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Melusine Draco

Melusine Draco

Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Arcanum and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books on magic and witchcraft. Her highly individualistic teaching methods and writing draws on ancient
sources, supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings.

 

 

This thought came into my head as I was looking at the cover of Traditional Witchcraft for Field and Hedgerows and since it’s been a while since the cover picture was chosen, I’d forgotten what that image represented.   The scene is a long distance shot across a field with a lone tree silhouetted against an orange sunset.  There is a mist rising from a hidden stream and we are about to enter what we know as ‘owl light’ or twilight – perhaps the most magical time of the day.

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Le crabe enrage protection charm

 

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Taking a break from the hurricane-lashed Glen with its river in full flood, mountains capped with snow and giant trees ripped out by their roots, I crossed the ridge behind our cottage and dipped down into Tipperary Town for a quiet lunch and a potter around the shops.  Even in the sheltered streets the wind was still strong enough to take the breath away, but having been marooned without electricity, broadband or mobile phones for four days it made a welcome change to see other people around.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Melusine Draco
    Melusine Draco says #
    How great to hear from someone who was part of that famous Sunday 'school'. Unfortunately everyone seems to have lost touch since
  • Jeremy Crawford
    Jeremy Crawford says #
    I read the book "Coven of the Scales" about Aliester "Bob" Clay-Egerton and his wife, Miriem. I used to meet with them at Mark Ton

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“Most of the books I read concentrate on the Goddess, and often ignore the God altogether ... I understand traditional witchcraft is more god-oriented.  Are there any easy ways of connecting with ‘Horned God’ energy?”  SBW (Ayrshire)

 

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 Martha Gray, author of Grimalkyn: The Witch’s Cat, talks to prolific esoteric author, Melusine Draco, about Life, the Universe and Everything.

 Having caught up with Melusine Draco in her mountain lair, it isn’t difficult to see why the spirit of the landscape has such an impact in her writing.  As Michael Howard of The Cauldron wrote, she was an initiate of the late Bob Clay-Egerton’s traditional Coven of the Scales and has been a practicing occultist, magical teacher and writer on esoteric subjects for over twenty years.  And as fellow esoteric author, Alan Richardson, observes: “Melusine Draco, as her name suggests, has long been plugged into the powerful currents of traditional witchcraft and ritual magic. She is one of the real ones ...”  

Surprisingly, the lady herself is not the stereotypical High Priestess and is refreshingly down to earth, as the tone of her books reveals.  “I can’t be doing with all the posing and posturing and it was something that Bob [Clay-Egerton] would have quickly knocked out of us if we’d tried to adopt it.  He was a past-master at deflating monstrous egos and always went straight for the jugular if anyone showed signs of being precious.”  In fact, speaking from experience, meet her at any pagan conference or workshop and you won’t find any outward or give-away traces of witchiness at all.

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“What is the best way to introduce young children and teens to the ‘witch world’ without too much emphasis on the magic/ritual side of things?”

 

Many years ago, my friend and I passed those long, hot summer days of childhood roaming the surrounding fields and hedgerows. Then, we could disappear for hours, discovering the treasures of the season and enjoying the closeness of a silent companionship. Some sixty years and hundreds of miles apart, we still share those memories of knowing where to find the first flowerings, and close encounters with birds and animals of the hedge bank.  “Do you remember …” frequently crops up in letters and telephone conversations to recall to mind some indelible memory of a bank of spring celandines; the glimpse of a hunting stoat snaking through the undergrowth near the ruined barn; Easter violets; the chatter of nesting hedge sparrows, or more correctly ‘dunnock’, who often play foster parents to the cunning cuckoo.

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  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    thanks for your post here- have you ever heard the saying; "where the woodbine twineth". ?
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I'm often asked which of my books are my personal favourites, and why?

The 'why' is easier to answer.  My favourites are those that have taken the longest to research and write, rather than any 'best-selling' status.  To qualify as a favourite there has to be a lot of blood, sweat and tears gone into the writing and, more importantly, the books have to stand the test of time in my own eyes.  Because I write esoteric books there has to be a large amount of magical input - some I can write off the top of my head, others require a great deal of thought and preparation, often taking on a life-force of their own.  It's the latter I find most rewarding.

Top of the list has got to be The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery (Moon Books) because it took over ten years to compile purely for my own personal use, before offering it up for publication; for much the same reason The Hollow Tree (ignotus) an elementary guide to the Tarot and Qabbalah written for my own students goes on the list.  Magic Crystals, Sacred Stones and The Atum-Re Revival (published by Axis Mundi) reflect the intermediary level of teaching within the Coven of the Scales and were both originally written as teaching manuals.  Last but certainly not least, is Traditional Witchcraft & the Pagan Revival: A magical anthropology (Moon Books) due for publication later this year, which has been carefully vetted by the editor of The Cauldron, Michael Howard, to prevent any bloomers and has also taken many years to compile.

The publication of a magical title carries a grave responsibility, simply because we (the author) are imparting magical directions for those who would follow in our footsteps.  If our directions are misleading or inaccurate this could cause serious complications for the reader; and if the author's knowledge can only take the reader so far along the Path, it could result in someone standing on the brink of the Abyss with no idea of how to proceed.  In magic, a little knowledge can be extremely dangerous, especially if it is couched in terms of expertise!

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“I’m fascinated by the sea but can only visit the shore on infrequent occasions.  How can I use these energies for magical working when I’m at home?  Any suggestions would be appreciated.” FC (Derbys)

I’ve just been watching the DVD of The Blue Planet and it’s been a constant reminder of just how much of a magical and mystical hold the sea retains over us.  The filmed sequences of the Deep in particular were evocative of the pathworkings I’d created for Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore – and remains the least known of all the ocean habitats.  And, like the psychic realms we visit during pathworking, it is also an eerie world where strange creatures play hide and seek and where predators with massive teeth lurk in the darkness … waiting.

Closer to the surface, however, the sea and shore can provide us with most of the equipment the sea-witch needs for magical working.  On the beach, the high-water mark is evident by the line of material left behind by the retreating waves, and often a depository for pebbles forced inland from deeper waters by the winter storms.  It is here that we are more than likely to find other items that could be used in our rituals.  How about this simple chant to help find something suitable?

 

Power of the Tides, Power of the Deep

Have you a gift for me to keep?

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I’m often asked if there is a difference in practicing rural and urban witchcraft, and whether there are disadvantages of living in a town or city …

 

I remember my old tutor being told by some bright young thing, that she couldn’t possibly be a witch because she was confined to a wheelchair and lived in an inner-city environment. Whether through arrogance or ignorance, the young ‘witchlet’ refused to see that even in her declining years, Meriem Clay-Egerton still packed more witch-power in her little finger than this girl would ever acquire in a lifetime.

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By Spellbook & Candle 

My latest book, By Spellbook and Candle seems to have caused a bit of a stir in some Circles – simply because it deals with the subject of cursing.  This not the usual motley collection of superstitions and folklore, but as Michael Howard, editor of The Cauldron observed in his review: “It is refreshing in these days of vanilla-lite witchcraft that someone actually acknowledges that modern witches can and do curse.”

 

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In my last blog on the beliefs of traditional British Old Craft, I mentioned the ‘Ancestors’, who play such an important part in our ways.  So with Hallowe’en (or Samhain) almost upon us, I thought it might be a good idea to elaborate on the subject, because it is not such an alien concept as it might first appear. The following is adapted from the Arcanum teaching course and Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living and therefore repeats some of the points previously mentioned.

The honoring of the dead and venerating their memory is a common root of all religion, with many cultures believing that the dead live on in another dimension, continuing to affect the lives of subsequent generations. This concept of spirit-ancestors is an extremely ancient one, especially when it involves dealing with deceased members of a particular people or clan, and is still widely observed in Japanese Shinto, Chinese Confucianism and among the Australian aboriginal and Amerindian peoples. In the West, we know from the prehistoric remains of the numerous earthworks that the early people of the British Isles and the Celts honored their ancestors; and the earliest written observations are those of the Roman Paternalia (February) and the Lemuria (May), which later spread throughout the Empire.

Interaction with these spirit-ancestors as an invisible and powerful presence is also a constant feature of traditional British Old Craft, with the Ancestors remaining important members of the tradition or people they have left behind. In general they are seen as Elders, treated and referred to in much the same way as the most senior of living Elders of a coven or magical group, with additional mystical and/or magical powers. Sometimes they are identified as the Holy Guardian Angels, the Mighty Dead, the Watchers, or the Old Ones, who gave magical knowledge to mankind, rather than family or tribal dead. Or, even more ambiguously, ‘those who have gone before’ – their magical essence distilled into the universal subconscious at different levels.

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Sooner or later, we always come to the question of what Old Craftwitches believe, and although my old tutor, Bob Clay-Egerton firmly held the philosophy and opinion that all faiths were One and all Paths led to the same Goal, he did not advocate what is now referred to as ‘eclectic paganism’.  What he 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. Each new discipline was kept completely separate from each other.  It was 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.

And if we accept that true Craft is not a religion – because it’s an individual’s natural ability that distinguishes a witch – then does this mean that traditional witches have no religious affiliations?

Not at all.  Back in the good old days, after most pagan agricultural festivals and celebrations had been absorbed into the Church calendar, the local wise woman might even have been seen as a church-going, card-carrying member of the parish.   This idea is borne out by the fact that, even today, traditional Craft persists in using the old Church calendar names for the major festivals that remained very much part of the agricultural year despite the repackaging.

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Contrary to what many modern pagans are led to believe, there is an older system of Craft than modern Wicca that has never left the shadows, and which has its roots in the pre-repeal of the Witchcraft Act of 1951.  These groups have never been part of the publicity machine to popularise Craft, and have always muttered darkly that the mass publicity of the past 20 years would destroy Craft — not preserve it.   But what exactly is traditional British Old Craft … and how is it different from other pagan Traditions?

Firstly, we need to accept that traditional witchcraft (unlike Wicca) is not a religion – it never has been, simply because it’s an individual’s natural ability that distinguishes him or her as a witch.  In other words, a witch is born, not made.  It just isn’t possible to learn how to become a witch if we haven’t got these abilities, although it is possible to learn how to hone and develop latent, or suppressed psychic talents, under the right tuition.  And there is no age limit for these discoveries – in either the young, middle-aged or old.    

Wicca, on the other hand, is fast becoming accepted as the ‘new pagan religion’ with its doctrines drawing heavily on an eco-feminine shadow-image of Christianity.  This again is nothing new, since Christianity itself absorbed many of the existing pagan festivals and celebrations into the Church calendar (including an identification of the Virgin Mary with Isis), and contemporary paganism is merely reclaiming its own.  But in reality, even in the days before the Christian invasion, not all of the pagan populace were skilled in the Craft of witches.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Melusine_Draco_house.jpg

Firstly, I’d like to say what a privilege it is to be invited to contribute to PaganSquare ­ I hope this will lead to a greater understanding of what witchcraft was like in Britain before the introduction of Wicca from those who still practice the Old Ways. Many of us have been around for a long time ­ some would say too long ­ but that’s another story.

I personally belong to the Coven of the Scales, a group founded by Aleister ‘Bob’ Clay-Egerton and his wife Mériém in the 1960s, after the first anti-witchcraft campaign destroyed their Warwickshire coven and drove them from their home. These roots can also be traced back to the Cheshire coven, which in turn had its antecedents in a copper-miners’ coven going back to the early-mid 1880s.

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