Sunday, January 29, 2012

Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living

Neighbourhood Witch by Mélusine Draco
An extract from Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living, published in the Lughnasadh 2011 edition of Brigid’s Fire - Ireland's Pagan magazine.

If we are constantly suffering from tiredness, minor health problems and depression it is easy to convince ourselves that we are the victimof psychic attack. We then worry ourselves further by trying to work out who might be responsible. In reality, living among a high density of humanity with all its attendant problems, we are less likely to need protection from psychic attack, and more against the pervading influence of negative energy that is found in concentrated pockets nowadays in urban areas such Dublin or Limerick. Even if we keep ourselves aloof from the increasing crime/drink/drugs culture, any neighbouring social malaise can still seriously affect us on a psychic level.

Over a period of time a build-up of localised negative energy can develop a life force of its own, and the only way for it to ‘feed’ in order to metamorphose is to latch on to an unsuspecting body in much the same way as any earthly parasite. This blanket malaise that often smothers many of our urban environments can be best likened to good, old-fashioned smog that used to per­meate everything in the inner cities. The pollution might be gone but there is a different kind of social ‘smog’ invading our personal space that can have a de­bilitating effect on our lives.

Even if our own particular ‘patch’ is peaceful enough, each time we go shopping, or travel to work, the evi­dence of mindless vandalism and barely suppressed aggression confronts us on all sides. Broken bottles and discarded beer cans litter the streets; the remains of a previous night’s takeaway deposited by the bus stop. Chewing gum, vomit and spittle make walking a hazard. Plants ripped from the municipal beds and trampled under foot. The constant noise of bawling children ac­companied by yelling disgruntled mothers. The 24-7 smell of fast food, and the intrusive sound of passing car stereos, played at full blast …

Unfortunately we cannot always choose where we want to live, but we can learn to live how we choose, and to block out the things that can be psychically dam­aging to our functioning on a spiritual level. To combat this we need to take some simple steps to create a safe haven because each time we come home we bring in negative energy every time we open the door. Starting from scratch, we need to cleanse the whole house or flat using a decoction of fresh bay. Using the whole of the plant where possible (leaves, stalk, flow­ers), prepare sufficient liquid to cleanse every entrance to your home - doors, windows, chimney and even air-bricks! Add a tablespoon of salt to the liquid and wipe round the window and door frames; sprinkling any oth­er area such as the fireplace and threshold as an added precaution. For extra protection, crush a bay leaf into the door and window catches, or place a whole leaf into every crack and crevice where “ill may enter”.

We also need to examine ways of protecting ourselves from all the negative vibes we encounter. To create a protective bubble, so that the flotsam and jetsam of daily living becomes like water off the proverbial duck’s back! In other words, we need to empower ourselves psychically to withstand the outside pressures that threaten our inner calm. There are so many people who really do believe themselves to be the victim of a psy­chic attack because they feel prey to a permanent men­tal, physical and emotional drain. In a way they are cor­rect, but the ‘attack’ is the result of inexperience, rather than anything directed at them from some known or unknown enemy.

Without delving into the domain of ritual magic, there are numerous parasitic entities that inhabit the inner and outer astral realms which feed off all those nega­tive impulses generated by thousands of people con­fined within a less than perfect environment. They have been described as parasitic creatures, or lost souls, seeking to stretch across the abyss and make contact with the warm, constant flow of humanity. Like all para­sites, these astral shells prefer to feed off a healthy host than an enfeebled one, and the unwary who have in­sufficient magical protection will attract such entities like a beacon, especially if they begin to generate psy­chic energy during private ritual working or meditation.

The Pouch and Power Objects
One of the most effective methods of protection is the magical pouch, containing a selection of ‘power ob­jects’ that are yours, and yours alone. The pouch should never be touched or opened by anyone else; otherwise the potency of the contents will be dispersed. This is a universal and age-old shamanic concept but one that is equally as valuable in the twenty-first century.

The pouch can be made from any material, but it is good idea to choose one of a fairly durable nature — if you find something suitable ready-made, this is fine. The pouch itself should be ritually cleansed but the items that go in it should not. This is because you are selecting items that carry a ‘buzz’ of their own, and all you will do is destroy the natural propensities that ac­company each find. Remember that herbs and plants will quickly dry and turn to dust, and the elegant mag­pie’s feather will all too soon become tatty. Choose more enduring items — like the friend who carries a piece of coal in her pouch ... it was once a little carved figure but the constant battering inside the pouch has rendered it unrecognisable. Nevertheless for her it still remains a serious power object.

Don’t be in any rush to acquire these items. Discovery can be quite by accident. Don’t go searching, just learn to keep your eyes open for such treasures but do avoid the expensive polished crystals from the high street shop or pagan fair — a piece of home-growth quartz or pebble can pack just as good a punch. Once assembled, our pouch is our own magical power pack or psychic generator that can be used to channel healing or pro­tective energy, even if we are away from home. It can be recharged now and again by placing it on a window­sill in a patch of sun or moonlight, and will continue to transmit a powerful aura of protection.

Talismans and amulets
The difference between amulets and talismans as pro­tective tools lies in the preparation rather than the pur­pose. Both are ancient forms of magical protection and highly potent tools of power, but we need to under­stand when and how to use them. Most people have a lucky ‘piece’ they carry around and the superstition surrounding amulets goes back to ancient Egypt and is still going strong!

Preparation of the amulet
An amulet is with us at all times, often as a piece of jewellery: i.e. a ring, key fob, pendant, or just carried loose in a bag or pocket. It is worn to deflect trouble and adversity in a very general sense; in other words, a good luck charm to turn away negative influences.

An amulet requires no preparation, particularly if it is something given to us in friendship - like a hagstone. Once we have recognised or accepted its ‘lucky’ or pro­tective powers, it should never be touched by anyone else; unless we choose to give it away as a gesture of friendship. Amulets can be, or made, of almost any­thing, so long as it has some magic significance for you

Preparation of the talisman
A talisman is only carried for a limited period while the ‘spell’ is activated, and is aimed at a specific purpose or outcome. The material it is made from depends on the nature of the ritual used to empower it, and it requires a lengthy operation to set all this magical brouhaha in motion. The exact nature of the talisman’s protective power will be governed by the amount of effort and concentration that goes into the final preparation.

So let’s keep it simple and make a talisman for protec­tion against ... burglary if this is prevalent where we live. An ideal material is heavy-duty silver baking foil, marked out with a blunt pencil so that the engraving can be clearly read. If your drawing skills aren’t up to scratch, use Words of Power and engrave your protec­tor’s name around the outer rim of the circle, because we are unleashing the wrath of the protector against anyone who dares to enter our home uninvited. Place the talisman at the point in the house where you per­ceive the weakness in your defences, i.e. a window or door. Slide it under the threshold, or between the tim­bers of the frame, and leave it in place.

Unfortunately, we live in a hazardous society and we are merely protecting ourselves, requires a lengthy operation to set all this magical brouhaha in motion. The exact nature of the talisman’s protective power will be governed by the amount of effort and concentration that goes into the final preparation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC AND MYSTERY
Compiled by Mélusine Draco

And heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead
Returning lightly dance…

I admit that I don’t normally ‘read’ dictionaries, but this one by Mélusine Draco really is as gripping as any thriller. The proverbial page-turner, with its tantalising introduction and often startling entries. Every fiction or non-fiction writer should give this wonderful reference book space on their desks, not only to show what lies beneath our present day, so-called ‘civilisations,’ but also as a conduit to what may well lie beyond. To step from their comfort zones and give their work ambition, fresh interest. A need to take the reader on more unusual journeys.
I am convinced of a growing fascination with alternative spiritualities. Of other ways of living life and of dying. Melusine Draco, delivers her expert and painstaking research into all this in such a way that will surely ignite further enthusiasm. She takes us from the Argentinium Astrum - the Order of the Great white Brotherhood (Adepts) founded by Aleister Crowley; the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance; Alphitomancy - which will make you look at barley bread in a new light - to the Field of Reeds and Dead Man’s Teeth, to Sea Witches and beyond.
I found myself making excited notes on Podomancy, Cramp Rings and the Angel of Death – and already wondering where these different springboards could lead. Within the dictionary format, the work is helpfully constructed into sections, ie; Black Magic, White Magic, while references for further research are relevant and not too copious.
In a crowded marketplace where the ups and downs in publishing are ever more pronounced, I’m convinced this amazing volume will stir the writer’s imagination and help to get their work noticed. Unique and memorable.
Sally Spedding: Author of Cold Remains, Cloven and Wringland

BOOK REVIEWS

TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT FOR URBAN LIVING and TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT FOR THE SEASHORE Melusine Draco (Moon Books'/John Hunt Publishing Ltd http://www.moon-books.net/ £9.99/US$16.95 each 143pp and 149pp)

The author of these books was an initiate of the late Bob Clay-Egerton's Coven of the Scales and she has been a practising occultist, magical teacher and writer on esoteric subjects for over twenty years. These two books are the first volumes in a series on modern traditional witchcraft for beginners.

'Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living', as the title suggests, is a guide to being a witch today in a town or city environment and still connect to nature, the elemental forces and the land. The other book is for those who live near or often visit the coast and wish to magically commune with the sea and its energies. You will not find any 'Wiccan Rede' or invocations to Cernunnos and Ceridwen here and the featured charms are mostly Christianised ones as traditionally found in historical witchcraft. Both of the books are written in a down-to-earth style with a refreshing commonsense approach and are rooted in the folk traditions and Old Ways of the British Isles.
Recommended.Michael Howard. Editor The Cauldron

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Book Review for Trad W/C for Urban Living/Means Streets W/C

"This book is for the student of Traditional Witchcraft, not Wicca or other neo-pagan disciplines (although it is certainly useful for all). The distinction is thoroughly explained, much to the reader's benefit. If you're tired of books filled with the usual neo-pagan fluff and are looking for something that gets "right down to it," this is the book for you.

It is accessible, well written, enjoyable, and often humorous. The common sense approach makes the reader the beneficiary of the author's many years of magical experience, and it quickly becomes obvious that she has already done a lot of the trial-and-error work that will save the reader/practitioner a lot of valuable time.

As the title suggests, it is for students and practitioners living in urban areas. Not only does it dispel the myth that one has to live in the middle of the forest to be a "real witch," but offers a lot of valuable advice for a successful practice while living in the city. The book is being republished as Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living, but the contents will be identical, so don't spend the extra money purchasing a used copy. A pleasure to read and a treasure of useful information and techniques!"
Chris Grabarkiewctz, Berkely. USA - Amazon 5-star rating