Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey is a book where the pages all but turn themselves on their own. I read it in one sitting, only to immediately re-read it. The book is poetic, inspiring, thought-provoking, and challenging. I truly believe that this is a book that will stand the test of time and represents the emerging heart of the spirit of the age. Grey writes, “Apocalyptic Witchcraft is written in the twilight of an age. It is a book which dares to prophesy. It is a new vision of an old way, but does no violence to tradition, treading as it does the paths of ancestry. This is an infusion of energy and movement. It is a witchcraft for those who know that the wheel of the year has broken from the spokes of the seasons.”
The book is confrontational, and rightly so, stating that we’ve broken the covenant with nature and criticizes the direction that witchcraft has taken. The book warns that we are at war, not for our way of life but for life itself. The premise is that an apocalyptic age demands an apocalyptic witchcraft. He criticizes that the Goddess of Witchcraft in all her wildness and fierceness has been pushed aside by modern witches who rather settle “instead for the Virgin Mary clad in pentagram and coddled in softest harm-none velvet.” Rejecting the sanitization of modern witchcraft, Grey takes the reader on a journey of mythic images where one encounters John the Revelator of Patmos, the witch of historic folklore, frenzies, art, poison, the Devil, the Dark Goddess, the Witches’ Sabbath, healing, and the Wild Hunt as it implores the reader to learn to dream again. It inspires you to find the power within that dream, a power that doesn’t fear to heal or curse, but to do what is necessary. “We need neither the permission of god, nor man for what we do.”
At times it feels like Grey is going off on tangents about unrelated subjects and topics, but eventually it all ties together. It constantly feels that his left brain is trying to over-intellectualize things, while his ecstatic and artistic right brain is trying to express itself. This division makes it feel like these two sides of his mind are at war against each other, trying to find some balance – but then again, that’s very thematically appropriate for the book’s thesis. However, this damages the book’s flow and readability, though fortunately, it’s such great content that you’ll keep reading it, trudging through the parts that feel a bit like unnecessary mental masturbation.
Apocalyptic Witchcraft gets into tin-foil hat areas at moments, which is unneeded, and in my opinion detracts from the seriousness of the book, regardless of whether it’s true or not. These moments are very few, but are the parts I feel will hold it back as a book of historical importance among the writings of the most prolific occultists and witches of history. Yes, the book is that good. I consider it one of my “top-shelf” witchcraft books. The book will challenge many firmly held ideas for witches, ideas that must be challenged if we are to move forward. It is a book that does “not ask for belief, adherence or followers… it simply asks that you listen.” I feel this is a book that all witches need to read. This isn’t your grandmother’s witchcraft, it’s the witchcraft of our ancestors – a witchcraft re-emerging phoenix-like from the glowing coals of the world’s destruction around us.