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thevioletsunflower

'Old World Witchcraft' by Raven Grimassi

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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.

 

I have not read this book in particular but I have his Italian Witchcraft and I've read a number of his articles. I was on an email list with him a few years back. I have read the other books I mentioned though. Hole's book has an excellent chapter on familiars.

 

I've had the same thing happen. I've bought books because the reviews were wonderful only to find out the book was shoddy. Makes you wonder about the perspective of the people writing the reviews.

 

I'm not saying don't ever read the book. I think there is knowledge to be gleaned from any book. For me, my book budget is limited. With all the other books out there that you know are good reads, I would look to purchase one of those before this one. After reading Shadow Touch's review, it does not sound like Old World Witchcraft to me.

 

Brea

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I'm not saying don't ever read the book. I think there is knowledge to be gleaned from any book. For me, my book budget is limited. With all the other books out there that you know are good reads, I would look to purchase one of those before this one. After reading Shadow Touch's review, it does not sound like Old World Witchcraft to me.

 

I agree with this. To each their own, of course, and hey I may read this someday but it's not anywhere near the top of my list. That said I'm sure if and when I do read it I will find something that I find useful. Books are wonderful like that!

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I have not read this book in particular but I have his Italian Witchcraft and I've read a number of his articles. I was on an email list with him a few years back. I have read the other books I mentioned though. Hole's book has an excellent chapter on familiars.

 

I've had the same thing happen. I've bought books because the reviews were wonderful only to find out the book was shoddy. Makes you wonder about the perspective of the people writing the reviews.

 

I'm not saying don't ever read the book. I think there is knowledge to be gleaned from any book. For me, my book budget is limited. With all the other books out there that you know are good reads, I would look to purchase one of those before this one. After reading Shadow Touch's review, it does not sound like Old World Witchcraft to me.

 

Brea

 

The idea that Grimassi is presenting isn't about regional Witchcraft, it's about a mindset reflective of ancestral views rooted in pre-Christian Europe. I think that's why he makes it clear in the book that he's not writing about "Traditional Witchcraft" but is talking about something related in some key ways. His use and idea of the term "Old World Witchcraft" is probably something that differs from what that evokes in your mind. So you may be trying to compare apples to oranges here. But since you've not read the book then we can't really get anywhere in terms of discussing it with informed opinions of the material.

 

Personally, I found the material in this book quite enriching, and I believe it can add much to anyone's practice of old forms of Witchcraft. But Wiccans would find the book quite troublesome. I realize that some people keep this author frozen in time and don't allow for the years of experience that followed his book on Italian Witchcraft, which is now about 16 years old now. That's really unfortunate.

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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...

 

And this book would sell why? Haven't we all heard enough of this crap? "what others think of witches?"

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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...

 

And this book would sell why? Haven't we all heard enough of this crap? "what others think of witches?"

 

I don't think the thread is about how the book will sell or not, but perhaps I'm mistaken. In any case, it seems to me that the value of the book is in what it presents in terms of the Witchcraft practices it offers, and the depiction of non-stereotypical Witchcraft in a refreshing way. I think it's the practical material that makes the work of value. Or is that irrelevant to the discussion of the book here?

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Shadow Touch, could you explain how this book has helped you in your practice and life? You are so passionate in it's defense it obviously means a lot to you. I know you have already given a review but could you go a bit deeper into what exactly has been so helpful for you about it? I am really intrigued now.

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I don't think the thread is about how the book will sell or not, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

 

This thread was meant to be about the book and I do think Brigid's statement has merit. I don't think she was talking about the literal book sells but more like "been there, done that, what makes this book so special?" Good question. What are your thoughts, ST?

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Shadow Touch, could you explain how this book has helped you in your practice and life? You are so passionate in it's defense it obviously means a lot to you. I know you have already given a review but could you go a bit deeper into what exactly has been so helpful for you about it? I am really intrigued now.

 

I'm only "defending" the book because negative comments are being made by people who haven't read it. That's a pet peeve of mine, and so I apologize because that's where the "passion" is coming from. But I'm happy to share what I feel is valuable material. What excites me is the presentation of working with plants and their spirits. Grimassi shows methods of working with the mortar & pestle as the primary tool. He talks about merging with the "organic memory of the earth" and about the powers of night. I had the good fortune to receive an advance copy of the material and have been working with the techniques for several months.

 

The methods in the book have taken me deeper into experiencing the "enchanted world view" that I believe our ancestors understood and touched in real ways that we've collectively lost as modern people. I've had very real contact with the entities introduced in the book, some of who are part of the Ways I was previously taught. Grimassi presents material that is absent in other works, and I find that refreshing and encouraging. His treatment of working at the crossroads, and of the entities one can connect with there is exceptional. He also talks about a "ghost stone" and methods of working with the dead and quelling a negative haunting.

 

For me the book is confirming of my own training, and it's empowering in as much as it goes beyond what's readily available elsewhere. So yeah, the book excites me.

 

I can understand that Grimassi's statement about the non-history of Witchcraft is a yawner for some people, but I feel he makes the case in important ways for others that don't yet get it, and I think in ways that may not be so common for those who do. But the book is about so much more than this debate.

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I'm only "defending" the book because negative comments are being made by people who haven't read it. That's a pet peeve of mine, and so I apologize because that's where the "passion" is coming from.

 

To be fair no one has made any gross generalizations about the book. I have quoted bits available in preview and commented on those. That's not the same as proclaiming to know what is written in the book in it's entirety and then panning it. People can discuss a work without having read it (especially if they are familiar with the author), not with any great authority but a small discussion is still possible and that is what we have had here. Of course not having an interest in a book doesn't equate to panning it, either. Some people aren't going to be interested. We are all on different paths, we all have different tastes. It is what it is.

 

 

I had the good fortune to receive an advance copy of the material and have been working with the techniques for several months.

 

The methods in the book have taken me deeper into experiencing the "enchanted world view" that I believe our ancestors understood and touched in real ways that we've collectively lost as modern people. I've had very real contact with the entities introduced in the book, some of who are part of the Ways I was previously taught. Grimassi presents material that is absent in other works, and I find that refreshing and encouraging. His treatment of working at the crossroads, and of the entities one can connect with there is exceptional. He also talks about a "ghost stone" and methods of working with the dead and quelling a negative haunting.

 

For me the book is confirming of my own training, and it's empowering in as much as it goes beyond what's readily available elsewhere. So yeah, the book excites me.

 

 

Is there any way you could go into a bit more detail about these techniques and how they have helped you? Also the entities you speak of. You know, short of plagiarizing. lol I think I get the gist of what you are saying but I'd love more details so I can be sure.

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The idea that Grimassi is presenting isn't about regional Witchcraft, it's about a mindset reflective of ancestral views rooted in pre-Christian Europe. I think that's why he makes it clear in the book that he's not writing about "Traditional Witchcraft" but is talking about something related in some key ways. His use and idea of the term "Old World Witchcraft" is probably something that differs from what that evokes in your mind. So you may be trying to compare apples to oranges here. But since you've not read the book then we can't really get anywhere in terms of discussing it with informed opinions of the material.

 

Personally, I found the material in this book quite enriching, and I believe it can add much to anyone's practice of old forms of Witchcraft. But Wiccans would find the book quite troublesome. I realize that some people keep this author frozen in time and don't allow for the years of experience that followed his book on Italian Witchcraft, which is now about 16 years old now. That's really unfortunate.

 

I understand what you are saying about the book. Your review was very good, I thought. Maybe my idea of old world witchcraft Is different than his. I just don't want to read about it from a non witches perspective :). I'm sure the book is very good if that is what you're looking for. I, personally, prefer the older books. They seem to me to be less watered down. Less restricted maybe? Not only that but most are fairly cheap :).

 

These are just my opinions and I apologize if I've offended anyone.

 

Brea

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I understand what you are saying about the book. Your review was very good, I thought. Maybe my idea of old world witchcraft Is different than his. I just don't want to read about it from a non witches perspective :). I'm sure the book is very good if that is what you're looking for. I, personally, prefer the older books. They seem to me to be less watered down. Less restricted maybe? Not only that but most are fairly cheap :).

 

These are just my opinions and I apologize if I've offended anyone.

 

Brea

 

I think you may have misunderstood some of my comments. The book is not that of a non-Witch, the author has long been a practitioner (some forty plus years). The reference to the view of non-Witches is about how the author demonstrates that the official view (meaning the academic view) is compiled from data received from non-Witches (and is therefore not a history of Witches). The author then goes on to uncover a more realistic view of the Witch. But the book is not about history, it only includes a chapter on it. Most of the book is about folkloric elements of Witchcraft from old sources (which you would probably enjoy) and about practical techniques for working with the traditional plants of Witchcraft (as well as their spirits).

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I, personally, prefer the older books. They seem to me to be less watered down. Less restricted maybe? Not only that but most are fairly cheap :).

 

Brea

 

I'm curious. Which older books are you referring to Brea?

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I think you may have misunderstood some of my comments. The book is not that of a non-Witch, the author has long been a practitioner (some forty plus years).

 

Raven Grimassi is Wiccan and, therefore, not an "old world witch". I don't want to speak for Brea but it seems a bit counter what Grimassi was saying about needing a history by witches for witches. He ain't that type of witch. It'd be like me saying there is no history of the Dianic tradition written "from the inside" and then writing one while proclaiming it's from the inside. I'm not Dianic. Sure, I studied it for a bit, but Dianic that doesn't make me.

 

I'm not saying RG doesn't have something to offer it just seems that he thinks Old World Witchcraft and Wicca are close to the same, at least if he thinks his writing of a small history of it constitutes being from within it. The fear is then this book would be Old World with a Wiccan bent. Of course there is still plenty of benefit from the book, I'm sure. Plenty of Old World Craft to be had.

 

Although I could be mistaken. I have read some of his books, read about him, and everything says "Wiccan". But things can change.

 

If there is only one chapter on the history I would hardly say that this book is about that. Thanks for clarifying that point, ST. I was thinking this was history mixed with lore.

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Is there any way you could go into a bit more detail about these techniques and how they have helped you? Also the entities you speak of. You know, short of plagiarizing. lol I think I get the gist of what you are saying but I'd love more details so I can be sure.

 

Well, I risk being redundant, but I'll try to answer in more detail. There's a technique for using the mortar & pestle as a focal point, and a means of interfacing with genius of the Plant World. I've found this to leave a very spiritual feeling, and my garden is still blossoming and showing new leaves even as Fall is here now!

 

Working with the organic memory of the earth, and the techniques through which this is passed in dreams, has been quite enriching. And I have started a Journal in which I write about the revelations that I awake with from the Dream World. I find that I am coming to a deeper and expanded understanding of the ancestral spirit (what the author calls the living river of blood that flows through time).

 

I find that the primal sense of "deity" in the book is liberating to me as the forms fall away to reveal the core light without personification. The author depicts the forest as sentient, and he calls that consciousness "He of the Deep Wooded Places" - and indeed I have come to realize this through the book. The author refers to the Moon's light as the presence of "She of the White Round" - a sentient divine presence generated from the Otherworld. Provided in the book are mental images and concepts that seem to work on their own just through reading. Working with this is so tangible and the experience is profound. I find myself free of religion and more attuned to spirituality.

 

The magical techniques in the book are very earthy and primal. I like that because it feels more like the ways our ancestors understood and practiced magic (as opposed to modern tools and formal ceremonial work). Working with this I have come to feel the magic within and without, rather than having to call upon it, summon, or whatever.

 

So, how did I do this time? ;)

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Raven Grimassi is Wiccan and, therefore, not an "old world witch". I don't want to speak for Brea but it seems a bit counter what Grimassi was saying about needing a history by witches for witches. He ain't that type of witch. It'd be like me saying there is no history of the Dianic tradition written "from the inside" and then writing one while proclaiming it's from the inside. I'm not Dianic. Sure, I studied it for a bit, but Dianic that doesn't make me.

 

Actually, no, Grimassi is a Witch who also practiced Wicca and wrote books on the topic (along with Witchcraft writings). I attended a talk he gave recently at a Pagan Pride event, and he is definitely an Old World Witch. He no longer practices Wicca and has fully returned strictly to his early Witchcraft roots. Among the solid evidence for that is his new book.

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Actually, no, Grimassi is a Witch who also practiced Wicca and wrote books on the topic (along with Witchcraft writings). I attended a talk he gave recently at a Pagan Pride event, and he is definitely an Old World Witch. He no longer practices Wicca and has fully returned strictly to his early Witchcraft roots. Among the solid evidence for that is his new book.

 

Ah, thanks again, ST. So a witch that practiced Wicca not the other way around...

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I think you may have misunderstood some of my comments. The book is not that of a non-Witch, the author has long been a practitioner (some forty plus years). The reference to the view of non-Witches is about how the author demonstrates that the official view (meaning the academic view) is compiled from data received from non-Witches (and is therefore not a history of Witches). The author then goes on to uncover a more realistic view of the Witch. But the book is not about history, it only includes a chapter on it. Most of the book is about folkloric elements of Witchcraft from old sources (which you would probably enjoy) and about practical techniques for working with the traditional plants of Witchcraft (as well as their spirits).

 

 

Hi ST,

 

Yes it is true that RG has been a practitioner for many years, what you left out is that he is a long practitioner of Wicca. He is one that I consider to be a serious Wiccan, dedicated to his path, and that I can and do respect. That being said.

As this is a Traditional Witchcraft board, many do not care to read books on or written by Wiccan authors.

Perhaps this is the reason for some negativity regarding the book. JMO.

 

My last post seemed to upset you, it was not directed at you it was directed to the fact that when I read that information is given about witches by NON witches, be them academic or otherwise I get turned off.

 

I'm sure the book has some useful information as one can always find something useful in any book. (has been said before I know)

 

 

 

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Ah, thanks again, ST. So a witch that practiced Wicca not the other way around...

 

Yes, that's correct. At Pagan Pride Day he talked about his early Witchcraft days and the loneliness of being isolated back in the 1960s when he was a teen. He found Wiccans in the summer of 1969 and got involved (at first just for the company). He found elements of Wicca to be in accord with his "enchanted world view" and he settled in for many years. But all along, what he taught his initiates was the old forms of Witchcraft. He liked writing about Wiccan things, and felt he was doing some good with it all.

 

But people have been pressing him for the "real deal" for quite some time, and so now he is devoting his remaining years to writing about the Old Ways. One of the things that came up at his talk was the Wiccan Rede (brought up by someone in attendance). He replied that Old Ways witches don't have a Rede, and that they have only one law. He went on the say that the law is "we don't harm the innocent, but then we define what an innocent is" - and then he said that an innocent is someone who does not provoke the Witch. Provoke the Witch and you lose the protection of being an innocent because you no longer are.

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Yes, that's correct. At Pagan Pride Day he talked about his early Witchcraft days and the loneliness of being isolated back in the 1960s when he was a teen. He found Wiccans in the summer of 1969 and got involved (at first just for the company). He found elements of Wicca to be in accord with his "enchanted world view" and he settled in for many years. But all along, what he taught his initiates was the old forms of Witchcraft. He liked writing about Wiccan things, and felt he was doing some good with it all.

 

But people have been pressing him for the "real deal" for quite some time, and so now he is devoting his remaining years to writing about the Old Ways. One of the things that came up at his talk was the Wiccan Rede (brought up by someone in attendance). He replied that Old Ways witches don't have a Rede, and that they have only one law. He went on the say that the law is "we don't harm the innocent, but then we define what an innocent is" - and then he said that an innocent is someone who does not provoke the Witch. Provoke the Witch and you lose the protection of being an innocent because you no longer are.

 

Well now, THIS is very interesting indeed!! I had NO idea that he left Wicca, seems quite surprising after all those years!

Perhaps this is why this latest book was not published by Llewellyn??

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Hi ST,

 

Yes it is true that RG has been a practitioner for many years, what you left out is that he is a long practitioner of Wicca. He is one that I consider to be a serious Wiccan, dedicated to his path, and that I can and do respect. That being said.

As this is a Traditional Witchcraft board, many do not care to read books on or written by Wiccan authors.

Perhaps this is the reason for some negativity regarding the book. JMO.

 

 

I believe that people can be passionate about several things to which they devote their time, but not be defined by any one thing in particular. Yes, Grimassi did practice Wicca, but also Witchcraft (the latter being the earliest experience). There was a time when Grimassi would agree with you that he was Wiccan, but he would not agree that this negated his also being a Witch. True, he wrote more about Wicca than Witchcraft, but that's an indication of what he felt would be best received. He's clear on this, and he's clear that his heart has always been with Witchcraft, but he was freer to write about Wicca. Two loves - one man.

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I believe that people can be passionate about several things to which they devote their time, but not be defined by any one thing in particular. Yes, Grimassi did practice Wicca, but also Witchcraft (the latter being the earliest experience). There was a time when Grimassi would agree with you that he was Wiccan, but he would not agree that this negated his also being a Witch. True, he wrote more about Wicca than Witchcraft, but that's an indication of what he felt would be best received. He's clear on this, and he's clear that his heart has always been with Witchcraft, but he was freer to write about Wicca. Two loves - one man.

 

Well, I have to take back some of what I have said here because I went to Amazon and read parts of this book. I got no Wiccan vibe and he touched on something that I have been thinking about for quite a while, was actually going to start a thread on it.

 

So, in reading just a few snippets on Amazon, the book DOES seem promising and I believe I will be getting myself a copy. eye.gif

 

 

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Well, I have to take back some of what I have said here because I went to Amazon and read parts of this book. I got no Wiccan vibe and he touched on something that I have been thinking about for quite a while, was actually going to start a thread on it.

 

So, in reading just a few snippets on Amazon, the book DOES seem promising and I believe I will be getting myself a copy. eye.gif

 

 

 

Yeah, I think that this author has for far too long been misjudged and misrepresented on various forums. Nice to see that on this forum you aren't the kind of people who don't let facts get in the way of their opinions. :beerchug:

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well, I went ahead and ordered one...looks like it will be in stock Monday and I should get it by the end of next week, I guess.

 

 

 

and...I have got to stop ordering books...my little library has grown exponentially since joining these forums... LOL!

 

 

~Ruby

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