Melusine Draco

Book Review – Pagan Portals: What is Modern Witchcraft?

July, 2019

Book Review
Pagan Portals: What is Modern Witchcraft?
Anthology

“What is Modern Witchcraft?” is an anthology written by some of today’s top pagan writers. It covers subjects from Modern Solitary Witchcraft, Modern Witchcraft and the Role of Activism, Cyber Witches, Kitchen Witchcraft, Old Craft for New Generation 21st-Century Witches, and a Celtic Perspective.

Morgan Daimler is the person they chose to open this book; I find her writing to be well-thought-out and well researched. Ms. Daimler’s writing makes her seem very approachable. I would love to attend a seminar where she is speaking.

Annette George, Philip J Kessler, & Amy Ravenson, all talk about cyber witchcraft, as well as traditional. In these chapters, they talk about using files on the computer to save rituals and using social media to perform rituals with people from around the world.

One of the more compelling chapters, for me, was written by Irisanya Moon. It is the chapter on Modern Witchcraft in the Role of Activism. One of the quotes that she has in this chapter is by Carol Hanisch, whose essay written in the late 60s early 70s entitled The Personal Is Political “Personal problems are political problems. There is no personal solutions at this time. There’s only collective action for collective solution.” Ms. Moon talks in this chapter about how to become an activist and how witchcraft can help you in that calling. I found this to be very moving.

Rebecca Beattie writes a chapter on Urban Witchcraft; she talks about how hard it is to find solitude in an urban setting, finding sacred space, finding your tribe, and embracing your inner weirdo. It was that last part, embracing your inner weirdo, that spoke to me in this chapter (I’ve been known to walk into shops wearing unicorn horns to work that day doing readings.)

Arietta Bryant writes about Casting Your Own Circle. She talks about doing what feels right to you, whether that’s setting up an open circle, or book clubs, or anything that makes you feel like part of a tribe. This chapter also lists 11 jumping off points for creating your own set of Principles. (These reminded me of The Council of American Witches set of Principles of Wiccan Belief written in April of 1974.) They are great principles to guide your path forward.

Mélusine Draco’s piece is about Old Craft for a New Generation. She is another author who writes with authority and talks about matters in which she is well versed. She asks three times three basic questions that are the cornerstone of her faith. These are questions that I have to ask myself regularly because as I grow still in my craft, I learn more about the more profound the answers to these questions are.

I would say this is a book that is for anyone on the path of Paganism, not just Witchcraft. I feel that it is one that allows you to explore more of what is out there today for us compared to the old ones whose roots we grew from. I am happy that it was Trevor Greenfield who edited this book for us. But I am incredibly grateful for all those writers who contributed to this tome. Thank you for your insights.

Pagan Portals – What is Modern Witchcraft?: Contemporary Developments in the Ancient Craft on Amazon

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page. If you are interested in a reading you can reach her on Facebook @eagleandunicorn.

Book Review – The Secret People: Parish Pump Witchcraft, Wise-Women and Cunning Ways by Mélusine Draco

July, 2018

Book Review

The Secret People: Parish Pump Witchcraft, Wise-Women and Cunning Ways

by Mélusine Draco

1st Publication 2016

By Moon

Text Copyright: Mélusine Draco 2015

I have read one other book by Ms. Draco. I love the way she writes, and it is so relaxed and laid-back. She doesn’t complicate her words. She is able to keep a reader fascinated about the subject she is writing about

This book, “The Secret People” is a complete recipe book. It gives some great insights into foods, herbs and linen cupboard. There are subjects in this book that I have not seen written in others. It was a pleasure to read and visualize how this used to be the way people lived, and in some places still can.

There is a chapter called The Goodwife Ms. Draco writes about everything that would have been of importance to the Goodwife, from the Kitchen to the Stillroom. She gives household hints that are still relevant today.

The chapter on The Parish Healer is full of great cures that are now being brought back by people who want to get back to using what the earth gives us. My grandmother always told me, “There is no illness on this earth, that doesn’t have a cure on this earth.” I can believe that and wish I would have gotten more of my grandmother’s recipes. That is where all our knowledge should have come from, our grandmother’s old hand-written recipe cards and books.

The chapter that was interesting to me was, The Poacher. Ms. Draco talks about how the poachers of old, lived off the land. They could step outside their front door and find the nights meal. And it was through their trade (at one time it was an honorable trade too) helped to feed the Healer or the Fortune Teller.

The village (Parish) worked together, and there was no jealousy or fear of someone having more than another. They had their role in society to play. The whole village worked together to help each other out. And the Wise-Women of the town knew all that was happening, but they were quiet about what they heard or saw, they were not gossips.

The Cunning people traveled and knew all the plants in the area they moved. They brought their children along so that the herbal lore could be passed down to the next generation.

Ms. Draco writes that most Wise Women and Cunning People would have never thought of themselves as the witch we envision them today. The Wise Women and Cunning People of old attended mass at the church. They were seen as upstanding community members, who worked to help everyone around them.

It wasn’t until the creation of Men of Medicine that the Wise Women and Cunning People were seen as a threat. And that was only due to the greed of these men and fear of the church leaders that the respect that they had was stripped away.

I found this book to be inviting and informative. I am now trying to locate and purchase some of the source books Ms. Draco quotes in this book. I find this to be one of the best recipe and informative books I have read in a while.

The Secret People: Parish-Pump Witchcraft, Wise-Women and Cunning Ways

 

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Book Review: Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches by Melusine Draco

May, 2018

Pagan Portals- Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest and Horned God of the Witches

 

 

Author: Melusine Draco

Publisher Moon

Length:96 Pages

 

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.”

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become an E-Book reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Interview: Melusine Draco- Author, Teacher & Witch

February, 2017

Melusine Draco: Author, Teacher and Witch

 

Melusine Draco

 

Melusine Draco is a very prolific author, with titles ranging from Pagan Portals: Pan to Starchild I: The rediscovery of stellar wisdom. Melusine talked to Mabh at Pagan Pages about her writing, her teaching and other mysteries.

Mabh Savage: Why are some of your books under the name Suzanne Ruthven and some under Melusine Draco?

Melusine Draco: For many years the ‘day job’ was working as a creative writing tutor, author and editor of a creative writing magazine. In order to keep the persona different from my esoteric writing there had to be a different name for readers to identify with. I’ve written fact and fiction under both names, and the lines get blurred sometimes but there’s no real problem anymore as I do very little tutoring work outside my own personal writing interests. Nowadays I use my real name for the non-magical novel series, i.e. The Hugo Braithwaite Mysteries (set in the antiques trade) and The Vampyre’s Tale series, although my first magical novel, Whittlewood, was published under that name. Melusine Draco writes all the magical stuff including the novels in the Temple House Archive series.

MS: What is the book you are proudest of, if you have one?

MD: Actually there are three and for completely different reasons. The Dictionary of Magic and Mystery was never intended for publication having been compiled for my own personal use. John Hunt thought it might make a good addition to Moon since it has more entries than anything similar in publication. Wearing my writing tutor’s hat, I can honestly say it is a really useful book for esoteric writers.

Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones reflects the essence of the magic taught by Coven of the Scales in that we draw our energy from what’s beneath our feet. One of my tutors had a doctorate in geology and so I had a thorough grounding in the subject and this was my offering of thanks in recognition of the knowledge that had been passed on.

Root and Branch: British Magical Tree Lore has just been re-released and gives a glimpse into the world I grew up in – a countryside unspoiled by urban development. Again there is another aspect of CoS teaching encapsulated in its pages.

MS: Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

MD: I enjoy writing novels because there are no limits to where the imagination can take you. With non-fiction you are confined by the factual brief of the subject matter – although one reviewer commented that one of my non-fiction titles ‘feels almost as if one was studying a textbook written by a poet’. I was very moved by that comment because I felt as though I’d reached out and touched him.

MS: Can you tell us a bit about Coven of the Scales? How did it start, and how many students do you have?

MD: The Coven is traditional British Old Craft and was founded by Meriem and Bob Clay-Egerton from a lineage that can trace its roots back to the mid-1880s in Cheshire. I’ve been acting as caretaker for the past ten years since their deaths, and officially retired as of 1st January, because I have a wonderful husband and wife team to take over as Magister and Dame – although I remain Head of the Order to help with any magical queries. Students have to complete a year’s probationary course before they are accepted as full members; and since we are an Initiatory Order, this is the next step on their magical journey. We currently have a dozen full members and some twenty students at varying stages of study.

MS: How do you balance the needs of your students with being such a prolific writer?

MD: Ten years’ experience as a conference organiser means you can balance anything! I have set days for dealing with specific jobs

MS: You are also involved with the Temple of Khem. Do the two groups have any cross over, or are they completely separate?

MD: I am Principal of the Temple of Khem and the Egyptian Mystery Tradition has always been my first love. Now that I’ve discharged my obligation to CoS I have returned full-time to ToK. They are completely separate organisations and do not interact with each other since the magico-mystical methods and techniques are not compatible. The existing ToK members have been with me for a long time

MS: Do you find one aspect of the Craft appeals to you more than the others? Or are they all equally fascinating?

MD: Back to those natural earth energies and tides, I suppose. It never ceases to amaze me just how simple it is to harmonise with them and utilise them for magical purposes.

MS: In several places, your teaching methods are described as ‘Highly individualistic.’ What is it that makes your mentoring style so unique?

MD: The wording isn’t mine, by the way, it came from a student who was asked how it was for him, and it stuck! The simple answer is because I don’t teach from books or any provide set answers – and it’s possibly very much a case of ‘you have to have been there’ to fully appreciate the technique. Each student is catered for according to their needs and strengths and each one is completely different; therefore, the teaching comes from the student’s answers to a question, and my response in order to open up a dialogue about magical applications – and not just a straightforward Q&A session.

 

Melusine Draco2

 

MS: Your latest book, Pagan Portals: By Wolfsbane and Mandrake Root, is already receiving some great previews ahead of its February release. What inspired you to write this volume?

MD: Yes, people are saying some very positive things about the book and it gives a nice warm feeling inside to read them. The inspiration came from research I was doing for one of my novels and, like Topsy, it just grewed!

MS: Do you have your own garden of poisonous or unusual plants?

MD: No, but I have an acre of uncultivated land surrounding the cottage and many of these plants grow quite naturally without any help from me. In the summer and autumn my woody nightshade is a joy to behold.

MS: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book? And what was the best thing about the process?

MD: At the risk of sounding flippant, there was little challenge as it wrote itself. The most interesting thing about the process was the direction it took in making the point that the poisoning Olympians of history weren’t witches at all.

MS: Another popular series you have written is the Traditional Witchcraft series, of which there are six volumes currently. Are you planning to add to this series?

MD: No. I’ve said all I have to say on that particular subject since the series takes the reader on a journey from beginner to initiate without giving any ‘secrets’ away. Book learning is always only an introduction to any esoteric system – it’s the personal journey that provides the answers. We can, however, arrive at Initiate level and still come to realise that we know nothing!

MS: What other books do you have planned for the future? Are you working on anything currently?

MD: The second book in the Hugo Braithwaite series is at the proofing stage and the third in the series of The Temple House Archive is almost finished. Then it’s back to The Vampyre’s Tale … there are a few non-fiction ideas moving around in there but nothing concrete yet.

MS: Do you have a favourite sacred or spiritual place that you like to retreat to?

MD: I’m in the throes of creating an authentic Japanese Garden in a private corner that will be my own private space for musing and meditation.

MS: How do you relax when taking a break from teaching or writing?

MD: I’m (un)lucky that writing is my work and my hobby, so I find fiction writing to be my relaxation. Now that I’m officially retired from Coven of the Scales I hope to find the time to create a new vegetable garden complete with greenhouse. So that should keep me busy for the summer.

MS: And finally, what are you looking forward to most in 2017?

MD: Nothing for the moment but I dare say I will soon have my lot quaking in their boots when they hear those dreaded words: “I’ve had an idea!”

Find out more:

Website: http://www.covenofthescales.com

Website: http://www.templeofkhem.com

Blog: http://melusinedracoattempleofkhem.blogspot.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Melusine-Draco-486677478165958

http://www.facebook.com/TradBritOldCraft

http:// www.facebook.com/TempleofKhem

http://www.facebook.com/TempleHouseArchive

https://www.facebook.com/BraithwaiteMysteryRuthven/

https://www.facebook.com/VampyresTale/

 

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Mabh Savage is the author of Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft. She is also a freelance journalist, musician, poet and mother of one small boy and two small cats. Find out more at https://soundsoftime.wordpress.com