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

Author biography

As most of my readers will know, I have a fascination for odd and obscure historical facts that are hidden away in the millions of sources that outstrip and confound the confines of the Internet – it’s finding them that presents the stimulation and the challenge. If we merely rely on the regurgitated information of contemporary paganism not only does our mind become stagnant, but for those who follow the Craft of the witch, so do our magical abilities.

Over the years I have also incorporated a great deal of folk and 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. 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 uncomplicated rural environment. Strangely enough, these sentiments are often now viewed as some form of elitism but I prefer to go back to the roots of learning rather than consult something that has been cobbled together from different popular titles without any true grounding in country lore.

Web: www.covenofthescales.com and www.templeofkhem.com

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/melusine-draco.blog

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Book News …

The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons was inspired by Chet Raymo’s book of similar title that chronicled his own daily urban walk to work and observing the seasonal changes with a scientist’s curiosity.  As often happens, I began thinking ‘what if’ there was a complementary book written from a pagan perspective for when we take to our local urban paths as part of our daily fitness regime or dog walk.  And, as if arising from this external creative impulse The Path began to unravel in the mind’s eye … based on several urban walks that have merged together over the years to make a chapbook of the seasons and to offer a glimpse into the pagan mind-set that can find mystery under every leaf and rock along the way, or caught in the murmur of running water, and to act as a simple guide to achieving a sense of well-being and awareness so that ‘even in the city’s throng we feel the freshness of the streams …

Now perhaps becomes obvious why ‘gleaning’ was chosen as part of the title for The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons because it means to collect information in small amounts and often with difficulty.  The conditions of farm workers in the 1890s made gleaning essential because it was the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested, or on fields where it was not economically profitable to harvest. In other words, we are picking up bits and pieces of information to add to our meager store of knowledge in order to supplement our life-style and its modern links with the natural world.  And A Simple Guide to Well-Being & Awareness … well, as Dryden wrote:  ‘what herbs and Simples grow. In fields and forests, all their powers I know’ when referring to using a single herb or plant in a medicinal way.

The first draft of this book is now complete an will be submitted to Moon Books in the next few weeks but it will probably be the end of 2020 before it’s published.