Category Archives: Cosmology

Directions

Edgewhen has 3 cardinal directions: sunward, lithward, and moonward. Each has an opposite direction: sunaway, lithaway, and moonaway.
The 3 cardinal directions.

Sunward

The direction of the sun at noon is always the same. In summer, the sun will be high at noon and in winter it will be low, but the direction will always be due sunward.

In our world, the sun rises due east and sets due west on the equinox. The angle between east and west is 180 degrees.

In Edgewhen, this is not the case. On the equinox, the sun rises 45 degrees left of sunward and sets 45 degrees right of sunward. Considered in earth terms, the sun always appears to be between due southeast and due southwest.

In summer, you can see part of the bottom half of the sun’s orbit. As it rises, it will appear to move left a little bit, until it reaches the leftmost point of the circle. Then it will move right as it continues its arc through the sky. As it sets, it will move to the left a little bit before it sets below the horizon.

Lithward and Moonward

The other two heavenly bodies have similar orbits of similar size. Due lithward is 120 degrees to the right of due sunward. Due moonward is 120 degrees to the left.

Like the sun, the moon and the lith vary no more than 45 degrees from the directions defined by their pivot points. This means there are always at least 30 degrees of horizon between any pair of heavenly bodies.

Sunaway, Lithaway, and Moonaway

Each cardinal direction has an opposite direction. For example, sunaway is 180 degrees from sunward.

Sunaway is between lithward and moonward. The orbits of the heavenly bodies are such that the lith is always to the left of sunaway and the moon is always to the right.

Maps

Maps vary from culture to culture and from mapmaker to mapmaker. Sunward is often depicted as up. However, along rivers that flow sunward, some mapmakers prefer to depict sunward as down.

Pivot Cycles

The lith and the moon also have an analog to seasons. The moon is on a 7-year cycle. For half the cycle, it appears to orbit about a point below the horizon. For the other half of the cycle, this pivot point is above.

The lith has cycle that lasts 143 lithics. This cycle is difficult to see because the pivot of its orbit rises or sinks only a few degrees. The time between the rising and setting of the lith is not always precisely 1 hour and 20 minutes, but it is consistent enough for most practical purposes at Edgewhen’s technology level.

Calendar

Time on Edgewhen is measured according to the motions of the three heavenly bodies.

The Sun and the Lith

The lith rises 9 times a day, splitting the day into 9 equal parts called “lithics”.

Neither hours nor minutes exist on Edgewhen, but the day is the same length as ours. So a lithic is 2 hours and 40 minutes. Each quarter-lithic is 40 minutes.

The lithic before dawn is usually called “the first lithic”. Noon coincides with the fourth rising of the lith.

In general, lithics 1, 2, and 3 are morning. Lithics 4 and 5 are afternoon. The sixth lithic is evening. And lithics 7, 8, and 9 are for sleeping.

The Moon

All months have 30 days.

The moon rises nine times for every ten risings of the sun. Or, to put it another way, it takes ten lithics for the moon to make a full circle. This means that every day, high tide and low tide occur one lithic later than the day before. The moon and the lith are synchronized so that the lith is at its lowest point (a quarter-lithic away from rising) when the moon is at its highest point.

The moon is silver at the beginning and end of each month. In between, it takes on one of the six colors (yellow, green, blue, purple, red, or orange). This color fades in and out gradually over the course of the month.

Seasons

The sun appears to travel in a circle. At the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the center of the circle is on the horizon, and so the sun spends half the day above the horizon and half below. Both equinoxes occur on the first day of Purplemonth.

After the autumnal equinox, the pivot point of the sun’s circle appears to sink farther below the horizon each day. The days grow shorter and shorter. After three months, the pivot is so far below the horizon that the sun is up for only three lithics, one-third of the day. The first day of Yellowmonth is the winter solstice. Most calendars begin the new year on this day.

As more months go by, the pivot of the sun’s orbit rises. It reaches the horizon again on the vernal equinox and continues to rise until the day is six lithics long. The first day of summer’s Yellowmonth is the summer solstice.

Temperate regions of Edgewhen recognize four seasons. Each season begins one month before an equinox or solstice.

 
Spring: Bluemonth, Purplemonth, Redmonth
Summer: Orangemonth, Yellowmonth, Greenmonth
Autumn: Bluemonth, Purplemonth, Redmonth
Winter: Orangemonth, Yellowmonth, Greenmonth

Weeks

No one on Edgewhen has 7-day weeks. Most of the cultures that use a base-6 numbering system divide the month into five 6-day weeks. Those using the base-10 numbering system sometimes divide the month into 3 tendays. This is a more natural system on Edgewhen because the moon and tides are on a 10-day cycle.

Sky

prairie sky. Photo by Sierra Stoneberg HoltIt’s impossible for anyone from our universe to ever visit Edgewhen, but if you did, your first impression would be that it looks like home. The sky is blue. The clouds are white. The sun is bright and warm.

After a few minutes of gazing at the horizon, however, one might begin to notice some differences. For one thing, the world is flat. This means that ships sailing away from a harbor do not disappear until they are too far away to be seen. Distant mountains and towers are never hidden by the curvature of the earth. Because it is flat.

But otherwise, the sky looks much like the sky in our own world, until the other two heavenly bodies begin to rise.

The Sun

The sun is a yellow ball that produces Heat and Light. It also appears to affect Life, for plants grow better during the times of the year when there is more sunlight.

The Moon

The moon is a translucent sphere, possibly made of impure quartz, that produces Light. It also appears to be linked with Water, for the tides rise when the moon is rising and ebb when the moon is setting. (This is not like our world, where the tides rise and ebb twice during one lunar circuit of the sky.)

The moon is silver at the beginning and end of each month, but in the middle of each month it takes on a distinctive color that gives the month its name. The colors are yellow, green, blue, purple, red, and orange. Each occurs twice per year.

The Lith

The lith is a sparkling chunk of metal with irregular facets. It is only roughly spherical. It appears to be slowly spinning. A facet catching the sunlight or moonlight at the correct angle may add a short-lived glare to the lith, but the lith gives off no light of its own. The lith is believed to be made of steel or iron pyrite. No one has ever succeeded in mapping its facets. Those who try become convinced that the lith changes its facets when they are out of sight.

The lith appears to be linked with Motion, for it moves through the sky much more quickly than the other two bodies. It makes 9 complete orbits per day. Each complete orbit is said to be “one lithic”. This is about 2 hours and 40 minutes. The lithic is the shortest natural measure of time.

The Stars

At night, the sky is filled with stars. They resemble stars viewed from earth, except that not all of them are white. Many stars can be found in each color.

Unlike the three heavenly bodies, the stars do not rotate about an axis. Instead, each star moves independently. The movement of the stars through the sky is very slow compared with the movement of the three heavenly bodies. Even a fast-moving star would take months to travel from the horizon to the zenith.
Scholars at the Academy claim that the sky is round. They say that if the sky were flat, stars would appear to slow down and join dense clusters as they approached the horizon. Perhaps they are correct. Stars at the horizon appear as close as stars overhead and they move at similar speeds.

Elements and the Sky

Symmetry would suggest that the sun, moon, and lith should each relate to 3 elements:
Sun: Air, Heat, Life
Lith: Earth, Motion, Emotion
Moon: Water, Light, Thought

This theory is roughly true, but it does not account for the amount of Light produced by the sun. Note also that all 3 heavenly bodies have some amount of Motion, although the lith does appear to have the most.

Astrologers claim there is also a link between the tiny stars and the Elemental Realms. If the yellow stars fade, the world gets colder. If the green stars are bright, plants will grow well. Some astrologers are correct, but others are just kooks.

Origins

No one knows how the cosmos began, or even if it had a beginning. The elements were all in place before there could be conscious beings to perceive them. Thus, no explanation for the origins of the cosmos can be considered factual. But here is one theory:

In the beginning, the cosmos was nothing.

Nothing existed, and the entire cosmos was one great nothingness. The nothingness and the cosmos were one.

So really, the cosmos was one thing, and this one thing was nothingness. The cosmos began when this nothingness split into two.

Half the cosmos was pure Creation, pure substance, infinite in extent, flowing from a limitless source. The other half was pure Destruction, the end of all things, a sinkhole into which all created things must flow.

So in the beginning, the cosmos was two things, Creation and Destruction, layered one atop the other like air above water.

But if two things exist, then they must be separable, else they would be one. If the entire cosmos consisted only of two separable things, then there must have been a boundary between them. This boundary was a third thing.

In the beginning, the cosmos was three things: Creation, Destruction, and the boundary between them.

No one knows how long this state endured. Perhaps it endured forever. Most of the cosmos is still in this state, a vast sky of Creation above a vast ocean of Destruction, with the knowable cosmos only a tiny fleck of foam bobbing on the ocean swells. But because this fleck of foam contains all conscious beings, that is where we shall focus our attention.

How did the knowable cosmos come to be? It began when substance split into three. The limitless flow of substance from Creation to Destruction spontaneously differentiated itself into three modes: matter, energy, and spirit.

The instant this differentiation was accomplished, the boundary became a gap. It was no longer an abstract demarcation. It became the only place in the cosmos where substance could exist as multiple things.

In the infinite Creation, there is only one thing – one continuous, infinite, undifferentiated substance. In the infinite Destruction, there is an infinity of things, but each thing has been disintegrated into an infinity of pieces, like silt on the seafloor. And so Creation and Destruction are alike in their homogeneity.

But in the gap between the two, substance split into three modes. And each of these modes split into three elements. Then the elements split and split and split and recombined, forming the chaotic storm of the Elemental Realms.

Such was the cosmos when the deities came into being.