Seeking the Primal Goddess
The Magic and Mystery of the Hearth Fire
by Mélusine Draco
The opportunity to review this book peaked my curiosity due to my recently growing interest in studying ancient goddess cultures within European traditions from historical, anthropological, and archaeological lenses. Draco’s book is an interesting blend of locating the goddess across history as well as in modern pagan practices. I especially enjoyed the sections on the hearth fire’s connection with the goddess and–in my interpretation of this section–an undercurrent of feminism that has endured through the ages. The images that sprung to my mind of women tending sacred fires to ensure the wellbeing of their families and communities throughout time touched me deeply. As someone who has been actively working with ancestral memory for some time, I appreciated Draco’s book’s thesis:
…[A]lthough misplaced in time, the Primal Goddess of Old Europe needs to be re-discovered in her original setting so that we begin to understand the language, customs and attitudes of the people over which she ruled at the dawn of history and help a contemporary seeker to engage more readily with that period of her reign. Or she will continue to remain a ‘hidden’ Goddess and out of our reach…because called or not called, the goddess will be present.
The science-based information on how genetic memory is passed on to descendants is a relevant inclusion for all earth-based practitioners, in my opinion, considering all of the recent research coming out on how intergenerational and historical trauma is passed on to future generations. Mélusine Draco expands on this idea–focusing on its positive implications–by showing how this genetic memory can be activated to re-member how our ancestors worked with the goddess in ancient times:
In magical practitioners… this esoteric ‘chip’ comes factory installed and relies on certain external imagery or stimuli to activate it, but once exposed to the mysterious world of symbol and sigil, analogy and metaphor, the recipient instinctively begins to understand its ‘hidden’ language…We cannot escape those ancient racial memories of where we came from even if the descendants of yesterday’s pagans are now scattered all over the globe. Our personal daemon lurks with us in the amniotic fluid we float in before our birth; or as some believe from the moment of conception.
In this book, Draco provides many practices for activating this dormant genetic memory inside us. Through engaging with ancient imagery and pagan practices, a deeper connection with the primal goddess is formed with time. Some of these practices involve the use of the elements and physical idols that many modern-day pagans will identify with.
After reading the book in its entirety, there is only one critique I can levy. As an educator who is also an earth-based practitioner, I personally feel that it is important to follow formalized academic practices when writing books on any topic. Following my own research online, I noted that some parts of Draco’s book were not properly cited. For example, I found that a significant portion of the “Spiritual Bloodline” chapter regarding Professor Bryan Sykes’ book was taken word for word from Wikipedia (this is considered plagiarism in academia). This resource does not appear in Draco’s Bibliography. Still, she presents an impressive amount of academic research in her book that gives the reader greater context into her topic.
I appreciate, by the nature of pagan practice, that each person reading this book will have empirical evidence to support their thinking that will lead them down different academic pathways of research. Science is an imperfect study with biases of its own; scientists are humans who have worldviews that sometimes impede their ability to consider probabilities outside their scope of research. Draco does a great job of laying out some possibly new academic pathways readers can explore as they piece together their own ancestral connection to their indigenous roots in order to make their spiritual practices even more personally meaningful.
About the Author:
Jennifer Engrácio has been a student of shamanism since 2005. Jennifer is a certified teacher who has worked with children in many different education settings since 2001. She is a certified shamanic coach, reiki master, and lomilomi practitioner; in addition, she runs Spiral Dance Shamanics. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she now lives in Calgary, Canada with her life partner.
Engrácio participated in self-publishing three books that are now available:
“The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within”
“Women’s Power Stories: Honouring the Feminine Principle of Life”
“Dreaming of Cupcakes: A Food Addict’s Shamanic Journey into Healing”