Friday, January 13, 2017

BLOG IT! - ZEN STYLE

A New Year's Resolution ... to make the MD blog more interesting and entertaining!  This I'm told, needs to contain lots more original and personal stuff - and less book promos.  Despite living the magical life 24/7 I don't think I'm particularly interesting but the guys at Moon Books are ganging up on me. Having just recently stood down as Head of Coven of the Scales, I've gone into  voluntary Crone-mode and it should be giving me more time for 'me' things but ...

Firstly, there's the Japanese Garden: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1218489501517637/ that started off as a detailed account of creating my own Zen space.  It's slowly progressing on Facebook with its own small but supportive group - including authentic instruction, pictures, poetry and art from traditional Japanese sources - not by Western copy-cats. Anyone who disturbs our wa - or harmony - is immediately slung out!

The whole point of a Japanese garden is to provide a small meditational spot where everyday life can be left at the entrance along with your shoes. Having been brought up with Shinto I find it provides a spiritual bolt-hole away from cares and distractions. There usually weekly posts and even on-line it can provide a pleasant little interlude before moving on to more pressing things.



Monday, January 9, 2017

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY


PAN: DARK LORD OF THE FOREST AND HORNED GOD OF THE WITCHES


I must confess I had a lot of fun writing this book – in fact, I didn’t really ‘write’ it at all because it was ‘received writing’ and only took five weeks from proposal to publisher …
In The Wind in the Willows Mole asks Rat if he is afraid in the presence of the ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’, and Rat replies: ‘Afraid! Of Him? Oh, never, never! And yet – and yet – I am afraid!’ Those who have grown up with Pan as a playmate would know exactly how Ratty felt at that precise moment. Back in those days it was possible for a young child to disappear into the woods with only a dog for company for hours on end without there being a hue and cry raised in its absence; and it was on those woodland rides and pathways – summer or winter – that I often encountered Pan.

The day would be peaceful and calm with a soft breeze whispering in the treetops, and the whole wood alive with bird calls. The woodland floor would be carpeted with bluebells in the spring; or summer sunlight filtering through the overhead canopy; crisp, dry leaves crackling underfoot in autumn; or the frozen quiet of a late winter afternoon as a fiery sun began to sink in the west, casting long shadows beneath the trees. Then, almost imperceptibly, there would be the sound of muffled footsteps following quickly in the undergrowth. Your pace quickened and so did that of your stalker. A suddenly flurry of old dried leaves would be picked up by a passing zephyr and flung into the air like a mini-whirlwind. All the hair on the back of the neck would be standing on end, heart thundering in the chest, breath almost impossible to take. Then you turned to confront this persistent intruder only to find...nothing. The wind died away, carrying with it the faintest sound of laughter and a voice in your head saying: ‘Gotcha!’

I knew this experience long before I was ever aware of who had been with me all those years ago, and he still catches me out from time to time. Out with the dogs in the woods or the lonely lane when there’s no one else about, Pan will still be up to his old tricks. The long track stretches away into the distance; sunlight filters through the trees on either side and suddenly there’s that sensation of someone coming up behind, ready to pounce. The old panic is there and you turn to confront...nothing. I’ve long since learned to laugh with him, but I can still hear that laughing voice saying: ‘Gotcha!’

By contrast, The Age of Fable (1942) holds to the more generally accepted view that, ‘Pan, like other gods who dwelt in woods and forests, was dreaded by those whose occupations caused them to pass through the woods by night, for the gloom and loneliness of such scenes dispose the mind to superstitious fears.’ This is the evocative image Kenneth Grahame also created in a chapter called ‘The Wild Wood’ that conjures up the wood when it is feeling hostile towards any intruders: “The pattering increased till it sounded like sudden hail on the dry-leaf carpet spread around him. The whole wood seemed to be running now, running hard, hunting, chasing, closing in round something or – somebody... And as he lay there panting and trembling, and listened to the whisperings and the pattering outside, he knew it at last, in all its fullness...the Terror of the Wild Wood!”

There is a genuine, irrational fear of woods, forests or trees and the term hylophobia is derived from the Greek _λη hylo-, meaning ‘wood or forest’ and phobo- meaning ‘fear’, and many people do suffer from the complaint. As I mentioned in Traditional Witchcraft for Woods and Forests: “The Wild Wood, however, is the dark, untamed part of natural woodland where unearthly and potentially dangerous beings are still to be found. This is not everyone’s favourite place and many urban witches never get over an ‘atavistic fear of Nature uncontrolled …”

On a magical level, the Wild Wood refers to those strange, eerie places that remain the realm of Nature and untamed by man. Ancient gnarled oaks, festooned with ferns and draped with lichen, carry an air of solitude and remoteness that is deeply unnerving—here birdsong and the trickle of running water are the only sounds to break the stillness. It is the Otherworld of the ‘unearthly and potentially dangerous’. It is the realm of Pan and the Wild Hunt. In modern psychology, it refers to the dark inner recesses of the mind, the wild and tangled undergrowth of the unconscious. Here, among the trees, we are never sure that what we see is reality or illusion.

Pan’s original stomping ground, as we know, was Arcadia – a vision of pastoralism and harmony with Nature. It is an allegory derived from the ancient Greek province of the same name, whose mountainous regions and sparse population influenced the term ‘Arcadian’ to become a utopian catch-word for an idyllic vision of unspoiled wilderness and bountiful natural splendour.

And yet … In Coven of the Scales schooling, Meriem Clay-Egerton always saw Pan as the Horned God...and the Horned God as Pan. This was a traditional British Old Craft coven that honoured Aegocerus the ‘goat-horned’ – an epithet of the Greek Pan – not Cernunnos, the stag-horned deity the Celts had brought with them from northern Europe. It should also be understood that although Coven of the Scales held firmly to the philosophy and opinion that all faiths were One and all Paths led to the same Goal, it did not advocate what is now referred to as ‘eclectic paganism’. So how on earth could this ancient, pre-Olympian Greek deity find his way into the beliefs of traditional witchcraft in Britain?


What CoS did teach was the desire for knowledge and experience, regardless of source. Each new experience was, however, studied within the confines of that particular religion, path or tradition, but each new discipline was kept completely separate from the other. Only when the student had a thorough understanding of the tenets of each discipline were they encouraged to formulate them into their own individual system. So why, despite the fact that no other foreign deities were ever added to the mix of traditional British Old Craft, was Pan accepted as a facet of the Horned God so far from his native shores?

Published by www.moon-books.net

New news and busy times

Between 1997 and 2007 ignotus press was one of the leading independent publishers of esoteric books on the subject of ritual magic, mysticism, traditional British Old Craft and the Egyptian Mystery Tradition - and was often ahead of its time in only accepting typescripts from bone fide magical practitioners who could prove their antecedents.

In 2017 the press is being resurrected to promote some of the old titles that have been out of print for many years and to encourage new writers from within the magical community who are finding it difficult to place their typescripts with more mainstream publishers. The press will be operated under the banner of Coven of the Scales and the commissioning editor for the new enterprise will be Julie Dexter who (along with her husband as Magister) is Dame of the Coven. Melusine Draco will be acting as magical consultant.

All the books listed here are available in e-book format from Kindle/Amazon and often appear on special offer - and in paperback format from FeedARead at special low 'direct from the printer' prices. If you've enjoyed our books then a review on Amazon (co.uk and com) would be greatly appreciated. So let's put Ignotus Press UK back on the map! MD

Check out the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IgnotusPressUK/

Monday, October 10, 2016

A new facebook page



I've recently installed a new Facebook page - NAQADA - ToK Egyptian Mystery Tradition - aimed at those who are more interested in learning about the more magical and mystical elements of ancient Egypt.  Find us at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/671349789681551/

Sunday, September 4, 2016

STOP PRESS ...

Just heard that By Wolfsbane and Mandrake Root: The Shadow World of Plants and Their Poisons is going into production sooner than expected and has a publishing date of 24th February. The Secret People is due for publication on 3oth September and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Pan: Dark Lord of the Forest is due on 25th November ...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY …

An extract from
TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT AND THE PATH TO THE MYSTERIES:

“This book draws on unusual sources to describe a true witch’s journey to self-discovery and succeeds in drawing the reader into a new vision of the traditional witches path. I for one have found it breath-taking.”  BrettC (Amazon)



If there’s one place that an Old Craft witch is going to feel a frisson of fear and trepidation, it’s standing at the barren edge of an upland lake. This really is an alien landscape, devoid of any visible flora and animal life because nothing can survive in this bleak wilderness. The surface of this expanse of water is dark and ruffled by the cutting wind that blows across the face of the mountain; there is no escaping from the wind-chill and even though the sun is shining, there is no welcoming shelter to be found on the sheer cliff face.

Most of Britain’s upland lakes are glacial in origin, resulting from the great sheets of ice during successive Ice Ages gouging out deep hollows that eventually filled with water. Normally these upland lakes are too deep, over most of their area, to permit light to penetrate and encourage plant-life to grow. Lakes in the region of hard rock, which provide few nutrients, receive poor supplies of these essential minerals into the water, which is lacking in both plant and animal life; the bottom of these lakes usually remains barren and stony and often any fish introduced into them eventually become stunted or malformed.

The depths of an upland lake is a cold, dark, alien world and, according to leading authority, G Evelyn Hutchinson of Yale University, ‘none of the other mechanisms of lake creation – not even earthquakes – can match the slow but enormously powerful creep of glaciers.’ The process of glacial erosion accounts for a high percentage of lake formation ‘and is responsible for more lakes than all the other geological processes combined’. The majority of these glacier-made basins are less than 25,000 years old, dating from the most recent Ice Age, when immense ice sheets advanced over much of the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, bulldozing everything in their path.
These effects have only become visible after the ice receded and are known as cirques, a name derived from the French for ‘circle’ – referring to their distinctive rounded shape when viewed from above. Cirques, corries and cwms are basin-shaped hollows on the steep sides of mountains. These often spectacular landforms are also known by their Scottish name, corries, and by their Welsh name, cwm; when they become filled with water, the resulting lakes are known as tarns.

Some of these hollows were already part of the existing landscape while others were eroded by small glaciers as they moved down the mountainside to the valley below. Lakes of this type reach their greatest depths along the edge closest to the summit of the mountain. It is not surprising that these primitive lakes have a mystical quality all of their own since they have been created by an unstoppable force of Nature, and some of the lakes carved out by old glaciers may be so deep that their bottoms are below modern sea level.

This is where for the flicker of an instant we encounter an ‘Other’ Otherworld where things are not always as they seem. It is the world of illusion, the reverse side of the ‘Tree’ ... in fact we have found ourselves in that place of blind alleyways with conflicting directions and deliberately misleading instructions; following the darkened maze, through endless sloping corridors to a distorted hall of mirrors. We are here on the barren slopes of existence suddenly realising that for all our witchcraft we know nothing.

Photo:  Llyn y’fan Fach in the Black Mountains, Wales


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY …
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: 
A magical anthropology
by Melusine Draco


I must admit I thoroughly  enjoyed researching and writing this particular title in the traditional witchcraft series because it was fascinating to discover how and where the various facets of magic entered (and influenced) the equation.   This extract forms the Introduction …

The aim of Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival is to provide a sympathetic approach to the evolution of witchcraft as a historical reality, rather than as mere circumspection – or wishful thinking. By combining scholarly writing and recent archaeological findings with a ‘quality of fascination’, I hope it will prove to be a delight to read and a source of new insight for those who would follow the traditions of the Old Ways. It shows that witchcraft did (and does) exist, and traces the origins and true nature of the many different contemporary pagan beliefs back to their roots. And, what is equally as important, to understand when outside foreign influences were grafted onto indigenous pagan stock.

Generally speaking, today’s paganism falls into four different elements, which in turn separate the different approaches and levels of magical practice. A considerable amount of magical writing can be incomprehensible to those who have not been schooled in that particular path or tradition – so we begin at the beginning and work ourselves up through the spheres of Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding. And we start by accepting that there is a divide between the various approaches to paganism and magical practice. Such as:

Animistic: The belief that everything animate and inanimate has its own life-force, such as that which forms the basis of shamanism and Old Craft;

Eclectic: Selecting or borrowing from a variety of styles, systems, theories, beliefs, etc., as commonly found in modern paganism and Wicca;

Syncretic: The attempt to reconcile different systems of belief; the fusion or blending of religions, as by identification of gods, taking over of observances, or selection of whatever seems best in each; often producing a seemingly illogical compromise in belief. Found in many aspects of Western Ritual Magic, and the initiatory branches of traditional witchcraft;

Synergetic: Combined or co-ordinated action; increased effect of two elements obtained by using them together. The combining of ancient wisdom with modern magical applications, as in the case of the contemporary approaches of Old Craft, Norse (Heathen) and Druidry.

As I observed in Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton, it should be understood that although Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton firmly held the philosophy and opinion that all faiths were one, and that all paths led to the same goal, they did not advocate what is now referred to as ‘eclectic’ paganism. What they did teach was the desire for knowledge and experience, regardless of source. Each new experience was studied within the confines of that particular religion, path or tradition. Each discipline was kept completely separate from another. Only when a student had a thorough understanding of the tenets of each discipline were they encouraged to formulate them into their own individual system.

These sentiments were echoed by Dion Fortune in The Mystical Qabalah:

"No student will ever make any progress in spiritual development who flits from system to system; first using some New Thought affirmations, then some Yoga breathing-exercises and meditation-postures, and following these by an attempt at the mystical methods of prayer. Each of these systems has its value, but that value can only be realised if the system is carried out in its entirety … the student who sets out to be an eclectic before he has made himself an expert will never b anything more than a dabbler."


This book invites the reader to take the opportunity to step back in time and discover – through the gateways of intuition and instinct – where their own individual roots can be found.