Review: Old World Witchcraft

Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways For Modern Days by Raven Grimassi is a great introduction to the relationship between the witch and the plant world. The book is a fascinating read and Grimassi’s first public introduction to his Ash, Birch, and Willow tradition of witchcraft, and is somewhat of a prequel to his book Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch.

Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License
Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License

Grimassi provides a re-examination of the folkloric witch and this book presents the first major shift in Raven Grimassi’s writing that marked him becoming one of my favorite authors, shifting from extremely knowledgeable to extremely wise. He writes in the introduction to the book that, “My own views about the subject of witchcraft have changed somewhat over time, and I am not embarrassed to admit it. Some people seem to keep an author frozen in time and do not allow for growth and maturity of vision over the years. That is an unfortunate fact, but I am optimistic that the majority of people welcome new insights…”

He touches upon the idea of divinity that aligns a bit more with my own view, that the witch’s divinities differ a bit from the average pagan’s. “My personal belief is that ancient witches connected more with the idea of “conscious forces” than that of refined deity concepts,” Raven suggests that the witch, however, has always been connected historically with plants, poisons, and cures. It is here that he shares his insight on plant spirits, working with them both the psychic level or (perhaps shamanic might be a more apt word) as well as physically. The book is full of sigils, rituals, instructions and deep wisdom.

Perhaps the most brilliant aspect of this book and his works from this point forward is that it is accessible and approachable by both the Wiccan witch as well as the Trad. Craft Witch. Both “flavors” of witches will gain valuable insight from this book and it’s written in Grimassi’s fantastic writing style that is highly accessible without losing any of its intelligence or wisdom.

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