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:


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


© 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 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 …


This extract is taken from Coven Working by Philip Wright and Carrie West – retired members of Coven of the Scales – and published by Ignotus Press UK

 The article highlights one of the problems encountered in more urban environments when it comes to trying to find a convivial working coven.  Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living also tackles similar problems of trying to be a successful witch amid the hurly-burly of urban and metropolitan environments.

Initially, it may seem strange that ‘straight’ magical partners were writing on the subject of gay magical practices in the context of general coven working, but on closer examination this is not as odd as it would first appear. We have always try to adopt an approach that is integrated, non-judgemental and avoids the overtones of justification that often accompany the majority of gay and lesbian writing, while still managing to examine LGBT magical energies from a purely practical and functional perspective. It is quite difficult keeping all the balls in the air (if you’ll excuse the expression) but it is also possible to integrate gay members into a mixed coven with the minimum amount of fuss, if folk are of a mind to do so.

As experienced practitioners, we have operated successful teaching groups for many years that have included men and women of all sexual persuasions without exclusion or bias. During that time we have, of course, encountered problems and prejudices on both sides of the ‘gay divide’ and would say right from the start, that the refusal to welcome gays into a predominantly straight group says more about the coven leader’s personal prejudices than it does about their magical teaching capabilities. There are a number of difficulties and misunderstandings that do arise with regard to gay and lesbian magical practice within Craft, but hopefully our ‘four-penny worth’ of advice will help to reassure both gay pagans and those straight pagans who claim (quite wrongly) that gays have no place in a modern coven.

 Firstly: An individual’s sexuality is an extremely personal and intimate thing. Our sexual preferences are our own affair and not something that is up for open discussion – especially if our inclusion or exclusion from a group may be dependent upon it. In fact, all over the world there are thousands of ‘straight’ magical groups, covens, orders and organisations operating with members who, unbeknown to the majority, are gay. This secrecy usually stems from the homophobic attitude still prevalent within Western society and the mercurial reaction with which so-called friends can respond once the truth is out in the open. It’s not just in Craft that we hear the words: ‘I quite liked him/her until I found out s/he was gay!’ as if the person referred to was guilty of some heinous crime, or had some highly contagious disease.

Subsequently we now have a gay and lesbian community inside the wider pagan community because they feel the need for a separate identity. The result may have created a new pagan club-culture but it does nothing to solve the magical problems that arise from same-sex covens. This schism was widened a few years ago when a leading pagan journal openly announced that homosexuals could not be witches. It was a stance that the late Bob Clay-Egerton was quick to question in What You Call Time:

“When I first commenced my studies in the days of illegal witchcraft, I was taught before my initiation that anyone who commenced the practice of Craft in sincerity, formal initiate or not, was a witch. This would imply that a homosexual can be a witch. The homosexual, or trans-sexual will probably find major obstacles put in their path if attempting to join a coven and may find it easier to find acceptance among magicians than they will among witches.

“Sexuality, to my mind, is not a physical but a mental and instinctual thing. The problem is not in the mind of the trans- or homosexual pagan but in the early conditioning by socio-religious mores of pagans not yet sufficiently advanced to be able to stand apart and look with the eye – not of morality and sexuality – but with the eye of spirituality … I wonder if we all, male and female, do not have quite a bit of both sexes in our individual makeup. I do know personally of one High Priestess who, from first-hand experience of working with homosexual and heterosexual members, is prepared to consider such applications for admittance into the Craft based on ability rather than gender.”

Successful magical equilibrium, requires that everyone takes into account the dual masculine-feminine energy that is contained within us all. Those whose magical training has only been at a superficial level often have difficulty in looking at this aspect of god-power beyond the concept of god/goddess and man/woman. This is usually due to the ‘fertility’ aspect of most modern earth-based spiritualities not being able to see much further than the traditional gender roles and the fertility of the god/goddess in terms of Nature and procreation.

Secondly: We need to examine the viewpoints of gay pagans – and for this we are extremely grateful to the former editor of Hoblink for allowing us access to the magazine’s archive, which gives gay pagans the opportunity to speak for themselves. One letter struck a very positive cord, which may also cause a large number of straight pagans to think quite carefully.

“A few years ago, a couple of friends and I formed a gay coven. We had all met through a larger mixed group, but the formation of a specifically gay group aroused considerable opposition from the more traditionally-minded elements of the Craft. They really needn’t have worried. Firstly, the group included a number of individuals who left when it became clear that they weren’t likely to achieve their own ends. Secondly, and far more importantly, the group failed because it did not have a central myth around which to build the group’s identity, or to focus group-work.

“That experience left quite a deep impression on me and so for the last few years I have worked solo. However, I believe that the same dilemma still faces almost all gay men who become involved with the neo-pagan groups. Whether the same problem confronts lesbians, I don’t know … Sadly, one sees so many groups today that attempt to revive ancient religious ‘mysteries’ that don’t have any relevance to the lives of their members. In the end they become fancy dress parties, performing sometimes charming, but utterly meaningless rituals.

“I say this because I believe the danger of gay men falling into this trap is very real. Once again, I can only speak from my own experience, and I know only too well that I find it very difficult to relate to a culture dominated by heterosexual values. But I also know that I am not alone in this. My personal belief is that gay men are physically and psychologically different from straight men. Moreover, we have our own distinctive patterns of behaviour and our own cultural values (however shallow some may appear!). They do not always sit well with the accepted values of conventional society, hence the charge of moral turpitude so often levelled against us …”

Our reaction on reading this particular piece, was how tragic that such a magically perceptive young man had been forced to work solitary when his concept of magical energy was probably more heightened than most straight pagans (both male and female) we’ve encountered. This latter point was driven home by the claim in a subsequent issue, that magical energy didn’t ‘give a monkey’s who it is flowing from and to, as long as those people are in tune and have ‘perfect love and trust’ for each other’. Sorry … but yes it does. Just like the positive, negative and earthing wires in an electric plug need to be channelled correctly, or you run the risk of short-circuiting the whole house!

One young man who applied to join our coven, bit the bullet and admitted right from the start that he was gay. This wasn’t bravery … he simply didn’t want to waste any more time attempting to integrate with a group of people who may possibly reject him if, and when, his sexuality became common knowledge. For us this wasn’t a problem. Over the years we’ve worked with every permutation of sexual persuasion including hetero- and homosexual, lesbian, bi-sexual, transsexuals and transvestites and each one has been a magical challenge – for us, as well as our students.

At the moment, within the coven we just happen to have a transsexual, a bi-sexual and two homosexuals – and each one requires a different perspective on their own particular approach to magic. Don’t think for one moment that we get it right every time – we don’t – but at least we’re willing to give it our best shot! Our way is to treat each person as an individual, and get them to operate initially within the Coven as normal men and women, and to forget about the subtle nuances that make them different from the ‘straight’ members of the coven.

What we have found is that ‘straight’ people are frightened of homosexuality, simply because it makes ’em nervous. A man may normally engage in physical contact in the form of back-slapping but if the recipient was known to be gay, he would immediately refrain from any bodily contact in case he was: a) thought to be making sexual overtures, or b) any onlookers might assume him to be gay. We also know that people always fear what they don’t understand, and the thought of joining in The Mill, holding hands with a homosexual, would probably give most heterosexual males a fit of the vapours! Women tend to be less paranoid, but there are still a large number who would it offensive if they found a gay man in their group. Lesbians, on the other hand, tend to excite prurient curiosity rather than revulsion.

In the beginning we found ourselves having to combat members’ stereotypical attitudes that gay men were automatically ‘pansies’ (to coin an old-fashioned phrase), i.e. the limp-wristed, girlie types caricatured by stand-up comedians. One of our gay lads is a six-footer, built like a brick lavatory and works as a scaffolder, balancing precariously hundreds of feet above the City pavements – anyone want to call him Alice!!? The other is a stockbroker, with a beautiful home and a partner with whom he’s lived for the past 15 years, and without any outward sign that he happens to be gay.

Contrary to popular belief, not all gay men are hairdressers or in the least bit ineffectual, and on a superficially magical level, there’s nothing different about them at all. For group working they participate in just the same way as any straight man. Similarly, the first year of study is identical for anyone joining the coven, regardless of gender. This doesn’t mean that we blithely carry on as if there were no differences at all, but because of the way individuals respond to the set selection of tasks and magical exercises – again regardless of gender – we are able to gauge the direction their magical leanings will take. And it is on this level that the magical dissimilarities of the individual will manifest. It is not unusual, for example, for a perfectly normal, ordinary woman to exhibit decided masculine traits on a magical level, but this does not mean that she has any latent lesbian tendencies!

As the young man pointed out earlier, gay culture does have its own distinctive patterns of behaviour and values, and it is not until we get onto the next level of magical practice that any real problems may arise. Contemporary paganism has become imbalanced, inasmuch as the Goddess is all, and we can see where gay men would have a problem sublimating a female ‘fertility’ image. As he also pointed out, gay culture does not have a ‘central myth’ around which to build an image for the purposes of belief/worship, and this can play havoc within group work in terms of coven harmony and equilibrium. This is why Bob Clay-Egerton suggested that ritual magic might be a more appropriate Path … we would add that shamanism is also an area where gay men can come into their own … as it were.

For these reasons, it is not possible to offer any off-the-cuff, quick-fix solutions about the correct way to integrate LGBTs into a predominantly straight group, since much depends on their own personal magical energies and how they handle them. An experienced magical practitioner will have little difficulty in analysing the best way to proceed with a programme of learning, but those with little or no true magical tutoring ability may cause more harm than good, both on the personal and psychic levels. Again, we can only reiterate that the refusal to welcome gays into a predominantly straight group, says more about the coven leader’s personal prejudices than it does about their magical teaching capabilities.

Trans-sexuals, on the other hand, can have even the most experienced magical practitioner scratching their head. During the period of change (both chemically and surgically), a trans-sexual’s body and mind has a lot to cope with on the physical, never mind trying to experiment with altered states of consciousness while being pumped full of hormones! From personal experience, we would say that it would be inadvisable for anyone undergoing a sex-change to indulge in any deeper levels of psychic or magical working until all the ‘i’s’ have been dotted and the ‘t’s’ crossed. Magic can be dangerous and this is one of those areas where even experienced practitioners can get it wrong, so keep things on a superficial level until there are distinctly recognisable patterns of energy to channel.

The bi-sexual girl in our group, doesn’t have any problems with magical identification, simply because she is a pretty, feminine creature, who merely enjoys sex with both male and female lovers. What she does bring to the coven is a happy, relaxed attitude to sexuality, which results in a lot of good-natured banter between everyone, without anyone feeling threatened or uncomfortable. And laughter is the key to solving most problems within any group, magical or not.

 When It Goes Wrong

The main problem (apart from unavoidable personal prejudices) cited by people who become irritated by the gay issue, appears to stem from pseudo-historical arguments concerning various different cultural views on homosexuality to present cases for and against, totally disregarding the fact that witchcraft, paganism and homosexuality have all been classed as social aberrances by the Church in its time. Anyone doubting this should spend some time reading the non-pagan Sex, Dissidence & Damnation by Jeffrey Richards, former Professor of Cultural History at the University of Lancaster. Also citing the historical evidence of homosexual relations in Sparta, and feudal Japan, or claiming every well-known historical figure had gay tendencies, does nothing to validate the recognition of gay men and women in Craft.

The ‘real’ problem, however, has nothing to do with an individual’s sexuality and everything to do with the personalities involved. As one coven leader of our acquaintance exclaimed: “I couldn’t care less which side of the divide people come from, providing they behave like civilised human beings. I recently had to boot one chap out, simply because he was a thoroughly unpleasant character and was hell-bent on disrupting the group at every turn. He started screaming that we were homophobic, and couldn’t get it through his thick head that he was being chucked out because he was an objectionable little shit! The fact that he was gay didn’t enter into the equation.”

Of course, the problem of homophobia is not going to go away and for anyone who is gay and who wishes to join a group, we would say keep your personal life under wraps until you’ve sussed out the magical capabilities of those running the coven. With the best will in the world, we cannot force folk into welcoming others into what is, to all intents and purposes, a very private group. If the magical group dynamics are going to work, then it will only do so if all the participants are comfortable with each other and in harmony with their magical energies. Those operating covens and other groups should again be honest with themselves about their policy over admitting gays. If you are operating a purely devotional group, as opposed to a magical one, then ‘gay’ energies will make very little difference to your festivals and celebrations.

Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books

 Coven Working by Phillip Wright and Carrie West is published by Ignotus Press UK at

Blog reviews …

DEATH & THE PAGAN: 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.

DEATH & THE PAGAN by Philip Wright & Carrie West

This useful little book was first published in 2004 and things have come a long way since then with regard to pagan funeral arrangements.  But it’s still a good way to introduce what is still a taboo subject – death!

Did you, for example, that once you are dead you have no legal control over what happens to your remains regardless of what instructions are included in your Will unless you go to great pains to appoint executors who will carry out your wishes?  The body of one of our coven elders was hijacked by the next of kin who were determined that a life-long practicing witch was to be buried according to Christian rite and as a result no one knew where the funeral was to be held or were the body was buried.

And it’s not just a matter of providing a ‘green’ burial site or finding the right ‘order of service’ because if the deceased belongs to a more traditional Path then the carrying out of the correct obsequies are essential to the safe passage of the spirit.  And what about the appropriate ‘de-commissioning’ or disposal of magical equipment and regalia …?

Death and the Pagan explores the different approaches to funerary practices that will not only be useful for the pagan community, but also for members of the caring professions and the funeral industry.  Published by Ignotus Press UK in e-book and paperback format. ISBN: 978 1 78697 067 1.