Book News & New Releases …

The Hollow Tree by Melusine Draco

The Hollow Tree: An Elementary Guide to the Qabalah & Tarot was first published in workbook format by Corvus Books in 1999 with an extended paperback version in 2002.  And like The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery compiled from my own extensive notes to help me find my own way around these mutually fascinating subjects.  Both magical disciplines are a series of overlays which can be almost impenetrable to the newcomer unless there is a key …

The problem in understanding the workings of the Qabalah lies in the largely incomprehensible and exhaustive list of publications available to the beginner which automatically begs the question:  “Where do I start?”

Firstly, I discovered it was necessary to understand the origins and antecedents of both the Tarot and Qabalah as two completely different systems that had undergone multiple translations, adaptations, additions and changes across the centuries.  The Qabalistic Tree of Life has been around for well over 2000 years, representing an analogy for the Absolute, the Universe, Man and Everything — its very roots dig deep into the molten core of the Earth, while its uppermost branches reach out to infinity.  And vice versa.

The ‘magical’ version familiar to 20th century occultists is that expanded and revised by Eliphas Levi in the 19th century, and by Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley in the 20th.  The ‘Tree’ finally metamorphosed into a mystical step-ladder by which means the magician could unite himself with, or become the One, by rising up through the spheres, scaling the ladder of the ten sephiroth to reach God.  It could also represent an over-all blue-print of how the Universe came into being, in a cosmic game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’. Crowley maintained that every student should compile their own Tree as this is the most effective and individualistic method of understanding much of what passes for ritual magic in most of the modern Traditions.  The Hollow Tree strips all this highfaluting down to the barest framework, so the beginner can re-construct his or her own Qabalah without getting bogged down with the intricacies of weighty, unfamiliar or alien concepts.

A Word of Warning: Reading this book will not make you a Qabalist 

Neither will it give you the ability to go hurtling through the cosmos, taking all in your stride.  All it will give you is the means to find your way around the Tree and enable you to  devise your  own system using those deities which are pertinent to your own Tradition, without archangels and suchlike getting in the way.  Make no mistake, however, this is basic, elementary training at beginner level.

Like most magical systems, however, there is rarely one true answer to any question and for the purpose of this book, I used Crowley’s system, because of the familiarity with the ‘Atus of Tahuti’ Tarot deck and its accompanying Book of Thoth.  For the ritual magician who is not happy with the Crowley influence, however, there is the Golden Dawn Tarot, while other Traditions can usually find another compatible deck with which they feel more at ease.

Copies of the original illustrated paperback version of The Hollow Tree: An Elementary Guide to the Qabalah & Tarot are still available from Ignotus Press UK – price £9.99 including postage.  ISBN: 0 9522689 8 1. For more information email: ignotuspressuk@gmail.com or melusinedraco777@gmail.com

 

 

The story behind …

The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy by Rupert Percy and Gabrielle Sidonie

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 Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy  by Rupert Percy and Gabrielle Sodinie

Introduced by Melusine Draco

 As I’ve often said before, Coarse Witchcraft is like Marmite – you either love or hate it. In its own way, however, I think the Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy represents a small but important capsule of Craft history that we have been lucky enough to preserve for the next generation of witches. But it very nearly didn’t happen …

Fans of the Coarse Witchcraft series are aware of the story behind the trilogy. How the original authors were unhappy with the proposed ideas for publishing the first book as humour instead of the polemic typescript they had originally proposed. They finally agreed for the text to be given to me (as a fellow Old Crafter) to ghost-write and Coarse Witchcraft: Craft Working was duly published by ignotus press – provoking more good natured laughter about British witchcraft than we could have expected in our wildest dreams. I also unashamedly nicked the title idea from an old chum of mine, Michael Green, who was the author of ‘The Art of Coarse …’ series.

I think the nicest thing that was said about the first in the series came from esoteric author and another long-time chum, Alan Richardson, who said of the book: ‘Coarse Witchcraft made me laugh out loud in more than a few places. In fact, I think it is the first book of its kind; although it pokes fun at modern excesses and can laugh at itself, it still manages to teach the real stuff at a very high level.’

 There was almost enough material left from the first book to launch a second: Coarse Witchcraft 2: Carry On Crafting, with plans for a third. It was dedicated to all those Crafters who believe that reverence should be tempered with mirth and merriment – and was as equally well received as the first. For reasons that will become apparent, the third (and last) title has been a long time in the writing. Coarse Witchcraft 3: Cold Comfort Coven is written in the same vein as the previous books, and in its own way continues the unexpected, but true, story of the Coven from the numerous notes supplied by, and lengthy conversations with, the original members.

Despite the popularity of the books, however, the original authors decided to hand all copyright back to the ghost-writer who had created the series (with the proviso that the real names of the characters should never be revealed), and retire from the scene.  We have kept to our word but this still doesn’t stop people trying to hunt them down and in my hearing (not knowing of my connection to the books) have claimed to have worked with the group, or personally knowing who various characters are. The first book revealed the attitudes of the 1980s when Craft antecedents were much more rigidly scrutinised than they are now; the second book was a product of the 1990s reflecting the more relaxed approach between the various pagan factions; while the third was a product of the 2000s to close the Circle, as it were.

Published as The Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy by Moon Books in 2013 in both e-book and paperback.  ISBN: 978 1 78279 285 7 : 256 pages : Price UK£10.99/US$18.95

 

The story behind …

Aubrey’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco

Every book has a story behind the story of how it came to be written. It may be about a life-long passion, a personal journey, the need to share an experience or knowledge. It may have been fermenting in the brain for years, or sprung fully formed from a blinding epiphany.  Whether it be fact or fiction, sometimes the story behind the story is almost as interesting as the published book itself …

 Shaman Pathways: Aubrey’s Dog: Power Animals in Traditional Witchcraft by Melusine Draco

I make no bones about it, I am a dog person.  I think dog, speak dog and have been pack-leader of ten – but age has its price and I’m now down to six.  My dogs are free dogs and they live as a pack, secure in a pecking order that was established many years ago and has been handed down as younger dogs came in.  And with this natural pack mentality comes the magical energy that fuels the dynamic of the group.  Dogs are very magical creatures but they often overlooked in this capacity because of their familiarity and many witches associate power animals with the wild.

Dogs inhabit the realms of Otherworld just as easily as witches and shamans do since they are spirit guardians, psychopomps, familiars and messengers from ancient times – and as such they guide us, guard us and generally keep us from harm, both in this world and out of it. Folklore is the happy hunting ground for dogs since there are countless encounters with Black Shuck and those other big black dogs that inhabit out of the way places and roam the winter skies as part of the Wild Hunt. We can draw energy from our dog to channel into magical workings and we must not overlook the ‘Hounds of Hell’ we conjure up to carry that famous curse to our victim.

But on a more lighter side, dogs have been medically proven to have tremendous healing powers of their own.  Dogs have become people’s eyes and act as ‘assistant dogs’ for those with all sorts of disabilities; they join the police force as sniffer dogs and lead the rescue teams to find those trapped in collapsed buildings or lost in inhospitable landscapes.  And if that’s not magic I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately wires were crossed when this book was submitted for publication and it landed up under the ‘Shaman Pathways’ listing instead of ‘Pagan Portals’ and as a result many witches have missed out thinking it had been written for shamans.

Aubrey’s Dog by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in the Shaman Pathways series in both e-book and paperback format.  ISBN: 978 1 78099 724 7 : 84 pages : Price UK£4.99/US$9.95.  For more information go to www.moon-books.net

The story behind …

The Atum-Re Revival 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 Atum-Re Revival: Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World by Melusine Draco

 

When ignotus press ceased publishing in 2013 it meant that these books on the Egyptian Mystery Tradition– Liber Ǣgyptius, the Egyptian Book of Days and the Egyptian Bok of Nights – were no longer available in print. The interest in the religion and spirituality of the Egyptians, however, is always with us as people begin to realise that it is possible to follow this ancient belief in the 21st century, so it was decided to revamp these publications to demonstrate that what is the oldest recorded belief system in the world (having just entered its sixth millennia), can still teach us how to live in both earthly and cosmic harmony.  But first, I needed to put things into some sort of perspective …

The modern, abstract cover design instead of traditional artwork immediately suggests that The Atum-Re Revival : Ancient Egyptian Wisdom for the Modern World is going to offer a different approach to ancient Egypt.  As one Axis Mundi reader said:  “A really well written, interesting and knowledgeable book; having quite an interest in the Egyptian Mystery Tradition, I found this to be an extremely solid and informative text.  I have studied a little Egyptian magic, but this book is fascinating and goes much further than anything I have previously read.”

And since an authentic calendar underpins all established religion, I decided to incorporate The Egyptian Book of Days into the text because this had been compiled from various authentic Greek and Demotic Magical Papyri lodged in the British Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, the Staarliche Museum in Berlin and the Rijksmuseum in Leiden; the Sallier Papyrus IV and The Cairo Calendar currently lodged in the British and Cairo Museums.  The calendar lists the names of the deities whose anniversaries take place on every day of the year including special spells (prayers) that were devised for the protection on certain ‘unlucky’ days.  Every day was considered to have some magical significance, which caused it to be ‘good, bad, or partly good and partly bad’.  By consulting these lists of lucky and unlucky days, each individual could protect himself and his family against the danger of the day.

It was also necessary to explain just how much ancient Egyptian customs and philosophy have influenced Western European culture and metaphysics right up to the 21st century; which is all part of the teaching that is reflected within the Temple of Khem and the modern approach to the Egyptian Mysteries. As an Initiate of the Khemetic Mysteries and Principal of the Temple of Khem I believe that by viewing the Egyptian Mystery Tradition as a continuing and expanding faith, with its own temple calendar, established history and ‘futuristic’ thinking, it is possible to see that this very ancient wisdom has a very positive place in the modern world. See: www.templeofkhem.com for more information.

The Atum-Te Revival by Melusine Draco is published by Axis Mundi Books in both paperback and e-book format – available www.axismundi-books.com

 ISBN: 978 1 78099 437 6 : 274 pages :UK£14.99/US$24.95

 

 

 

 

The Story Behind …

 

Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton.

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 …

 Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton. compiled by Melusine Draco

In the short time since his death, the reputation of Alastair ‘Bob’ Clay-Egerton has begun to pass into pagan legend alongside other contemporary characters such as Robert Cochrane and Bill Gray. There are numerous people who can lay claim to having worked with him — from those whose acquaintance was confined to a single public ritual, to those who trained with him over a long period of time.  Everyone has a favourite ‘Bob’ story which demonstrates his eccentricity or, more often than not, the speed of the put-down for those who insisted on making public idiots of themselves.  Few knew him on an inner magical level.

For this reason it is extremely difficult to describe his type of magical teaching except to say that, from personal experience, the student flew by the seat of their pants — often at a horrifying rate of knots!  This collection of viewpoints, opinions and perspectives were published under a variety of names, depending on the subject matter and only represent a very small percentage of his prodigious outpourings.  The bulk of the magical writings were penned by Alastair Clay-Egerton; the downright confrontational material by the greatly loved ‘old devil’ himself, Asmodaeus; while the wind-up pieces came from the ‘Spoonwielder’.

As he often said: “It may well be thought, and even said that, ‘Here is Asmodaeus stirring up strife and dissention again’, but this is not my intention.  Actually, it is never my intention to stir up discord for the sake of discord.  I merely wish to make people think, to stir up mental lethargy, to kick the complacent, and hope that we might all learn something in the process.”

Whenever possible, Bob speaks for himself and only the occasional editing of his writing has been carried out for the purpose of clarity and continuity. There is much, much more out there in the public domain that, if it were all collected together, would make up several bulky tomes. It is hoped that newcomers to the world of magical practice will gain some valuable insights into the ways of Old Craft (i.e. pre-Gardnerian) and, even if they may not agree with them, may go away with points to ponder.

There are no ‘secrets’ being given away here. Both Bob and Mériém, were prolific writers for the pagan press and this Collection is only a small selection of their magical thoughts and experiences that have appeared in print over many years. These extracts serve to give a brief glimpse into the all-encompassing occult teaching that was given to their students:  the Inner Mysteries will never appear in any book or publication. Neither will it be passed on to any who fail to achieve the level of practical working knowledge demanded by an Initiate of their Order.

 

Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton, compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK in both paperback and e-book format – available from Amazon.    ISBN: 978 1 78610 962 0

 

 

 

 

Blog reviews …

Coven Working by Philip Wright and Carrie West

 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 what we personally believe. 

 Coven Working: How to Set Up or Join a Working Coven by Philip Wright and Carrie West

This book was first published in 2003 by members of Coven of the Scales who foresaw the problems that were arising with all the self-styled ‘covens’ that were springing up without any provable lineage.  And the repercussions that would detonate years down the line.  So … over ten years ago ignotus press published An Inside View of Coven Working to help explore the intricacies of the different Paths and Traditions for the benefit of those who wished to join an existing group, or set up one of their own. Writing as Philip Wright and Carrie West, the authors were both members of the Coven of the Scales, the magical teaching Order formed by Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton in the late 1980s. Having run their own coven for well over thirty years, and able to trace their lineage back to the turn of the last century, who better to offer advice on what to look for in a magic group – and what to avoid!

Unfortunately, in 2013 ignotus press ceased publishing and it wasn’t until it was brought to our notice that copies of the book were on offer for silly money on the internet – $1000 in the US! –  that we decided to re-release Coven Working: How to Join or Set Up a Working Coven for the benefit of those who were seeking this information. Witchcraft has changed quite considerably in the past twenty years but the guidance given by the original authors remains as clear and relevant as it did over a decade ago.

In the ten years it was publishing magical books, ignotus press was the leader in its field and several of its titles have become collectors’ items – also fetching ridiculous sums on the second-hand market, which goes to prove that the information contained within those pages is still of interest.  Coven of the Scales also continues to attract those seekers who wish to learn more about the pre-Wiccan ways of approaching traditional British Old Craft, which is now beginning to spread the influence of the Old Ways into the New World.

Coven Working by Philip Wright and Carrie West is published in both e-book and paperback format by Ignotus Press UK – available on Amazon.

ISBN: 978 1 78697 123 4

 

 

 

Blog reviews

A Mystic Guide to Cleansing & Clearing by David Salisbury

 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 what we personally believe. 

A Mystic Guide to Cleansing & Clearing by David Salisbury

This is a technique that is banded around a lot but up until now, no one has bothered to explain the general whys and wherefores of magical cleansing.  It is full of practical, down-to-earth advice for conducting a ritual cleansing of hearth, home and person in a way that is easy to understand and with instructions you can follow.  In truth, most pagans have a very cavalier attitude to ritual (or magical) cleansing, and the lack of it can be responsible for a multitude of domestic problems we all encounter from time to time.

The author has tailored the text to appeal to all Paths and Traditions, from rank beginner to acting as a gentle reminder for the more established practitioner, who needs some encouragement to pick up the besom! And as Laura Perry, author of Ariadne’s Thread observes, David Salisbury ‘includes an aspect that is sadly lacking in many works: how to maintain a ‘spiritual hygiene’ practice that will prevent future problems from arising. With no melodrama and plenty of real-life examples, Salisbury offers the reader a valuable guide to all kinds of spiritual cleansing, a resource worth returning to over and over again’.

I’m often asked by students for cleansing rites and preparations and we all have our favourite methods, but A Mystic Guide to Cleansing & Clearing provides far more ideas than I could possibly come up, even after all the years of teaching.  In fact, I’m so impressed with this book that I’ve added it to the recommended reading list for Coven of the Scales students.  As the authors says:  “Cleansing unhelpful energies is just as much an internal process as it is an external one. We need to look inside ourselves and uncover any patterns and complexes that might be drawing the crud our way. Only then can we wisely look around us and figure out where else it might be coming from. This book will approach both methods, giving us a holistic and balanced approach to cleansing and clearing.”

I thought the last word should come from Mickie Mueller, author of Voice of the Trees and The Witch’s Mirror: “I found myself working with some of David Salisbury’s techniques before I was even halfway through reading it. This is the kind of book that you’ll come back to again and again when the chips are down and you need some thoughtful advice to keep the energies in your life running smoothly.” And you can’t say fairer than that, can you?

A Mystic Guide to Cleansing & Clearing by David Salisbury is published by Moon-Books in e-book and paperback format.  For more information go to: www.moon-books.net.

ISBN: 978-1-78279-623-7 : Paperback £9.99 || $15.95  e-book £3.99 || $5.99