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A Question or Two-

I'm not sure if I have posted this question here or not, i tried to look through and see if i could if i had posted anything-But here goes-
Is it possible to be Wiccan and not practice magic? Also is it possible to be a Roman Wiccan-a Wiccan that honours the Roman Pantheon?
I guess that is more than one question isn't it? LOL!

Also what are you guys' view on Strega ( a la Grimassi)




Jun. 1st, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
Hello Brock_tn,

You seem to state as fact that Raven Grimassi was never an initiated Stregone. What facts do you have to support that allegation?

Personally, I know of one of Raven's initiates named Mel Fuller who once lived in Naples for two years and spent time with Raven's relatives there. According to Mel's report, Raven's "claim" to have been initiated into a family tradition is authentic. In addition, anthropologist Sabina Magliocco (who personally interviewed Grimassi) wrote in the Pomegranate magazine that after interviewing Raven she was reasonably certain that he was initiated into a folk magic tradition (issue 16, 2001) as described in her article on Italian witchcraft (issue 13, 2000).

In light of this I'm naturally curious where you get your facts from that Grimassi was never initiated.
Jun. 1st, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Well, given that Raven himself admitted that he'd never actually been intitiated as a stregone, in a thread on the old CompuServe Information System back in the mid 1990's, I'd say that from my perspective, the issue is pretty much closed. And fortunately (from Raven's point of view, and unfortunately from mine,) none of that material is available for anyone to look at any more.

If Raven has managed to become initiated since that time, of course, I'm not aware it. (Not that Raven would have had any reason to inform me of the fact, anyway. We were never friends.) But I'll grant that it is possible that this has happened.

Raven is not the first writer for Llewellyn ever to play fast and loose with the facts, and I doubt that he'll be the last.
Jun. 1st, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
No offense, but that's very convenient to claim he said that while at the same time saying that there's no proof available to support your position. Personally as someone who has tracked Grimassi's writings and statements for quite some time, I have never read anywhere that he ever stated he was not initiated into Italian witchcraft. His earliest "claim" to being an initiated Stregone appears in 1980 in a published magazine called The Shadow's Edge. So it seems unlikely that ten years later on a Compuserve forum he was denying it. His "claim" to being an initiated Stregone has been consistent in all published works many years, even those prior to what you refer to. I think this speaks volumes.
Jun. 2nd, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
I'm telling you the truth as I remember it. I can't make you believe it.

I'll point out that Raven's book Ways of the Strega came out in 1995 from Llewellyn. Almost immediately, Carl Weschcke, the publisher at Llewellyn sytarted getting complaints from several different groups of strega to the effect that Raven had never been initiated as a stregone, and should not be presenting himself as someone privy to their ways. And the second printing of the book was retitled as Italian Witchcraft. The conversation on Compuserve to which I previously referred was discussing the foofaraw over the title change on the book, for which Raven provided the above explanation. And when someone asked him if he ever had had been initiated, he admitted that the complaints from the real strega were accurate. And as someone else pointed out, if the complaints weren't accurate, why would Llewellyn have changed the title?

Again, I can't whip out a copy of the thread. But I'm not lying. Whether you choose to believe me is up to you. And to be honest, I'm not inclined to waste a lot of time arguing with you about it.

If it were me, though, I'd take most of what Raven has to say with a grain or three of salt.
Jun. 2nd, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Regarding Llewellyn, I happen to know from working with staff members at Llewellyn that the title Ways of the Strega was changed to Italian Witchcraft because sales were not as expected under the Strega title, and Llewellyn thought that maybe the public didn't understand what Strega meant at glance on the book shelf, and so the marketing department called for a change of title. Sales did well after that, and Llewellyn went on to publish another of Raven's books on Italian Witchcraft (Hereditary Witchcraft). Looking at your version of the title change story it's interesting to see how facts get twisted into urban legends (some of which not surprisingly serve hidden agendas).

I did communicate with Grimassi and informed him of this thread. His reply was this: "Well, I am going to be overly generous here and say that this fellow either misinterpreted whatever he might have read or has a faulty memory."

As to you lying, I'm not going to call you a liar because I don't know you. But I do believe that Raven never made the comments you claim he did. It doesn't fit the man and it doesn't fit the published history.
Jun. 2nd, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
His reply was this: "Well, I am going to be overly generous here and say that this fellow either misinterpreted whatever he might have read or has a faulty memory."

And I'll admit that either of these could be the case. And, if at some point, the text of that old CompuServe thread were to become available, and I were shown to be wrong, I'd be more that happy to make a retraction. Until then, no.

Jun. 2nd, 2008 09:59 am (UTC)
It seems very convenient for you to sling mud and not have any proof. As to the latest comment when did Wicca or Witchcraft (since they are not the same thing) get limited to what aspect of deity you call on?
Jun. 2nd, 2008 11:10 am (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
And it seems very... ...well, let's say very coincidental, that your very first post ever on LJ should be this one.

Under the definition of the term "Wicca" that is used on this forum, the practices recognized as being "Wiccan" are limited to what is commonly termed "British Traditional Wicca" here in the US. Under that definition, I myself am not Wiccan. My friends who ARE Wiccan under that definition state that within their Wiccan practice, they worship ONE specific God and ONE specific Goddess, whose names they are prohibited by ther oaths from sharing with non-initiates. I am merely restating what my BTW friends state is true.

I don't see anything in my own post that would suggest that a more generic practice of witchcraft would be in any way limited in the deities with whom the practitioner wished to work. And I doubt that most of the posters here would be silly enough to assert something like that. If you would care to point out with specificity where someone stated or suggested that practitioners of "witchcraft " in general are limited in the deities they may worship, perhaps we can discuss the question.
Jun. 2nd, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
It's probably no coincidence as I did take the liberty to share the false accusations you posted with some people I know. I also provided a link to this thread.

I think it's important to address things like this because false accusations are harmful to an author and can impact his or her livelihood. Some people believe whatever they read on the Internet, and there will certainly be people who regard what you say as fact without questioning it at all. And again this causes harm.

I'm sure that's not your intention and you probably actually believe what you're saying. But unsubstantiated claims such as yours, because of the potential to harm someone's career, should be discouraged.
Jun. 2nd, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
messagefairy is hardly the first LJ sock-puppet I've ever met. I've been doing flame wars since the days of hard-copy APA's, so the fact that you've sought to call out the clans over this particular issue affrights me not.

And I've been making these unsubstantiated allegations for more than ten years now, and it doesn't seem to have had any effect on Raven's career. I'll also point out that I am not conducting an anti-Raven campaign: if there are anti-Raven websites anywhere, (and I'm not aware of any,) I have nothing to do with them. I do not start threads on random websites bashing Raven. All that I DO do is share my opinion of Raven and his work on those occasions where someone else raises the issue or asks people's opinions of his work. Surely I am entitled to do that, even if what I have to say conflicts with your preconceptions on the matter.

I will point out that your uncritical defense of Raven and his work does you little credit, as would a similarly uncritical defense of any author by any poster. No author in the pagan community is so good that his or her works should be read uncritically.

Regardless of the actual truth or falsehood of what I have said about Raven's initiation as a stregone, he is still in my considered opinion at best another hack author in the Llewellyn stable, only marginally better than authors like Silver Ravenwolf, Edain McCoy, and D. J. Conway. Llewellyn is not known for publishing many works about modern paganism that are of real depth and substance, and I cannot count any of Raven's books (which I have read, BTW,) among them.

Having said that, I think that I've now said all that is reasonable to say on this matter.

Jun. 3rd, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
Yes, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But what you don't have the right to do is to make unsubstantiated damaging statements that can affect someone's career and reputation.

You seem to feel that you can make harmful allegations against a person without any supporting evidence and then decide that you're finished with the conversation and just walk away. Perhaps you're unfamiliar with the concept of self responsibility and consequences for one's actions.

You appear to believe that 'mesagefairy' is (I assume) my sock puppet, which further demonstrates your careless use of unsubstantiated and unwarranted accusations. Therefore I think it's now reasonable to deny you the benefit of the doubt regarding your allegations against Grimassi.

Jun. 3rd, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
You assume that I expected you to give me the benefit of the doubt in the first place.

And you evidently assume that I care whether you have a good opinion of me.

I'll note that I never said that messagefairy was your sockpuppet. Only that he was a sockpuppet. It is a natural assumption, I would think, when someone creates a new LJ account solely for the purpose of jumping into an argument he or she was not previously involved in. But in point of fact, I never thought messagefairy was your sockpuppet, as you don't write in the same way.

But since you've already made up your mind...
Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
No, I don't assume you care about my opinion of you, or anyone's opinion of you. It wouldn't suit the character of someone like you who apparently is fine with making damaging accusations against people with nothing to back them up.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 08:26 am (UTC)
Re: Grimassi
I never saw a notice saying WHERE I HAD to post first. I didn't say it was YOUR message about limits on deity, there are more posts here than just yours, later does not mean you.
You are intitled to opinons, everyone knows the saying..
But if you are staring to call authors ANY authors hacks you are treading into the grounds of libel. If you are going to make statement as if they were facts about any authors you need to back them up. I am no one's "Puppet" but a writer myself. If you are going to start trying to darken someone's name, you need facts, not "truths" simply since you remember them that way.
Jun. 6th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
First I feel the need to apologize that the mention of my name has shifted the focus of this thread to something other than its origin focus. I am reluctant to have this thread further distracted, however because of the false accusations against me I must comment on a couple of things.

Brock_tn states that when my book Ways of the Strega came out in 1995 the publisher received complaints from several different groups of Strega that I had never been initiated as a Stregone, and should not be presenting myself as someone privy to their ways. Brock goes to say that therefore Llewellyn re-titled the book as Italian Witchcraft and produced a second printing with the new title (supposedly in an attempt to appease the offended Strega).

Realistically it would require a considerable amount of people complaining to a publisher in order to get the company to go to the extra expense of a new cover and title for a book. I very much doubt that such numbers of Strega exist much less took the time to contact Llewellyn.

For anyone interested in the facts, here they are:

Ways of the Strega was re-titled Italian Witchcraft in order to stimulate sales with a new title that clearly stated what the book was about - Italian Witchcraft. This is not as sensational a story as the fabricated one that Brock shares, but it is the truth of the matter.

Brock goes on to say that the story of the angry hordes of Strega storming the walls of Llewellyn came directly from me on the CompuServe forum, which of course is absolutely untrue and idiotic. Next he claims that when someone on CompuServe directly asked me if I ever had been initiated that I admitted the complaints from the "real strega" were accurate - I guess these "real Strega" are the ones with photo ID cards or something ;)

So anyway, I am reading Brock’s comments and claims and since I know I never said anything that Brock attributes to me, I am left with three possibilities:

1. The guy is lying
2. He was actually reading posts where people were fabricating tales, and years later his faulty memory now has me as one of the posters.
3. Someone posed as me and posted these comments.

Well, the first one is very possible although my sense is that this guy actually believes what he is saying. The second one is also possible, but it is hard to imagine that things got that distorted in his mind. However, his comments about me and my books are quite negative and I can see how he might really want to believe the nonsense about me not being initiated. The fact that he states he has repeated this story for ten years strongly suggests a personal investment in wanting people to believe the false tale. The third item on the list seems extreme and I tend to dismiss it.

Now for the record I was indeed on CompuServe right after the release of Ways of Strega (around 1995) but I left due to the abusive and mean-spirited behavior of many of the people who hung out in the Wicca forum. Unfortunately it seems that time has not improved things on the Internet.

Now, also for the record, I never held a negative view of Wicca nor did I ever feel that my path was superior in any way. I know that some people on the CompuServe Wicca forum felt offended whenever I spoke of older rooted traditions such as mine. But their reaction was an indication of personal baggage and old wounds, and realistically had nothing to do with what I was actually talking about.