Why does the Natural Time year start on July 26?


The Mayan new year is oriented to a day in which Sirius, the ‘dog star’, rises from the Eastern horizon at the same time as the sun. This was such a tremendous convergence for the sky-watching indigenous world: their brightest night star in synch with the tremendous day star. Many other cultures besides the Maya chose this convergence for their new years’ orientation.

I have always noticed that the Maya, living in the Northern Hemisphere’s seasonal cycle, also celebrated their new year in the time of summer’s abundance of harvest, a richness of life force, a blaze of light and heat. This is quite polarized from the Roman-Christian identification of dark winter scarcity, emptiness, as the seat of new beginnings.

They both have spiritual relevance, but I’ve grown to welcome a new year at the height of summer, whether it feels like a full fruition and explosive bloom – or a burned out overheating under the sun’s intense glare. I always connect my childhood and all those years of starting school in late summer to the cycles of the Mayan year and its moons.

Winter Solstice becomes another earmark, the descent into darkness a profound exercise in being in the unknown and trusting a new emergence to unfold with returning light. But I haven’t been drawn to orienting myself to January 1 as a beginning in a long time, and wish for you the same rededication to an ancient and indigenous ritual of celebrating light as the opening or awakening of a new year.