Each year Llewellyn produces a calendar to hang on your wall and keep track of the changes in the days and seasons. The focus has always been in producing an informative yet attractive product that you can refer to for many things.
This year the art work is provided by Jennifer Hewitson, who has been on the cover of many Llewellyn products, as well as being recognized for her work in national newspapers, and packaging for Disney and greeting cards for Sun Rise Publications. Her catalogue of work is extensive and this calendar is no exception.
Ms. Hewitson uses bold pen strokes and just as bold primary colors. The Images appear "darker" in hue because of the use of ink drawing with primary colors, but they are impressive none the less.
Her images appear to move, to be alive and are surrounded with appropriate symbols and seasonal borders. Her topics keep to the seasons and the Wheel of the Year. There is some lovely imagery here, from the birds singing and the sun rising and the trees flowering for May to the bold and brilliant pumpkin headed scarecrow for September.
The format of the calendar is a two page spread for each month to hang on the wall. The illustration and a "story" on the top page, and a full calendar are below it.
The "stories" are provided by various authors, many of them well known. From Barbara Ardinger to Gail Wood, each presents us with a remembrance, or a story that applies to the month at hand. Each one has a magical theme to it as well. Yasmine Gailnorn provides us with a Ritual in January to encourage a prosperous New Year. James Kambos gives us a remembrance of magical Appalachia in May. Jennifer McDevitt provides us with some background to the First Harvest of Lugh in August. Dianne Sylvan introduces us to the Crone Goddess in October.
The calendar is a Sunday through Saturday standard seven day layout with a box containing information and space to write your brief notes in. Covered is the standard moon quarters notations, astrological concordances, official holidays and religious holidays of various faiths, some brief historical notes or notes regarding various authors or historical figures birthdays. There are also two small line drawings noting "planting days" and "harvesting days" for your herbs. There is also the "daily color". The last "page" has all the information regarding the information contained in the calendar, a small bio on the authors and artists, and the official Llewellyn copyright and names of important people who helped product the calendar.
Between the last page of December and the last "page" of the calendar are some full page articles on various topics by some well known authors. Of note is the article on "Protecting Hearth & Home" by Raven Grimassi, about setting magical charges to protect your home, "Fabulous Feasts by Magenta Griffith about planning and producing pagan pot lucks, and especially useful is "The Witch Cleans House" by K. D. Spitzer, with some good recipes for good cleaning solutions the "witchy way".
The only problem is, if you don't read the articles before you hang up the calendar, chances is you will either forget them or miss them all together.
Finally, a big "don't like" is the book hawking inside the back cover. This becomes Llewellyn's personal advertising space, and at the price you pay, you really should be getting something more than a page of books, some of which are not even the authors who are featured in the calendar.
The back cover provides the usual view of the internal pictures, and a sample page of the calendar so the prospective buyer can see what they are purchasing, though if you look at the front cover, you know exactly what to expect.
A bolder statement is made with the artwork this year, the stories are more varied than previous years, and it is a very good overall presentation of a wall calendar from Llewellyn and one which will hang on my wall all through this year. boudica
I keep my calendar on my bathroom mirror and check it each morning. There's obviously not enough space to put down a whole day, but you can jot a quick note to remind yourself to check your Witches' Datebook for all the details! I used to be the most disorganized person you can imagine - my mother says I couldn't organize a dogfight - and this calendar, together with the Datebook, have shown me the way to serenity!
The artwork is inspiring and energizing, the information is useful and easy to interpret, and when the year is over you can turn the calendar into a book that provides a quick reference for magic and your past doings.