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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 1999
The halloween book has made it's way respectively into our public library... even a christian librarian reccomended the book. It's a wonderful tool to show people that witches are not evil hags... and it tells perfectly well how the holiday was twisted into haloween. I reccomend this one highly. For those who would call Silver Fluff... yes she writes on a level that is a little fluffy... but it gets people to open their minds about our faith... and it gets people to think about our customs and traditions in a positive light. Silver should be commended for all that she has done and I hope that the Goddess will keep inspiring her. As for the occult bookstore owner. Would you reccomend the farrar's to a christian parent concerned about what their children are getting into? I wouldn't. This is a perfect book to show them... it is written on a level that is comprehendable... and it also gives good recipes and family fun. -- Blessed Be!
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2002
This book combines excellent scholarship with creativity and a joyful sense of fun. It explores the popular holiday of Halloween as well as the more serious and spiritual side of the pagan sabbat Samhain. You don't have to be a pagan to enjoy this book because it has many, many lighthearted and clever ideas that will entertain even if Halloween is purely a fun night of make-believe for you. Fortunately it takes Samhain seriously enough to be satisfactory to pagans who require a bit more substance in this holiday's revels. Interspersed with seasonal artwork the book starts out with a thorough look at Samhain and Halloween history. Customs and traditions such as Jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, bonfires, among others are discussed. Superstitions and many Halloween symbols are detailed. The chapter on divination is informative and lots of fun. Colorful kitchen witchery offers up some delicious recipes that are wonderful for parties or just for seasonal family fare. A meaningful and enjoyable section on Halloween Magick shares ideas for spells, blessings, charms, and ritual. An important aspect of Samhain, that of honoring the dead, is discussed with helpful ideas for adding meaning and respectful reflection. Many delightful poems from various sources grace the opening chapter pages and they in turn can be used when crafting one's own sabbat rituals.
This book does not tippy-toe around and pretend to be a book that won't offend anyone. It is a book by a Wiccan for other Wiccans but as always, the door is open, step through and enjoy as you will.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 1999
I enjoyed this book thoroughly. For the modern practitioner, its important to have books like this to help remind us that magick isn't all about seriousness! I feel this book is legitimate and embraces innocence in life.
Silver proposes wonderful ways to celebrate Halloween in a fun, simple and magickal manner. I'm tired of huffy puffy books that are uptight and oh-so-serious. It's good to see that Silver hasn't fallen to cynicism in both her writing and her magick.
What I really enjoyed was the history on Halloween. She takes you through each age and explains how Halloween was during that time frame, proving that Halloween (though it was not known as such back in the day) is older than Christmas!
Personally, I'm relieved that this book was upbeat and fun. Some call it childish, but it's probably for the better. I'd have the living beegeezus scared outta me if someone chucked a bunch of serious and solemn rituals at me to do on what's been known as the scariest night of the year! This book has helped me see Halloween in a healthier light.
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40 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly, there aren't a lot of books written on Samhain in comparison to the other sabbats. So, I was pretty excited when I found this book. I am always eager for books with recipes, as well, since I am a failure cook unless I have a recipe to follow.
I hate to leave a bad review for such a well-loved book, but I was honestly infuriated that I had spent money on this shlock of fluff. First of all, the "Mama-Silver-as-a-tour-guide" theme of this book disgusts me -- it is really unnessesary and only takes away from the book. I mean, is she SERIOUS in trying to sell this book to adults? Nowhere on this book does it say "especially for kids". We don't need to be taught in a cheesy tour-guide voice in order to understand the history of halloween. Period.
The history of Halloween described in the beggining is rambly, fluffy, and overall poorly written. I got bored of it quickly, and skipped over some parts of it because I just could not stand it any longer. After that, I was still hopeful that the spells and recipes wouldn't be so bad.
Alas, I was disappointed with those sections as well. The spells I can't say too much about, they are no better than any you can find in other wiccan books. The recipes are extremely disappointing, as Most of them are just different versions of the same thing (i.e. several different kinds of punch, two different kinds of apples...). Quite a few of them hardly even have anything to DO with Samhain traditionally, other than the fact that they contain pumpkin. Popcorn balls? Donuts? Corn on the cob? These are all things that one eats at pretty much any time of the year, and have nothing to do with Samhain. I wanted real recipes that I could serve at a Samhain celebration, not little in-the-kitchen projects that are supposed to be 'fun for the whole family' or whatever.
If you can't find another book about Samhain, try "The Wheel of the Year" by Pauline Campanelli instead of this title. Ravenwolf's "Halloween: Customs, Recipes, and Spells" is NOT for serious witches, and I wouldn't reccomend it to non-Witches either. Don't be decieved by the title like I was -- or you'll regret spending your hard earned cash.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 1999
I bought this book on a whim (I add to my holiday collections yearly) and was pleasantly surprised not only by the accuracy of the information presented, but also by the practical ideas expressed in the book. My congratulations for dispelling more of the misinformation that surrounds this fun yet touching holiday. If you have children, this book will provide tons of useful information to fire their imaginations. If you have ever lost someone you loved to death (and who hasn't), you will find comforting ideas to help you remember and communicate with them. Blessed be!
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35 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 1999
This is a very good book for those who need to learn more about the various Sabbats. I hope Silver will write aout some of the others as well. As always Silver does her research well and this book is no different, she offers plenty of information about the history of the Craft and the holiday itself. Is it slanted in "our direction"? Probably a bit, but that's okay, we deserve a small break.
The has seven chapters, is filled with lots of "fun stuff", great recipes, and interesting tidbits of information. she does her best to dispell misconceptions about the Craft, although I doubt that this book will be read by "those folks." It will be read by thousands of young folks and people who have open minds and are seeking information. They won't be disappointed! Silver RavenWolf is one of our strongest writers and a true advocate for women and spiritual activism. I am a friend and a fan of Silver's and I consider her contributions to this world to be of real importance. She gets people to think, to act, and to be the best that they can be!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2000
Silver has not only given some of the history of Halloween, but gave some great ways on how to celebrate it and make it your own. This is a wonderful book for starting your own Halloween traditions. It covers everything from food recipes and divination to rituals and spells. Whether you celebrate Samhain or just want to get a more indepth view of the holiday, this book shares some good basic information. I dig it out before each Samhain and use it throughout the season. It really puts me in the Halloween spirit!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 1999
First of all, I think that most, not all, but most of the people who attack this book probably didn't read it! Notice in their reviews they didn't really mention the content of the book itself, please, ignore those reviews. Her chapter on history is pretty good and quite interesting, but a gets a bit fluffy, especially at the very beginning when she mentions the paleopagans, i'm not sure why she went on and on when there was no information to really write about. She attacks Christianity, which is legitimate, but may offend non-pagan readers or historians who have doubts about neo-pagan author's perspectives on the Burning Times. Her chapters on symbols and traditions and customs are excellent, but on her mentioning of the Mexican day of the dead she needs to distinguish city practices from folk practices. Not all, if barely any, city people practice the folk customs she mentions, once again, she may offend a small crowd. I loved her chapter on divination, but there are easier ways to make a scrying magick mirror....and good luck finding eyebright and wormwood for use on the mirror. She has a great chapter on Magick (I like Silver's spells, I don't care what anyone says, she writes good ones and has good ideas) and some excellent and most interesting recipes like divination doughnuts, green man cake, and sugar snakes in the graveyard. Her chapter on death is quite interesting and includes a variety of information and practices about speaking with the dead and accepting the death of a loved one....but....one may wonder who the Great Gubba is in one of her rituals, I am still wondering who the Great Gubba is? Finally, good information from another author on current Druidic Samhain practices. All in all this is an excellent book, but Christians who read this book should remember that this book was not written by a Christian, it was written by a Wiccan. It may offend a variety of readers in a variety of ways. This is not a university text, those who have complaints about the seriousness of this study should look for other books, this book was not written to possibly bore the reader with serious historical facts, but on that note, maybe she should have put more information about Samhain itself in this book. If Halloween is an area that interests you, I do reccomend this book! Bye.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2005
The book is separated into 7 chapters, covering a pretty impressive variety of Halloween lore, beleifs and activities.

The first 3 chapters explore the history of halloween, the customs surrounding it, and the superstitions associated with it. These chapters are interesting, but show a slant toward the mainstream halloween more than the pagan holiday of Samhain. Many parts of this are highly speculative as she tries to associate just about every piece of history with witchcraft. The history in these chapters may not be completely reliable, but it's a fairly interesting read.

Chapter four is all about divinations. This chapter somehow manages to find a bizarre balance between taking divination seriously and writing it off as a bunch of party games. The only method she goes into any great detail on is casting runes, and actually suggests making them out of pumkin seeds. This is also a chapter where she spends alot of time dwelling on apples. She has alot to say about apples in this book. More than pumpkins. There was one think about this chapter that bothered me, mostly because it seemed to have either have been written out of ignorance, or to avoid offending a certain minority of people. It was in regards to communicating with the dead: "never try to contact anyone who had a history of abuse, criminal behavior, or mental dysfunction. The only exception here would be an Alzheimer's Patient, who will retain his or her original faculties after death." How does she know this? Did she contact dead people who had every diagnosable mental illness and finally conclude that Alzheimer's was the only one that went away after death? I'm not going to go into the various mental illness and explain why that was absurd, if you're curious about how alzheimer's compares to other mental illnesses, then you can look into it, but the bottom line seems to be she didn't want her readers to think she was telling them they couldn't contact their grandfather who suffered mental lapses before he died. She should have just said to avoid contacting people who were dangerous. On the issue of contacting the dead at all, that would be a matter of personal conviction and I hope the readers are mature enough to evaluate the consequences before taking action to do so, whether it works or not.

Chapter 5 contains several pretty simple recipes, some of which overlap with decorating ideas. Most involve apples or pumpkins. They mostly strike me as treats for a children's party, but might be handy for someone who has no halloween recipes of their own.

Chapter six is magick spells. They are your basic bunch of Silver Ravenwolf spells: A bit of rhyme, some magickal ingredients, invoking angels, mostly for love, prosperity, and protection.

Chater seven focuses on Halloween as a time to honour the dead. There's a lot of the same kind of stuff as there was in the divination section. It included a funeral ceremony, which I was expecting, and sevel ways to honour the dead.

What this book was missing:

This book didn't feel very wiccan to me. It was more about the "acting out" portion of halloween than anything personal and spiritual, it offered no suggestions on how to celebrate the holiday as a wiccan. It basically just meshed it incomprehensibly with how the Christians view the holiday. I can't say that was what I was looking for in this book at all.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2000
This was the first book on Witchcraft I ever bought,and it was a wonderful suprise! A good mix of history, recipes,zany anecdotes, and also some wonderful and potent spells, all appropriate for the Samwain/Halloween season. I actually tried a few of the spells, and they were successful. But stick with the whole book from cover to cover- it's great!
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