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.