Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feed the Birds

Feed the birds ...
Yes I know it costs more than two-pence a bag but I was rather surprised by a recent article in a country publication which stated: “After a break, I’m back feeding the garden birds and they are costing a fortune to keep.  I had given up on them as the cheeky crows and magpies developed all sorts of strategies to empty the feeders ...”  My first thought was: move the b.....y feeders, then!  But the reaction went much deeper than that.

This was an alleged country person writing who’d stopped feeding the birds during a bitterly cold snap when they are most reliant upon us for food!  Also with the climate on the blink, there aren’t the insects about in early spring when birds are feeding their young, so they might need a helping hand at that time too.   As any pagan worth their salt knows, the crow family are our messengers from Otherworld and a few handfuls of corn for the bigger birds should be looked upon as an offering rather than begrudged.  My magpies are as fat as ‘butter-ball’ turkeys and provide  hours of amusement watching their attempts at raiding the feeders, so they deserve a hand-out as well.  Not to mention the community of noisy starlings who roost in the cypress outside the bedroom window ... and the family of pheasants screaming at one another ...

I agree it’s good to see the robin and the wren in the garden but the big boys need a helping hand sometimes, too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


The thought police have been busy again ... this time in The Independent’s ‘Mother and babies’ section warning folk about ‘using  amber accessories’  as teething or healing aids for children under the age of three.  Amber  is still believed in today and used for its magnificent healing power for treating joint pain, arthritic ailments, and even teething pain for children but the National Consumer Agency  is now officially advising against ‘amber teething accessories’ as though in additional to it being a health hazard, its use also belongs in the realm of superstition.

Let’s just put consumerism and alternative healing into perspective. To relieve the pain and calm the child, it helps for them to ‘bite’ into something and originally amber (or ivory) teething rings were given as christening presents.  As time passed these were replaced by plastic but the superstition remained.  Today, in a market of mass-produced consumerism and ignorance, the superstition has still remained but the teething aid has morphed into bead necklaces – and surely only the brain-dead would stick a bead necklace, bracelet or anklet anywhere near a small child who automatically puts everything in its mouth!

So where does this ancient healing belief come from?   Amber includes a substance called succinic acid, a powerful anti-oxidant that has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery and bolster the immune system, while reducing stress. And Baltic amber contains 3-8% of succinic acid, a scientifically examined medical substance used in contemporary medicine. The highest content of the acid is found in the amber cortex--the external layer of the stone. There is much documentation regarding the power of succinic acid and recent scientific research has proved that succinic acid has a very positive influence on strengthening the body and improving  immunity.

So, shouldn’t the NCA be campaigning against all BEAD teething accessories being given to small children and leaving amber out of the equation – or being a Consumer Agency, wouldn’t they be more gainfully employed in warning the public against buying fake amber because its odds on that very few of these actual ‘amber’ teething accessories are made from genuine Baltic amber.  And fake amber will have about as much use as a teething aid as a knitted giraffe.   

The real issue here is the dismissal of those ancient beliefs that have all too often been proved to have more than a grain of truth them – or as the old saying goes: ‘yesterday’s magic is today’s science’.  Our ancestors may not have understood the scientific elements to their remedies but they got results.  The real problem appears to be the scientists and academics of today saying dismissively: “How could those old wives possibly have known!”  And that covers just about everything from wort-lore and earth-mysteries to astronomy!

From a magical perspective, fake amber has little purpose here, either, because no matter how pretty or authentic looking, only genuine amber has the real magical properties required to energise a spell!  MD

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Pagan Black Book

The CoS courses, author details and the CoS helpline are now listed in The Pagan Black Book, a directory for pagan authors, artists, groups, organisations, businesses, etc.  Nice helpful people to do business with.  Check them out at

Thursday, February 19, 2015

ignotus books now available on Kindle

Just for the record and to stop the silly trafficking in old ignotus press titles, please note that the following are now available on amazon Kindle.  Coven of the Scales; The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton and Coven Working were often priced at anything up to US$1000 but if you watch the Daily Deals, these can be obtained for as low as .99p or .95c when they regularly go on special offer.

Coven of the Scales: The Collected Writings of A R Clay-Egerton
Coven Working- by Carrie West and Phillip Wright
Death & the Pagan - by Carrie West and Phillip Wright
The Roman Book of Days byPaulina Erina
Starchild by Melusine Draco


Whittlewood by Suzanne Ruthven

Well worth signing up to ...

There are lots of on-line magazines covering the esoteric world but Spiral Nature can best be classed as an occult magazine for grown-ups!  Featuring articles on all aspects of spirituality, magic(k), esoteric and occultism it’s well worth signing up for their newsletter and, if you have aspirations as a MB&S writer then they welcome submissions – and reviewers.  For full submission guidelines go to

The following is an extract taken from the review for Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore by Mike Gleason …

“The majority of books I encounter on the subject of witchcraft and Wicca fall into one of two categories: they are written for rural witches, or for urban witches, as though those are the only two options. If you believe the stories of how things were in the “bad old days,” witches were seldom found in either of those two settings. They were most often found in the transitional (or “liminal”) areas – the last house in the village just before you entered the countryside, or the first house after such a point. They weren’t living in the wilds, but they weren’t comfortable in the daily to-do of the village centre either.

This book addresses another transitional space: the seashore. If you live on the coast, you are aware of that particular space between high- and low-tide: it isn’t always land and it isn’t always water, but it shares the characteristics of both. You know the effects the tides have on daily life (even though you probably are only concerned with the tides of the water not with atmospheric and terrestrial tides), as well as how they help to sculpt the environment in which you live. You are undoubtedly aware of the winds and their potential benefits and hazards.

This is not a book for those who are new to witchcraft.  In fact, even some folks who have spend years in the Craft may find themselves wondering what they have stumbled into.  Within the first dozen pages of the book I found myself exposed to ideas I hadn’t considered in years (even though I had been exposed to them in theory during my early involvement with the Craft) ...”  
Mike Gleason - Spiral Nature online magazine.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Moon Books and Me

Here it is ... the last in the Traditional Witchcraft series - Traditional Witchcraft and the Path to the Mysteries - published by Moon Books. The series has had some interesting reactions and overall I'm pleased with the responses, especially as it made me a 'best selling author' with four consecutive titles on the Amazon e-books Wicca and Witchcraft listing for a day at least!  For further details of the complete series see

For anyone who's interested in learning more about Moon Books, here's an extract from an interview with Trevor Greenfield that was included it in The Pagan Writers' Guide (see

Suzanne Ruthven talks to Trevor Greenfield about the rapidly growing popularity of Moon Books and the strong support the publishing imprint has with the on-line pagan community.

SR: You have an impressive collection of titles, most of them relating to paganism, witchcraft, Wicca, Druidry, Norse and shamanism ... is it difficult to discover new voices in these areas?

TG:  No, to be honest it hasn't proved that difficult.  We have developed a strong on-line presence and I think this has helped new writers to find us.  That, and the fact that we assess and make decisions on proposals in days rather than the more traditional publishers that still take months to decide, encourages submissions.

SR: It's often said that if you were to ask 100 witches to defines their beliefs, you would have a 100 different answers.  Do you have any particular bias for one particular system or another?

TG:  No, we have not preference.  We have published a number of titles on Traditional witchcraft but that's simply because they are what has come in.  We have recently started a new series called Pagan Portals which is designed for Pagans to write about their particular skills, interests or knowledge so that should hopefully encourage diversity in the submissions we receive.

SR: Have you any advice for potential Moon Books authors - and in particular, what sort of material would be instantly rejected?

TG: My advice would be to submit!  We have a friendly, informal and very fast submission process.  You'll know within a week or so what our decision is and either way our feedback will include reader reports that will hopefully be of use to thew author regardless of our decision.  I don't usually instantly reject anything but if I do it's when the submission takes the form of an overly romanticised potted author bio with limited detail on the actual book.  Keep the info tight and relevant.  It might, for example, be of familiar interest that the author has been a witch for forty years and can recall magical holidays spent at her grandmother's cottage where she passed on her knowledge of herbal medicine, but sadly it doesn't follow that you are empowered to write a good book.

If you are writing a book on any of the different pagan disciplines and think it may be of interest to Moon Books, submit your inquiry via the website in the first instance:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Finally managed to get back onto 'blogspot' after months of messing about.  Apparently the fault is due to using Internet Explorer rather than Chrome.  Updates for Melusine Draco to follow within a few days.