Author: Raven Grimassi
Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Publication date: 2004
List: US$14.95, C$19.96
Price & More Info: Click Here
Whatever your feelings about Raven Grimassi's writing on Italian Witchcraft,
there is no doubt that he is a prolific author on the subjects of Witchcraft
and Wicca in general. He has written numerous books and has been involved
in the public aspects of the Craft for many years.
Before I had even started to read this book I noticed an editing glitch.
The title on the cover does not match the copyright notice and inner title
(Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition on the cover vs. Witchcraft and the
Mystery Tradition on the inside). Obviously, this is a problem with the
publisher and is not Raven's fault.
This book is designed for multiple readings. It is written on many levels
and every time you read, you will find something new and different. Raven
appears to subscribe to the philosophy expressed years ago by the Pagan
magazine Earth Religion News: "Guard the Mysteries - Reveal Them Daily."
He believes that a person will learn what they are ready for. If someone
isn't ready for certain information, they won't recognize it.
Throughout the book the author repeats themes, although in each case it is
rephrased. In this he follows the dictum of "Tell them what you are going
to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you've told them." This
type of repetition is amongst the most durable methods of teaching, since it
insures that important information is conveyed and retained.
This book is, most definitely, not a "how-to" book. It explores meanings,
symbolism, and background of thoughts, but never mentions the mechanics of
the worship. You won't find invocations, directions for casting circles or
making amulets, or correspondence charts here. It is a book which is valuab
le at every level of experience. And will become more valuable with each
reading. The novice will benefit from the overview it provides, while the
more experienced reader will find connections they may have missed. Pick it
up for another reading after a year or so, and you are liable to find
yourself asking "How did I miss that the last time I read this book?"
I take exception with some of Raven's positions. For instance, he says (in
the Preface): "There are many solitary witches who may not have the means
of finding an experienced teacher or of being initiated." While I can
accept the latter part of that statement (they may not have the means of
being initiated), with the explosion of Craft teachers and resources on the
Internet and in big cities, I find it hard to believe that one can't find a
teacher. I did it over 30 years ago without access to the Internet or big
cities. It may not be easy to find a teacher, but the search can be a
learning experience in itself.
The final chapter serves as a recap of all that has gone before, in broad
outline. It helps to "set" the information and to make it more permanently
a part of your memories. However, as I said earlier, this is a book
designed to be read more than once. Don't just read it and stick it on a
shelf. You will find plenty of stimuli contained here.
Raven Grimassi has produced a book which moves well beyond the "Wicca 101"
books which are so common today. Whether you are a Seeker just starting
your search, or an Initiate with decades of experience, you will find
valuable thoughts and insights between these covers. Do yourself a favor -
Buy (and read!) this book.
Reviewed by Mike Gleason