‘To Ride a Silver Broomstick’ by Silver Ravenwolf

‘To Ride a Silver Broomstick’ by Silver Ravenwolf


Hi everyone, it’s Katey, and today I wanted to share with you something that might be a little bit… I don’t want to say ‘controversial’, it sounds
too big… but basically I picked up a book last
week at Savers and it’s by the author everybody loves to hate: Silver RavenWolf, ‘To Ride a Silver Broomstick’. I found it at Savers, it was $3, and I just thought, I’d never read any of
Silver RavenWolf’s work and for such a polarising author I felt that it’s something I
should experience, and for $3 I thought, why not? I just finished it today and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. I guess I’ll start with the good. I
really like how at the end of most chapters she has an extensive suggested reading list, here’s an example. So, she really encourages the reader to continue study and read widely and a lot. I think that’s a really good thing for a beginner book, especially one that is directed at
younger people. Another thing I really like about the book is that right from the get-go she
really encourages, and almost expects, the reader to be
journaling and recording progress and experiences. Along that same vein, she includes
worksheets for establishing your own spells and
rituals. Another thing that I like, that I wasn’t
expecting, was that she didn’t get into actually practicing
magic or ritual of any kind until at least a third of the way through the
book. I guess I wasn’t expecting that
because I’d heard and some criticism about her books
basically just being pre-made spells that you just pump out on really trivial matters. Another thing I liked was the pictures throughout, it’s always something nice. And her writing style is really easy to
read. Now for some things I wasn’t too keen on. The first thing I’ll point out and get out of the way, are some of the things that I hear consistently about Silver RavenWolf, and this is that she makes some incorrect assumptions. Her insistence
that magic has to be used in conjunction with religion and a
witch is religious and must be religious. It’s
very prescriptive and very narrow, and also some might say in a lot of cases incorrect. I also didn’t really like her uses the word
‘once-borns’, which basically she applied to anyone who was of any other religion
and didn’t believe in reincarnation or magic, and she
used it a lot, and it just became
condescending and just created this and idea
division and really promoting this idea of witches being different, and almost better than other
people. And along that same vein, I would have to agree with the criticism of her being little bit down on Christianity. She says, “With a religion like that,
who has to worry about some mythical place called hell”. And I think that’s a really powerful statement. I also found that she basically equated Christianity with the patriarchy. And whilst personally my opinion is that Christianity has been used to enforce
patriarchy, and there’s a lot sexism and misogyny kind of weaved through the structure
Christianity, she has this vibe going, especially at the end of the book,
where basically New Age and Witchcraft will replace or deconstruct Christianity, and
therefore the patriarchy will be gone. So I found that really quiet simplistic. I guess another part I wasn’t too keen on,
was just how much importance she placed on the role of divination in a witch’s practice. She
really made it out as if it was compulsory and it was really central, and
I think for a lot of people that isn’t the case. I know that Tarot and pendulum work and all forms of divination are quite popular in the New Age and Pagan communities, but it isn’t a prerequisite for
being a witch. Another thing I found a little bit
difficult was just how much she focuses on young people being dishonest their family. I understand the suggestion that we become familiar with ourselves and our
beliefs before we go shouting them to the world, and I also understand the issue of young people wanting to explore their spiritulaity in restrictive households, but I think she just goes a little
bit too far. It comes up not once as a
topic, not even twice, but it’s just constantly filtered throughout the book that we
need to be secretive or that we need to… she says
‘don’t lie’ and yet she provides examples of lies you can tell. Finally I just thought I would mention, she’s
very much about the practice. Which perhaps some might view as a good
thing, but she talks about light and dark, and black and white and
grey magic, and what is right and wrong in
magic, but she just says that things are right or wrong, she doesn’t
discuss ethics or morals at all. And she really doesn’t go into
belief systems and structures or ideas, she just states a few things but never goes into
them, so it’s really just like ‘this is
fact’, but she’s talking about belief. So I found that really limiting. One thing that really did bother me, that
I’m not sure if a lot of other people would pick up on, just because of my
experience as an Australian, is her use of the word ‘dreamtime’. And she does at the beginning very
explicitly say that this word comes from Aboriginal culture. And she’s using incorrectly. She’s using
Dreamtime to describe dreams and her experience of mining dreams for meaning. The Dreaming is a spiritual understanding and the world, it’s not just a way to interact with
your mind and your dreams. The Dreaming has a whole philosophy, a whole story, a
creation story, and it’s so much bigger than just that. And so
I found that really really unpleasant. And she uses that
word repetitively If you’re going to be appropriating
those terms, you really need to be sure that you are using them correctly and
with respect, and I didn’t feel that that was done in
this book. So, I have read online that this is the “least offensive” of Silver RavenWolf’s work, so I’m not sure, perhaps I have read
the best of Silver RavenWolf. And I think, honestly,
there is some good stuff in here. I appreciate that, especially the first
half of the book, I felt did offer quite a lot of good exercises for groundwork before
actually initiating a magical practice, and the second half the book, I guess, I
wasn’t as keen on. there was a lot more prescriptive language and a lot more assumptions made on her part as an author. So, I am
split on this book I do you get and see a lot of the
criticism that I have heard. A lot of the criticisms I’ve heard are the inaccuracies, simplification, Christian bashing, things like that, I can appreciate where
that stuff is coming from. And yet, she’s popular for a reason. She fills a vacuum in the marketplace
that I think is overlooked and made fun of. But teens and young people wanting
to explore their spirituality, I don’t think that we can just write that
off as unimportant. So I appreciate that someone, an author,
has really targeted that part of the market, even if I don’t really agree with the way in which she has done it. But, ultimately, I’m glad that I read it. People accuse Silver RavenWolf of making
assumptions and being simplistic and making judgments, and if we go around
it regurgitating that opinion without having read Silver RavenWolf, we’re no better than all
those things, so I am glad I read it, but I’m not going to be rushing out to buy any
of her other books. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and I hope you enjoyed this video and I’ll see you guys next time, Much love, bye!

18 Comments

  1. The author everyone loves to hate – Silver Ravenwolf! I found her most first and most famous book at Savers and decided to share my thoughts, the good and the bad. 🙂

  2. Terrific review and summary Katey. I used to own that book and sold it, I don't like her work, mainly because of her condescending attitude and the assumptions she makes as you said… Reading her just makes me itch. I can see what you're saying about the vacuum in the market for young pagans, I feel there are other authors who fill that space much better however (Ellen Dugan, Gede Parma, Deborah Lipp just to name a few). xx

  3. its frustrating for me bc most witchy authors i cant get audiobook from -_- its so frustrating. particularly from my blind organization. you can get the bible and kuran and whatever but a witchy book? nope

  4. I've enjoyed every S. Ravenwolf book I've read–and I found them in my 20s when Witchcraft was more "taboo", at least where I lived. I'll always be grateful that her books were out there then.

  5. I've wanted to read Ride for just the reasons you gave at the end–I wanted to know for myself what she writes and how I feel about it. Still haven't been able to put hands on a copy without buying one, and I'm not keen on purchasing books without knowing that I'll want to keep them, so I guess I'll keep an eye out a while longer. 😉 Thanks for a great review–you were very even-handed with a knee-jerk topic, I enjoyed hearing your thoughts! Blessings. 🙂

  6. I found this review really helpful. Perhaps one day I'll get around to reading something of hers (if I find it in an op shop!), for now I'll keep her off my extensive 'to read' list!
    Thanks Katey 🙂 BB xx

  7. this was my first book and i sort of love/hate it………it got me in touch with a feeling of my own power which in my mid teens was amazing but it is also written as if it is the only true and right way to practice/beleive which can suck if you don't realise theres anything else out there which i didn't for a really long time………or perhaps its that i was loyal….i did really love that book it helped me a lot but it also hindered my progress because of the authors narrow mindedness which is ironic because  a aspect of open mindedness in magickal practices is kind of important i think or at least something i value.

  8. I haven't read that particular book but I do own her ultimate book of shadows and whilst a lot of the info is correct, I find her a bit condescending and I think that's because she is targeted specifically for the teen witch, but not all teenagers, in fact most of the ones I've met would hate to be spoken to in the way she speaks, or with the language she uses. I also didn't like the fact that she seems to use the words "witch" and "wiccan" interchangeably, as if they must be one in the same.

  9. I really don't see how Silver's books are filling a vacuum in the marketplace. I started my path at 15 (with a few detours long the way-and by the way…I'm 37 now). My first book was Wicca by Scott Cunningham. He was just as entertaining and enthralling as Silver, and discussed more ideas and allowed for much more exploration.

    I have five titles of Silver's, and I really do see them as a waste of money. I would recommend any teen that is considering the path and reading this message…please put your money into Scott Cunningham's Wicca and Living Wicca. And read other books that he recommends (he recommends a lot of other goodies like Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft among others).

    There is a major cost savings, too. Cunningham's Wicca and Living Wicca Cost about 20 US Dollars combined and Silver Ravenwolf's Silver Broomstick, Magic Cauldron, and Sacred Flame cost 45 US Dollars (both prices before taxes and/or shipping).

    Moral of the story, if you get Scott's books, you get much higher quality information for about 1/3 of the price. And by the way, Scott's book list at the end of Wicca is much more extensive than the lists that Silver provides.

    To whoever reads this, I wish you luck on your path, no matter where it leads.

  10. the thing about "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" it was her frist book and it dated, and it's the book I hate the most, her book "Soltary Witch" is much better, and is a must read..

  11. I have this book on my shelf. I didn't know it was aimed at younger readers. Like always though I will take what resonates and discard what doesn't. Thank you for making me aware of some of the negatives to be aware off so that I can work with them and the shadows they present to be when I do read the book.

  12. Looking for a book review on Buckland's Book of Spirit Communication (Big Red). If you read it, please do a video review. Your reviews are so enjoyable and well thought out. I look forward to more!

  13. That was a very lucid, balanced, and fair review of Silver Fluffbunny you made. Kudos. I never made it to the end of that book before I literally threw it away in disgust, so I must commend you for sticking to it and enduring her condescending, hateful tripe to the bitter last page. I especially liked when you pointed out that not actually reading it while just saying what everyone else is saying about it makes us no better than them. Still, I would never subject my kids to this garbage; for parents wanting to give their kids a good introduction to this path, I recommend Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain and perhaps Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham if Wicca is the focus.

  14. I'm a sixty year old life long WITCH, I began to practice at age five. Witchcraft is indeed a religion…. IF (that is) you want to be a productive Witch, if your intention is to be a productive Witch, you must be disciplined, you HAVE to be religious, Being a Witch is not a trend, (being Witch-CHY) is a trend and a hobby to some these days, but it's not the same as being authentically connected to nature in the way that a dedicated Witch must become) You must be dedicated to your version of The Craft and you must learn as you go, once you become rooted, grounded, and confident with your skills, I like to think that one must teach what one knows (only, of course, if someone asks you.) This life is beautiful, this beautiful religion is so intimate and so personal! The magickal life is a wonderful life for a woman, and a POWERFUL life for a woman. (Christianity is a submissive life for a woman, at least this was taught to me when I was younger and visited MANY Christian churches, both Protestant and Catholic) My individual Witchery is of my own design and it is rooted in harming none, not in my submission to men, males, or the church!!!! For me to be a whole and fulfilled Witch, everything from what I eat, to what I wear, to who/what I love and honor, to where I work, to how I treat others to how I spend my dawn's and sunset's… has it's roots in Nature, not in any variety of patriarchy. Christianity IS the sky above and ground beneath Patriarchy. Blessings and Tender Care~

  15. This is the first review I have seen that she isn't right off aggressively attacked. Thank you. She was the first person I read when I was first learning about witchcraft and I didn't agree with everything she said, but I took what I could use from her and didn't dwell on the other stuff. It was also her encouragement to read other authors (like Raymond Buckland and Scott Cunningham) that paved the way for the path I am currently on. Just seems like too many people focus only on the negative and discard anything positive that could come out of her work. Also they make it seem like older teens and young adults are too stupid to see what is good and what is not so good in her work. Like the cannot make up their own mind and they must be protected from the bad bad Raven. It was because of her my world opened up and I am thankful. Hence the reason when I chose my spiritual name (Ravenrayne Winter) I included Raven and the fact that raven is my spirit animal and I love them (and all animals hehe) but you get what I mean, right? I just think she gets more bashing and slandering than she deserves. Also back when she was young it was extremely worse for witches and pagans than it is now. Especially since growing up in a very conservative christian area got you practically smote just for thinking anything but the bible was correct. My family is Mennonite and very strict when it comes to faith and such. So I can kind of see why she has some distaste for christians. For the longest time I had a hatred for them because of the way I was raised and how awful it was coming out that I was not only a witch but I was bisexual. Now it doesn't much bother me and I don't bash christians or hate them. Some people forever hold that in their hearts because it scared them deeply. I think it is up to us to be more understanding. Silver Ravenwolf was my stepping stone and I will always be grateful.

  16. Witchcraft is work. in some cases hard work. It seems the young people of today don't want to do that and Ravenwolf offers them away around that.

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