Saturday, May 21, 2011

When imagination runs wild

In a recent blog written by a gentleman named David Griffin (aka Lupercus) I note some very odd and unwarranted allegations against my character.  Mr. Griffin's defamatory attacks against my name appear to stem from a post I made on the Traditional Witchcraft forum.  Mr. Griffin's apparent misinterpretation of my comments seem to have resulted in what I consider to be a very bizarre rant.

While much of what he says is a reinvention of the history between us, and a misrepresentation of the facts regarding me and my tradition, I feel that I should address his blog anyway. Normally I do not like to give energy to false accusations, but it seems wise in this case to make a statement.

Mr. Griffin and I had early communications by phone and email.  He reinvents the history here by claiming that I wrote to him seeking protection for my reputation and wanting him to alert me to negative comments made against me.  However, the facts are I first contacted him directly because people were writing to me inquiring about the authenticity of these individuals. Before arriving at an opinion, I wanted to go to the source. So, that is what I did.

In the beginning, communications were cordial.  I tried to help them deal positively with their critics, and David and his Italian guests and I agreed to keep each other informed about comments that people might make in an attempt to set us against one another.  I expressed my desire to have them judged fairly by community, and I actively countered anything on the Internet in which people without first hand knowledge were saying negatively about them.

During the course of events, one of my initiates went into a private forum without my knowledge or direction, and posted a critical view of David and his Italian guests.  Mr. Griffin chose to regard this as a covert operation launched by me, which of course it was not.  In response, I wrote a public post on Facebook pointing out that I did not agree with my initiate's views, and did not set her out to post against anyone. At the time this seemed to satisfy Mr. Griffin's misgivings.

In an attempt to keep boundaries clear, Mr. Griffin, his Italian guests, and I agreed not to cross-pollinate (so to speak) and it was decided out of courtesy that we not teach each other's initiates and active students. However, in his recent blog, Mr. Griffin reinvents this agreement, and paints it in the light of fear on my part that my people would learn the "true teachings" he and his guests hold, which implies that mine are bogus.  A clever maneuver, but an easily seen through move on his part.

Among the odd things in Mr. Griffin's blog is the reference to the Great Rite as indicator of the only true and authentic form of Italian witchcraft, and he asserts that I know nothing about it.  This, of course, appears to indicate an attempt to take away my credibility as a witch practicing a form of  Italian witchcraft.  He also asserts that the tradition of his Italian guests, which is known as The Sublime Art, is the mark of authentic Italian witchcraft.  He then asserts that it is unknown to me (by that name) and therefore what I teach is entirely made up.  How sad to see this "My way is the only true way" theme reappearing in the Craft community. I remember this mentality from the 60's and early 70's.  I had hoped we had all gotten over this nonsense and ego driven agenda.

For anyone actually interested in the facts, what I stated that apparently upset Mr.Griffin was a factual clarification of his position and not a condemnation.  Here is what I wrote (which Griffin edited on his blog) in response to a question someone raised, asking if anyone knew something about the Stregheria del Bosco Sacro (people). This appeared on the Traditional Witchcraft forum, under the thread someone else started, which was titled Stregheria del Bosco Sacro  -

"Yes, I have had several emails and phone conversations with the people in question.  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.  When I first spoke with him about the couple, David told me on the phone that the "coming of the Stregans" is going to be like when the Beatles first came to the US, and that the impact on the Pagan community will be unimaginable. However, 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"

Mr, Griffin chose to regard this as an accusation that I consider the folks in question to be frauds.  I did not say that, and it was not my intention to depict them as such. My intention was to demonstrate that they are no longer referring to themselves as strega/Italian witches, which is an important point and distinction that I wanted to make on a forum devoted to traditional witchcraft. Nowhere did I state these people are fake, I simply clarified their position as conveyed to me.  No one on the Traditional Witchcraft forum asked me for my personal opinion about the authenticity of these people and I did not offer one.

What Mr. Griffin chooses to leave out of his rant blog, is my forum comment:

"I also have a problem with the idea of initiating people on first meeting.  I asked them about it and they replied that this is their structure and how the system functions.  They inform me that after initiation the training begins, but that initiation and oath-taking is required before anything else.  They have no "outer court" phase.   It's alien to what I was taught by my native Italian teachers.  But, to be fair, witchcraft differs in each region of Italy.  There is no "one size fits all" - but even so.....further questions are begged.

- Raven Grimassi"

My comments were intended to convey that one tradition of Italian witchcraft cannot be compared against another in an attempt to mark authenticity.  Each regional system differs.  But, as clearly indicated in Mr. Griffin's blog, he apparently feels that his system is the only true one, and if differences appear in mine, then mine cannot be authentic. All of this reminds of the stage magician's trick of misdirecting the audience's attention away from what is actually taking place so as to leave the impression that what he showed is real.

In closing, I suggest that Mr. Griffin and his Italian guests should feel confident in who and what they are, and not be threatened by something they misinterpret as a debunking of them.   People who are genuine have no need to be fearful. Anger, it is said, is a fear based emotion.  So, Mr. Griffin and his Italian guests should embrace the courage of their convictions, and go forth with their truth. It's a much healthier approach than what appears on Griffin's blog.

Peace to all,
Raven Grimassi
David Griffin's blog:


  1. Congrats on the new blog space. Maybe it will encourage me to start posting again! :-) You're always well spoken and level headed. I admire that.

  2. Those you know you and / or your work know better than to believe such ill of you as others like this person would spread, Raven. It is admirable that you remain so calm and collected in the face of such an obvious storm. Blessed be.

  3. Very well said, Raven. I particularly like your closing remarks. It is very true. The sage and the wise leave no room for fear instead fill themselves with the confidence of their hard work and thus a tigers claws have no place to land. I applaud your level head, confidence in your work and clear vision of your path. Thank you for being a shining example of a contemporary witch walking in the footsteps of the ancients.

  4. Very well stated, Mr. Grimassi. Your professionalism in this article is admirable and the facts and details are what we are interested in understanding, instead of the high drama and inappropriate Star Trek pictorials!

  5. Wow, I checked out Griffin's blog - what utter childish nonsense. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see that this guy has no credibility. Raven, keep up the good job you do in the Italian-American Community of streghe. Don't let emotionally disturbed people drain your energy, whoever they may be and wherever they pop up.

  6. Thank you for your blog post Raven. As I am a person who has been a direct recipient of several doses of David's fear and anger, I found validation in your words. Your post was refreshing and showed true signs of a level-headed well rounded, well informed individual.

  7. This has also started again in the Golden Dawn community. In collusion with his mate, an Anthropologist who is assisting in bashing known and respected Hermetic authors. Recently, they began attacking a Golden Dawn author's book, without reading it mind you! And organized a series of 1 ratings on Amazon, while most every notable figure in the Golden Dawn rated the text highly. An "attack" memo was leaked by a member of his organization. And their is utilization of his very biased partner, inappropriately using her academic standing to attack noted authors, and use technical labels pejoratively. For this reason please note the following petition to the American Anthropological Association:

  8. fast forward a few yrs.this dave Giffin is selling like a tv evangelist his so called only true golden dawn magic alongside his gilf wife but my exp. with him is purchase membership he dont send promised dagger, you by digital downloads he dont send downloads,answer emails and when you use your purchase protection thru paypal he will suspend you from membership.he maybe a powerful magick asshat but not a very good person and its proof is in the fruit of the poison tree