"Social Blogging is nothing more than what you do at a cocktail party....
but ONLINE and in your PJ's"
Sunday, December 25, 2011
LIVING IN SEASON..NEWS From Waverly Fitzgerald
Friday 23, December 2011
My Favorite Calendars
Happy Winter Solstice
We are at the turning point of the year, when the darkness begins to ebb and the light returns.
I've been wandering around humming, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and although I don't appreciate its use as an incitement to spend, I do recognize that this is my favorite time of the year. I love this magical, liminal time period between the old year and the new one, where I get to reflect on all I accomplished in the past year and get a fresh start on the new one. (I'm teaching a great pair of classes offering a thoughtful and spirit-filled approach to these tasks and there's still room in each, if you feel the pull to celebrate the end of the year in this way.)
I look forward to my year-end review, reading my old journals and looking through all the photos I've taken, making a list of my favorite books (will post on my blog as soon as its done) and creating a year-end book to serve as a beautiful shrine to the year past.
One of my favorite tasks which I undertake at this time of the year is the filling out of the new calendar. And I thought this would be a good time to share some of my favorite calendars with you. I sometimes shy away from the task of writing calendar reviews because I fear my recommendations will be repetitive. I have my favorites and I tend to return to them year after year, so if you've been reading my newsletter for years, much of what follows will be familiar.
Jim Maynard's Pocket Astrologer
If I could buy only one calendar a year, this would be the one. It contains all the calendrical information I need for the year: the dates of major Christian, Jewish and other festivals, plus moon signs, moon void of course, eclipses (and where to view them), the best meteor showers of the year, planetary transits (including Mercury retrograde), and much more, all for my time zone (Pacific; there's also one for Eastern time). I'm not sure why I love this calendar so much. Other calendars — Llewellyn's astrological calendars and the WeMoon almanac — provide the same information. Maybe it's the compact size. Maybe it's because Jim Maynard was the first person to teach me about that mysterious time interval called "moon void of course" (a transition time when the moon is "in between" signs). Maybe it's because so much is information is packed into such a small package. You get everything I mentioned above plus a blank horoscope wheel for writing in your own chart, a visual map of the planetary motions, explanations of the qualities of each zodiac sign and planet, an article on planting by the moon and much more. To order go to this link.
In a totally different realm, the realm of scheduling, I would be lost without my Planner Pad which is like the control panel for my complicated, multi-faceted life. Unlike traditional planners in which one tends to write mainly the dates of external obligations (appointments, etc.), the Planner Pad system encourages you to think of what you want to do in different areas of your life and then assign them time in your schedule. (I imagine this is similar to the Covey system which I've never used, though I have incorporated many insights from his books into my schedule, like putting first things first (my spiritual life, then my writing) in both my schedule and my day.) I've adapted some of the Planner Pad ideas into my Natural Planner . To order a Planner Pad go to this web site.
Besides my handy astrological guide and my planning system, I always like to keep a beautiful wall calendar on my wall. Both Pomegranate and Amber Lotus offer many beautiful choices. I think you can use calendars as a focal point for your dreams, which is why I sometimes give friends calendars as New Year Gifts, calendars that feature places they want to travel (Greece, Italy, etc. ) or activities they love (yoga, writing, knitting, etc.). One year, a William Morris floral design calendar helped inspire my flower essays. For the past few years, I’ve been enjoying my own French Republican calendar. This year’s version is available for sale at my store. The lovely photo of snow above was taken by Karen Karlovich and illustrates the month of December, or Nivose (Snowy).
I often use beautiful calendars as journals. I have one I kept the year my daughter was turning two and it's full of hilarious stories about her adventures and a detailed record of her vocabulary acquisition. We both still enjoy reading it. For the past two years, I’ve bought the Herbal Journals published by Pomegranate, imagining that I might enjoy having a herb a week to learn about. I also have a Book of Days that came illustrated with Japanese seasonal paintings which I use as a phenological journal, where I track the seasonal changes in my life, noting the first whiff of sweet box in January, the first ripe raspberries in my garden in June, the first time the radiator comes on in my apartment in September. I put each entry under the appropriate day and write the year in parentheses, so that over time the book has become a palimpsest of over a decade in my neighborhood. I can say with certainty, "the lilacs are blooming earlier this year."
Poor Wills Almanack
For the past four years, I’ve been enjoying the treasure trove of seasonal information collected by Bill Felker who publishes Poor Will’s Almanack. Felker started paying attention to the weather patterns where he lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio after his wife gave me a gift of a barometer, and that expanded into a passionate devotion to all indications of seasonal time. He predicts weather patterns, lists flowering plants for every day of year, provides a pollen count and a SAD index (hours of sunlight available), describes what's happening in the night sky, and writes a perceptive and elegant essay to begin each month. You can order your own copy at this link.
And then, of course, I have all sorts of things I've developed to help me track time, that I share with people at my store.
You can subscribe to my Calendar Companion to receive weekly emails with reflections on the qualities of the present time period and one suggestion, task or question that you can savor throughout the week.
The Natural Planner
Which begins with a workbook that coaches you on how to make wishes and let certain wishes come forward and align those with the seasons so you can accomplish your dreams in a seasonal way.
Look for the reappearance of my holiday calendar, which will be revived in January of 2012. Keep your eye out for my next newsletter announcing a new year of new offerings at Living in Season.
And I've been delighted to see that Havi Brooks has developed her own calendar (I like to think she was influenced by the French Republican Calendar I sent her) with special names for the months and the days of the week.
Which reminds me of how much I like to make a Pepe calendar every year, featuring photos of my daughter's Chihuahua, Pepe (who is also the hero of my novel, Dial C for Chihahua).
And that reminds me of how Havi Brooks came up with the concept of dividing the year into quarters, not quarters, like school quarters, but quarters, as in special places to hang out during the year, as in a winter cabin, a spring cottage, a summer gazebo and a fall treehouse. I'm totally stealing this idea to plan my year, this year.
As you can see I love calendars!
Blessings of all the delightful ways you can live in the year that is unfolding,