Coven of the Scales is a British-based Old Craft coven that can trace its recorded lineage back to the mid-1800s. As with the majority of Old Craft groups, we are a closed Order, which means that any potential member must complete a prescribed course of study before being invited to join the coven. Although we are British-based we currently have students studying with us from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, France and South Africa.
A few years ago we were approached by Daniel A Schulke of the Three Hands Press (USA) and invited to contribute an essay (‘Spirits and Deific Forms: Faith and Belief in British Old Craft’) to the forthcoming Hands of Apostasy: A Witchcraft Anthology, in which he describes our ways in the following manner: “Though these forms of the Old Craft are known through their exterior writings, there are other such groups who are content to remain out of the public eye, practicing their Art and training their own generation of adepts. All of these traditions share a common feature of extreme selectivity when it comes to prospective members, and the willingness to reject those proven unfit for the work. This unpopular and confrontational stance has often led to thorny relations between groups, but it has also engendered a sanctuary-like environment where creative magical collaboration can unfold according to the design of each tradition.”
Although we are a closed Order – we are not a ‘secret’ one and are always willing to answer questions about CoS and the type (if not the manner) of our magical working.
It was Andy Lloyd Book Reviews that first put the Traditional Witchcraft series into its proper perspective: “The ‘Traditional Witchcraft’ series provides varied information about what it means to be a practising witch in modern times. In places, it feels like a guide, or self-help book. But there is much more to it than that. What strikes me is the amount of science running through the book. To understand nature is to live as a part of nature, and ultimately to become one with its changing patterns and cycles, to synchronise one’s own psychic or magical energy with natural tidal forces and the elements. So a witch, like no other religious practitioner that I’m aware of, must study her environment carefully, and attune her life to it … The learning is multi-disciplinary, and feels almost as if one was studying a textbook written by poet.”
In fact, the whole Traditional Witchcraft series has been structured along the lines similar to a distance learning course (in both paperback and e-book format), so that the would-be traditional witch has a step by step guide to follow. Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living (originally published as Mean Streets Witchcraft) is the first in the series and as the title suggests, is aimed at the majority of pagans who live in an urban environment rather than insisting that a witch must live in the country before he/she can learn about traditional British Old Craft. The second step is revealed in Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore teaches us how to work with those natural tides within our own environment, even if we don’t live by the sea. Step three, Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows, covers what most of us would think of in terms of traditional Craft, and brings us back into the comfort zone where we feel safe and secure – before step four casts us back out into the more hostile world of Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests. As our tutor tells us, the magical energies differ quite considerably between these four environments.
It was intriguing to learn why the historical view of Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival was left until step five, but Ms Draco doesn’t look at things like normal mortals! “It’s not until we’ve been studying traditional Craft for a while that we start to notice both the differences and the similarities between the various disciplines. We want to know where our beliefs come from; to trace our antecedents; and to understand why some of our ways are often diametrically opposed to those of other traditions we read about. That is why the fifth book in the series was written as a magical anthropology; simply to make sense of some of the things we’ve never recognised before.
Not all her books, however, are favourably received. Some reviewers claim there is nothing new contained within them, or that there are no great revelations in the text. “Craft learning is about forty percent information and sixty percent intuition, but it’s also about realising when intuition is telling us that we don’t have all the information. There are books claiming to reveal the ‘secrets’ of traditional Craft – but intuition should tell us that if the secrets can be revealed in the reading of one book, then the author can’t have that much to tell. The real secret is that there are no secrets, only a system of revelation that eventually leads us to a series of guides or teachers, to further our progress along the Path to the Mysteries.”
Mélusine Draco is an Initiate of traditional British Old Craft and author of several titles currently published with John Hunt Publishing including the best-selling six-part Traditional Witchcraft series; two titles on power animals – Aubry’s Dog and Black Horse, White Horse; By Spellbook & Candle; By Wolfsbane & Mandrake Root; Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches; The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery; Divination and the Power of the Elements published by Moon Books; Magic Crystals Sacred Stones and The Atum-Re Revival published by Axis Mundi Books.
Titles published with Ignotus Press UK are Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways; CRONE!; Starchild I & II; Wort-lore and Root & Branch: British Magical Tree Lore. Her esoteric novels in the Temple House Archive series are available in both paperback and e-book formats – all books are available on Amazon.