Reviews:

PAN: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches

As you read this, Pan is opening his strange eyes with those lucid, rectangular pupils which gives him huge peripheral vision. He is observing you very quietly. Look up from the page, look around. He is here, now. Believe what I say!
Also be aware that at this same moment there is an Inner Pan within your psyche who yearns to be aware of things from this wider perspective, who aches to take you toward the dark recesses of your mind, and the wild, tangled undergrowth of your unconscious. As you make your own antic path into the Wild Woods in search of the Great Pan, your nape hairs might prickle, you might see things at the new edges of your vision and strange realms will open up. If you have a frisson of fear – you are on the right path. Keep going. There is light and love there too, in abundance.
Melusine Draco’s book is filled with pleasing seeds and roots that she has collected from obscure, musty corners of the mythological and literary forest. Just brooding upon them ensures that they will be planted and grow in your consciousness, often in startling ways. And if you ever find yourself on hilltops in Wiltshire and see an elegantly ageing and once-handsome chappie chanting: Io Pan, Io Pan, Io Pan, Pan Pan! then you’re probably hearing me putting to good use the practical evocations she gives.  Alan Richardson, author of Priestess and The Old Sod, biographies of Dion Fortune and Bill Gray

A fascinating and interesting read packed full of historical and mythological information and knowledge. Draco has researched her subject well, illuminating Pan as never before. His mystique and folklore jump off the page and make you yearn to find him in the forest!  Draco is a well respected instructor in British Old Craft and she shares her wisdom in her many books on traditional witchcraft and magic. This latest book richly adds to her collection.  A must read for those interested in learning more about the Horned God with practical exercises to enhance the reader’s consciousness along the way. Enter the woods – if you dare!  Sarah-Beth Watkins, author and publisher

 Just finished this book and I highly recommend it. I’m a polytheist so I don’t believe in one overall horned god and I’m happy to say this book can appeal to all. I’ve studied Pan’s lore for many years yet there are pieces of lore in this book I have not seen and also insight that made me stop and think. Great book.  Pan & Hecate FB page

 Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco introduces us to Pan and his many gifts. We are given a short ancient prayer or ritual to Pan to in order to ask for visions or gifts of prophecy or even theatrical criticism all of which fall under Pan’s areas of expertise. We are shown the history of Pan through Ancient Greece to his transformation by Christians into the devil and also his journey to Britain and our modern times. We are shown hymns to the god Pan. We are given a lot of information about Pan. I enjoyed the magical exercises at the end of each chapter designed to bring us more knowledge of Pan and his energies. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Pan, his history and magical practices that could be used to connect to him. I acknowledge that I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.  Rose Pettit – Insight Into Books

 A thoroughly enjoyable journey through Pan’s forest of legend and myth as expressed through art, literature, poetry and spiritual beliefs from ancient through to modern times. As always, Melusine Draco’s fine scholarship and insightful perspectives elevate what might have been a dry academic study to that of intriguing discovery. Also appreciated are the author’s inclusion of personal experiences connected with the Dark Lord. Highly recommended!  M Orlando – Amazon

From the start, I was impressed with this book. The author did a fantastic job of researching the material she used as sources, including many passages to prove the points she was making. I liked her informative writing style and thought this was a really interesting look at Pan through the ages and different cultures. A lot of times, books like this can quickly become redundant and lose my interest, but this one didn’t. I enjoyed reading this and felt like I learned quite a bit from it by the end. If you are interested in the horned god, this is a book that you don’t want to miss.  Ionia Froment – Goodread/Net Gallery

 Melusine Draco’s Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches is a fantastic little introduction to one of the most beloved gods in paganism and witchcraft. Exploring Pan throughout history, mythology, literature, religion and the craft, Melusine traces Pan from classical era history to Christianity’s adoption of his image for that of their Devil. She showcases Pan in his role of the Horned God of the Witches in the writings and beliefs of Margaret Murray, Dion Fortune, Robert Cochrane, Nigel Jackson, Aleister Crowley, Gerald Gardner and more. Melusine also shares some of her personal gnosis and experiences with Pan in this book and she isn’t shy to delve into both Pan’s free-spirited and joyful side as well as his darker wild side.
The book touches on Pan’s myths, his home of Arcadia and his companions such as nymphs and satyrs. The book is full of a wide variety of classical prayers, paeans and hymns to Pan, including some that I’ve never came across. One of the things I found the most interesting was her comparison of traditional prayers to Pan versus certain Catholic prayers of the Church. Melusine does a great job of providing accurate historical information on Pan without the dry and boring writing style of academia scholars. Falling just barely under 100 pages long this book can easily be read in one sitting and is perfect for those of you out there with limited time to read or that might just have a short attention span.  Mat Auryn | http://www.patheos.com/blogs

I found this book to be a fascinating read. The author opens with The Orphic Hymn to Pan. She talks about the Coven of the Scales, of which she is the Principal Tutor, they worship Aegocerus “the Goat-God” and not Cernunnos. Ms. Draco puts forth the question, “How did the pre-Olympian Deity find his way into traditional witchcraft of Britain?” No other foreign Deity has been added to Traditional British Old Craft, so why Pan?
Ms. Draco goes into some great depth on the history of Pan. She does this in a way that is very smooth and never a dry read. It is interesting to think that because in early times art was a way of teaching, the early church was able to pick Pan as a stand-in for their Devil. People didn’t know how to read, so the church used art to teach them what to fear and what to love. So, they had to change the landscape. You can’t fear a scruffy looking being playing the pipes surrounded by half-naked beauties in a lush green valley. The church changed his surroundings.
Ms. Draco writes about the resurgence of interest that lasted into the early 1920’s. Here she talks about some of the writings that many pagans grew up reading or having read to them by their parents. One of these stories is that of The Wind in the Willows By Kenneth Grahame. “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” is very much the story of Pan appearing to the characters of the story. He looks like a protector of the wild places. The way this piece reads you feel a closeness to Pan that is calm and beautiful.
I also learned all the different names of the different types of nymphs from this book about Pan. I find that the history of Pan, in all the different ways he was seen, to be fascinating. It becomes an attractive subject, in such a way that if you would let it, it could quickly become a rabbit hole for you to fall down. Ms. Draco’s book Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches is both entertaining and educational for those Pagan’s seeking more knowledge of an old God, that seems older than even the Olympian Gods. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Draco’s books and in learning more about the “Goat-God.”  Dawn Borries | PaganPages.org 

Pagan Portals: Pan – Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in paperback and e-nook format. ISBN978 1 78535 512 7 as a companion volume to Seeking the Primal Goddess due for publication in January 2020.  http://www.moon-books.net

The nicest thing that’s ever been written about the Traditional Witchcraft series …

The first book in the series – Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living – caters for the fact that most pagans live in urban environments and a witch often has to learn how to adapt and improvise in order to practice their Craft.

So how do we manage?’ a beginner may ask.  Answer: We get up close and personal. And we reject the textbook clichés of what is, and what is not, recommended witchcraft practice. We

do not follow stereotyping when it comes to when, where and how we perform our rituals simply because it may not be practically possible to follow the old traditional instructions to the letter.

The greatest problem a solitary urban witch faces is that the environment is not user-friendly when it comes to psychic activity, but then we don’t always have a choice of where we are going to live if someone else’s needs have to be catered for, too.  Urbanisation often provides on-the-spot facilities to make things easier on the domestic front but it cannot give the one thing that a witch needs most – privacy and spiritual elbow-room.

 Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living shows us how to acclimatise, adapt and improvise because any animal, plant or animal that is uprooted and transported to another environment

quickly learns to acclimatise if it is going to survive. Here we learn how to adapted to our surroundings and drawn on whatever material/energy there is to hand, even if it is not what we’ve been used to working with. We improvise by drawing on the existing knowledge and experience relating to magical techniques for confined spaces and interacting with the wildlife on our doorstep in the unofficial countryside.

This is a no-holds-barred approach to dealing with the constant barrage of psychic problems that confront the urban witch on a daily basis, and blends the Old Ways with practical contemporary practice.

Andy Lloyd Book Reviews:

I recently heard a presenter on Radio 4 say something like “Of course, there weren’t any real witches” as a throw-away line, as if assuming that the whole movement itself was something dreamt up by misogynistic religious nuts with pyres in need of human kindling. Yes, the genocidal witch-hunters hated the old religion and drove it to extinction. But there was actually an old religion there to destroy. Gradually, that movement is re-emerging, mostly in the form of Wicca. And what a wonderful thing it is – devoid of the dogmatic power-trips of monotheistic religions, immersed in science and folklore, and most of all promoting a tangible connection to the environment. Surely it is a religion for our times? Yet it treads warily. There is still much prejudice – even fear and loathing – aimed at witches, who are generally grossly misunderstood.

The ‘Traditional Witchcraft’ series provides varied information about what it means to be a practising witch in modern times. In places, it feels like a guide, or self-help book. But there is much more to it than that. What strikes me is the amount of science running through the book. To understand nature is to live as a part of nature, and ultimately to become one with its changing patterns and cycles, to synchronise one’s own psychic or magical energy with natural tidal forces and the elements. So a witch, like no other religious practitioner that I’m aware of, must study her environment carefully, and attune her life to it.  The learning is multi-disciplinary, and feels almost as if one was studying a textbook written by a poet. Yet the science collated in these pages is interesting, and pragmatic. Intermingled with the factual information is much about rituals, superstitions, treasures to collect for magical means and, of course, spell-casting. The witchcraft seems real enough – the engagement in the rituals and practice requiring as much faith as any other religion as to its efficacy.

Each witch finds their own path, and the sense here is mostly of a solitary journey rather than the work of a coven. Indeed, many times the author cautions the reader about how to conduct her craft in public spaces so as not to draw attention to herself. That wariness is still very much apparent, and after centuries of religious persecution perhaps that is wise counsel. Yet, the old religion is never far from the surface even in everyday life – you just have to know where to look.

Traditional Witchcraft [series] is like a Radio 4 feature about witches – not that one could ever imagine that happening, or imagine a witch providing ‘Thought for the Day’ on the Today programme! But it has that sense of quiet wonder about it, supported by education, knowledge and, above all, wisdom.

Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in paperback and e-book format at a special discounted price.  ISBN 978 1 84694 978 4 : 144 pages

WRITER AT WORK – AUTUMN 2019

Cover design received for the first in the Sacred Landscape trilogy – Caves and Mountains and after the Autumnal Equinox I’ll be making a start on Lakes and Waterfalls.  The (Inner-City) Path is now in production with Moon Books and should be in print by this time next year.

The Arte of Darkness in now in print with Ignotus Press UK in both paperback and e-book format and Seeking the Primal Goddess (Moon Books) now has a publication date of 31st January 2020. Seeking the Primal Goddess is the companion volume to Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest, whose aim is to take us back to the days when our gods were mean, moody and magnificent and not surrounded by white light and rainbows.  These are the deities of the world when it was young

Since Christmas stuff in now appearing in shops and magazine advertising, I’m jumping on the advertorial band-wagon with a plug for Have A Cool Yule: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Winter Festival by Melusine Draco.

For the past couple of weeks the weekend supplements have been trumpeting their early warning systems with Irish department store Brown & Thomas unveiling their annual Christmas shop 132 days before Christmas with shop bosses claiming the early launch is ‘in response to customer needs’.    In truth, they’re probably attempting to steal a march on their rivals in case Brexit puts the mockers on the whole shooting match.

And all those reluctant Christmas rebels now have the perfect excuse to announce that they will be changing plans this year and doing something different – including spending less!  Have a Cool Yule helps to put the fun back into Yuletide and magically transforms it into something we look forward to once again, instead of dreading.

Have A Cool Yule: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Winter Festival by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in both paperback and e-book format from Amazon.

Book News …

Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways

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

 Example of one of the entries that accompanying each day:

 The Old Tracks: From prehistoric times, four well established trackways linked the important towns in Britain. These were Ermine Street, Icknield Way, the Ridgeway and the Fosse Way; the Romans added Watling Street. Although not quite accurate Robert of Gloucester, an early Middle English chronicler, wrote [Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable]:

“Fair ways many on ther ben in England,

But four most of all ben zunderstond …

From the south into the north tacit Erming-strete;

From the east into the west goeth Ikeneld-strete;

From south-est [east] to North-west (that is sun del grete)

From Dorer [Dover] onto Chestre go’th Watling-strete;

The fourth is most of all that tills from Toteneys –

From the one end of Cornwall anon to Catenays [Caithness] –

From the south to North-est into Englondes end

Fosse men callith thisk voix.”

Robert Of Gloucester is known only through his connection with the work called The Chronicle of Robert of Gloucester – a vernacular history of England,written, probably around 1300, in rhymed couplets. Two versions exist, and it is now believed that only one part, dealing with recent or contemporary events – the last 3,000 lines of the longer version – was written by Robert. This supplies interesting details of the civil strife during the reign of Henry III and a vivid description of the Battle of Evesham that has the value of contemporary authority. The earlier parts of the work, based on the chronicles of Geoffrey of Monmouth, William of Malmesbury, and other minor sources, seem to have been written by different authors. [Britannica]

Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK : ISBN: 9781788762052 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 210 : Published: 25 January 2018.  Available direct from the printer at a special discounted price: https://www.feedaread.com/books/Old-Year-Old-Calendar-Old-Ways-9781788762052.aspx

Books News …

‘There is an art of moving in the landscape, a right way to move around in it and approach places and monuments.  Part of the sense of place is the action of approaching it from the ‘right’ direction.’  The method of approach is governed by a combination of place and time – both seasonal and social – while the ‘art’ is the simultaneous practice of meditation and ritualized operation.  ‘Flashes of memory, so to speak, illuminate the occasion and bestows an instinctive grasp of how to behave within a ritual or sacred landscape, and to recognize the type of magical energy to be encountered there.’ [A Phenomenology of Landscape, Christopher Tilley]

Mountains form the most spectacular creations on the planet and cover such a large amount of Earth’s landmass that they can be seen clearly from outer space.  Mountains are also a reminder that humans count for nothing in the greater scheme of things. They were formed by tectonic plate upheavals of such magnitude that the fossilised remains of prehistoric sea-creatures can be found on mountains tops; in fact, many Himalayan rocks were originally sediments on the primordial Tethys Ocean floor. In this first of the Sacred Landscape series we look at ways of connecting with the genii locorum that inhabit the caves and mountains of our world.

A companion volume to Sacred Landscape: Groves & Forests and Sacred Landscape: Lakes & Waterfalls.

No publication date available:

 

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