<![CDATA[Coven of the Scales - Blog]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 22:23:10 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[THE X-FACTOR]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 09:24:15 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/the-x-factorPicture
Witchcraft (unlike Wicca) is not a religion – it never has been, simply because it’s an individual’s natural ability that distinguishes him or her as a witch. In other words, a witch is born, not made. It just isn’t possible to learn how to become a witch if we haven’t got these abilities, although it is possible to learn how to hone and develop latent or suppressed psychic talents, under the right tuition. And there is no age limit for these discoveries – in either the young, middle-aged or old.
 
Wicca, on the other hand, is fast becoming accepted as the ‘new pagan religion’ with its doctrines drawing heavily on an eco-feminine shadow-image of Christianity. This again is nothing new, since Christianity itself absorbed many of the existing pagan festivals and celebrations into the Church calendar (including an identification of the Virgin Mary with Isis), and contemporary paganism is merely reclaiming its own. But in reality, even in the days before the Christian invasion, not all of the pagan populace were skilled in the Craft of witches.
 
To use a natural analogy, the differences between witchcraft and paganism per se is to liken them to the relationship between the domestic and the wild cat. To the casual observer there is little difference. Just as the similarities between the modern wild cat (felis sylvestris) and the house cat (felis catus) are so great and the differences so few, that it is difficult to establish any authentic genealogy. There is evidence that wild cats have mated with domestic cats and domestic cats can survive in the wild having gone feral, but they don’t usually move far from human habitation and will quickly revert if given the opportunity. The wild cat, however, cannot be handled or tamed; even as a small kitten it is extremely ferocious.
 
In appearance it is difficult at a distance to distinguish a wild cat from a large domestic tabby that has gone feral, but (as with witchcraft and paganism), the subtle differences are there, if you know where and how to look. For example: paganism (including Wicca) has developed a very strong community spirit in recent years, with everyone at public events joining hands to celebrate the festivals, organized around the nearest weekend coinciding with a formal Wheel of the Year.
 
Pagans believe that information should be available to all, and that everyone has the right to access all esoteric knowledge. Many pagans are highly suspicious of witches and some will deny that they practice any form of magic at all. Paganism caters for teenagers within the community and actively encourages them to attend the fairs, buy the books and any appropriate accoutrements. Pagans claim to worship Nature in the persona of ‘the Goddess’, while the generally accepted pagan motto is: ‘And it harm none, do what you will’.
 
Witchcraft is not bound by social rules and conventions, only by the personal morality of the individual, and is governed solely by the natural tides. Any form of magical working or spiritual observance tends to be of a solitary nature, or in the company of tried and trusted people. Witches believe that esoteric knowledge should be kept hidden because it is impossible to convey the meaning of the ‘true mysteries’ without the appropriate teaching. Traditional witches are now rarely seen at pagan events, and hold that any ritual equipment will be acquired as and when it is necessary. The witch learns his or her Craft along the way, and pays homage to
Nature but in a more abstract form that the textbooks will allow, something along the lines of Blake’s Auguries of Innocence:
 
‘To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour’
 
The Old Craft motto is ‘Trust None!’ although it could well be taken from the motto of several Scottish clans: ‘Touch not the [wild] cat without a glove’.  Which path will you ultimately tread?

 
The ‘X’ extract taken from the collection of essays in The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery compiled by Melusine Draco and published by Moon Books.  Available in paperback (370 pages) and e-book format.  www.moon-books.net

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<![CDATA[KEEPING THE MAN IN HIS PLACE …]]>Fri, 12 Jul 2019 10:11:05 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/keeping-the-man-in-his-placeThe Magister or Man in Black (not a member of the Johnny Cash fan club) partners the Dame/Lady and in Old Craft will, more often than not, be the actual leader of the group. He invokes the ‘Horned God energy’ into the ritual, which is represented by the knife. Some larger groups will have both Magister and Man in Black but sadly neither rarely have a place in modern Wiccan working.
 
Needless to say the Magister has his own particular difficulties to contend with and most of these revolve around assuming what is essentially, an Alpha-male position.  After all, the Magister is the earthly representation of god-power, symbolised by the ritual knife and the keeper of the Coven stang!  Primatologist Frans de Waal, who popularised the term ‘alpha male’ back in the 1980s, however,  says that we’ve been using the term all wrong and that the best leaders are those who rise to the top by being generous and kind to others because they know respect will help them maintain their position.
 
Unfortunately, many bearing the title who seek the media spotlight are attention-seekers who fall short of anyone’s vision of a Magister  - never mind an alpha-male!  In reality, the Magister more often than not attracts a lot of unwanted attention from the female members of a coven and finds himself in the position of having to literally beat them off with the stang.   And once repulsed, it is not uncommon for the rejected party to start spiteful rumours of predatory behavior and sexual advances on social media – while the poor Magister’s only concern is dreading the moment should the Dame arrive and the whole thing gets blown out of all proportion.
 
Unlike the Dame, a Magister doesn’t have a specific shelf-life, and although he is symbolically representative of the Dying God, while his is still firing on all six-cylinders he is secure in his position.  There may come a time, however, when he feels he’s just had enough and should his Dame/Lady choose to step down, then he, too, often takes the opportunity to retire gracefully with her rather than work with a new Dame with whom his energies may not be compatible.
 
In a perfectly run coven, the Magister’s job is to support the Dame – who is often his wife and usually trained as his magical partner – and to represent the god within the Compass.  Coven of the Scales has always be god/male oriented, which often causes problems with newcomers who believe that the goddess  is ‘All’.  Call us old-fashioned but we still believe in the gender dynamics that have powered witchcraft since time immemorial – and does not lend itself to gender politics because the differences and similarities between the sexes are all part of the equilibrium of magical working.
 
During the autumn and winter months he is also the Guardian of the goddess as she sleeps and whereas during the spring and summer the Coven rituals are Dame-led; during autumn and winter it’s the Magister’s duty to lead the rites, which are by token more masculine in essence through the turning of the year until Candlemas.  Perhaps it is understandable why it is difficult for many pagan/Wiccans to get to grips with Old Craft practice that refuses to be emasculated – even for form’s sake!  Similarly, this approach also goes a long way to explain why some magical workings benefit from a male dominant partner with the female playing a submissive role, while other rites are more successful with the female taking the dominant role and the male remaining submissive, depending on the nature of the ritual involved.
 
Traditionally, the Magister and the Dame would have ritually charged the cup at the beginning of the rite but this overt sexual gesture is now only performed when the couple work together in private, particularly when involving those not of the Inner Court, or in long distance workings.  The Magister as keeper of the stang is the guardian of the spirit entrance to Otherworld; he is the leader of the Wild Hunt by proxy when crossed arrows are mounted on the shaft.  All these ideas and more can be found in Frazer’s The Golden Bough but there is also the unspoken, hidden  meaning that comes from deep within the Craft that tells us: ‘What you learn, you learn from me, as I choose to reveal it unto you’.
 
By excluding the god from the lore and rituals of Old Craft we are denying those who come after, the age-old instruction of magical balance and harmony … and a coven with no Magister is, as our EOS Principal Melusine Draco, frequently comments, only singing half the Mass!
 
Philip Wright


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<![CDATA[THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A DAME …]]>Tue, 09 Jul 2019 12:47:04 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/there-is-nothing-like-a-dameOften called ‘High Priestess’ by certain Wiccan factions.  In Traditional and Old Craft the Dame (sometimes Lady or Maid) generally directs operations, dedicating the Circle and leading the chant/dance. She embodies ‘Goddess energy’ that is represented by the chalice. Some traditions will have both: one appointed as the Dame/Lady, and the Maid her successor. The Dame holds the position for as long as she is able (traditionally retiring when reaching the menopause) and then steps down to become the Crone. Thus the Coven benefits from having guiding members at different levels of experience. Problems arise, however, when the Dame refuses to step aside or there is no one suitable to replace her and the coven energies stagnate.

The position of Dame can be seen a poisoned chalice to those who have stepped into someone else’s shoes since the role is something that may seem attractive at first but becomes unpleasant. Having initially been regarded as advantageous and an honour it is later often recognised to be disadvantageous or even harmful … and not necessarily of her own making. Witches, like any other group on the planet do not like change, and the new Dame runs the gauntlet of having to fill the previous title-holder’s place, to an accompaniment of resentment,  allegations of lack of experience/magical competent and/or a total lack of respect.

The position of Dame in Old Craft is not an hereditary one.  The likely candidate has been studied, watched and groomed by the out-going incumbent and deemed to be a good and able choice.  The bad grace of the existing members is therefore not only hurtful and embarrassing to the in-coming Dame but also downright insulting to the retiree whose judgement they are questioning!

When Philip and I hived off from CoS to start our own coven it was rather disconcerting to be expected to follow in the footsteps of Meriem Clay-Egerton, who was a Grade-A witch of the first water; just as it must have been for Melusine Draco when inheriting the whole shebang on the deaths of the couple. Coming originally from a ritual magic background there was a lot of criticism over her right and/or ability to run an Old Craft coven and there was a lot of disgruntled folk around who chose to take what should have been a private in-house problem into the public arena.

There are, of course, always those who know better and we finally decided to disband our own group last year after it became obvious that there was none suitable to take over when we retired.  The general consensus of the group was that the role of Dame should be given to someone who (in our minds) was totally inappropriate despite the length of service and who had the magical aptitude of an amoeba and was a perfect candidate for HPS Syndrome!  It was obvious, that if we allowed this to happen the coven would rapidly degenerate and so we formally and officially disbanded the group after almost thirty years.  Yes, it was sad but better than have it operate as a travesty of its former self.

That was why we were delighted to be invited to re-join the mother-coven and find that it was going from strength to strength under its new leadership but still remaining true to the aims and objectives envisioned by Bob Clay-Egerton so many years ago.  Since I’m joining Melusine in the EoS Crone-room we can provide a welter of magical expertise for James and Julie (and any CoS) members to draw upon as and when necessary.  Remember that although deep-rooted, the surface growth is a tenuous blossom and without the support and respect of the coven members for their Dame, Old Craft covens easily whither and die.
Carrie West 
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<![CDATA[ROUND ABOUT THE CAULDRON GO ...]]>Mon, 08 Jul 2019 08:49:34 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/round-about-the-cauldron-goPicture
​SUMMER: Calan Haf-Beltaine
 
The whole essence of traditional British Old Craft is closely bound to the natural tides that govern our planet.  When we organise our own coven activities, these are focussed on drawing down an elemental power to synchronise with the traditional Sabbats/Esbats, thus ensuring the coven develops a ‘group mind’ of its own that nonetheless periodically needs to be recharged via group ritual.  This also explains why Old Crafters synchronise those rituals to coincide with the Old Julian Calendar that links us directly to the power of the Ancestors. Kindred calls to kindred, blood calls to blood’. The modern Gregorian calendar is now fourteen days out of alignment and had been thirteen days apart since March 1900 – but magically as miss is as good as a mile!
 
A witch needs to be on familiar, operational-terms with the times and tides of the witch’s year – not just the solar and lunar tides but the oceanic, earth and atmospheric tides that can also enhance our magical workings.  We must also understand that some tides are more beneficial than others for recharging the ‘group mind’ of the coven so that we as individuals can draw upon the currents of elemental power to energise our spells at any time. This elemental power is marked in the charting of the stars, and while the stars are not generally used as sources of power they can act as a celestial barometer for the calendaric ebb and flow.  This is the witch-power we channel when we work magic – either singly or as a group – and it makes sense to take these various different tides into consideration and utilise them to our best advantage whenever we can.  There’s nothing to stop us from working against the tide but this is self-defeating when it is easier to go with the flow.
 
Four great fire festivals are marked by the Equinoxes and Solstices of the solar year, with the four traditional lunar celebrations of Beltaine, Lammas, Hallowe’en and Candlemas making up the eight Sabbats/Esbats of the witch’s year.   Fire festivals also mark the beginning of each quarter of the solar-tide cycle with Candlemas marking the end of the reign of the Holly King and the first stirrings of the bright tide of summer.  At the turbulent tide of the Vernal Equinox, the bright and dark tides are equally balanced with the bright tide on the increase; Beltaine marks the beginning of summer, which reaches its height around the Midsummer Solstice. From here it begins to wane.

​Philip Wright and Carrie West



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<![CDATA[THE DICTIONARY OF MAGIC  & MYSTERY]]>Wed, 03 Jul 2019 12:53:15 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/the-dictionary-of-magic-mystery5655601Picture

Every good reference book is both a product and a reflection of its time. The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery is not just another compendium or dictionary of occultism: it is a jumping-off point for further research. Here, the reader will find the ancient and modern interpretation for magical and mystical terms, together with explanations for the differences between the varied (and often conflicting) approaches to magic. You will also find both the common, the regional, and the obscure, because even popular usage can often distill the true essence from original meaning. There are historical and archeological references that are essential in helping to put the past into perspective, whether we are talking about witchcraft, ritual magic, or the different paths and traditions from the East. Added to all this information are some of the sacred sites that are associated with our pagan past; together with thumbnail sketches of the well-known (and sometimes dubious) personalities who have been associated with the pursuit of magical knowledge throughout the centuries.  This is an example of one of the mini-essays that complement the entries:
 
Lammas and the Harvest Home
During the autumn of 1621 the settlers at Plymouth Colony gathered to give thanks for the harvest after their first year in the New World. That was America’s first Thanksgiving, but it has grown into probably the most important family occasion of the year, where everyone gathers to enjoy a meal of roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Its roots, however, have their origin in the traditional Harvest Supper – or Harvest Home – of the English farming community.
In truth, the practice of holding a Harvest Festival service was only established in the 19th century in an attempt to control the Harvest Home celebrations, which the Church of the time considered too raucously pagan!
 
Harvest celebrations were some of the holiest of the pagan year. Traditionally, the harvest continued for most of August from Lammas, when bread was made from the first corn to be cut; right through to the last fruits being gathered in early September. Any housewife worth her salt would be bottling fruit, making pickles and jams, drying herbs and preparing potions from the natural harvest in the hedgerows for the months ahead when the fresh ingredients would not be available.
 
There has always been a spiritual quality surrounding harvest time: a celebration of the good things that have happened during the year. A perfect time to gather friends and family together for a celebratory supper in a spirit of thanksgiving, whether we are urban or rural dwellers, market trader or stockmarket trader. And although the American celebration is held on the fourth
Thursday in November, a Harvest Home should be around the Harvest Moon, or Autumn Equinox.
 
A typical 17th century Harvest Supper would have consisted of ‘… puddings, bacon or boiled beef, flesh or apple pies, and then cream brought in platters… hot cakes and ale…’ A Witch’s Treasury for Hearth & Garden brought the menu up to date with home-made soup, honey-glazed ham, apple pie with cream and a selection of cheeses, served with celery, accompanied by good beer, cider or robust red wine. To set the atmosphere, display any freshly prepared produce for decoration as this will be your own harvest festival. If you’ve made jams or pickles, give each guest a jar as a gesture of sharing.

Should your talents lean more towards the arty, give each guest a corn dolly to take home. Corn has long been regarded as the embodiment of productivity and fruitfulness; a simple plait of corn straw tied with ribbon can be hung in the kitchen to insure a productive year to come. It would also be nice to think that the modern ‘wheel of the year’ isn’t always driven by the need to use the festivals for spellcasting. Before the end of the meal, make sure everyone has a full glass and propose a toast to your own equivalent of the ‘bounty of the harvest’, and ask your guests to join you in pouring a libation on the ground outside. Even in financially-troubled times, we still have something to be grateful for and if we can reintroduce the spirit of thanksgiving at the turning of the year, we will be reconnecting with the simple faith of our forebears.
 
‘Thanksgiving’ isn’t about preserving ye olde pagan ways with copious amounts of cider swilling, accompanied by endless verses of John Barleycorn, it’s about bringing together family and close friends for the purpose of celebration. An annual pilgrimage back to our pagan roots, or to wherever our pagan roots have been transplanted. We can gather around the simple kitchen table, or set the dining room glistening with starched linen, crystal and silver. There is no preset formula of observance… just the willingness to enjoy each other’s company, count our blessings and reflect on our good fortune.
 
The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books : ISBN 978 1 84694 462 8 : 3333 entries 370 pages : Price UK£12.99/IUS$22.95

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<![CDATA[THE TRADITIONAL WITCH’S CALENDAR: JULY]]>Fri, 28 Jun 2019 08:58:27 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/the-traditional-witchs-calendar-julyPicture


​JULY was [OE] Æftera Līþa ‘After Midsummer’ or ‘Second Summer’. [OHG] Hewi-mānod ‘hay(making) month. In some years a “leap month” was added to the calendar at the height of the summer, which was Thriliða, or the ‘third-mild.’
In the 14th century misericord calendar, it was shown as the time for baking the loaves for Lammas from the first flour to celebrate the start of the harvest. The tree representing July is the Birch, known as the ‘Lady of the Woods’ and used in the making of the besom.
 
Birch Magic: At night, when its silvery bark glimmers in the moonlight, the birch creates a majestic yet ethereal image. The tree’s loose, paper-like bark was held sacred by early man and excavations of Neolithic and Mesolithic grave-mounds reveal that rolls of birch bark were interred alongside the corpse, although their exact significance remains a mystery.
 
2nd The annual Boston Charter Fair has been held in the town since at least 1125 and has been a part of local life since the 12th century when Henry I granted the charter to the people of Boston. Today: If you live in the area take the family out for the day and enjoy this link with the past.
 
Weather-lore: ‘Dog Days (3rd) bright and clear, indicate a happy year.’
 
2nd Feast Day of St Swithun of Winchester. St Cewydd is the Welsh ‘rain saint’, like Medard in France, Gildas in Brittany and St Swithun in England he was associated with a pre-Christian rain superstition in July, when, if it rained on that day, it was believed rain would continue for 40 days. The feast day was originally 2nd July (later moved to 15th after the calendar change). Today: Why not visit Winchester and acquaint yourself with this ancient capital.
 
3rd Dog Days. The Romans called the six to eight hottest weeks of the summer caniculárȇs diȇs because the dog-star, Sirius, rising with the sun added to its heat; the dog-days bore the combined heat of the dog-star and the sun between 3rd July and 11th August. Today: In reality the British summer has often been described as three fine days and a thunderstorm!
 
4th The traditional festival of the Whalton Baal [Northumberland] that was held each year on ‘Old Midsummer’s Eve’, the alteration of the calendar in 1752 resulted in the date being moved by eleven days but country folk round about, however, went on celebrating the festival at the old time. Today: Hold a mini-fire festival of your own on Old Midsummer’s Eve (5th) to celebrate the Old Ways.
 
6th Old Midsummer’s Day: Time of Grace. The lawful season for venery, which began at Midsummer and lasted until Holyrood Day. The fox and wolf might be hunted from the Nativity to the Annunciation; the roebuck from Easter to Michaelmas; the roe from Michaelmas to Candlemas; the hare from Michaelmas to Midsummer; and the boar from the Nativity to the Purification.
 
7th Nones Caprotinae was generally known as a Roman picnic day, when celebrations dedicated to the goddess Juno Caprotina were held al fresco in parks or outside the city in the fields. Tents and temporary shelters made from branches would be set up so that the revels could continue all night and into the following day. Today: An excellent day for a picnic.
 
14th Mercanus began six days of markets and fairs when Rome would have been full of colour. Today: Make a point of visiting a local market and drink in the atmosphere.
 
Weather-lore: ‘St Swithin’s Day (15th  July), if thou dost rain, for forty days it will remain’.
 
19th Honiton Fair in Devon goes back to the 13th century and is a three-day event held on the first Tuesday after the 19th July. Today: Make an effort to visit this famous fair.
 
23th Neptunalia: Honouring the Roman Neptune on this day would encourage ample rainfall for the crops and prevent drought. Neptune was an old Italian sea god and, as his festival falls at the height of summer, booths of foliage were erected to protect worshippers from the Sun. Today: A perfect opportunity for a picnic by the sea.
 
25th Furrinalia was a Roman celebration of feasting and drinking in honour of an early-Italian earth-goddess. Roman scholar and writer, Varro noted that the festival was a public holiday (feriae publicae dies). Both the festival and the goddess had become obscure even to the Romans of the Late Republic (mid-1st century BC) and that few people in his day even knew her name. Today: A perfect opportunity for a family summer picnic.
 
28th The Celtic festival of Domhnach Crom Dubh was held on the last Sunday of July. Known also as Crom Cruach or Cenn Cruach, at this time of year the ‘Dark, Crooked One’ rises from the underworld to abduct Eithne, the corn maiden, and carry her away on his stooped back. See 7th August. Today: Pay homage to this ancient Lord or the Harvest and God of the Underworld by pouring a libation at the edge of the cornfield.
 
 
Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways, compiled by Melusine Draco is published by Ignotus Press UK  ISBN 978 1 78876 205 2 in paperback and e-book format.  Available direct fro the printer at a discounted price.
https://www.feedaread.com/books/Old-Year-Old-Calendar-Old-Ways-9781788762052.aspx

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<![CDATA[MERRY MEET ...]]>Tue, 18 Jun 2019 14:31:08 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/merry-meetPicture
Philip and I would like to formally introduce ourselves to members and students of Coven of the Scales, although many of you will recognise us as the authors of Coven Working and Death & the Pagan.  We were early members of CoS when it was formed by Bob and Meriem Clay-Egerton following their move to Newcastle and ran our own teaching coven in St Albans for well over twenty years until its recent amicable disbanding.   All things are subject to change and it was with great delight that we were invited to re-join our old Coven at a time when the future was looking very bleak.  We had kept in touch with Suzanne Ruthven who first published our books back in 2003 via ignotus press and she thought it a good time for us to meet up with Julie and James who were now Dame and Magister of the Coven with a view to helping out with the tutoring of new students.

Ironically, the week after agreeing to come back to the Coven, an application was received from a former student of an old enemy who was instrumental in the break-up of the group in the early 1990s!  We took this as a sign from the gods that the intimate knowledge we have of Craft history was not to be wasted, because if we had not picked up the details on the registration form, this ‘plant’ could have easily slipped through the net – and it apparently isn’t the first time this has been attempted in order to expropriate CoS teaching methods by this particular source.  Our decision to return had been vindicated!

The long history of the Moonraker-CoS Covens has always been close knit and often beset with troubles resulting from both internal and external causes but unlike many of those that were around back in the day, we are gratified to see that CoS goes from strength to strength.  Firstly, with our old chum Melusine Draco holding the reins, and now under the expertise guidance of Julie and James – who are good old-fashioned witches in the Old Craft mould. Traditional British Old Craft is often frowned upon by millennial-witches for its elitist, hierarchical and god-based structure but it has been provably in existence since the mid 1880s and it has managed to survive to keep the spirit of ‘true’ Craft alive despite the often overwhelming odds.  We as old-timers are proud to have this as our heritage …

For the time being we will be keeping in the background until we get a feel for the way the Coven is run today but will be there for anyone needing magical advice – and for the occasional visit to the Café.  See you there.
Carrie West and Philip Wright

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<![CDATA[What do I do now?]]>Fri, 14 Jun 2019 09:51:37 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/what-do-i-do-nowDuring our recent Gathering in Ireland a number of issues were discussed, a couple of which I aim to add a bit of clarity. But before that a note on a major change to Arcanum and acceptance to the Coven. From now all students who finish the course will have to complete an assessment. This will be judged by myself, the Dame, Phillip and Carrie. Only those students who show a sound understanding of Old Craft, especially the relationship between the God and Goddess, will be accepted into the Coven.

So, you meet the required standard and find yourself a member of Coven of the Scales. This leads me to my first point, What do I do now? A question that crops up with annoying regularity. Until recently the answer has been, revisit your lessons, practice what you have been taught, and get on with it!  Live it! Most of you will know that the Dame has been developing workings for the Solstices and Equinox's, the next to be posted very soon. These have proved very popular in providing focus and guidance. I have also asked Phillip and Carrie if they could assist by providing additional exercises and workings for the Coven. They have kindly agreed, so members of the Coven will be hearing from them on occasion throughout the year.

My next point is Initiation. Traditional Old Craft Covens have always worked with an elitist  structure of hierarchy and merit: we in CoS are no different and like it or lump it, it`s here to stay. We are a Coven of solitary witches located all around the world, in many different time zones and working with many different energies, not easy to be Magister over I hear you say, and you would be right. Students enter the Coven as a witch, and over time, an experienced witch having shown loyalty to the Coven may be invited to become an Elder. So, what of initiation? Well, we get many enquires from students and Coven witches alike asking “when will I be initiated?”  Initiates are only chosen from Elders who are considered worthy and ready to take the next step. So, Initiation is not entry into the Coven, it is to something far greater and important.

My view is, if you have got to ask, you`re not ready!

 
James Rigel
Magister CoS.
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<![CDATA[It Depends Where You’re Coming From …]]>Thu, 13 Jun 2019 09:41:47 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/it-depends-where-youre-coming-from4637853Picture
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 be anything more than a dabbler.
 
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival 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.
 
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: A Magical Anthropology by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Books in paperback and e-book format. ISBN: 978 1 78279 156 0 UK£11.99/US$19.95 : 180p www.moon-books.net

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<![CDATA[NATURAL SYMBOLS FOR COMPASS WORKING]]>Tue, 28 May 2019 09:54:01 GMThttp://covenofthescales.com/blog/natural-tides6362602Picture

Books will give a whole list of correspondences we can utilise to symbolically mark the cardinal points of the Compass for magical working - but some work better than others.  To built up a collection of naturally-charged quarter-markers we need to keep our eyes open at all times for those ‘gifts’ that come our way while out walking. For example:


North:  The Place of Power magically speaking since ancient times - and ancient mystics and alchemists called upon Gnomes as an invocation of the properties of Earth in ritual.  Gems and crystals are all part of the Element of Earth and the most natural would be the small pieces of quartz (milky, rose and clear) or flint that can be found in any handful of gravel, a stream bed, or by the side of a path we walk along every day.  Remember that the tiniest of pieces were once buried deep inside the Earth and have worked their way to the surface over millions of years.
 
South: Fire is the only one of the Four Elements that humankind can produce itself, so it bridges the connection between mortals and gods because it was Prometheus, the Titan culture hero and trickster figure who defied the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity:  an act that enabled progress and civilization. Slivers of seasoned wood from the Craft’s totem trees can be prepared and sprinkled in the censer over a charcoal disc; or if working outside small faggots can be made from twigs from the ‘nine sacred woods’ - birch, rowan, ash, alder, willow hawthorn, oak, holly and hazel.
 
East:  The smoke that rises from the incense burned on the altar is a symbol of Elemental Air; or we can collect feathers from the birds sacred to Craft – the corvids who serve as messengers from Otherworld.  Keep them fresh and safe by wrapping them in a silk scarf when not in use.
 
West:  Rain-water collected in the cup-marks on ancient monuments or from the hollows in the boles of totem trees is the most sacred representative of Elemental Water.  Failing that, collect water from a local spring or holy well.
 
This means that along with the poop-scoop bags in our pockets, we need an array of small plastic bags, bottles and containers so that we can bring our finds safely home. Stones and pebbles can be ritually cleansed by holding them in a fast running stream or spring, other more perishable items shouldn’t need to be cleansed if they have been brought in straight from the wood otherwise we will destroy those natural propensities they were chosen for. MD

The Power of the Elements
by Melusine Draco is published by Moon Book ww.moon-books.net.




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