The story behind …

Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle 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 …

 Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle Cursing, Hexing, Bottling & Binding

By Melusine Draco

Elsewhere I’ve likened the Pagan Portals (and Shaman Pathways) series published by Moon Books as the equivalent of the ‘Ladybird’ books we had as children and which, more often than not, were the titles that sparked our life-long passion for nature, history and travel.  Weighing in at just 25,000 the author has to make every magical word count and cram as much information as possible into the hundred or so pages to whet the appetite of the pagan seeker after knowledge.

The subject concerning the morality of cursing regularly raises its head in discussion and under what circumstances can we challenge the established ways of thinking and ask ourselves: Can cursing ever be justified? And if we hesitate for just a moment, then we must ask the next question: Is cursing evil? The Christian priesthood obviously felt their cause was just and as a result, the Church’s curses are so virulent that it’s not just the ‘victim’ that suffers but their offspring in successive generations. And in the cursing stakes (pun intended) the Catholic Church can out-gun any menopausal witch for sheer spite, malevolence and cruelty.  Surprised?  It’s a fact …

Another aspect that is often overlooked is that it takes a long time to lay a successful curse and often may take several days before the sender has raised this dark energy by stoking up tightly controlled emotions in order to make the magic work. Many people confused binding and bottling and, although similar in preparation, the long-term outcome is often employed for different purposes. Neither carry the finality or strength of a full-blown curse and, unlike the curse, both can be ‘undone’ should it become necessary to negate the spell for whatever reason.  We should also bear in mind a ‘price’ often exacted on those laying a curse, because if it should ‘misfire’, it will inevitably rebound on the sender. Think things through beforehand and do not fling a curse if a bottling or binding will do the trick.

Curses, in the long term, are usually counter-productive and self-defeating, since few people who throw a curse bother to concern themselves with the far-reaching implications. Binding and bottling give a far greater ‘control’ over the outcome and if, at the end of the day, you decide it’s really not worth the effort, then the bottling or binding can be undone … a curse cannot.  So … can cursing ever be justified? Is cursing evil? Do curses even work? My answer is always – ‘Harm my dog and find out!’

Pagan Portals: By Spellbook & Candle – Cursing, Hexing, Bottling & Binding by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in e-book and paperback versions.  ISBN: 978 1 78099 563 2 Price: UK£4.99/US$9.95

Blog reviews …

 

Shaman Pathways: Trees of the Goddess by Elen Sentier

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. 

Shaman Pathways: Trees of the Goddess by Elen Sentier

Or everything you wanted to know about ogham but didn’t know where to look. And as the authors says in her introduction: ‘There are twenty British trees that work very comfortably with the goddess and link to humankind. Over the ages people have brought them together in what we know as the ogham. Some say they are just an alphabet, a means of writing, but they are far more than that and far older, too, than many give them credit for.’

For those who follow the old traditions, trees have a very special place in our psyche, folklore and magic.  Their roots are the spiritual anchors in our landscape and for those who follow these old paths, the death of a tree – either by felling or falling – can cause a physical pain that takes a long time to heal, especially if that particular tree has been a daily part of our lives.  Elen Sentier introduces us to the spiritual energy of the ‘goddess’ trees and step by step reveals the symbology and metaphor that underlies each of the ogham staves while teaching you how to create a magically imbued alphabet for yourself.

As Steve Andrews, author of Herbs of the Northern Shaman, said:Any book by Elen Sentier will reflect her very individual yet spiritual approach to the subject and will include her specialised knowledge and intuition. She has been a teacher of Ogham for many years and knows what she is talking about so a book about this written by her will be both authoritative in the truth of the information in it and educational in the true sense of the word!”

Couldn’t have said it better myself!”

Shaman Pathways: Trees of the Goddess by Elen Sentier is published by Moon Books in both e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978-1-78279-332-8 Paperback £6.99 || $10.95

The story behind …

THE SECRET PEOPLE 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 …

 The Secret People by Melusine Draco

Parish-pump witchcraft, Wise-women and Cunning Ways

 Much of what passes for ‘witchcraft’ today was everyday knowledge to our forebears, especially those who lived and worked in the countryside. Here were to be found practical household hints, remedies and family recipes that had been handed down from generation to generation, some still existing in the form of treasured journals and notebooks. There is, however, nothing fanciful or far-fetched about this information – in fact, The Secret People is a remembrance of times past and a preservation of ‘parish-pump witchcraft, wise woman and cunning ways’ adapted for use in the 21st century. It may also go a long way in helping those present generation pagans in search of an identity and answer the questions: Who am I? What am I?

Over the years I have also incorporated a great deal of this country lore into my books on witchcraft with a view to preserving the knowledge for future generations. Much of what even my grandparents’ generation once knew is now lost because it was never recorded for posterity.  The Secret People is an autobiographical and nostalgic trip back into the past where the things I’ve written about were still everyday happenings when I was growing up.

“The Secret People is all about the kind of practical folklore our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would have used in their daily lives when planting a cottage garden, foraging for herbs in the hedgerows, treating family ailments and making the most of what was around the house. It is also about the secret folklore they would have known, from love charms and fortune-telling to protection spells and magical cures. The book is both really useful and a delight to read. Mélusine said that it would take me on a trip down memory lane, and it certainly did.” Lucya Starza, author of Pagan Portals: Candle Magic and witch

“I’ve so looked forward to this book. It high time our old ways came to light again so that we can all remember and use them. Draco writes in a style that is easy to read and her knowledge of the old ways is enormous. Anyone who wants to get back into the old customs and traditions of Britain will find this book a source to be treasured.” Elen Sentier, author of Shaman Pathways: Elen of the Ways, shaman and wise woman

True there are numerous pagan books written about similar subjects but it is obvious that a large number of them don’t have the countryside in their blood and fail to reflect the magic and mystery of growing up in an unspoiled rural environment.  Strangely enough, these sentiments are often viewed as some form of elitism but I prefer to go back to the roots of learning than consult something that has been cobbled together from different popular titles without any true grounding in country lore.  Nevertheless, although The Secret People reflects traditions and customs that were usually thought of as a natural part of rural life, much of it can now be identified as integral elements of contemporary Wicca…but there is nothing in this book that cannot be transported into the towns and cities in order to make the urban witch’s quest for his or her pagan identity a little easier and more enriching

 Pagan Portals: The Secret People by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978 1 78535 444 1 226 pages : Price UK£13.99 US$22.95

The story behind …

 

Starchild I & II 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 …

 In 2000 I published Starchild: a Re-Discovery of Stellar Wisdom’ It had taken ten years to write and encapsulated what I’d learned on the path up to and beyond Initiation into the Mysteries – it was a catharsis of all the jumbled and fragmentary magical and mystical information collected in the brain, purged and then drawn together to make a coherent whole. It was, I thought at the time – either through arrogance or ignorance – my Magnum Opus.

Sixteen years later I have put the finishing touches to Starchild II: Lights of the Veil, which demonstrates that the path of the Initiate is never ending in terms of learning. Starchild II does not render Starchild I obsolete – it is an extension of that original understanding – an affirmation, if you like. The first book was created out of the wisdom of the ancient Egyptian world and while the second emerged from more recent wider-reaching discoveries, it has revealed how our mystical roots have sprung from different strains of the same panspermiac seed.

The past sixteen years have seen tremendous breakthroughs in science, archaeology and astronomy, and have merely strengthened the belief that mankind’s true quest for knowledge, wisdom and understanding still lies along the Path of the Initiate. Starchild II uses the old stellar-wisdom to pull all the various esoteric threads together and examine them under a spiritual microscope. Panspermia was an idea of great antiquity, implying that the seeds of life are inherent in the Universe … we can now see that it also carries all the magic and mystery of the stars.

Perhaps, however, the simplest and most profound comment on the subject comes from John Fowles in his novel, The Magus: “Mystery has energy. It pours energy into whoever seeks an answer to it. If you disclose the solution to the mystery you are simply depriving the other seekers of an important source of energy … [Man] needs the existence of mysteries, not their solution”. Who knows … ten years down the line there might even be a Starchild III!

Starchild I & II by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK in both e-book and paperback format. ISBN: 978 1 78697 649 9 Available from Amazon.

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