Understand this year’s sacred energy

The Mayan year begins on July 25 of the Gregorian calendar, opposite the Northern Hemisphere’s orientation to starting a new year in the dark and scarcity of wintertime.

For the Maya, July 25 was heralded because on that day Sirius, the brightest star in the ancient sky, rose at the same moment as the sun’s dawn. This exceptional synchronicity was the cause for great reverence and powerful renewal in light. The Mayan year is initiated in the abundance of summer harvest and heat.

Natural Time is the intersection of two major Mayan calendars: the year cycle of 365 days, and the Tzolkin sacred count of 260. On July 25, the year begins and it is named for the corresponding day in the Tzolkin. Thus we spend a whole year in the energy of that day, a deep and holy immersion.



July 26, 2016 – July 24, 2017

The Blue Spectral Storm year is already well upon us as I am writing, so I am less prophet than horrified participant. Let’s break down the Mayan cosmology, though, to lessen the intense swirl of chaos that is central to the year’s message.


Every fourth year of Natural Time is Blue, situated in the western direction of the medicine wheel, the color of darkness descending. There we celebrate night and the dreams that occur within it, less rational and real than opaque, layered, timeless, textured. We find a primal connection to the psyche, some soul space below conscious thought and instinctual impulse. We are likely to be flame-like and free without the restraint of logic.


The Blue year is one stage in the evolution from the Red rising eastern sun where fire originates a new idea, a new day at dawn, to the White north where we experience the colorless emptiness of air and the unseen realm – as well as the all-colored heavenly expanse where great spirits dwell. Following Blue is the Yellow southern quadrant, where there is a physical, earthen manifestation of all the preceding processes and directional orientations.


To get from White, invisible air, to Yellow – something hard, tangible to the touch – we must pass through the watery realm of the west. Blue years are watery, hard to contain with just our hands, moving constantly, rising up in evaporation to leave us dry then exploding in a corrosive downpour that strips us raw. Or there is just a sad, purifying rain, nothing too disruptive, but in all cases there is constant change. And within the drive to keep altering the environment around us is an incredible alchemy of making dreams become real, thoughts into matter.


The Blue year is always a Blue Storm year. Blue Storm is one of the ultimate upsets within the Tzolkin cycle. It moves us from a static fog of sacrifice represented in White Mirror, the day preceding, to the glory of brilliant, sustaining heat and light in Yellow Sun, which immediately follows. The unrest of Blue Storm is momentary, and only a means to the endpoint of joy, radiance, health and heartiness. But it has the quality of an endurance test, a challenge, just as any true deluge. We can acclimate to rain by letting ourselves become soaked through and suddenly willing to be part of the downpour instead of resisting its dampness. But there’s a willful stretch before the surrender happens, when the storm is something perhaps to admire, but truly immerse ourselves in – not comfortable, not inviting.


Where I live, there’s a climate change disaster in the form of chronic drought. It rains a handful of days a year, maybe a dozen. When it arrives, I run out into it, like the sky is littering gemstones. But I know that feeling of my youth in northern climates, the uncertainty about participating in the outdoor events of a rainy day. Until someone bolder pushes me through my resistance and suddenly I am of the elements as I move through them, and it’s a resolutely spiritualized experience of nature, or a naturalized experience of spirit.


This is certainly my position about all Blue Storm days, wavespells and years. You have to get in them, get over the fear of being wet. And in that way find a channel to the center where it’s famously still, the eye of the storm. It can be brutal at the edges, both adjusting to the intensity and being battered by the winds, the loose lashes of the storm’s spiral. But at the heart of any storm is some comparative serenity, and I believe we are given Blue Storm years in order to quest for that palpable experience of safe harboring as everything around us is amplified in chaos.


Now to consider the Spectral tone. It’s almost identical to aspects of Blue Storm. It’s the storm of the 13-day wavespell. For 10 tone counts, from Magnetic to Planetary, everything rises, just like water vaporized from earth to sky. Then the rise ends – in a wavespell because of gravity, and in a storm cloud because of density, pressure. A lick of lightning begins the explosion of rainfall, the release of the tension of the gathering cloud layers. And a Spectral moment is the same: everything that was moving steadily upward, in good time, suddenly is cast back to earth with a whip of foment. We fall down, apart, and into the humility of being returned to earth, when we might have thought, fearlessly, we could be ever in flight.

Brushstroke 1965 by Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

We have a profound doubling of energy this year, and we can feel it. It vacillates from exhilaration to anguish, and we may not know which end is up as we reel in a high-speed free fall. We can be uncertain of the future, because we are forced by energetic circumstance – and terror, disorientation, or maybe sometimes exuberance – to focus only on our most present and palpable wild ride.


It’s ultimately what will get us to the center of this Blue Storm year, the insistence that we stay present. We are being broken of distraction, of attachment, of achievements we would like to build like edifices along the flat earth surface and never see undermined. No – we cannot exert such a grip, not when life is cyclical, nature demands movement in a spiraling arc where at some point everything falls apart. We are in that gesture right now, for a year, and yet most of us know from our life histories that once we accept it’s all gone to pieces, we can remark on the beauty of each separately glinting shard, and remake the breakage into a spectacular mosaic.


Next year will be Yellow Crystal Seed. The advent, on July 26, 2017, denotes 260 days from November 8, 2016, or our recent Election Day. That doesn’t seem any less terrifying than this year, put in that context, so my best offering of this Blue Spectral Storm treatise is to let ourselves fall down softly with the rain as it rinses each of us clean down to our naked skin.