LIFESTYLE … Coven Cafe Culture

We were having a Summer Solstice chat around the fire when we got around to the CoS Blog and how to make it more interesting and wider reaching.  Before resurrecting Ignotus Books, we’d been kicking around the idea of launching a sort of online ‘witchcraft lifestyle magazine’ but then the publishing venture took over and the suggestion was shelved due to the increased amount of work involved.

Nevertheless, there were five editorial staff sitting there and we thought what about expanding the CoS Blog to included ‘lifestyle’ postings and if the slot fell to one person per month that would mean we’d only have to do 2-3 posts per person per year – plus there were specialists within our Circle whom we could ask to provide ‘guest slots’ … with the focus on ‘lifestyle’ rather than magic and linked to Coven Café Culture instead of the monthly calendar posting.  After all, we’ve now run an abridged version of  Old Calendar, Old Year, Old Ways and the only alternative was to go back to the beginning … which just gets repetitive and boring.

We’ve also discovered that Facebook is deleting material such as book promotions that are in context with Coven Café Culture, so an extended CoS Blog would provide a better alternative.   Considering the Caff is a private FB group, there’s no problem about the unsuspecting wandering into an occult camp, since new members are asked to answer three simple questions before being admitted.   The new CoS Blog postings will link back to the Blog from the ‘Caff’ and there will be much more to read on both the magical and the lifestyle front.

How does it sound so far? …

Book extract …


I would never have the courage to be a mountaineer. And yet I am drawn to the sheer beauty and magnificence of mountains.  They are the first things I see when I awake and the last things I look upon before I go to sleep, the shape of the range often silhouetted against the night sky, regardless of season.  The view of them is never the same two days running and at certain times of the afternoon, the slopes are bathed in a strange, ethereal light that is nothing short of enchanting; the summits are either capped with snow; radiating the mellow tones of sunset; or shimmering in a soft blue haze, or cloaked by low-lying clouds and soft rain.  On rare occasions, there are crystal clear images of a hot summer day when sheep are seen as tiny pin-pricks of white on the far-off slopes and patches of purple heather glow brightly in the sunshine.

The Galtee mountains of Ireland lack the rugged grandeur of the Prescellis, or the formidable bulk of the Black Mountains of Wales but as Aleister Crowley wrote: ‘A mountain skyline is nearly always noble and beautiful, being the result of natural forces acting uniformly and in conformity with law … A high degree of spiritual development, a romantic temperament and a profound knowledge based on experience of mountain conditions are the best safeguards against the insane impulses and hysterical errors which overwhelm the average man.’

Crowley developed his own love of mountains while a schoolboy scrambling among the rugged peaks of Wales, Scotland and the Lake District. ‘My happiest moments were when I was alone on the mountains; but there is no evidence that this pleasure in anyway derived from mysticism.  The beauty of form and colour, the physical exhilaration of exercise, and the mental stimulation of finding one’s way in difficult country, formed the sole elements of my rapture,’ he recorded in Confessions. Of the climb on the lower reaches of Chogo Ri [or K2] the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest, he commented: ‘The views are increasingly superb and the solitude was producing its beneficent results.  The utterly disproportionate miniature of man purges him of smug belief in himself as the final cause of nature.  The effect is it produces not humiliation but humility…’

Similarly, in A Phenomenology of Landscape anthropologist Christopher Tilley describes the landscape as having ancestral importance due to it being such an integral part of human development that it abounds with cultural meaning and symbolism. ‘Precisely because locales and their landscapes are drawn on in the day-to-day lives and encounters of individuals they possess powers.  The spirit of place may be held to reside in a landscape.’  Despite different locations giving a variety of explanations for the existence of this ‘spirit energy’, in a large number of instances the intelligent, magical entity simply develops from the colloquially named ‘spirit of place’ over a great deal of time.

He also observed: ‘There is an art of moving in the landscape, a right way (socially constrained) to move around in it and approach places and monuments.  Part of the sense of place is the action of approaching it from the ‘right’ (socially prescribed) direction.’  The method of approach is governed by a combination of place and time – both seasonal and social – while the ‘art’ is the simultaneous practice of meditation and ritualized operation.  ‘Flashes of memory, so to speak, illuminate the occasion and bestows an instinctive grasp of how to behave within a ritual or sacred landscape, and to recognize the type of magical energy to be encountered there.’

Mountains form the most spectacular natural creations on the planet and cover such a large amount of Earth’s landmass that they can be seen clearly from outer space.  Mountains are also a reminder that humans count for nothing in the greater scheme of things. They were formed by tectonic plate upheavals of such magnitude that the fossilised remains of prehistoric sea-creatures can be found on the peaks; in fact, many Himalayan rocks were originally sediments on the primordial Tethys Ocean floor. And more recently, in 1980, a violent eruption tore apart the snow-capped peak of Mount St Helens in the USA, reminding us of the powerful, and often devastating, internal workings of this planet.

Perhaps, however, it is easier to refer to Shinto, the indigenous religion of Japan for a universally accepted and comparable example of a ‘living’ nature belief. Essentially a compound of ancestor and nature worship, Shinto’s silent contemplation of a flower, stream, rock formation or sunset is, in itself, a normal, everyday act of private worship. As part of a national ritual, each year at the blossoming of the cherry trees, thousands of Japanese leave the city to enjoy the beauty of the short-lived flowering. Neither is it uncommon for them to spend a whole evening gazing at the moon; or sit for hours ‘listening to the stones grow’. Inconsiderately, some might think, Shinto shrines are usually to be found in remote locations of breathtaking natural beauty – with little thought for the convenience of the worshipper.

For the traditional Japanese there is no dividing line between the divine and human, since the forces that move in Nature, move in man according to Zen teaching:

“When one looks at it, one cannot see it:

When one listens for it, one cannot hear it:

However, when one uses it, it is inexhaustible.”

Even rocks are possessed of the divine spark and often form part of the intricate designs used to create those familiar Zen temple gardens for contemplation – reflecting the belief that the Buddha-nature is immanent not only in man, but in everything that exists, animate or inanimate.

Recognizing this instinctive feel for the divine spark of spirituality inherent in Nature is one of the fundamental abilities of those with a pagan mind set. A solitary walk by a rushing spring stream; the awesome thrill of an approaching thunderstorm in late summer; a stroll through the woods in autumn; or the first snow fall on the mountains are times for the working of natural magic. Nevertheless, these natural phenomena can make even the most blasé of people hanker for more of these feelings of elation that can grow from the experience of coming into contact with those elusive ‘earth mysteries’.

When referring to ‘earth mysteries’, it is also necessary to understand the difference between a ‘place of power’, and a sacred or historical site. For example, a large number of modern pagans treat any ancient earthworks as such, without any prior insight of its religious antecedents. As a traditional witch of my acquaintance once pointed out to her flock, such activities are on a par with worshipping at a castle moat or Neolithic flint quarry! Simply because something is old does not mean it has, or had, any religious or spiritual significance.

And as Philip Heselton explains in The Elements of Earth Mysteries, this is a living subject. ‘It is not just a study of things in the past, but is something now, in the present, and moreover something that involves our own participation: we ‘become’ involved.  The visiting of sites and our interaction with the landscape comes central to our belief.  What we are dealing with is a recognition that there are special places in the landscape that are in some way qualitatively special.  Whilst we may not be able to define this exactly, we know when we visit them that this is true.  Whether we can detect the energies present at such a site depends on many factors, particularly the cyclical nature of such energies in the landscape and in ourselves.’

Various cultures around the world maintain the importance of the sacredness of nature worship – often in a complex system of mountain and ancestor belief – at sites of revelation and inspiration. Mountains are often viewed as the source of a power which is to be awed and revered.  And perhaps we should all take the time to reflect on the words of Psalm 121:1 from the Old Testament in the King James Bible: ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…’

 Publication: 28th August 2020. Pagan Portals: Sacred Landscape by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books ( ISBN: 978 1 78904 407 2


Contributor to …

Weathering the Storm anthology

‘Happy Birthday to me …’ by Melusine Draco

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they find themselves spending birthdays alone.  Or what to many would seem even worse, celebrating a solitary Yuletide … especially if we’ve come from a large or close-knit family.  After any form of relationship or friendship break-up, it can be difficult to adjust to life without that person and spending time on our own can feel isolating. Over the years, death and separation part us from our loved ones and the prospect of being alone for these important and personal festivals can turn them into depressing and daunting occasions.  But isolation can also be a blessed state … and as pagans we should have perfected the art of making the most out of those solitary moments.

Solitude frees the mind up from all the distractions of everyday life and allows it to focus more fully on one thing. It allows our brain to think outside the box and to come up with unique, extraordinary solutions to ordinary problems.  Solitude can enhance creativity.  Not only that, taking a little time for ourselves refreshes and re-energizes us. It allows us to think more clearly and make better decisions. Taking ‘Me-time’ also builds our self-esteem over time, as we come to accept that we are important and deserve to have a little time to ourselves.

Some people really don’t like to be alone, whereas others are perfectly content spending time alone at home.  A friend of mine, recently widowed, filled every waking moment with some actively and during the current virus-crisis is finding it extremely difficult to cope with her enforced isolation. Although there’s no right or wrong way to be, we often find that people who are happy to be alone (at least some of the time) are more self-confident and generally more satisfied with life.  By perfecting the Me-time habit we could be enriching our own individual life-style.

Birthdays were always important in our family, not because of any great extravagance but because we always spent them together to do something special.  Then one by one those people left the stage and the performance became a soliloquy. Nevertheless, a birthday is a time to celebrate birth itself. It is an expression of thanks to the gods for being born and for still being alive. It is also an occasion to rethink our life; to reflect on the past, evaluate our present and make plans for our future. It is a time when our past intersects with our present and future.   And so we set that day aside each year and make it special by …

Giving ourselves the gift of time. Sometimes our days are so packed with events and tasks that we don’t have time for ourselves. Consider giving ourselves the gift of time for our own rest and relaxation … treating ourselves to a spa day; visiting a museum, exhibition or concert.

Eating our favorite food. It’s our day – we deserve it, whether it’s eating in or out. Perhaps a special birthday lunch or afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings without thinking about the cost.  Worry about dieting and health tomorrow.

Doing a favorite childhood activity. Maybe it was going to the zoo, the aquarium or a theme park. Whatever it was, do it today! Do it as a way to reignite our inner child and our creativity. Do it for the pure enjoyment. We will be amazed at how good it will make us feel.  For example: Once upon a time, in the 1960s (in fact), Dreamland (Margate) was at the cutting edge of fairground excitement but now it has a whole other agenda: rather than competing with the high-tech thrills of Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, it offers a gentle retro vision of seaside fun’.  Oh, I remember it well I think I’m goin’ back …

Laughing out loud. Do something that makes us laugh with delight! Laughter feels good and is good for us.

Setting some new goals. Today is a perfect day to look forward, to project into the future, to set goals for the next twelve months and become more adept at spending our Me Time alone.  Make amazing plans for the next year’s birthday – and book that cruise if that’s what we fancy.

So, we celebrate our birthday each year because it’s always good to acknowledge that we exist on this earth.  Of course, we would like to have family and friends around us but age and distance often makes that impossible. At the start of the year mark off MY BIRTHDAY in the diary, book the day off work if necessary – whether we work for ourselves or for someone else – and go and do something we’ve always wanted to do.  This is the future – go out and say ‘hello’ to it!

If, on the other hand, we’ve decided to spend Yule alone, then the same rules still apply. It can be rather daunting to actually plan for a solitary celebration, but since the whole focus of the holiday is usually getting together with those close to us – and if those people are no longer around – then the exercise can be seen as pointless.  The solitary life-style is amplified at this time of year and all the hype that is geared around spending time with family often creates the impression that if we’re not part of the extravagance then we’re nothing but a sad git! There’s a vast difference, however, between being alone and being lonely. And although outsiders might think it a bit strange, the company of the cat or dog means that there’s someone in the home to talk to and snuggle up with, and discuss what we’re going to watch on telly.

That said, if mum and dad are no longer around, there is no earthly reason we should be expected to endure the unendurable that families insist on inflicting on each other at this time of year. Make it known – well in advance – you will be ‘home alone’ for Yule and intend enjoying it. Having come from a family where Christmas revolved around my father and grandfather, it was difficult to maintain the enthusiasm following their deaths, but the thought of spending ‘the Day’ solitary never entered the equation.

It was my good friend Polly, who changed my way of thinking because she’d spent ‘the Day’ alone for years and actually looked forward to it. Her preparations were no less enthusiastic with all her favourite foods and a couple of bottles of her chosen tipple shopped for well in advance. From Christmas Eve the candles and fire were lit, with a boxed set (or two) ready for the watching and a selfie-present of a good book, she and the dog snuggle in for two days of sheer indulgence without any interference (or criticism) from outside. When my turn came for the solitary Yule, I took a leaf out of her book and made my own preparations well in advance and enjoyed it, too!  And I must confess that I always treat myself to a v-e-r-y expensive present …

When well-meaning friends and neighbours insist on me sharing a traditional meal because: ‘You don’t want to be on your own on Christmas Day!’ – the answer is, of course, ‘Yes, I do!’ and risk giving offense. If we’re not eating out, this is a day to batten down the hatches with all the things we like to eat, snuggle up warm with the dogs, a boxed set (one year it was the complete dvd set of the Works of William Shakespeare!) – and enjoy. Warn everyone well beforehand that this is our intention and we don’t want to be disturbed. Observe the night by (safely) lighting up the house with dozens of candles to welcome back the sun…and feast well if not wisely on this occasion.

 Weathering the Storm is an anthology published by Moon Books –

A nice review on Goodreads for interest:



Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice will actually occur this year on Saturday 20th June 2020 at 21:43 GMT (22:43 BST) while a rare type of solar eclipse will coincide with the longest day of the year this week, marking only the second time since 1982 that these astronomical events take place on the same day.  The annular solar eclipse will see the Sun, Moon and Earth align on Sunday, 21st June, creating a spectacular effect for sky gazers to witness across large parts of the world.

The Moon is at its furthest stage of its orbit around the Earth, known as its apogee, meaning it appears slightly smaller in the sky.  This means it is not able to completely block out the Sun, thus creating what some astronomers refer to as a ‘ring of fire’.  At its maximum point of total eclipse, the Moon will block approximately 99.4 per cent of the Sun, though this will only last for a fraction of a second.  The eclipse will not be visible for people in the southern hemisphere, nor in more northerly latitudes like the UK.

The eclipse occurs on the day that the Sun is at its most northerly point during the year, known as the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere and the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere.  For those north of the equator, the solstice is the longest day of the year and is often celebrated by watching sunrise or sunset.  In the UK, the sun will rise at 4.43 am and set at 9.22 pm, meaning people will enjoy 16 hours and 39 minutes of daylight.  It is the first time since 2001 that the solstice coincides with a solar eclipse, and will not happen again until 2039.

So … even if it’s raining or overcast get out there with a glass of something sparkling and a promise of positive thoughts and actions for the coming year.

Book extract …

Pagan Portals

By Spellbook & Candle: Cursing, Hexing, Bottling and Binding

 The subject of cursing is something that crops up quite frequently on social media, usually in the context of whether it’s ever justified.  Plus the endless compendiums of superstition and folklore contain endless charms, talismans and amulets for protection against the witches’ curse.  So, let’s put the subject into some form of perspective:

Curses have given the world its greatest stories, and the more grisly and gory, the better we like them. But cursing, or ill-wishing, is not confined to magical practitioners – black, white or grey – it is a form of expression intended to do harm in reparation for some real or imagined insult. And can be ‘thrown’ by anyone of any race, culture or creed without any prior experience of ritual magic or witchcraft.

Curses have also been taken seriously in literature. In Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome, we discover that Roman poets Ovid and Horace recorded all manner of cursing in their writings. Or the most famous (albeit apocryphal) – that of the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, which inspired six dramatic novels by French author Maurice Druon – The Accursed Kings. Precious jewels connected to royalty and infamy have also inspired a variety of curses, especially where tragedy has repeatedly struck. As a result, the gems have been deemed to be cursed – with ruin and even death the unhappy lot of whoever owns them, as demonstrated in Simon Raven’s contemporary novel, The Roses of Picardie.

Folklore also casts long shadows, with some infamy bringing a curse down on a family, which in turn has resulted in numerous tall tales, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Elizabethan curses appear in Shakespeare … and the Bible, where the most vigorous and far-reaching are to be found in the Old Testament … and in children’s stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. And how many schoolgirls have giggled over Tennyson’s immortal lines: ‘The curse has come upon me,’ cried the Lady of Shallot?

Confusingly, some curses have passed into the language – the ‘Curse of Scotland’ for example can refer to (1) the nine of diamonds in the game of Pope Joan – the Pope, the Antichrist of the Scottish reformers. (2) A great winning card in comette, introduced by Mary, Queen of Scots, and the curse of Scotland because it was the ruin of so many families. (3) The card on which the ‘Butcher Duke’ wrote his cruel order after the Battle of Culloden. (4) Or the arms of Dalrymple, Earl of Stair, responsible for the massacre of Glencoe. (5) The nine of diamonds is said to imply royalty and ‘every ninth king of Scotland has been observed for many ages to be a tyrant and a curse to the country’. [Tour Thro’ Scotland, Grose 1789]

The dictionary definition is: To invoke or wish evil upon; to afflict; to damn; to excommunicate; evil invoked on another person, but under what circumstances can we challenge this established way of thinking and ask ourselves: Can cursing ever be justified? And if we hesitate for just a moment, then we must ask the next question: Is cursing evil? The Christian priesthood obviously felt their cause was just and as a result, the Church’s curses are so virulent that it’s not just the ‘victim’ that suffers but their offspring in successive generations. And if a curse is thrown at the perpetrator of some terrible crime, can it really be deemed to be evil?

One curse still heard quite regularly is: ‘A plague on both their houses!’ taken from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As John Wain observes in The Living World of Shakespeare, there is no reason, other than sheer stupidity and bloody-mindedness, that keeps the Montagues and Capulets at each other’s throats. The blame for the subsequent tragedy is equally divided between both families and therefore the curse should strike both in equal retribution, so is considered justified.

Nevertheless, do remember that curses, like chickens, have a habit of coming home to roost. This is because if not properly ‘earthed’, curses return to the curser, just as chickens that stray during the day return to their roost at night.


So … having ascertained that your ‘enemy’ is genuine, you must decide how you wish to repulse their advances. The form of your retaliation will be decided by your own personality and sense of morality – it is an extension of your own inner mind. There are no hard and fast rules, but do bear in mind that a half-hearted response is just as bad as going over the top. In either case you will have misjudged or misread the situation; alerted your enemy to the fact that you’re on to them; and given them the opportunity to change tack. Take a look at your options:

  • Double up on personal protection and take defensive measures rather than taking the war into the enemy’s camp;
  • If you are not 100% sure of the source, channel the returning curse through your personal guardian/deity with the proviso that it should be ‘returned from whence it came’;
  • If you are 100% sure of the source and you wish to pay back in kind, then the method, strength and outcome should be magnified three, five, ten or a hundred fold;
  • If anger or ego is clouding your judgement, delay the return for 24 hours and reflect.

It is important not to be led astray by ego or paranoia because whatever anyone tells you, it is impossible to recall a curse once it’s been sent – which is why you need to be 100% sure of the source before retaliating. What you don’t want is to become embroiled in an astral equivalent of Gunfight at the OK Corral with magical six-guns blazing – it is tiring, time-consuming and generates nothing but negative energy on both sides. Bob Clay-Egerton’s advice under such circumstances was: ‘There is nothing wrong with turning the other cheek, or with forgiving an offence. But there is nothing wrong either with taking protective measures against further slaps. If this is done, then you are perhaps doing a good deed by demonstrating to the attacker that, although you, yourself are not attacking, you are guarding yourself in such a way that their attacks are turned against themselves and that they are, in effect attacking, not you, but themselves. Beware then, not only of excess pride but also of excess humility. Both can be damaging.’

One of the most popular methods of deflecting a curse is to hang an empowered witch-ball in the main entrance hall of your home. The first written record of this method dates back to 1690 where a large glass ball, brightly painted to give a reflective surface to deflect any negative energies coming from any direction and returning them to the sender. A more modern application is the use of a mirrored ball that ‘confuses’ the energies with its broken or distorted patterns. The curse cannot connect and, having nowhere else to go, goes winging back to the sender, gathering momentum in the process.

Specifically vervain and dill were mentioned in the poem, Nymphidia, by Michael Drayton (c1627) – as a protective spell against curses. Accompany the installation of the ball with the sprinkling of those herbs cited in the 17th-century rhyme:

Trefoil, vervain, John’s wort, dill / That hindereth witches of the Will.

In Defences Against the Witches’ Craft, John Canard writes that he is a ‘great believer in returning the energy a person puts out to them. If they are sending you negative energy, reflect it to them and let them have a taste of their own medicine. The best way to ensure that somebody does not make the same mistake of directing negativity at you is to switch the tables so they receive what they were trying to give.’  But then … why go to the bother of cursing, when a bottling or binding can be just as effective?

So Mote It Be!

 Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle – Cursing, Hexing, Bottle and Binding by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books.  ISBN 978 1 78099 563 2 : Pages 90 : UK£4.99/US$9.95.  Available in paperback or e-book format.


That’s nearly a month down the line and we’re still under ‘house arrest’ although the time has not been idly spent.  Have deliberately kept away from social media as I find it all too depressing!   It has, however, given me the opportunity to create a new blog site ( to showcase all the books currently in publication under this banner – non-fiction and fiction.  We are slowly adding new authors to our ranks, who have proven antecedents and who have no hesitation in disclosing their Craft background.

From 1997 until 2007 Ignotus held the reputation of being one of the most innovative and imaginative presses of the time in the mind, body and spirit genre.  This was because we only invited submissions direct from authors (including first time authors) and our emphasis was on the practical aspects of magic and spiritual techniques rather than self-help material.  We also upheld the policy that all those authors be established members of the Path or Tradition they were writing about and had genuine antecedents.  And we did check!  This was so we could guarantee that our readers only purchased books by bone fide magical practitioners with a proven track record.  Little has changed – although nowadays the reading public appears not to concern itself with such things – but we still consider it an important facet of Ignotus Books.

Similarly, it has been decided that the latest title, Round About the Cauldron Go … will only be available as a limited edition publication, since this is a rare publication indeed.  It is a  collaboration between several Coven of the Scales Initiates who all conform to the above criteria.  The title is on its final read-through and getting five highly experienced witches to agree on a given subject has been an achievement in itself!  Discussions have grown out of discussions and ultimately the book will give a fascinating glimpse into the hidden world of traditional British Old Craft and its sabbatic origins.

The compilation of The Witch’s Book of Simples is also growing apace and this is another rarity, inasmuch that ‘Simples’ have long been an integral part of the old folk-medicine of witches, wise-women and cunning folk. A Simple was a plant grown on its own as a medicine – Simple being a term from the melding of two Latin words, Singula plica: a single purpose. This was the most elementary way to use medicinal plants since no fancy recipes or scientific acumen was needed as Simples were often given as an infusion or used as a poultice or compress.  But this element of traditional witchcraft has long been in the shadows …

The next book to be published is The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons that was inspired by Chet Raymo’s book of similar title – that chronicled his own daily walk to work and observing the seasonal changes with a scientist’s curiosity. As often happens, I began thinking ‘what if’ there was a complementary book written from a pagan perspective for when we take to our local paths for our daily dog walk. And, as if arising from this external creative impulse The Path began to unravel in the mind’s eye … based on several familiar walks that have merged together over the years to make a chapbook of the seasons and to offer a glimpse into the pagan mind-set that can find mystery under every leaf and rock along the way, or caught in the murmur of running water, and to act as a simple guide to achieving a sense of well-being and awareness. Due 25th September 2020 from Moon Books.

And last but not least I’m half way through the fifth in The Hugo Braithwaite Mysteries – Screenplay – which has the glamour and romance of vintage Hollywood memorabilia.  But, of course, Hugo can’t stay away from trouble and this time it nearly gets Danny killed!


Having got to 5th May and found that house arrest is to continue for another two weeks at least, it’s time to re-evaluate the situation.  Having several acres of fields in which to exercise and not driving, the current mini- lifting of the restrictions aren’t going to make any difference.   Luckily, I’ve got two treasures who are looking after me but the thing I miss is not being able to go into a store for a rummage around and thinking ‘Ah! I’ll have that for supper for a change!’   Or shopping for seasonal vegetables before my own are ready in the garden.  Or bandying insults with the local traders as part of the weekly routine.  And if that’s all I have to complain about, then I’m fortunate indeed.

On the plus side, of course, I’m still cracking on with the writing projects: the latest Hugo Braithwaite  mystery, Screenplay, is half-way complete and The Witch’s Book of Simples is well underway.   Both books will be published by Ignotus Books UK early next year.  Keep up to date with these publications on the MD Blog –  We’ve also formally inaugurated the Ignotus Books UK web site and this is now under way with all ignotus books in print listed and direct links to FeedARead for special discounts and a Blog page attached.  Watch this space …

As 21st March 2021is the publication date for Sexual Dynamics in the Circle it means that my next Moon Books title will not be due until 2022 – but I won’t be keeping any finished titles hanging around waiting!    I might get Appeasing the Gods – with Sacrifice, Offerings & Libation in the pipeline and ready for submission for mid 2021.  If they want it – fine – if not …………..!

Today there are many more easily available books on occult subjects than there was in the 1990s, but quantity hasn’t necessarily translated into quality. Our aim for Ignotus Books is to provide titles that will provide authentic, reliable information and guidance to the genuine seeker, written by seasoned practitioners with proven antecedents.  And, as in the past, our authors are willing to answer any questions arising from the content of their publications.

We are also hoping to launch an Arcanum series of introductory titles based on the principle of the children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that introduced us to the nuggets of wisdom that often lasted a life-time. This new series has been specially structured to help genuine magical practitioners make an exploratory journey into areas that may be unfamiliar to them before investing in larger more costly books. The first Arcanum titles in preparation are Thoth: The Gateway to the Temple by Melusine Draco and Colour in the Circle (working title) by Julie Dexter.

Ignotus Books: fiction

Whittlewood (novel) – Suzanne Ruthven

A modern Gothic horror story of ancient and modern magical morality and witchcraft … In the old Whittlewood forest a murder awakens an ancient power – and the penalty is death.  The author spent her childhood in Whittlewood Forest, a former medieval hunting forest in Northamptonshire.  There are tracts of ancient woodland within the forest, and old ditch boundaries can be found at the edges of several of the individual woods. The area has been the subject of extensive academic historical research … and it has always retained its element of mystery.


Whittlewood deserves to be widely read by those who want a book full of atmosphere and an underlying sense of powerful other-worldly forces at work. The setting is vivid and the characters and their motives well drawn. Would make an excellent film/TV drama, and I look forward to reading more fiction by Ms Ruthven.” Sally Spedding, author of Cold Remains, Wringland and Cloven.

5-star rating from Amazon: “This book is a real page-turner. I started reading it and had to finish it in one sitting; I just could not put it down. Whittlewood is a tale of murder and magical mystery, with some romance and a few touches of history, all of which combine to entice the reader to keep reading and reading – ever hungry for more … Suzanne Ruthven has woven a story of magic, mystery and reality into a marvellous book. I hope she continues to write such engrossing tales. What’s more her descriptive style is such that I could smell the incense and greenery in the Church; I was transported. This is one of the most original fictional works I have read in recent years.”

ISBN: 9781786976888 : Paperback : Pages 248 : €7.95

Published: 1 March 2017

Order direct from

Also available in Kindle e-book format



Ignotus – Book news …

Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay Egerton
As one of our members said: ‘It was the first book I read that made me think, this is how it’s actually done …’  It was the first book published by the original ignotus press in 2002 and the first reprint title by Ignotus Books in 2016.
Since his death in 1998, the reputation of Alastair ‘Bob’ Clay-Egerton has begun to pass into pagan legend alongside other contemporary characters such as Robert Cochrane, Michael Howard and Bill Grey. Hopefully, these collected writings will strike a responsive cord and cause the reader to think for themselves, instead of being influenced by the large amount of misinformation that is prevalent in today’s occult teaching. His unique form of teaching is continued in the work of the Coven of the Scales.
It is probably easier to say what Bob Clay-Egerton wasn’t than what he was and, despite having been an acquaintance of Gerald Gardener and chums with Alex Sanders, he embraced neither Gardnerian nor Alexandrian traditions.  He was initiated into Old Craft back in 1941 and into a ritual magic order in 1943 but, contrary to popular belief, he neither knew Aleister Crowley, nor was he a member of either the Golden Dawn or the OTO.  He was a member of the Templi Satanas Luciferi which, in modern parlance was a forerunner of the Tubal Cain-Luciferian tradition that was then gaining popularity.
ISBN: 9781786109620 : Paperback : Pages 140 : €6.85
Published: 12 May 2016
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Also available in Kindle e-book format