Book News

OLD YEAR, OLD CALENDAR, OLD WAYS

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Old-Year-Old-Calendar-Old-Ways.aspx

Published: 28th January 2018 – available at a discounted price by buying direct from the printers …

Most of today’s pagans religiously follow the phases of the moon, and the various witches’ almanacs gear their celebrations and/or observances in line with the dates of the Gregorian calendar in order to synchronise their monthly observances. If we follow our pagan year merely for celebration and observance it makes little difference when we hold our feast days and festivals but if our magical operations need to connect with the Old Ways of our Ancestors then we need to align with the old calendars that were brought to these islands by the Romans, the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons. These formal calendars are the nearest guide we have to help us in understanding the customs and beliefs of our indigenous ancestors. The Roman legionnaires garrisoned in Britain came from all over the Europe and they would have brought their religions and beliefs with them from the far flung corners of the Empire; as would the incoming Celts, Danes and Anglo-Saxons whose influence would have eventually been grafted onto older, indigenous stock especially when similar celebrations fell around the solstices and equinoxes.
“Great book! Love the fair days and events in England that still hold with old tradition and the ideas for honouring days. Definitely a book to have on the shelf and look at every couple of days.” Sarah Beth Watkins, historical author and publisher at Chronos Books
ISBN: 9781788762052
Type: Paperback
Pages: 210
Published: 25 January 2018
Price: €7.95

The story behind … Spartan Dog

 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 …

Spartan Dog: The Vampyre’s Tale by Suzanne Ruthven

I’d always wanted to write a vampire story but after publishing Charnel House Blues (6th Books 2014) and being told on numerous occasions that the narrator’s story would make a good novel, the brain went into overdrive.   Charnel House Blues was a literary approach to the vampire genre and developed into a view of vampire culture through the eyes of Lord Ruthven – the first vampire in the literary world from Polidori’s novella The Vampyre.  Lord Ruthven rarely appears in vampire anthologies and had never been filmed – but neither has he ever been vanquished.

As my vampire introduced himself in the Prologue …

“It’s a sorry fact, but vampires aren’t what they used to be. I should know because I’m the last remaining member of my species from the ancient world; although if I’m brutally honest, this longevity is as much the product of becoming the alter idem of that club-footed Casanova, George Gordon, the sixth Lord Byron than any fortitude on my part. In truth, my roots are hinted at in that half-forgotten Fragment that was Byron’s contribution to the Villa Diodati ghost story competition – for His Lordship was familiar with the decomposing vampire legends of the Eastern Mediterranean, even if John Polidori was not! But I get ahead of myself …

Today’s vampires are a sorry lot. For 144 episodes, they allowed some chit of a girl to systematically vanquish anything and everything that smacked of vampirism, demons or any other forces of darkness in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. The series catered for the young-adult market that tends to elevate action over subtly in the pursuit of its entertainment, and who still think that vampires are ‘cool’. Well, we are to the touch, but I didn’t think I’d ever live to see the day when the need to kill humans merely to exist would become de rigueur – for me it remains one of Life’s bare necessities rather than actual pleasure. Nevertheless, I have always had a penchant for young ladies (preferably over highschool age) but the current glamorised trend for this kind of televised fiction makes the contemporary variety so susceptible to the vampire’s ‘kiss’ – and, as the man said, ‘the living is easy’.

At least The Vampire Chronicles harked back to the good old days of taste and refinement, but hell’s teeth, Louis de Pointe du Lac was a feeble creature! His character had a permanent, petulant whine, with a persistently complaining note in it, which is about the most irritating trait any human voice can contain. The nightmare of being shut in close confinement with him throughout the daylight hours of eternity would have been enough to cause any vampiric companion to impale him (or herself) on a boar spear and instantly perish. Mr Pitt (the actor not the politician) portrayed him admirably.

Lestat was cast more in the mould of a traditional vampire, but even he had some rather unsavoury and undiscerning habits that are, frankly, quite unpalatable to any self-respecting vampire. In short, Lestat de Lioncourt was a pervert in anybody’s language, living or un-dead, who breached the realms of good taste and would kill anything with a pulse. And as for that infant Claudia – a petulant brat of a child, and even more so in her maturity – that idea was enough to set the alarm bells ringing in any premature burial, because who in their right mind would turn a five-year old child into a vampire without a thought for the consequences? I rest my case.

It must be evident that I am extremely well read when it comes to both classic and contemporary vampire fiction – after all there is very little to keep me amused in this world after rattling around the echoing vaults of eternity for so long. The film versions I watch on DVD, as the close proximity of so much sweating humanity I find unnerving in the close confines of a cinema. Some, I would truly class as ‘horror films’ due to their poor production or storylines rather than any horrifying elements in the script – after all, fact is often more horrifying than fiction.

For the true vampire’s taste, blood should be savoured like fine wine, which means of course, that we do not go on a nightly rampage killing indiscriminately. The prey should be carefully selected and stalked with a hunter’s eye – for who knows what trash that lithesome lovely may be using to pollute her body behind closed doors. An unspoiled Group A RH Positive should only be consumed once a month and savoured, whilst a weekly intake of an inferior drug or drink laced concoction would be the equivalent of binge-drinking courtesy of Oddbins! Snobbery perhaps, but there is undoubtedly a connection with the mystique of blood and the assumption of the superiority of one blood over another, but as the Romans would have observed: de gustibus non est disputandum – ‘there’s no accounting for tastes’.

I must also confess to a sneaking support for Jung and his ‘collective unconscious’ that harks back to certain primordial images for the basis of inducing uncontrollable and irrational fear into the mind of modern man. John Polidori, however, and to some extent that tiresome wench Caroline Lamb, unwittingly created a more ‘modern’ archetypal persona for the traditional vampire in the collective unconscious that superseded the ‘race memory’ version from folklore. If they hadn’t written with such passionate hatred when creating their Lord Ruthven, the image of this deadly aristocrat would have remained securely within the realms of fiction and probably forgotten. Poor old George wasn’t really half as bad as he was painted, but in his vampiric manifestation, he remains ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ – his reputation living on to fuel the fantasy of the un-dead in my own incarnation.

Ironically, I find that I have now become a ‘genre’ which often causes me to smile.And believe me, my friend, you have never fully lived until you’ve seen a vampire smile …”

Needless to say, in the first novel of the series – Spartan Dog – we quickly realise that Alastor Darvell is not an ordinary vampire. He learned his survival skills at the Krypteia, the equivalent of the Spartan ‘special forces’ and his powerful esoteric knowledge has been bequeathed from a long line of ancient Egyptian magicians – which tend to make him pretty well invincible. Forced against his will to become a vrykolakas – or ‘avenger of the blood’ – Alastor embarks on an endless voyage of discovery, persecution, boredom and loneliness as he searches the world … for others of his kind – hoping to find the secret of his release from the cycle of everlasting life.

In order to add balance and an interesting modern sub-plot, not only does his story reflect the trials and tribulations of the Old World, he also finds himself embroiled in a contemporary intrigue that runs parallel with his narrative and which threatens to expose him to the unknown dangers of the 21st century. Nevertheless, he has a powerful guardian in the beautiful, but long-dead Egyptian sorceress Amenirdis whose influence reaches out from beyond the grave to protect him. The second novel in the series, The Wanderer, takes Alastor on a new phase of his long and varied existence.for others of his kind – hoping to find the secret of his release from the cycle of everlasting life.

Spartan Dog: The Vampyre’s Tale by Suzanne Ruthven is published by Ignotus Press Uk ISBN: 978 1 78697 842 4 and available in paperback and e-book format.

Book News & Reviews …

WHITTLEWOOD – a novel by Suzanne Ruthven.

From time to time I will be introducing reviews for books that are complementary to traditional British Old Craft and the Khemetic Mysteries … or just because they contain their fair share of ‘magical truths’ that are pertinent to all Paths and Traditions. Wisdom isn’t confined to a single belief system and sometimes we can benefit from a different viewpoint … even if it’s not remotely connected to the Path we personally follow.

WHITTLEWOOD by Suzanne Ruthven

 First published by ignotus press in 1997 this magical novel has developed a bit of a cult following over the years …

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

And a 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.”

 

Published by Ignotus Press UK : ISBN 978 1 78697 688 8

 

Book review:

TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT FOR THE SEASHORE

Do the waves speak to you?

Craft practitioner and teacher Draco begins her Traditional Witchcraft series with a look at the magical setting created by the powerful combination of water, light, and moon. While most people associate Craft work with forests and meadows, Draco calls our attention to the magic of coastal landscapes shaped by the sea. She introduces us to Sea-Witches and tells us that the best time to do drawing magic is just before the high tide reaches its peak. She lets us know that estuaries foster chaos but are also sacred places of rebirth.

The book is chock full of physical plane information (weather, clouds, salt, driftwood, scallop shells) and merges science and magic. There are concise but brilliant instructions for doing rituals, magical tasks, and other exercises.

Decades ago, a Polish taxi driver in Krakow told me that if he was going fishing and he saw a priest or a nun, he turned around and went home because it meant bad luck on the sea. According to Draco, fisherman are the last bastion of pagan lore as opposed to modern religious hierarchies.

Draco’s Traditional Witchcraft series is truly a find for anyone interested in the emerging high-level rebirth of natural spirituality. She has gathered her information with loving care and an attention to detail. She presents it flawlessly. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

TAROTWISE.COM

© 2018 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Book News & Reviews …

Review of The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World and Liber Aegyptius: Book of Egyptian Magic by Mélusine Draco

From time to time I will be introducing reviews for books that are complementary to traditional British Old Craft and the Khemetic Mysteries … or just because they contain their fair share of ‘magical truths’ that are pertinent to all Paths and Traditions. Wisdom isn’t confined to a single belief system and sometimes we can benefit from a different viewpoint … even if it’s not remotely connected to the Path we personally follow.

 Review of The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World and Liber Aegyptius: Book of Egyptian Magic by Mélusine Draco

Reviewer: Selina White

 

The Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World

This book is a unique and innovative text that demonstrates ancient Egyptian wisdom and magical practice as being a living tradition which can be applied and worked with in our modern world. In this regard, it contains a workable calendar compiled from genuine religious texts such as those contained in the British and Cairo Museums which the practitioner can sync up with their own personal calendar and incorporate into their daily magical practice. It also contains further examples of how we can use ancient Egyptian wisdom and practices in our modern magical lives, such as via amulet making, the creation of sacred space, lucid dreaming techniques, making magical pouches, psychic development, cleansing and purification exercises, and visualisation and meditation techniques. The book provides a miscellany of prayers and invocations to both major and minor deities of the Egyptian pantheon as well as powerful pathworkings along stellar, solar and lunar lines. This book greatly assists the reader in understanding the worldview and perspective of the ancient people of Khem by providing a large amount of information on the history, cosmology, religion, and philosophy that permeated through this magical culture. A highly recommended sourcebook for ancient Egyptian spiritual practice applicable today.

Published by Moon Books www.moon-books.net in paperback and e-book format

 

Liber Aegyptius: Book of Egyptian Magic

This book takes a practical and realistic approach to working along Egyptian magical lines and emphasises a study of the real and living tradition of Khem by merging a strong awareness of historical and archaeological evidence including recent findings and data along with more traditional writings and approaches towards the subject area. It provides a helpful summary of Egyptian history and cosmology as well as descriptions of the three magical paths that one can take in terms of practising Egyptian magic, together with the various aspects to each path and how one can practice along each particular path. The book contains ritual suggestions and encourages the reader to take their own steps in this regard, emphasising the importance of visualisation and imagination as a magical tool. It is accessible and readable although classified by the author as not being a book for the beginner magician. It contains good suggestions for further research and exploration of the Egyptian mystery tradition. Overall, this publication is a veritable handbook of modern Egyptian magical practice requiring a good foundation in magical practice generally and it provides important required reading for the Temple of Khem’s correspondence course.

Publishing in paperback format by Ignotus Press UK

Book News

PAGAN PORTALS: The Power of the Elements

How to find deeper meaning in magical workings with Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit and connect with the Old Ways.

Many contemporary pagan titles rarely go further than describing the use of the elemental energies as markers in casting the Circle. In this book we consider drawing on the energy from the deepest levels of the ocean, the highest peaks of the mountains, the limits of outer space and the path of the hurricane. And why it is so important to return to the Classic Elements of the Greeks if we really want our magic to work.

A companion volume to By Spellbook & Candle, By Wolfsbane & Mandrake Root and Divination: By Rod, Birds & Fingers.
Published by Moon Books, The Power of the Elements will not be available until late 2018 – so watch this space …