Grimoire of the Thorn-Blooded Witch: Mastering the Five Arts of Old World Witchery by Raven Grimassi

The first question anyone would likely ask is, “Why did you read this book?” A fair question. I like to consider myself open-minded enough to read a great many things. I’m constantly comparing religions and mythologies, both as a spiritually-minded type and as a writer who never knows where the next idea will come from. When I was 8, I found rituals on how to become a werewolf, and I’ve been looking at stuff like this for the sheer fun of it ever since. That said, I was rather intrigued by the title and book description. Having known my fair share of both old world witches and modern Wiccans, pagans of all stripes (or no stripes), as well as a variety of people from different religious flavors across the spectrum, I feel confident that I’m at least conversational in nearly every such circle, and this aroused my curiosity for a couple of reasons that I won’t go into here.

With apologies to the modern practitioners who will buy it completely, and I’m sure some will get plenty out of this, I found the ideas far better than the rituals themselves. It’s a personal bias, obviously, but I’m forced to wonder why old world plant spirits would want be summoned through English rhyme given everything that humanity has done to scorch our planet. Offering three drops of blood just doesn’t really seem enough.  Maybe I’ve read too many Batman comics featuring Poison Ivy. Who can say?  Then again, what would a plant want with blood to begin with?   Either way, this is hardly the complex high magick of Solomon and his lesser keys. Is it old world witchery? Not even remotely close, unless your idea of “old world” is 1954. Read enough books on any given topic, and you learn to separate the wheat from the chaff, expert or not. It seems to me that changing the primal points of Gardnerian Wicca to something that seems even more primal (and probably isn’t) does not an ancient magickal system make. But it does line up with some of the new age stuff I’ve seen from the Gardnerian camp. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an interesting new coat of paint, but that’s essentially all it is. The idea behind all of this, being respect of the planet and its bounties, is a good one for spiritual philosophers to ponder. And the rest is a pretty decent grab bag for writing prompts. Having recently gone back through Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, it puts me in mind of the Ents, just on perhaps a smaller scale.  And even then… have you have any idea what it takes to summon an Ent, let alone get it to share anything with you?

I bump the rating a bit because I did grin quite a bit while reading it.  Probably for the wrong reasons, but I was entertained.

3 stars

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