[This month, we sit down for a quick interview with Melusine Draco. Here, she discusses her new book, Pagan Portals: Breath of Spring, and her upcoming projects.]
ev0ke: You recently released Pagan Portals: Breath of Spring. First, congratulations! Second, how did this book come about? Why a book about spring festivals?
Melusine Draco: Thank you. It was originally intended as a collective of seasonal feasts and festivals as a companion to Old Year, Old Calendar, Old Ways. Have a Cool Yule: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Mid-Winter Festival was the first in the series to be published.
ev0ke: Did you approach Moon Books or did they come to you? And will there be more books dedicated to seasonal festivals?
MD: The commissioning editor of Moon Books asked if I would be interested in writing them. Breath of Spring completes the series of festivals including Have a Cool Yule, Sumer is Icumen In …, and Harvest Home: In-Gathering.
ev0ke: What sort of research went into Breath of Spring? Stacks of books? Discussions with other practitioners? Attendance at festivals yourself?
MD: Largely the material comes from that used within Coven of the Scales and is part of our Elder Faith teaching. Our Coven has been around on record from the early 1880s and we have a very long history which certainly predates the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951 and Gardnerian Wicca.
ev0ke: Which bit of history or folklore did you absolutely have to include in the book?
MD: All the bits that are usually overlooked as being traditional witchcraft and an important part of our Craft heritage …
ev0ke: There is a lot of misinformation floating around about Imbolc, the Spring Equinox, Ostara, and Beltaine. If you could correct one of these, which would it be and why?
MD: I would like to see books written by those with authenticated antecedents in the Tradition they are writing about and an acknowledgement that our ways are a lot older than those regularly trotted out as contemporary paganism. Most of the stuff is regurgitated material from older sources.
ev0ke: Breath of Spring includes a number of rites, crafts, recipes, and more that celebrants can include in their festivities. Where did you find all of these? History books? Poetry collections and cookbooks? From other modern Wiccans and Pagans?
MD: Again, most come from our own traditional British Old Craft sources (unless otherwise stated) and are in annual use within the Coven.
ev0ke: What other projects are you working on?
MD: My current non-fiction project is a 100,000 word hardback for Pen & Sword publishers on Understanding the Egyptian Gods and looking at the deities as individuals and how their worship altered over the long history. Also half-way through the third book in the Vampyre’s Tale series of novels, which covers the Middle Ages.