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Muddled muddle can appear here. ;-)

Unnecessary complications ( that is is a 'good one' IMO as a 'complication' is something
added to a time piece beyond hour, minutes, seconds.)
have been added there when using these
expressions about making, coiling, laying, serving, parceling..... cordage.

In an external reference, meaning reference taken outside of the observer left & right, an
oriented plane or space, it can clearly be stated.:

- - - clockwise is the way 'les aiguilles' / the 'needles' ( 'hands') move. It is 'Indirect' too.
anti-clockwise is the contrary way. 
- - - Anti-clockwise or counter-clockwise is  'Direct' or 'Trigonometric'.

I do not think that it is being pedantic or finicky.
Any thing is good to put minds out of the ruts setting them in a fixed way of (not) thinking.

The 'direct' indication of time passing is the apparent course of the Sun .
It “directly” warms your right side, then your back (Northern hemisphere) , then your left
side when you face the traditional "Seat of Power' which is in the North .
In that orientation, not seeing the Sun itself, the 'indirect' indication is given by the shadows.
Seen by the observer shadows are moving from his left to his right along the day.

'Trigonometric' is what is used in Astronomy.
( Hipparcus:  unit of one degree of 60 minutes each minutes being 60 seconds -
trigonometry : the measurement of 3 angles )

An observer is facing the Sun if he is looking :
- - - toward South in the Northern hemisphere. (so sundials are pointed North)
- - - toward North in the Southern hemisphere. (so sundials are pointed South)
That is so because Sun is apparently 'wandering' between the two Tropic lines. North :
Cancer 2327'  South :  Capricorn 2327'

Of  course in both hemisphere Sun is rising in the East and setting in the West (external
astronomical reference).

Things get complicated when the observer facing the Sun mid-day position is using
self-referencing : right / left.  
Then :
- - - in one case (Northern hemisphere) Sun in rising on the Left and setting on the Right
- - -  in the other case (Southern hemisphere)  it it just the other way : rising on the Right
and setting on the left.
Muddled muddle!

I have read all sort of  interpretations being given by 'knotters' on the Net.

When the first weight-driven clocks appeared in the 14th (in the Northern hemisphere mind
you)  the way their hands rotate was made identical to the way the shadows moves: West,
North, East ( or 09 , 12, 03 on a mechanical clock face ), it is too the same rotation the
Sun  itself apparently moves : East to South to West ( 03, 06, 09 on the face of a
mechanical clock).
That is 'clockwise'.

Only if you think "straight lines" instead or arc of circle will you think the 2 numerical
sequences are opposite.
The almost half-circle of the sundial was closed on the clock face, the 6 A.M mark rejoining
the 6 P.M mark and  12 where the noon shadow was (Sun was then South : that is why
when orienting yourself with your watch you point the small hand ( hour ) toward the Sun
and the bissectrice of the angle formed by 12h and the small hand point to South in the
Northern hemisphere and to North in the Southern hemisphere)

12  or  Noon mark on your watch clock is where the shadow would have been if watch
had a miniature meridian pillar. (Note that on a vertical sundial  noon shadow is pointing
downwards, rather towards the centre of Earth, and on an altitude sundial only the length
of the shadow is taken in account to do the markings they can be horizontal or small pocket
cylinder as in the Pyrenean models or sheep keepers had. This just show how things
can apparently change, apparently only. Think an horizontal sundial for a given latitude will
be a vertical sundial for the 'complement' altitude  e.g : 35 - 55. All this just to show the
necessity of always carefully stating what your frame of reference is or you will lose the
other person : imagine! you are speaking horizontal, the other is thinking vertical !)

So traveling direction on a sundial, when you are on :
- - - the Northern hemisphere is  :
                                                   - sunset shadow : in the direction of 09  
                                                   - sunrise shadow : 03
                                                   - Noon culmination shadow in the direction of 12 
- - - the Southern hemisphere is  :
                                                    - sunset shadow : in the direction of 03  
                                                    - sunrise shadow:  09
                                                    - Noon culmination shadow in the direction of  06

that are numbers for the face of a mechanical clock.
They are coming from the sundials which had the extremity of the gnomon pointing North in
the Northern hemisphere.

As you see our clocks faces and movement of hands are "Northern".

Clock are  "models" of sundials, both were first developed in the Northern hemisphere
(never forget that point as it is "the reason why").

Sundials faces are marked differently in Northern and Southern hemisphere.
Hour marks on the sundial faces in the Southern hemisphere are disposed in  mirror image
of what they are in the Northern hemisphere. External reference 'oblige'.

All is in the perspective when reference are not 'external' :
the same entity can look quite another one just by changing the point, physical or
psychological, from which it is looked at.
This is the famed Diamond Cutter Sutra with a perceived snake in the darkness that was in
fact a rope in full light. Illusion.

An oriented circle viewed from above has an opposite orientation if seen from under.

Think about this quite ancient spiritual symbol  : the cross in the shape of the svastika or
swastika ( Navajo Tribe has it, Hindus, Celts..... )
The one in the sky made by the apparent rotation of the stars when projected on the
ground of Earth has another perceived orientation when both are seen by a man standing
on Earth.
That is the symbolic significations attributed to the so called svastika ( correct appellation
is : Cross in the shape of the svastika) one is celestial or polar while the other is Solar or
viewed from Earth.
That is so for an observer walking the Earth but an Extra-Galaxian observer will see two
similar entities.
Imagine drawing the Earthy projection of the celestial cross on a transparent glass.
Put it horizontal on the ground, then dig underneath just enough to slide under it so that
you will look both of the crosses, the one the glass and the one on the celestial dome
along the same vector of perspective. You will then see they have the same orientation.
It was your different perspective that created a distortion of what was 'real'. 
Great care is to be given to choice of frame of reference and to 'perspective' as this will
modify the 'opinion'.

Put yourself immobile at the centre of  a circle turning clockwise on itself on an horizontal
plane you will see a mark on it border traveling from your left to your right but go outside
and face it then the mark will appear to be going from your right to your left.
This is the problem with coiling a cordage : whether you are centripetal or centrifugal in the
progress of the coiling change a clockwise to an anti-clockwise.

I really do not really  like "clockwise" and "anticlockwise" around cordage except in a
clearly delimited environment! ( mental and physical) .
All this is too much  source of potential ambiguity.

digression about time pieces, time measure...
Another change happened with going from sundial to clock :
the interval of time valued as an hour was represented by different sectors on sundials, with
the face of the mechanical clock all the sectors were made to 15 angle for a 24h face and
30 for a 12 h face.

But this 12/24 division of a nycthemer, the day and night,  is quite old. It is what explain how
to 'read' the 'lines' on  astrolabes, quadrants, sundials.

Once upon a time... midnight and midday/noon were the sixth hour of the 12 hours long night
and 12 hours long daylight, the 'zero time' being sunset and sunrise. ( think about the division
of 'the watches').
It seems it is sunset and sunrise that 'reset' many biological clocks, such as those of migratory
animals. ( others use the Moon)

Do not think that mechanical clocks lead to the quick demise of sundials and such.

On the contrary, sundials were in greater demand as a way to 're-calibrate' each day the poor
performing mechanical clock.

Up to Harrisson famous H4 (1779  - less than 3 seconds per day)  a discrepancy of plus or
 minus 15 mn per day was considered a good performance.

Sundials were obsolescent only by the 19th.
They regained some credit at the end of the 20th as a 'personalized ornament' for gardens
and houses.

Time was 'local time',  local to the degree that it was the  time of the village ( astronomically
determined ) with its meridian pillar! or small town with its belfry both with clock and sundial.

Navigation was only preoccupied with "keeping the time" of the departure point, the local or
astronomical time could be otherwise determined and it is the difference between the two
that can leads to a 'transformation' into distance and localization.

With the apparition of railways for which 'common time' was a necessity and the apparition of
telegraph which gave the mean to send messages to 'recalibrate' uniformly the clocks over large
areas, time ceased to be 'local' to be extended to larger administrative entities, even world
standardized time zone. Now it is radio and even satellite time calibration.
End of digression

Problems arise when one tries to apply this clock or anti-clock  'rotation' to what is considered
as a "straight line", the strand -which in fact is winding away ( I almost forgot myself and wrote
spiraling ), a small portion of which is then isolated and assimilated to a straight line.

Consider three strands suspended together from the same fixed point on the ceiling.
To get strands giving the visual appearance of an oblique line going to the right in an upward
direction the group of strands must be twisted ( with right hand  or with left hand depending on
lateralization ) at their low extremity in a clockwise rotation.

The strand  is then a 'right hand' one by result ; but by procedure it is a  'clockwise'.
This is what you must keep in mind.

Now take the strands between both your  hands : one extremity in left hand and the other in
right hand.
To get 'right-hand' result you have to twist 'counter-clockwise' with left-hand and 'clockwise'
with right hand.
A left-handed person will give predominance to his lateralization and say it is a 'right' strand so
'counter-clockwise' obtained.
Muddled muddle.

Not only clock and anti-clockwise is the result of the domination of the Northerner hemisphere
but it is also the result of the domination of the right-handed.
We tend to look at things from the perspective of a being standing up and walking the Earth.
Never forget to put yourself in the correct position for the chosen frame of reference.

Taking a "convention" made in one domain into another domain can lead to 'muddle'.
So beware of 'observation' and adhere to convention how arbitrary they may be in appearance
and always 'think' about the position of observer in the chosen frame of reference.

As far as possible avoid using 'clockwise' and 'anti-clockwise' with laid cordage and use Z/S.

CLOCKWISE = West to East apparent move of shadows viewed when facing the
Sun from Northern hemisphere,  that gave the way needles / hands move on the
lower half of the clock face )
It is too the East to West apparent course of the Sun as observed from the
Northern hemisphere looking towards it. ( upper half of the clock face)

ANTI-CLOCKWISE = the other way.

Want to read about International Date Line ?  then feel free.

Another the wrong result of using clockwise / anticlockwise in some circumstances :

- - - state that the "cyclonic" winds ( Low pressure) are clockwise and "anti-cyclonic" winds
(High pressure)  are anti-clockwise and you will be correct in the northern hemisphere but
mistaken in the southern hemisphere.

One site on sundials and another one.


I have already written most of my thoughts on this topic in the preceding one.
This is a depiction after the description.
Too much occasion for ambiguity, keyed ambiguiLty first time.
Is that a revelation ?

I have read all sort of contradictory interpretations on these expressions.

My summary :

Whether the expressions are referring to what the Sun itself is apparently doing or to
what the sun is making the shadows apparently do (
as if they were walking with the sun)
is "with the sun" or "clockwise" for the Northern hemisphere (not for the Southern)
It is the move of Sunflowers following the Sun in its course across the sky and the move of the
shadow of the Sunflower on the Earth. (ground )

( indirect or clockwise)
The West to East walk of the shadows obeying the command of the Sun that created
them, particularly the shadow on the sundial !  It is too the course of the Sun in the sky
when you are facing it.
Like the gnomon shadow move on a sundial. That dictated the orientation clock hands
were made to move.

( direct or trigonometric or anti-clockwise or counter-clockwise) in opposition to what
the Sun command the shadows to do, or fighting the course of the Sun itself in the sky
when facing it.

Mnemonic : it is "same word used" that is =

"with the sun" is "with the clock"
"against the sun" is "against the clock"

as sundials in the Southern hemisphere are marked "in what is
our nowadays anticlockwise" way !

Apparent paradox is that when going 'clockwise', on the one hand shadow following, and on
the other hand "with the sun",  following the star  if you think "straight lines" you will believe they
are in opposition but  if you think 'arc of circle' with concavity oriented toward each other then
you will see they are following one another. Another ambiguity.

Indeed I am sure that those expressions about cordages or knots  are best  relegated to the
'antiquities department'.

Local sphere summary of : clockwise, sunwise, with the sun.
These and their contrary expressions should be clear now.


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Copyright 2005 Sept - Charles Hamel / Nautile -
Overall rewriting in August 2006 . Copyright renewed. 2007-2012 -(each year of existence)

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