Book news …

Reclaiming some of the oldest and most sacred times of the year  

 with Melusine Draco

Have A Cool Yule : How To Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Winter Festival was published in 2017 and shows this festive to be a wholly pagan event, worthy of being acknowledged as one of the Great Fire Festivals along with Mid Summer, the seed-time and the harvest.  With all the different strands of pagan custom brought to the hearth-fire of the Mid-Winter Festival we all have something to celebrate in time-honoured fashion whether our Ancestors were Briton, Celt, Norse or Anglo-Saxon.  This title is slowly climbing the sales ladder due to its best selling time is restricted to a couple of months in the lead up towards Yule …

“As per usual and in great style, Melusine Draco presents a wealth of information about this historically proven pagan festival. Whichever way the reader chooses to celebrate… whether it’s a traditional family Christmas or a traditional Yule in the company of pagan friends or as a solitary – there is something for everyone. From a complete festival calendar with some simple rites and symbolism, to carol lyrics, recipes, gift ideas and feasting to the ‘art of using up’ and festive games; everything Yuletide is covered. And with generous doses of light-hearted good cheer and a sprinkling of dark humour, the author strikes a balance that is both useful, informative and entertaining. A charming little book.”  Sheena Cundy, Witch Lit author 

Hopefully this is about to change because the next book in the series Sumer Is Icumen In is due for publication on 29th April 2022 – because here we discover new and exciting ways of surviving (and enjoying) the truly pagan excesses of the Midsummer Festival. Here we can establish and instigate a new smorgasbord of traditions of our own for the purpose of celebration and observance and, in time, even though we must never lose sight of our authentic history, they may even be integrated into future pagan revels …

“So, you want to know about Midsummer? You can’t do better than begin here with this treasure-trove of how the summer solstice has been – and still is – revered all around the world. Melusine Draco is a fountain of knowledge, and wisdom, her books open doors and turn on lights to so many dark places that have forgotten and/or misremembered for far too many years, centuries even. And her writing style makes you laugh, makes you think, tweaks your brain and generally delights you. Definitely on my bedside reading list.”  Elen Sentier, author of Merlin, Elen of the Ways, Numerology: Dancing the Spirals of Time and Trees of the Goddess. 

In the good old days, the harvest festivals began in August (Lunasa – ‘beginning of harvest’) followed by September (Meán Fómhair) and October (Deireadh Fómhair) translated as ‘middle of harvest’ and ‘end of harvest’ respectively. Harvest was one of the most sacred times of the pagan year and the Harvest Home: In-gathering was a community observance at the end of the harvest to celebrate and give thanks for the bounty with all its attendant celebrations, including the singing of the traditional folksongs like John Barleycorn. Celebrating the harvest is still the holiest time of the Craft year and Lammas celebrates the coming of harvest-tide with its decoration of corn sheaves, fancy loaves, berries and fruits – all leading up to the Autumnal Equinox (or Michaelmas) that marked its zenith with the eating of the traditional goose and the raucous festivities of the community harvest suppers and country fairs.  Due for publication 26th August 2002.

“This is yet another useful, informative, and charmingly written guide from Melusine Draco. With the usual sprinkling of humour and lively writing she takes a comprehensive look at Lammas/Lughnasadh and the other months of the harvest. The In-Gathering: How-To Survive (and Enjoy) the Autumnal Festivals has everything the reader need to know about celebrating the important harvest season. Brimming with history, folklore, customs, recipes, traditions around the world and so much more information and ideas of how to celebrate, I heartily recommend it. This is a book that will certainly be going on my own bookshelf.”  Harmonia Saille, Pagan Portals – Hedge Witchcraft, Hedge Riding, and Hedge Magic.

Our seasonal festivals begin with this Breath of Spring … to mark Imbolc/Candlemas on the 2nd February – which in turn marks the official end of the Yule celebrations and a traditional date by when all Yuletide decorations should be removed. Traditional witch, Evan John Jones, acknowledged that Candlemas is the first of the great Sabbats and the start of the ritual year, when it is time to let go of the past and to look to the future, clearing out the old, making both outer and inner space for new beginnings. Followed by the Spring or Vernal Equinox, Ostara and Beltaine to cover the months of spring before we prepare for the summer season … about to go into production.

“Melusine Draco opens up the festivals of spring in an engaging, informative and easily accessible way. An enjoyable read, with a mixture of poetry, history and mythology, customs (and even recipes), it builds a fascinating and comprehensive picture of the traditions of spring festivals, as well as tracing them back to their roots. MD really knows her craft and touches on things like the seasonal effects on the various star signs, while rich descriptions of solar alignments and folkloric practices keep you turning the pages. This will add inspiration to building your own traditions. Definitely one for my bookshelf.”  Krystina Sypniewski – author of Pagan Portals – Dream Analysis Made Easy

Here we look at surviving (and enjoying) the different seasons of the year in true pagan style and reclaiming them for our own use by realizing their importance from the high profile each has been given before being absorbed into the Christian litany.

Pagan Portals: Have a Cool Yule (ISBN 978 1 78535); Sumer is Icumen (ISBN 978-1-78535-981-1); Harvest Home – In Gathering (ISBN 978-1-80341-110-1); and Breath of Spring (ISBN 978-1-80341-188-0) are all published by Moon Books.

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