Monday, January 10, 2011

The 12 Year Cycle

The following was originally written by Edwyn Kumar as a calendar for the Tribes. It originally appeared on his own website, and then later on my Tribe 8 website. I'm posting it here as the beginnings of an effort to reconstruct and make available articles, text and prose that are no longer available.


From the teachings of Ramsek, Yagan Mordred:
The Land of Vimary, the place we call home; at least for those of us who are still among the Tribes. For the others, it doesn't matter how they see the passing of the days or whether they wake up each morning for that matter. But among us, the chosen of the Fatimas, we have a way of life that is envied by the soulless and outcasts of humanity. What sets us apart from the dredges of our world? First, because we are guided by the graces of the Goddess herself, the Sisters of Life. They liberated us and showed us the ways to live and have a society and how to understand the Dream. Second, because we are truly alive. We have souls and spirit, something that can't be said of the Squats or Fallen, let alone the Serfs. But, beyond the obvious, they also showed us how to reckon the years.

We are a proud and honorable force. A new hope for the coming years and it is wise for us, as the chosen, to know what those years are. So, I will teach you the importance of our calendar and all that it entails. You will learn the meanings behind the patron creatures of the Twelve Year Cycle and how they coincide with our destinies and guide who we are as individuals. You will be shown how to understand the patterns in the months and, within those, the days that are blessed by each Fatima. I will also tell you of the festivals that guide our lives and how we look to them as important aspects of what it is to be a Tribal!

So listen closely and use the knowledge I impart upon you, for the traditions of our forefathers are the ways of tomorrow.

The Twelve Year Cycle
Our years are organized into what we call "The Twelve Year Cycle". There are twelve years, each representing one of the twelve Guides who gave their lives to close the Fold. Each year is represented by an animal which is the Patron of that year, hence it is called the 'Patron Animal'. The relationships among the animals falls naturally into the next according to a 'duet association'. For instance, the Year of the Deer follows the Year of the Wolf, its natural predator. The Year of the Unicorn's duet is the Lion and so on and so forth.
There are two years among The Twelve Year Cycle that are not represented by a Patron Animal. They are the first and last years of the Cycle, The Year of the Fatimas and the Year of Liberation, respectively. They are the most important years of each Cycle and are referred to as "The Generations".

The first year as you now know, is the Year of the Fatimas. It is a "Generations Year". It is the year that we heed the Fatimas words and are told of many secrets. The Fatimas guide us closely through this year and we are reminded of areas that have fallen from practice and of old traditions to help guide the coming generation. Those born in the Year of the Fatimas are considered close to their will and word. Those born in the first month of the year are chosen and weaned for positions of power within the Sisterhood. Among all others, they are the purest of blood and often a great and powerful priestess rises from this year. Grandmere Decembre is one such person!

The second year of the Cycle is the Year of the Wolf. This year is often used to implement the words and lessons of the previous year. The strength and determination of the wolf as an individual, along with its ability to live harmoniously with its pack, provides guidance for us as a people and many new laws and traditions are first practiced during this year. Tera Sheba has a special liking for the Year of the Wolf and it is said that the first Fallen was banished at this time. Those born in this year exhibit a strong sense of community and leadership, hence many of our best warriors are born in this year. Funny how it isn't favored by Joan!

The third year of the Cycle is the Year of the Deer. This year is important among the Grand Council and the Tribal Elders. A large gathering is held this year by the Councils and the adolescents from all of the Tribes vie for the right to be chosen as trainees for positions within the Councils. It is a great honor to be selected and is a year that is rife with political intrigue and clan status. Of those born within this year, they often are seen to have very regal bearings and are sought after as icons of prestige.

The fourth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Eagle. Some consider this year a year of anarchy and questions, but we know that it is actually the acts of uncovering hidden things that has given it a notorious reputation. The power of the eagle's sight grants the Tribes foresight and guidance, allowing us to act wisely and with just cause. Joan's last crusade was in the Year of the Eagle. For those born within this year, they are considered to have a greater sense of honor, although they are often seen as loners and opportunists. The Watch and the Templars both compete for the right to choose a champion among an Eagle born warrior.

The fifth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Mouse. Favored by Agnes, the Year of the mouse is often a year that has a sense of fun to it. Nothing very serious ever happens during this year and people tend to take care of day to day business and live their lives with happiness and joy. Of course, there are often times during this year when large and important decisions need to be made, but, almost always, they are dealt with quickly and without much ado. For those born in the Year of the Mouse, they live very peaceful, joyous lives filled with wonder and merriment. They are often considered naive.

The sixth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Owl. The decisions of the previous Year of the Mouse are re-opened during the Year of the Owl and either ammended, discarded or left untouched. Surprisingly, most of the time things are left as they are. The Year of the Owl is also used as a time of exploration among the Tribes. Westholm was founded in this year and it is hoped that another far off settlement will be founded the next time the sixth year comes to pass. A person born with the Owl as a Patron Animal has a knack for making snap decisions and taking risks with little consequence. They are filled with luck and are seen as good friends.

The seventh year of the Cycle is the Year of the Snake. The Year of the Snake is a favored year of Dahlia and all of the other Tribes are on their guard during this year. Dahlia plays her greatest tricks this year and often the results are felt far and wide. The Year of the Snake is definitely a year of illusions. Those born this year are thought of as cads and swindlers, always looking for the fast break and a good time. Never jade a person born in this year. You may live to regret it for the rest of your life!

The eighth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Cat. This year is a holy year among Baba Yagans. The cat gives Yagans premonitions and spiritual guidance and is often used as a time for great rituals. Most other Tribes have a sense of fear when it comes to this year and many superstitions are practiced. The Year of the Cat is also the coinciding number with the lost Fatima, Joshua, as well as the Fallen who claim to be the Eighth Tribe. It is not a year that is favorably looked upon by the rest of the Tribes, especially Tera Sheba. Those born with the Cat as their Patron Animal are mysterious and secretive. They are seen as keepers of occult knowledge and rites. The first born, of each Tribe, are sacrificed on this year.

The ninth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Spider. Eva favors this year, as the spider is considered the perfect homemaker, hunter, and harvester. The spider is also extremely adept at creating offspring! The Year of the Spider often yields the greatest harvests and hunting is abundant. Being born in the year of the spider ensures your good graces as an important member of family and clan. Spider born Tribals are hard workers.

The tenth year of the Cycle is the Year of the Unicorn. Magdalen's presence is heavily felt this year and many traditions of courtship and love are practiced among all of the Tribes. This year is also very good for Dreamers, as the River of Dream is very powerful during most months. Magdalen poses that this is because of her, but that is an arguable point. Those with the Unicorn as their Patron Animal are pure and filled with virtuous qualities. At least that's what they will tell you! This is our current year.

The eleventh year of the Cycle is the Year of the Lion. The lion grants this year with an air of power although not much seems to get done! The decisions of the Year are written and recorded by the TeraShebans, and the Joanites hold many parades and ceremonies. Veteran warriors are inducted into the Old Guard and all of the Tribes honor their more senior members. Those born in the Year of the Lion are bold and honorable, although they can exhibit lazy qualities.

The twelfth year of the Cycle is the Year of Liberation. It is a "Generations Year". This year is held as a quiet and respected time, during which many small rites and ceremonies are held in reverence of the Liberation of the Camps by the Fatimas. The Liberation Festival, held every year, is done in a different context this year, as the nature of the festival is more serious. The Dahlians are generally very busy for the beginning part of this year preparing for the largest and most taxing Liberation Festival they ever perform. The closing of the year is seen as one of the most important times in any Tribals' existence! Those born in the Year of Liberation are said to have a special connection to the ancestors of the Camps and are rumoured to be reincarnations of those people.

So now you understand how we divide the years and their importance. Now I will show you the manner in which we reckon the months.

The Months
As with "The Twelve Year Cycle", there are twelve months. Each one is divided into four weeks according to the Lunar Mansions with a two day passing for each one called the " Goddess Days". Those two days are when the Goddess rests. They are holy days and no work is allowed on those days, punishable by death. We cannot afford to disturb the Goddess while she sleeps. It is also during these days that exiles are banished. Therefore, there are approximately thirty days for each month. The end of each year is seen with a five day holy period called "Veusans". During this time, the Tribes rejoice, pray and gather together, both as a blessing of having made it through the passing year and as a welcome to a new one!

Here are the months as we see them, from first to last.

1. Letoak (winter)
2. Ellilak (winter)
3. Aoin (spring)
4. Feroniak (spring)
5. Renpetin (spring)
6. Addadak (summer)
7. Anumin (summer)
8. Parvitin (summer)
9. Opsin (fall)
10. Addadin (fall)
11. Ahrimak (fall)
12. Yamik (winter)

Within each month there are several festivals practiced and enjoyed by the Tribes.

Letoak: New Year Festival, Yagan Spirit Call.
Ellilak: Agnite Festival of Lights, Ice Carnival.
Aoin: Evan Unlocking.
Feroniak: Evan Flower and Seed Rites, Dahlian Dance of Vimary.
Renpetin: The Closing of the Fold, Renpet Day.
Addadak: Magdalite Day of Amor, Fatimas Birthing.
Anumin: Sky Worship, Day of Revolt.
Parvitin: Liberation Festival.
Opsin: Day of the Goddess, Agnes' Birthday.
Addadin: Ancestor Dance, Children's Calling, Harvest Feast.
Ahrimak: Wind Worship, Judges' Order Day, Warriors Parade.
Yamik: Night Worship, Closing Festival, Veusans.

The Days
The days of the week are regarded easily as the names of the Fatimas. The weekdays are ended with a '-shu' and the weekends with a '-min'. The days are:
First Day: Yaga-shu
Second day: Magdalen-shu
Third Day: Eva-shu
Fourth Day: Sheba-shu
Fifth Day: Joan-shu
Sixth Day:Dahlia-min
Seventh Day: Agnes-min

So young one. You now know the basics of how we render the days, months and years of Vimary. Of course the Sisterhood knows all of the details and symbols of each month, week and day, but that is enough for you to learn today. I will tell you more of the festivals and days and their importance another time! Now run along, it's getting dark!