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Old World Witchcraft: Ancient Ways for Modern Days + Hereditary Witchcraft: Secrets of the Old Religion + Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578635055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578635054
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Finally, a clear, frank, and respectful look at the real roots of witchcraft. Grimassi doesn't need to invent a history to eloquently celebrate the compelling foundation of the Craft." -Lon Milo DuQuette,

author of My Life with the Spirits, and Enochian Vision Magick

"Grimassi (Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft) has written over a dozen books on neo¬paganism and witchcraft and is a self-styled expert on non-Celtic European witchcraft. In this title, he refutes current concepts of what witchcraft is and has been, dismissing most scholarly work as dependent on either the testimony of tortured victims of the Inquisition or the writings of those seeking to justify their persecution of witches. He also appears to disdain Wicca as the fanciful imaginings of the Victorians. Having made these points, Grimassi moves on to share the plant magic that is the basis of the "Old World Witchcraft" taught to him by hereditary witches--whose teachings, apparently, emanated originally from the faery realm. (Take that, scholars!) He lays out a complex schema informed by an "Old World" understanding of the sacred hallow and the use of shadow, the organic memory of the earth. The second half of the book is full of detailed spells, charms, correspondences, and rituals. VERDICT Readers of this book will most likely be experienced witches looking to further their spiritual studies and dedicated to parsing the magical prescriptions to suit their own purposes." --Janet Tapper, Univ. of Western States, Portland, OR, Library Journal, November 1, 2011 issue

About the Author

Raven Grimassi is a Neo-Pagan scholar and award-winning author of over twelve books on Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism, including Italian Witchcraft. He is a member of the American Folk Lore Society and is co-founder and co-director of the Crossroads Fellowship, a modern Mystery School tradition. Visit him online at www.ravengrimassi.net

More About the Author

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA, to an Italian immigrant who married an American soldier at the close of World War II. My earliest training was in what I call a "peasant witchcraft" tradition, which consisted of Witchcraft and Folk Magic practices of Old Italy. Over the past four decades I have been a practitioner of several Witchcraft and Wiccan traditions. At present I am the directing Elder of the Ash, Birch & Willow tradition, which is a system of "Old Ways Witchcraft" not originating from any single region of Europe, but instead embracing what is held in common among many lands.

I currently have over 14 books in print and write on the topics of Witchcraft, Wicca and Magic. Many people seem to peg me as an author on Italian Witchcraft exclusively, but in fact only two of my books are about that specific subject. The primary focus of my work is about pre-Christian European beliefs and practices that appear in contemporary systems. In doing so I look to the commonalities of European traditions that appear in various regions instead of just one.

Customer Reviews

You will feel that Blessed feeling all around you, as you read through the book.
Amazon Customer
Raven Grimassi has done a remarkable job of writing a well researched and cited response to modern "scholars" who declare that there never was a witchcraft religion.
Sagacious Liu
Overall, I highly recommend this book as an essential must have for anyone who is truly seeking the path of the Old Ways.
Susan Marie Bolden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have many of Raven Grimassi's books, but Old World Witchcraft travels even deeper into the mysteries and uncovers some amazing history that every Witch should know. Grimassi reveals invaluable knowledge to the new, intermediate, and well seasoned, practicing Witch. This book is PACKED with Real Magick! You will feel that Blessed feeling all around you, as you read through the book. Old World Witchcraft covers everything you'd want to know about the history and meaning of the Cimaruta Charm, all the way to offering an exclusive reference guide with spells and incantations to conjour up in your Mortar & Pestle! Once again, Grimassi outdoes himself with his new book! The high quality of research and evidence we can expect from this well known and trusted author grace the pages of Old World Witchcraft, along with his uncanny ability to hold the reader's attention all the way through the entire book.
One time I was reading one of Raven Grimassi's books in the middle of a long distance move across the country. The book never left my side. Old World Witchcraft is now in my purse, as I find benefit in reading it and referring to it again and again. I'd give this book 6 stars if the ratings went beyond 5! Blessed Be ~
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Cranow on October 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Meditate for a few moments on the image of the witch. Tell me what do you think? Chances are it is one of two images, an old hag doing evil spells or a young pretty woman dedicated to the Goddess doing benificial spells with the blief of harm ye none. The Old Witch was nothing like that at all. Noted author Raven Grimassi for the first part of this book goes thorugh ancient historical text dating all the way to Greco-Roman Times to give us an accurate as possible mental picture of the ancient witch. Tracing a definition from the Greek work pharmokote which meant worker of plants. THe witch was someone who worked with the numen or life force of plants for various aims. THe opld withc was not bound by the three fold law or harm ye none creed. They could do good just as well as malevolent. It was not until the medievil times that the image of the witch became tarnished by the Christian priests eager for an enemy and to convert the population. Witches never called upon or worked with demons. In addition to calling on the spirit of plants they also called upon rather commonly on Goddesses such as Hekate, Diana and Prosperina. There is no direct mention of a male God. Witches also called upon stars adn planets for aid as well.

The second part of the book focuses on a new paradigm that is based on Ancient principle. From myu observations it is a practical paradigm that seems to be informed from Traditional British Witchcraft in part. There is some Wiccan practices and concepts brought into the paradigm. THe God is called the o"One of the 'Deep Forest' and the Goddess is called she of the rounded white. THe tools employed are besom knifes, wands, cauldron, chalice and mortar and pestle.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Helensmagic on October 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have read most of Raven Grimassi's published works, and find them enlightening, informative and thought-provoking. This one has a special place on my library shelf, as it pertains to the "real world" study of "old world" withcraft. The historical chapters place the Craft in a much needed context of time and space, while the chapters on plants and the grimoire give us witches plenty of work to do. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to "push" the boundaries of their practice, and understand their connection to working witches both past and present.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Susan Marie Bolden on December 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've read many, many books on the Craft, by a myriad of different authors, and none have ever spoken to me the way that Raven Grimassi's books do. I am certain I got something useful from each of the other authors, but for the most part, I've always been left feeling like there was more I needed to know; like I'd eaten a five course meal but was still hungry. Enter Raven. Every single one of his books that I've read have deepened my understanding to new levels and in a most interesting and engaging fashion - and none more so than Old World Witchcraft.

What this book gives the true seeker is a deeper understanding of the lives that the men and women, who would today be considered witches, lived. Mr. Grimassi doesn't make up stories, but rather uses historical and archaeological facts to prove his points about the way that these ancient people survived, sometimes revered, sometimes hated, but always there.

Reading more about the Ash, Birch, and Willow system was something I thoroughly enjoyed. While this system is a modern one, it has roots that reach back through history - preserving elements of the Old World teachings, its core beliefs and rituals based upon what has been historically shown to be those which our ancestors practiced in the past. The ABW does not claim to be a surviving system - and yet it venerates the same things which were held sacred in pre-Christian/Jewish times and is not endemic to any one culture.

Further along in the book, there is a chapter on plant spirits and their sigils, and how one might align with the spirit of a plant, rather than the plant itself, to conduct workings.
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