Rev. 16 Apr 06
The Traditional Bergonian Calendar
The traditional Bergonian calendar was a product of the Shufrantei religion, dominant among Bergonians until 1100 AD. The calendar continued in common use until the plagues caused the near-total collapse of Bergonian civilization. Most other calendars, including our Roman calendar, evolved from systems of religious ritual as well. Since the colonial era Bergonians have accepted the Roman calendar for common usage.
There is the view that in history lunar calendars-- calendars where the months, the new years, and most holidays are hooked onto lunar passages, and therefore shifted year from year relative to solar events such as solstices and equinoxes-- were evolved by herding, nomadic and hunting & gathering peoples-- while solar calendars were imposed by big mature agricultural empires, which the Romans perfected. The Islamic & Jewish Calendars are lunar calendars, perhaps related to the herding-based economics of the ancient Arab & Jewish people. Bergonia conforms to this pattern; this solar calendar was perfected by the agricultural Ceiolaian & Necruruean Empires, while their histories describe the lunar calendar prevalent among the non-agricultural peoples (including the Faroi & Pasans) whose cultures survived from pre-neolithic times. Indeed a derivative of that ancient lunar calendar was adopted by Hiestat astrologers & magicians.
This calendar resembles the Roman and other Eurasian calendars in its primary reliance on solar cycles, but has 12 lunar-based months. It depends on solar cycles even more precisely than the Roman calendar, since its year (at least in ancient times) was explicitly anchored to the annual solar cycle. This calendar began precisely on the day after the Winter Solstice, and was more neatly quartered around the solstices and equinoxes.
The most unique feature of this calendar is the disposition of the specially earmarked leftover five or six days every year.
It is said that the ancient Bergonian calendar is based on the numbers four, five and six.
The Calendar's Origins
The ancient Kuans of Eastern Bergonia used an agricultural calendar that divided the year into twelve months, based on the solar cycle. The Kuan new year came with the spring equinox.. They also had a separate liturgical calendar divided into nine months each 40 days long. Each of the nine months reflected one of the Nine Gods. It was their mythology projected onto time, reflecting how the Nine Gods divided the world between themselves.
By contrast, the ancient cultures of western Bergonia, including the Lasa culture of the Cuanta Valley and the Ancita people, originally based their calendar strictly on the lunar cycle, and their original time-keeping practices resembled the Jewish and Moslem calendars. The Moslem calendar contains twelve lunar months of 29 and 30 days apiece, producing a year of 354 or 355 days. Therefore, the Moslem months do not keep to the same seasons relative to the sun, and they regress through the seasons every 32.5 years. The Jewish calendar follows lunar months, but the calendar keeps up with the solar cycle by the intercalation of a 13th month of 30 days in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th year of a 19 year cycle. A Jewish year can be either 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 or 385 days long. The Ancita lunar year commence with the first crescent moon after the spring equinox, and each Ancita lunar month likewise commenced with the new moon.
However, by the time the Prophet Ierecina reformed Ancita religion by creating the Shufrantei faith, the Kuan practices of time-keeping had diffused westward so that by 500 BC almost all the agricultural people of ancient Bergonia reckoned time with a twelve month year that began and ended on the Spring Equinox.
Ierecina decreed that all his followers had to undergo rites of purification in the temples every sixth day. This day his followers designated Arei, meaning "sixth" and also the name of a white flower of six pointed petals that grew profusely throughout the summers in central and northern Bergonia. White, after all, represented the process of purification. From this practice evolved the Bergonian six day week. Moreover, for no apparent purpose or reason, Ierecina decreed that the year should commence with the Winter Solstice, instead of the Spring Equinox, and the weeks & months were counted from then. His calendar commenced 212 BC, though no one ever though about counting "1,2,3..." like the Christian & other Eurasian calendars. Instead he continued with the traditional counting of cycles (see below).
The calendar became standardized in virtually all its details by order of the earliest emperors of the Second Ceiolaian Empire in the 300's and 400's A.D., who relied upon the advice of the Shufrantei priests. Astronomers working under their tutelage established the workability of the extra five days and the "leap day" every fourth year in order to keep the calendar fixed. Therefore, in 310 A.D. the Emperor Vareloc handed down a decree legislating the calendar. The Necrurueans had little love for the Ceiolaians, but they followed the Shufrantei faith as well, and their priests recommended the Ceiolaian calendar to the Necruruean emperor, who did not let pride veto reason. After that time this calendar dominated all Bergonia. No one has seen fit to change the calendar since. Vareloc's decree established the days with such fine precision-- as accurately as our current Gregorian Calendar-- that Bergonians did not have to refer precisely to the Winter Solstice again to find their new year.
The Basic Structure of the Calendar
The calendar consists of twelve months. (The word rei is related to the word roi, which is the moon) The similarities between the Roman and the Bergonian, given the vastly different calendars of other civilizations, are quite striking, though many other cultures employed calendars of 12 months, including the Inca and ancient Chinese and Hindu.
The Romans, however, had nothing like the week of our current calendar, which Christians created by grafting the Hebrew Sabbath and the related seven day week onto the Roman Calendar of twelve months. The Roman-Christian grafting produces the most conspicuous asymmetry in our calendar today-- there is no way of fitting even-day weeks into months variably of 30, 31 and 28 days length. However the Bergonian weeks are of six days and the months are strictly thirty days long, producing a perfect fit. Just as the Judeo-Christian week revolves around the Sabbath, the Shufrantei week revolves around the sixth day of Arei, the day for ritual purification.
Thus the year consisted of 12 months of 30 days apiece, and 60 weeks of 6 days apiece. The months dependably consisted of 5 full weeks apiece. Thus, each date on the calendar invariably fell on the same day of the week, a feat unequaled by our modern Gregorian calendar.
The Four Seasons
The Bergonians recognized four seasons that corresponded identically to what we called Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. They began and ended on the Solstices and Equinoxes. The seasons and the four cardinal directions corresponded to the Four Children of Arkan and Icotesi, the Father and Mother Gods of all things, the four processional "stages and turns," by which time and movement through space were understood, and every other process of tranformation.
Each of the seasons embraces three months, regarded as a "family" of months.
The 12 Months
Each of the months consists of 30 days. Each month also consists of five weeks of six days apiece. Each of the months bear traditional names derived from popular notions of the month's personality as evident in the weather or analogized to human emotions. Some names have self-evident names, such as Netekrishe, the 9th month that corresponds to late August and early and mid September. The name means "time of storms" since at this time the hurricanes come off the Atlantic and sometimes batter southern and western Bergonia. This month also sees the advent of the stormier westerly weather patterns for much of Bergonian that last throughout the winter. Other names have more obtuse meanings, such as Capinei, the second month, which means "impatience" or "rushing," and Clatei, the tenth month, which means sweetness. One journal from the 4th century contains this: "’Is Clatei any more like honey because of its name,’ I ask you. The peasant, passing by, hears us and immediately answers, ‘of course.’"
The names of all the months come from the Nacateca language, as have most things associated with the Shufrantei religion.
Correction of the Calendar
For a long time before Emperor Velorec's reign, astronomers had known that the true solar year was a little longer than 365 days. They had estimated its true length as 365.25 days, and so-- like the Romans-- they added an extra day every four years-- which they called the five (or six) "leftover days."
In fact the year is 365.242199 days long. Velorec's own astrologers came up with a figure almost that accurate. So they realized that merely adding an extra day every four years would not quite work. Adding an extra day in too many years would pull the calendar off its solar moorings. The Gregorian reckoning handles this slight difference by omitting leap day for every centennial year not divisible by 400 (e.g. 1900 no, 2000 yes). The Bergonians did not count by a decimal (base ten) system (see infra), but used a grand cycle of 360 years. Therefore, they concluded that every 360th year would be shorted by three days, almost the same net effect.
Ideally, each month would contain thirty days, divided into five weeks of six days apiece, but the solar year of 365.242199 days prohibits such tidiness. While the Romans solved this dilemma with the expedient of pasting the five extra days to five of the twelve months, the Bergonians set the five days apart from the counting of months and years and made them special days of religious significance.
Therefore, the five days do not fall within any month, and they are not counted in the six day cycle of the week. The Bergonians called the five extra days supreotlei-- translated commonly as "leftover days"-- though the proper theological name is eshuotlei, which means "foundation days."
The placement of the five (or six) extra days is what makes the Bergonian calendar unique. Each of the five days fell in its own unique way.
In the actual occurrence, these five days did not necessarily fall on the day of the actual astronomical event, since the calendar took on its own life, but the counting conventions allowed the days and the events to fall
When the calendar required a sixth extra day-- what we call the "leap day"-- the Bergonians added it to the observance of the Summer Solstice, thus extending it to two days.
The Sixty Weeks
The names of the sixty weeks parallel the names of the sixty satlei (N)/ sfet (M), or sfei (N/M), "signs," employed in the traditional Oracle that people in Medieval times used to predict the future and reveal the tendencies in events. The first term, satlei/sfet, refers to the essence of the element and refers to the manifestation of the element in divination, while the second term, sfei, refers to the weeks which carry the name. The weeks carry definite names and come in a definite order, while the satlei may have multiple names, symbols and ambiguous attributes. Moreover, while the temporal correspond to the elemental satlei, they are not identical. The sixty sfei, like the satlei. fall into four "suits" which correspond to the four seasons, three "planes" which corresponded to the first, second and third months within each of the four seasons, and five "essences" which correspond to the five weeks in each month.
Each of the sixty weeks of the year has a name, a symbolic glyph, a color and a bunch of associated myths and symbols. These names, along with those of the seasons and the months, comprise a great system of "symbology" for the Bergonian in which they see the world reflected. The sixty weeks correspond somewhat to the number of satlei-- "elements" or "possibilities"-- in the Bergonian Oracle, an arcane method of divination popular in ancient and medieval culture. Thus the Bergonians see every week of the year colored by its own unique personality.
The 60 satlei or signs, along with an explanation of the Oracle, is given below.
The Six Days of the Week
Each of the six days of the Bergonian week has a name. The names evolved in the Minidun language, and each has a Nacateca derivative. Except for the name, these names derive from the Minidun language.
1. Paomei-- the day for "Preparation," the "morning" of the week.
2. Pebrumei-- the "August" or "Formal" day. Tieris, judges and other officials schedule all formal meetings and events for this day, or at least to begin on this day. People exchange the formal greeting on this day.
3. Clamei-- the "Market" day (clamoi means "marketplace."). On this day traders and peddlers traditionally convened in the markets and sold their wares to the people. This practice determined the rhythm of the traditional economy in Pre-Columbian times. Later, when the Europeans came and tried to impose their customs, they tried to shift the market day to Sunday. The markets continued to function on Clamei in the interior, where few Europeans settled. Moreover, in the larger cities merchants set up their markets both on Sundays and Clamei, creating a curious schedule, where the market opened every seventh day by one count, and every sixth day by another.
4. Cotlei-- the day for "Gathering." On this day families gather in the evening for dinner. Typically weddings were held on this day.
5. Tramei-- the day for "Completion." Before the final day, reserved for rest and ritual, workers conclude the week's work on the fifth day. The name also means Music Day, since, at the conclusion of the week's work, people join together, play musical instruments, and dance. This was the day for theater presentations and concerts. The concept "completion" and "music" (or at least musical compositions) imply a finished process.
6. Arei-- The sixth day. The Shufrantei and Mihradist faithful attend rites at the temple on this day. Traditionally, people rest on this day. This is traditional Bergonia's equivalent to the sabbath. People have also translated the name as "Prayer time."
The Counting of Years
Most Eurasian cultures count years in numerical succession from some single point in history, significant in the particular religious view of history. By far the most prevalent of these counting systems is the Christian system which counts the years from the year in which early Medieval scholastics presumed the birth of Christ to have occurred. The Moslems count from the year that the prophet Mohammed migrated from Mecca to Medina. Other Eurasian cultures counted years within discrete eras of comparatively short duration. For example, the Japanese count years within dynastic eras. The accidents of history determine the length of a particular era, so that the counting resumes from number one whenever a new dynasty replaces an older one. The Pre-Columbian Bergonians did not count from a fixed point within history, but rather referred to an epochal long-count inside which human history fit.
The Pre-Columbian Bergonians employed two systems of counting years. The common man, especially the peasants, employed one system, which consisted of repeating cycles. They called this system the "Little Reckoning." Each cycle consisted of 64 years, which the natives called a "great year." They divided such a cycle into 8 "months," which in turn consisted of 8 years-- a "week" in the time of a "great year." They counted the years as follows:
This is the same alternating method of counting that the Mayans used in enumerating their calendar.
This pattern established a succession of sixty-four years, which coincided with the sixty-four characters of the Oracle. The years carried along with them the names of the Oracle-- which also nearly coincided with the names of the sixty weeks of the year, so that sixty of the sixty-four years shared names with the weeks. Therefore, each year also had a private name, although these names were used only for strictly superstitious and poetic purposes, and never in the actual reckoning.
The other system, called the "Great Reckoning" allowed the Bergonian to embrace the sweep of time and consider the passage of eons. This system is built out of large units of 360 years called "grand cycles" and again coincide thematically to the annual calendar. Each year represents a day in a theoretical year of 360 days. In this cycle, unlike the actual year, the five extra "days" are not replicated in any way. The Great Reckoning then employs the Little Reckoning to tally the grand cycles. A single repetition of the Little Reckoning's count of sixty-four, with each count including 360 years, allowed the Bergonians to count 23,040 years in time.
To keep count, the priests of Shufrantei who devised this system divined that the current era of 23,040 years commenced in what we refer to as the year 15,787 B.C. (16,785 years ago) This era will terminate in the year 7,252 A.D. Some ancient sources maintain that Arkan and Icotesi ordained this system after they created the world in 15,787 B.C. and that they would "cause the world to collapse" at the end of the cycle. But most Pre-Columbian Bergonians recognized the rather arbitrary nature of the Great Reckoning.
The ancient Bergonians attached importance to the Great Reckoning because they supposed that other civilizations grew and then "collapsed" before their own. They traditionally recounted the mythical history of three such prior civilizations, which we know as the Atlantis myth. The oldest and most revered account of these early civilizations is the Minioathi-- "Book of the Dawn Years," itself apparently composed more than three thousand years ago by bards and singers, and later committed to writing.
Frighteningly, the very first year of the cycle One Cow was 1493-- coinciding with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on his second trans-Atlantic voyage. This told the Bergonians that the calendar did, indeed, circumscribe eras of history.
The Two Cow cycle began in 1853 and will last until 2212 A.D. Coincidentally, 1852 saw the invasion of Serpi by General John Rarsa in the last year of the Civil War. In 1853 Burani won election to the office of Pacunot and his Mountain Lion Party consolidated the victory that they earned in winning the civil war. In 1853 the Mountain Lion engineered something of a social revolution by granting the voting franchise to all adults, opened the field up to unions and peasants associations, and passed sweeping laws designed to protect the peasants' land interests. Many saw in these events the final close of the colonial era and the beginning of a strong national government with a clear social agenda that permitted the reassertion of native culture. Bergonians love coincidences and, like many other people around the globe, tend to put a little too much store in them.
Other years in which new eras commenced were:
1387 B.C. (One Eagle),
1027 B.C. (Two Eagle),
667 B.C. (Three Eagle),
307 B.C. (Four Eagle),
53 A.D. (Five Eagle),
413 A.D. (Six Eagle),
773 A.D. (Seven Eagle),
1133 A.D. (Eight Eagle) and finally
1493 (One Cow).
Another system of reckoning dates years from the beginning of Ierecina's mission of religious conversions, akin to how the Christians and Muslims count their years, but this system never came into common use.
60 x 24 = 1440 minutes/day / 16 Bergonian segments = 90 minutes / 8 short segments = 11 minutes.
THE ANCIENT BERGONIAN ORACLE
The Ciesitei or Oracle is an arcane method of divination popular in ancient Bergonian culture. The oracle originated among the Lasa folk of the Cuanta River Valley and after the Ancita people appropriated it from the Lasa, it evolved parallel with Shufrantei culture. It became a common device for priests and common people to seek divine guidance and prediction of the future. It also embodied nearly the entire system of Shufrantei symbolism. While many institutions and practices of traditional Bergonian civilization didn't survive the historically traumatic experience of the great plagues, the Oracle remains in popular usage to the present, and its symbolism recurs in modern fiction, movies, puns and poetic allusions.
The Oracle is used to identify and characterize situations and evolving patterns. It is a system of arcane understanding which categorizes and interrelates all phenomena. It is also a system of divination. The Oracle preexisted the great Shufrantei prophet Ierecina and was practiced in one form or another all throughout ancient Bergonia. It survives to us in three different versions.
The most common version of the Oracle is the Central Oracle (referring to the central part of Bergonia where it originated) consists of sixty elements that parallel the sixty weeks of the Shufrantei calendar. The “Central” version contains sixty “signs,” produced by combining basic elements according to this formula: 5 x 3 x 4 = 60.
There has also persisted over the centuries a “Western” Oracle, originally from the ancient cities of Clacupo. It also follows the principles of 3 x 4 x 5 = 60, but uses a modified set of symbols. Since it was invented by coastal people, it contains more ocean and coastal images. Its whole tone is more fatalistic and perhaps more pessimistic as well, and almost entirely lacking in the military images that the Central version includes.
The “Eastern version,” from the Amota region, uses 64 signs instead of 60. The number sixty-four is the Bergonian equivalent of our "100," because ancient Bergonians used eight digits in a base-eight system of numbers. The Amota version once used some unique signs, but over the centuries has adopted the 60 satlai, and then added four more, which represented the basic four elements of "suites" that permeated Bergonian symbolism.
Under all three versions there are three dimensions, so that every sign is located somewhere on each dimension. Here are the dimensions under the dominant Central version:
The Five-Way Dimension: the nature of the action and the relationship.
This dimension identifies five different types of action and interrelation. Each act and state of being partakes of one of these five natures.
O oscillation, steadiness, conscientiousness (Big 5 personality trait),
S “separatio,” dividing, fission, neuroticism (Big 5),
C “coniunto,” joining, fusion, agreeability (Big 5),
E “exedo,” eating, consumption, absorption, openness (Big 5),
V vegetative, spreading, extroversion (Big 5).
The Three-Way Dimension: the essence of the matter.
Many ancient Greeks thought the world was comprised of four elements: earth air, water and fire. The three elements understood by the ancient Bergonians were not exactly elements in the sense either we or the ancient Greeks meant the term—instead these elements were elements of energy and the three categories defined the inherent force in an entity and not just its composite matter. The Bergonians after all did not see the world as comprising dead matter and animating energy, but instead of force.
R Fire, red, energy, Id, physicality, sensuality.
Y Earth, gold/yellow, matter and earth, Ego, logos, word, corpus.
B Water, blue, spirit, Superego, fluidity, crystallized ideal.
The Four-Way Dimension: the subject or action in time and space
This dimension describes the four primary anchor points in the various continuums of sequence, location, relative position, and time.
W Samratle which embodies the north, the color black, the preba, Arkan, the Pacunot, the Mountain, Winter, stillness.
P Pueshatla which is green, east, Spring, the fertile crops, expansiveness, arousing, youth.
S Flietla which manifests itself in the south, Summer, whiteness, meaning variously heat, fire, quickness, torpor, fullness.
F Sienetla which shows itself in red, the west, autumn, blood, the hunter, passion, decline, atrophy.
The Sixty Signs:
Number in parentheses is the sign’s official number, and also denotes its order in the 60 week calendar. Thus  is the first week of the year, when the Festival of Light occurs and  is the last week of the year.
O-R the Quartet of Motion
1 O-R-W  lamp, focus, meditation, concentration, illumination, fire controlled, regulated and tamed. (jump to fire)
2 O-R-P  banners in the wind, stirring of air, proclamation and arousal, bravado and pride, group identity, mobilization, and campaigning. (precedes war)
3 O-R-S  running, dancing, warrior discipline. See Blue-Heart who avenged wrongs and restored balance.
4 O-R-F  flying bird: bird migrations, travel. Obverse: fleeing. (b) heart,
O-Y the Quartet of Foundations
5 O-Y-W  (a) base, mountain, protrusion, dominant. (jump to sky, metal) (b) all earth, stone, (c) alienness, unhuman, Underground alien monster, chthonic, utterly alien, bats &
6 O-Y-P  (a) music, (b) drummer/summoning (w/C). Obverse: thunder, earthquakes.
7 O-Y-S  caravan, exchange, trade, equations, transformation, chemical formulas.
8 O-Y-F  the juggler.
O-B the Quartet of Elements
9 O-B-W  the dolphin: ocean, tides, fish, dolphins & sealife.
10 O-B-P  lyre, sky-dancer, wind, kite-flying.
11 O-B-S  The animator, eagle, prophet. Obverse: the happy thief, the reckless bon vivant, he who refuses to acknowledge authority.
12 O-B-F  descending, wisdom, mystic, Tocathe, settling, aging.
S-R the Quartet of Authority
13 S-R-W  (a) forge, volcanism (b) mourner, pyre (c) firebird (See Lacori, jump to mountains) (w/R)
14 S-R-P  (a) midwife, catalyst, (b) rebel, risk-taking, sacrifice, (c) chaos erupting (a liminal state), (d) winged cat. Probably the most multi-faceted and complicated signs.
15 S-R-S  hardness, blade, harvest, slaying, power, Iregemi, (b) carnivorous, teeth, equating teeth with blades (w/E). Obverse: beheading, disaster.
16 S-R-F  the emperor, Obverse: the tyrant.
S-Y the Quartet of Reflections and Evasions
17 S-Y-W  counting, twins, reflection, multiplicity, plowing & sowing, (b) alienation, frontiers. (precedes war), (c) surreptitious meeting, shadows, lovers, treachery, disaster, liminality both in a hopeful revolutionary way and a a scary way.
18 S-Y-P  child with new toy.
19 S-Y-S  masks & masquerades.
20 S-Y-F  ennui, traditions, rejection, decaying house, collapse & catastrophe followed by failure of rebirth, hiding place, time past. post-fire, hiding place, Ecclesiastes & Rubiyat & Osimandas. (jump to the story-teller, the scribe)
S-B the Quartet of Thought
21 S-B-W  (a) logos, reason, law, (b) solitude, contemplation, (c) the Lame God. (jump to emperor.)
22 S-B-P  stargazer, owl/watchfulness, knowledge,
23 S-B-S  (a) hermit, (b) believer, belief, doctrine, true and tested ways. (w/O). Obverse: he who is an intellectual hermit, shut off from the world, intolerance, blind tradition.
24 S-B-F  reductionism, revealer, judge, cross-examiner, judgment, sorrow, a man walking sadly away, disillusionment.
C-R Quartet of Commingling
25 C-R-W  (a) cooking pot (w/E), enclosed heat, (b) secret meeting (e.g. "covered pot"). Precedes meal, eating together.
26 C-R-P  lovers, coming together. (jump from flags waving.)
27 C-R-S  feticinai, the army, individuals uniting in a cause or fight.
28 C-R-F  kickballer, fire, animality, youth, muscularity, vigor, the team.
C-Y Quartet of Words
29 C-Y-W  the scribe, the written word, the ideal, meaning, distinctions and identity. Story telling, literati, memory. Ink, "red & black," the library. (w/S, since the discriminations made by literati and men of books are separatio) Obverse: lies, questions.
30 C-Y-P  (a) messenger, the runner, (b) the mythical talking-cat, (b) honeybee, helper. (c) the cricket, frog, owl, noises of the evening (w/O).
31 C-Y-S  peslar/lacori, celebration and relief, man feasting with neighbors, implicitly after victory. (w/E)
32 C-Y-F  (a) gift. (b) marketplace, commingling of things, (c) riddleteller. Another complicated sign.
C-B Quartet of Nourishment
33 C-B-W  (a) sleeping couple, seed in the ground & germination, contented calm, (b) giving alms (offering with two hands, and in Bergonia the two hands represented the man and woman), sympathy, intercession, also the bed, sleep, refuge, privacy, inner life.
34 C-B-P  herds & flocks, people acting like herds and flocks, and the shepherds who care for them. Obverse: prey, what preba-cats eat.
35 C-B-S  heron, riverbanks, the watering hole, the public well, city plazas, cities, diversity drawn together, feasts, also canals.
36 C-B-F  (a) wine. (b) fruit, fullness, the arbor, the orchard. Obverse: the drunk (liminal), inversions, disorder (w/C),
E-R Quartet of Fire
37 E-R-W  preba, resoluteness, crouching cat, wilderness, supremacy, waiting, patience, noble virtues
38 E-R-P  hunter and hunted, eating meat, (precedes fire)
39 E-R-S  sparks, wildfire, war, fever.
40 E-R-F  pyre, fire, smoke
E-Y Quartet of the Body
41 E-Y-W  corpse, stillness, frozenness.
42 E-Y-P  apprentice. the young body, the teacher, guide, mentor, (bad side connotes poor student, bad attitude), c) Big Ugly.
43 E-Y-S  the body, flesh, skin. Obverse: underground worm-monster.
44 E-Y-F  (a) dancing, (b) monkey god. Obverse: narcissism.
Quartet of Passivity
45 E-B-W  (a) frost, mist, whiteness, opaqueness, (b) weakness, slave. respiratory disease. Most negative sign of all.
46 E-B-P  laughing girl, joyousness, simplicity.
47 E-B-S  (a) arei, purification, (b) sacrifice.
48 E-B-F  hurricane
Quartet of Home
49 V-R-W  Defense, locks, the guard, briers and thorns, walls, closed doors.
50 V-R-P  sunlight, sunlight on the doorstep, flowers, sunflowers.
51 V-R-S  tree, system, composite, vertical, stillness, stability, the house. (jump to emperor, foliage)
52 V-R-F  baking bread, hearth, family gathering.
Quartet of Fullness
53 V-Y-W  the festival of light. (OLD: (a) edelei, rose, boy climbing fence. The most ambiguous (b) pyre-builder (w/E), preceding pyre.)
54 V-Y-P  corn, Arcan, gold, the high summer afternoon to come.
55 V-Y-S  (a) vines, rotting wood, manure, compost, mash, wine: "Now I am terrified of the Earth, it is that calm and patient,/It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions..." --Walt Whitman. sign
56 V-Y-F  (a) wheat, Icotesi, silver, Ifuno, (b) acorn, time passed,
Quartet of Stillness
57 V-B-W  lake, stillness, fullness. (a) hidden waters, the chimo-tree, underground, from the root, subtle below-ground regeneration.
58 V-B-P  Rain, man viewing rain, waiting, hope/disappointment.
59 V-B-S  swamp, serpent
60 V-B-F  brush foliage, growth, concealment, also equated with urban life.
Hybrid Forms of the 5-Way
Hybrids Forms of the 3-Way
proper count of Oracle signs
Different methods of using the Oracle
The most common way is to produce three different signs in a “reading,” the three cards respectively equate to (a) the subject’s internal condition, (b) the subject’s external circumstances, environment and conflict, (c) the outcome. Sort of a dialectic model.
Oracle and Calendar
History explicitly records that the Great Prophet Ierecina ordered his new religious calendar on the sixty elements of the Oracle. Each of the sixty weeks of the year has a name (sfei) that corresponds to one of the sixty satlai. The satlai, along with those of the seasons and the months, comprise a great system of symbology in which Bergonians see the cosmology reflected. The sixty satlai are organized around a great circle or wheel, like a medicine wheel or mandala, reflective of the order of the sixty weeks of the year, and the drawings of this calendrical wheel has become a great metaphor for the universe-- and in modern times an emblem of Bergonian culture, like the Aztec calendar wheel is for Mexico. A little doll figure exists for each satlai, every doll a traditionally recognized figure with a conventionalized shape and coloration.
The devotees never forget that the number sixty is built on the basic numbers three, four and five (3 x 4 x 5 = 60). The calendar embraces four seasons, and each of these includes three months, which in turn include five weeks apiece. Likewise, the elements of the Oracle are grouped into four "suits" or "stages" which parallel the seasons, which in turn consist of three "planes," and each part consists of five "essences." Each of the sixty elements, or satlai, corresponds to a sfei, the identity of a week. Each element and each week thus partakes of one of the four suits, one of the three planes and one of the five essences, producing a unique configuration.
The devotees of the Oracle believe that it and the Calendar together present an integrated manifestation of all the elemental forces at work in the universe. Therefore, the Oracle Calendar symbolism have produced a representation of the universe that a single individual could employ and, by using it, learn the sublime relationships at work in the world and gain enlightenment. On a more pedestrian level, a man or woman could employ the Oracle to learn what influences the future would bring to bear. Bergonians have always understood that it did not guarantee the future, but only described the forces at work. One could respond by either conforming to the forces or opposing them.
The Common Usage:
The Oracle consists of sixty signs or satlai as elements to future behavior or influences.
One poses a question, prays and then tosses wooden chips in a prescribed manner in order to select three of the sixty satlai. The first throw reveals the prevailing or initial influence, sometimes called the protagonistic element or, in Hegelian dialectic terms, the "thesis." The second toss indicates the rising, ascending, antagonistic or challenging influence, or the "antithesis." The third and final throw produces the outcome or synthesis of the conflict or melding of the first two. However, one cannot take each of the three offered satlei in isolation from each other; instead they should be taken as a synthesized whole.
Each of the satlai has a number as well as a name. The number corresponded to the place the satlai held in the calendaric sequence if weeks. In other words, the first week of the year corresponded to the satlai bearing the number "one," while the last is numbered sixty.
The "Oracle," as it came to be called in colonial times by English speakers, worked in a manner superficially very similar to the Chinese I Ching. In the 1700's the Oracle became a popular parlor game among the wealthy in Europe.
The other systems of divinations in the world typically employ s single method. The Tarot is a set of cards. The I Ching allows two different methods: throwing the yarrow sticks and throwing the coins. This Oracle allows four different ways of randomly producing signs.
1. Throwing chips. One takes four square flat chips that tradition dictated must be carved from white oak. One side of each chip bears a carved symbol, usually the uma, a lozenge device signifying the universal principle. One throws the chips to obtain three satlai. In order to obtain a single satlai, one goes through this three step process:
First a person tosses three of the chips and counts the umas appearing-- one uma signifies the Spring, two represents Summer, three represents Autumn, and none represents Winter. Supposedly, the order of the numbers recalls the process of planting and sowing. The plowing and planting of corn occurs in the Spring (one), the corn grows through the summer (two), and at its greatest it is harvested (three). Winter is the dormant time (none). This step narrows the possibilities to the satlai corresponding to the particular season, ruling out those contained within any of the other three.
Secondly, the person tosses four chips to yield one of three choices: In order to get four chips to randomly yield one of three possible choices, the chips are marked as follows: All the chips are blank on one side. Two of the chips are marked with a white uma, while two are marked on one side with a black uma. Marked accordingly, the four chips when thrown yield nine possible outcomes (see Appendix), and each of the three "parts" are assigned three of the outcomes.
Finally the person throws four chips to select a number one through five, in order to select one of five weeks within a month. (Interesting this in his text, when I wrote it, I didn’t bother explaining how.
2. Rolling dice, as follows:
3. Throwing sticks, perfect for rolling 64 under the Eastern version. This method of divination entails throwing of four sticks. Each of the sticks is by standard usage about four inches long and cut with four flat sides, about a half inch in width. Each of the four sides is painted with a different color: black, green, white and red. Ceremonially, the end of the sticks are painted yellowish orange to indicate the essence of the Center, and a stripe of blue is painted all around the stick, representing the Outer Essence. Naturally, the four sides and four colors represent the four essences of the cardinal points: black, green, white, red.
By using the sticks, one finds that the four sticks of four sides yield sixty-four possible combinations. One simply has to throw once and then considers the colors showing on the sides of the fours sticks facing up. Each of the sixty-four possible combinations refers the reader to one of the sixty-four elements. For example, one tosses the sticks and produced combinations such as: red-red-white-black, or red-white-green-green, or white-green-green-green. Obviously, the combination of green-green-green-green referred the reader to Pueshlata, one of the four pure essences, which is not part of the system of sixty satlai.
4. Drawing cards. In Tan times this became a popular variant for the 60-sign version, when playing cards were square. In modern times they adopted the rectangular pattern of European playing cards, and this is the most common version in use today. One can walk into just about any bookstore or variety shop and find a deck of Ciesitei Cards.
5. Spinning a wooden top. For the 64-sign version the top had eight sides and each was painted with a number, one through eight. When it fell over, it landed on one of the eight sides. The seeker spun the top twice, and eight possibilities times eight possibilities yielded a total of sixty-four possible outcomes. For the 60-sign version there were tops painted with sixty stripes and the stripe highest on top it came to a final rest represented the chosen sign.
6. Spinning wheels, like a small roulette, keno or game-show wheel. The 60-sign version used three different wheel, one for each dimension, all on .
17 May 2006
Day of Night: 20 Dec
Festival of Light: 21-25 Dec
Arcan's Day: 20 March
Lacori's Day: 21 April
Independence Day: 30 April
May Day: 1 May
Lovers' Day: 9 June
Great Summers Day: 20 June
Icotesi's Day: 20 Sept
Mara's Day: 31 Oct
Pacunot's Day: 20 Nov
calendar resources, including calendars of other cultures & religions
The Day of Night and the Festival of Light-- the biggest holiday of the year
This sequence of five special days form the major religious and festive days of the Bergonian calendar. The idea of light has always played largely in Bergonian symbolism, and nowhere does this become more evident than in the Festival of Light. By contrast the last day of the year is the winter solstice-- the shortest day of the year-- and so the Bergonians mark it as a dark day. The people call it the "Day of Night." The last day of the year is one of the five surplus "fat" days. This is the day before the first day of the Festival of Light. It is actually the day of the solstice.
The Day of Night, shortest day of the year:
On the Day of Night people light fewer lights in their homes and put no lights out on the street. They walk around in utter darkness. No one dares throw a party or entertains, and everyone maintains the most somber demeanor. Stores close at nightfall. While many people go home and shut themselves in, others walk the darkened streets to witness the darkness and the dour air. In archaic Bergonia a lot of taboos applied on this day, including taboos against drinking anything alcoholic, any sexual contact, and the eating of any meat. While the Day of Night once was taken much more seriously in the past than now, even now religious tradition requires people to ponder their sins, mistakes, offenses and weaknesses. They take paper and write down the bad things of the year.
The popular legends hold that a spirit, one of the "descendants" of the Gods-- also called the "grandchildren gods"-- comes forth on this day and walks the earth. He is Kutlechi, a creature with a black face and large white and red eyes and a dress of feathers. He is related to the Owl who sees so well in the night, and he can stare right through the night of a person's soul and discern all the pollution and shamefulness there. Kutlechi carries an unlit torch, signifying the promise of the comings days as well as the darkness of the present day, and an empty gourd, in which he collected all the bad of the year just concluding. Many people take out Kutlechi dolls and stand them up in their homes and talk with them. One had better admit evil deeds to Kutlechi, since he sees everything with his owls’ eyes and reports his findings to the Gods. It is best that he report you admitted to your shortcomings. The Day of Night, ironically named, provides people to examine the pollution in their souls and therefore embark upon the way to purity. With this day, people get their sins of the past year out from inside themselves to conclude the old year and prepare for the new.
The Festival of Light:
The next morning sees the beginning of the new year and the first day of the Festival of Light which commemorates the world's renewal. The Festival begins on this first day of the year and then consumes almost the entire first week of the new year, lasting five days.
As the Day of Night lands on the Winter Solstice, the subsequent days grow longer, giving sure proof of the world's regeneration. The first day of the Festival is the first day of increasing light. This is the highest holy celebration of Shufrantei and Miradi worship, signifying the union of the Gods, the universe and all living things, including humankind. The readmission of humankind to this union comes about by humankind's contrition and purification and the responsive grace of the Gods. By coincidence, Christmas usually falls on the fifth day of the Festival.
No one works during the Festival. Instead, people who have moved try to travel back to their family homes. If they cannot, they traditionally write a letter telling their family how they've done in the old year. They tie the letters with a gold ribbon, the traditional color of hope that the Festival represents.
People in ancient times lit extra prayer candles and set them in the windows. The priests illuminated the temple sanctuaries, usually kept fairly dark, with thousands of candles so that the people could clearly view the mosaics and murals of Arkan and Icotesi. Usually, the priests prepare for the Festival by freshening up the painting if needed. In these modern times of electricity, everyone strings up colorful electrical lights, and all the world dazzles with light. But even now, people bring out candles and enjoy their light in their homes and even in offices. For this week Bergonia becomes a land of candlelight.
The people engage in banquets all this week, as their ancestors did in pre-Columbian times. They dress in their finest each evening of the festival. The evenings see ritual asking for forgiveness, the washing of hands for purification, the reading of scriptures, the offering of chanted and spoken prayers and finally the lighting of prayer candles and the singing of celebratory songs. These steps constitute the ritual process for purification, and the faithful repeat them every night in one form or another.
All throughout the week, many of the faithful sing and chant religious devotions into the night. They engage in purification, chant the basic prayers of the faith, pray for the family, the clan, the souls of the dead, and the nation, light prayer candles, and bow to the four directions.
The First Day of the Festival -- also the first day of the year -- day of the Bonfires:
On the first day of the year Bergonians commemorate the death of the old year and the birth of the new. They fast during the day, except that tradition allows the drinking of water and the eating of bread. After the setting of the sun and the falling of night people attend outdoor ceremonies arranged by the various temples.
The ceremonies after sundown center around the lighting of bonfires, intended to resemble funeral pyres for the cremation of the dead. The bonfires act as symbolic pyres for the old year, which has died. In fact, the pyre consumes the used and dead body of the universe, and then with the new year comes regeneration where the universe and men's souls renew.
The celebrants light the fires and then drop into the flames the papers they have written the day before detailing their sins and regrets. They sing:
The pyre is ignited by a person dressed as the character Akatler, who wears a gold mask and a feathered kilt. He carries a torch and represents the power of flame and purification, a power which can rage with holy anger. The spirit Akatler works as a lieutenant of the supreme male god Arkan, who personifies the solar power. Since flame derived in the traditional Bergonian view from the sun, Akatler operates as the divine agent of Arkan. Nowhere, however, in Bergonian mythology does Akatler play any role besides bringer of flame from the sun on the first day of the year. Not only does he represent the cyclical regenerative power but he also works as something as a culture hero, bringing fire from Arcan to mankind.
This fire is the only open fire allowed throughout the entire calendrical cycle derived from ancient Shufrantei ritual. This resonates down through the centuries from the Prophet, Ierecina's suppression of ancient orgiastic fire rituals. He forbade the use of open fires in Shufrantei ritual except for very limited circumstance, and this first day of the year bonfire is all the use of open fire that the Shufrantei ways have allowed to pass to the present day.
After the bonfire consumes the prayers and the worshipers have sung the prayers, they enjoy a great meal to break the fast. Ritual bans drinking and the use of intoxicants on this occasion.
Second day of the Festival -- dramatic presentations of creation:
In the later afternoon of the second day the people participate in a Procession of Light by walking through the town, all with candles singling songs of thanks to Arkan and Icotesi. Then, in the early evening, the priests and priestesses put on a dramatic presentation of the myths of creation of the universe, the world, and the moral order. Arkan, Icotesi and the other cosmic figures themselves would appear, played by priests dressed in spectacular costumes and with painted faces. The climax occurs with utter simplicity, when the priests all lead the people lighting prayer candles and chanting prayers asking for the blessings of the Gods.
Third Day of the Festival -- the family feast
On the third day, the ancient celebrants accented the clan. The clans gathered together for great feasts, usually with people going to the home of the oldest common clan relative and honoring him or her with singing and dancing. They wear masks and costumes depicting the clan animal and enact clan rituals. These include acting out stories with the other clan animals as characters. Each clan featured its own animal as the hero of the story, usually triumphing through guile or courage. The stories always include humorous moments. Then all the clan brothers and sisters commence a rich and sumptuous dinner.
In present times, the second day is still the day that focuses on the family, and people still travel to visit the home of the eldest relative for a big dinner. It is a day of honoring the elderly and the recently departed.
Fourth Day of the Festival -- the walking day
On the fourth day the people take a pause in the festive activity and visit their friends. Many friends go on walks together. The walk of friends is a very traditional device to symbolize the journey that friends accompany each other on in their lives. This custom has evolved into an evening of people walking quietly on the streets on their neighborhoods.
Fifth Day of the Festival -- the day of Processions
Every city and town organizes great processions which turn into public feasts with bands and dancing in the main plazas. The processions include bands, marching dance clubs, and floats built by various political and special organizations, and people line the main street to watch.
These processions represent the formation of of harmony and balance in the completed creation. procession of creation, and a number of the spirits appear to lead the procession in dancing. The dancing spirits lead a procession of musicians to the center of the city plaza where they ascend a stage and everyone joins the spirits in a reenactment of the creation tales. The reenactment occurs with the beginning of the year, a time in which the world is ritually re-created.
Sixth day -- day of Purification
To perfect the festive week, on the sixth day of the year people attend the main rite of purification for the year in the temples. This is like a Bergonian Sunday, for purification rites continue every sixth day, the last day of the ancient six-day week, for the rest of the year.
This purification, with the recital of special prayers, ends the Festival, and the rest of the day is a day of rest. The next day, the 7th day of the year, they commence the first day of work for the new year.
Other Holidays throughout the Year:
Arcan's Day falls on the 1st day of Ipasnei, the 4th month (22 March). This day commemorates the sun. Peasants associate this day with the spring planting. The celebrations are solemn and quiet. Since Arcan is associated with the sun, people on this day awake before dawn and collect somewhere with a good view of the east, where the priests lead them in a rite to honor the solar god. The rite culminates when the sun rises. The people then have an outdoor breakfast of tea and bread cooked with nuts and fruit. They slaughter a lamb, calf or goat and cook it on a spit. They commence a second round of eating when the meat is ready. In the cities people erect large tables in the streets and have this meal with their neighbors.
Sometimes Akatler make a reappearance at the parties held on the morning of this day.
Other costumed characters also appear, including Peirushler, one of the "descendants," a protector of men and women and an avenger. He is a preba-pantei in the Minidun. He is half feline and half warrior who avenges wrongs done to Arcan's worshipers. He represents the idea that the world does have a compensatory principle of justice that rewards good people and strikes down the evil ones. Peirushler has dark red skin (or fur), a face painted as if with a pantei's war paint, big green feline eyes, feline fangs and whiskers, and a blue pantei warrior's costume. He brandishes a great broadsword and goes through a pantomime of vanquishing four other masked figures who represent Avarice, Deceit, Sickness and Madness.
A quaint festival of secular peasant origins falls on the 17th of Ipasnei called the Paoso-Cretifei, the Festival of the Young Herbs. The people often fly flags of green strokes or stripes against a background of gray or white. In the preceding days the women search the woods to gather for edible herbs and leaves, including truffles, ramps, wild onions, and other seasonings. In the morning the men and the boys of the village play a vigorous game of Bergonian kick ball while the women watch. Since the playing field can often be quite muddy or dusty, the players and the spectators often indulge in a hot comforting soak in the public or communal baths. The afternoon has the women cooking, and in the early evening the feast itself begins with everyone toasting to good health with a tea brewed from the most conspicuous and plentiful herb, which yields a mild sweet green taste. The feat includes winter foods: breads, cheeses, nuts, young greens, and mutton. If weather permits the people will eat outdoors in a pavilion.
On the 1st of Petlei, the 5th month (21 April), people celebrate Lacori's Day with public fervent dancing, commemorating this God's own dance in celebration of his salvation from pollution & death. This celebration commemorates man's redemption by God's grace. The celebration begins with a rite of purification, an elaborately costumed enactment of Lacori's passion which resulted in his rebirth, and celebratory dancing in emulation of Lacori's own celebratory, regenerative dance.
Bergonian Independence Day falls on the 10th of Petlei (30 April). On this date in 1780 General Michel Peislei proclaimed the independent Republic of Bergonia. Every traditional celebration entails a spirited reading of Peislei's "Call to the Nation." Traditional ceremonies, now back in vogue, involve dancing and waving the national flag to the heavy percussion of the "Patriots Passion." Here again we have a mass of people dancing, this time producing an undulating mass of patriotic blue color. It is also popular for people to waive the flags of all the provinces and the flags of all the movements associated with independence.
May Day follows on the next day. In the late 1800's Bergonians involved in trade unions and interested in Socialism imported this European holiday. During the Revolution the Democratic Front and the labor organizations all recognized May Day, and workers regularly shut down their plants for both Independence Day and May Day. Congress ordained both Independence Day and May Day as legal holidays in 1935. This is a day of displays commemorating the revolutionary struggles.
Men traditionally waited until the 19th of Futrisaonaei, the 6th month (9 June) proposed to their girl friends. The ancients named this day Lovers Day. This day held much anticipation for young women, and a great many rows exploded the next day, started by the disappointed.
People hold clan celebrations and rites of passage for young people on Great Summers Day, first held on the Summer Solstice, later anchored to the first day of Sefinei, the 7th month (21 June).
People show devotion to the goddess on Icotesi's day, which falls on the 1st day of Clatlei, the 10th month (20 September), the first day of Autumn. This day falls exactly opposite on the calendar from Arcan's day, another expression of the Bergonian attention to symmetry.
On this day women go forth in the morning and pick the late summer flowers together. They take their daughters with them, while all the males stay at home. The women decorate the local temple with their flowers and then take some home for a centerpiece at the dining table. The men prepare a meal that they serve to the women upon their return. The ritual center of the meal is a vegetable stew, made of corn, tomatoes, peas, and beans-- all the vegetable produce of the late summer. Icotesi's feast is something of an early harvest festival, the people honor their female god for the fecundity of her womb--the earth.
Thus, Icotesi's day is something like thanksgiving, but it is also the day for women. Women and couples who desire children make special observances to Icotesi, beseeching her to lend to them a little of her female vitality. Since Icotesi is also-- and primarily-- associated with the night, the main ritual waits until after Arkan's sun has set. Then the people either go into the fields or onto their rooftops and light a little fire and sing a Lament to Heaven, and then they sing Icotesi's reply. The people dance as the fires burn down and then either the fires burn out or the people douse the flames, and they gaze at the placid night sky, the "starry skirts" of Icotesi. In modern times, when few people have fields at their disposals, or roof-top porches, and when the glare of electricity blinds people to the stars, they still want to honor Icotesi of the Night. So the institutions make it a point to shut off as much of the night lights as they can safely do, and people at least go on friendly walks outside and light candle inside their homes.
On the 11th day of Meoresnei, the 11th day (31 October) comes Mara's Day. Coincidentally, this day which commemorates lost souls corresponds to Halloween and precedes All Saints Day and All Souls' Day on the Catholic liturgical calendar. In traditional mythology Mara, one of Arkan's and Icotesi's children, cared for the dead. She weeps for people with sorrows and infirmities. People honored Mara by visiting the sick and calling upon folks less fortunate. People always meet to sing the Caimore, the special lament to Mara.
On the 1st day of Clitlei, the 12th month (20 November) the ancient Ceiolaians paid homage to their Emperor, known as the Pacunot. Although soon enough history claimed the Empire as another casualty, the practice of honoring the head of state spread throughout all Bergonia. The European colonization and occupation could not successfully abolish this holiday, Called Pacunot's Day, even though the Europeans abolished native heads of state. This celebration attracted distinctly anti-European connotations in modern times. The Kilitanists made it their chief day of celebration, although the Democrats also kept this day. It is still a holiday in Bergonia.
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