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Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: A Magical Anthropology Kindle Edition
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In fact, the whole Traditional Witchcraft series has been structured along the lines similar to a distance learning course (in both paperback and e-book format), so that the would-be traditional witch has a step by step guide to follow. Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living (originally published as Mean Streets Witchcraft) is the first in the series and as the title suggests, is aimed at the majority of pagans who live in an urban environment rather than insisting that a witch must live in the country before he/she can learn about traditional British Old Craft. The second step is revealed in Traditional Witchcraft for the Seashore teaches us how to work with those natural tides within our own environment, even if we don’t live by the sea. Step three, Traditional Witchcraft for Fields and Hedgerows, covers what most of us would think of in terms of traditional Craft, and brings us back into the comfort zone where we feel safe and secure – before step four casts us back out into the more hostile world of Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests. As our tutor tells us, the magical energies differ quite considerably between these four environments.
It was intriguing to learn why the historical view of Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival was left until step five, but Ms Draco doesn’t look at things like normal mortals! “It’s not until we’ve been studying traditional Craft for a while that we start to notice both the differences and the similarities between the various disciplines. We want to know where our beliefs come from; to trace our antecedents; and to understand why some of our ways are often diametrically opposed to those of other traditions we read about. That is why the fifth book in the series was written as a magical anthropology; simply to make sense of some of the things we’ve never recognised before.”
Not all her books, however, are favourably received. Some reviewers claim there is nothing new contained within them, or that there are no great revelations in the text. “Craft learning is about forty per cent information and sixty per cent intuition, but it’s also about realising when intuition is telling us that we don’t have all the information. There are books claiming to reveal the ‘secrets’ of traditional Craft - but intuition should tell us that if the secrets can be revealed in the reading of one book, then the author can’t have that much to tell. The real secret is that there are no secrets, only a system of revelation that eventually leads us to a series of guides or teachers, to further our progress along the Path to the Mysteries.”
- It is not a religion and has never purported to be.
- It is not pagan but retains elements of the pagan Mysteries.
- It is assumed to be inclined towards nature worship (as in modern paganism and Wicca), which it does not, Rather Old Craft interacts in an unsentimental way with nature.
The book moves chronologically from pre-history, the Dark Ages, the medieval Inquisition, the “Burning Times” (16th – 17th centuries), into modern Britain. This provides the reader with an insight into the tapestry of the prevailing political, social and religious currents of the time. The author emphasises that neither history nor archaeology can provide definitive answers as to how the Mysteries were structured and formulated. That may not ever be possible but what we are able to do is gather historical evidence of religious observances. This enables us to reconstruct some of the ancestral customs (within their context) and honour the gods in an appropriate manner in modern times. Some readers may question why this is necessary. Well, Mélusine Draco brings our attention to an important point regarding this matter:
“The Mysteries are based on Truth, and Truth is Truth; the Truth of yesterday is the Truth of tomorrow. The quest of any seeker should be based on curiosity and the desire to find that Truth – which can only be achieved by studying our own ancestral history – once the seeker knows how to look” (p.14).
All in all a very useful text on a subject matter which has been prone to misinformation and controversy over its long history. Another valuable book in the Traditional Witchcraft series.
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