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review 2015-11-04 08:58
Traditional Witchcraft and the Path to the Mysteries - Melusine Draco
The Deep Heart of Witchcraft - David Salisbury
Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore - Melusine Draco
Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living - Melusine Draco
Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows - Melusine Draco
Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests: A Witch's Guide to the Woodland with Guided Meditations and Pathworking - Melusine Draco
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: A Magical Anthropology - Melusine Draco
"More and more often these days I get asked what books would I recommend for solitary witches who have gone beyond material aimed at beginners. The truth is, there aren't that many. The Deep Heart of Witchcraft, by David Salisbury, is one I've recommended in the past. Now I'll be adding Traditional Witchcraft and the Path to the Mysteries by Mélusine Draco.

This book is the final in Mélusine's series Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living, Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore, Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows,Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests and Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival.It is aimed at witches who have worked through all the earlier books, taken on board the lessons and have a thorough grasp of the techniques and practices of witchcraft. So, one might ask, what is there left to learn? "

Taken from http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/03/review-traditional-witchcraft-and-path.html this is part of a much longer review of Path to the Mysteries, written by 'bad witch' Lucya Starza. 

 

I've tagged the other books in the series, which Lucya refers to in her review, and also David Salisbury's excellent 'Deep heart of witchcraft'.

Source: www.badwitch.co.uk/2015/03/review-traditional-witchcraft-and-path.html
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review 2015-11-04 08:45
Haunted Palace reviews
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: A Magical Anthropology - Melusine Draco

Haunted Palace is an excellent review site covering a wide range of topics. The review of Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival is a huge and indepth piece. Here's a small quote for flavour.

 

"I found this book to be very engaging, enlightening and at times challenging – it covers a great deal of ground in under 200 pages.  While there are undoubtably more complex and detailed archaeological and historical studies available and Draco’s interpretation of the evidence whilst drawing on some very distinguished sources, is very much her own, this book provides a good over view of archaeological and historic periods from earliest times to the present day.  Her survey outlines  the main theories in relation to magical and religious developments within the British Isles and her insight how these traditions and survivals may have influenced Traditional British Witchcraft and Neo-pagan traditions such as Wicca."

Source: hauntedpalaceblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/traditional-witchcraft-and-the-pagan-revival-by-melusine-draco
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review 2015-10-25 10:42
First and foremost, forests and woodland have played a mystical role in all cultures where trees have dominated the landscape. Trees bring Nature right up close and personal and, as a result, the whole of the natural world becomes a ‘tangled web of enchantment’ to a true witch’s eyes. Most of us are familiar with what we call ‘broad leaved’ woodland … that is to say, forest made up predominantly of trees whose leaves are basically flat, as opposed to being needle-shaped like those of the conifers of the evergreen world. These trees are mostly deciduous (with the exception of the holly, box and strawberry tree), and shed their leaves when winter approaches, lying dormant until the warmth of spring stimulates new growth.

The trees in Hunter’s Wood are natives and form part of the great broad-leaved forest that once stretched over the whole of northern Europe. Nevertheless, not all remaining woodland is ancient; nor are all woods that are not ancient, man-made. Left alone, Nature has a tendency to re-colonise almost any land that is allowed to remain idle. Trees such as sycamore, birch and oak, which readily colonise new territory, quickly invade open land and very often relatively new, dense woodland can be found only an hour’s drive from the city centre.

In the beginning … Britain’s original trees disappeared during the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, but by the time the land had separated from continental Europe some 2000 year later, 35 species had returned by natural means — brought in by the wind
and birds — as the climate gradually grew warmer. Until man began clearing the forests 5000 years ago, the natural vegetation of much of the British Isles was a blanket of broad-leaved deciduous trees — alder, birch, oak and lime. The myths and
legends that grew out of this forest haunted his imagination.

Before we begin to practice the Craft of the wood-witch, however, we must learn to look at trees with different eyes, because there is still a sense of mystery and enchantment in the woodland world.
Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests: A Witch's Guide to the Woodland with Guided Meditations and Pathworking - Melusine Draco

This is an excerpt from the opening to Melusine Draco's Traditional witchcraft for the woods and forests. 

 

One of the things I particularly admire about Melusine is her earthed and practical approach to all subjects. For her, unsurprisingly 'the wood' is not a simple concept - she writes extensively about different tree types, about the myths and magic of woodland, and the ways in which we can work magically with trees. If Paganism is earth-centred spirituality, then we need to know the earth, and we need to know, as species, and as living individuals, the trees that we deal with.

 

There's a wealth of tree lore in this book such that it would also be highly suitable for students of Druidry as well as for those interested in witchcraft.

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review 2015-10-25 10:34
For a witch the magical energies of Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows differs quite considerably from Traditional Witchcraft for Woods and Forests because whereas the woods have been part of our landscape since the beginning of time, fields and hedgerows are a relatively recent innovation. It therefore stands to reason that the witchcraft of fields and hedgerows is going to be much more of a domestic and homely variety, not moving far from hearth or cattle byre. It will lack the primitive, sometimes hostile, sensations that we encounter when walking alone in the woods. Unfortunately, very few modern witches have the opportunity to understand the land, but once we learn to appreciate it again and begin to feel part of it, it begins to share its secrets.
Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows - Melusine Draco

This quote is taken from the introduction to Melusine Draco's book on traditional witchcraft for fields and hedgerows. It makes plain the case for why this manifestation of the countryside needs considering as a separate issue from working magically with the land in wilder places.

 

Much of the UK has been in agricultural use for a very long time - there are field systems that go back to the Iron Age, and many iconic landscapes - our moors, commons and fells - have been co-created by humans and their grazing flocks. The energy of land that has a long history of human use is not the same as that of a wild place. This book explores the differences, but without prioritising one kind of experience of the natural world over another. Fields and hedgerows are nature, too. Just nature that we've interacted with a lot.

 

How we understand the countryside has a lot of impact on how we treat it - which in turn has far wider implications than magical use alone. Being able to see the ancestors in the land, the human uses and influences, and being able to recognise that and work with it, rather than romanticising it - as people often do with the tapestry of British fields, and not rejecting is as really just another industry and therefore not nature, opens the way for a better relationship between people and the soil.

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review 2015-10-25 10:15
If much of today’s pagan propaganda is to be believed, anyone who doesn’t live a stone’s throw from, or have regular access to the rural heartlands of England, is hardly qualified to call themselves ‘pagan’. And if the unfortunate town-dweller can’t be found at weekends rooting about in country hedgerows, then ‘witch’ is also a label to which they apparently have no right!

Tosh, tosh! And thrice tosh!

Yes, of course, we can haul out the old chestnut of ‘pagan’ deriving from the Latin pagus, which properly means ‘belonging to a village’ but it was used in a derogative sense, just as contemporary town dwellers might refer to country folk as ‘swede bashers’ or ‘carrot crunchers’. Long after the Christian Church was first established in the cities and towns (centres of learning), what they saw as idolatrous practices continued to be observed in rural districts and villages, so ‘pagan’ and ‘villager’ came to mean the same thing. Similarly, the word ‘heathen’ (from the Anglo-Saxon hæthen, hæth) referred to a ‘dweller on a heath or common’. Christian doctrine would not have reached these remote people until long after it had integrated town and city, and in both cases, ‘pagan’ and ‘heathen’ implied a lack of worldliness, sophistication and learning. It was intended as an insult.

In contemporary society, ‘pagan’ is now the accepted umbrella term for those who follow any eclectic, reconstructionalist doctrines of pre-Christian beliefs, while ‘heathen’ tends to refer more specifically to those of the revivalist Norse traditions. Ironically, the vast majority of followers of both traditions live in towns and cities. And let’s face it, people live in urban communities for a variety of reasons: the most common being the close proximity to work and/or family.For the witch whose career confines them to an urbanised environment, regular Craft practice may often seem like a futile gesture, especially if home is a small, gardenless-flat. Even the suburbs can be magically incapacitating, if there is constant noise from traffic and neighbours. People work long hours; often setting off for work and getting home again in the dark during the winter months, without having the opportunity to notice the subtle changing of the seasons. Weekends are a constant battle with family commitments, domestic chores and socialising. It’s no wonder that the urban witch has little time or strength left for magical and spiritual development.

There are, of course, others who find themselves having to remain town and house-bound because of age or disability; because they are caring for an aged/infirm parent, or partner; or because they have small children. Urbanisation often provides on-the-spot facilities to make things easier on the domestic front but it cannot give the one thing that a witch needs most – privacy and spiritual elbow-room.

So how do we manage?
Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living - Melusine Draco

First published as Mean Streets Witchcraft, this book has become part of Melusine's Traditional witchcraft series, published by Moon Books. Increasingly Pagans are urban dwellers, and there's growing demand for pragmatic books that deal with the realities of urban living rather than a romanticised, rural Paganism that simply isn't available to the majority of people in their daily lives.

 

The quote I've shared comes from the introduction to the book, and highlights all the issues urban Pagans routinely face. That question of 'So how do we manage?' is the jumping off point for this book, which goes on to explore how nature exists in urban spaces, how to relate to the elements, content about the history or urban magic users and more. There's a lot on offer here about how to have a really workable magical practice in an urban environment, and I think it has a lot to offer all Pagans, not just witches. 

 

 

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