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VINE VOICEon July 16, 2003
I had read some titles by Silver RavenWolf, and purchased this one.
I can NOT recommend this book to anyone is good conscience, and I have so many problems with this book; I hardly know where to begin.
Ms. RavenWolf is into getting you to practise her spells instead of giving you the knowledgs and tools to write your own.
Simply reading the words without your intent and energy behind them; you might as well say Hocus pocus!, Shazam!, Abracadabra!, etc.
I am very disturbed by the fact that the author did not even devote one sentence to discussion of the Rede, and teaching the newbies the "ethics" of magic. All magic has a boomerang effect. What you send out is visited on you.
I need to speak to a few matters in the book.
Page 20: "She is the Maiden, Mother and Crone, Shr is the sacred trinity of all religions, Indeed, She is the Holy Ghost"
I am a devout Pagan, and have no love lost for the religion calling itself "christianity" today. However; this sounds as if the author is trying to confuse young people that Wicca is compatible with "christianity".
Before a person has reached adulthood; Neither I nor anyone else have the right to interfere with the spiritual guidance of your parents or guardians.
Page 122: altar layout illustration
The altar layout is entirely too complex. Many people do not have all of the tools or feel the need for some of them. Do not become concerned that you can't do magick because you do not have hundreds of $ to spend on tools.
Start where you are. Cut a limb from a tree and use it as a wand, use tealight or votive candles, use a kitchen knife for an athame, pick up two rocks to represent the God and Goddess, you might visit yard sales, and pick up ceramic figurines of birds, etc.
Page 173: "Most magical people begin working with totem animals by choosing their favorite creature."
I thought this was to be a book about Wicca instead of a book on Shamanism. Furthermore; the totem animal chould choose to work with you; not the other way around.
Page 320: "Reiki is s channeled form of energy healing that originated in Japan"
I am a Master/Teacher or higher in five different forms of Reiki, and can state categoricaly that Reiki is not part of the Wicca system or vice versa.
Page 372: "To understand where the concept of demons comes from, we have to look deep into history and the split between the Pagan belief system and Christian superstition used as a vehicle to control the people."
I have no use for "christianity", but I am deeply offended that the author gives her belief credence; but relegate "christianity" to superstition.
Page 435: "Citrine Purpose: Anti-nightmare, protection, psychism".
The Author has Citrine and Amethyst confused here. Citrine is healing, and works withthe 2nd and third chakras. Citrine is one of four stones that do not need to be cleansed of negativity. The other three stones are Kyanite, Obsidian, and Selenite
I sincerely recommend that you leave this book on the book shelf.
If you are insterested in Wicca; see my Wicca listmania list, or investigate the writings of Scott Cunningham, Amber K, Marian Green, Paul Tuitean and Estelle Daniels, and Dorothy morrison.
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on January 6, 2004
Let me start this off by tearing into it, that way we can end positively =)
This was the first book I bought starting off in my Wiccan studies. I opened the page to circle casting and was dumbfounded that a topic so seemingly complex could be summed up in - what? - 3 pages?! I knew nothing about Wicca, but I went along with it anyway... since I agreed with the philosophies and needed to start somewhere, anyway. Now that I have read numerous others, I can say that this book was a complete disgrace. All right. So Ravenwolf is the most publically-established Witch around, so of course it's going to be advanced. And it's a great referrence book... But unlike other books, this one did not OFFER tips to Spellcraft. She just typed up her own personal BOS. You can NOT simply put your own spells in there! The acoutrements and the motions mean absolutely nothing when you have no idea why you're doing what you're doing or what the words you're saying mean... I feel that this book encourages the production of the "fashionable Witch" - IE: Go through the motions, get to be part of a cool subcultural "cult".
Not that her intentions were poor, I'm sure. Simply put, it is unwise to print your own Book of Shadows verbatim, as many will take every word as holy writ... However, this book has been exceedingly useful to me at a later time, now that I can look back when I need a memory jog for say, the terminology for counterclockwise movement of a casted circle, runic symbols, etc... There's darned good stuff in here. I simply don't recommend it for beginners, nor the naiive (when it comes to following every word.)
WICCA IS A PERSONAL RELIGION; THERE ARE NO BIBLES AND TO FOLLOW SOME ONE ELSES' RENDITION OF SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT QUESTIONING IS TO FOLLOW BLINDLY! Always remain true to your own heart. Wicca lies within yourself, not the pages of any book nomatter how well-written.
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on March 12, 2004
I'm a praticing teenage Witch and Wiccan, and I have to say that this book is pretty informative, though not the best place for spells and such. Yes, Ravenwolf does "dumb" things down, but for super beginners and young teens, I think that it's appropriate to do so as to not confuse them.
This book contains *a lot* of information that you cannot find in most other beginning/teen Wiccan books. It contains info on auras, charkas, runes, explanation of the major and minor tarot, and much more.
Yes, this is *not* the place to go to for spells because there really aren't any, and they take about 10 minutes to complete, with circle casting and all.
If your looking for information on Wicca than I suggest that you either buy this or Scott Cunnigham's "Wicca - A Guide for the Solitary Practioner." Both are pretty good though I would go for "Wicca" before you buy this. Both are good, but, "Solitary Witch" does contain more information, while "Wicca" contains better [and more] spells and chants.
Overall, is it woth your money? I would say yes, if your a beginner and/or a teenager. It contains a lot of information that you cannot find in other beginning or teenage books.
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on March 25, 2003
INDEED! This is the ULTIMATE book of shadows! It is comprehensive, in depth and gives one profound insight into The Craft. Silver writes with her usual humor, sincerity and groundedness. As a purveyor of many different "Books of Shadows", and other Pagan and Wiccan authors, I give this one a A++. She goes into depth on many, mnay subjects related to the Craft. It is deep, yet understandable and not at all "wu-wu." The only thing I can't understand is why people think it's mainly for the younger generation. I'm 51 and very well read and I found this masterpiece truly enlightening!
Many thanks, kudos and blessings to Silver for helping us all on our individual and sometimes lonely paths!
Sincerely,
Moonrose (Kathleen Wilson)
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on October 8, 2004
I Am very disappointed with this book. I own and highly recommend "To Ride A Silver Broomstick" to anyone who is fairly new and interested in The Craft. I also own "To Stir A Magic Cauldron" which in it's own right is pretty decent. So when I saw a book that is being advertised as a "Book Of Shadows" For a solitary Witch, By Silver Ravenwolf, I was very excited and purchased it.

That was a mistake. I am a fairly adept Wiccan, however I am always reading and learning, and suggesting to people just beginning, or even just interested in learning new things, like myself. You can never learn or read enough. Wicca should be a constantly flowing religion.

This book is not helpful, I have NO problem with folk Magick, or "kitchen Witchery" I actually have a great respect for it, so that is not at all what I am complaining about.

The biggest fault of this book is, it is not advertised as a book for young adults or teens, and it is! It has a condescending writing style that I am not too sure even if i was 15 years younger I would appreciate. Some "Spells" in the book can be used to fit some small needs, maybe. It just has terrible references to teachers, fellow students, Proms. Gee, This is a little silly for anyone who is not a young EARLY teen, sort of interested in dabbling in Magick, Which could actually be dangerous if not done properly. Anyone in that realm (new to Wicca) should pick up a Cunningham book, and anyone who has had more than a few months, maybe weeks reading about Wicca should seriously invest in a Christopher Penczak book, they are intelligent and informative.

Again I am very disappointed with Silver Ravenwolf, She WAS one of my favorite Wiccan Authors. I wish she would refocus her attention to the adult Pagans, and if she does write a book directed towards teens or preteens, advertise the book that way!

If you are a solitary Witch and want a book to further your education on the craft, do not bother to pollute your mind with this drivel. Believe me it actually pains me to say that about a Ravenwolf book.
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on July 30, 2003
I am a bit disheartened by the last few reviews of Ravenwolf's newest book. Constructive criticism is one thing but to write an entire section blaming the author is another. I am a avid Pagan reader and I find her work to be informative and yet at the same time very helpful in remebering the basics(which is the foundation of others magicks. sSe speaks to a younger audience which is apparent in her titles...Teen Witch, New Generation, terms like this are in reference to a younger generation of Witches. She wants a no fuss, no muss approach by laying it all out and encouraging and even at times enticing us to know more. Ravenwolf's work may at time seem to be repetitve with the pages on circle casting, grounding and centering etc but the book is geared towards the basics.(The important things we should not forget to do when we get caught up with all the directions and guidleines to rituals)
This book was a great read. Her humour and style comes across marvelously through the pages of her work(she even had me laughing to myself a few times!)
Although I understand that there are many levels to being a Witch and many levels for magickal practice, we should never be without humour and the ability to make it fun and inviting for others. I think part of the reason why so many people are afraid of Witchcraft is that they hear about complicated rituals with strict rules and guidelines. That could easily scare them off, or even hinder new practicioners. Ravenwolf encourages readers to make the craft their own and explore it further.(she does list other books to read for further information doesn't she?) I think this is probably one of her best books and I am going to recommend it to mid-learners and adults alike. You can never have too much Silver in your life!
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on November 3, 2006
I loved the book. Not because I agreed with everything. Not because she wrote everything the way I would have written it. Not because I found every single page useful and relevant. Because I didn't. It is a HUGe book that covers alot of interesting topics.

I am really surprised how many bad reviews and angry reviewers there are. Jeez folks lets use our energy to do something positive. Do you really believe Silver is doing more harm than good for young pagans?

Things I didn't like were hetero god/goddess focus that almost every neo-pagan book seems to have.

Directions for spellwork instead of formulas (although honestly she put in enough information about moon cylces/corresponding days colors ect that people could do this themselves.

And lastly the christian references at times turned me off. BUT overall I loved the book she writes things in a clear easy to read/understand manner. I think if you can afford only one book right now to expand your collection this should be it.
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on December 16, 2006
I hesitated to even write a review for this one, but decided that I could simply sum it up. Pay attention to the other reviews to make up your mind, if this book is for you. Silver RavenWolf is considered by some to be a "fluffy bunny witch", but ultimately, it is up to you what you make of it.

I look upon this book as a very comprehensive encyclopedia that covers a lot of subjects (in more or less detail), more than any other book I have seen. From this point, you may want to investigate areas of your interest through other books, authors, web sources, etc, but I find it to be a great starting point and a good book to buy, when you are new to wicca, witchcraft, magic.

I am not a teenager and it should also not deter you from considering this book. Yes, some areas are written for teenagers, but I simply choose to move on and adjust the text, as it would apply to me, but most of this book applies to any age. When I first picked up this book and flipped through it, I was not aware that it was written for the teen point of view. I have not regretted purchasing this book and I have quite a lot of books on this subject.
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on April 18, 2013
If you are new to wicca/ paganism you should know this isn't the only book you'll ever need to learn about wicca, paganism, witchcraft, etc. Obviously, you will need to expand your knowledge about this path. So go be a little sponge and absorb information from a variety of books by a variety of authors. Also know that being WICCAN or PAGAN doesn't make you a WITCH. Wicca, Paganism, and Witch-craft- all belong to separate categories, despite what Ravenwolf says. Witchcraft is totally optional for beginner wiccans/pagans.

Pros:
This is a thick book with many resources and information.(which is great for beginners and experienced people)

Although this book is aimed at the age group of teens and young adults, it can be easily readable but mature audiences, if certain parts are overlooked.

Cons:
It would be 10000X better if it had one single table of contents in the front, and not three spread throughout the book. It would make finding passages and making notes a lot easier. peas and fank you.

There should be more material or exercises on how to connect with the God and Goddess, and less spells. Yes, spells can be exciting for baby witches, but when I was a beginner I was more interested in connecting with the deity, so I was a bit disappointed Ravenwolf didn't include much about it.

Silver Ravenwolf isn't exactly antichrist, but doesn't maintain the proper behavior towards them that I feel should be presented by all Wiccans, Pagans, and Witches alike. I'm a very "Pro-Coexist" type of gal, So this doesn't resonate well with me. Perhaps It may not bother you. I just don't think the audience age group this book is aimed towards should have their sponge-brains absorbing nonsense of hating Christians(or anyone else that disagrees with our religion). New (and seasoned) Wiccans and Pagans should be instructed how to respectfully disagree and walk away. Spewing insults or spitting fire to those who are ill-informed of our practices and beliefs only mirrors their behavior, so have self-integrity and patients with people like this. It will improve our image greatly to have young witches who are capable of handling situations like this maturely, not filled with teen angst, foaming at the mouth ranting about how paganism predates Christianity and we don't need their prayers - I live in the bible belt in the South so believe me, I know how frustrating it can be sometimes, but self restraint is necessary.

~Blessed Be
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on November 26, 2012
Very controversial book that has caused a deep schism within the wiccan/witchcraft/pagan religions and communities. I purchased this book just after it rolled off the press and hit the bookshelves in the stores. "Solitary" was the book to have back nine years ago, a very hot selling book that generated many a tongue to wag and witch to curse over it's contents. Love her or hate her, Silver had the guts and courage to pick up the pen and write her books, especially this book!

In reading some of the many reviews on this book I noted one thread that seems very obvious to those that were quick to tap on the keyboard.......the astute discriminating reader will note as I, that the statements made criticizing Silver were born out of the naysayer's lack of comprehension. Or, perhaps, their vehement dislike of Silver, or jealousy, and on and on....irregardless, the fact remains in their exuberance to get their "Solitary Opinion" out on, "Solitary Witch" they neglected to take the time to read and missed by a long shot. It seems "Solitary" is being judged by more than it's cover as is the author.

I'm not posting this to review the reviewers so onward in my Solitary effort to write my review of "Solitary Witch." Silver wrote the book of all books with this one. It's complete and I believe if one were to search thoroughly a kitchen sink might just be in the midst! It's a comprehensive book that chronicles the history and then explains in depth information regarding witchcraft. It could have used a better index as it's difficult to look up information and that can be frustrating. All in all the content speaks for itself and Silver does an eloquent job in writing, including her context. Her downfall is she writes to a teenage audience which I found to be a bit insulting to the intelligence of her adult readers. At times in her discussions she seemed to downplay our intelligence and in that regard she could have been served by a better editor at Llewellyn!

I find this book to be useful and it has earned a place in not only the history of witchcraft but on the shelf next to the cauldron. After ten years it's still my, "Go To" book!
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