The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery

Every good reference book is both a product and a reflection of its time. The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery is not just another compendium or dictionary of occultism: it is a jumping-off point for further research. Here, the reader will find the ancient and modern interpretation for magical and mystical terms, together with explanations for the differences between the varied (and often conflicting) approaches to magic. You will also find both the common, the regional, and the obscure, because even popular usage can often distill the true essence from original meaning.

There are historical and archeological references that are essential in helping to put the past into perspective, whether we are talking about witchcraft, ritual magic, or the different paths and traditions from the East. Added to all this information are some of the sacred sites that are associated with our pagan past; together with thumbnail sketches of the well-known (and sometimes dubious) personalities who have been associated with the pursuit of magical knowledge throughout the centuries.

With over 3000 entries, together with 26 mini-features, The Dictionary is a must have on any writer’s shelf – in paperback or e-book format:

The Ancestors in Traditional Witchcraft

Black Magic, White Magic

Charms and Spells

Discarnate Entities & Extra-terrestrial Intelligences

Earth Mysteries

Folk Medicine: Nature’s Medicine Chest

Gemstones, Rocks & Crystals

Tree Lore: Hawthorn

Isles of the Blessed

Julian – The First Pagan Martyr

Karma & Reincarnation

Lammas and the Harvest Home

Magic – What is it?

Natural Tides

Traditional British Old Craft

The Power of Mythos

Qabalah

The Influence of Roman Gods in Britain

Seasonal Celebrations

Thelema

Underworld and Otherworld

Psychic Vampires

Words & Names of Power

The X-Factor

Yesod: Temple of the Moon

The Egyptian Zodiac

The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery – compiled by Melusine Draco : published by Moon Books in paperback and e-book format. ISBN 978 1 84694 462 8 UK£12.99/US$22.95

 

REVIEWS:

THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC AND MYSTERY The Definitive Guide to the Mysterious, the Magical and the Supernatural. Compiled by Melusine Draco (Moon Books/John Hunt Publishing £12.99/US$22.95 370pp) Melusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts and traditional British witchcraft with Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton and their Coven of the Scales. This book does what it says on the cover, although some may feel it is not the definite guide to the subject. It is an A-Z of witchcraft, magic and occultism with over 3000 entries ranging from the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance to Zoanthopy (divination by observing candle flames). There are also 26 short articles by the compiler on various aspects of the occult. This is an excellent book for the beginner, and even those with more experience as it is impossible to know about everything. Recommended. Michael Howard. The Cauldron
Sally Spedding | The New Writer
I admit that I don’t normally ‘read’ dictionaries, but this one by Mélusine Draco really is as gripping as any thriller. The proverbial page-turner, with its tantalising introduction and often startling entries. Every fiction or non-fiction writer should give this wonderful reference book space on their desks, not only to show what lies beneath our present day, so-called ‘civilisations,’ but also as a conduit to what may well lie beyond. To step from their comfort zones and give their work ambition, fresh interest. A need to take the reader on more unusual journeys.I am convinced of a growing fascination with alternative spiritualities. Of other ways of living life and of dying. Melusine Draco, delivers her expert and painstaking research into all this in such a way that will surely ignite further enthusiasm. She takes us from the Argentinium Astrum – the Order of the Great white Brotherhood (Adepts) founded by Aleister Crowley; the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance; Alphitomancy – which will make you look at barley bread in a new light – to the Field of Reeds and Dead Man’s Teeth, to Sea Witches and beyond.I found myself making excited notes on Podomancy, Cramp Rings and the Angel of Death – and already wondering where these different springboards could lead. Within the dictionary format, the work is helpfully constructed into sections, ie; Black Magic, White Magic, while references for further research are relevant and not too copious. In a crowded marketplace where the ups and downs in publishing are ever more pronounced, I’m convinced this amazing volume will stir the writer’s imagination and help to get their work noticed. Unique and memorable.

Sally Spedding: author

Book News …

Just received notification that the contract for the foreign rights on Have a Cool Yule: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Winter Festival has just been signed with a French publisher.  It can take two or more years for the book to come out (after translation etc.) but … hey! … who cares … can now claim to be an international as well as a best-selling author.  Happy Lammas!

If you don’t particularly enjoy the family Christmas observances and you’re of a pagan persuasion, now’s the time to start planning your own Yuletide festivities.

Pagan Portals: Have a Cool Yule by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books ISBN: 878 1 78535 711 4 – UK£6.99/US$10.95 http://www.moon-books.net in paperback or e-book format

Author biography

As most of my readers will know, I have a fascination for odd and obscure historical facts that are hidden away in the millions of sources that outstrip and confound the confines of the Internet – it’s finding them that presents the stimulation and the challenge. If we merely rely on the regurgitated information of contemporary paganism not only does our mind become stagnant, but for those who follow the Craft of the witch, so do our magical abilities.

Over the years I have also incorporated a great deal of folk and country lore into my books on witchcraft with a view to preserving the knowledge for future generations. Much of what even my grandparents’ generation once knew is now lost because it was never recorded for posterity. True there are numerous pagan books written about similar subjects but it is obvious that a large number of them don’t have the countryside in their blood and fail to reflect the magic and mystery of growing up in an uncomplicated rural environment. Strangely enough, these sentiments are often now viewed as some form of elitism but I prefer to go back to the roots of learning rather than consult something that has been cobbled together from different popular titles without any true grounding in country lore.

Web: www.covenofthescales.com and www.templeofkhem.com

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/melusine-draco.blog

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Book News …

The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons was inspired by Chet Raymo’s book of similar title that chronicled his own daily urban 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 urban paths as part of our daily fitness regime or dog walk.  And, as if arising from this external creative impulse The Path began to unravel in the mind’s eye … based on several urban 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 so that ‘even in the city’s throng we feel the freshness of the streams …

Now perhaps becomes obvious why ‘gleaning’ was chosen as part of the title for The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons because it means to collect information in small amounts and often with difficulty.  The conditions of farm workers in the 1890s made gleaning essential because it was the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or on fields where it was not economically profitable to harvest. In other words, we are picking up bits and pieces of information to add to our meager store of knowledge in order to supplement our life-style and its modern links with the natural world.  And A Simple Guide to Well-Being & Awareness … well, as Dryden wrote:  ‘what herbs and Simples grow. In fields and forests, all their powers I know’ when referring to using a single herb or plant in a medicinal way.

The first draft of this book is now complete an will be submitted to Moon Books in the next few weeks but it will probably be the end of 2020 before it’s published.

Book News …

THE ARTE OF DARKNESS: Magic & Mystery From the Shadows

by Melusine Draco

 Evil is simply misplaced force. It can be misplaced in time: like the violence that is acceptable in war, is unacceptable in peace. It can be misplaced in space: like a burning coal on a rug rather than the fireplace. Or it can be misplaced in proportion: like an excess of love can make us overly sentimental, or a lack of love can make us cruel and destructive. It is in things such as these that evil lies, not in a personal Devil who acts as an Adversary,’ so says the Qabalah.

Nevertheless, there is an increasing tendency these days for groups and individuals to portray themselves as being more exciting, adventurous, or more magically competent by covering themselves with the mantle of ‘Darkness’. Such people believe they know everything there is to know about the ‘arte of darkness’ but more often than not, whatever knowledge they have, it is not enough since they are ‘loaded to the gunwales with a cargo of conceit’. Let’s make no bones about it – there is no such thing as Black and White Magic – and the realms of Darkness and Shadow are an intrinsic part of everyday magical practice regardless of path, creed or tradition. Magic used only for good purposes is only singing half the Mass!

 

The Arte of Darkness by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK 262 pages : ISBN 978 1 78876 919 8 : Available direct from the printer at discounted prices

https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Arte-of-Darkness.aspx

Book extract …

Wort-Lore: the Craft of Witches

By Hemlock, Mandrake & Adder’s Tongue

Compiled by Melusine Draco

 Hundred eyes (periwinkle – Vinca major) as incense, infusion sprays, sachet. Use: Reduces anger and anxiety and is ideal for use in binding spells. It was a favourite flower with cunning folk for making charms and love-philtres and was one of the plants believed to have power to banish evil spirits. In Macer’s Herbal we read of its potency against ‘wykked spirytis’, while Apuleius, in his Herbarium (1480), gives elaborate directions for its harvesting:

‘This wort is of good advantage for many purposes, that is to say, first against devil sickness and demoniacal possessions and against snakes and wild beasts and against poisons and for various wishes and for envy and for terror and that thou mayst have grace, and if thou hast the wort with thee thou shalt be prosperous and ever acceptable. This wort thou shalt pluck thus, saying, “I pray thee, vinca pervinca, thee that art to be had for thy many useful qualities, that thou come to me glad blossoming with thy mainfulness, that thou outfit me so that I be shielded and ever prosperous and undamaged by poisons and by water”; when thou shalt pluck this wort, thou shalt be clean of every uncleanness, and thou shalt pick it when the moon is nine nights old and eleven nights and thirteen nights and thirty nights and when it is one night old.’

Also known as: big-leaf periwinkle, large periwinkle, greater periwinkle, blue periwinkle and sorcerer’s violet.

Order direct from the printers at a discounted price:

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Wort-Lore-the-Craft-of-Witches-9781788764490.aspx

Book extract

THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC  & MYSTERY

Every good reference book is both a product and a reflection of its time. The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery is not just another compendium or dictionary of occultism: it is a jumping-off point for further research. Here, the reader will find the ancient and modern interpretation for magical and mystical terms, together with explanations for the differences between the varied (and often conflicting) approaches to magic. You will also find both the common, the regional, and the obscure, because even popular usage can often distill the true essence from original meaning. There are historical and archeological references that are essential in helping to put the past into perspective, whether we are talking about witchcraft, ritual magic, or the different paths and traditions from the East. Added to all this information are some of the sacred sites that are associated with our pagan past; together with thumbnail sketches of the well-known (and sometimes dubious) personalities who have been associated with the pursuit of magical knowledge throughout the centuries.  This is an example of one of the mini-essays that complement the entries:

Lammas and the Harvest Home

During the autumn of 1621 the settlers at Plymouth Colony gathered to give thanks for the harvest after their first year in the New World. That was America’s first Thanksgiving, but it has grown into probably the most important family occasion of the year, where everyone gathers to enjoy a meal of roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Its roots, however, have their origin in the traditional Harvest Supper – or Harvest Home – of the English farming community.

In truth, the practice of holding a Harvest Festival service was only established in the 19th century in an attempt to control the Harvest Home celebrations, which the Church of the time considered too raucously pagan!

Harvest celebrations were some of the holiest of the pagan year. Traditionally, the harvest continued for most of August from Lammas, when bread was made from the first corn to be cut; right through to the last fruits being gathered in early September. Any housewife worth her salt would be bottling fruit, making pickles and jams, drying herbs and preparing potions from the natural harvest in the hedgerows for the months ahead when the fresh ingredients would not be available.

There has always been a spiritual quality surrounding harvest time: a celebration of the good things that have happened during the year. A perfect time to gather friends and family together for a celebratory supper in a spirit of thanksgiving, whether we are urban or rural dwellers, market trader or stock-market trader. And although the American celebration is held on the fourth Thursday in November, a Harvest Home should be around the Harvest Moon, or Autumn Equinox.

A typical 17th century Harvest Supper would have consisted of ‘… puddings, bacon or boiled beef, flesh or apple pies, and then cream brought in platters… hot cakes and ale…’ A Witch’s Treasury for Hearth & Garden brought the menu up to date with home-made soup, honey-glazed ham, apple pie with cream and a selection of cheeses, served with celery, accompanied by good beer, cider or robust red wine. To set the atmosphere, display any freshly prepared produce for decoration as this will be your own harvest festival. If you’ve made jams or pickles, give each guest a jar as a gesture of sharing.

Should your talents lean more towards the arty, give each guest a corn dolly to take home. Corn has long been regarded as the embodiment of productivity and fruitfulness; a simple plait of corn straw tied with ribbon can be hung in the kitchen to insure a productive year to come. It would also be nice to think that the modern ‘wheel of the year’ isn’t always driven by the need to use the festivals for spellcasting. Before the end of the meal, make sure everyone has a full glass and propose a toast to your own equivalent of the ‘bounty of the harvest’, and ask your guests to join you in pouring a libation on the ground outside. Even in financially-troubled times, we still have something to be grateful for and if we can reintroduce the spirit of thanksgiving at the turning of the year, we will be reconnecting with the simple faith of our forebears.

‘Thanksgiving’ isn’t about preserving ye olde pagan ways with copious amounts of cider swilling, accompanied by endless verses of John Barleycorn, it’s about bringing together family and close friends for the purpose of celebration. An annual pilgrimage back to our pagan roots, or to wherever our pagan roots have been transplanted. We can gather around the simple kitchen table, or set the dining room glistening with starched linen, crystal and silver. There is no preset formula of observance… just the willingness to enjoy each other’s company, count our blessings and reflect on our good fortune.

The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books : ISBN 978 1 84694 462 8 : 3333 entries 370 pages : Price UK£12.99/IUS$22.95 from http://www.moon-books.net