras that have passed (JW), and take the fractional part to find how much other time has passed (JF).
  3. Calculate the letter-era: E = JW + 1.  E should be a whole number between 1 and 24.  Assign E the Greek letter according to its ordinal value.
  4. Multiply JF by 24 and take the whole part to find the number of letter-ages that have passed (AW), and take the fractional part to find how much other time has passed (AF).
  5. Calculate the letter-age: A = AW + 1.  A should be a whole number between 1 and 24.  Assign A the Greek letter according to its ordinal value.
  6. Multiply AF by 24 and take the whole part to find the number of letter-years that have passed (YW), and take the fractional part to find how much other time has passed (YF).
  7. Calculate the letter-year: Y = YW + 1.  Y should be a whole number between 1 and 24.  Assign Y the Greek letter according to its ordinal value.
  8. Find the number of days that have elapsed (T) between the Gregorian calendar date (GD) and the most recent spring equinox date (ED).
  9. If T is greater than 360, this is an intercalary day.  Set the letter-month M = 0 or missing.  Calculate the intercalary day D = T −  D.
  10. Otherwise, if T is less than or equal to 360, this is a letter-day.
    1. Divide T by 24 and take the whole part to find the number of letter-months that have elapsed (TM), and the fractional part to find the number of days that have elapsed (TD).
    2. Calculate the letter-month:  M = TM.  M should be a whole number between 1 and 15.    Assign M the Greek letter according to its ordinal value according to the eight-year cycle above based on Y.
    3. Calculate the letter-day: D = TD  × 24.  D should be a whole number between 1 and 24.    Assign D the Greek letter according to its ordinal value.

To convert a letter-calendar date to a Gregorian calendar date:

  1. Sum together the year-based units multiplied by their coefficients to get the number of years elapsed since the epoch: S = (576 × E) + (24 × A) + Y
  2. If the date refers to an intercalary period, sum the total number of letter-days plus the intercalary days: Z = 360 + D
  3. If the date refers to a non-intercalary period, sum the count of letter-days plus the number of letter-months multiplied by the number of letter-days in each month: Z = D + (24 × M)
  4. Add the number of elapsed years S to the epoch year to find the year of the Gregorian calendar date.
  5. Add the number of elapsed days Z to the date of the first dawn after or coinciding with the spring equinox of the Gregorian calendar year to find the month and day of the Gregorian calendar date.

Since we’ve already done this much work to clarify letter-days, we can focus our attention on dividing up individual days into smaller units.  I don’t think it’ll be necessary to get into the magnitude (or lack thereof) of seconds, but having letter-hours might not be a bad idea.  Since there 24 letters, we can create 24 letter-hours for each day.  The process for this would be nearly the same as calculating planetary hours.  Let’s define a letter-hour to equal either 1/12 of the time between sunrise and sunset of the current letter-day or 1/12 of the time between sunset of the current letter-day and sunrise of the following letter-day, whichever period the letter-hour is found within.  Each letter-hour is assigned to one of the 24 letters in the Greek alphabet, in the order of the Greek alphabet starting with Α.  We might augment our notation of date to also include time using the notation A.B.C.D.E:F, where F indicates the letter-hour.

To convert a modern time to a letter-hour or vice versa for a given date and location:

  1. Find the time of sunrise and sunset for the given date and location, and the time of sunrise for the day following the given date and location.
  2. Divide the total length of time between sunrise and sunset by 12 to find the length of the diurnal hour (DH).
  3. Establish the divisions of the diurnal hours starting at sunrise according to DH, assigning them the letter values Α through Μ or number values 1 through 12.
  4. Establish the divisions of the nocturnal hours starting at sunset according to NH, assigning them the letter values Ν through Ω or number values 13 through 24.
  5. Locate the time given among the letter-hours to convert the modern time to a letter hour, or establish the time limits on the given letter-hour to find an approximate modern time.

So, examples!  Let’s take September 1, 2013 at 10:35 a.m. for Washington, DC, USA and convert it into SGC date:time notation.

  • Letter-day and letter-month: on this year, the spring equinox occurred on March 20, 2013 after dawn; thus, the first day of this year began on March 21, 2013.  There are 166 days between these two dates.  166 ÷ 24 = 6.91666…, indicating that the letter-month is 6 and the letter-day is 0.91666… × 24 = 22, or Χ.
  • Letter-era, letter-age, and letter-year: between 2013 AD and 1322 BC, there are 3334 years.  3334 ÷ 576 = 5.78819444…, indicating that the letter-era is 6 (5 + 1).  0.78819444… × 24 = 18.91666…, indicating that the letter-age is 19 (18 + 1).  0.91666… × 24 = 22, indicating that the letter-year is 23 (22 + 1).
  • Letter-hour: on this day, sunrise was at 6:37 a.m. and sunset at 7:38 p.m., with the next sunrise at 6:38 a.m.  The length of a diurnal hour in this day was about 65 minutes long, and a nocturnal hour was about 55 minutes long.  10:35 a.m. falls during unequal hour 4.
  • Notation: the full Arabic numeral notation for this date is 6.19.23.6.22:4.  The full Greek letter notation for this date is Ζ.Τ.Ψ.Ω.Χ:Δ.  The letter-month is Ω, not Ζ as might be expected for the ordinal value of 6, due to the letter-year being Ψ (see the chart above).

In the opposite way, let’s convert the SGC date Η.Ρ.Λ.Ο.Υ:Α for Washington, DC, USA to Gregorian notation.

  • Conversion to Arabic numerals: The date Η.Ρ.Λ.Ο.Υ:Α resolves to 7.17.11.9.20:1, using the table above to resolve the letter-year.letter-month combination Λ.Ο to 11.9.  Since the letter-month is not blank or missing, this is not an intercalary date.
  • Sum the years: There have been (576 × 7) + (24 × 17) + 11 = 4451 years since the epoch date.
  • Find the year and spring equinox: 4451 years elapsed from the epoch year 1322 BC refers to the year 3130 AD.  The spring equinox occurred at night after March 20 that year, so the first day of the SGC year would be on March 21.
  • Sum the days: There have been (9 × 24) + 20 = 236 days since the year’s first dawn after or coinciding with the spring equinox.
  • Find the day: 236 days after March 21, 3130 AD leads to November 12, 3130 AD.
  • Find the time: The letter-hour Α indicates the first unequal hour of the day, sometime just after dawn.  Sunrise for this day in Washington, DC, USA occurs at 6:47 a.m., and sunset at 4:56 p.m.; an unequal diurnal hour here would be about 49 minutes long, so the letter-hour Α indicates a time between 6:47 a.m. and 7:38 a.m.

Well, this was all well and good, and despite the complexity only took a day to hash out all the major parts of forming a new calendar system from scratch.  However, while this was a fun exercise in computus of a sort, this doesn’t actually say much about why it was made to begin with: divination using the flow of time itself!  Since I’ve ranted on long enough about the minutiae of date conversions, let’s leave that for next time when we start putting the SGC in practice and making use of its mechanisms for divination, as well as seeing how it lines up with other solar or theophanic phenomena.

First Florida Water

Having finally ran out of my Amazon-bought Florida water, I finally decided to make my own.  Florida water’s some good stuff; it’s originally a kind of citrusy perfume or toilet water, but it found its way into American-style magic as a good spiritual cleansing agent and offering to the dead.  It’s pretty Light-based, so dark-workers may not find the stuff particularly useful, but I love the stuff.  I got the basis of the following recipe from a friend, but I customized it and charged it differently than how they did it, so let me share my process with you guys.

Ingredients used:

  • A handle (750mL) of dustbunny-shelf cheap-ass paint thinner vodka (90 proof or above is suggested)
  • A lemon
  • A lime
  • Six cloves, crushed
  • A heaping tablespoon each of dried: vervain, bergamot, lavender, rose petals, hyssop

Process:

  1. On a Sunday in an hour of the Sun while the Moon is waxing, get all your crap together.
  2. Zest the lemon and lime.  Thoroughly juice the lemon and lime.  Slice up the remainder of the flesh and rinds finely.  Put all into a clean 1gal container with an airtight, fitted lid.
  3. Put all the dried ingredients in the container.
  4. Pour the vodka into the container.  You should have plenty of leftover space.
  5. Cap and seal the container.  Give it a good shake.
  6. For each day over the next complete lunation until the Moon returns to its phase when you began, shake the container (preferably in hours of the Sun) thoroughly while charging the mixture with Light and prayers.  (I use my Blessing of Light, the Trisagion six times, and the Song of the Serpent six times).
  7. When complete, separate out all the solid ingredients, strain out all possible liquid from them, and save the Florida water in appropriate bottles.

While the Florida water was stewing, it had about the right scent, but also smelled obnoxiously like salad dressing or dill-based vinaigrette.  It was a little annoying, but the smell went away once the plant matter was strained out well enough and once I added another half liter of distilled water (may as well dilute it ahead of time and get rid of some of the alcoholic kick).  It came out a light, murky brown-green, but for how it capital-L Looks ethereally, it’s pretty bright and solar for what I want.  Overall, a success!  I’m eager to use it, especially since it’s a whole handle of the stuff.

Florida Water, stewing

I like to use Florida water in cleansing mixtures (a spray bottle of holy water, 7-11 Holy Oil, and Florida water to cleanse all my magical tools, for instance), as well as putting a bit in my aftershave astringent.  I’ll also put a splash into liquid offerings I make to the local dead or nature spirits, since apparently a lot of things enjoy this stuff, though it might be kept away from dark or deathy entities or workers.

UPDATE (2/18/2013): After Andrew’s comment below, I went through and filtered the Florida water.  I had already used a fine-mesh strainer to get most of the gunk out, but after filtering it through cheesecloth and coffee filters, the color changed into a bright and smooth amber.  Very nice improvement.

Filtered Florida Water