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

The story behind

 

THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC & MYSTERY

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 DICTIONARY OF MAGIC & MYSTERY compiled by Melusine Draco

I’m often asked which of all my books has given me the most satisfaction and I can say without hesitation it would be The Dictionary of Magic and Mystery which I’d compiled over the years for my own private use. It went to press at 3,333 entries, which made it the biggest dictionary available at the time but I’m still adding to my own private version.

Dictionaries are notoriously difficult things to compile for the simple reason that even before its release date, the text is out of date.  There must be another 500 entries in my private version and these, more often than not, are the more esoteric terms that only come to the surface when you’re engaged on some really serious research, i.e. for the Temple House Archive novels.

Also, not only signs and sigils change with each generation, different words creep into the vocabulary which is why I commented in the introduction to the first edition, that every good reference book is both a product and a reflection of its time.  My Dictionary reflects the magical and mysterious world of my time – but it can also act as an ‘ideas book’ for every pagan writer.  I also took a leaf out of Aleister Crowley’s book when it comes to reading material – particularly esoteric books – and have saved myself hours wasted on lesser works in the process:

My plan of going from each author to those whom he quoted had a great advantage. It established a rational consecution in my research; and as soon as I reached a certain point the circles became re-entrant, so that my knowledge acquired a comprehensiveness which could never have been so satisfactorily attained by any arbitrary curriculum. I began to understand the real relation of one subject to another.

It was one of the most basic, but important magical lessons I’ve ever learned and I often find myself following a thread from one book to another when researching a subject. Research is like a labyrinth, or more often a maze, in that we follow the trail – sometimes down a blind alley – until we locate that nugget of pure information we’ve been seeking.

In The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery I have also added my sources that more often than not do not show up on the internet or Amazon listings! And obscure information is what makes a book readable …

The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in both paperback and e-book format.   Go to www.moon-books.net

Blog reviews

 

ELEN OF THE WAYS & FOLLOWING THE DEER TRODS 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 what we personally believe. 

ELEN OF THE WAYS by Elen Sentier

FOLLOWING THE DEER TRODS by Elen Sentier

Go … Look … Learn things’ appear to have been the watch-words that Elen Sentier and I shared when very young even though those childhoods were spent in different parts of the country.   And although I am what is known as a traditional British Old Crafter and she a follower of the British shamanic tradition, our Paths are remarkably similar in practice and belief.  I believe that what is known today as ‘Old Craft’ grew out of the animistic beliefs of our indigenous ancestors when the tribal spiritual leaders were responsible for the well-being of the community.

Animism is the belief that every object, animate and inanimate, has its own life-force, or energy. Taking this viewpoint into account, it is not unreasonable to surmise that Old Craft probably retains features of the native shamanic practices of the British Isles – so competently written about by Elen Sentier in her many interesting books on the subject. The term ‘shamanism’ describing the supernatural powers practitioners channel from the spirit world for healing, divination and the conducting of souls – all of which are the natural province of an Old Craft practitioner where it is viewed as ‘an isolated or peripheral phenomenon’, rather than the overt devotional practices often found in contemporary paganism.

As the authors says: “British shamanism has largely been forgotten: the reindeer goddess of the ancient Boreal forest is shrouded in mystery…follow her deer-trods to rediscover her old ways.   edit thisElen holds the Shaman’s Pathway for the Brythonic people. She is our mother goddess, the ancient matriarch who leads us along the quicksilver pathways that carry the spirit-blood of the Earth as the reindeer matriarchs lead the herds across the seasonal pastures. She is our fundamental way of reconnecting to the Earth here in the lands of the Boreal forest, the largest forest on the Earth that circles the globe above the 50th parallel to the tundra edge. This forest has covered the top of Britain as well as the upper part of Russia and Canada. Once Britain was called the land behind the north wind … Boreas was the Greek name for the god of the north wind … we were a part of this and places like the Caledonian forest are the remnants of this magical forest.”

Following the Deer Trods is a practical guide for anyone wanting to begin the old British paths and follows on from Elen of the Ways, filled with tried-and-tested exercises, journeys and experiential work for the reader to engage in.

   

 

Shaman Pathways: Elen of the Ways and Following the Deer Trods – the Ancient Shamanism of Britain by Elen Sentier are both published by Moon Books in their Shaman Pathways series. www.moon-books.net

The story behind …

THE TEMPLE HOUSE SERIES 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 TEMPLE HOUSE ARCHIVE SERIES

I was always a great fan of The Legacy, that Canadian television series from the 1980s, and although the rather bigoted ‘light is right and anything that comes from the shadows is highly suspect’ attitude was irritating it provided great entertainment.  What if … The idea festered for many years and there came along New Tricks and again the ‘what if …’ element reared its head for combining the esoteric with modern investigative procedures, together with the multi-casting storylines of the CSI series, the idea for the Temple House series was born. What if

If I’m honest the Temple House is pure indulgence – giving the opportunity to bring together all sorts of demons, degenerates and dire doings all under one roof and covering the realms of esoteric, suspense, horror and thriller. Where were these super-heroes coming from?  They had to have an authentic and credible historical background. What if …

… the Temple House was founded in 1586 in England during the reign of Elizabeth I as an off-shoot of Sir Francis Walsingham’s recently created intelligence service, inaugurated to investigate the growing popularity of esoteric learning that was occupying the interests of the Elizabethan intelligentsia. For this he recruited the descendants of the Knights Templar.  The Order remained surrounded by myth and legend ever since – and drawing on this veritable mine of esoteric knowledge and experience of international intrigue, the Temple House was established to combat ‘evil forces’ of a human or supernatural agency, and those who would use occult power for destructive purposes.

The current members of the Temple House, or ‘the Nine’ as they are referred to in memory of the original nine founder members of the Order, all had to be specialists and magical practitioners in the diverse fields of occultism and its relevant histories.  And it wasn’t easy to build up a team that were creatures of the modern world not throwbacks to a bygone age, although they all had a highly developed sense of honour and obligation to tradition.

The first thing that went was the location.  No gloomy Gothic exteriors, crumbling castles or dank caverns – the Temple House would be location somewhere light and airy – in a smaller version of my own dream home: Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous ‘Falling Water’ perched on the cliffs overlooking the ocean!

Yes, of course, the story-lines descend into darkness but the characters themselves are modern, forward thinking people who exist as a well-oiled machine.  House of Strange Gods conjured up a traditional demon from the Abyss with various different sub-plots including a homicidal link to the past but it also weeded out one of the characters who wasn’t up to scratch and had to be replaced.  Realm of Shadow weeded out a couple more as the story-lines acted out the process of natural selection.  This wasn’t my original intention but as any novelist knows, these things have a habit of developing a life-force of their own and whereas certain characters can’t cope with certain situations in real life, so the flaws are also exposed in a fictional world. They just don’t work!

To assemble the cast I used my tried and trusted trick of ‘casting’ – who would I get to play those characters if it were a film (regardless of age) – and to help with the creative process I gave the Temple House its own Facebook page.  The page keeps readers up to date on the progress of the team’s latest adventures and arranges special offers on Kindle e-books and discounted prices on all paperback versions ordered direct from the printer. It also gives readers the opportunity to interact with the characters, suggest story-lines for future titles, and enjoy reading the additional information on the background research involved for the next title which, hopefully, will appeal to writers as well as readers.  For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/TempleHouseArchive/

House of Strange Gods, Realm of Shadow, and Hour Betwixt Dog & Wolf in the Temple House series by Melusine Draco are published by Ignotus Press UK in both paperback and e-book format.   https://www.facebook.com/IgnotusPressUK/

Blog reviews

PAGAN PORTALS: Blacksmith Gods by Pete Jennings

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. 

PAGAN PORTALS: Blacksmith Gods by Pete Jennings

Smithing and horses are an important part of the old witchcraft traditions and I always have a collection of equine bits and pieces for magical use tucked away because these are extremely powerful ingredients for spell casting that can be found at the blacksmith’s forge. Such as:

  • Horse-hair: Perfect for binding spells
  • Cast horseshoes: For luck and protection
  • Thunder water: For magical spells and healing
  • Horseshoe nails (new and used): For cursing

Pete Jennings takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the ‘blacksmith gods’ and reveals the importance of the position the smith held in our ancient traditions whether we be Craft, Druid, or Heathen.  The smith was a worker with ‘fire and iron’ and therefore a magician; he was a healer, and often a dispenser of the law – these skills feature strongly in the myths and legends of the Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and other Germanic peoples. The iron horseshoe – one of the typical products of the smith – is still regarded as a ‘magical’ symbol today and is hung on walls and doors to bring good luck (but only if the curved part is at the bottom, otherwise the luck ‘falls out’  – if you’re a Horseman, the reverse is true).

As the author comments: “Yet even at the basest level of the smith’s craft, a sense of awe, magic and mystery attaches itself. Little wonder, when those early workers of the Bronze Age and Iron Age obtained metal from rocks and turned it into tools and weapons. It was a world away from their stone implement ancestors. We hear about the magical ‘drawing the sword from the stone’ in Arthurian legend, yet that is what those early metalworkers actually achieved. No wonder they kept their trade secrets, making sure that they maintained a local monopoly on such goods. Of course, keeping their secrets from the general population (and working apart from them to prevent the spread of fire) would be bound to lead to an idea or suspicion that they were working some sort of magic; that is actions that could not be explained by other ordinary people. In some places even iron or other metals were imbued with an air of magic, good or bad, and consequently would not be used in ritual situations.”

ISBN: 978 1 78279 627 5 :  published by Moon-Books :  110 pages: Price £6.99