Our calendar year is somewhat arbitrary and unnatural — out of alignment with the cycle of the solar year. Nevertheless, January 1st corresponds sufficiently to Yule, the Winter Solstice (approximately December 21st), that it works well enough for contemporary needs. And, perhaps, the odd ten-day interval — devoted to the holiday season — allows us to start our annual “new beginnings” when the increase phase of the solar cycle can actually be sensed in our daily consciousness. Astrologers might refer to this small difference as the “orb” within which a particular planetary event is still influential.
As we learn to say in Minnesota, “Whatever.” The point is that we have our calendar and we recognize the start of the New Year with both celebration and “hangover,” not necessarily only related to alcoholic over-indulgence, but also unfinished business and awareness of incompletion.
The New Year is a time to bring closure and make a new start. It is a time to make plans and to make promises (New Year’s Resolutions) that acknowledge our short-comings and determine that we will improve our ways. Before we can do either, we should …
Count Our Blessings
We should note our appreciation for the good things of the past year. For Llewellyn, 2005 brought a number of changes. We designed and built a new office headquarters and distribution center, and completed our move from the two old St. Paul locations to this new consolidated operation in the nearby suburb of Woodbury. It is superbly located on 19 acres of wooded land, part of which we have dedicated to the city as a nature refuge, and is easily accessible from the three major freeway systems surrounding and moving through the Twin Cities.
The new building was designed to facilitate our workflow — the entire process of publishing and distributing books. Lighting and air are superb; new chairs, desks and equipment are ergonomic; everyone has privacy; the warehouse is matchless. We have seven conference rooms, a training room, an extensive library, a computer room, a well-equipped break/lunch room, outdoor picnic tables and recreational opportunities, and more.
2005 also saw us go on line with Oracle® software to provide the best business applications, depth of database and extensive information capabilities. While some of this is still in process, the completed system will enable us to work with authors, vendors and customers at levels never before possible.
Of course, with any move there are some problems. We did see some staff turnover when, for some, there was increased commuting time. But we have also gained new people who are well-grounded in our subjects and functions, and have creative talent and ambition to accomplish our mission. You will meet two of our new acquisitions editors, Elysia Gallo and Andrew Karre, further along in this issue.
It may seem old fashioned to some people, but I was raised to think that we — employer and employees, customers and vendors, and even people of city, state and federal government — are all part of a family. And, of course, that becomes extended to all people, and in our philosophy to all life. We are all one family at home in this particular universe. So, why shouldn’t you get to know us better?
We are also blessed with new authors, and with new opportunities in subject areas new to our publishing world, reaching new readers. You will learn more about these too in coming issues.
Yes, as the Llewellyn Family we are blessed with a wonderful work force of talented and creative people, with accomplished writers and authors, with artists and other vendors, and — of course — wonderful customers. Among our authors, there are those who live on after their physical death through their books and readers. Scott Cunningham is one who is even more honored and respected now than at any time in his physical incarnation.
Scott wrote of “earth magic,” but even more he has helped define Wicca today. It is common to say that Wicca and Witchcraft are the same thing, but it is equally true that we often use the terms differently. Witchcraft is a craft drawing upon an old tradition and folk religion. Modern Wicca is more a way of life, both spiritual and ecological, relating to nature, inner divinity and self-responsibility.
I’m not trying to define these differences by rigid academic standards nor am I inviting debate. I’m just giving my personal view — from the perspective of one active in the area for nearly a half-century. I see Witchcraft — the “Craft of the Wise” — as distinct from Wicca — a natural and personal spirituality. They may incorporate many of the same practices and core beliefs, but they walk somewhat different paths.
Scott Cunningham wrote about Wicca. He gave us both inspired and practical books, and was truly devoted to both his craft as a writer and his responsibility to his readers. I’ve never known a more honest and sincere person than Scott. I count Scott as one of the blessings that has become part of our permanent heritage.
Forward to the Future
I love to say that “books are the building blocks of culture.” They are also the bones of our ancestors, containing the wisdom of the past for the benefit of the future. Books are empowering to each and every person, freeing everyone from the control of church and state and encouraging personal growth and innovation. Ah, but with freedom comes responsibility. Every book buyer is responsible for his or her choices, and there are few guidelines beyond your intuitive senses. We can describe books, we can recommend books, we can tell you about their authors — and we try to do all this with honesty and awareness of reader needs — but I long ago learned that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Books are teachers. You will find the right book for your needs when given a wide range of choices.
And for the Llewellyn family, that means we will keep on publishing a wider and wider range of books for our New Worlds’ audience. We say “New Worlds of Mind & Spirit” because we believe in the power of mind to change the world for better, and in the glory of spirit as the larger reality within which we all have our being. With that, I offer our blessings and best wishes for your New Year!
— Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, Publisher