The story behind



Every book has a story behind the story of how it came to be written. It may be about a life-long passion, a personal journey, the need to share an experience or knowledge. It may have been fermenting in the brain for years, or sprung fully formed from a blinding epiphany.  Whether it be fact or fiction, sometimes the story behind the story is almost as interesting as the published book itself …

THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC & MYSTERY compiled by Melusine Draco

I’m often asked which of all my books has given me the most satisfaction and I can say without hesitation it would be The Dictionary of Magic and Mystery which I’d compiled over the years for my own private use. It went to press at 3,333 entries, which made it the biggest dictionary available at the time but I’m still adding to my own private version.

Dictionaries are notoriously difficult things to compile for the simple reason that even before its release date, the text is out of date.  There must be another 500 entries in my private version and these, more often than not, are the more esoteric terms that only come to the surface when you’re engaged on some really serious research, i.e. for the Temple House Archive novels.

Also, not only signs and sigils change with each generation, different words creep into the vocabulary which is why I commented in the introduction to the first edition, that every good reference book is both a product and a reflection of its time.  My Dictionary reflects the magical and mysterious world of my time – but it can also act as an ‘ideas book’ for every pagan writer.  I also took a leaf out of Aleister Crowley’s book when it comes to reading material – particularly esoteric books – and have saved myself hours wasted on lesser works in the process:

My plan of going from each author to those whom he quoted had a great advantage. It established a rational consecution in my research; and as soon as I reached a certain point the circles became re-entrant, so that my knowledge acquired a comprehensiveness which could never have been so satisfactorily attained by any arbitrary curriculum. I began to understand the real relation of one subject to another.

It was one of the most basic, but important magical lessons I’ve ever learned and I often find myself following a thread from one book to another when researching a subject. Research is like a labyrinth, or more often a maze, in that we follow the trail – sometimes down a blind alley – until we locate that nugget of pure information we’ve been seeking.

In The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery I have also added my sources that more often than not do not show up on the internet or Amazon listings! And obscure information is what makes a book readable …

The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in both paperback and e-book format.   Go to

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