i love when there is something very cool in our relatively arbitrary shared systems.
like a magic moment in time – the way we measure time. at various moments, various humans have said Here is where we begin to count. we will measure our memories, mark our present in some grand arc, and from here we will vision and prophesy about that time which is not now and not behind us, but ahead.
12 has emerged as a dominant way to measure time, which makes it one of the most powerful numbers for us, and today is sort of magical. and no one else in the universe may know this moment is magical, because no one else may have even decided to count time.
but we did.
and we noticed that 12 is central to our cycles, and so this a uniquely earthling magic day.
humans live our global shared lives in cycles of 12. its how we track how old we are, every 12 months we have gained another measure of experience, we look back and we celebrate our births and the labor of our mothers. we look forward and make ludicrous commitments for the next 12 months, and then settle back into the rhythms of our days.
there are no less than 21 calendar systems in the world, and the vast majority of them have 12 months. why?
it takes about 12 months for the seasons to run through their great turning in the miraculous dance with sunlight that processes it into all life on earth.
that is, over the course of four seasons, the earth generates abundance from that steady light, absorbing it, filling up with it in the form of plants and trees and fruit, making light edible, harvestable, storing it in the soil and plants and in us, sparking the circle of life. within those seasons, 12 moons move through the night sky, or rather we move across the face of the moon 12 times, the effect of our own shadow creating one of our first maps and calendars.
our orbital cycle around the sun gives us on average 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness a day. the north pole of our clock is 12, the north star of our compass, the indicator that a new day comes, rising til high noon when the sun sits directly above us.
i’d say 12 is the romantic number in our love story with the sun, the day when she puts our love on top – as far as we know, no other planets in this solar system or anywhere else do quite what we do with sunlight…it’s a deeply unique relationship.
and 12 is the last year of childhood, supposedly we are about 12 when the cycle of life becomes active within us in the forms of blood and desire.
we even spend 12 years in our schooling programs in many parts of the world. that is what we generally agree it takes to prepare a human to be in the world on it’s own.
at what point does a number become sacred? even in our somewhat arbitrary timeline, only true because we all commit to practicing time in this way together, there seems to be something lunar and solar and grander at work.
in geeking out about 12 i saw that apparently the repetition of 12 means love in some cultures, a wholeness.
“On Twitter, @Jin_Campbell wrote: ‘Tomorrow At 12 mins, 12 secs after 12 o’ clock on Dec 12th, the time will be 12:12:12,12/12/12.’”
i think days moments and seconds like this remind us of the remarkable nature of our existence. we not not only evolved from cells to bodies, we not only miraculously reproduce life in a variety of species all over the planet, we not only process sun into all life here…but we learned to count, and in our counting we have patterns.
those patterns indicate that outside of our creating there is rhythm to the universe that is a 12 bar musical score, a 12 tone bell, a vibration of 12 heartbeats.
yesterday was a painful day where i live – long story short we are not a represented people here in michigan and yesterday we got reminded of that on a few levels.
so i want to claim that capacity to create something massive like time, claim the cycle of time to honor the gift of life, claim whatever wholeness exists in this particular day – to remember that we are not whole because someone else says so.
we are whole, we make magic, we made all 12 everything.