ARCANUM – new release

Sacrifice to the Gods by offering, oblation and libation by Melusine Draco

This is the first 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. 

Sacrifice, like death, is one of the great taboos of modern society. The notion that human sacrifice could be considered a most holy act is almost inconceivable.  Yet the evidence for human sacrifice in north-west Europe, derived from both archaeology and the testimony of Classical writers of the first centuries BC/CE, has to be confronted.  The term ‘sacrifice’ has become so firmly engrained in the human psyche – or racial subconscious – that even in this modern day and age, it automatically conjures up images of bloodshed regardless of context. 

In media-speak, any reference to ‘sacrifice’ in connection with pagan rites and practices is almost immediately and erroneously conveyed as involving animals, babies or virgins!  In other words, media reporting provides the narrative that forms the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it is supposed to be fully understood – even if it is misleading and inaccurate. To the detractors of pagan beliefs, however, the term ‘sacrifice’ usually refers to killing animals or harming humans – because they fail to understand that in a pagan sense, what is always offered in sacrifice is, in one form or another, life itself, a a means of preserving the Sacred Order.

Sacrifice is a celebration of life, an acceptance of its divine and imperishable nature. In the act of sacrifice the consecrated ‘life’ of an offering is released as a sacred link that establishes a bond between the sacrificer and the divine power. Through sacrifice, energy is returned to its divine source, regenerating the power or strength of that source; life is fed by life. Hence the words of the ancient Roman sacrificer to his god: ‘Be thou increased (macte) by this offering’.  Needless to say, it is an increase in this divine power that is ultimately beneficial to the sacrificer because sacrifice is the merging and guarantee of the reciprocal flow of the divine life-force between its source and its embodiment.

Often the act of sacrifice involves the destruction of the offering, but this destruction is not in itself the sacrifice. The destruction (or consumption) of a food-drink offering at an altar’s fire is the means by which the deity receives the offering.  Thereby, a sacrifice is the total act of offering and not merely the method in which the rite is performed. 

So, sacrifice as a sacramental communal meal may involve the idea of the god as a participant in the feast, or being identified with the food consumed; it may also involve the idea of a ritual meal, at which either some agrarian event such as the springtime (Beltaine) and the harvest (Lughnasad) is repeated, or the sacred rites of the seasons are symbolically renewed – the Summer and Winter Solstices.  Although the fundamental meaning of these sacrificial rites is that of affirming a bounteous and fruitful relationship with the sacred power and of establishing humankind in the Sacred Order, the rites have in more modern times assumed a multitude of different forms and intentions.

Sacrifice to the Gods looks at the latest archaeological findings from the Ancient World to see how these offerings can be interpreted for modern pagan use, so that we can fully understand what is permissible and what was forbidden in times past, so that our sacrifice is acceptable to our gods, regardless of the Path or Tradition we follow.

Sacrifice to the Gods by offering, oblation and libation by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Books ISBN 9781839457012 : Paperback : Pages: 102 :  £6.85 : Published13 January 2021. Available from the printer at a special discounted price from https://www.feedaread.com/search/books.aspx?keywords=Sacrifice%20to%20the%20Gods

E-book format will be available from Kindle shortly

CALENDARS FOR THE NEW YEAR

A calendar is convenient for regulating civil life and religious observances and for historical and scientific purposes. The word is derived from the Latin calendarium, meaning “interest register” or “account book,” itself a derivation from calendae (or kalendae), the first day of the month in the  Roman republican calendar, the day on which future market days, feasts, and other occasions were proclaimed.

The development of a calendar is vital for the study of chronology, since this is concerned with reckoning time by regular divisions, or periods, and using these to date events. It is essential, too, for any civilization that needs to measure periods for agricultural, business, domestic, or other reasons. The first practical calendar to evolve from these requirements was the Egyptian, and it was this that the Romans developed into the Julian calendar that served western Europe for more than 1,500 years. The Gregorian calendar was a further improvement and has been almost universally adopted because it satisfactorily draws into one system the dating of religious festivals based on the phases of the Moon and seasonal activities determined by the movement of the Sun.  Such a calendar system is complex, since the periods of the Moon’s phases and the Sun’s motion are incompatible; but by adopting regular cycles of days and comparatively simple rules for their application, the calendar provides a year with an error of less than half a minute.

The basic unit of computation in a calendar is the day. Although days are now measured from midnight to midnight, this has not always been so. Astronomers, for instance, from about the 2nd century CE until 1925, counted days from noon to noon. In earlier civilizations and among primitive peoples, where there was less communication between different settlements or groups, different methods of reckoning the day presented no difficulties. Most primitive tribes used a dawn-to-dawn reckoning, calling a succession of days so many dawns, or suns. Later the Babylonians, Jews, and Greeks counted a day from sunset to sunset, whereas the day was said to begin at dawn for the Hindus and Egyptians and at midnight for the Romans. The Teutons counted nights, and from them the grouping of 14 days called a fortnight is derived. [Britannica]

Between 6-11th December the three calendars will be available in e-book format from Kindle for UK£0.99/US$0.95 as a special offer.  Otherwise, they are available in paperback direct from the printer at a special discounted price …

Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways – Melusine Draco ISBN: 9781788762052 : Paperback : Pages 210 : £8.95. To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/Old-Year-Old-Calendar-Old-Ways-9781788762052.aspx

The Roman Book of Days: The Calendar of Ancient Rome – Pauline Erina ISBN: 9781786971517 : Paperback : Pages 144 : £6.85 To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Roman-Book-of-Days-9781786971517.aspx

The Calendar of Ancient Egypt: Melusine Draco (revised and expanded edition) ISBN: 9781788765831 : Paperback :Pages 202 : £7.95 To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Calendar-of-Ancient-Egypt-9781788765831.aspx

New release …

Screenplay: A Hugo Braithwaite Mystery – Book 5

By Suzanne Ruthven

Death … thought Hugo Braithwaite reflectively … all items in the antiques and fine art world have entered the trade via death. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the contents of a humble cottage, a grand house sale, the dispersal of a collector’s jealously hoarded treasures, or – as in this case – the personal effects of a family member or famous personality.

Naomi Jessop was still a handsome woman in her late seventies who had been Margaret Gilbert’s ‘companion, dresser and general factotem’, as she described herself when she’d walked into Hugo Braithwaite: Fine Art Gallery the week before. She needed his help, it transpired, to dispose of the late star’s possessions and had been recommended by Adele Simmonds, Hugo’s own octogenarian chum, who vouched for him as a gentleman and the soul of discretion when dealing with private affairs …

… but as always, there was an element of darkness surrounding the late Margaret Gilbert affair, which began to manifest in an underlying current of violence and skullduggery once the discovery of her indiscreet autobiography threatened to ruffle more than a few feathers of the living.

ISBN: 9781839455803 : Type: Paperback : Pages: 198

Published: 20 November 2020

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Screenplay.aspx

ARCANUM BOOKS series @ IGNOTUS BOOKS UK

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.  The idea came from those ‘Ladybird’ books we had as kids that were often responsible for triggering and interest in all manner of subjects in later life. 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 first five books in the series are now ‘works in progress’ and Offering to the Gods should be available early in the New Year.  Each title devotes itself to a particular Craft method or technique that the witch feels they wish to explore in more depth as part of their on-going studies.  In order of publication, the first five titles are:

  1. Offerings to the Gods
  2. Talking to Crows
  3. Hagstones
  4. Gateways to Otherworld
  5. The Magic of Quartz

Book news …

Finally, the long-awaited Round About the Cauldron Go … is almost ready to go to print as a limited edition.  Written by Philip Wright and Carrie West, with lots of input from the Elders of CoS, the book is aimed at those who have completed the Arcanum foundation course, and have asked for ideas as to how they should celebrate the Sabbats throughout the year. Round About the Cauldron Go … shows them exactly that. All of the workings apply whether the Coven as a whole is undertaking them or the witch as a solitary practitioner. They are easy to adapt for those working alone and will ensure that there is a consistency of approach across the entire Coven.

Since these workings are ONLY for use by Coven of the Scales, this book is being made available as a limited edition to those Coven members who have shown a genuine aptitude for Old Craft and have also shown an active progression with Craft itself.  This is the Grimoire of Coven of the Scales, setting down our practices for the benefit of those needing to know them now and in the future.  Its contents must not be divulged to others under any circumstances and any member found to have shared its contents may face banishment from the Coven!

Other titles by Carrie and Philip are:

Coven Working: How to Set Up or Join a Working Coven – Philip Wright & Carrie WestISBN: 9781786971234 : Paperback : Pages 128 : £6.85To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/Coven-Working-9781786971234.aspx

Death & the Pagan: Modern Pagan Funeral Practices – Philip Wright & Carrie WestISBN: 9781786970671 : Paperback : Pages 108 : £6.85To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/Death-and-the-Pagan-9781786970671.aspx

Both are available from Kindle on e-book at a special price of UK£0.99/US$0.95 between 12-19th October.

Autumn reading …

The complete Temple House Archive series will be available on Kindle e-books at a special price of UK£0.99/US$0.95 between 7-14th October – House of Strange Gods; Realm of Shadow; Hour Betwixt Dog & Wolf and The Thirteenth Sign.

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 who had remained in England following the destruction of their Order. Drawing on a 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 called in memory of the nine founder members of the original Knights Templar, are all specialists and magical practitioners in the diverse fields of occultism and its relevant histories. For more details see http://www.facebook.com/TempleHouseArchive or order paperbacks direct from  https://www.feedaread.com/books/House-of-Strange-Gods-9781785106392.

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

WRITER@WORK Autumn is a coming in!

Having complained in the Summer Blog that I’d run out of ideas — perhaps I should learn to keep quiet!   Just when I feel that there’s nothing left to write about, a conversation will spark off an idea and set me off following a lead that hadn’t occurred to me before.  That happened with The Arte of Darkness and it was a timely endeavour since there are ominous undercurrents rumblings away that could spell an uncomfortable time for the pagan community in the not too distant future.  Watch the MD Blog for an update …  ‘Listen carefully …

Also getting the urge to try my hand at science fiction and the first ideas are starting to percolate in the brain.  Far too early to say any more but I do like to try my hand at different writing challenges whenever possible with a change of genre to make life interesting.  Didn’t do too badly with humour (Coarse Witchcraft) and biography (Champagne & Slippers), so let’s have a go …

The CoS limited edition – Round About the Cauldron Go … is about to go to the printers. This is a ‘first’ for Ignotus Books because its readership of this grimoire will be restricted to the members of Coven of the Scales who have reached a certain stage on their magical journey and will be put out in a hardback edition.  It will be followed at a later stage by Inner Court Witchcraft, which is an advanced handbook for those who have passed through Initiation and want to go on to the next level … will therefore be another CoS limited edition.

Offerings for the Gods by Sacrifice, Oblation and Libation is another first – this time for the new Arcanum series.  The first draft has been completed so should be available via Ignotus Books  early next year. Talking to Crows will also be published in the Arcanum series, and Hagstones is coming up hard on the inside …

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.  This series of introductory titles based on the principle of those old favourite children’s ‘Ladybird’ books that introduced us to those nuggets of wisdom that often lasted a life-time. This new series will be specially structured to help genuine magical practitioners make an exploratory journey into areas that may be unfamiliar to them before investing in larger more costly books. 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 and under 100-pages, each title will be packed with information and instruction rather than puffed out with superfluous wordage and regurgitated text borrowed from other publications.

The rough notes for the next Temple House Archive are forming nicely into the first draft of 70,000 words on the subject of pacts, demons and curses – which is best suited to autumn creative writing when the evenings start to get darker.  I’ve decided to kill off one of my main characters and it’s not easy!  Beginning to sound like one of the spoilers for Death in Paradise!

Under the heading of Book News, The (Inner-City) Path is due for publication on 25th September with Moon Books and this is a sort of life-style approach to finding Nature in the urban areas that most pagans call home. Sexual Dynamics in the Circle: Magic, Man & Woman also published by Moon Books won’t see daylight until 26th March 2021 but it does what it says on the cover. 

Elen Sentier said of it:  “I was so pleased to get a preview copy of Sexual Dynamics in the Circle to read; a good, proper book on sex magic is long overdue and this one is seriously refreshing. Melusine Draco’s approach is very down to earth and, at the same time, fully with spirit. Gone are the crazy, titillating, salacious styles of far too many other books on the subject, Draco shows you and explains what actually happens and helps you understand this for yourself.
     In Sexual Dynamics, we learn about working with the two principles of the universe that we know, here on Earth, as gender, female and male, the duality that is all created from forming stars. And we’re able to get away from extreme feminism too, always a good thing; the powers of goddess and god are twined and combined, they don’t battle for supremacy.  If you want to learn more about how the genders combine to work magic this is the book to read.”

“Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once”

That popular catchphrase of Michelle Dubois of the Resistance in the popular television series, Allo Allo usually heralded some dastardly plan of the Gestapo to undermine the war effort.  Been here before, hence the brevity of the text.

Once upon a time, a nasty politician decided to start a smear campaign against witches in the UK by publicly branding everyone in the pagan community as ‘satanic’ and ‘evil’ It was, therefore, entirely without warning in the spring of 1988 that one of our best-loved occult emporiums became the political focus for a concerted and highly inflammable (no pun intended) campaign to destroy occultism at source.  The scare-mongers had prepared their infamous ‘dossier’ with the help of several quisling pagans, who had provided a valuable insight into the contemporary pagan scene, naming names, magazines, shops and organizations.  In reality, this dossier was no more than a potted listing of UK businesses, publications and individuals – but it was used by anti-occult campaigners as ‘evidence’ of the upsurge in witchcraft – which they considered to be the same as Satanism.

Public fears around Satanism, in particular, came to be known as a distinct phenomenon: the ‘Satanic Panic’. The American-inspired campaign lasted five years and successfully tricked not only the British public into believing that satanic ritualised child-abuse really existed, but quite a few uninformed pagans, too! It was quickly discovered that the dividing line between gullible fundamentalists and gullible pagans was extremely vague, and for the duration of the campaign it was also revealed that several self-righteous pagans had helped the anti-occult campaigners’ cause by supplying inaccurate background information and incorrect opinions. Thereby supporting the persecution and jeopardizing other pagans, whist safeguarding themselves from attack, on the grounds that they were ‘only trying to explain …’

Some even publicly dismissed Social Services’ dawn roundups of children as none of their concern, because the majority of cases did not affect anyone with genuine pagan involvement. Several pagan publications even stated that as far as they were aware, there had been no cases of pagan children being taken into care – or worse –  nor even any ‘unprovoked investigations’.  This was incorrect – there had been cases of pagan children being taken into care as the ever-growing case-files showed and several parents lost custody cases because of their pagan beliefs.  In fact, the authorities had successfully gagged parents by lawful process, which prevented any of them from contacting others for help and that was why no details surrounding the on-going cases were made public.

Thirty years later those schisms have never completely healed – and they never will. Because whether the pagan community like to admit it or not – there are now two distinct approaches to witchcraft.  One is the cleaned up, politically correct, socially acceptable form of neo-goddess worship with little, or no mention of the god, since his image is more difficult to render impotent. Unfortunately this is increasingly becoming the generalized public face of witchcraft because traditionalists who prefer not to sanitise their deities, have retreated back into the shadows through sheer exasperation at the trivialization of their beliefs.  The traditional approach to deity acknowledges the dual importance of both male and female elements which is essential to effective magical working.

There are few apologists among the ranks of the traditionalists, who appear less frequently on television and, more often than not, decline to give interviews for the national press decked out in flowing robes with garlands of flowers and pointy hats. Traditionalists often present a darker, less benign countenance – and it is towards this image of traditional Craft that vanilla-lite-pagans point the accusing finger of being practitioners of ‘dark magic’.

The publication of The Arte of Darkness was a timely endeavour since there are – one again – ominous undercurrents rumbling away that could spell an uncomfortable time for the pagan community in the not too distant future.  The most frightening aspect of history repeating itself, however, was the announcement in the Irish Times in January 2018 that ‘Irish people are being ravaged by demonic possession’, and that the Catholic Church was ‘out of touch with reality’ as they were sending sufferers of possession to psychologists instead of performing rituals! The Catholic News Agency in Rome also reported demonic possessions were on the rise in Italy, despite Vatican News claiming that many Christians no longer believe in [the devil’s] existence … and when the church is in a position of weakness it requires a scapegoat!

We should all be wary of journalists and politicians trying to rejuvenate flagging careers by attempting to create another ‘Satanic Panic’ because they don’t hesitate to use in the same breath those time-honoured buzz-words – wicca, witch, pagan, occult, Aleister Crowley, et al. In the UK earlier this year, a satanic, racist, anarchist, neo-Nazi group founded in the UK in the 1970s and that now operates around the world, including in the US was (quite rightly, in my opinion) lambasted by a MP … but it has since been incorrectly and misleadingly ‘identified as exhibiting hermetic and modern pagan elements in its beliefs by academic researchers’.   Alarm bells begin ringing …

I am proud of my time served as an anti-Satanic Panic activist but I have no desire to do it again and why I say: “Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once” because it’s happened twice before in living memory and it can happen again … and how many self-styled pagans will, once again, join the ranks of accusers.

For the full story: The Arte of Darkness: Magic & Mystery From the Shadows – Melusine Draco ISBN: 9781788769198 : Paperback : Pages 262 : £8.95 published by Ignotus Books

To order: https://www.feedaread.com/books/The-Arte-of-Darkness-9781788769198.aspx

Book News …

Offerings for the Gods by sacrifice, oblation and libation by Melusine Draco is currently a work in progress and will be published as the first title 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.

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 Arcanum series will be aimed at those who have completed the CoS Arcanum course and who are preparing themselves for a position of Elder within a Coven, or working towards Initiation – and are therefore not written with beginners in mind.

The Hollow Tree

Periodically the subject comes up as to which Tarot is the best/right one for an individual – followed by a profusion of answers from people who claim to have found one particular deck early in their lives that rang all their bells; while other claim to utilise several different versions depending on the reading required.  Personally speaking, once I’d discovered the Thoth Tarot the others paled into insignificance but then I’d been originally schooled in the Egyptian Mystery Tradition and was a great fan of Crowley in all his many guises.  The symbols and sigils, analogies and metaphors were the language of magic but then a friend always said I had a mind like a corkscrew, which probably explains the lure of the Thoth Tarot.  Nevertheless, even on a mundane/everyday level, the Thoth speaks of mundane things and lends itself to simple questioning.

It helps, of course, if the seeker has had some introduction to the esoteric imagery of a particular deck and has familiarised themselves with the archetypes of the Major Arcana and the elementary mysteries of the Court Cards.   These archetypes are the images that should speak but all too often the representations are too tame, too bland, or too nice to convey the intensity of the mysticism they need to channel in order to reach into the visceral impressions that relate to deep inward feelings rather than to the intellect.

The Tarot is a magico-mystical system, closely intertwined with the mystical Qabalah, which operates on as many levels as  can be found on the Tree of Life.  ‘You must know the Tree backwards, forwards, sideways, and upside down,’ Crowley wrote to a student . ‘It must become the automatic background of all your thinking.  You must keep on hanging everything that comes your way upon its proper bough.’  And in turn, every twist and turn, nuance and subtle meaning of expression in the Tarot has its place on the Tree.

The Hollow Tree: An Elementary Guide to the Qabalah & Tarot by Melusine Draco was originally published by Corvus Books in 1999 with an extended, illustrated version re-printed by Ignotus Books in 2002.  ISBN 0 9522689 8 1 : 76 pages : £9.99 including P&P:  Order via PayPal invoice on ignotuspressuk@gmail.com