The story behind …

Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones

The Magical Lore of Crystals, Minerals and Gemstones

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 …

Although Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones is drawn mainly from European and British geological findings, the same lessons can be learned about any area of the globe, since all the continents were originally joined together by the great equatorial landmass of Pangea some two hundred and fifty million years ago. Discover what geological formations make up your part of the world, and which different crystals and minerals are peculiar to those rocks. The magical and sacred uses of the stones may differ slightly between continents and cultures, but the fundamental makeup of the rocks from which they come remains eternal.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Mériém Clay- Egerton, herself a Doctor of Geology, who had a life-long passion for archaeology and anthropology, and who brought both art and science into the realms of magical teaching. These activities led to an even more intimate association with the Earth and its rock formations by active participation in caving and climbing. Together with her husband Bob, they founded the first cave rescue team in the Peak District, and are both still remembered with great respect in caving circles.

Strangely enough, writing in the archaeology journal Time and Mine in June 2017 just five years after Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones went to press, Dr. Andy Jones and colleague Thomas Goskar from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, observed that:

“As in many cultures where darkness is associated with the supernatural and the heightening of senses, it is possible that some activities at Hendraburnick Quoit may have been undertaken at night. Quartz has luminescent properties and reflects both moonlight and firelight. Given that the human eye perceives color and shade quite differently at night than by daylight and the art would have been visible in moonlit conditions, the smashed quartz at Hendraburnick could have been used as part of night time activity on the site in order to ‘release’ the luminescent properties of the quartz around the monument and ‘reveal’ the art in a particular way. After the ritual, the broken pieces, once they had fallen on the ground, could have effectively formed a wider platform or arc which would have continued to glisten around it in the moonlight, and thereby added to the ‘aura’ of the site.”

To add to the interest, Dr Jones and his team found a layer of slate beneath the 16-ton quoit, indicating it was dragged there from a site down in the river valley and is therefore not a natural formation. Fifty years after the quartz (and slate) factor was included in CoS magical teaching, it now comes to the fore again in archaeological circles, demonstrating how advanced the Clay-Egerton’s magical teachings were at the time.

Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones by Melusine Draco is published in paperback and e-book format by Axis Mundi Books.  ISBN 976 1 78099 137 5 : 186 pages : Price UK£11.99/US$19.95

Book News & New Releases

New … CRONE!

A Year in the Life of an Old Craft Witch with Melusine Draco

Setting the Scene (extract)

On reflection life is good and it’s not everyone who can live the witch’s dream of retiring to a small, isolated cottage in a river valley in the shadow of a wild mountain range. Since I’m country born and bred, it’s more like returning to my roots but life’s rich tapestry has certainly had its fair share of snags, runs, holes and endless thread-pulling along the way. I’ve lived in the Glen for ten years now and although my original pack of greyhound companions has been reduced drastically through old-age, I’m still pack-leader of five … not forgetting Harvey my intrepid little mongrel!

The Glen is ideally suited to the type of magic we teach in Coven of the Scales simply because we are not over-looked – psychically or magically – and nothing is allowed to interfere with the daily routine of interacting with Nature on a full-time basis. The cottage is on the opposite side of the Glen to the mountains, on the wooded Slievenamuck Ridge with a lush valley and the River Aherlow running between. The view of the mountains 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. Each morning I can stand at the bedroom window and stare out with the feeling that this is an ever-lasting holiday – and one I often share with members of the Coven.

The Galtees (Na Gaibhlte) are Ireland’s highest inland mountain range, a high ridge which rises up almost sheer from the surrounding plain, the highest peak being Galteemore. As far as the geology is concerned, two major periods of glaciation affected the area and the rounded summits of the Galtee peaks were formed due to the higher parts being above the ice. The constant freeze-thaw action on the higher rocks gradually wore the peaks down to form the stony, scree covered summits we see today. This glacial action also formed corries on the higher slopes, which are now five mysterious glacial lakes. These mountains have many secrets not easily discovered: cliffs, lakes, bogs, streams, archaeology, wildlife, sheep, wonderful wild plants and ancient history.

From a magical energy perspective, the mountains were formed during the ‘Caledonian Foldings’, which caused the underlying Silurian rocks to fold into great ridges. The Silurian rocks were quite soft and quickly eroded; the eroded dust compacted over millions of years to form Old Red Sandstone, a tough enduring rock and so the Galtees are of Red Sandstone, but with a softer Silurian rock core. If anyone is familiar with my Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones, they will understand how important these geological features are to our magical teaching.

As a result of being surrounded by all this beauty, I’ve now gone into Crone-mode, which in magical parlance means that I can do and say what I want, when I want, and no one can object, since they must sit at my feet and drink in the pearls of wisdom I dispense with every breath … even if they are the senile, verbal wanderings of an aging crank. Seriously, the Coven has been told that if I do get to that stage ‘Do not revive!’ must be entered on the medical chart! Today, I am blessed with a crowd of wonderful people in the Coven from all over the world; all of whom are bright, intelligent and talented – not a witchy outfit to be seen amongst them with Craft ‘mark’ tastefully concealed – and all dear friends.

In truth, we as practitioners of Old Craft are less concerned with ritual and dogma, and more focused on natural energy-raising techniques, which we use to channel or direct spells and charms according to the nature of the working. As I’ve often said, Old Craft witches do not worship Nature but we are certainly proficient at working in harmony with it … and are highly spiritual beings on this level, too. Unlike the majority of modern pagans, however, we accept Nature as being red in tooth and claw and do not seek to impose our will on the natural scheme of things – even if Beltaine is delayed because the hawthorn comes into bloom a month late! And you can’t have a true Beltaine celebration without the fragrance of May blossom in the air … if you understand my meaning.

We also accept the timeless concept of the hunter and the hunted, and the essential inter-action of male-female energy. Old Craft is not generally seen as gender specific but its beliefs do tend to lean towards the male aspect since the female aspect remains veiled and a mystery – as she should be since this is the ancient and fundamental ‘Truth’ behind the Mysteries. Coven of the Scales is not a true sabbatical tradition but it remains an initiatory Mystery one, and what it does share with the other pre-Wiccan traditions is a common feature of extreme selectivity when it comes to prospective members – and the willingness to reject those proven unfit for the Path. Needless to say, this unpopular and confrontational stance has often led to thorny relations between other so-called ‘traditional’ groups, but it has encouraged a sanctuary-like environment where creative magical collaboration can unfold according to the design of each individual member of the Coven.

All this ‘tradition’ has now funnelled down to a tiny, remote cottage in the Glen that offers members of the Coven a warm welcome, a magical learning centre and a spiritual home, hopefully, for many years to come. We have our own Neolithic site where we interact with the Ancestors and, unlike many other ancient monuments, these ancestral energies have not been polluted by the unwelcome tramp of tourism. Here I can live the life of an Old Craft Initiate according to the tenets of my belief and periodically welcome friends and fellow travellers to share in my magical world.

CRONE! by Meleusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK in both e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978 1 78876 001 0

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