by Raven Grimassi
Llewellyn 2001 $12.95 US
Review by Daven
I want to be clear, I know Raven from other writings and I like him a lot. This book has some good information in it. It also has a lot of old stereotypes in it that are better left behind. I really don’t understand how it can still be said with any modicum of seriousness that modern Witchcraft is centuries old.
I had to read through the book in stages. It is a weighty book, and shouldn’t be finished in one sitting. There is a lot of information here. Please note, I did not say that there was a lot of NEW information here. It is the same information that can be found in many other places, explained more concisely, with more detail, and with a different spin on it. But the same set of correspondences, the same herbal information, the same use of the pentagram and so on. It’s Magick 101 for dummies.
Raven does an exceptional job of gathering the scattered grains of this information into one place, and manages to put it all together so that one can see the wheat sheave again. This is more complete and focused than many other similar works I have seen recently, and it should probably be bought simply because it does gather so much together and offers a different view of the material.
I would suggest that Raven stop giving history lessons however. In the appendix there is a history of Paganism, in which, once again, we are subjected to the thoroughly discredited idea that Witchcraft is millennia old, descended from the Neolithic man, and that the Druids worshiped trees. As a Druid I find this piece of information very startling. I thought I worshiped the Gods, not the trees.
I can’t think of much else to say about the book. I don’t think it’s useless, but I also don’t think it is a needed work. It is only one of a series of references of Magick that tries to be everything with little success. It’s not even everything that a Wiccan needs to know, because of the glaring inaccuracies.
I’m giving it 3 stars out of 5. I will advise it be added to your library only if you have the money to dispose of and you want a different perspective on what is already known. Other than that, it can probably remain on the shelf. Instead, I would suggest that you buy his book on Italian Witchcraft, since that is his area of expertise.