Book news …

Arcanum series

The sixth title in the Arcanum series is now available as part of our on-going magical tutorial Arcanum books will be titles of under 100-pages of practical and/or instructional text on a specific esoteric subject or theme and written by magical practitioners with proven antecedents. Based on the idea of those children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that often introduced us to an interest that lasted a life time and, taking its name from the Coven of the Scales’ foundation course, the aim is to offer further tuition/guidance on specific elements of witch-lore and practice.

Coming in at around 25,000 words, each title will be packed with information and instruction rather than puffed out with superfluous wordage and regurgitated text borrowed from other publications. The series will be aimed at those who have attained a certain level of magical competence and who don’t need to be spoon-fed basic instructions for Circle-casting with each volume – and are therefore not written with beginners in mind.  Published by ignotus press they are available direct from Feedaread at a reduced cost of €6.85/£5.90 plus shipping.

No 1: Sacrifice to the Gods

The act of propitiating or appeasing the gods is as old as humankind. And, it is just as much an integral part of pagan worship today as it was when our Mesolithic ancestors first began leaving their mark on the landscape – both to honour the gods in times of plenty and to appease them in times of trouble. For the tribes that were beginning to track their footsteps across the open plains of the vast continents, they left behind evidence of their ‘holy places’ – where they periodically stopped and gathered together in the act of honouring the Gods, the Ancestors and denizens of Otherworld, according to the light of their times … and as their customs directed. What is the meaning of sacrifice? Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose – in particular divine beings – as an act of propitiation or worship. Needless to say, putting others ahead of ourselves requires sacrifice and in more modern parlance it is the act of offering or the giving up of something we would prefer to keep

No 2: Talking to Crows

‘Talking to crows’ is said of those who have some presentiment or foresight in Sicilian folk-lore. It is believed that to those who can understand them, these black birds, garrulous creatures they are, communicate the latest news on the doings of human beings, since they have a clear view – a bird’s eye view – of the whole. They have also been around for a lot longer than human beings and, perhaps not surprisingly, long ago developed the reputation of being messengers of the gods in many different cultures across the world. Members of this large, adaptable family live in habitats ranging from treeless tundras where land is flat to mountain forests. They live in deciduous forests, where trees shed their leaves, and coniferous forests, with cone-bearing evergreen trees. Corvids range in deserts, grassland steppes where there are few trees, and on the edge of rainforests, where heavy rain produces much growth. In addition, they live in cities and small villages. They are always our close companions and who more able to communicate news from Otherworld, should we choose to listen?

No 3: Hagstones

‘The hag stone tells the more human side of this history perhaps. Of fear, suspicion, disease and its healing, of countering dark magic, of minding the gap between the living and the dead, natural and supernatural. Its very form is a negotiation between the visible and the invisible, a combination of stone and air, presence and absence, at home in this transient place where land and sea meet, a place of limbo and secret, slow transformations …’ Alex Woodcock, In the Eye of the Hagstone Much of the information that has been collected for Hagstones is of a repetitive nature but this is, in itself, an endorsement of the strong beliefs that were still prevalent in the early part of the 20th-century up and down the country. In fact, the oddity of hag-stones has long made them a focus of folk magic – where they’ve been used for everything from wishing spells to hedge-riding and protection – and serious academic study. The names for these perforated rocks vary by region, but hag-stones have been viewed as magical across the world and, are also said to be bringers of high psychic powers and heightened intuition.

No 4: Thrice Great Thoth

In its simplest form, the modern function of the ancient Egyptian god, Thoth, can be seen as being the patron of writers and magical practitioners. Thoth is attested from the earliest historical periods onwards: he already played a prominent role in the oldest religious texts of Egypt, the Pyramid Texts, and continues to appear almost everywhere in Egypt up to the end of Egyptian religion some 4000 years later. Throughout this long period the god is overwhelmingly present in a vast body of documentation that yields an extraordinarily colorful picture of his nature and functions within the Egyptian pantheon. We should not forget that the archaic Thoth-cult of the pre-Dynastic era was a long way removed from the sophisticated theology of Ptolemaic times. Neither is my shadowy concept of Thoth enjoying a fine single malt and a cigar any more incongruous that the anthropomorphic images carved in the stone of the ancient temples. In historical terms, the death of Cleopatra was nearer to man’s landing on the moon, than it was to the magnificence of the pyramid-building era of ancient Egypt – but through all these times of change Thoth’s popularity has endured. Still holding the brush and palette of a scribe, since the wisdom of which he is the Master is in particular that contained in the sacred texts.

No 5: Treasure House of Images

By Phillip Wright and Carrie West, the concept of magic is communicated by a whole host of signs and imagery – where nothing is as it seems. The magical world is concealed behind a veil of analogy and allegory; similes and metaphor- all of which is a complicated shorthand for the techniques of magic and its practices. Because no matter what rosy-tinted view we have of our Craft ancestors, they were not the composers and compilers of the infamous grimories and magical texts that have come down to us as such. They ‘knew’ things, of course, but few would have known how to record this knowledge for posterity and Craft remained an oral tradition for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. If we turn to Carl Jung, however, we find that the history of symbolism shows everything can assume some symbolic significance, providing we understand the context in which it is presented.

No 6: QUARTZ – Breath of the Dragon

Since antiquity, varieties of quartz have been the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewellery and hard-stone carvings, while in the metaphysical world even the smallest piece is imbued with powerful properties that enable the bearer to cross the boundaries between the worlds. Archaeologists are now finding more and more evidence that quartz played an important part in the ritual and burial customs of our Ancestors. In truth, as Dr Meriem Clay-Egerton asserted some forty years ago, the use of quartz in prehistoric stone-working traditions was a worldwide phenomenon. For archaeologists, however, quartz was often misidentified, or ignored. Indeed, well into the 20th-century, quartz artefacts were routinely discarded during excavations. A new study reveals how Stonehenge has stood the test of time so successfully: The quartz crystals that make up the sarsens form an interlocking structure that makes the boulders nearly indestructible.

Scent of a Witch and Gateways to Otherworld are currently in production.

All books are available from FeedaRead.com https://www.feedaread.com

 Or Kindle e-books

New release

QUARTZ: Breath of the Dragon

There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones. Since antiquity, varieties of quartz have been the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewellery and hard-stone carvings, while in the metaphysical world quartz crystals are the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Even the smallest piece is imbued with powerful properties that enable the bearer to cross the boundaries between the worlds; while archaeologists are finding more and more evidence that quartz played an important part in the ritual and burial customs of our Megalithic and Paleolithic ancestors

It is the quartz element of granite that reconnects us with the spirit within the landscape. As an accomplished occultist and having a doctorate in Geology, one of the Coven’s founders, Mériém Clay-Egerton, was fascinated by the fact that for millennia, humanity and quartz had interacted with each other. She wrote that our ancestors having recognised the qualities of quartz was evident from the studies of its usage, not region by region, but over the entire area of the British Isles and other parts of the world: “Everywhere one looks there are clear distinct traces. To people who know its potential, it was clearly no accidental employment of any material to hand. It was sought out for use. Why?”

Quartz is the most common constituent of rock, she went on to explain, a basic silicate dioxide having three molecules arranged in either a right or left-handed spiral form, which has the power of polarising light in more than one direction: “When light enters a crystal it splits into two beams, due to the differing speeds of the light’s velocity being refracted back from the different vibration of the crystal’s lattices, and their own individual refracting indices. In certain circumstances, the crystals can act as ‘windows’ to ultra-violet and infra-red wavelengths. In addition to these scientific points, we may also hear quartz crystals hum or ‘sing’. We can also see quartz crystals displaying piezoelectric effects.”

These are scientific terms for what our ancestors knew: “Burial chambers with quartz kerb-stones were commonplace, as were the pits used for inhumations, which were sprinkled with quartz chippings, both whole and broken. There is a school of thought that these were used to either keep the individuals concerned safely at rest, or to permit the living to contact spirit entities when they were in a correctly attuned state.”

On a metaphysical level, Mériém wrote: “Standing stones (some of which are made of quartz – others may contain a high percentage of it), are accepted by psychics [and magical practitioners] as being able to act as conductors of ‘earth-force’, such as that encountered at nodal points for energy lines. If they are acting like natural ‘acupuncture needles’, then it is not surprising that they should be as pure a substance as possible and with natural powers of their own. Many circles in the south-west of England appear to have been originally constructed with a central point; other phases being tacked on afterwards. A quartz stone, or stones with high quartz content, will often appear in such a prominent position, having superseded the original wooden post.” A new study  reveals how Stonehenge has stood the test of time so successfully: The quartz crystals that make up the sarsens form an interlocking structure that makes the boulders nearly indestructible.

And much closer to home: “Nowadays, we protect our water with chemicals to make it fit for us to drink, but in ancient times folk made offerings to the guardians of holy wells. Some were simple things, others were valuable objects that had been ceremoniously broken; it is strange how often white stones, and quartz in particular, figured highly on the list of offerings. As the wells were quite often used in fertility and healing rites, then I suppose we should naturally expect quartz to be a frequent gift. Today, crystal healing is still practised; and quartz plain or coloured, is one of the principal stones used – yet another relic of our past.”

In truth, as Dr Clay-Egerton asserted some forty years ago, the use of quartz in prehistoric stone-working traditions was a worldwide phenomenon.  For archaeologists, however, quartz analysis presented significant challenges with the result that it was often misidentified, or ignored, or only cursorily analysed.  Indeed, well into the 20th-century, quartz artefacts were routinely discarded during excavations.  Nevertheless, quartz was an integral part of traditional British Old Craft teaching all those years ago and, despite the contemporary pagan penchant for crystals, for us nothing was allowed to displace quartz from being the most valuable stone for witchcraft.

On a final note: quartz is solid silica and if it did not crystallize when it solidified it is known as flint, and everyone knows that two flints struck together will produce a spark. What is not generally known is that all quartz pebbles will do the same and often produce bigger and better sparks. Clear quartz, or rock crystal, will produce an orange spark if two pieces are struck together in a darkened room, accompanied by the smell of burning … and this can be viewed as magical fire from the very Earth itself.  Despite all the gems of the world, for the magical practitioner, natural quartz should remain the most precious gift of all.

As a result of this current resurgence of academic interest, there is a certain pride and satisfaction in knowing that the ‘old-fashioned’ teachings of traditional British Old Craft are now being validated by contemporary scientists and archaeologists, who are beginning to understand that the ancients’ obsession with quartz crystals was more than just a passing fancy.  It was Aleister Crowley who maintained that magic was an amalgam of art and science and those Old Crafters of my generation were fortunate indeed, that our founder was a doctor of geology, with more than a passing interest in archaeology, anthropology and ‘earth mysteries’.  This meant that we also had a thorough grounding in these subjects and were encouraged to investigate further for information and knowledge … a practice that is maintained within the Coven to the present day.

‘Thanks, Mériém …’

Quartz: Breath of the Dragon is the sixth in the ignotus press Arcanum series. ISBN: 9781803021829 : Type Paperback : Pages: 104 : Published: 17 September 2021: Price£6.85 : Order direct from https://www.feedaread.com/books/Quartz-Breath-of-the-Dragon-9781803021829.aspx

New release

Treasure House of Images

TREASURE HOUSE OF IMAGES

By Phillip Wright and Carrie West

The concept of magic is communicated by a whole host of signs and imagery – where nothing is as it seems. The magical world is concealed behind a veil of analogy and allegory; similes and metaphor- all of which is a complicated shorthand for the techniques of magic and its practices. Because no matter what rosy-tinted view we have of our Craft ancestors, they were not the composers and compilers of the infamous grimories and magical texts that have come down to us as such. They ‘knew’ things, of course, but few would have known how to record this knowledge for posterity and Craft remained an oral tradition for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. If we turn to Carl Jung, however, we find that the history of symbolism shows everything can assume some symbolic significance, providing we understand the context in which it is presented.

Published by ignotus press uk : ISBN: 9781803021485Type: Paperback : Pages: 110 : Published: 10 September 2021 : Price £6.85 : Order direct from https://www.feedaread.com/books/Treasure-House-of-Images.aspx

New release …

A Tale For All Seasons

The Water Boatman: An Autumn Equinox Mystery – in publication

Bran Mannion is the mysterious water-boatman of the canals and waterways whose appearances are as inexplicable as his understanding of human nature. The Pedlar travels the waterways, resulting in unexpected action for those he encounters along the way. He’s a man with a knack for turning up mysteriously just when something is about to happen and saying just the right thing; or asking the right question that will inspire, or solve a mystery. It is frequently hinted that Bran Mannion may be not quite human but his sudden appearances and disappearances, his exquisite timing, and the frequent impression that he knows more than he’s letting on, manages to suggest something less than worldly. And yet no one really remembers him when he leaves.

The Water Boatman by Suzanne Ruthven ISBN: 9781803021300 :Type paperback : Pages 190 : Published: 25 August 2021 : Price: €7.95 : Shortly available in e-book format.

Chapter One

The Pedlar glided slowly over the still waters of the canal. An early morning mist still clung to the late summer landscape on either side of the waterway, held fast by the eerie shapes of the trees that lined the tow path. It was going to be another gloriously hot day once the sun had burned off the mist and already there was an enchanting golden sheen ahead as the dying rays of summer penetrated the gossamer veil. The old long-boat had been lovingly restored and for the past ten years it was the only place Bran Mannion had called home; it suited his nomadic lifestyle which, along with many other strange gifts he’d inherited from his grandmother’s ‘water gypsy’ ancestry.

     Of course, there was no such thing: it was a derogatory urban name given to those who lived on narrow boats, and who travelled on the canals and rivers throughout their lives – instead of travelling the highways and byways by horse and cart. The old lady had liked to refer to herself as a ‘water gypsy’ because she knew it irritated the hell out of her son-in-law, Bran’s father. Plus she could actually boast true Romany blood on her mother’s side and her father came from one of the several boatmen’s families who worked specific stretches of the canal; some, like her own, were involved in its construction and became boatmen when it was finished.

     Boatmen could often be away for several weeks at a time and the work was hard, especially when the canal was frozen for weeks in winter. As a result, the narrowboat community was close-knit, often living in self-contained coteries beside the canal – hence the appellation bestowed on them by outsiders. Nevertheless, it gave Bran Mannion the excuse to always be moving on if the tentacles of modern living began to wrap themselves too closely around him, or if there was a woman whose attentions were becoming irksome.

     Why, he’d often asked himself, was it that as soon as he found himself enjoying the company of a particular woman, that she began hinting he should stop wandering the waterways, and settle down? How many of them had he loved and left in his forty-odd years? How many times had he slipped the moorings in the early hours of the morning to disappear silently into the breaking dawn to avoid a hysterical scene? Over the years, too many women had tried to change Bran Mannion – and none of them had ever succeeded in taming his restless gypsy soul. Of course, there had been one or two that he’d briefly regretted leaving, but not enough to be able to ignore the call of the open waterways and freedom.

     Through the thinning haze, he could make out the dark outline of an old humped-backed stone bridge spanning the canal as the evaporating mist amplified excited youthful voices coming from the parapet. The Pedlar was barely moving now as it was a common occurrence for idiots to drop heavy objects from bridges onto passing canal craft and his instincts never served him wrong. The bridge was now only feet away and his view restricted to the rounded arch of the stonework that was mirrored in the dark water below. Underneath the bridge, the ripples from the boat’s wake created a dancing abstract pattern on the curved, moss-covered stones.

     There was a scrabbling noise from above and the sound of stone grating on stone, followed by the outline of a small dog being hurled from the bridge. Almost in slow motion, the dog’s legs flailed helplessly in the air but the heavy weight tied to its collar pulled it down towards the water, accompanied by a large splash and the sound of running feet fading in the distance. The dog had missed hitting the boat by a couple of feet and it was gamely trying to keep its head above water but the stone was too heavy. It all happened in seconds and the dog was fighting a losing battle. As the bow of The Pedlar gently glided past, Bran was able to reach over the side and with a powerful arm hoisted the terrified creature aboard just before it disappeared beneath the murky surface for the last time. As he lifted the sodden dog clear of the water, the rotten leather collar had snapped, taking any remnants of its former life to the muddy bottom of the canal.

     Too terrified to produce any immediate reaction, the dog lay on the wooden foredeck, panting as though its heart was fit to burst. Wrapping the animal in a faded beach towel that was to hand, Bran picked up the dog and carried it along the narrow walkway to the rear of the long-boat that was now idling up against the bank. It was as good a place as any to stop for breakfast and here the canal was wide enough for another craft to pass, so he decided to moor while he attended to his unexpected guest. Half-hoping its assailants would return to examine the results of their handiwork – in time to be on the receiving end of a bit of rough justice.

     The dog was some sort of skinny whippet-cross, covered with a rough grey coat that made it resemble a Brillo-pad on stilts – but lacking any visible refinement of a whippet’s graceful lines. The grey made it difficult to judge the dog’s age but despite the mental trauma it had just experienced, it lifted its head and watched him with young, intelligent eyes as the heavy panting began to subside. Bran judged it to be no more than eighteen months old at most and dreadfully underfed since his fingers had felt plenty of bone beneath the coarse matted fur.

     “That was a close-run thing, my friend,” he said to the dog, as he tied the mooring ropes to a stout metal stake driven into the grassy margin of the tow-path. “What on earth did you do to make them treat you like that?”

     Surprisingly, the dog made no attempt to leave the security of the narrow-boat, although Bran had half expected it to have quickly made its escape as soon as it was safe to do so. It had no reason to trust humans, even if one had just saved its life but he had this uncanny rapport with birds and animals that instinctively knew he meant them no harm. Instead, it stretched out its long legs on the weathered cushions and continued to watch him with growing interest as he prepared a breakfast of bacon and eggs in the well-appointed galley below.

     The Pedlar had started life as a holiday let and had a large open aft-deck because the hatch and rear doors were much further forward than on more traditional working boats; creating a good-sized space between the rear doors and the built-in seating around the stern and sides. Few narrow-boats were lived on permanently because long-term residential moorings were expensive and difficult to find, but nomadic owners like Bran Mannion, moved continuously around the network with a fixed location for just the coldest months, when many stretches of canal were often closed for repair works, or even frozen over. With her steel hull and superstructure, the refurbished long-boat was powered by a modern diesel engine and refitted inside to a very high standard indeed.

     There was plenty of internal headroom to accommodate the owner’s impressive physique and the old domestic facilities had been replaced with state-of-the-art appliances to make life afloat the epitome of luxury, including satellite television and broadband using 4G technology. In fact, money had been no object in creating this fashionably expensive floating bachelor pad simply because, water gypsy he may be, Bran was addicted to his creature comforts. The layout had been reconfigured to provide the greatest amount of space with a generous bedroom and shower at the bow and a large living space in the centre; the compact galley was located towards the stern to minimise cooking smells and maximise access.

     For him, one of the greatest joys of canal boat living was the al fresco eating arrangements and, having shared half his breakfast with the hungry dog, it was time for Bran to decide on the direction he wanted to travel. His first port of call, however, was to find a vet and see if the owner of the unfortunate mongrel could be traced by checking for a micro-chip. Having stopped off at a wharf that sold animal feeds and farming supplies it wasn’t difficult to find a local veterinary practice who quickly confirmed that the dog wasn’t ‘chipped’ despite it now being the law. The vet offered to take the ‘lurcher’ to an animal shelter but Bran had one of his sudden flashes of insight that told him the dog had been ‘sent’ – and as Cilla Black’s voice screeched out from a nearby radio, he and ‘Alfie’ embarked on their new journey together.

New release

ARCANUM New release

Thrice Great Thoth: The Magician’s Magician

Thrice Great Thoth: the Magician’s Magician by Mélusine Draco is the fourth title published in the ‘Arcanum series’ for Ignotus Books. Arcanum books will be titles of under 100-pages of practical and/or instructional text on a specific esoteric subject or theme and written by magical practitioners with proven antecedents. Based on the idea of those children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that often introduced us to an interest that lasted a life time and, taking its name from the Coven of the Scales’ foundation course, the aim is to offer further tuition/guidance on specific elements of witch-lore and practice.

In its simplest form, the modern function of the ancient Egyptian god, Thoth, can be seen as being the patron of writers and magical practitioners. Thoth is attested from the earliest historical periods onwards: he already played a prominent role in the oldest religious texts of Egypt, the Pyramid Texts, and continues to appear almost everywhere in Egypt up to the end of Egyptian religion some 4000 years later. Throughout this long period the god is overwhelmingly present in a vast body of documentation that yields an extraordinarily colorful picture of his nature and functions within the Egyptian pantheon. We should not forget that the archaic Thoth-cult of the pre-Dynastic era was a long way removed from the sophisticated theology of Ptolemaic times. Neither is my shadowy concept of Thoth enjoying a fine single malt and a cigar any more incongruous that the anthropomorphic images carved in the stone of the ancient temples. In historical terms, the death of Cleopatra was nearer to man’s landing on the moon, than it was to the magnificence of the pyramid-building era of ancient Egypt – but through all these times of change Thoth’s popularity has endured. Still holding the brush and palette of a scribe, since the wisdom of which he is the Master is in particular that contained in the sacred texts.

ISBN: 9781803020969 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 102 : Price £6.85

Published: 6th August 2021 – Also available in Kindle e-book format

Order direct from https://www.feedaread.com/books/Thrice-Great-Thoth.aspx

New release …

PACT!

By Melusine Draco

Was it pure coincidence that the next case load on the Temple House’s schedule consisted of four investigations involving pacts with demonic entities? The medieval palimpsest stolen from the Vatican … the reliquary supposedly containing the blood of the Grand Master … a ‘brazen vessel’ holding an imprisoned demon … and a magical Order that had sold its collective soul to the Devil? And, as always, there are those metaphorical demons from the past that come back to haunt us all from time to time … Led by charismatic Professors Aliona de Foresta and Robert Sands, the members of the Temple House embark on another series of paranormal investigations in which people are willing to trade their souls for personal gain.

“Pact! The Temple House Archive Book V heralds in the end of an era for the Temple House team. And what a way to go with demon pacts, cursed families, Saracen pots, Templar history, hidden palimpsests and chemical warfare agents. A fast-paced, page-turning read that will keep you up all night!” Sarah-Beth Watkins, Bestselling author of Lady Katherine Knollys

ISBN: 9781803020686 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 214 : Also available in Kindle e-book format.

Published: 23 July 2021

https://www.feedaread.com/books/PACT.aspx  £7.95

The Temple House Archive

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

Many of us cut our magical eye-teeth on magical fiction and the purpose of the Temple House Archive was to follow in the footsteps of Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley in creating a series of titles that were entertaining as well as instructional. 

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 story-lines of the CSI series, the idea for the Temple House series was born. What if …

If I’m completely 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 had been founded in 1586 in Elizabethan England 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 intelligentsia of the time. For my purpose he recruited the descendants of the Knights Templar. The Order had remained surrounded by myth and legend ever since its demise – but 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, had all 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 and 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 located 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; while Hour Betwixt Dog & Wolf stretched credibility beyond reason – as often happens.  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! The Thirteenth Sign deals with a primitive African-cult manifesting in Central London; a haunted house in the West Country and an on-line business for curses by mail-order, while the latest title – PACT! – speaks for itself.

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 television series (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.

I like to think that the series has an instructional element to the stories because there’s such a diversity to the phenomena that some magical explanation is required to trigger the reader’s imagination. Throughout the books the Knights Templar background is emphasised and so we get history, too, as well as magic. They’ve been fun to write and, I hope, fun to read, too …

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Salomonici), or more commonly known as the Knights Templar, were formed in 1118 and ‘destroyed’ in 1307 by royal decree when King Phillipe of France moved to have all Templars arrested and their assets seized. The Order has remained surrounded by myth and legend ever since – from searching and reputedly finding the Holy Grail; the Ark of the Covenant; sacred Gnostic texts even more dangerous than those found by the Dead Sea, or at Nag Hammadi in Egypt; to the timely disappearance of their naval fleet from La Rochelle and their treasure from the Paris Temple.

When creating characters for a novel, I use the ‘casting couch’ method by thinking to myself: which actor/celebrity (past or present) would I choose to play my character, and the choice is more likely to be reliant on a particular past role rather than the actor’s own personality. Very often this choice can also have a direct influence on the way the character speaks and acts within the parameters of the Temple House novels. This technique has proved highly successful for the Temple House series especially with such a large cast of major players and to make sure they all get equal ‘billing’. So … in ‘Meet the Characters’ is how I see them in my mind’s eye … or the people I would chose to play the parts.

As one reader commented in a review of the first books: “What interested me the most was the group dynamic of the ‘Nine’. Their skills and knowledge are vast but they’re united by a deep sense of trust in and commitment to each other. This focus and dedication is also applied to combating forces of evil, both human and non-human. They watch each other’s backs. The characters come across as being quite believable and likeable. I took a shine to many of them … Two have Templar lineage, the others consist of specialists in the fields of forensics, archaeology, anthropology, theology, medieval history, classics, and communications. The group comprises of people ‘blessed’ with natural psychic abilities and those with such gifts thrust upon them by accident. They are a tight knit band, which is always necessary for any group work, more so in the pursuit of paranormal anomalies.”

Aliona de Foresta: Professor of Archeo-astrology is Hereditary Head of the Temple House, author and television personality descended from Guy de Foresta, Master of the Templars in England on three separate occasions between 1275 and1288. Initiate of the Egyptian Mystery Tradition and an authority on ancient stellar-associated religious belief and cosmogony. Widow of Phillipe Middleburne; mother of Luc, heir to the Middleburne Estate and twin sister to Guy de Foresta, who preferred to build boats than take over the Temple House when their father Laurent de Foresta died. Both Aliona and her brother are highly intelligent – highly volatile – and devoted to each other; while Luc is constantly driven round the bend by her ‘fussing’.

     Perhaps not surprisingly, she is still my favourite character as she is the lynchpin for the whole Temple House Archive series. She is not always a likeable or sympathetic personality but she has the necessary steely character required to be the hereditary Head of an ancient esoteric Order. She was the first of ‘the Nine’ to come alive having seen Janette Suzman in a similar role in an old Morse episode where she played a dynamic 50-ish professional woman with elegance and conviction. Neither can anyone do ‘exasperation’ quite like Suzman and the younger members of the team often get the opportunity to produce this reaction in their leader. She is fiercely loyal to her ‘troops’ and would defend them to the hilt, regardless of the cost.

     As one reader observed: “She’s a strong female character who knows her own mind; as a trusted and respected leader whose team trusts her implicitly. I thought this was an excellent portrayal of a female character in a position that many authors would have assigned to a male. I would trust her and have faith in her decisions, which I can’t say of many people who profess to be leaders! I think Janette Suzman would have been spot on as regards ‘casting’.”

Robert Sands ‘Monsignor’: Emeritus Professor of Theology, Cambridge

Robert specialises in Norse and Anglo-Saxon languages and culture. He is a widely published authority on alternative religion, new religious movements, cults and heretical sects. Also of Templar lineage – Robert de Sable, Master 1191-1193 – he is Aliona’s greatest friend and Luc’s godfather, and originally brought into the Temple House by Laurent de Foresta following the collapse of his marriage. He is the lover of Christine Kemble, many years his junior, who has managed to inject some brightness into his formerly austere existence and whom he marries after his near-fatal shooting [Realm of Shadow].

     One reader commented: “He’s rather an enigmatic character and as an academic hasn’t got a lot of time for airy-fairy theories and conjecture. I like the spirited debates he has with JJ Dee and his wife but he’s obviously a good natured soul underneath. What a brain! And what a pedigree!”

     Robert is one of the Temple Elders and don’t ask me why – but rock star Bryan Ferry just kept popping up as ‘Monsignor’! Well, he had to have something of the illustrious past etched into his face and I couldn’t get rid of the mental image of the craggy Mr Elegance himself. Neither the reality nor the fictional character appear to suffer fools gladly and while Professor Sands wouldn’t be wearing the glam attire the singer used to favour, he nevertheless is the epitome of his own brand of the immaculate turnout. He’d also got to have something about him to attract a young and attractive wife.

John James (‘JJ’) Dee: Medieval History

JJ holds the rank of ‘Adeptus’ in a Western Ritual Magic Order and a Temple Elder, is an acknowledged expert in the interpretation of the Western Qabalah, esoteric acronyms, sigils and symbols – and demonology. Specialises in icon identification and symbology; contemporary usage and examples – medieval Inquisition and related church affairs. Frequently liaises with the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico, Virginia. An excellent chef and connoisseur of good food and wine, with a dry sense of humour to match, he is the only person to win both Mastermind and MasterChef – and usually finds himself acting as ‘exorcist’ to some of the more unsavoury manifestations from the Abyss.

     As unlikely as it sounds, the person that fitted this role to perfection in my mind’s eye was the television cookery writer Nigel Slater with his characteristic all-black outfits, specs and floppy hair; his relaxed, laid-back attitude translated perfectly as an excellent foil for his more seriously minded contemporaries.

     The comment’s been made that: “I think JJ, apart from being a very smart guy and an accomplished magician, is a mighty fine cook. The best traits in a guy any woman could want. Although Andy and Will are ex-military, it is JJ who can stand and look real danger right in the face and hold his ground. And I love his sense of humour. He doesn’t take himself too seriously unlike the other characters.”

Dr Gabrielle Fox – Temple House Medic

Dr Fox is an authority on folk and alternative medicine, traditional wort-lore, altered states of consciousness and historical witchcraft. She also acts as the team’s medic, forensics specialist and connoisseur of Gothic literature and cinema – an interest that she shares with Jack Daws. Close friend of Aliona de Foresta, Gabrielle, along with JJ and Robert, is another of the Temple Elders.

     This was a difficult character to ‘see’ for a very long time as she kept coming out too much like her good friend Aliona de Foresta – then I discovered the beautiful Melina Kanakaredes, the Greek actress in CSI: New York and everything fell into place. It was almost like transporting her from one character to another and the join was seamless especially the Anglo-Greek side to her personality. This is a technique I always use when creating characters because it makes it so much easier to see them in the mind’s eye and lessens the risk of them not acting true to form. It’s no wonder the THA macho-man, Will Burl, falls for her – and I didn’t even see that one coming!

     One reader singled her out: “She’s quietly competent but still manages to exude an aura of strength when required out in the field. She strong, dependable, highly intelligent, adaptable and has a good sense of humour – teamed up with Jack Daws they make a formidable duo.”

James ‘Jack’ Daws: Archaeology/Anthropology

A self-opinionated graduate of University College, specialising in prehistory and archaeo-acoustics – the acoustic qualities of prehistoric and medieval construction, and auditory sensibilities – experiencing the sensation of hearing sounds where there is no identifiable external cause. Aficionado of classic cinema, vintage horror films and literature; and a highly experienced climber – a passion he shares with Chrissie Kemble, Andy Ambler and Will Burl.

     I’m also a great fan of young Johnny Depp who is greatly underrated as a comic actor and I needed someone in the team to be a bit of a clown when the need arises. He’d drive me barmy but as a character he’s credible when it comes to getting folk out of a tight corner – and can always be relied upon to say the wrong thing!

     Our proof-editor likes Jack Daws who specialises in archaeo-acoustics: “What a way to hear blasts from the past! He’s cheeky, helps the team to bond and I imagine somewhat of a hunk! He loves old horror movies, too, so a great character to cuddle up with!”

Andrew ‘Andy’ Ambler: Former SAS, intelligence operative, communications and crypt-analysist. Shot in the head during active service and developed extremely accurate psychic abilities as a result. Originally seconded to the Temple House from MI6 [House of Strange Gods] but now a fully-integrated member of the Nine who shares a climbing interest with Jack Daws and Christine Kemble and his old comrade in arms, Will Burl. Often out of his depth with the occult nature of their work. He has a dry and soldier’s ‘black’ sense of humour, and is fiercely loyal to Aliona de Foresta.

     The character was originally based on a real ex-special forces soldier whom I met many years ago minding a couple of Russians at a conference in London but like the rest of us he would be a lot older now! So … who would fit the role today and it had to be Daniel Craig: not particularly good looking but soooo much animal magnetism, and appears to be a bit of a sour puss at times despite the odd flashes of humour. Forget the tux … he’s best when casual, dishevelled and a bit grubby! A fellow author commented: “Oh, the ex-SAS man [Andy Ambler]. Definitely sexy and cool and loads of common sense.”

Christine Kemble is a Doctor of Geology and leading researcher into electromagnetic phenomena – the strange effects associated with the earth’s magnetic field, with a keen interest in the magical lore of gemstones and ‘earth mysteries’; aka author Crystal Kemble. An experienced climbing companion of Jack Daws and lover (and later wife) of the eminent ‘Monsignor’, Robert Sands. Chrissie has a bright, bubbly personality and an infectious laugh that manages to defuse even the grimmest of situations.

     I was looking for a complete contrast to Aliona de Foresta and Gabrielle Fox but it had to be someone who was as academically sound and who provided the statutory (but not ditzy) blonde. She’s happier being one of the boys but her female friendships are equally as important; and she’s fearless when it comes to field-work. She’s the fourth member of the Temple House ‘climbing club’ with Jack Daws, Andy Ambler and Will Burl and absolutely dependable in a crisis … jump to Amanda Redman who plays the indomitable Sandra in New Tricks and the cast was complete – especially as the original idea for THA came from a blend of New Tricks, CSI and the old 1970s series The Legacy.  One reader has gone for Christine Kemble: “She’s my kinda girl – clever, attractive, witty and a tom-boy to boot!”

Wilbur Burl: Another former Special Forces soldier and former comrade in arms of Andy Ambler [House of Strange Gods], originally appointed as security officer for the Temple House and elevated within the Order because of his courage and adaptability. Romantically involved with Gabrielle Fox and a member of the TH climbing club. There’s a good-natured, on-going competitiveness between the two soldiers except in dress – Will wouldn’t be seen dead in Andy’s cut-offs and faded military t-shirts.

     This role had to go to good-looking American actor (and former fashion model) of Criminal Minds fame – Shemar Moore. In real life the actor is of mixed race and in the books Will has a Caribbean-Greek ancestry. There’s also a lot of good-natured sexist leg-pulling that can only work successfully between a group of highly confident and warm-hearted people who genuinely care about each other.

Timothy Brown: An emotionally underdeveloped teenage psychic who lost his parents in a boating incident and was washed up on the Temple House beach. His remarkable abilities are wide reaching but completely untrained; a probationary member of the Temple House team. Although possessed of an extremely high IQ, he nevertheless has the social and emotional outlook of a schoolboy on account of his parents keeping him isolated on account of his ‘strangeness’ [Hour Betwixt Dog & Wolf].

     I needed a sort of River Pheonix-pretty boy look for this new character to provide a complete contrast to the older males … so had a flick through ‘young blond models’ on the internet and this was the closest I could find.

Barbara Ford-Harrington: Retired librarian from the Bodleian Library at Oxford and a traditional Old Craft witch. She joins the Temple House team following a case involving some of her strange neighbours. An excellent researcher and a highly suitable replacement for former team member Maurice Morgan and a valuable colleague of JJ Dee and Robert Sands.

     I had a sort of mature Angela Rippon-type for this character who wears her long blonde hair caught up in a knot; she wears country tweeds and sensible shoes but is in no way plain or dowdy. She brings with her an amiable beagle called Wilf. [Hour Betwixt Dog & Wolf]

PACT! is the fifth title in the series and due for publication in September 2021 by Ignotus Press UK. For more details see http://www.facebook.com/TempleHouseArchive

Reviews:

“A brilliant read. Love the writing. A real chiller-thriller. The author has all the skills needed to write a cracking good novel. She also has a vast occult knowledge that really shows and writes on the subject with ease. As usual with Melusine there is a subtle humorous element running through that works really well. Best of all there is a volume two underway. I think this would make a great TV series.” Maria Moloney, Axis Mundi Books

A cracking read. An excellent story, the characters are three dimensional, the dialogue reads naturally and the pacing is fine. There is tension and plenty of conflict as well as some nice touches of humour. There is also a sense of truth that only someone who is familiar with the occult can provide in this genre.” Krystina Kellingley, Cosmic Egg Books

“A brilliant read and a walk into the world of the occult that is both fascinating and thrilling. Loved the historical undertones and the work of the ‘Nine’. Kept me gripped throughout. Can’t wait for number two!” Sarah-Beth Watkins : Bookworms

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‘The hag stone tells the more human side of this history perhaps. Of fear, suspicion, disease and its healing, of countering dark magic, of minding the gap between the living and the dead, natural and supernatural. Its very form is a negotiation between the visible and the invisible, a combination of stone and air, presence and absence, at home in this transient place where land and sea meet, a place of limbo and secret, slow transformations …’ Alex Woodcock, In the Eye of the Hagstone

Much of the information that has been collected for Hagstones is of a repetitive nature but this is, in itself, an endorsement of the strong beliefs that were still prevalent in the early part of the 20th-century up and down the country. In fact, the oddity of hag-stones has long made them a focus of folk magic – where they’ve been used for everything from wishing spells to hedge-riding and protection – and serious academic study. The names for these perforated rocks vary by region, but hag-stones have been viewed as magical across the world and, are also said to be bringers of high psychic powers and heightened intuition.

 Hagstones by Mélusine Draco is the third title published in the ‘Arcanum series’ for Ignotus Books. Arcanum books will be titles of under 100-pages of practical and/or instructional text on a specific esoteric subject or theme and written by magical practitioners with proven antecedents. Based on the idea of those children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that often introduced us to an interest that lasted a life time and, taking its name from the Coven of the Scales’ foundation course, the aim is to offer further tuition/guidance on specific elements of witch-lore and practice.

Coming in at around 25,000 words, each title will be packed with information and instruction rather than puffed out with superfluous wordage and regurgitated text borrowed from other publications. The series will be aimed at those who have attained a certain level of magical competence and who don’t need to be spoon-fed basic instructions for Circle-casting with each volume and are therefore not written with beginners in mind.

Hagstones compiled by Melusine Draco for the Arcanum series, published by ignotus press uk : ISBN: 9781803020334 : In paperback and e-book format : Pages: 98 : Published: 23 June 2021: Price £6.68 : Order direct from https://www.feedaread.com/books/HAGSTONES.aspx

Book news … new release

Talking to Crows: Messengers of the Gods

By Melusine Draco

‘Talking to crows’ is said of those who have some presentiment or foresight in Sicilian folk-lore. It is believed that to those who can understand them, these black birds, garrulous creatures they are, communicate the latest news on the doings of human beings, since they have a clear view – a bird’s eye view – of the whole. They have also been around for a lot longer than human beings and, perhaps not surprisingly, long ago developed the reputation of being messengers of the gods in many different cultures across the world.

The best way to introduce ourselves to Corvidae is by feeding them. Some may argue that corvids are wild creatures and by feeding them, we encourage an unnatural dependence. With most wildlife, this is an excellent philosophy. But most corvids and humans have been living side-by-side for centuries now, and researchers like Marzluff and Angell (co-authors of In the Company of Crows and Ravens) point to many instances of cultural co-evolution between us. This relationship has been arguably symbiotic for quite a while now. Certainly, after all this time together, our lives and histories have become closely intertwined. They’ve watched people come and go for years; people who may have watched them right back.

Don’t try to get too close. These are wild creatures, after all. Our goal shouldn’t be to tame them or make them into pets. Even after years of friendship, a corvid will be skittish and standoffish, and it’s better this way. They are never going to come running for a fuss, and their standoffish attitude is probably a major reason why they have thrived as a species for so long … but if we’re interested in them, we have to learn to appreciate their charms from afar.

Besides, get real, most humans view crows as ominous, murderous evils (or at best, rats with wings). For centuries, crows have played the bad guys in the stories humans tell themselves, and I’m sure those crows have noticed the eye daggers most people shoot at them, how cars veer to the shoulder to intentionally run them over. Why wouldn’t that distrust be mutual from a creature with this level of intelligence? So crows will take their own sweet time deciding if they trust us or not … but once they know who we are, they’ll never forget. At first, they may give us the cold shoulder and ignore our offerings, but don’t take it personally. Remember that paranoia is all about survival, but patience and vigilance will eventually pay off. If we pass the test, they will decide to trust us. [Joanne Fonté, How To Make Friends With Crows]

We can also see how there are various attributes that are associated with all members of the Corvidae family but that there are also subtle differences between each of the species. All are monogamous and loyal, although some are more aggressive than others; all have a highly developed intelligence while others often display anti-social habits. When we begin ‘talking to crows’ we are entering into a mystical dialogue with Otherworld by being sent spiritual messages showing us a symbolic image of a corvid, either a physical bird or the spiritual image of one in the guise of a totem.

These messages are words of wisdom and advice, and they can help us to identify talents we are not using, or the negative beliefs and thought patterns that are holding us back. Once these messages are understood and applied to our lives, they can be a valuable source of direction as we progress on our spiritual journeys. Birds reflect a strong symbolism. They encourage us to aim high and realize our goals despite the challenges we might face as we chase those dreams. They can also be a motivation to deepen our spirituality even more because they help us explore our devoutness and push the boundaries. Although some may represent good omens, some, unfortunately, do not. Which is why it is important to know which of the species we encountered before we get in a state with worry – we need to be able to interpret our sightings accurately. [Birds: Divine Messengers, Angela Wansbury]

Fossil records suggest that modern birds originated 60 million years ago, after the end of the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago when dinosaurs died out. And, since prehistoric times, people have probably looked to the heavens for signs; and since birds fly, it makes sense that people would have perceived birds as messengers of divinity. After all, a bird’s-eye-view is significantly more omniscient than any earthbound perspective. Birds know what the world looks like from 30,000 feet high; they have seen the insides of clouds, so looking to birds for perspective makes an odd kind of primitive sense.

And, wouldn’t it be convenient if all we had to do to find answers and guidance in life was to walk outside, look up at the sky, and ‘read’ the birds flying overhead, especially if black meant always bad and light or brightly coloured birds always meant good – but of course, nothing is that simplistic. For example: What does it mean if a crow follows us? It doesn’t necessary mean some highly significant or mystical message. It’s more likely that the crow recognizes us for some friendly reason. If a crow follows us, it feels a connection to and/or curiosity in use for some reason. Maybe we fed that crow once before (or we look like someone who did) … because we’ve learned that corvids have the power of recognition for humans.

Or if a corvid shows no fear of us, it may be something to pay attention to for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the bird is trying to tell us something. Either it is just the bird’s interest in us (maybe we looked familiar – maybe it is hoping for food), or perhaps it represents someone else’s interest in us – a deceased loved one, an ancestor, or just the universe, trying to connect with is for some reason. See the incident outside the bookshop at the end of Chapter 4.

  • There are two kinds of bird signs: impetrative (sought after, asked for, or requested) and oblative (unasked for; coming out of the blue like a bolt of lightning!). So ask yourself: Is the bird bringing us an unasked-for message from the universe? Or is it answering a question we’ve asked – explicitly or implicitly?
  • Seeing a bird is not going to give us a clear answer. It’s no magic 8-ball (a fortune telling gadget shaped like a classic pool eight-ball; filled with water and containing a multi-face dice, with each side featuring the answer to a question – and who thinks those are really magic!?). A bird’s colour doesn’t necessarily make any meaningful difference whatsoever. 
  • And the millions of corvids that exist aren’t on the planet simply for the purpose of providing humans with messages from Otherworld because they have a difficult time as it is merely staying alive! We need to establish an affinity with the birds in our immediate vicinity, because there is little point in claiming a raven or chough as our personal totem when we’ve never encountered one in the flesh. Similarly, I rarely see a carrion crow or jay, but the ‘hoodies’ are regular visitors – as are the magpies and rooks – and I talk to them on a regular basis.
  • And what better way to affirm this affinity than with a tattoo. A bird tattoo meaning is deep, and primarily stands for freedom, independence, and fearlessness. Some people who choose to get a bird symbol inked on their body tells us something that is individually unique to that person, and his or her experiences. They often relate to one of the following:
  • Spirituality, higher understanding or a connection to the being supreme
  • Self-sufficiency, self-actualization or the power of self-direction
  • To enhance perspectives or capabilities, like agility, lightness, buoyancy, and the ability to rise above adversity.

Birds that represent freedom can mean mental autonomy, spiritual self-direction, and independence from the hindrances of physical capabilities or freedom of any other choice.

Let’s be honest … anything can be symbolic if we want it to be and everything in Old Craft is linked in some way to sigils and symbols, allegory and analogy, metonym and metaphor. This is the language of witches.

Members of this large, adaptable family live in habitats ranging from treeless tundras where land is flat to mountain forests. They live in deciduous forests, where trees shed their leaves, and coniferous forests, with cone-bearing evergreen trees. Corvids range in deserts, grassland steppes where there are few trees, and on the edge of rainforests, where heavy rain produces much growth. In addition, they live in cities and small villages. They are always our close companions and who more able to communicate news from Otherworld, should we choose to listen?

Talking to Crows: Messengers of the Gods by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK as the second in their Arcanum series : ISBN 978 1 83945 968 9 : 104 pages : Price £6.85  Order direct from https://www.feedaread.com/books/TALKING-TO-CROWS-9781839459689.aspx

Book news

ARCANUM New release

Talking to Crows by Melusine Draco

‘Talking to crows’ is said of those who have some presentiment or foresight in Sicilian folk-lore. It is believed that to those who can understand them, these black birds, garrulous creatures they are, communicate the latest news on the doings of human beings, since they have a clear view – a bird’s eye view – of the whole. They have also been around for a lot longer than human beings and, perhaps not surprisingly, long ago developed the reputation of being messengers of the gods in many different cultures across the world.

Members of this large, adaptable family live in habitats ranging from treeless tundras where land is flat to mountain forests. They live in deciduous forests, where trees shed their leaves, and coniferous forests, with cone-bearing evergreen trees. Corvids range in deserts, grassland steppes where there are few trees, and on the edge of rainforests, where heavy rain produces much growth. In addition, they live in cities and small villages. They are always our close companions and who more able to communicate news from Otherworld, should we choose to listen?

Talking to Crows by Mélusine Draco is the second title published in the ‘Arcanum series’ for Ignotus Books.  Arcanum books will be titles of under 100-pages of practical and/or instructional text on a specific esoteric subject or theme and written by magical practitioners with proven antecedents. Based on the idea of those children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that often introduced us to an interest that lasted a life time and, taking its name from the Coven of the Scales’ foundation course, the aim is to offer further tuition/guidance on specific elements of witch-lore and practice.

Coming in at under 25,000 words, each title will be packed with information and instruction rather than puffed out with superfluous wordage and regurgitated text borrowed from other publications.  The series will be aimed at those who have attained a certain level of magical competence and who don’t need to be spoon-fed basic instructions for Circle-casting with each volume – and are therefore not written with beginners in mind.

Now in production, Talking to Crows will be available direct from the printer at a special price from the last week in June.  Watch this space …