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This is the Blog for Melusine Draco, esoteric author (fact and fiction) and spiritual teacher; dog person and countrywoman; writer and creative writing tutor.  Hopefully, it will make life a lot easier in keeping in touch on social media about work in progress, new titles and books off the back-list.  These are my mountains, my streams and this is my glen … Welsh photographs by Polly Langford

“Mélusine Draco, as her name suggests, has long been plugged into the powerful currents of traditional witchcraft and ritual magic. She is one of the real ones. Her provocative series of Tradition Witchcraft will show you how to move between the inner and outer worlds. Follow along behind her if you dare …” Alan Richardson, author of numerous esoteric titles including Priestess and The Old Sod, biographies of Dion Fortune and W G Gray.

Contact: melusinedraco777@gmail.com

Book Reviews for Pan

PAN: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches

As you read this, Pan is opening his strange eyes with those lucid, rectangular pupils which gives him huge peripheral vision. He is observing you very quietly. Look up from the page, look around. He is here, now. Believe what I say!
Also be aware that at this same moment there is an Inner Pan within your psyche who yearns to be aware of things from this wider perspective, who aches to take you toward the dark recesses of your mind, and the wild, tangled undergrowth of your unconscious. As you make your own antic path into the Wild Woods in search of the Great Pan, your nape hairs might prickle, you might see things at the new edges of your vision and strange realms will open up. If you have a frisson of fear – you are on the right path. Keep going. There is light and love there too, in abundance.
Melusine Draco’s book is filled with pleasing seeds and roots that she has collected from obscure, musty corners of the mythological and literary forest. Just brooding upon them ensures that they will be planted and grow in your consciousness, often in startling ways. And if you ever find yourself on hilltops in Wiltshire and see an elegantly ageing and once-handsome chappie chanting: Io Pan, Io Pan, Io Pan, Pan Pan! then you’re probably hearing me putting to good use the practical evocations she gives.                  Alan Richardson, author of Priestess and The Old Sod, biographies of Dion Fortune and Bill Gray

A fascinating and interesting read packed full of historical and mythological information and knowledge. Draco has researched her subject well, illuminating Pan as never before. His mystique and folklore jump off the page and make you yearn to find him in the forest!  Draco is a well respected instructor in British Old Craft and she shares her wisdom in her many books on traditional witchcraft and magic. This latest book richly adds to her collection. A must read for those interested in learning more about the Horned God with practical exercises to enhance the reader’s consciousness along the way. Enter the woods – if you dare! Sarah-Beth Watkins, Publisher Chronos Books

Just finished this book and I highly recommend it. I’m a polytheist so I don’t believe in one overall horned god and I’m happy to say this book can appeal to all. I’ve studied Pan’s lore for many years yet there are pieces of lore in this book I have not seen and also insight that made me stop and think. Great book. Pan & Hecate FB page

Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco introduces us to Pan and his many gifts. We are given a short ancient prayer or ritual to Pan to in order to ask for visions or gifts of prophecy or even theatrical criticism all of which fall under Pan’s areas of expertise. We are shown the history of Pan through Ancient Greece to his transformation by Christians into the devil and also his journey to Britain and our modern times. We are shown hymns to the god Pan. We are given a lot of information about Pan. I enjoyed the magical exercises at the end of each chapter designed to bring us more knowledge of Pan and his energies. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Pan, his history and magical practices that could be used to connect to him. I acknowledge that I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. Rose Pettit | Insights Into Books

A thoroughly enjoyable journey through Pan’s forest of legend and myth as expressed through art, literature, poetry and spiritual beliefs from ancient through to modern times. As always, Melusine Draco’s fine scholarship and insightful perspectives elevate what might have been a dry academic study to that of intriguing discovery. Also appreciated are the author’s inclusion of personal experiences connected with the Dark Lord. Highly recommended!  M Orlando

From the start, I was impressed with this book. The author did a fantastic job of researching the material she used as sources, including many passages to prove the points she was making. I liked her informative writing style and thought this was a really interesting look at Pan through the ages and different cultures. A lot of times, books like this can quickly become redundant and lose my interest, but this one didn’t. I enjoyed reading this and felt like I learned quite a bit from it by the end. If you are interested in the horned god, this is a book that you don’t want to miss.  Ionia Froment | Goodreads /NetGalley 

Melusine Draco’s Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches is a fantastic little introduction to one of the most beloved gods in paganism and witchcraft. Exploring Pan throughout history, mythology, literature, religion and the craft, Melusine traces Pan from classical era history to Christianity’s adoption of his image for that of their Devil. She showcases Pan in his role of the Horned God of the Witches in the writings and beliefs of Margaret Murray, Dion Fortune, Robert Cochrane, Nigel Jackson, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner and more. Melusine also shares some of her personal gnosis and experiences with Pan in this book and she isn’t shy to delve into both Pan’s free-spirited and joyful side as well as his darker wild side.
The book touches on Pan’s myths, his home of Arcadia and his companions such as nymphs and satyrs. The book is full of a wide variety of classical prayers, paeans and hymns to Pan, including some that I’ve never came across. One of the things I found the most interesting was her comparison of traditional prayers to Pan versus certain Catholic prayers of the Church. Melusine does a great job of providing accurate historical information on Pan without the dry and boring writing style of academia scholars. Falling just barely under 100 pages long this book can easily be read in one sitting and is perfect for those of you out there with limited time to read or that might just have a short attention span.  Mat Auryn : Patheos

I found this book to be a fascinating read. The author opens with The Orphic Hymn to Pan. She talks about the Coven of the Scales, of which she is the Principal Tutor, they worship Aegocerus ‘the Goat-God’ and not Cernunnos. Ms. Draco puts forth the question, “How did the pre-Olympian Deity find his way into traditional witchcraft of Britain?” No other foreign Deity has been added to Traditional British Old Craft, so why Pan?  Ms. Draco goes into some great depth on the history of Pan. She does this in a way that is very smooth and never a dry read. It is interesting to think that because in early times art was a way of teaching, the early church was able to pick Pan as a stand-in for their Devil. People didn’t know how to read, so the church used art to teach them what to fear and what to love. So, they had to change the landscape. You can’t fear a scruffy looking being playing the pipes surrounded by half-naked beauties in a lush green valley. The church changed his surroundings.
Ms. Draco writes about the resurgence of interest that lasted into the early 1920’s. Here she talks about some of the writings that many pagans grew up reading or having read to them by their parents. One of these stories is that of The Wind in the Willows By Kenneth Grahame. ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’ is very much the story of Pan appearing to the characters of the story. He looks like a protector of the wild places. The way this piece reads you feel a closeness to Pan that is calm and beautiful.                                 I also learned all the different names of the different types of nymphs from this book about Pan. I find that the history of Pan, in all the different ways he was seen, to be fascinating. It becomes an attractive subject, in such a way that if you would let it, it could quickly become a rabbit hole for you to fall down. Ms. Draco’s book Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches is both entertaining and educational for those Pagan’s seeking more knowledge of an old God, that seems older than even the Olympian Gods. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Draco’s books and in learning more about the “Goat-God.”   Dawn Borries | PaganPages

Pan is published by Moon Books as a companion title to Seeking the Primal Goddess – both by Melusine Draco  http://www.moon-books.net

Book News

Using archaeology, archaeo-mythology and mitochondrial DNA we can chart the mass migrations of people throughout the ancient world and follow the footsteps of the beliefs of Old Europe. But if the concept of the Old Goddess is at odds with current popular thinking, how will we feel if we discover that the Great Mother of contemporary Paganism bears no similarity to the primal Great Goddess of the Old European world?

Is there a ‘magico-spiritual’ gene that could be traced back to those distant ancestors who actually worshipped the forebears of the various deities to whom we claim allegiance today? Are there time-honoured things about us all as individuals that are bred deep in the bone? Are we what our roots (our DNA) claim us to be? Perhaps, even though we are now scattered all over the globe, we cannot escape those ancient racial memories of where we originally came from.

As most of my readers will know, I have a fascination for odd and obscure historical facts that are hidden away in the millions of sources that outstrip and confound the confines of the Internet – it’s finding them that presents the stimulation and the challenge. If we merely rely on the regurgitated information of contemporary paganism not only does our mind become stagnant, but for those who follow the Craft of the witch, so do our magical abilities.

Over the years I have also incorporated a great deal of folk- cunning- and country-lore into my books on witchcraft with a view to preserving that knowledge for future generations. Much of what even my grandparents’ generation once knew is now lost because it was never recorded for posterity. True there are numerous pagan books written about similar subjects but it is obvious that a large number of them don’t have the countryside in their blood and fail to reflect the magic and mystery of growing up in an uncomplicated rural environment. Strangely enough, these sentiments are often now viewed as some form of elitism but I prefer to go back to the roots of learning rather than consult something that has been cobbled together from different popular titles without any true grounding in Nature  MD.
Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and is the author of numerous popular books. The Primal Goddess is her latest title due for publication in January 2020 and a companion title to Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest & and God of the Witches.  Both are published by Moon Books http://www.moon-books.net.

Book Extract …

The Cult of Birthstones by Melusine Draco

The fashion for using ‘birthstones’ as personal amulets appears to have its origins in the twelve gemstones from the breastplate of the Jewish High-Priest and “the gems contributed for the tabernacle by the Israelists in the wilderness”. There are two lists of twelve stones to be found in both the Old and New Testament but these do not correspond to the months of the year, or the zodiac, but to the twelve tribes of Israel, or the twelve mighty angels who guard the gates of Paradise. The following extract is given in Exodus (xxviii, 15-30) and quoted in The Curious Lore of Precious Stones — written by that distinguished mineralogist George Frederick Kunz (1856-1932) who, for more than 50 years was the gem expert for Tiffany’s in New York:

… And thou shalt set in its [the breastplate] settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be sardius [carnelian], a topaz, and a carbuncle; this shall be the first row.  And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire [lapis lazuli?] and a diamond [rock crystal or corundum?] And the third row a ligure [amber or jacinth], an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper; they shall be set in gold in their enclosings.

 Islamic legend also represents the various heavens as composed of different precious stones, and in the Middle Ages, these ideas became interwoven with a host of astrological, alchemical, magical and medical superstitions. There is, however, a much earlier Egyptian representation of the breast-ornament worn by a High-Priest of Memphis (14th Dynasty), consisting of 12 small balls or crosses. “As it cannot be determined that these figures were cut from precious stones, the only definite connection with the Hebrew ornament is the number of the figures; this suggests but fails to prove, a common origin,” concluded George Frederick Kunz.

Many of the ‘classical’ lists cited as antecedents for natal or zodiacal stones will include diamonds — but this gem could not have been one of the original stones simply because astrology dates back thousands of years and the ancient lapidaries did not know how to cut a diamond.  It is possible that what was later mistaken for a diamond was more likely to have been rock crystal but this ‘humble’ stone would not have been considered valuable enough in later times. The ancient priesthood, however, would have known about the magical powers contained within the rock crystal, even if latter day magicians did not.

Or as Kunz observed, “A mysterious stone mentioned three times in the Old Testament, each signifies a material noted for its hardness and translated ‘diamond’, however, as it is almost certain that the Hebrews were not familiar with the ‘diamond’ it was most probably a variety of corundum …” Similarly, lapis lazuli was referred to as the ‘sapphire of the ancients’ and it may have been lapis rather than the rarer blue corundum that was in use at this time.

Birthstones are still used today as amulets to attract health, wealth and happiness and most people know their own birthstone but from the dozens of different compilations, which is the correct attribution for each month?

The cult of the birthstone and belief that each stone was endowed with its own peculiar virtue for those born in that month can be traced back to the writings of Josephus (1st century AD) and St Jerome (5th century). Despite these early references, the common usage of giving and wearing a birthstone seems to have originated much later in Poland sometime during the 18th century.  The belief in the special virtues of the stones was paramount, and it was long before the mystic bond between the stone of the month, and the person born in that month was realised.

Nevertheless, nearly every book on gemstones will assign different stones for each month and Kunz himself, gives eight different listings from ancient Hebrew to the present day as examples. The following are taken from two contemporary publications on the subject — and even here there are contradictions for the given stones against each month.

Gemstones of the Month (Spells, Charms, Talismans & Amulets, Pamela A Ball)

January: Garnet, Onyx, Jet, Chrysoprase

February: Amethyst, Jasper, Rock crystal

March: Aquamarine, Bloodstone

April: Ruby, Garnet, Sard

May: Emerald, Malachite, Amber, Carnelian

June: Topaz, Agate, Alexandrite, Fluorite

July: Moonstone, White agate

August: Cat’s eye, Carnelian, Jasper, Fire agate

September: Peridot, Olivine, Chrysolite, Citrine

October: Opal, Tourmaline, Beryl, Turquoise

November: Topaz, Lapis lazuli

December: Serpentine, Jacinth, Peridot

 

Gemstones of the Zodiac (Talismans, Charms & Amulets Robert W. Wood)

Aries 21 March — 20 April Red Jasper

Taurus 21 April — 21 May Rose Quartz

Gemini 22 May — 21 June Black Onyx

Cancer 22 June — 22 July Mother of Pearl

Leo 23 July — 23 August Tiger Eye

Virgo 24 August — 22 September Carnelian

Libra 23 September — 23 October Green Aventurine

Scorpio 24 October — 22 November Rhodonite

Sagittarius 23 November — 21 December Sodalite

Capricorn 22 December — 20 January Snowflake Obsidian

Aquarius 21 January — 19t February Blue Agate

Pisces 20 February — 20 March Amethyst

When looking for authenticity in terms of magical working there is an additional complication caused by historical calendar re-alignments and what is known as precession. Because of the tidal effects of the Sun and Moon, the Earth ‘wobbles’ like a spinning top, causing the direction of the Vernal Equinox to shift in the sky. The early calendar makers were unaware of this phenomenon and believed that in making the beginning of the year dependent on the Sun’s entry into the constellation of Aries, they were fixing it forever to the time of the Winter Solstice. At that ancient point in time, theoretically the gemstone representing Aries would have been that of the Winter Solstice, i.e. December.

As the centuries rolled by, the stars of Aries receded from the Winter Solstice, moving steadily through almost a quarter of the great ecliptic and by the 2nd century BC, the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox was not far from the same point where the Winter Solstice had been when the first calendar-makers had fixed the constellation in the heavens. The Vernal Equinox is now on the cusp of Pisces and Aries but over the full ‘wobble’ it will move through all the signs in the zodiac — at the moment the gemstone for Aries is represented by that of the Vernal Equinox, i.e. March.

There is also some evidence in favour of the theory that at the outset all twelve stones were acquired by the same person and worn in turn, each one during the respective month to which it was assigned, or during the ascendancy of its zodiacal sign. According to the German writer Bruckmann (1773 Abhandlung von Edelsteinen), “The stone of the month was believed to exercise its therapeutic (or magical) virtue to the fullest extent during that period. Perhaps the fact that this entailed a monthly change of ornaments may rather have been a recommendation of the usage than the reverse.”

When utilising gemstones as magical correspondences, however, it is vital that we use the ancient propensities for each stone … because it is what the ancients believed, that locks us into the universal subconsciousness so quintessential for successful magic. We are talking here of esoteric archetypes not the fake-lore and fantasy of modern crystal working.

The twelve stones of the High-Priest’s breastplate — sardius (carnelian), topaz, carbuncle; emerald, sapphire (lapis lazuli), diamond (corundum or rock crystal); ligure (amber or jacinth), agate, amethyst; beryl, onyx, and jasper — set in four rows of three to signify the seasons as suggested by Flavii Josephi; and again by Clemens Alexandrius in the 2nd century, give us a starting point. Even then, things are not that simple. The c1539 edition of Marbodus’s lapidary shows a figure of a High-Priest with the names and tribal attributions of the twelve stones, which differ slightly from the Greek Septuagint version from c250 BC as follows — and shows where the confusion over the inclusion of the sapphire may have arisen.

  1. Sardion (carnelian) — Odem
  2. Topazion (topaz) — Pitdah
  3. Smaragdus (carbuncle or emerald) — Bareketh
  4. Anthrax (carbuncle or emerald) — Nophek
  5. Sapphirus (lapis lazuli) — Sappir
  6. Iaspis (corundum) — Yahalom
  7. Ligurion (amber or jacinth — Lesham
  8. Achatâs (agate) — Shebo
  9. Amethystos (amethyst) — Ahlamah
  10. Chrysolithos (beryl or chalcedony) — Tarshish
  11. Beryllion (beryl or onyx) — Shoham
  12. Onychion (green jasper) — Yashpheh

The above does not claim to be the earliest, authentic list since there is still the suggestion that the Hebrew system may have been based on the earlier Egyptian version. Neither should we be dismissive of using an archaic Hebrew system as the foundation for our observances, for as any student of ritual magic will know, the Hebrew influence plays an important part in the development of the ‘Western’ system of the magical Qabalah and ritual magic.

Melusine Draco is the author of Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones published by Moon Books ISBN: 978 1 78099 137 5 186pp Price UK£11.99/US$19.95 : Kindle version available.  http://www.moon-books.net

Round About the Cauldron Go…

Philip Wright and Carrie West are the authors of Coven Working and Death & the Pagan.  They were early members of Coven of the Scales when it was formed by Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton following their move to Newcastle and have since run their own teaching coven in St Albans for well over twenty years until its recent disbanding.  The long history of the Moonraker-CoS Coven has always been close knit and often beset with troubles resulting from both internal and external causes but unlike many of those that were around back in the day, they are gratified to see that CoS goes from strength to strength.

‘Traditional British Old Craft is often frowned upon by millennial-witches for its elitist, hierarchical and god-based structure but it has been provably in existence since the mid 1880s and has managed to survive to keep the spirit of ‘true’ Craft alive despite the often overwhelming odds.  We as old-timers are proud to have this as our heritage …’

Round About the Cauldron Go … is a rummage around in their personal magical journals to produce a witch’s coven calendar that is as relevant today as it was for our Old Craft forebears.  This is the opening for the first draft to wet your appetite …

PART I: SUMMER: Calan Haf-Beltaine

 The whole essence of traditional British Old Craft is closely bound to the natural tides that govern our planet.  When we organise our own Coven activities, these are focused on drawing down an elemental power to synchronise with the traditional Sabbats/Esbats, thus ensuring the Coven develops a ‘group mind’ of its own that nonetheless periodically needs to be recharged via group ritual.  This also explains why Old Crafters synchronise those rituals to coincide with the Old Julian Calendar that links us directly to the power of the Ancestors. Kindred calls to kindred, blood calls to blood. The modern Gregorian calendar is now fourteen days out of alignment and had been thirteen days adrift since March 1900 – but magically as miss is as good as a mile!

A witch needs to be on familiar, operational-terms with these times and tides of the witch’s year – not just the solar and lunar tides but the oceanic, earth and atmospheric tides that can also enhance our magical workings.  We must also understand that some tides are more beneficial than others for recharging the ‘group mind’ of the Coven so that we as individuals can draw upon these currents of elemental power to energise our own spells at any time. This elemental power is marked in the charting of the stars, and while the stars are not generally used as sources of power they can act as a celestial barometer for the calendaric ebb and flow.  This is the witch-power we channel when we work magic – either singly or as a group – and it makes sense to take these various different tides into consideration and utilise them to our best advantage whenever we can.  There’s nothing to stop us from working against the tide but this is self-defeating when it is easier to go with the natural flow of Nature..

The eight great fire festivals are marked by the Equinoxes and Solstices of the solar year, with the four traditional celebrations of Old Beltaine, Old Lammas, Old Hallowe’en and Old Candlemas making up the eight Sabbats of the witch’s year. The fire festivals occur at the beginning of each quarter of the solar-tide cycle with Candlemas marking the end of the reign of the Holly King and heralding the first stirrings of the bright tide of summer.  At the turbulent tide of the Vernal Equinox, the bright and dark tides are equally balanced with the bright tide on the increase; Beltaine marked the traditional beginning of summer, which reached its height around the Midsummer Solstice. From here it begins to wane as we progress through the sacred time of harvest …

Fire is the focus of our Coven meetings – either as a symbolic fire-pit in the garden, or a more ambitious cooking fire in the great outdoors where we celebrate a fire festival with a shared meal around the glowing embers.  Fire gives light and warmth but it is also extremely destructive if not properly contained – its symbolism is wildly varied depending on the circumstances of its use.  Within the Coven it is seen as the only one of the four elements we can create for ourselves and therefore it is the link between gods and mortals whether generated by a roaring bonfire or from a simple candle flame.

Needless to say, it is necessary to take some form of precautionary measures in hand in order to guard against inadvertently causing wild-fire because not every coven is fortunate enough to have a former fire-chief amongst their members!  And while controlled fire can be beneficial for the environment, one caused by flying sparks or an inadequately extinguished bonfire can be devastating in a season of very dry weather. Ideally, all witches working outdoors should hold a Craft equivalent of the scouting fire-safety merit badge, since one coven of our acquaintance regularly lit their bonfire with a whole box of fire-lighters and a bottle of white spirit!  It’s a wonder the whole wood didn’t go up in flames and them with it.

The cauldron is, of course, a traditional witch’s possession.  The originals were made of cast iron and used to feed the family group; while small reproductions are now used to burn loose incense on a charcoal disc, to make black salt (used in banishing rituals), for mixing herbs, or to burn paper spells (with Names of Power or wishes written on them). Cauldrons symbolize the ‘goddess’ and when miniatures versions are placed on an altar they represent Elemental Earth because used in this capacity it is a working tool. There are numerous myths and legends cast around this most functional of coven equipment and whilst the symbolism is all part of our folk-heritage, our version was used for the purpose for which it was intended: to cook enough food for a large group of people – to symbolize plenty.

In truth, genuine cast iron, three-legged pot-bellied cauldrons are rare indeed and they weigh a ton. A witch-friend was lucky enough to have a monster gifted to her and decided that it would be used to celebrate the next fire festival.  Now their working site was a wondrous place but getting to it could be likened to a commando assault course.  By the time this weighty vessel had been lugged across two fields and over a small ravine, half the contents had been spilled (to the benefit of the local wild-life) and the Man in Black was developing definite homicidal thoughts towards his Lady.  The exercise was not repeated and after that single outing the cauldron stayed at home beside the hearth filled with dried grasses and flowers.

Our acceptable alternative is the army field kitchen ‘dixie’ (that Phillip remembers from his scouting days) and like many army terms ‘dixie’ is of Indian origin, from the Hindi degshi for cooking pot.  These are large three-gallon oval pots with lids and can literally contain enough to feed an army!  Dixies are available from army surplus stores and websites at only a fraction of the weight and cost of an antique cauldron – witches have always learned to adapt and improvise – and a dixie is perfect for outdoor cooking.

Another traditional item that comes under the same heading is the witch’s knife and most ‘real’ knives – as opposed to ceremonial or reproduction items – would certainly be classed as illegal to carry in any public place.  For that reason we have always recommended our Coven members invest in a second ritual blade in the form of a utilitarian Swiss Army knife that is cleansed and consecrated in the normal way but which can be carried almost anywhere (except in carry-on luggage on an aircraft) without let or hindrance.  Since witches generally claim that the only reason they carry a ritual knife is for wort-collecting, the Swiss Army knife allows us to do this without running the risk of spending a night in the cells!  Philippe is never without his (consecrated) Swiss Army blade that he’s carried since boyhood, and besides, some fool always forgets the corkscrew!

As glamorous as it sounds, al fresco witchcraft is not practical without a lot of preparation. After many years, however, we eventually got it sussed – one arrives at the site well in advance, lights the fire and sets the pre-cooked stew to keep warm – by using a tripod and a hanging pot.  Supper was often transported in insulated containers to keep it as hot as possible and emptied into the cooking pot so that the delicious smell greeting the coven made all the extra effort worth-while. Perfectly adequate tripods and pot sets can now be purchased from Amazon at a reasonable price.  Purists, of course, will insist on doing everything from scratch on site but unless the coven members have cast iron stomachs they’ll still be sitting there waiting for the ‘feast’ when the sun comes up. But it’s a guaranteed way of causing Irritable Witch Syndrome in even the most resolute of coven members.

Camp-fire cookery is an art in itself and since the whole idea of a Sabbat gathering is to generate power, the Dame and Magister need to be able to organise seamless rituals that aren’t marred by catering problems. Nevertheless, by synchronising our own CoS rituals with the days of the Old Calendar we are drawing down the power of the Ancestors to re-charge the ‘group-mind’ of the present Coven.  By utilising power that has accumulated down through the centuries from successive generations of witches who gathered together to celebrate their Sabbat/Esbat on this very day over hundreds of years previously, we are ensuring that Old Craft survives into the next century. Kindred calls to kindred, blood calls to blood’… linking those that are kindred by token of a common ancestry and a united by a blood-bond to the Ancestors.

Round About the Cauldron Go will be published by Ignotus Press Uk early in the New Year 2020.

Book News …

THE PERFECT BOOK FOR HALLOWE’EN READING

The Arte of Darkness bMelusine Draco

‘Evil is simply misplaced force. It can be misplaced in time: like the violence that is acceptable in war, is unacceptable in peace. It can be misplaced in space: like a burning coal on a rug rather than the fireplace. Or it can be misplaced in proportion: like an excess of love can make us overly sentimental, or a lack of love can make us cruel and destructive. It is in things such as these that evil lies, not in a personal Devil who acts as an Adversary,’ so says the Qabalah.

Nevertheless, there is an increasing tendency these days for groups and individuals to portray themselves as being more exciting, adventurous, or more magically competent by covering themselves with the mantle of ‘Darkness’. Let’s make no bones about it – there is no such thing as black or white magic – and the realms of Darkness and Shadow are an intrinsic part of everyday magical practice regardless of path, creed or tradition.

“Mélusine Draco, as her name suggests, has long been plugged into the powerful currents of traditional witchcraft and ritual magic. She is one of the real ones. Her provocative writing will show you how to move between the inner and outer worlds. Follow along behind her if you dare …” Alan Richardson, author of numerous esoteric titles including Priestess and The Old Sod, biographies of Dion Fortune and W G Gray.

ISBN: 9781788769198 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 262 : Published: 4 July 2019

Special offer price if ordered direct from the printer:

https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Arte-of-Darkness-9781788769198.aspx

Or on Amazon Kindle at a special price of UK£0.99/US$0.95 between 11-18th November 2019

Black Horse, White Horse

EXTRACT FROM BLACK HORSE, WHITE HORSE by Melusine Draco

To fully understand the magical dynamics of equine energy, it is important that we neither trivialise nor sentimentalise the power behind it, and an extract from the Dick Francis novel, Straight, seemed to bring us full circle to where we came in at Chapter One. Here the hero (himself a jump-jockey like the author), reflects on the inner driving force that determines the character of a particular winning horse he rides:

‘The will to win was born and bred in them all, but some cared more than others: it was those with the implacable impulse to lead a wild herd who fought hardest and oftenest won. Sports writers tended to call it courage but it went deeper than that, right down into the gene pool, into instinct, into the primordial soup on the same evolutionary level as the belligerence so easily aroused in homo sapiens, that was the tap root of war. I was no stranger to the thought that I sought battle on the turf because, though the instinct to fight and conquer ran strong, I was adverse to guns. Sublimation, the pundits would no doubt call it. Datepalm and I both, on the same primitive plane, wanted to win.’

For our distant ancestors the cosmic turbulence visible from the Earth could easily have been visualised as the thundering of horses’ hooves, the flashes of lightening the sparks that flew from the celestial shoes and chariot wheels. According to Man, Myth & Magic, mythology makes much of the famous ‘Wind Horses’, such as Pegasus and Hofvarpnir, (the steed of Gna, messenger of Frigg) accompanying these violent storms were the terrifying winds and driving rain, often seen as great armies joined in battle beyond the black clouds obscuring them from view. And out of this aerial violence came the legend of the Wild Huntsman, ‘with his thundering horse and baying hounds, searching the highways and byways for luckless souls, who happened to get in his way’.

A real horse that surely symbolises this ancient ‘hell on earth’ is what has been described as one of the greatest thoroughbreds of history: Warrior – who belonged to General Jack Seely. Over four million horses died in the Great War but Warrior not only survived but was trained to stand still under machine gun fire. To cap it all he returned to win a point-to-point, eventually being put down in his thirties and buried on the Isle of Wight. Warrior is certainly up there with Wellington’s more famous Copenhagen, and Seely, so legend has it, even recommended Warrior for a VC. By comparison, Copenhagen was unceremoniously dismantled after death, and his hooves mounted and presented to various cavalry regiments.

The power, speed and pride encapsulated in the horse is not one with which we can easily assimilate, even on a shamanic level, for the reasons that Dick Francis again observes in Whip Hand:

‘Beautiful, marvellous creatures whose responses and instincts worked on a plane as different from humans’ as water and oil, not mingling even where they touched. Insight into their senses and consciousness had been like an opening door, a foreign language glimpsed and half learned, full comprehension maddeningly balked by not having the right sort of hearing or sense of smell, not sufficient skill in telepathy. The feeling of oneness with horses I’d sometimes had in the heat of a race had been their gift to an inferior being; and maybe my passion for winning had been my gift to them.’

If we wish to utilise and tap into this elusive and primordial strength as a focus for magical working, it must be with a high degree of trepidation and a lot of respect. This is not energy that we can control or negotiate with; if we log-on then we must be prepared to be trampled and kicked in return. It also reflects the fact that people either know or fear horses – there is no middle ground and this is how it should be with their magical energies. Our ‘knowing’ gives us the understanding to interact with equine energy, but there should be no disgrace in fear either. Like all magical pathways, equine-energy is not for everyone and the wisdom is in the knowing: and understanding when to walk away.

Despite the primordial influence the horse still has over mankind, as George Ewart Evans points out, the richest combination of surviving beliefs and customs centred in the heavy horse up to the first part of the 20th century when horses were still an important part of British farming. So here we have those two different types of energy: the war-horse (which includes the hunters and racers) and the workhorse. The differences may be subtle but they are there, and they are important!

Black Horse, White Horse by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in their Shaman Pathways series in paperback and e-book format.  ISBN 1 78099 747 6 : UK£4.99/US$9.95 : http://www.moon-books.net