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thevioletsunflower

'Old World Witchcraft' by Raven Grimassi

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I came across this book on Amazon this evening. It's only available for pre-order but it does have a preview.

 

Now if memory serves from the limited time I spent on the traditionalwitchcraft.net forum RG was a member there. I read some of his posts and interactions with interest. I can't tell you exactly what they said because I can't remember but I do remember thinking how odd I thought it was he would be a member there. And now this book...

http://www.amazon.co...pd_bxgy_b_img_b

 

In the intro (which is available in the preview) he talks a bit about "traditional witchcraft" and makes a distinction between what he is writing about there and the typical European type of traditional witchcraft. I have read only one book by RG, Italian Witchcraft, and that was way back in the day. I can't remember liking him much, though. I gave it away a few months later. In this new book of his it seems he is back on the God and Goddess thing. In the intro he talks some about the criticism the Neo-Pagan movement gets for "inventing" the God and Goddess and goes on to say he will be providing evidence that God and Goddess worship is ancient and not just a Neo-Pagan invention. And on and on and on.

 

Anywho. what do you all think of this? Like I said Amazon has a preview if you want to poke around in it. I'm not preordering or considering buying it but I do think it's interesting that this book is coming out practically on the heels of Silver Ravenwolf's Hedge Witch. It seems the "fluffy" Wiccan trend is going in this "old world" direction.

 

 

 

As a total side note- all of these books have such fantastic cover art (this book as well). I have to give them that much, at least.

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This looks quite interesting I will have a poke around :)

 

It seems the "fluffy" Wiccan trend is going in this "old world" direction.

Unfortunately for us it will probably get watered down and turned into something acceptable to the masses.

 

 

silver Ravenwolf's Hedge Witch
Don't get me started, I haven't got the timespellcaster.gif

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..Don't get me started, I haven't got the timespellcaster.gif

 

Having read the responses off Amazon I think its been summed here up lol

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I came across this book on Amazon this evening. It's only available for pre-order but it does have a preview.

 

Now if memory serves from the limited time I spent on the traditionalwitchcraft.net forum RG was a member there. I read some of his posts and interactions with interest. I can't tell you exactly what they said because I can't remember but I do remember thinking how odd I thought it was he would be a member there.

 

He is on the Traditional Witchcraft yahoo list also. Sometimes his posts are interesting but other times, maybe it's just me, but he seems way off.

 

Why waste your money on this when there are so many other cheap books out there much better than this. IMHO :) T. C. Lethbridge's books are still fairly cheap, I think. Christina Hole's book Witchcraft in England. How about something by Nigel Pennick? All of his books are good.

 

Just a thought :).

 

Brea

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I'll probably get it - just to satisfy my own curiosity. I don't have a lot of faith that what I'll read will be better than what he's put out in the past but ya never know.

 

But I do agree - love his cover artist!

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Be sure and give us a lengthy review, MW!

Why waste your money on this when there are so many other cheap books out there much better than this. IMHO :) T. C. Lethbridge's books are still fairly cheap, I think. Christina Hole's book Witchcraft in England. How about something by Nigel Pennick? All of his books are good.

 

Just a thought :).

Don't worry, Brea, this is not on my to-read list. Just curious as to what others think.

 

 

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Nice cover. But would this be yet another book on disguised wicca?

 

 

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Two points: I think RG was only a member on that tw com to search to see if his work was mentioned and then he would write defenses or explanations. As I recall he never or rarely contributed otherwise.

 

I think that Llewellyn hires staff writers lie RG and$RW and tells them what to write about. That does not make them experts. I so much mire appreciate publishers who let their writers write what they know. It takes reading between the lines, but I am guessing that the editor add a lot of the standard Wicca tripe onto some otherwise okay books. You can kind of sense the Change in voice. Like Fiona Horne is an atheist witch who is cool with cursing and even describes a curse on her book. Them a few pages later there is an onset about the lord and lady and the threefold law. Really looks to me like that stuff was added to make it Llewellyn brand approved. It makes for a very confused and poorly flowing book. But hey it pays the bills right?

 

A friend of mine just signed a deal for a book with llewllyn, I just cringed she is such a down to earth writer o am dreading what mangling they are going to do to her work.

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Be sure and give us a lengthy review, MW!

snapback.pngbrea, on 20 September 2011 - 11:24 AM, said:

 

Why waste your money on this when there are so many other cheap books out there much better than this. IMHO :) T. C. Lethbridge's books are still fairly cheap, I think. Christina Hole's book Witchcraft in England. How about something by Nigel Pennick? All of his books are good.

 

Just a thought :).

Don't worry, Brea, this is not on my to-read list. Just curious as to what others think.

]

 

 

Brea have you read it? Would love you to put a review up. I have got books in the past that were reviewed as the next best thing. which turned out to be utter crap.

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Two points: I think RG was only a member on that tw com to search to see if his work was mentioned and then he would write defenses or explanations. As I recall he never or rarely contributed otherwise.

 

I think that Llewellyn hires staff writers lie RG and$RW and tells them what to write about. That does not make them experts. I so much mire appreciate publishers who let their writers write what they know. It takes reading between the lines, but I am guessing that the editor add a lot of the standard Wicca tripe onto some otherwise okay books. You can kind of sense the Change in voice. Like Fiona Horne is an atheist witch who is cool with cursing and even describes a curse on her book. Them a few pages later there is an onset about the lord and lady and the threefold law. Really looks to me like that stuff was added to make it Llewellyn brand approved. It makes for a very confused and poorly flowing book. But hey it pays the bills right?

 

A friend of mine just signed a deal for a book with llewllyn, I just cringed she is such a down to earth writer o am dreading what mangling they are going to do to her work.

 

I was just talking about this with my husband. I recently bought a book from Llewllyn called "Tarot Diva" by Sasha Graham. Its not my style. I really hate the "glamourous" life that is being shoved down everyone's throats of late. But I picked it up after reading reviews and discovering Rachel Pollack wrote the intro. I like Rachel Pollack a lot and that she recommended the book was enough for me to at least give it a go. I'm glad I did. Sure, there are things I skip on but it has been a really down to earth insightful "guide" of sorts to everyday life with the Tarot. I appreciate that. But it does depress me that these days things have to be wrapped in cotton candy and given a fluffy air in order to make it. In Pollack's intro she says: "What the Tarot needs- right now- is Sasha Graham." and it occurred to me that in this superficial world she's right. What these subjects "need" is someone to dress them up and water them down to be easily digested. I want to knock that but in all reality I can't. The first book on the Craft that I read was 'Teen Witch'. It was my jumping off point and much as I hate to admit it I wouldn't be where I am now without it. I don't doubt that there will be those who only read this and paint themselves as adepts but for some of us these types of books can give us something deeper. To each their own. Of course I wouldn't ever recommend Silver Ravenwolf because I had so much UNlearning to do after reading her stuff but authors on the Wiccan side like Phyllis Curott and Ellen Dugan I would recommend with a grain of salt. The thing is you really have to read between the lines and search through them for little nuggets because, as I said, this is a business and they are in it to sell books. So much that is given pretty little Wiccany sparkles because that's what is really bringing in the dough these days. I first realized how much publishers change author's work when I was researching homeschooling curriculums for my kiddos. The Well-Trained Mind has a day set out that looks way too rigorous but it turns out she doesn't believe that a young child's day should look like that, that was all her publisher's doing. She believes a child should spend half as long in a much more relaxed environment day to day. Kills me that her work (and others) couldn't just be left alone.

 

I have read Fiona Horne's book Witch and I remember the part and chapter you are referring to. Fiona Horne and Phyllis Curott (in her book Witch Crafting there is a chapter entitled "Witchcraft Without Rules" Her website goes into it a bit here) are the two Wiccan authors that woke me up years back to Wicca being far too restrictive and rule oriented. Though I don't agree with some of what they have to say I still appreciate that much. I have read some other books by Fiona Horne and they are godawful. She has definitely become more "corporate". But they sell and *she* sells so I guess as this is a business we are talking about that's really the end goal.

 

 

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In Pollack's intro she says: "What the Tarot needs- right now- is Sasha Graham." and it occurred to me that in this superficial world she's right. What these subjects "need" is someone to dress them up and water them down to be easily digested. I want to knock that but in all reality I can't.

 

 

I don't understand what you're saying here at all.. I'm of the opinion that if someone "needs" this stuff dressed up and prepackaged to be interested, then not only do they not need the subject, the subject doesn't need them.

 

And BTW I'm not knocking the fact that Teen Witch got you interested and led you to where you are now, we all have our own path to follow.. I've never read any SRW books so I couldn't give an opinion on them anyway.

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I don't understand what you're saying here at all.. I'm of the opinion that if someone "needs" this stuff dressed up and prepackaged to be interested, then not only do they not need the subject, the subject doesn't need them.

I do "blame" the publishing companies for this but it still is the reality of the situation- people generally these days are more receptive to "easy" than anything else. For the most part when one goes into something they are going to be looking for something accessible. And the way this world works these days? Accessible and easy translate into fluffy. I do understand that there are people out there who don't go for this. I didn't once I had the ability to purchase my own materials (as for Teen Witch and I it was gifted to me (I was, after all, a teen). The first books I actually bought myself had more substance.) but not everyone in this world is like you or I. The thing is people will develop an interest in something but if they can only find thick volumes on it that they can't wrap their brain around they can end up feeling discouraged and less-than. "I can't ever do this" sort of thing. I can't stress enough that this is a product of our coddling society. Even so it simply is what it is. I can see these books that are being watered down and dressed up as being "gateway drugs" of sorts. Once the person who went into it thinking "I can't do this" reads something more their speed they are then able to go back to those thick volumes and get it. We do have to recognize that we all have our separate paths which are such in large part because we all have very individualized minds. We process things differently. What bothers me about the fluff is that it 1) gives out false information 2) preys on the novice and 3) pretty much makes being "dumbed down" standard.

 

As far as what you said above I don't think "interested" is the right word. If someone turns up their nose to it unless it is wearing sun glasses and red lipstick then obviously they are being shallow. I think "understand" is better. This is the world we live in. Packaging these things in that context is going to make it easier to understand for a lot of people. And then, hopefully, they can go from there. Of course not to say that is the end goal of these people. It could be but I am much more of a pessimist. Money money money. But that still doesn't mean these sorts of things don't have their place.

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Maybe this analogy will help clear up my muddy posts-

 

I suck at math. I am absolutely terrible at it. Worst of all was fractions. That is until I started my family and started cooking from scratch. Once I had to apply fractions it came to me. Now that we homeschool our own children I would like to use cooking as a means to teach math. But I have gotten some flack for this because it's not "official" enough. A lot in the homeschooling crowd are borderline obsessed with textbook learning. I totally agree that it is important but I do think that teaching math through cooking as a jumping off point could really help my kids. Why? Because it's accessible. It's fun and thus they are motivated to do it. It has yummy end results and thus they are motivated to do it. It is a project, something substancial, something they can actually do which motivates them to do it. I had always wanted to know more about math. I find it interesting for a lot of different reasons. Now that I actually have a grasp on it I am feeling much more confident in not only teaching my kids but learning more, myself.

 

That was how I saw what Rachel Pollack was saying about Sasha Graham.

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I understood what you meant, but it sounds as if you think everyone should 'learn' witchcraft, and that's the part that I don't get. Am I understanding you correctly?

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I understood what you meant, but it sounds as if you think everyone should 'learn' witchcraft, and that's the part that I don't get. Am I understanding you correctly?

No, I didn't mean that at all. I am not articulating myself very well but no, that's not what I was getting at.

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As someone who has actually read the book in question, perhaps I can offer an informed opinion. To begin, actually the author doesn't say he'll be offering evidence to support "God and Goddess worship" - instead he writes this in the preface:

"This book is a departure from the familiar theme of arguing for witchcraft as the survival of an ancient tradition" and then this "I will touch on themes that appear in modern witchcraft such as a goddess and god figure. In doing so I am only examining references past and present in a search for equilibrium. I am not trying to make a case for witchcraft as a pre-Gardnerian religion that survived into modern times."

 

In the intro the author is also not saying anything about providing evidence to support the Goddess and God theme. But he does talk about examining ancient literary works that mention witches involved with a goddess. He raises the question as to why such themes persist throughout the centuries (including within witchcraft trial transcripts). He doesn't attempt to answer the question but leaves the reader to make her or his own conclusions about what the data indicates.

 

It seems to me, having read the book, that it's a sincere attempt to rethink the history of witchcraft. The author states that the academic history of witchcraft is not an ethnographic study of a people known as witches. He goes on to say that it's actually an account by non-witches about what they believed about witches and witchcraft. So he then suggests that therefore no true written history of witchcraft actually exists.

 

But all that aside, the meat of the book is about working with plants and plant spirits. It is earthy and primal in this regard. The closest the author comes to mentioning "deities" is to refer to one entity called She of the White Round, and another called He of the Deep Wooded Places. But even here he talks about the spiritual-mindedness of the witch having evolved in the forest of our ancestors, as opposed to making a case for an official Goddess and God of witches. But nowhere in the book does the author claim to be presenting an ancient and intact tradition. In fact he's clear about not doing so, and he states that he's writing about ancient themes and old folkloric elements, but isn't claiming the survival of a tradition itself.

 

Oh, and another thing - this book is not by Llewellyn. It's a Weiser book.

 

 

I came across this book on Amazon this evening. It's only available for pre-order but it does have a preview.

 

Now if memory serves from the limited time I spent on the traditionalwitchcraft.net forum RG was a member there. I read some of his posts and interactions with interest. I can't tell you exactly what they said because I can't remember but I do remember thinking how odd I thought it was he would be a member there. And now this book...

http://www.amazon.co...pd_bxgy_b_img_b

 

In the intro (which is available in the preview) he talks a bit about "traditional witchcraft" and makes a distinction between what he is writing about there and the typical European type of traditional witchcraft. I have read only one book by RG, Italian Witchcraft, and that was way back in the day. I can't remember liking him much, though. I gave it away a few months later. In this new book of his it seems he is back on the God and Goddess thing. In the intro he talks some about the criticism the Neo-Pagan movement gets for "inventing" the God and Goddess and goes on to say he will be providing evidence that God and Goddess worship is ancient and not just a Neo-Pagan invention. And on and on and on.

 

Anywho. what do you all think of this? Like I said Amazon has a preview if you want to poke around in it. I'm not preordering or considering buying it but I do think it's interesting that this book is coming out practically on the heels of Silver Ravenwolf's Hedge Witch. It seems the "fluffy" Wiccan trend is going in this "old world" direction.

 

 

 

As a total side note- all of these books have such fantastic cover art (this book as well). I have to give them that much, at least.

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As someone who has actually read the book in question, perhaps I can offer an informed opinion. To begin, actually the author doesn't say he'll be offering evidence to support "God and Goddess worship" - instead he writes this in the preface:

"This book is a departure from the familiar theme of arguing for witchcraft as the survival of an ancient tradition" and then this "I will touch on themes that appear in modern witchcraft such as a goddess and god figure. In doing so I am only examining references past and present in a search for equilibrium. I am not trying to make a case for witchcraft as a pre-Gardnerian religion that survived into modern times."

 

In the intro the author is also not saying anything about providing evidence to support the Goddess and God theme. But he does talk about examining ancient literary works that mention witches involved with a goddess. He raises the question as to why such themes persist throughout the centuries (including within witchcraft trial transcripts). He doesn't attempt to answer the question but leaves the reader to make her or his own conclusions about what the data indicates.

 

It seems to me, having read the book, that it's a sincere attempt to rethink the history of witchcraft. The author states that the academic history of witchcraft is not an ethnographic study of a people known as witches. He goes on to say that it's actually an account by non-witches about what they believed about witches and witchcraft. So he then suggests that therefore no true written history of witchcraft actually exists.

 

But all that aside, the meat of the book is about working with plants and plant spirits. It is earthy and primal in this regard. The closest the author comes to mentioning "deities" is to refer to one entity called She of the White Round, and another called He of the Deep Wooded Places. But even here he talks about the spiritual-mindedness of the witch having evolved in the forest of our ancestors, as opposed to making a case for an official Goddess and God of witches. But nowhere in the book does the author claim to be presenting an ancient and intact tradition. In fact he's clear about not doing so, and he states that he's writing about ancient themes and old folkloric elements, but isn't claiming the survival of a tradition itself.

 

Oh, and another thing - this book is not by Llewellyn. It's a Weiser book.

 

 

Thankyou for this :) I look forward to reading the book.

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Thanks for your review, ST.

 

No, from what I have read RG doesn't outright say he will be offering evidence but he does say this:

In various chapters I explore and reveal elements of what is often regarded as entirely modern ideas related to witchcraft. I refer in particular to the notion of a goddess and god of the witches. My purpose in doing so is twofold. First, I offer old literary and historical reference to a goddess of the witches, and I do so simply to demonstrate that the notion itself is ancient. The basic concept is not a Neo-Pagan invention. For the record, my intent is not to argue that ancient witches worshipped a goddess. My presentation of the references is meant to raise the questions that may call for a reexamination of our current views (pro and con).

 

(I had to type this up so please forgive any mistakes)

It's in the introduction, page xxi. http://bit.ly/nUY6c2

 

I was looking at too many books yesterday and made the mistake of confusing this one with another. It is already available contrary to what I said in my OP about pre-ordering. rolleyes.gif

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Interesting this was posted here.....

 

I just found "Old World Witchcraft" on amazon the other day and was wondering about it..was thinking about buying it <thanks for the review!>

 

Raven Grimassi, as an author, is someone I know little about, but I did happen to pick up a book of his from a national book chain that just closed it's doors over the weekend. Funny, I found it in a pile of "self-help" books..lol..must have been misplaced because all of the other new age books were long gone. At 80% off, I figured, "why not?"

 

The one I purchased was "The Cauldron of Memory" ~Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge & Wisdom. The system he created and speaks about in this book does not seem to be appealing to me as a whole, so far, but, there are definitely aspects and bits of information I am finding to be valuable for me..and has been a bit of a springboard for other thoughts that are my own. So for those reasons, I am glad I purchased it...

 

I may buy "Old World Witchcraft" as well...just to see what I can find within it..

 

Regards,

 

~Ruby

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I'll have to take a look at it.

 

I find most books are like a smorg...take what you want from the book and leave the rest.

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The one I purchased was "The Cauldron of Memory" ~Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge & Wisdom. The system he created and speaks about in this book does not seem to be appealing to me as a whole, so far, but, there are definitely aspects and bits of information I am finding to be valuable for me..and has been a bit of a springboard for other thoughts that are my own. So for those reasons, I am glad I purchased it...

 

~Ruby

 

I suppose that if the worse we can say about a book is that it was a springboard for further thoughts, then we haven't really said anything bad at all. :grin_witch:

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... The author states that the academic history of witchcraft is not an ethnographic study of a people known as witches. He goes on to say that it's actually an account by non-witches about what they believed about witches and witchcraft. So he then suggests that therefore no true written history of witchcraft actually exists...

 

 

I would definitely agree with that.

 

M

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I suppose that if the worse we can say about a book is that it was a springboard for further thoughts, then we haven't really said anything bad at all. :grin_witch:

 

 

So True!

 

Have a good night, Shadow Touch!

 

 

~Ruby

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