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BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DARK WITCH QUEEN - a review by Dick A Kirchner of The Witchblood Grail

Somewhere between indepth review of The Witchblood Grail and a thesis of the Primal Witchcraft itself, USA Attorney Dick A Kirchner explores the return of the unbridled power of this Witchflame Arte:


As the Year 2015 came to a close, passing All Hallows Eve and entering anew into the Season of Belial, I checked in with Mark Alan Smith again in regards his new book, The Witchblood Grail, to see if I might have the privilege of reviewing it. I then found out that my review of his last book, The Altar of Sacrifice, had generated some interest after its publication on the Mona Magick website. Perhaps it should not come as any great surprise (at least to those familiar with the vindictiveness of the on-line occult world) that my review caused the controversy that it did. Of the 10,000+ hits on which followed the posting of my review of The Altar of Sacrifice, many of these seemed to spark rather vigorous email correspondence to me. I don’t believe that in my last review, or in any earlier criticism of Mark’s work, I ever have held myself out as anything but a skeptic, a heretic, and a non-believer.

The point that I have raised in all of my previous discussions of The Trident of Witchcraft and now, in the new trilogy, The Way of Sacrifice, is that, to the extent that the rituals described therein can be duplicated, they ought to be, and the resulting consequences documented experimentally. I readily would accept criticism of that method to be a compliment. In sum, attack me, if you will, for the scientific method but not for “working with the demons.”

In the past I have described myself, to the author, in my request to get a copy of the latest volume in the new trilogy, as “probably the last person on this planet who you’d want to review it.” It always does come as immense pleasure when, perhaps in a kind of personal challenge, he typically responds: “Go right ahead.” During the four years in which I have known Mark Alan Smith, I have come to realize that he is indeed something of a maverick in the occult world: He stands by what he writes and he is not adverse to defending it when critics and skeptics, such as the present reviewer, take issue with him. One even might argue that he actually lives that which he writes about and, to some, this just might be the most frightening and dangerous thing about him.

Mark has not been without some reservations as to my ongoing criticism of his work however. He has asked me to relate his newest work, The Witchblood Grail, to The Trident of Witchcraft as a whole and this I only can do in part. For this latest work, which for me is his most important, has announced that The Way of Sacrifice is a new trilogy that stands alone, equally and separately on its own merits, and stakes out new territory which runs parallel to the original trilogy which began over six years ago in Queen of Hell. For me, remembering now that cold night when we found Queen of Hell is like the recollection of a Maslowian peak experience. The poet W.B. Yeats, himself no stranger to the occult, recalls these moments as “half-insane fancies,” which once tickled the growing boy as now the full-grown man. For me and several others who stumbled upon this very strange – and now very hard to find – out-of-print tome, it was a rare day indeed.

At first glance

I would be the first to admit that I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. Nonetheless, the artistry and detail put into the bookmaker’s craft as shown, again, by Mark Alan Smith’s Primal Craft Occult Publications bear repeating. In this regard, the recent review of The Witchblood Grail on Balkan’s Arcane Bindings and antiquarian website does a far better job than I. My observations as they relate to the progress made in the printing, press, and binding of the trilogy, The Trident of Witchcraft, followed by The Way of Sacrifice series, are to point out solely that Primal Craft press, in which the author is the principal, continues to improve. In this role, Mark Alan Smith seems to take on yet another variegated pointy hat, to wit, the operating of his own personal Folio Society for occult books due south of the Pyrenees, and, again, owns up to the task masterfully. The books are expensive, as they perhaps ought to be: One does not drink fine wine from a paper cup. More importantly, as one old babooshka from the Lange verbogene Freundinnen witch cult who appeared in my field notes for my review of The Altar of Sacrifice acknowledged, “Diese Bücher werden singen” (“These books will sing.”) I had to ask why.

Frau Rosenholtz, in her warnings to me above in regards the “vocal” qualities of the grimoires of Primal Craft, is alluding to the medieval rite of executing a witch along with her library. When both are set ablaze, the audience will find that “these books will sing.” As I’ve said, try that with a chapbook.

Grimoires of Primal Arte

For several years now, one of my favorite quotes from Mark Smith could apply to those young, blindfolded initiates entering the Caves at Eleusius, or anyone having the naïve resolve to rush in, as it were, “where angels fear to tread,” to wit: There is No Courage without Fear. It has been over two years now, during which I observed a few individuals in the black forests of Pennsylvania who believe that they practice “the old witchcraft,” written about in Mark’s books. In my last review, I suggested that I do not know if the antics of these followers of Queen of Hell, both young and some very old, are best described as invoking Hecate but one thing is for sure: I have witnessed some pretty scary stuff.

Now, in The Altar of Sacrifice and its new companion volume, we have two-thirds of an entirely new trilogy which may be said to be complementary but never duplicative; original in its own right, and never redundant. Those who have read my earlier reviews will understand when I explain below how the new series is for me, not figuratively, like a breath of fresh air: It represents in my view the spirit of witchcraft as it was originally intended. For me, that spirit forever is rooted to nature, the seasons, and English cunning craft. If The Trident of Witchcraft was about Hecate, Lucifer, Belial and elusive horned entities out of the sands of Araby, then, The Witchblood Grail is about the Mysteries of Europa and Her natural environment. One approaches it, frankly, in awe, as did those original artists approach Phorba and Brimo, Herself, in the Chauvet caves of the Ardèche region.

Immersed in the Primal Current

It would seem that the literary output of Mark Alan Smith – which is still in medias res and shows no signs of slowing down – should give any of the critics some pause. Thus, the many spirited remarks that I received over the past two years in regards my review of The Altar of Sacrifice, which can be summarized, “You have no idea that he’s going there” might be answered in three words: “Neither do you.”

And similarly it may come to pass in the trilogies of Mark Alan Smith. The very Gods of Atlantis – call them Olde Ones or Elder Gods – who appear in the first book of the first trilogy, now almost a decade old, Queen of Hell, have many parts to play in The Way of Sacrifice trilogy, as it continues to evolve.

These new roles likely will occur both in-and-amongst the Gods themselves, interacting with the other demigods or, perhaps more importantly from the view of the Magus, in what appear to be demonic interventions in his own occult Great Work. Loyal readers, let alone devotees, of this trilogy likely will develop an intense personal familiarity with these entities. In sum, it is likely impossible to have waded through well-over four-hundred pages of The Scorpion God without feeling as if one had acquired some real personal camaraderie with Belial. Equally amusing to me are the many practitioners who seem to have arrived at a rather neighborly friendship with one being, after invoking what the classical historian Georg Luck calls “a Graeco-Roman graveyard geist,” who is detailed rather forebodingly as the Demon Eurynomous in Queen of Hell. And, in my experience, the beautiful protagonist featured in Mark’s Luciferian magnus opus, The Red King, evokes a kind of heartfelt passion that I have not seen equaled elsewhere. It is useful to recall that, even amongst Lucifer’s many detractors there clearly was a unanimous consensus: He is, in all His many forms “completely beautiful.”

No other writer in the so-called “occult world” – has been able to create such impassioned and, dare I say, “cult-like” devotion in his many readers. Perhaps, in the future, we may one day come to see the words “Vive Hecate!” plastered in graffiti on the walls of the Paris Metro. Hopefully that day, indeed, soon may come to pass, as more and more Europeans are waking up to a grim reality of where those “other gods,” those blood-thirsty alter-egos of Abraham, Mohammed, and the Nazarene, are leading us.

For now, it is useful to recognize that loyal readers of Mark Alan Smith are approaching a kind of “literary moment,” namely, that which is normally dubbed a sort of “universe.” We are now viewing the “Primal Craft universe,” if you will, in a kind of nascent shape. However, it would be only a truly insouciant reader who would overlook the resurgence of movements in Greece, Russia, and possibly Germany itself, as evidence that:

“The Daughter of War, Conquest and Flame once again rises, at a time when
man has placed greed and material desire above the environment and lives
of his fellow man.”
The Witchblood Grail, iii.

Or – phrased even more bluntly by the author in his Introduction – following the frontispiece quoted above:

“If you no longer wish to idly watch the world burn, destroyed by hands
of clay – those not fashioned by Hecate’s Will in Lucifer’s Flame –
then take up the Trident, the Dagger, the Parchment, and upon the nights
of the darkest moon, in honour and devotion of the Queen of Witch Gods
and her Kin and the love of your children and our living world. . .
partake of the prophecies of the tome herein.”

The Witchblood Grail,15.

The Witchblood Grail, much like its predecessor in The Way of Sacrifice trilogy, is comprised of Books. The earlier tome, which exceeds its successor by exactly six pages, took up three Books while The Witchblood Grail amounts to four. The inventory of the Books themselves, and the chapters comprising them, is detailed on Mark’s website, so there is no need to belabor it here. What is useful I believe, in response to the critics of my lack of a discernible method of fieldwork, merely is to mention the repeated use of the author’s key terms and phrases which are shared amongst all of the Books within the new trilogy. Indeed, one would have assumed that the very title of the new trilogy itself, namely, The Way of Sacrifice, would have put some persons on notice that my participant observer field notes would not be too revelatory or prodigious, mainly due to reasons of confidentiality. However, in due course, I will venture as far as I am permitted.

In short, when one observes participants involved in chthonic rites, one is unlikely to disclose much. And, to the extent that The Altar of Sacrifice was prohibitive in the latter capacity (inasmuch as it dealt with natural fauna) The Witchblood Grail almost certainly prevents any productive participant observation, as the author himself warns in his preliminary Note on The Gates of Forbidden Flesh. It is difficult to understand how anyone who, even cursorily, has perused tomes which share such dark words and phrases as: “flesh and blood”; “initiated blood”; “forbidden flesh”; “devil’s flesh”; “black (or “dark”) queen”; and, “malefic blood” and “chalice,” would be inclined to believe that those who drink from such would permit their furtive practices to be disclosed publicly, in anyway whatsoever.

If I have a “bone,” not so figuratively speaking, to pick with the author in regards the newest edition to the trilogy, I think The Book of Initiated Blood properly belongs at the end of The Altar of Sacrifice, perhaps as a Book Four in the latter work, rather than appear at all in the present title. My reasoning, put succinctly, is that the further along the author writes in The Witchblood Grail, the more perfectly inaccessible he becomes to most of us not actually immersed within the Primal Current.

I am informed by some, that my ignorance arises from two key preconditions, both of which I am lacking. First, like Ronald Hutton, I have not served as an “adept,” “acolyte,” or as an apprentice in any verifiable witchcraft lineage. Thus, my efforts to participate in these rites first-hand or, “act Slavonically,” if you will, will always be hampered by the absence of the sine qua non of Initiation. Thus, correlatively, my efforts to observe, document, and “thickly describe” them would be hindered as well. Second, I am informed that I have not, as a kind of curative to the latter deficiency, ever undertaken of the path of “self-initiation” in traditional witchcraft, of which was written abstrusely by the late Andrew Chumbley, mentioned by Sorita d’Este and David Rankine in their work, Hekate Liminal Rites, and frankly laid bare by Mark Alan Smith in The Sacred Rite of the Waters of the Moon in his penultimate “double 13th” chapter of Queen of Hell. The pact of “self-initiation” is bestowed upon traditional witches, courtesy of the author’s Emissary of the Dark Queen, immortalized like the Tarots of David Palladini by the illustrator of the original trilogy, the Spanish artist Namtaru. Initiations involving this “emissary” are collectively known by the witchcraft cults as “toad rites.” When I was still in doubt as to where Mark was going in The First Inner Book of the Flesh (which seemed to me to be prerequisite to having a ghost of a chance of understanding where he was going in the rest of the Books), the Freundinnen casually told me, “Get the Complimentary Course-work PDF provided by the author.”

It turns out that one of my principal criticisms of Mark’s work in my last review already had been anticipated by the author himself. I attempted to point out one key observation that many readers had realized long before me: The trilogy, The Trident of Witchcraft, is not intended for beginners. And, as I acknowledged in my last review, if the first trilogy is not so intended, then its successor, The Way of Sacrifice, leaves its predecessor in the dust. Even some experienced readers in occult and esoteric literature (the present reviewer included) likely are wont to be confused by some of the abstruse or “high magick” workings contained in Books 3-4 of the new trilogy. In my review, I ventured to offer a primer, the classic work on traditional witchcraft, Paul Huson’s legendary 1970 treatise, Mastering Witchcraft. It turns out that neither of these is necessary since the author, himself, has provided the prerequisite primers and, indeed, all one really needs to do is to follow this course-work, acquired alongside each book purchased from Primal Craft. By providing, as it turns out, not just one but in fact three PDF files, the author has taken a lot of the wind out of some of the blowhards in the so-called demonolatry “shadow guilds,” who seem to make much out of the fact that the first two volumes of the first trilogy long-since have run out-of-print and, alas, some untimely readers may have to make do without a copy. The first two course-work pdfs provide a step-by-step series of self-initiations leading up to acquisition of the first two of the “crowns,” namely those of Hecate and Her Son, which is the laborious goal of the Magus who undertakes the work described in the first trilogy. It might be said in fact that, for all practical purposes, the second PDF file entitled, Second Self-Initiatory Program, is very nearly a one-to-one rendering of The Red King itself with very minimal editing. So, in sum, although the first two “singing books” of The Trident of Witchcraft would be a welcome accession to any occultist’s library, they are by no means necessary to beginning the work in either trilogy.

Syncretism, or “Open your mind”

For the purposes of the present review, it is the third PDF file, entitled The Toad Rite, which principally concerns us. This latter rite of self-initiation is elucidated by the author in two rather detailed chapters in that file, viz., The Sacred Rite of the Waters of the Moon and the Devil’s Familiars, which correspond respectively to Chapters 26 and 25 of Queen of Hell. The latter chapter, entitled The Legion of the Night, in that first green-embossed tome of the trilogy, endeavors to list the consorts, succubi, familiars, and the like – collectively termed a “legion” – by which subsequent workings, including the “high magick” workings suggested above, may be under-taken and (one assumes) mitigated in difficulty. For many, Queen of Hell always seemed to make more sense when Chapters 26 and 25 were read in reverse order in any event and, at last, the author has lent his imprimatur. In the PDF file The Toad Rite, any erstwhile practitioner of traditional witchcraft now has a fully-disclosed manual for self-initiation through which one might slog, likely several times before achieving success. Only the infamous Rite of the Phoenix, a recounting of which occurred in the anthology Hekate Her Sacred Fires, remains undisclosed from the first book and, judging from the rather shocking consequences of that latter rite, few likely would be intrepid enough to undertake it in the first place. For those who wonder still as to why I belabor the “toad rite,” published over six years ago, as integral to the new trilogy and, specifically The Witchblood Grail, consider the following:

“One who is marked as a Toad Witch of Hecate, having made their pact
with Lucifer on the third night of darkness may call upon the Gods of
the Trident to grant them the Devil’s Familiar. These beings are in-
credibly powerful and will remain in the service of the children of
the Trident beyond the passing of the mortal flesh. . .Of Infernal
origin, these are ancient and powerful beings of vast intelligence who
bring with them a wealth of magickal knowledge.”

The Toad Rite, 24.

Or, similarly stated by the author in Chapter 25 of Queen of Hell, predating
the above PDF by 5 years:

“The Legion of Night are the beings who rest in the black subterranean
realms in the shadowlands. They are that which came before the age
of man. A primal force of dark spirits, the shadows who existed in
service to the Dark Goddess before even the scythe-bearing shades of
folklore. The Legion may be summoned to bind any spirit, human. . .
or otherwise, so great is their power. . .This work is a dark yet
powerful addition to the craft of any Witch. The Legion are extremely
effective in the works of malefic magick. If such extreme use of power
is necessary then so be it. . .[t]he Legion can assist in the
assimilation of huge amounts of power”
Queen of Hell, 177.

Two books later, The Scorpion God, a four-hundred page recondite tome, is devoted in full length, to the Witch God Belial, the entity who seems to have caused, single-handedly, the need for a Commandment Number One. Moving along, and now in pursuit of a whole new trilogy altogether, the author leaves the Golan Heights for what was the “highest point” in Western civilization (at least according to Plato), Atlantis. In my favorite book of the series, The Altar of Sacrifice, the author introduces a pantheon of Gods which almost certainly nobody ever has heard of before, - their names lost and dark practices (deliberately?) buried in the Great Fall of Atlantis - in the ninth chapter, “Temple of the Atlantean Trident of Witchcraft.” These peculiarly European Dark Gods, those who did betwixt Isobel Gowdie at the Crossroads in the Black Wood, and who would give rise to great gaseous outbursts against forcible Catholic enculturation in the old Scottish kirks, come back with even more aplomb in The Witchblood Grail. And, presiding over all of them, is Hecate.

When I set out to defend this “crazy quilt,” as one of my more strident critics called it, I made a list for my present review of, quite literally, the smartest people I ever knew. At the top of that list was the immortal scholar of Near East religions, George Makdisi, who famously said “The plight of all modern religions is the movement toward syncretism.” Also included on the list was a certain Mr. Zecharia Sitchen and, indeed, the author of this controversy itself, who seemed to anticipate the debate over six years ago in the fourteenth chapter of Queen of Hell simply titled, “Open Your Mind.”

The Moires, the Sisters, and The Book of Initiated Blood

In my examination of the validity of the magickal practices in The Trident of Witchcraft and The Way of Sacrifice, I have observed a certain group, namely, a Coven, which seems to believe in these practices quite fervently. More than that, their replication of several of the rites, spells, bodily mortifications, and occurrences of what might be called NDE’s (or, “near death experiences”), which are belabored in the latter two trilogies, have produced – at least for them – verifiable results. I viewed these results first as a skeptic and a critic, but I left with the certain belief that their practice of the Primal Craft philosophy produced effects that were self-validating. Their explanation of taking on an adept, assigning the young girl work with Hecate’s Children, namely: The Moires, the Devil, and His familiars, after first undertaking the Toad Rite, was telling:

“We ask them at this stage, and then the next stage, ‘What are you
experiencing?’ If their answer is ‘nothing,’ then they are doing it wrong.
There is no way that you cannot experience the things that we know
will happen at each of the stages.”

Such a candid explanation, about a very admittedly unscientific process, amounts to what could be called a scientific method. Indeed, when I examined each of the fetishes and familiars in The Book of Initiated Blood, there was some evidence in my experience that the preliminary pathwork, demanded by the coven above, caused real manifestation.

The Toad Rite

It is by no means coincidental that the first Book of The Witchblood Grail contains several cross-references to the first trilogy since, in essence, the five chapters of The Book of Initiated Blood are an initiate’s s guide to the path of Traditional Witchcraft, a subject on which The Trident of Witchcraft trilogy remains the best on-the-market. For example, in Chapter 4, the “Crowned Lord of Illumination,” we see the return of the use of a once (formerly) live human skull, i.e., not “sympathetic or simulation” says Mark, the likes of which made its very first appearance in The Red King. As described above, however, it is the Toad Rite which concerns us most in this review, for what seems to be both its integral and imperative status within the traditionalist craft. And, in fact, it this very Toad Rite which closes the first Book of the new work, albeit for quite different reasons, as described in The Pact of the Toad Witch in Chapter 5, “Toadstone Familiars.” The author, as usual, is quite forthright in cross-referencing his earlier work: He all but comes out to admit that the new rites in Toadstone Familiars will fall flat without first successfully undertaking the “three nights of darkness,” which were delegated to the devotee in Queen of Hell. One might recall, above, that these latter “three nights,” involve harried amphibians and petitions running about in steam waters and graveyards - on full and dark moons respectively - which are described in Chapter 26, and specifically pp. 193-97 therein “The Sacred Rite of the Waters of the Moon.” As stated, the author generously has provided the same instructions in his third PDF file, The Toad Rite. But, perhaps due to Mr. Smith’s very courteous reserve (which I have come to know well over the years), his closing advice in The Call of the Familiar, following The Pact of the Toad Witch in Book Five, still may leave one hanging:

“Details of the Three Nights of Darkness may be found within the first
Volume of the Trident of Witchcraft: Queen of Hell. . .No circles are
cast during this rite. . . It is to be undertaken without any
protection whatsoever. . . The rite culminates in the great test
whereby Lucifer either grants the power of the Toad Witch to the
summoner, or strips the soul bare, in failure.”

The Witchblood Grail, 113-14.

Thus, it seemed worthwhile for me to go back to the Freundinnen to ask why this new book had returned full-circle.

As it turns out, The Witchblood Grail is not meant to be a mere re-telling of the path of the traditional witch as detailed in Mark’s Trident trilogy, or Chumbley’s Azoetia grimoire. Rather, its value (according to some who actually practice “traditional” or even “primal witchcraft”) lies in the fact that it details those undertakings most desired by the entities upon whom traditional witches frequently call. Such undertakings are “sacrificial” in nature; hence, the new trilogy, The Way of Sacrifice. I am told that the new books are best perceived as a kind of “canonical literature,” by which the rites, spells, and incantations enshrined in the first trilogy may be embellished and their results accentuated. The several canons of sacrifice listed in The Altar of Sacrifice and The Witchblood Grail are, make no mistake about it, ghastly, morbid and carnal in nature – involving such things as blooded animals, personal penance and mortification, and weird sexual congress. In short they were right up the Freundinnen’s alley in my opinion. The girls in the Penna coven went on to explain that, nowadays, they ask their prospective initiates to get a copy of the third PDF from the author, followed by a copy of The Book of Initiated Blood from The Witch-blood Grail, prior to beginning preliminary pathwork. When I inquired as to why the new work was viewed to be so groundbreaking, I was told explicitly that The Witchblood Grail will give any beginner in the traditionalist and/or primal path the five sacrificial tools upon which all Sabbatic Craft is based, namely: 1) The manifestation of a “Book of Souls”; 2) The use of “natural found objects” as witchcraft “tools,” e.g., stones, gems, jewelry, an athame, chalice, water, blood, wine, and urine; 3) Hidden entrances into the earth itself, wherein one might communicate with “underworld creatures”; 4) The acquisition and actual use of certain hard-to-find fetish objets d’art, and the manipulation thereof, such as human skulls; and – last but not least – 5) Sex with the Devil.

It would seem, according to several of the older traditional witches who I interviewed, that most so-called “practitioners” in witchcraft, as well as some in demonolatry or Satanism, are not “traditionalist” in nature. They do not carry the consecration of Hecate or Her furious Schwestern, and, more importantly (for those of us called to the Constabulary or the Bar) are not even worth paying attention to, and certainly not to be feared. One indeed might propose a trend, flowing from that band of nudists who were cheeking around in the New Forest with Mr. Gardner; or, perhaps, from those hippy chicks who let Alex Sanders penetrate their ever-willing hirsute orifices in Legend of the Witches. In short, Paul Huson’s descriptive advice on this remains timeless:

“The more magically powerful are the individuals belonging to a coven,
the more potent does the coven become as an entity. And it does become
an entity. If enough power is brought to it and tied in place by sufficient
emotional rapport among the members, witches believe that a pool, or
vortex of magical energy begins to form, which, if sustained by regular
performance of a ritual, not only becomes an ‘energy bank’ upon which
the comprising members can draw to supplement their personal resources,
but also an artificially constructed collective deep mind, independent in
its own right. This is the magical rational behind the formation of most
occult groups that require secrecy from their members.”

Mastering Witchcraft, 206.

In conclusion & In practicum

Let us be very clear about this: The Book of Initiated Blood envisions its rites, burnt offerings and bloody sacrifices occurring within the sacred space of a Coven. From literally the first pages of The Witchblood Grail, the author pays his dues to the path which bore him, namely: Primal Witchcraft. We see it in the manifestation of The Book of Hecate, which is to be constructed by the coven itself, for a two-fold purpose. First, it is a Temple-ready “Book of Souls,” numbering exactly 666 pages, upon which the Mother is to grant Her sigil. Second, after the latter is used as a sort of portal to the Netherwold, it is a repository of additional sigils, or “glyphs,” bestowed upon the coven by Lucifer Himself. The idea that even a non-initiated but careful reader wouldn’t see La vie qui nous choisissons ensemble is, well, stupid:

“The initiations of the Witchblood Soul. . .in which devotees names are
written within Hecate’s book, are specific to the Mother Temple [ .]
During this process the Trident Gods bestow unique initiations upon
each gatekeeper, correctly empowered at the Mother Temple, so that
they may pass the Torch of Witchflame to their fellow devotees, ignit-
ing their Witchblood in initiation.”

“Sabbat,” The Witchblood Grail, 35.

The above quote from “The Book of Souls,” the first chapter of The Book of Initiated Blood, should prove sufficient to balance the equation which has emerged from this review. In essence the first Book offers an alchemical process:


The remaining four rites which comprise the body of The Book of Initiated Blood make, if not complete sense, at least more sense when read as part of the above equation, that is, within a “traditional witchcraft vein.” My conclusion, after having studied The Witchblood Grail thoroughly, and after having witnessed the results flowing from the undertaking of its rites in the field, is that it is frankly a book that belongs back in the Dark Ages, or at least as one of Defoe’s key citations in A Journal of the Plague Year. There is scarcely one Ritus Horribilis in The Witchblood Grail that is not chthonic and macabre. In the second chapter, for example, the witches (or “outcasts” as they are called) enter into a tree spirit in a Black Wood, intending to catch a glimpse of what is known as “the Kingdom.” The third chapter follows suit: In “The Fetish Lord,” the witches are then taken deeper-down into the bowels of the earth – this time courtesy of Belial – and return with gems, jewelry, and various fetish objects which will be offered up at the Sabbath. The record of acts that occur at the latter may be for some too much to bear. The Embrace of the Dark Lord in Chapter Four, “Crowned Lord of Illumination,” reminds one, like the confessions preserved from Isobel Gowdie, that, at least in His sexual proclivities, the Devil is indiscriminate.

It remains the task of the Magus – indeed in all five books by Mark Alan Smith to date – to define his own “power source” as identified in the above equation. This power source, or “Erg” as it is sometimes called, only may be perceived by those who, according to the Freundinnen, “read between-the-lines very good.” In an effort to do just that, I would like to point out that the Elemental Power of the Forest King, a rite described in the second chapter that culminates in the acquisition of the fetishes in the third, draws its power from that same “forgotten God,” who is to be invoked alongside the Moires. About these Ladies, of course, we still don’t know much, save that they “travel closely with the great King Beliar,” “may be invoked. . .through either Hecate or King Beliar,” and, of course, have a steady appetite for human blood. Leaving nothing to chance, the witches of the Long-lost Friends coven always invoked Hecate, the Moires, and Lord Belial simultaneously prior to undertaking any of the rites of the Primal Craft. For this purpose, Summoning the Moires, a rite that appears in “Protection and Malefica” in Queen of Hell, has proven to be a workable resource, with only minor alteration when one’s purposes do not involve execration. For a concrete example, I have witnessed the empowerment of a goatskin cover for The Book of Souls, via the following:

The Sigil of the Moires which appears in “Teachers of the Arte,” p.66, in
Queen of Hell was carved upon the tome. The Circle which encircled all three
names, Clotho, Atropos & Lachesis, then was inscribed in blood drawn from the
witches. Above this Sigil was carved that of Belial, from The Goetia; to the Left
is Hecate and to the Right, Her Son. For each of the Holy Names, there was a separate
anointing and independent bloodletting, to wit: Each of the three names of the
Moires was called forth as an invocation at the time of its inscription, e.g.,
Io evohe Clotho, or Atropos, or Lachesis, as required. The names
of the Moires then were anointed with the same parfum used for the Mother and,
after each name anointed, the witches’ own blood was smeared into the oleum. The seal
of the Moires also was drawn in green ink when it was not to be carved. My testament to
this experiment ends here for to elucidate more detail than this it would be neither
prudent nor correct.

In short, and to conclude: After thorough examination of The Witchblood Grail in both text and ritual witness it is my assertion that this Primal Witchcraft Current – whether adapted for solitary or coven praxis – woven throughout both trilogies, indeed the full spectrum of Primal Craft Grimoires, is the most genuine return to the wild, feral and clearly unbridled power and praxis of True Witchcraft (be that under banner of Traditional, Primal etc).

Encompassing the Olde Ways of Sacrifice from the merging of Apocalyptic Fire Goddess and Great Beast to the Sabbats of the Devil, His Legions and their Great Dark Queen, this is Witchcraft in Praxis and Devoted Path as originally intended by its source: Hecate and Her Consort Lucifer.

The Primal Craft Grimoires covered in this review may be acquired by following the links below:

The Witchblood Grail can be purchased here:

The Altar of Sacrifice can be purchased here:
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