This week’s Pagan Perspective topic.
Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows for the New Generation by Silver RavenWolf. The year was 2009 and I had decided to take my witchcraft studies more seriously. I had learned about it mostly from online sources for at least decade and wanted to finally own a book about it. I went on youtube and watched videos, learned what were recommended. TipToeChick was the one, whose opinion convinced me to order it. For odd way her opinion matters to me and it still does.
My first reaction, after I had finally picked it up from the bookseller, was excitement to the bone. You know, the feeling like every muscle and hair in your body is thrilled for doing such good for yourself. I pretty much felt that way so I figured I was on good path and I still think so.
But when I started reading it, I got goose pumps – spell to keep your (school) locker intact? To keep bullies away?? I realized I had purchased a book that is meant for teenagers and as if that wasn’t bad enough, meant for utmost beginners of the craft. So in reality I had got myself the book that didn’t go with my age group or expertise instead of something meant for person, who has already sniffed the food, tasted it and would now like to do it at home, too. This ended up much harder task than I had planned – there are surprisingly few books for those, who have already gone through the basics and want to deepen their knowledge. You can’t go through basics endlessly.
The uneasiness was deepened by little things that I read from the book and my opinion went against any witchcraft ethics I had learned. The most colorful example was a love spell. I am against them, as I’ve told several times, for they are spells to change other person’s will and that is a no-no. I read it through and spent the rest of the year trying to get rid of this book. How can any responsible Witch recommend finishing the effect of a love spell with words: “I’ve had my fun, now you may run!”? How?? Not only do spells have no undoing (in 1996 they didn’t), but to teach such unethical spell to a teenager? I’ve come across very sensible teenagers, but this was wrong so many ways I thought I’d burn it.
Instead I crossed the spell out, wrote next to it “unethical” and took the book to local book commissionaire shop. Three months later I got it back, it proved unsalable. So next I gave it to a friend to read. My friends aren’t famous for bringing the books back, so it seemed like a good plan. By Christmas it was back on my shelf. As this was the second time already, I decided that if deities have sent the book back to me, there must be reason for it, so I left it to rest.
But then I searched for something from my library and found it from Silver’s book. Then something else and again, found it from her book. Also her correspondences weren’t so off by my needs and what folklore databases tell, so my opinion on it has gradually changed and the well kept outlook of it has turned to cabbage. From very unwanted book it has found it’s way to my heart. It is still filled with things I don’t agree with and ethical controversies, but there is a lot of information in it I haven’t found so freely from elsewhere. When I got the Green Witch’ Grimoire, I am very happy that I have this to support it, because if in one there are good information, for explanations I still turn to Silver’s book. Like how to calculate the planet hours, which I still haven’t mastered.
I don’t think it is the most ideal book out there, but I must say it is very good one, but it must be read with grain of salt as they say. For a beginner, I don’t think it to be the best from far, it would be better to go for Cunningham or Buckland, but for second book it is just fine.
Still, I don’t think I’d be going for her other books. Nice as the book is, her world view is not that close to me.