Excerpt from the Dictionary of Mystery & Magic

Apr 8th, 2018 | By | Category: Book News, Books, Books for Pagans

 

This excerpt is taken from the introduction to Melusine Draco’s magical dictionary:

“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.

To thoroughly understand what magic is all about, whether from the perspective of the village wise-woman or the high-powered ceremonial magician, we have to know the true history of the path we wish to follow. These are paths that have been beset with persecution and ridicule; both physical and mental anguish; hardship and deprivation. To understand where we now stand, we need to walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before and learn from their experiences, their failures and their triumphs. We also need a basic grounding in Classical subjects because we cannot hope to plug in to the here-and-now and expect instant enlightenment, or become a witch or magician in twelve easy lessons!

Paradoxically, although there are now more books on occultism (in its widest sense) in publication than ever before, the contents are by no means guaranteed to be accurate, or even penned by¬†someone with a knowledgeable, working background in the subject on which they write. Sadly, even mainstream editors have little practical experience in the subjects they are commissioning and, as a result, the genre of ‚Äėmind, body and spirit‚Äô publishing is awash with books and magazine articles by those who are merely regurgitating information, often taken from questionable sources, blended with hefty dollops of contemporary Orientalism.

As that invaluable encyclopedia, Man, Myth & Magic, pointed out back in the 1970s, at the roots of mythology and magic is a kind of thinking which is certainly not random, and which has its own
curious logic. Where metaphor, sigla and ceremony convey the intangible and bring the supernatural into the natural world, by making connections between things that outwardly and rationally
are not connected at all. And magic is all about understanding these analogies, allegories and symbols. The Dictionary of Magic & Mystery attempts to put this way of thinking into some kind of perspective for the serious student.”

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