Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Ravenwolf Debacle

Liam Cavanagh, a contributor to Witch Vox, has posted up an article this week regarding all of the big, cliquish, elitist hatred of Silver Ravenwolf. This is something I have talked about on my show. Velma has talked about it. The two of us have talked about it. Most other podcasters at some point have talked about it.

But, what's with the hatred? Cavanagh lists what he believes are the reasons why pagans dislike the controversial author. Chief among them is that we dislike her for being successful. Then he says it's because she's fluffy - the Queen of the Fluffy Bunnies, is what he says. Then, finally, he seems to feel it's some combination of her flashy marketing capabilities and her telling teenagers to lie to their parents. (In fact, he seems to think most of her detractors base their whole view of her on the book Teen Witch.)


Now, I'm not starting anything with the author of the writer, but he's obviously a fan. A big fan. And proud of it. Good for him. That's great. And, I have to say, I completely agree with him and his message of, "Don't jump on the 'I Hate Silver Ravenwolf' bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it." That being said, while I don't want to say I hate Silver, I do not like her books, nor do I see much value in ascribing to what she writes about.

It's not about her marketing, her success, or her cotton ball mentality. However, the last point about lying to one's parents, the emphasis she puts on this moral code of hers, bothers me. In Cavanagh's words:

Finally remarking on Trayer [Ravenwolf's real name] encouraging kids to lie to their parents because it needs to be said... remember that many of you had to practice in secrecy and keep information from those you love because you were afraid that people wouldn’t understand. Many of you still do. I did not tell my parents until I was comfortable with my religion and felt comfortable enough to continue to practice it with or without their consent. It has been scientifically proven that lying is a necessary process we must all learn throughout life in order to gauge our own personal morality and understanding. In fact, lying is healthy. And we were going to lie, with or without Trayer’s encouragement anyway. I have, you have. Therefore it is a teenager’s prerogative that matters in this instance, not double standards.

Lying is healthy....

As a gay kid who was keeping that kind of secret inner turmoil from everyone to the extent where I wanted to end my life rather than keep going, I can tell you that lying is not healthy.

Be that as it may.

My problem with Ravenwolf is the same with many of the bigger names that Llewellyn seems to push: a belief and emphasis on the veracity of the Burning Times myth combined with dozens of lies about what magic and modern paganism is. She pushes an idea of what "real witches" do and don't do. She seems to not have a clue about other traditions under the pagan umbrella, like Satanism. She dresses magic up as Christian prayer. She says the Christian God and the pagan idea of the divine are the same thing. And, did I mention she fully and wholly pushes the Burning Times garbage and all that goes with it? You know, "Modern paganism as we know it is a direct descendant of ancient 'pagan' practices that were eventually hunted out by the evil, evil Christians." Etc. etc. etc.

Christians are evil, except when they're secretly pagan...or something like that.


It's not her success. It's not her Teen Witch Kit, her mass-marketed ideas of majjyckkk, or her status as Queen Fluffdumpster Bunny Mother. I could care less how someone makes a buck to feed their family. Heck, that would be the epitome of hypocrisy for a guy that sells his art and, this time next year, is hocking his book to the pagan masses.

What I despise is the unquestioning indulgence in the Great Pagan Set of Bullshit. Christians are evil. Modern paganism is thousands upon thousands of years old. Real witches have oaths and and rules and magical superpowers. The evil, evil Christians killed 9 million real witches. There was a great rooting out of people's Books of Shadows, so we had to disguise our magical tools and powers from the local Inquisitioner. And all the rest that goes along with that.

I mean, at some point, I feel like we should get a camera crew and do a Xena/Hercules style TV show filmed on New Zealand about the real witches avoiding the wicked, but conveniently stupid, town Witch Hunter. It'd be great! Unfortunately, it would probably just cement these ideas for some.

But, I write this today to ask your opinion on Silver Ravenwolf. Like her, dislike her, or feel indifferent, I want to know. And, I want to know WHY you dislike her. Is it because she's shiny, sells plastic 'magic' kits, and makes more money than most pagan authors off of her brand? Or, is it her message? Or, is it something else?

Le me know in the comments section below. I'd love to see a discussion form on the matter.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

27 comments:

  1. I've never read Ravenwolf's Teen Witch or Silver Broomstick - actually, I haven't read any of her stuff at all - but I would agree with you that the reason haters get all up in her business is because she purposely (and conveniently?) promotes the folk-, er, fake-lore that's long since been disproven. The other reason I would say (pagan and Wiccan) haters get all up in her business is because she has the audacity to define Wicca and to do so successfully. I've long had the impression that the greatest enemies to the rise of paganism is the pagan community itself: as soon as somebody steps into the spotlight and does something that's accessible to the masses or promotes one view of pagandom or Wicca the haters rally and cry foul. The blessing of an open and typically eclectic community is that everyone's welcome, but the downside can be that nobody wants anybody to say what they do or don't believe. Shame on Ravenwolf (and I suppose Llewellyn, too) for promoting fakelore, but all the power to her - if her haters spent as much time writing similar books for a similar audience I don't think the pagan community would still be fussing over Teen Witch.

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  2. I used to be a huge fan of her work. I've probably read most of her books, INCLUDING teen witch. And, to be honest, I still consult that Big Book of Shadows from time to time, simply because it is an easy, reliable source of quick information. However, the more I read of her work the more I started to feel that she was not showing multiple ways of doing things like she professed. She shows one way and claims it to be correct, without considering all the other paths. The more I read, the more it started to feel hollow. So while I respect her to some extent, I no longer feel that her words are the right guide for my path. Her work is excellent as a starter guide onto the pagan path, and I think she should keep doing what she does, because without her a lot of people might not even know about the existence of magic. But after a certain point, you have to start looking for more.

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  3. I agree with Dream, RavenWolf's books are good starter books. I'm going to throw in a few caveats and addenda though...they're good starter books for the freshly-minted newbie, and you really should stick to her earliest books. Her later ones, by dint of rehashing the same bloody 101 material and Murrayisms, are really quite poor. These are the books that made me dislike RavenWolf (well, them and the way she MashesTogether words), and I feel like a huuuuuuge hipster, but "Silver RavenWolf was so much better before she got popular." I wouldn't feel bad recommending her earlier books to beginners, but I would definitely want them to balance their reading with a few other (and probably more reputable) authors. Of course, being an academic, I'd say that about pretty much any 101 books. All I want for my fellow Pagans is to grow out of their training wheels and start relying on more academic sources.

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  4. I think, like with any book that in which a particular path is the topic, it should be taken with a grain of salt. No author is going to be completely accurate. However, it doesn't mean someone can't get something worth holding on to out of it.
    I'm not ashamed to admit that Ravenwolf's books are some of the first I read when I started on the path I am on now. I agree with Roy and say that I found them to be great starting points, from which I was able springboard.
    I have always read books through a filter, and as such, I can see the book for what it's worth, both good and bad.I've been practicing for 10 years now, and can say that while I've found more in-depth writings elsewhere, I had to start from somewhere. That somewhere just happens to be her books.
    Having said that, I neither love nor hate her books. I give her credit where credit is due...she has talent for marketing. She's been successful. I personally don't see anything wrong with that. I do not agree with the fictional history she's chosen to go with, but again, I've been able to read her books through my ever-present filter.
    I also don't agree with the pagan community slamming her. If you don't like her books, you don't have to buy them. If an initiate asks you for a starter book, don't point them toward her works, only to slam the author later. It's like people who tell you they hate a particular show. They rant on and on about how much they just absolutely despise it. That's fine. Just don't watch it. Move on. Find something else to watch.

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  5. Every once in a while this conversation re emerges. Personally, I think that Silver's books make for a great slab to start building your witchy skeleton on. They are foundation books and fun to read ones at that. I wouldn't even call them 101 books. . . they are more like that pre algebra class, a bridge between places.

    I think bagging on Silver is about as useful as bagging on the cement block that your house is sitting on. Yes she comes off as fluffly, yes, she did say that you should lie to your parents * not my favorite* Does this make her worthy of the fluffy pagan pariah award???? highly unlikely. In my book, Silver is training wheel rated and to be quickly followed up with Judika Illes!

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  6. As a person who started studying the craft very young I did read a couple of Silver Ravenwolf's books and when I did I believed a lot of what she said because I was very young and thought, "Well, if it's in a book then it must be true!" After growing up and realizing that to be incorrect I found that her books perpetuating this myth was doing a great disservice to the young people that come to Wicca and take it for truth. (I tend to have a slight obsession with having facts to back up your claims now that I am out of the hormonal teenage phase.) That being said her books just don't do it for me and I think that for many people once you pass the age of eighteen, you grow up and move onto the good stuff.

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  7. I've noticed that as my Path has become more and more complex and deeper, the books I find tend to pander to the new things I'm learning or believing. In that same train of thought: I began my foray in paganism with Cunningham and Ravenwolf. At the time I loved both of them dearly and would swear by what was in their books. But as I got older I began questioning certain aspects of their work, specifically the focus on WhiteLightAndPuppyTails. I moved more in the direction of Starhawk, T. Thorn Coyle, and the Andersons of the Feri Tradition.
    Looking back at Ravenwolf, I think that she introduces the religion fairly well to a newcomer. Quite frankly, no one wants to read a book on a religion with disclaimers and warnings. The lighter side and simpler beliefs of Wicca discussed in her books although the spiritual aspect is almost completely disregarded. There is a focus on magic/magick/majik whatever. Its a basic beginner's book (by which I mean ANY of her books are basic beginners books).
    I have to give Ravenwolf credit for creating a pretty good image for the Craft. In "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" she also lists multiple books at the end of each chapter that delve much deeper into the topics of the chapter with her own book acting as almost a transition book. A book to soften the blow between Christianity and Witchcraft.
    The woman also undeniably has a fantastic writing voice, no matter what your thoughts of her are. Her writing is very informal and rarely dry. Some might say that talent should stay in fiction. I wouldn't necessarily argue.
    Now for the bad.
    Silver Ravenwolf gives absolutely no warning of some of the darker sides of Wicca and Witchcraft. Simply by stating that Satanists aren't true Witches, Ravenwolf gives a very prejudiced opinion of what REAL Witchcraft is. In the tradition of Cunningham, Ravenwolf also goes on to say that "black magic" doesn't actually work and only "good magic" does (but there are protection spells just in case!).
    Well imagine my surprise when I first read the Satanic Bible. Satanism, despite what Ravenwolf says, is a religion of Witchcraft, just like Wicca and, of course, they practice "dark magic" (although not exclusively of course.) One can then look to other systems of magic in the world like Hoodoo (which Ravenwolf claims to be a priestess of) where hexes are flung left and right constantly. This is magic. This is magic working. And this is magic proving Ravenwolf wrong.
    There were other things that Ravenwolf neglected to mention or even outright said was "not real magic" were things such as Sex Magic, and the power of blood in rituals.
    Ravenwolf never said that a Witches' Bottle should be filled with urine though she includes a recipe in her book.
    Ravenwolf also never talks about the magical properties of more taboo things such as blood, semen, menstrual blood, vaginal fluids etc... Which authors such as Thorn Coyle and Starhawk speak about in depth.
    There is never mention of drug use in ritual or ritual self harm.
    I understand why Ravenwolf keeps these things out of her books, I really do. These sorts of things scare off a lot of people and, had I not been weaned into witchcraft, perhaps it would have frightened me as well.
    But even if it is scary or dark or won't sell as many books, these things are a part of witchcraft, both past and present.
    So, even though I probably got really long-winded and off-topic, my opinion on Ravenwolf is that she provides a service for the community but at the same time... she does it in a fluffy bunny way, completely ignoring less RabbitsShitRainbows aspects of the Craft which is very annoying.

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  8. I started practicing magic when I was 11 and living in a very small town. Teen Witch is the first witchy book I ever purchased. It was also one of the only pagan books at the big chain bookstore where I shopped. I have a soft spot for that book and Silver Ravenwolf's other books as well. I think they're helpful for teens coming from a Christian background and trying to make sense of the Craft. That being said, when I re-read them now they seem kinda dorky and sugary. They definitely helped me at the time though.

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  9. I will admit: I have Silver's books. That being said, I haven't read the broomstick trilogy in ages and I think her Book of Shadows & Silver's spells trilogy are the ones I find to be worth owning. I got them because I like authors who have easy to understand, down to earth & sometimes humorous styles (also why I like Ellen Dugan & Bronwen Forbes). In fact, I'm glad this whole topic came up, because I always hear about how people hate her, but had no idea why. I'm a rather practical, simple person & that's how I like my authors...not just in the Craft, but most all books I read. I'd also like to add, instead of spending so much time on bashing SRW, why don't more knowledgeable Craft folk instead promote all those authors that exemplify the type of books those starting out should read and which ones they should try after they move on. While I'm not a newbie, I find I'd like more info on the next step (I think this is where most of us get stuck...maybe this is where as a community, we should start focusing our attention). Mercedes

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  10. Hi,

    I am also a bisexual kid; lying in regards to ones sexuality is not healthy, but it still is a necessary approach to life, I think. Kids at school will have more impact on how a kid will decide for himself whether he should tell people he/she is gay, regardless of how much tolerance the GLBT community have today. Yes its destructive, but like I said, we were going to lie, with or without Trayer telling us too. In general, the essay tried to point to the overall Trayer bashing, rather than points taken from Teen Witch. I can see why you would think that *I* think the arguments come from Teen Witch; and I imagine that is something I will have to work on when writing in the future. I'm no amazing writer, but you have to start somewhere. I just think the arguments should decrease about what we are talking about (all the time), and increase in our positive attitudes towards those who have done a hell of a lot for our community. Okay, she has done this and that. This and that, Yep, thats fine. Now, lets move on, and see her as moving force in our movement to tolerance and recognition, and freedom to practice our religions within the world. That was the heart of my essay anyway.

    Thanks for posting about it on your blog, it means a lot. Blessings.

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  11. Is it wrong that I was waiting for your rebuttal on this? ;)

    I, like most people who have commented already, also started with Ravenwolf's literature as a teenager. When searching the internet, especially at that point in time, all one got was the same rehashing of Ravenwolf's information, so I figured she must know what she was talking about.

    I'll admit, I went through an angry torch and pitchfork waving phase, when I found out that everything she wrote was basically skewed to one point of view, particularly on the Burning Times Mythos. One can read such things with a grain of salt when the books were first published in the 60's and 70's because Murray's thesis hadn't been thoroughly and publicly debunked yet.

    However, Ravenwolf's books were written in the 90's. She should have known better. And the fact that she perpetuates such information as Pagan Gospel does far more damage to the 101 set. At best, you are left with a resentful bunch of former book owners when they dig deeper into their faith. At worst, you have entire covens that are based solely on Ravenwolf's work, with some Cunningham thrown in if your lucky.

    I distinctly remember waiting for the last HP book at a Borders a few years ago, hanging out in the New Age/Witchy section to kill time, when a person interested in delving into Paganism wanted to know what to read. EVERYONE pointed her to the Ravenwolf. Even the Cunningham was ignored.

    And if that doesn't frighten you, it should.

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  13. I find this a little confusing. Why would people
    keep on writting about events that have been
    proved to be untrue?
    I started with mythology and archaeology books, I
    only read pagan 'how to' books once I wanted to
    take things further and start doing ritual. I
    assumed that most people did the same, but it
    seems that I am a bit old school.

    Falsehoods or opinions should not be presented
    as fact. This leads to people being misled.
    Opinions should be presented as such, but many
    authors have such strong convictions that they
    forget that they are just their opinions. This is bad authorship.

    I dislike fluffy bashing. What's wrong with people
    wanting to just live on light side of life? People are
    all different and I know some who are all love &
    light and some who are doom & dark. Let people
    live the life they want to (within reason - no
    murders please!), we have no right to impose our
    values on others. How can we be so sure that we
    are right?

    As for SRW, it sounds like she is guilty of bad
    authorship but no more. I think people like to
    hate her because it feeds into our elitism mindset.

    If we aren't bashing Christians we are bashing
    those that we feel aren't being pagan enough.
    So well done Silver for being successful. Shame
    on you for bad authorship.

    But that's just my opinion. Take it or leave :-p
    I find this a little confusing. Why would people
    keep on writting about events that have been
    proved to be untrue?
    I started with mythology and archaeology books, I
    only read pagan 'how to' books once I wanted to
    take things further and start doing ritual. I
    assumed that most people did the same, but it
    seems that I am a bit old school.

    Falsehoods or opinions should not be presented
    as fact. This leads to people being misled.
    Opinions should be presented as such, but many
    authors have such strong convictions that they
    forget that they are just their opinions. This is bad authorship.

    I dislike fluffy bashing. What's wrong with people
    wanting to just live on light side of life? People are
    all different and I know some who are all love &
    light and some who are doom & dark. Let people
    live the life they want to (within reason - no
    murders please!), we have no right to impose our
    values on others. How can we be so sure that we
    are right?

    As for SRW, it sounds like she is guilty of bad
    authorship but no more. I think people like to
    hate her because it feeds into our elitism mindset.

    If we aren't bashing Christians we are bashing
    those that we feel aren't being pagan enough.
    So well done Silver for being successful. Shame
    on you for bad authorship.

    But that's just my opinion. Take it or leave :-p

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  14. Sorry about the double posting - no idea why it keeps doing it!Sorry about the double posting - no idea why it keeps doing it!

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  15. For me, it's not her shitty bubbly ball of light witchy crap books. It's not even her 't3h buurrrning thymes' attitude, because lets be honest; there are other 101 authors that subscribe to that too.

    It's the fact that she's branched out. She's a misinformation machine! She's got books on hedgewitchery and american folk magic now too.

    I will bet good money that she re-packaged her ball of light witchy crap in a folk magic veneer.

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  16. Please excuse my mini novel, lol.. My comment was also stated on MrsB’s post about this topic. I’m reposting it here (hope you don’t mind) because it fits the questions you have asked.

    I liked (Liam Cavanagh) writing style in the WitchVox article, and how they pointed out the "simple facts” of both sides of the fence. This issue has been coming up for what 10 yrs now, and in all honesty, I have never really understood what all the hype was about. Also, let’s not forget, “we pride ourselves on NOT being “close minded blind followers”, and no 1 person can make our break our path because “we” are the ones creating it through our life’s journey.

    As for books, HA!, I pretty much own every Pagan book on the market, proudly might I add. Someone comes to my house and doesn’t like what’s on my multitude of shelves, well “there’s the door”.

    I look at it like this. Books are (1) persons opinion, who just happens to have enough money, to self publish and/or catch the eye of a publisher (who’s looking to make money). Just because something is written in a book does NOT mean its gospel! I believe we can all understand that comment. Anyway, a book is just like the internet, you have the good, bad and ugly, and YOU have to be smart enough to weed through it.

    I personally use all my books as reference. If I’m looking for a answer to a question, I’ll drag them ALL out and research what (everybody) have to say, then choose what ( I ) agree with and what works best for me. Remember, just because something works for one person, doesn’t always mean its right, or going to work for you.

    As for Silver’s books, well, I see it as a sign of the times. Her books hit the market about the same time as Buffy/Charmed/Supernatural, and I personally feel that the publisher was looking to ride that wave. Think about it, TV, book publishing, it’s all about catching the markets eye and making money. (Reality TV being a good example). Silver’s books are like all books, it has it’s good parts and it’s not so good parts. It is up to YOU to decide what works for your personal path and what doesn’t. Also, let’s not forget, 7,8,9 yrs ago, before the internet became easy and everyone could have a web page. Where did people go for information?, the book stores. And what was on the shelves, in the very back corner, of the one horse country town store?, 2 books, Cunningham and Ravenwolf. People might not admit it, but that’s where a lot got there first stepping stones to there journeys path.

    On the topic of Silver’s books and kids. Well, I’m old school, and believe the parents should be the ones who decide what there underage kids read. Now, with that said, like “Life” if kids come across something that they have questions about, or confuses them, parents should be open minded enough to (accept there children for who they are) and the kids should be able to approach there parents with questions and the parents explain what’s fact or fiction.

    Last but not least the “Fluffy Bunny” term. Personally I think it’s childish, rude, and disrespectful! No different than children on a school yard playground spouting hate names. Only difference here is it’s (Adults) being childish with the name calling. Everyone has to start somewhere and just because a person has been on a journey a little longer than someone else, “Does Not” make them any better. Who are (we) to tell someone else what’s good or bad for them, and how to live there life? We don’t like it when someone does it to us. Always remember to be respectful of others belief’s, and never force “your” opinions’ on others. What works for one, may not work for another.

    Have a Very Blessed and Fabulous Day, and thank you for allowing me to post.

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  17. My problem with SRW is that she keeps writing about different paths of witchcraft and Wiccanizing them, when in reality, they have little or nothing to do with Wicca. Or karma, feng shui and chakras!! The Hedgewitch book was a perfect example of this mismash of misinformation, with little focus on the shamanic aspects of being a hedgewitch.

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  18. I have yet to read an occult/Pagan author whose works I agree with 100%. Many leave me with more questions than answers. There are quite a few books which leave me more than slightly incredulous, and they aren't all authored by Silver Raven Wolf.There is a lot of bad scholarship out there beyond her-a lot. Much of it to be found in the musty old tomes we Pagans seem to love because they are somehow more authentic than the ones between slick covers with little crescent moons on the spine. The bottom line is that books are written from the author's perspective,and if it works for them, then it does. If it works for you, then it does. The source doesn't really matter, does it?

    I like her Halloween book and the BOS because it's a good reference where a lot of basic information can be found quickly in one place.

    I don't like her constant harping on The Burning Times, or her insistence that the type of ritual being done now is exactly what was done in the Stone Age.And I really don't care for the constant flogging of Christians-from anyone. There are good and bad in all traditions. Let's recognize that and then let it go. The hippy-witch pseudo New Age feel of her books set my teeth on edge, as does the whole slick commercial presentation of them. Otherwise, it's to each their own, take it or leave it, in my opinion.

    My problem is the tendency for a particular super cool elitist segment of the Pagan Community to attempt to dictate what everyone should and should not read, or practice.I am tire of the mentality that if the author wears priestly robes s/he is more legit than the person in the designer suit. I am tried of being told what is and isn't 'authentic or 'genuine'. The bottom line is, if it works, it works, and who cares about the author's pedigree? We waste too much time and energy on tearing others down and scrutinizing them to death. If you don't like a particular author's books ( for whatever reason), then don't support their work.

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  19. Her Silver Broomstick book was the first witchy book that I’ve read in English. In Hungary there aren’t a lot of books available and I have to say the translations sometimes are the worst ever. To me that particular book was useful to get a basic understanding and get to know the terminology better (although now I don’t agree with some of her definitions). Now that I’m all grown up, I don’t particularly like or dislike her. Still consult her Book of Shadows sometimes but I certainly agree with Lori R. on the Hedgewitch book.

    She (like most authors with their own agenda) has her place in the pagan community. But as far as I see it the general rule applies here: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Don’t like Silver Ravenwolf, don’t read her. I’d say everyone should read one of her books just to get a different perspective but if you don’t agree with what she says then don’t incorporate it into your practice. Also if you think lying to your parents is a bad thing, don’t do it just because she says so. As Velma once said (don’t remember the exact words), if you think the book is utter crap you’ve already learned something and know what NOT to do. Go to the next one.

    How and why she got such huge publicity or is favored over other authors is a complete mystery to me. What I don’t get is why does this seem to be such a big issue? She’s like most authors. When you sit down to read a book (any book from any author) make sure you take it with a pinch or rather a chunk of salt. All books, any books. Not because traditions and practices vary (and the author might follow a different path than you do), but because no matter what type of craft you do, your practice is one of the most subjective and intimate things you can share with another person about yourself. There is a plethora of good beginner books out there and she most likely won’t be the only author that a person starting on their path will read. At least she shouldn’t be the only one...

    In my opinion having a moral code has nothing to do with Christianity. In terms of lying to your parents most people’s gut response is, no don’t do it, it’s wrong. Mine was too. But I gave it a bit of thought and realized I can imagine things and situations that a teenager might (not necessarily lie about) but not share with their parents. Like how and when you lost your virginity. Your parents probably did their best raising you so when you get to certain age you should already know what’s gonna happen. You know to stay safe and to use protection (indeed there are a lot of weirdos out there). But the parents don’t really need to know the details, do they...?

    In essence these two are the same thing. What you do with your life and what path you chose is ultimately your choice and you’re the one who has to live with that choice. I’m not saying it doesn’t have an effect on other people around you, consider them if you can making your decision, but ultimately it’s all about you. Read and practice as much as you can, incorporate useful things from different authors into your practice, learn to tweak spells and the sky is the limit...

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  20. I agree with the whole if you don't like her, don't read her. Personally I own 3 of her books. The solitary witch, a book of protection spells and the witches notebook. In other comments on this website I state I do not follow one path or the other, mainly because I believe religion is man made and that true spirituality comes from with in. I'm a witch but Im not wicca or druid or satanist. I am just me.

    When I started doing magick I started as a christian Witch. I got a hold of gnostic Gospels and realized that what I have been feeling since birth is true! Magick Exists! I have nothing against silver Ravenwolf. Her fluffy bunny books helped me to not be afraid of my own powers. Then eventually I started rejecting Christianity and I now like to read DJ Conway (who has written on every kind of magick there is, including egyptian, drudism, and other pagan paths, even has books on dragon Magick) and cunningham more than silver, but her books are still good basic reference points. When I pick up Silver's Books they feel right to me.

    The question for me isn't about what is good or bad literature, but what is most helpful on my journey to practicing Magick. Sometimes that bad authorship/literature can help someone else. Don't get me wrong, Her viewpoint on what true magick is and stuff, is misguided. But I don't really care because that's a personal individualistic belief which she has every right to express. Do I believe in the same things she does? No I do not, but that doesn't mean she is a bad person. I don't hate her nor do I dislike her or wish her ill will. People who say they hate her are just promoting more hate towards the whole concept of hate in general, not only that but it produces harmful energies that can come back as karma.

    I also like to point out that some of the the same things is happening with Wicca Schools or Magick Schools. Some people believe there should be a legit hierarchy and school much like how the christian pastors and priests get their credentials. I think, with the Magick Schools that are out their, they are trying to institutionalize Wicca and have a hierarchy much like that of Christianity when I don't believe that is what is right. It happened to christianity and now look where that religion is at? They are loosing more and more believers by the decade. It is the institutionalization of Christianity that is what made the Christian Faith so messed up in the first place because institutionalizing something means that there is the belief in power and control. The path shouldn't be about power and control.

    In any case I don't think she is stating that her opinions are the only way. I think people draw those conclusions on their own based on their intellectual perceptions. I think she states her opinions, then provides information based on what she feels is right and based on her opinions, just like these blogs are designed to do, as well as many of the books out there do. Why hate her for that when everyone else is doing the same thing?

    Yes some things she believes I feel can be misguided but so many things and people these days are misguided and blinded by religion itself without fully doing all the research anyway. I don't think people should hate her to the extent that people do because what shes doing is human nature, and in this country of the USA, she has the freedom of press and freedom of speech, so however controversial her ideas become she still has the right to say it regardless of what we think of her.

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  21. Well I happen to love SilverRavenwolf. She is the sole reason I started on my path in the first place. If you're actually a teenager and read her books like I did, they do actually help. There are some things she says in her books that I don't agree with but the same can be said about most pagan authors.
    In fact, until ten minutes ago, I didn't even know people hated her(frown frown). I always thought we were supposed to be tolerant of others and their beliefs? You don't agree with what she says or dislike her fluffy bunny ways? Congradulations! I'm sure there are plenty of people who would disagree with your beliefs as well.
    It appalls me that pagans would hate on an author simply because they don not like her work. And honestly, for the first time, I feel a little ashamed to be called pagan.

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  22. I was given a copy of one of her books, Solitary Witch, when my interest in Wicca was still just an interest and not something I was actively trying to involve myself in (not for lack of wanting to). I knew the basics, more or less, such as the Wiccan Rede. I wanted to learn more.

    I was excited for a book aimed at a solitary practitioner, since I live in a tiny rural area. I'm going to be 100% honest, though -- when I saw the name "Silver Ravenwolf," I hesitated. I'd never heard of her before, it was just that such a flashy name sounded less serious and more like a 14 year old girl on LiveJournal. Her rituals and magic in general just seemed very frivolous to me. Not so much paying homage to the God and Goddess, but just magic for magic's sake. It was all very fake to me.

    I only recently discovered that a lot of people seem not to like her, yet an equal amount of people suggest her works. I personally wouldn't suggest them, but to each their own. I just don't feel like the heart and soul of Wicca was what the point of the book I read was about, and as a newcomer to the Craft, I think that sort of glaring flaw should be sort of shameful. Again, that's just me.

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  23. The reason I have issues with Raven Silverwolf are more based on ethical problems more that her writing. I use to work at the Divine Light books Store in Steelton, PA. Silver use to teach classes there in the mid 1980's. On Tarot ect. Classes were held in the open back area so it was easy for me to listen in, one of the free perks of working at a store like that. Or that's what I thought.
    During the next couple of months while working and she held her classes, I had to put holes through my tongue, biting it to keep my mouth shut. Between the poor information and the shameless self promotion that was happening.... And to make things worse a lot of the information she claimed as her own, was stolen from a coven that was running in the area since the mid 1960's. Then during the height of her fame, she encouraged her zombie tagalongs to browbeat and threaten any who disagreed with her or her writing. She was definitely red lighting several of the items listed on the "Signs of a Cult" list published by Bonewits. One the fame started to die down, and the groupies ran things did get a little more sane.
    Don't get me wrong I am glad when anyone in the Pagan/Metaphysical field can do well as an author. And the truth of it be told, authors don't make a lot of money on the books, the money is made in personal appearances and by doing events. Publishers like Llewellyn are hell to work with and the percentages poor, but for a new author they were the only game in town back then. Thank the Goddess for E-Publishing.
    But I think the biggest problem with Silver, as far as many people are concerned, is that she is basically a Christian Witch. Now most of you are probably going Hun... by now and I don't blame you the two terms do seem the ultimate oxymoron, up there with military intelligence and honest politician. There is a theme of intolerance of other religions in her books, but yet she comes out as against many of the established practices like being sky-clad. Saying it should be never done. If she reversed her position on this in later book, I do not know. I will leave it to this article to into more depth on some of the concerns about her books.
    http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/ravenwolf.shtml

    Thanks for Reading and Blessed Be :)
    Shamus Ullerson

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  24. Like so many others, Silver's book (Silver Broomstick) was the first pagan book I ever purchased. And actually the second, because my mom found the first copy and burned it, lol. But that story kind of makes my point. I can understand why she encourages teenagers to lie about it. In a perfect world, a kid could talk about it with open minded and supportive parents. Then said family would go get ice cream and live happily ever after. That is not a realistic scenario for a lot of kids. I know it wasn't for me.

    She is certainly not the first pagan author to promote "the burning times". Although greatly exaggerated, it's not entirely untrue. In "broomstick" she makes a comment on religions that will accommodate you if you want to grovel before divinity. Growing up in a somewhat repressive Christian household; I found this very inspiring and ballsy. I don't promote hatred of Christians and neither does Silver, but you would be a fool to deny the all encompassing and often negative influence that particular religion has had on societies and cultures for the last 2000 years.

    And lastly, to say that she is the "Queen of Fluffy Bunnies" is such elitist bullshit. A spell or ritual does not have to be complicated to work. You're energy and intention combined with divine assistance can make for a very powerful spell; even without all the bells and whistles. She often talks about magick as being a science, which personally I think is great; she acknowledges that all the incense and statues and ritual tools are simply mood setting props. They aren't necessary or required to perform magick. Magick is simply energy work, that's all. Don't get me wrong; I love all the extras. I love the religion of wicca, but I also know I can perform a spell sitting in my car at a red light.

    I personally think that most of the Silver hate has to do with jealousy and bitterness. Making nasty judgmental rantings about a fellow member of our community looks far worse than anything she could write in her books. She has a casual and funny writing style; that doesn't make the material worthless. She's successful because people find her accessible, not because she's some sort of marketing mastermind. All the flashy book covers in the world won't sell a book if it sucks. You don't have to agree with everything she's written. Hell, I don't either, but I also don't agree with many other pagan authors. I see nothing wrong with simplistic. She also suggests dozens of books for more indepth study. I personally think it's sad that part of the pagan community can be so cruel and childish.

    Shannon Baker

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  25. She's awful. Her irrational hatred of Christianity shines through in everything she does and let's be honest - was it actually necessary for her to take on such a ridiculous pseudonym? As if pagans and occultists weren't already subject to enough sneering disdain from "normal" people without her adding to the issue by giving herself a name that seems designed to conform to all the common stereotypes of the stupid, floaty, brainless wiccan.

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  26. She has no concept of what Wiccans really are and if she insist on being call one well then she's just a Warlock. (Just so you know I am using it as a bad Wiccan who has broken the only two laws we have.) My boyfriend has more knowledge on this then she does and he just started yesterday.

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