Friday, May 20, 2011

Rebuttal to Lewellyn author, Raven Grimassi's WITCH WAR against the Pagan & Golden Dawn Communities

by David Griffin
 Federation Starship Enterprise Disables Cardassian Attack Ship
Shortly after the initial arrival in America last December of Italian teachers of The Great Rite, Diana and Dianus del Bosco Sacro, our Italian family tradition was approached by Llewelyn author, Raven Grimassi, who pretended to be our friend. Mr. Grimassi asked us to report to him any negative things that we heard others say about him as he was concerned about his reputation with Lewellyn. Grimassi also requested that we not initiate anyone in to our Family tradition who was either his initiate already or was taking certain correspondence courses with him.

We had our doubts about Raven Grimassi from the beginning, since he is neither personally known nor recognized by any of the remaining family traditions that surviving in Italy. Our doubts about Mr. Grimassi were multiplied since certain of these families consider Mr. Grimassi as an impostor, a Neo-Pagan reconstructionist pretending to represent an "Italian Witchcraft" tradition that, as an American by birth instead of an initiate in Italy, he does not fully know or understand.

Despite these misgivings, we nonetheless granted recognition and our family's stamp of legitimacy to Mr. Grimassi's "Stregheria" tradition. We did this in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual support as Mr. Grimassi told us he wanted and would reciprocate. Of course, we honored Mr. Grimassi's request that we do not initiate any of his initiates or certain of his correspondence students. Despite many requests for initiation that we received from Mr. Grimassi's initiates and students, we nonetheless kept our word and turned them away.

We have therefore been particularly dismayed when we caught Raven Grimassi on numerous occasions attacking us behind our backs to other Neo-Pagan groups, including sending his students to attack us on various Yahoo witchcraft fora. This sort of two-faced "friendly to the face and knife in the back" behavior was shocking to my teachers, as such behavior is completely unknown between legitimate family traditions in Italy. In short, Raven Grimassi has been behaving like a double-dealing Cardassian traitor.

Gul Grimassi
This is certainly not the first time that esoteric groups I work with have been attacked by Lewellyn authors. Although I  Gramassi's Witch War is likely not being orchestrated by Lewellyn, it is extremely odd that so many of the defamation attacks I have experienced over the decades have come from Lewellyn authors, their agents, and/or students. This has happenned over and over in situations where, in my opinion, Lewellyn was trying to promote watered down versions of deep occult truths - as is presently the case with Raven Grimassi's "Stregheria."

What Raven Grimassi does not understand, is that in attacking our Italian family tradition with his misguided flame war, Raven Grimassi is attacking the the reputation of the entire  Pagan and Golden Dawn communities.

Raven Grimassi wrote on Yahoo Groups this week:
"I have had several emails and phone conversations with the people in question [Diana and Dianus del Bosco Sacro]. In the early stages of communication they claimed to be an Italian witchcraft tradition of great antiquity, which they stated continued in the Lake Nemi region of Italy. They further claimed that the priestess in their company comes from a lineage of 38 generations of priestesses at Nemi (the former sacred site of the temple of Diana)
The couple from Italy are staying with their sponsor David Griffin, a name associated with the Golden Dawn controversy. ... Following their debut at the Pantheacon convention, it seems like things turned out a bit differently than he envisioned. Attendance at their talks was low, and the majority of the reviews were not complimentary.
It is noteworthy that after Pantheacon, and the resulting questions and objections raised, David and his Italian guests are no longer referring to themselves as "Stregans" or "Italian Witches". They have changed the text on their website, removing all references to Stregheria, Italian Witchcraft, and so forth. They are now calling their tradition "the ancient Shamanic tradition of the Great Mother in Italy". The use of "Stregheria" on their site has now been replaced with Egyptian Alchemy. 
I have more information and am happy to answer any questions related to this topic." -Raven Grimassi
The above message is clearly a politically motivated, Witch War-like defamation attack on the reputation our Italian Pagan tradition by Lewellyn author, Grimassi. Grimassi's remarks are highly inflammatory, deliberately misrepresentative, and comprise a below the belt attempt at character assassination.

I am not about to allow such misrepresentation to stand and am therefore publishing this present rebuttal. I am also writing a formal protest protesting to Lewellyn, as Grimassi's Witch War reflects very badly on Lewellyn's image when one of their Neo-Pagan authors tries to start a Witch War like this in both the Pagan and Golden Dawn communities.

In rebuttal, it is true that in recent months, we have removed all reference to "Stregheria" and to "Italian Witchcraft" from the website of The Great Rite. We did this for several reasons, none of which are those misrepresented by Grimassi in his above attack.

First and foremost, we removed these terms because do not want any American "Stregheria" or "Italian Witchcraft" groups to feel threatened by our presence in America. We also do not wish to be confused with any these Neo-Pagan Stregheria groups. This is not ths first time that we have been attacked by initiates of American Stregheria groups on the internet, including Mr. Grimassi's. We hoped that no longer using terms that might cause confusion betweeon our groups might end the internet attacks once and for all.

It is clear from Mr. Grimassi's post above, as well as discussion that followed it on Yahoo, that the Witch War defamation attacks on our traditions are continuing nonetheless.

There are other important reasons why we have distanced ourselves from the terms "Stregheria" and "Italian Witchcraft" as well. Most importantly, both of these two terms do not accurately enough describe our tradition. The word "Strega", is actually an extremely derogatory term that was given to our tradition by our greatest historical enemy, the Roman Catholic Inquisition. This term was used in order to cast aspersion on the ancient Pre-Pagan shamanic tradition of the Great Mother Goddess, Diana, which in Italian is correctly named l'Arte Eccelsa (The Sublime Art) - and not the pejorative "Stregheria." L'Arte Eccelsa was preserved in Pagan times primarily in the mysteries of Dionysos, Diana, and Janus.

Unlike Grimassi's Stregheria, L'Arte Eccelsa is not a Neo-Pagan tradition. L'Arte Eccelsa is instead a SHAMANIC tradition that more colsely resembles other shamanic traditions than it does any Neo-Pagan witchcraft tradition, including Mr. Grimassi's Stregheria. Since l'Arte Eccelsa is a Shamanic tradition and not a Neo-Pagan tradition, there is no need for Raven Grimassi to feel threatened by l'Arte Eccelsa. He should just leave us alone.

Another reason why we have distanced l'Arte Eccelsa from "Stregheria" and "Italian Witchcraft" Neo-Pagan groups is that we do not wish our teachings to be confused with thiers. What we teach is vastly different. As ancient guardians of of the Sacred Forest of Nemi, where once stood the Temple of Diana, the Del Bosco Sacro family tradition has always been guardians of the deeper mysteries of the Great Rite. The higher mysteries of The Great Rite were entrusted to our family to protect the Temple of Diana at Nemi.
The Cardassian Plot Unmasked
Tellingly, Raven Grimassi revealed the true reason for his Witch War against our Itallian Shamanic family tradition when an official representative of Grimassi's Stregheria tradition wrote on Yahoo groups on 1/28/11:
"By way of introduction, I am a long-time initiate and sacerdotessa of Raven Grimassi's family tradition of stregheria … We in our tradition are concerned about these Italian streghe who recently arrived in the U.S … [and] their sponsor/handler/translator here in the US [David Griffin, who ] is also a high mucky-muck in the Golden Dawn.
We're really not that concerned about whether they represent a legitimate tradition of stregheria, because there are so many different traditions in Italy, it is quite possible that they really are who they say they are. But, we are concerned that they are publicly teaching practices that would never be made available to anyone outside a higher level of advancement in most traditions of stregheria."
Thus, the true reason for Raven Grimassi's Witch War against another Pagan tradition becomes apparent. The problem is that Grimassi's Neo-Pagan "Stregheria" group does not possess any sexual mysteries of The Great Rite of substance. What we teach regarding the mysteries of The Great Rite already in our beginners' workshops, goes far beyond anything that Raven Grimassi has ever encountered before.

Contrary to Mr. Gramassi's misrepresentation, our famil does require traditional oaths as well as modern contracts of secrecy regarding everything concerning The Great Rite. It is not our fault that Raven Gramassi's Stregheria has next to nothing to offer about the mysteries of The Great Rite. We even initially offered to share the higher mysteries of The Great Rite with Gramassi's Stre3gheria, which we remain willing to do with all Neo-Pagan traditions, provided that they maintain secrecy and behave in a fraternal and trustworthy manner towards us.

Raven Grimassi's ignorance about The Great Rite should not surprise anyone, especially considering that - until we recently published it on our website - Mr. Grimassi did not even know that the true name of the surviving Pagan tradition in Italy is neither "Stregheria" or even "Italian Witchraft," but rather l'Arte Eccelsa (The Sublime Art). Mr. Grimassi likewise had still doesn't understand that l'Arte Eccelsa is a Shamanic rather than a Neo-Pagan tradition like Grimassi's "Stregheria."

This is the true reason for the petty attacks on our tradition by Grimassi and his "Stregheria" group. They are trying desperately to hide their ignorance - and failing miserably.

Regarding Mr. Grimassi's misrepresentations about Pantheacon, it should be remembered that Grimassi was not even there - and that he has never met either me nor Diana nor Dianus del Bosco Sacro in person. In contrast to Lewwllyn suthor Grimassi's libelous misrepresentations, here are what two testimonials from respected magical and Pagan bloggers who were actually WERE there at Pantheacon:

Great Rite Initiates , Annie & Christopher Bradford
Respected blogger noted ceremonial magician, Christopher Bradford, wrote on his Heaven's Within Earth blog:
"[Initiation in the Great Rite] was the highlight of Pantheacon and a major landmark in my magical career. An absolutely incredible experience! My wife and I took Initiation into the Great Rite on Sunday, and both the teachings and the current are rich and powerful. I'm somewhat at a loss to communicate all my feelings about it. It opened doors for me on a number of levels." - Christopher Bradford
Celebrated Ritual Magician, Witch & Pagan Author
Frater Barrabbas
Respected Pagan author and blogger, Frater Barrabas, wrote: on his Talking About Ritual Magick blog
"Having personally met and talked and communed with Diana and Dianus, there was no question of their knowledge and abilities. They represent an authentic traditional teaching, which they were not shy to demonstrate on the following day. For a number of reasons, mostly due to fact that Diana was only recently bed ridden, the ritual event was not performed the following day. Instead, Dianus and Diana performed individual demonstrations of their techniques for a smaller and more intimate group. There were also some initiations performed, but everything was done completely on a voluntary basis, representing a very high degree of personal and spiritual integrity. I am unable to say more about this, of course, but what I saw and experienced in their company did more to eliminate any further doubts about their claims or the presentation of their knowledge. I can safely say that I am completely satisfied with what Lupercus and Aegeria are doing within the various pagan communities. All the various claims of nefarious manipulations, illegitimacy or a lack of ethical guidelines whispered by anonymous individuals can be seen for what it is, petty jealousy and spiteful judgements based on ignorance." -Frater Barrabbas
Raven Grimassi should recall that Witch War harms the entire Pagan community and thus is extremely frowned upon by everyone. If Grimassi continues to attack other Pagan traditions like this, he will eventually find himself shunned by the entire community. Lewellyn should likewise also consider the folly of permitting one of their authors to engage in behavior that so grievously harms the Pagan community or Lewellyn's reputation may suffer seriously as well.

Before attacking another Italian Pagan tradition, Raven Grimassi should recall that although he is Italo-American, he is NOT Italian. In fact, Raven Grimassi does not even speak the language. How then can he possibly expect to fully grasp the subtleties of the tradition he pretends to represent? The time has come for Raven Grimassi to abandon his petty Witch War, and to stop making a fool of himself - not only in the eyes of the true remaining family traditions in Italy - but even in the eyes of the Pagan and Golden Dawn communities as well. 
Who the hell invited the Cardassians, anyway?
Let them take their dirty little flamewar somewhere else!


  1. If I'm correct, Diana and Dianus del Bosco Sacro hardly speak English and that you serve as their interpreter; so, how in the world did Grimassi have coherent telephone conversations with them if he doesn't speak Italian? Or, was he really corresponding/speaking to you and didn't know it?

    Also, if Grimassi has more information then why not publish it? Why should anybody have to contact him? Besides, would someone like myself, not a student of Grimassi, be privy to such content anyway? Seems like there is too much posturing going on, and public accusations warrant necessary and sufficient evidence to substantiate claims to avoid libel.

    You state: "...we nonetheless granted recognition and our family's stamp of legitimacy to Mr. Grimassi's 'Stregheria' tradition." Why would Grimassi need to consent to the power of a family stamp from the Bosco Sacro lineage if his 'Stregheria' was legitimate? Recognition is one thing but a "stamp of legitimacy" implies a governing body for 'Stregheria': is the Bosco Sacro lineage historically entitled to such a privilege?

    As always, the commentary is very interesting, most revealing, and at times entertaining, but I must plead naivete to the significance this matter really has as related to the HOGD+AO. Wouldn't this post be a better blog reserved for site to debate and negotiate on their own blog-sphere? I feel like apples and oranges are being mixed for the sake of calling them fruit.

    Master R

    1. You know what? They went home, so Grimassi doesn't have to worry about his precious little imaginary empire. With the del Bosco Sacro elders having been horrified by thier treatment in the USA, frankly, I understand their decision. The American pagan community does not deserve such a boon.

  2. The so called "Raven Grimassi" is a twat. I've met him in person and have never encountered someone so full of crap as he. He talks out of his ass in all topics- pagan or not

  3. "Mr. Grimassi" seems to want to court controversy. I've been involved with "paganism" for over eleven years now, and I've never seen so much drama revolving around any neo-Pagan/Llewelyn authors as it does around Grimassi and his initiates. It strikes me that it's never a coincidence that those who complain the loudest that they don't want drama (which is what Witch Wars are...) are always the common denominator whenever drama occurs.

    1. The only one wanting to court controversy in this respect is Christian Day, Who of which is really behind the initial attacks by doxxing Raven and outing his mundane name in correlation to his public personae, and who also had friends outing his personal address and pics of his house online. Rave is the one being attacked so far.

    2. Wow. I am glad I am not a part of this drama in any way. It is been years since I helped the del Bosco Sacro clan.

  4. We've had to run him off of our site after several covert attempts (in private message to the site creator) to remove myself and other European admins whose cultural experience could question the validity of his claims. Having reviewed these claims through Google books, I was not surprised to find it all the usual pseudo-ethnic rhetoric one can expect of Llewellyn authors, their hard-selling duplicities and dirty parlour tricks The amusing part is, that a couple of times following that, he sent his inquisitors to spy on us, to allegedly make sure we weren't plagiarizing any of his works. What he can't seem to get his head around, is that our venue is earth and culture based spirituality and not some tokenistic fashion statement for new age drama queens. We don't care how many books he sold. If we wanted that kind of shit we would have subscribed to "National Enquirer".

  5. I am a solitary witch who met Raven Grimasi at the Magick Mirror Bookstore in Bristol RI a friend of mine a good witch named Connie owned the store and was my friend before she died. When my abuser found me I reached out to Grimasi to please help me as I was frightened and had no one or no where to go needed fellow witches or like minded folks around me and I requested a candle lit because I have nowhere to go and no one to help. I was shocked at the egocentrical comments and air Mr Grimasi has about him as if he is the only one who knows magick. I stayed at a family member of Grimasi's Joe moshier who stoel from me lied to me and encouraged his dog into attacking my familiar as far as Raven Grimasi or anyone related to him my advice is leave all things Grimasi alone he is not good I would not even buy his books. If he is not really Italian doesnt speak the language and doesnt understand magick then why is he saying otherwise.Raven Grimasi is trouble someone should do an illumination spell to see more about Grimasi I would cast it I am weak from my struggles. Blessings to you Jackie

    1. I know Raven Grimassi very well and I have to say that I am appalled at the statements made here on this page. The audacity of the 'anonymous' comments is laughable. How very easy it is to say horrid things about someone when you are hiding behind your computer screen and anonymity.

      I am sure Mr. Grimassi (as least TRY to spell his name correctly if you are going to write such slanderous things about him) would welcome an Illumination Spell as it would bring to light the outrageous lies you've written here.

      You claim to have stayed with a member of Raven Grimassi's family, yet offer nothing to prove your claims. I suppose you believe we should take you at your poorly written word. I'm sorry that you have been wronged and treated badly, but that doesn't justify spreading false stories about a man you claim to have met once. Of course, what comes around, goes around. Good luck.

    2. Jacquelyn Barrows so far is a fake Personae, the Google account has just been created. Only three such names exist on facebook and so far none match the person writing this.

  6. I read much of your article, not all of it. I think I get your point. I have been reading Grimassi's "Hereditary Witchcraft" and came to the same conclusion for different reasons. In my opinion, the reason he properly and frequently credits his sources in his text is that he is pretending to have knowledge he only paraphrases from others. He either lacks the knowledge or ability to integrate the knowledge from Witchcraft, pagan Witchcraft, modern Wicca and Italian Witchcrafts. He can't compare and contrast. He claims certain concepts, "divination" for one, to be defined uniquely in Streghera when this is the same definition, word for word, used in modern Wicca. He also repeats certain concepts in his book when he already made the point. His explanations are not always clear. I'm not smart enough to catch everything but when you read Doreen Valiente and compare her with Grimassi, you clearly see the difference between someone who has integrated the knowledge and practiced the Craft vs. an academic. So, I conclude Grimissi to be an academic writer who cannot or has not integrated the knowledge he pedals. I could believe he never practiced Italian Witchcraft. I believe he has a fragile reputation to protect and you, for example, would be very much a threat to his livelihood. Blessed be.

  7. Frater Barabas is actually one of Grimassi'S friends. And if I'm not mistaken, your insipid remarks are more out of jealousy and ignorance. This all arose from a mistake on your boyfriend Christian Day made and has lititle capability to apologize. Check your own drama.

    1. Who is Christian Day and are you serious that Grimassi continues to stir all this drama even today? Wow. What a sack of useless drama. Will you Pagans never learn? Is this endless bickering and backstabbing really this best this community can do. I expect better from you, frankly.

    2. Wow! The del Bosco Sacro elders were right. The American Pagan community is not at all ripe for such an exposure. What a pity, but they were 100% correct in their condemnation of your drama and bad manners to one another. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    3. Frankly I would not give Salem's lot that much credence as to call them pagan, let alone masters of the psychic arts, no matter how much ergot infested rye their Puritan ancestors consumed. As for the drama, it usually comes with the territory of too much role play.