In Memoriam: Raven Grimassi

In Memoriam: Raven Grimassi March 11, 2019

“With great sadness I must announce that Raven Grimassi passed peacefully from this world on March 10th, 2019, and began his journey to the ancestors. After a long struggle with pancreatic cancer and the complications from its treatment, he stopped all treatment in December and chose to spend his last days at home, on his work, and visiting with family and friends.

Service will be at Hafey Funeral Service in Springfield, MA, where flowers of white and red roses can be sent or, in lieu of flowers, a donation in Raven’s name can be made to the Temple of Witchcraft at templeofwitchcraft.org. Calling hours will be on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by a memorial service at 7:00 pm to celebrate Raven’s life and legacy.

Blessed be,
Stephanie Taylor Grimassi

My heart is a bit heavier than normal today. With the passing of Raven Grimassi, we have lost another great witchcraft elder. Raven Grimassi is within the five most influential witches on my own path, and I know he was for many people as well. There’s a profound depth to Grimassi that had to be experienced in person. He was a man very dedicated to the deeper mysteries of witchcraft, the earth, and the spirits. He spoke with a sense of wisdom, stillness, and clarity that can only come from decades of such deep connection.

Coming from a family line of hereditary Italian witches (or “Stregas”), Raven began writing Witchcraft material for the public in the late ’70s for various magazine publications such as The Shadow’s Edge, Moon Shadows, and Raven’s Call. In the early 80’s he self-published The Book of the Holy Strega and The Book of Ways (a two-volume set). In the 90’s he published two books through Moon Dragon publications entitled, The Teachings of the Holy Strega, and Whispers; Teachings of the Old Religion of Italy. In the mid 90’s he published Ways of the Strega through Llewellyn, marking one of the first and few books at that time to be publicly available on Witchcraft that wasn’t Wiccan or Celtic-centric.

Raven went on to publish over twenty books on the topic of Witchcraft and Wicca, many of which were award-winning, along with several DVDs. He was the co-creator of three oracle decks: “Well Worn Path Oracle kit” (2005), “The Hidden Path Oracle Kit” (2007)”, and “Oracle of the Ancient Celts – The Dalriada” (2019).

Raven was an initiate of several Witchcraft traditions including Strega, Brittic, Pictish Gaelic, and Celtic Traditionalist. He was also a recognized expert on Italian Witchcraft and the foremost authority on the works of Charles Godfrey Leland in this particular field. He was the co-founder of Ash, Birch & Willow Tradition of Witchcraft and the Aridian Tradition of Witchcraft. Two of his former students in the Aridian Tradition of Witchcraft later became prominent authors of witchcraft and occultism themselves; Scott Cunningham and Donald Michael Kraig.

Despite all of his achievements in his life, what always struck me about Raven was his humility, his groundedness, and his sense of humor and wit. One of my favorite memories was at Templefest, an annual festival put on by the Temple of Witchcraft where he and his wife Stephanie were both presenters. Stephanie was presenting and wearing a corset. As she was speaking into a microphone, it suddenly slipped due to the microphone stand and fell into her bosom. Without missing a beat, Raven quipped, “It looks like the microphone is Italian too,” to which the whole audience erupted in laughter.

One of the most beautiful things about Raven Grimassi as a much loved and respected teacher and author was the depth that he brought forward to share with the pagan and witchcraft communities, which always came through his writings, particularly within the last decade. Often presenting research on ancient concepts, myths, lore and practices he also breathed new life into them with his wisdom, experience and innovation.

I know his work has definitely influenced my own, Devin Hunter’s, and thus also the Sacred Fires Tradition of Witchcraft. Four of his books were used heavily as references in my first upcoming book and his ideas about what happens after death influenced a fair chunk of perspectives within my book. While he may not be physically here, his work lives on through his students and his tradition, as well as those whom he has influenced. His massive contributions to the worlds of Witchcraft and Paganism will not be easily forgotten.

While I wasn’t a close friend of Raven’s or a formal student of any kind, my interactions were always completely positive and I always respected him as an elder and considered him a good man with a good heart, which is more important than anything else. It was always a delight to run into him and Stephanie and have a moment to briefly chat. In person and online, Raven always made time for me whenever I had questions about his work or witchcraft in general. My heart goes out to Stephanie and the rest of his family, as well as his close friends, and initiates.

 

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Templefest 2015 with Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor

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Raven Grimassi’s Bibliography:

1981: The Book of the Holy Strega

1981: The Book of Ways Volume I and II

1994: Ways of the Strega

1995: Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe in 1995

1998: Wiccan Magick

1999: Hereditary Witchcraft: Secrets of the Old Religion

2000: The Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft

2001: Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore and Celebration

2002: The Wiccan Mysteries

2002: The Witches’ Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation

2003: Spirit of the Witch

2003: The Witch’s Familiar: Spiritual Partnership for Successful Magic

2004: Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition

2005: Well Worn Path: Divination Kit (with Stephanie Taylor)

2007: Hidden Path: Divination Kit (with Stephanie Taylor)

2008: Crafting Wiccan Traditions

2009: The Cauldron of Memory: Retrieving Ancestral Knowledge & Wisdom

2011: Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways for Modern Days

2012: The Cimaruta and Other Magical Charms From Old Italy

2013: Horns Of Honor: Regaining the Spirit of the Pagan Horned God

2014: Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch

2016: Communing with the Ancestors

2019: Oracle of the Ancient Celts – The Dalriada (with Stephanie Taylor)

 


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