Throughout history, humans have tracked the passage of time, documenting the days, nights and seasons as they pass, culminating in the creation of various calendar systems. In modern times, the most well known systems are the Chinese, Hebrew, Islamic, and Gregorian calendars and while each is unique, they all share a set of common features. Like all great efforts, the establishment of a time-keeping system is no trivial matter: it required the efforts of many people over long periods of time, learning how to make observations, understanding which observations to make, and knowing how to keep records over a long period of time. At stake was the capability to anticipate the future and plan for it and those who participated in the creation and maintenance of the calendar were held in high regard. Not only did they have to possess the skills to make and record the observations, but also they had to be intelligent enough to derive a solid understanding of the results and have the ability to provide a clear explanation to others. It is therefore easy to understand that these individuals were usually priest/esses and that time-keeping became a sacred activity. Today we have many time-keeping systems available to us, here’s a look at four of the ones that came across our desks here at The Beltane Papers. The ‘’06 Lunar Calendar – 30th Anniversary EditionLuna Press, $23www.thelunapress.comOne of our favorites for many years, the Lunar Calendar is primarily a full page pictoral of the moon in all of her phases through the month, starting with the dark of the moon and ending at the last day before the next dark moon. This year it begins with Dec 30, 2005 and ends on Jan 17, 2007 – 13 lunations, each accompanied by tree lore, moon rise and set times, void of course and zodiac information. Each lunation also has a facing page of black and white art and thoughtful prose.


We’Moon ’06: Gaia Rhythms for WomenMother Tongue Ink, $16.95 (spiral binding)

Another long-time favorite is the We’Moon datebook – and the spiral binding is a huge improvement! In full color, with gorgeous art and prose glimmering everywhere like gems, this is great way to track your life. With its daily astrological notations, and monthly ‘year at a glance’ for each sign of the zodiac you can plan ahead to take advantage of the power days (and call in sick during mercury retrograde!) Starting with the full moon on Dec 15 and continuing through Jan 5 2007, this is truly one of our favorites.


Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2006

Llewellyn Publications, $9.99Sort of a more mainstream version of We’Moon’s datebook, the Witches’ Datebook is a non-color collection of daily astrological information, birthdays of ‘famous’ people (fortunately, short explanations of why they are listed are included), recipes, prose, and solstice information. Short articles by well-known witches add to the value of this datebook. While I prefer the We’Moon version, this datebook is great to use and I can easily recommend it (especially if We’Moon’s price is a bit steep). Llewellyn’s 2006 Magical AlmanacLlewellyn Publications, $7.99Nearing its second decade, the Magical Almanac once again collects short articles that are various in nature and tend to be general in tone.  It also includes a calendar section in the center of the book, but that’s not why you buy the book. Ranging from informative articles to ‘how-to’ rituals, the Almanac provides a useful showcase for some of the quietest and brightest pagan writers. This is a great book for pagans with wide-ranging interests.