Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – The Grim Grand Grammarye: Making Sense of The PGM and Joining the Sabbatic Ecstasies by Coemgein Gowdie

Book Review

The Grim Grand Grammarye

Making Sense of The PGM and

Joining the Sabbatic Ecstasies

by Coemgein Gowdie

230 Pages

Publication Date: 1/14/2021

 

 

Published originally on May 5, 2020, this book can be had, conveniently through Amazon’s Kindle as well as paperback through Amazon.com.

It is confusing that on one Amazon site, it states the author is Isobel Gowdie, and another lists it as Coemgein Gowdie. Isobel Gowdie was accused of witchcraft and confessed in 1662 in Auldeare, Scotland. Her testimony was used extensively by Margaret Alice Murray, which in turn inspired Gerald Gardner’s Wicca, and scholars consider her vivid testimony of dealings with the devil as pure fabrication. They surmise that perhaps Gowdie feared for her life and made up fanciful stories to quell the Inquisitors need for grandiose tales, and others consider her to have been mentally unstable. One thing is for sure, elements of her stories were taken as truth by Murray, and copied by Gardner in his early Witchcraft. The words Coven, and having thirteen members per Coven, for example all come from Gowdie’s testimony. Perhaps she was executed, but the accounts don’t reveal her fate, and some think that she was believed, paid some form of painful penance, and was allowed to live on in obscurity until passing on from natural causes sometime down the road.

I can find no author information on either an Isobel or Coemgein- which is a Gaellic form of Kevin- but there is a Facebook page for a Coemgein Gowdie, and it shows the cover of this book, as well as photos of a man.

The books forward states the author took some time off from groups to write and do personal work. I know the work that goes into writing, and I have never taken on the monumental task of writing a 222 page book, myself. Articles and essays are what I write, and I have a lot of respect for anybody who puts their nose to the grindstone, completing such a thing as a book. Gowdie has a good grasp of history, ranging from Abrahamic to Greek, Hindu, and Mesopotamian, which is always nice to read coming from a Pagan. There is nothing more frustrating than an uneducated Pagan throwing words out, wasting the time I am stuck reading them.

However, 22 pages into the book, and I really don’t want to read any more, nor can I recommend this book to readers. The author jumps from topic to topic so madly, often forming no cohesive union in a single page, and makes few memorable points. There are some points this author makes, stating for example he or she has not dealt with any spirit that was offended by the name of Jesus. That was nice to read, because quite frankly, neither have I. But I have no use for this, personally, and it’s not enough to justify reading the whole book.

The author put a lot of loving care into their publication, but it reads as more of a listing of historic information, which is listed just for the sake of doing so. Points made are things along the lines of the evil Abrahamics have committed in their gods name, how many consider some of the pre Hebrew father gods like Marduk and El to be the same god as Yahweh, miracles happen, and there is a whole lot about Satan. There is spellwork, and a section devoted to the use of poisonous plants. He has a whole section devoted to what he believes is the true wheel of the year, which he claims is based on a more ancient calendar.

Here is a sample, “By now it should be very apparent why indigenous groups have utilized Christian material the way they have done. Relying on the animistic principles of seeing the world as forces which embody the natural world, Haitian Voodoo, Southern Conjure, Candomble, Mexican Folk Catholicism, and the innumerable other global folk traditions have syncretized the Christian God, saints, demons, and angels quite simply by seeing their attributions, basic temperament, and the herbal, mineral, and animal manifestations surrounding their appearance. Through this book I am doing my utmost to give Western readers a good deal of intellectual why to each of these syncretized conundrums but at the most pragmatic, basic level, the animistic root of applying experience is truly sufficient. “

The next paragraph veers far from this point- “I have become thoroughly convinced of the veracity of the true Holy Trinity as the Father Saturn- Hades; the Mother Kore-Hecate; and the Child, Hermaphrodite of the Living Waters; with addition of the Creator of humankind and the Earth El-Phanes (who is the embodiment of the Elohim, the 72, The Gods of All); having studied Them all again and again from the experimental, animistic, and academic perspectives. However, there are a great deal of other spirits yet to be uncovered , their true nature laid bare. “ Two paragraphs later, he is writing about the Fae. Nothing he wrote means anything to me or draws me in at all.

This reads as more as a collection of mostly Abrahamic lore than anything else. Gnosticism is alluded to, but again, little is done except to list scattered facts. Then there is quite the section of spellwork. I will say this- I disagree with telling people to go out and do spellwork all on their own. When initially learning spellwork, and dealing with spirits, one must have a mentor in the event one becomes overwhelmed, and possibly possessed. Banishing is more important than conjuring and summoning, and everybody needs a holy person to help them in the event they screw up, and need bailed out. The author also speaks of using belladonna which can be poisonous, and I do not recommend use of such plants without guidance in any way. I understand that people are going to experiment on their own with things, but it’s never a good idea to recommend use of dangerous materials. He does state he does not give enough info to use the materials safely, but states he does not take belladonna internally- which suggests it’s okay to use it topically. However, the skin absorbs things, so…But then he goes on to give exact measurements of how they may be used. He also writes of how to ingest amanita muscaria mushrooms, which don’t often result in death, but they are poisonous, and should never be used unless you have been trained to do so by somebody who is a professional, and I don’t mean by some dude who used it at home and didn’t die. Reading how to from a book is not going to get it. Page 122 includes specific measurements for a flying ointment that includes belladonna, poppy, henbane, and fly agaric, or the amanita mushroom. This is a major problem I have with this book. DO NOT DO THIS.
As much as I love history and learning, this book is an interesting read, but I draw no meaning from it, personally. This feels like a disorganized report of some research the author did, and he’s very proud of it. Research is extremely important for religious people, so we don’t fall into the trap of being lead blindly, and I’m tickled pink to see somebody be so good at researching. For this book to be useful, it needs to be organized, and to have a good index, which it doesn’t have.

My absolute favorite part of the book is his About The Author Section.

He writes, “Mr. Gowdie is a damn fool for publishing this much in a single book, but he does so with the hope of helping his family and connecting with some true friends. At first hoping to credit a female and thereby balance the world of books on Traditional Witchcraft, (besides remaining thoroughly hidden in the broom closet) Mr. Gowdie learned a valuable lesson about rigorous honesty. However, he maintains that his feminine side is certainly the source of this tome.”

Gowdie is an interesting, eclectic individual, but this book is certainly not his masterpiece, and it has some unethical entries.

The book can be had at this link:

 The Grim Grand Grammarye: Making Sense of the PGM and Joining the Sabbatic Ecstasies on Amazon

And the author has been good enough to include contact information which is:

[email protected]

Or

c/o Magister Coemgein Gowdie

200 S. Wilcox St. # 443

Castle Rock, Co. 80104

 

The Grim Grand Grammarye: Making Sense of the PGM and Joining the Sabbatic Ecstasies on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.

A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.

Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!

Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.

All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.

She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.

Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!

On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.

She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.

Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].