Book News & New Releases

PAGAN PORTALS:

DIVINATION – by rod, fingers and birds

By Melusine Draco

Publication: Early in the New Year 2018

It was Robert Cochrane who originally coined those now famous words:

“If one who claims to be a Witch can perform the tasks of Witchcraft, i.e. summon the spirits and they come, can divine with rod, fingers and birds.  If they can also claim the right to the omens and have them; have the power to call, heal and curse and above all, can tell the maze and cross the Lethe, then you have a witch.”

Divination, of course, is only a small part of a witch’s stock in trade and although a very basic introduction to the subject can be learned from books, proficiency will only come through vigorous practice. This proficiency comes through the discovery of certain secret matters by a great variety of means, – correspondences, signs and occult techniques – and before a witch can perform any of these operations with any degree of success, we need to develop the ‘art of seeing’ and the ability to ‘divine with rod, fingers and birds’.

 Divination is what I would refer to as the practical element of Craft magic, and we don’t even have to be witches to be able to read the portents.  But it helps!

Published by Moon Books, this is a companion volume to Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle and Pagan Portals: By Wolfsbane & Mandrake Root 

 

Book News & New Releases

PAGAN PORTALS: HAVE A COOL YULE

How to Enjoy (and Survive) the Mid-Winter Festival

By Melusine Draco

 Publication date: 24th November 2017           

Around December the internet is full of pagan postings bemoaning the fact that they hate Christmas – this book has been written in an attempt to show why we should look upon it as one of the most important festivals in the pagan calendar.

For the entire Pagan community Christmas should be one of the most sacred times of the year, but the lack of any formal written liturgy has consigned the festival to a minor observance in the Pagan calendar. Have a Cool Yule demonstrates that history proves the festival to be a wholly Pagan event, worthy of being acknowledged as one of the Great Festivals along with Beltaine and Samhain. 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 are Briton, Celt, Norse or Anglo-Saxon.

Have A Cool Yule by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in both e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978-1-78535-711-4 (Paperback) £6.99 $10.95 edit | deleteor 978-1-78535-712-1 (e-book) £3.99 $5.99 edit | deleteFor more information go to http://www.moon-books.net

The story behind …

Root & Branch: British Magical Tree Lore by Melusine Draco

 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 …

 Trees are an integral part of traditional British Old Craft and this illustrated title was originally published by ignotus press in 2002.  Unfortunately it went out of print when the press ceased publishing but has now been extended and expanded in its current version.  Favourably received by both the Forestry Commission and the National Trust, Root & Branch covers all aspects of the indigenous trees of the British Isles that our ancient ancestors would have known.

The idea was first formed due to the growing number of books on witchcraft that were including all manner of trees that were not native to these shores. It’s a fact that the majority of trees now growing in the British Isles are those introduced by man because of their practical use or purely for their beauty. The Romans brought the edible chestnut and walnut trees; in later years the Norway spruce, cedar of Lebanon, horse chestnut and sycamore became naturalised. And as beautiful as they are, they have no roots in traditional British Old Craft.

The indigenous trees dig deep into the beliefs, customs, superstitions, folk-medicine and folklore of our ancestors and, in order to keep these channel clear, the traditional witch should eschew the inclusion of any non-native species in their magical workings.  To help with the understanding of the trees, I included the natural history, country-crafts and folk-beliefs attached to each tree and shrubs, to the practical magical uses of its wood, fruit and leaves in order to return tree-lore to its rightful place within traditional witchcraft.

Throughout our long history, forests have been places of shelter, providing food for man and fodder for the animals; the wood for fuel (i.e. warmth and cooking) and for making weapons and other utensils. At the same time they have also been places of fear, where the temperamental Faere Folk, wood sprites and elementals lurked in the dappled shadows.

Even today, few places can rival an English oak wood in early summer for peace and beauty with its carpet of primroses and bluebells. Or the cathedral-like majesty of the autumn beech wood with the sun’s light filtering through the leaves. Or the brooding quiet of the ancient holly wood. Perhaps it is not surprising that our remote ancestors performed their acts of worship in forest clearings and woodland glades, for this is where they came face to face with ‘Nature’ – however they chose to see it.

Root & Branch: British Magical Tree Lore by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK in e-book and paperback format and available from Amazon. ISBN: 978 1 78697 477 1 : 160 pages : £7.99

The story behind …

Black Horse, White Horse; Power Animals Within Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco

 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 …

Originally published as White Horse by Rupert Percy (ghost written by Melusine Draco) as a follow on to Coarse Witchcraft: Craft Working in 2003, the copyright passed back to the ghost writer and was subsequently re-written and extended before being published by Moon Books in 2013.  The original cover blurb was: ‘Written from a professional horseman’s perspective, White Horse reveals how the dynamism of equine energy can be harnessed in magical rites of protection and conjuration.  Here are first-hand accounts of the traditional Horse ~Whisperer’s skill and the famous ‘Blacksmith’s Curse’.

As a stable-mate of Aubrey’s Dog, Black Horse, White Horse was intended as a series on power animals within witchcraft but unfortunately wires were crossed when this book was submitted for publication. Like Aubrey’s Dog, it landed up under the ‘Shaman Pathways’ listing instead of ‘Pagan Portals’ and as a result many witches have missed out thinking it had been written for shamans. It also has the distinction of being described by the late Michael Howard as the worst book cover he’d ever seen!  Nevertheless, it is hoped that the content will compensate for these short-comings …

Black Horse, White Horse by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in the Shaman Pathways series in both e-book and paperback format. ISBN: 978 1 78099 747 6 : 84 pages : UK£4.99/US$9.95

For more information go to www.moon-books.net

Book News & New Releases …

The Hollow Tree by Melusine Draco

The Hollow Tree: An Elementary Guide to the Qabalah & Tarot was first published in workbook format by Corvus Books in 1999 with an extended paperback version in 2002.  And like The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery compiled from my own extensive notes to help me find my own way around these mutually fascinating subjects.  Both magical disciplines are a series of overlays which can be almost impenetrable to the newcomer unless there is a key …

The problem in understanding the workings of the Qabalah lies in the largely incomprehensible and exhaustive list of publications available to the beginner which automatically begs the question:  “Where do I start?”

Firstly, I discovered it was necessary to understand the origins and antecedents of both the Tarot and Qabalah as two completely different systems that had undergone multiple translations, adaptations, additions and changes across the centuries.  The Qabalistic Tree of Life has been around for well over 2000 years, representing an analogy for the Absolute, the Universe, Man and Everything — its very roots dig deep into the molten core of the Earth, while its uppermost branches reach out to infinity.  And vice versa.

The ‘magical’ version familiar to 20th century occultists is that expanded and revised by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century, and by Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley in the 20th.  The ‘Tree’ finally metamorphosed into a mystical step-ladder by which means the magician could unite himself with, or become the One, by rising up through the spheres, scaling the ladder of the ten sephiroth to reach God.  It could also represent an over-all blue-print of how the Universe came into being, in a cosmic game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’. Crowley maintained that every student should compile their own Tree as this is the most effective and individualistic method of understanding much of what passes for ritual magic in most of the modern Traditions.  The Hollow Tree strips all this highfaluting down to the barest framework, so the beginner can re-construct his or her own Qabalah without getting bogged down with the intricacies of weighty, unfamiliar or alien concepts.

A Word of Warning: Reading this book will not make you a Qabalist 

Neither will it give you the ability to go hurtling through the cosmos, taking all in your stride.  All it will give you is the means to find your way around the Tree and enable you to  devise your  own system using those deities which are pertinent to your own Tradition, without archangels and suchlike getting in the way.  Make no mistake, however, this is basic, elementary training at beginner level.

Like most magical systems, however, there is rarely one true answer to any question and for the purpose of this book, I used Crowley’s system, because of the familiarity with the ‘Atus of Tahuti’ Tarot deck and its accompanying Book of Thoth.  For the ritual magician who is not happy with the Crowley influence, however, there is the Golden Dawn Tarot, while other Traditions can usually find another compatible deck with which they feel more at ease.

Copies of the original illustrated paperback version of The Hollow Tree: An Elementary Guide to the Qabalah & Tarot are still available from Ignotus Press UK – price £9.99 including postage.  ISBN: 0 9522689 8 1. For more information email: ignotuspressuk@gmail.com or melusinedraco777@gmail.com

 

 

The story behind …

The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy by Rupert Percy and Gabrielle Sidonie

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 …

 The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy  by Rupert Percy and Gabrielle Sodinie

Introduced by Melusine Draco

 As I’ve often said before, Coarse Witchcraft is like Marmite – you either love or hate it. In its own way, however, I think the Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy represents a small but important capsule of Craft history that we have been lucky enough to preserve for the next generation of witches. But it very nearly didn’t happen …

Fans of the Coarse Witchcraft series are aware of the story behind the trilogy. How the original authors were unhappy with the proposed ideas for publishing the first book as humour instead of the polemic typescript they had originally proposed. They finally agreed for the text to be given to me (as a fellow Old Crafter) to ghost-write and Coarse Witchcraft: Craft Working was duly published by ignotus press – provoking more good natured laughter about British witchcraft than we could have expected in our wildest dreams. I also unashamedly nicked the title idea from an old chum of mine, Michael Green, who was the author of ‘The Art of Coarse …’ series.

I think the nicest thing that was said about the first in the series came from esoteric author and another long-time chum, Alan Richardson, who said of the book: ‘Coarse Witchcraft made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. In fact, I think it is the first book of its kind; although it pokes fun at modern excesses and can laugh at itself, it still manages to teach the real stuff at a very high level.’

 There was almost enough material left from the first book to launch a second: Coarse Witchcraft 2: Carry On Crafting, with plans for a third. It was dedicated to all those Crafters who believe that reverence should be tempered with mirth and merriment – and was as equally well received as the first. For reasons that will become apparent, the third (and last) title has been a long time in the writing. Coarse Witchcraft 3: Cold Comfort Coven is written in the same vein as the previous books, and in its own way continues the unexpected, but true, story of the Coven from the numerous notes supplied by, and lengthy conversations with, the original members.

Despite the popularity of the books, however, the original authors decided to hand all copyright back to the ghost-writer who had created the series (with the proviso that the real names of the characters should never be revealed), and retire from the scene.  We have kept to our word but this still doesn’t stop people trying to hunt them down and in my hearing (not knowing of my connection to the books) have claimed to have worked with the group, or personally knowing who various characters are. The first book revealed the attitudes of the 1980s when Craft antecedents were much more rigidly scrutinised than they are now; the second book was a product of the 1990s reflecting the more relaxed approach between the various pagan factions; while the third was a product of the 2000s to close the Circle, as it were.

Published as The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy by Moon Books in 2013 in both e-book and paperback.  ISBN: 978 1 78279 285 7 : 256 pages : Price UK£10.99/US$18.95

 

The story behind …

Aubrey’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco

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 …

 Shaman Pathways: Aubrey’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco

I make no bones about it, I am a dog person.  I think dog, speak dog and have been pack-leader of ten – but age has its price and I’m now down to six.  My dogs are free dogs and they live as a pack, secure in a pecking order that was established many years ago and has been handed down as younger dogs came in.  And with this natural pack mentality comes the magical energy that fuels the dynamic of the group.  Dogs are very magical creatures but they often overlooked in this capacity because of their familiarity and many witches associate power animals with the wild.

Dogs inhabit the realms of Otherworld just as easily as witches and shamans do since they are spirit guardians, psychopomps, familiars and messengers from ancient times – and as such they guide us, guard us and generally keep us from harm, both in this world and out of it. Folklore is the happy hunting ground for dogs since there are countless encounters with Black Shuck and those other big black dogs that inhabit out of the way places and roam the winter skies as part of the Wild Hunt. We can draw energy from our dog to channel into magical workings and we must not overlook the ‘Hounds of Hell’ we conjure up to carry that famous curse to our victim.

But on a more lighter side, dogs have been medically proven to have tremendous healing powers of their own.  Dogs have become people’s eyes and act as ‘assistant dogs’ for those with all sorts of disabilities; they join the police force as sniffer dogs and lead the rescue teams to find those trapped in collapsed buildings or lost in inhospitable landscapes.  And if that’s not magic I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately wires were crossed when this book was submitted for publication and it landed up under the ‘Shaman Pathways’ listing instead of ‘Pagan Portals’ and as a result many witches have missed out thinking it had been written for shamans.

Aubrey’s Dog by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in the Shaman Pathways series in both e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978 1 78099 724 7 : 84 pages : Price UK£4.99/US$9.95.  For more information go to www.moon-books.net