"Ever Ancient, Ever New: Witchcraft by the Hearthside" is a 2 hour DVD covering a variety of topics of interest to any witch. Stephanie Taylor Grimassi interviews Raven Grimassi in a casual setting (it looks like a lovely sitting room with a gas fireplace). This structure is ideal for allowing Mr. Grimassi to share part of his vast knowledge with the viewer.

For example, in the first section 'Early Depiction of Witches' he discussed herbal lore and folk magic and the witch's view of the natural world as encompassing spiritual consciousness within every plant, tree, and stone. This naturally led into the spirit of the land and a discussion of the 'Spiritual Tradition of the Witch'. Shakespeare is mentioned, as well as Hesiod's Graeae (Graiae), beautiful women born with grey hair who are born with great wisdom. These women, "fair of face and well clothed" are perhaps the earliest depictions of what we would recognize as witch. 'Night Spirits' is a discussion of the dead, and the time of a quiet mind -- ideal for harnessing the natural increase in spiritual activity. 'Deities of Witchcraft' was the most interesting discussion, linking ancient viewpoints with modern perspectives and tying in fairly abstract concepts from psychology and spiritualism.

Other discussions include 'Magic', 'Ritual Aspects' and (finally) 'History,' all of which were interesting and informative.

The discussion is liberally broken up by many visuals from a variety of artists as well as current video of relevant topics. For example, a full moon through a bare-branched tree, a lithograph of Circe, or video of hands planting herbs. Overall, the quality of the graphics is very good, even excellent, and a lot of attention was paid to making the video interesting, not just the words.

He uses some language and ideas from his own tradition without referring to how his views might differ from the larger perspective of beliefs we call witchcraft. For example, he discusses the pharmakis, a person with the knowledge of the pharmaceutical properties of the natural world. It's a term used in scholarly writings, and has good antecedents (that is, its not a made up word). It just isn't a term used outside of Mr. Grimassi's books.

Ideal for witches from all levels and perspectives, I strongly recommend that this DVD be a part of your library. The Grimassi's hope it will become a classic, and this reviewer thinks it absolutely can fulfill that dream!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Creators: Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor Grimassi
Raven Grimassi, 2015
$24.99, 2 hours running time

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