The Old Calendrist
A Tract for Our Time
By Peter Lamborn Wilson
Our cause: abolition of the world’s present “Greorian” calendar system and reversion to the Old Julian calendar.
Gregory was a Pope. His system was designed as a monotheistic mind trap. But the Julian system is based on Julius Caesar’s revelation in Egypt, where Cleopatra’s Court Astrologer explained to him the Sothic Year (based on the star Sirius). The Alexandrian (probably neoplatonic) philosopher Sosigenes later advised Caesar on the reform. We call this system pagan time. The very word “Julian” also evokes for us our hero Julian “the Apostate”, a renegade from Xtianity, the last pagan philosopher to rule the Roman Empire (d. 362 AD).
In 1582 AD the Vatican under Pope Gregory XIII imposed a new calendar on Counter-Reformation Europe. The Orthodox East and Protestant West both refused it and remained loyal (for a while anyway) to the Julian Year. Eighteen years later in 1600 the Vatican burned Giordano Bruno, the Hermetic martyr, at the stake in Rome. Whose side are you on?
The Calendar is the oldest of all ideological constructs, as Alexander Marshack points out (in The Roots of Civilization) apropos of Paleolithic lunar calendrics. In the Neolithic, the calendar and its rituals already “regulate” the sacred year.
See Frazer’s Golden Bough or Theodore Gaster’s great Thespis for elaborations of the calendrical ideologies of the emergent STATE and urban civilization in the ancient Near East. Here, the unstriated common organic time of the Stone Age became the structured encrusted time of power and work.
Of course we’d love to abolish all calendars except the world itself (“anarchistic time”), but since this seems impossible or at least unlikely, we’ll settle for pagan time over monotheistic CAPITALIST TIME. Restore the sacred year of Greco-Egyptian Hermetic chronosophy, and by its influence a pagan mentality will begin to re-infuse human consciousness. We call this process the re-paganization of monotheism.
At present the last European hold-outs of Julian calendrism constitute a schismatic minority within the Greek Orthodox Church of Constainople (including the monks of Mt. Athos) who are known as Palaiomerologitai or “Old Calendrists”.
We’ve adopted this name in their honor. After all, we’re not anti-Xtian. Like the pagan practitioners of Voudoun and Santeria, we love all the saints and miracles of old –fashioned Xtianity – it’s just the dogma and morals we reject. We’re not against the modern calendar because it’s Xtian but because it has become the mechanistic clock time of Capitalism, the last world ideology – the rule of pure money.
England and America held out against the Gregorian miasma until 1752, when a bill to abolish the Julian Year passed in Parliament. The Church of England had given up its Anti-Papist objections and the reform was touted as beneficial to the spread of trade and Empire, not to the enlargement of the human soul. According to the scientists, the Julian Year had “drifted” eleven days from the “true” astronomical date since Caesar’s reform. Accordingly it was decreed that September 2 to 13 would simply vanish from the year 1752.
Riots broke out. As one contemporary writer noted, great “difficulty was … found in appeasing the clamour of the people against the supposed profaneness, of changing the saints’ days in the Calendar, and altering the time of all the immovable feasts.” (from The Calendar  by B.E. Duncan, a book we disliked for its scientific triumphalism, but found useful for its facts.)
In London and elsewhere mobs chanted “Give us back our eleven days!” In Bristol a few people were killed in these Time Riots. The famous Glastonbury Thorn, said to blossom only on Christmas Day, “contemptuously ignored the new style” and bloomed on 5th January (new style) – which is of course December 25th old style.
Another unpopular reform was the shift of New Year’s Day from March 25th (the Old Spring Equinox) to January 1st. In England and America, Spring feels like the re-birth of the year, an aesthetic perception shared by the Zoroastrians and modern Persians who still celebrate New Year on the Vernal Equinox. Nevertheless, we accept January 1st as New Year because it’s the Saturnalian Old Winter Solstice (re-birth of the Sun – A Roman holiday in honor of the uncanny two-faced Time god Janus the Doorkeeper of the Year) – even though this date has “drifted” eleven days from the “true” astronomical solstice; and according to the Xtian calendar is merely the Feast of the Circumcision – the arbitrary cutting off of the year. (See Ovid, Fasti, I, and Macrobius, Saturnalia, I.)
What do we want? We want those golden days of September stolen from us by the idolaters of science and rationalist utilitarianism. We hope that the restoration of sacred pagan time will induce a new wide-spread consciousness open to a radical critique of technology as alienation. Stage by stage we’d like to regress toward the status quo ante-1752. Abolish the Industrial Revolution and the post-Industrial reign of time as money. Abolish not only electricity and infernal combustion but also the steam engine. Bring back agrarian green artisanal social time. Abandon the Capitalist Hell Realm. And by the way, let’s also get rid of Daylight Saving Time. Down with all Time Lords. Free Time.
In what form shall we take back our lost time? What about a great Saturnalia. A space of time outside the calendar, a golden time, hyperborean, utopian and festive? It would be like eleven Christmases in a row – or eleven Halloweens – that great pagan holiday. But in whatever form – and by whatever means necessary –
GIVE US BACK OUR ELEVEN DAYS.