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Author Topic: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?  (Read 11466 times)

SunflowerP

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2012, 08:55:42 am »
Quote from: Kylara;46185
I get my inspiration in odd places.  I've read some horrible books before (and I have read several of SRW's books, back when we used to live in a bigger town that actually had them in the library).  Even in books that make me cringe, I can sometimes find a crazy idea that will spark something in my mind.  Often it won't lead me in the same direction as the original information, but off in a completely new tangent, but it will be just the spark I needed to get me moving in a new direction.  

 
Quote from: Valentine;46258
And then I think of me, and of my small hometown, and how, when we finally got a big chain bookstore, the books they had on witchcraft and paganism and all of it were Cunningham's and Ravenwolf's.  And I found them a little silly even then, but it was one of my first clues--one of my first clues at all--that there was anyone doing things like what I had been raised in outside of my family lineage and outside of the sort of vague New Agey Jungian stuff my mother got into eventually, that the word "pagan" wasn't just a historical term, that there were other contemporary people working with magic.  It was one of my first clues that there were places I could go to learn magic other than my mother or the old Country.  And the second teacher I ever had, this sweet woman who ran the little hippie witchy shop in town, was the kind of Wiccan who earnestly lent me a copy of "The Burning Times" taped on VHS, and who was nonetheless wonderful and kind and open and helped me grow in the craft.  And--well, after a whole childhood of my mother telling me if I ever told anyone what she did, we'd be burned at the stake, that we would be killed for it--that public harmlessness that the whole trendy-Wicca thing cultivated may be annoyingly false in places, but it also feels like a place to breathe safely in.

I guess I'm saying, I can only argue with my friend so much.  I have an allergic reaction to the fluffballs as much as anyone, but I'm letting it be complex, for me.

 
All this!  I got my own start in much this way - in the '70s, there weren't all that many resources for any seeker, much less a teenager; you took what you could find and gleaned whatever bits of wheat you could from the chaff.  I've always been vehemently against the "don't read that!" position; IMO/IME, there's no better way to learn discernment and critical thinking/reading skillls than to read widely, from sources of varying quality.  If you've never seen chaff, you can't identify it other than "this doesn't look like wheat", and there are very few books that have nothing to be gleaned from them.

I can get behind, "don't waste your money on that" (I have understandably mixed feelings about, "don't waste your time on that," since time isn't unlimited), and am all for reviews and critiques that talk about the specific ways a book is substandard, unreliable, or misleading, or that inculcate the idea that no book is the be-all-end-all authority and even the best books should be read with one's metaphorical salt shaker ready at hand.  Uncritical reading of the Farrars, or Valiente, or Starhawk, has led to fluffiness just as surely as uncritical reading of SRW (or, since the TC definition of fluffiness is wilful ignorance, the refusal to read critically, or the refusal to learn critical reading skills. is inherently fluffy).

(It reminds me a bit of the defense of the literary shortcomings of certain authors of YA fiction [fill in your own pet eyeroll, probably depending on the era in which you first got eyerolly about the issue - mine is Pier Xanthony Piers Anthony:rolleye::] that points out that their popularity means that they're turning young non-readers into readers.  So they are - but that's a redeeming feature, not a full pardon.

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Maps

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2012, 11:56:23 am »
Quote from: Katefox;46153
I'm really too new to Paganism to have much idea about how SRW may have influenced it.

 
Just a general question: a lot of people are talking about her influence and ideas, and I'm trying real hard to remember much of what I read and can't. What ideas, exactly, did she invent that would up getting so widely dispersed?

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2012, 01:17:31 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;46258
And I found them a little silly even then, but it was one of my first clues--one of my first clues at all--that there was anyone doing things like what I had been raised in outside of my family lineage and outside of the sort of vague New Agey Jungian stuff my mother got into eventually, that the word "pagan" wasn't just a historical term, that there were other contemporary people working with magic.


THIS, absolutely. I was one of those 90s pop-paganism boom kids, got into it through The Craft (oh gosh) and SRW and Cunningham, and I honestly don't think I'd be at a place now where I have a fulfilling spiritual life if I hadn't discovered this whole world back then. I was 14 and depressed and angry and confused and these widely-accessible books were the first clue that there was a name for the way I'd always viewed the world, that I wasn't alone in the way I thought and felt about nature and magic and religion.

It took me a while to shake off the newbie fervor, but I'm glad I had that gateway to the wide world of Paganism back then. Part of learning that there are other people doing these things is learning that there isn't just one way to do things, and with time and experience it gets easier and easier to refine what you do and don't believe and practice.

I still have some of the Cunningham books, but SRW got donated to charity.

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #33 on: March 18, 2012, 01:46:13 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;46277
All this!  I got my own start in much this way - in the '70s, there weren't all that many resources for any seeker, much less a teenager; you took what you could find and gleaned whatever bits of wheat you could from the chaff.  I've always been vehemently against the "don't read that!" position; IMO/IME, there's no better way to learn discernment and critical thinking/reading skillls than to read widely, from sources of varying quality.  If you've never seen chaff, you can't identify it other than "this doesn't look like wheat", and there are very few books that have nothing to be gleaned from them.

I can get behind, "don't waste your money on that" (I have understandably mixed feelings about, "don't waste your time on that," since time isn't unlimited), and am all for reviews and critiques that talk about the specific ways a book is substandard, unreliable, or misleading, or that inculcate the idea that no book is the be-all-end-all authority and even the best books should be read with one's metaphorical salt shaker ready at hand.  Uncritical reading of the Farrars, or Valiente, or Starhawk, has led to fluffiness just as surely as uncritical reading of SRW (or, since the TC definition of fluffiness is wilful ignorance, the refusal to read critically, or the refusal to learn critical reading skills. is inherently fluffy).

(It reminds me a bit of the defense of the literary shortcomings of certain authors of YA fiction [fill in your own pet eyeroll, probably depending on the era in which you first got eyerolly about the issue - mine is Pier Xanthony Piers Anthony:rolleye::] that points out that their popularity means that they're turning young non-readers into readers.  So they are - but that's a redeeming feature, not a full pardon.

Sunflower

 
Well, and the other thing I try to remember, now that I hang out with clergy all the time and do a lot of interfaith organizing:  every religion has it zeal-of-the-converted ignorant newbies, and fluffballs, and willfully ignorant naifs, and marketing hucksters.  Walk into any Christian Supply store or Young Life meeting, you know?  The gulf between what I've found in places like that--leave alone any Left Behind or Prosperity Gospel nonsense--and the incredible Christians who are among my dearest friends and most respected clerical colleagues is as wide as the gap between the Pagan folks who irritate us so much and the best of the people we meet here.  And people move around in the way they do their faith and their knowledge and all, sometimes.  There are always going to be people who're shallow and want to buy shiny things out of a box and puff themselves up with unearned self-importance, and there are always going to be wise prophetic brilliant hermit teachers, and there are always going to be the rest of us between.
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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #34 on: March 18, 2012, 05:31:22 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;46277
All this!  I got my own start in much this way - in the '70s, there weren't all that many resources for any seeker, much less a teenager; you took what you could find and gleaned whatever bits of wheat you could from the chaff.  I've always been vehemently against the "don't read that!" position; IMO/IME, there's no better way to learn discernment and critical thinking/reading skillls than to read widely, from sources of varying quality.  If you've never seen chaff, you can't identify it other than "this doesn't look like wheat", and there are very few books that have nothing to be gleaned from them.Sunflower


I remember the early 80's too....I just happened to pick up a book (Casting the Circle by Diane Stein, if anyone is curious) and that opened the door to searching out other books and topics. And thirty years later, I've still got an entire bookcase of new 'to be read' books waiting for me. :)

As for the topic of SRW, she is adept at presenting her version of Neo-Wicca. Add in a fair degree of common sense especially in her later books and almost always an overly saccarine dollop of mythical history to sweeten the egos of those looking to be 'special'.

No book is ever wasted but I must confess, I give SRW books to prospective students only to see what they will do. If they nod in unquestioning belief, very bad. Massive unlearning to do but mostly....they need to learn to think before they can progress any further. If they are puzzled or uncomfortable, better. Some unlearning to do but their mind (and skepticism) is clearly functioning. If they argue, question or challenge at least certian parts of her books...bingo! That is a student who can think, does challenge and will learn.

As has been said by others, a stepping stone closer to what Wicca, Pagan Witchcraft and Paganism can be experienced as. In my experience, her influence outside of her target audience or network of covens isn't that serious. Fluffies will always be drawn by something after all and whenever I periodically check out the New Age section of bookstores, I have to fit my eyes back into place (too much rolling).

Amber

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2012, 04:45:02 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;46306
Well, and the other thing I try to remember, now that I hang out with clergy all the time and do a lot of interfaith organizing:  every religion has it zeal-of-the-converted ignorant newbies, and fluffballs, and willfully ignorant naifs, and marketing hucksters.

 
I'm constantly amused (my sense of humor is predicated on irony and poetic truth, what can I say?) to see the same patterns we bemoan in Pagandom going on in non-Pagan religions - and non/anti-religions; atheists aren't immune.

That's probably why I prefer pluralist/interfaith spaces; the wide range of perspectives helps a lot to counterbalance those things.

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2012, 04:52:43 pm »
Quote from: Maps;46289
Just a general question: a lot of people are talking about her influence and ideas, and I'm trying real hard to remember much of what I read and can't. What ideas, exactly, did she invent that would up getting so widely dispersed?

 
I'd have to do more thinking (and perhaps digging) than I have time for right now, to give any details, but it's not so much a matter of her inventing things that didn't previously exist, as her interpretations (often wildly off-base, and in a few intances outright bizarre) of existing ideas, and her habit of presenting those interpretations as if they were standard/common/representative.

Sunflower
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dragonfaerie

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2012, 03:44:27 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;46012
Silver's books obviously had a great effect at the time, but have they had a long term effect on Wicca? on Paganism in general? What effect(s)? In your opinion, have these effects been good or bad? Why?


Generally speaking? I don't think they've had a bad effect at all. But let me tell you a story first...

I first started exploring Wicca in 1996, when I went away to college and had regular access to the internet for the first time in my life. Back then, there were maybe a couple dozen websites on Wicca, and not a giant ton of books to be found in your local chain bookstore. "To Ride A Silver Broomstick" was one of the first books I purchased, along with Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide" and "Drawing Down the Moon" because they were accessible in my neighborhood Waldenbooks. I didn't even know there WAS such a thing as a new age bookstore at the time.

In time, I found that there was a Pagan Student Union group at the University of Maryland, and through those folks I found out about one local new age bookstore. Then through a convoluted story I'll save for another time, I was introduced to an elder of a coven.

Now, this was also at the time that "The Craft" was hitting big, as was "Buffy" and "Charmed", though I think this may have been prior to the big Wicca phase of "Buffy"... I never watched that show. And it was way earlier than the big peak of "Harry Potter" craze, though I believe the books may have started being published around then.

I don't think we can talk about SRW without talking about all those OTHER factors that contributed to the Pagan community of the late 90s, especially the rise in folks utilizing the internet. I don't think her popularity can be isolated in a bubble, and I think it's wise to also consider the influences of Cunningham, McCoy, and Telesco in there. Especially Cunningham and Telesco, who were prolific authors before and during the late 90s.

But back to my original point... for folks who "came of age" in the 90s, like myself, there's some influence there. I'll recommend "Broomstick" on occasion still, because I feel there is some interesting info in there, but I haven't read any of her other books.  I got side-tracked on other interests.

I'm sure there are some SRW-worshipping enclaves, and there's probably folks around my age who are running groups or have students where they're still spreading her dogma, but I don't see much effect of that on my local pagan community. In fact, I don't see much Wicca in my local pagan community. Maybe everyone's hiding.

And downstream of me, I see other authors that have as much popularity that could be debated... Raven Grimassi, for starters. Or Kate West (though I actually like her books). Also now, we can't debate the influence of the internet on learning a Pagan path... it's so integrated that it cannot be separated. Maybe we could debate social media's role, but now there's millions of pages on the 'net about Wicca. Dozens of millions, instead of just dozens.

So I think I'll end this with an argument I made in comment to something else unrelated... while "fluff" of any sort isn't really good for a subculture, how many people utilize that "fluff" as a gateway to the good stuff? Or not even the good stuff... into something they enjoy that doesn't really hurt people. (Ok, make arguments for SRW telling teens to lie to parents... that's not good, I agree, but she's far from the only community elder I've ever heard say that).

Karen

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2012, 03:58:55 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;46574
Generally speaking? I don't think they've had a bad effect at all. But let me tell you a story first...

I first started exploring Wicca in 1996, when I went away to college and had regular access to the internet for the first time in my life. Back then, there were maybe a couple dozen websites on Wicca, and not a giant ton of books to be found in your local chain bookstore. "To Ride A Silver Broomstick" was one of the first books I purchased, along with Cunningham's "Wicca: A Guide" and "Drawing Down the Moon" because they were accessible in my neighborhood Waldenbooks. I didn't even know there WAS such a thing as a new age bookstore at the time.

In time, I found that there was a Pagan Student Union group at the University of Maryland, and through those folks I found out about one local new age bookstore. Then through a convoluted story I'll save for another time, I was introduced to an elder of a coven.

Now, this was also at the time that "The Craft" was hitting big, as was "Buffy" and "Charmed", though I think this may have been prior to the big Wicca phase of "Buffy"... I never watched that show. And it was way earlier than the big peak of "Harry Potter" craze, though I believe the books may have started being published around then.

I don't think we can talk about SRW without talking about all those OTHER factors that contributed to the Pagan community of the late 90s, especially the rise in folks utilizing the internet. I don't think her popularity can be isolated in a bubble, and I think it's wise to also consider the influences of Cunningham, McCoy, and Telesco in there. Especially Cunningham and Telesco, who were prolific authors before and during the late 90s.

But back to my original point... for folks who "came of age" in the 90s, like myself, there's some influence there. I'll recommend "Broomstick" on occasion still, because I feel there is some interesting info in there, but I haven't read any of her other books.  I got side-tracked on other interests.

I'm sure there are some SRW-worshipping enclaves, and there's probably folks around my age who are running groups or have students where they're still spreading her dogma, but I don't see much effect of that on my local pagan community. In fact, I don't see much Wicca in my local pagan community. Maybe everyone's hiding.

And downstream of me, I see other authors that have as much popularity that could be debated... Raven Grimassi, for starters. Or Kate West (though I actually like her books). Also now, we can't debate the influence of the internet on learning a Pagan path... it's so integrated that it cannot be separated. Maybe we could debate social media's role, but now there's millions of pages on the 'net about Wicca. Dozens of millions, instead of just dozens.

So I think I'll end this with an argument I made in comment to something else unrelated... while "fluff" of any sort isn't really good for a subculture, how many people utilize that "fluff" as a gateway to the good stuff? Or not even the good stuff... into something they enjoy that doesn't really hurt people. (Ok, make arguments for SRW telling teens to lie to parents... that's not good, I agree, but she's far from the only community elder I've ever heard say that).

Karen

 you know I think I might need to poke thru a bunch of these Llewelyn publications I've been avoiding....I honestly haven't read any of them,I've loathe one sided things and fluffy white stuff to me just avoids the truth that there's more grey than there is black or white,but anyhow....I, like some others have said...am curious if any of my current beliefs or things I've heard elsewhere repeatedly are actually derived from SRW etc. material.
I've read several 'versions' of the bible for the same kind of intel. gathering.
why should fluffy bunny versions of Wicca/witchcraft writings be any different.

if someone was to start a post with collections of quotes of stuff from her writings and evidence of them posted as fact elsewhere in the wide world,I would love them endlessly,as I'm sure would maps!
Ize bel zafen.
Ize bel daleen.

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2012, 04:15:18 pm »
Quote from: spoOk;46577
you know I think I might need to poke thru a bunch of these Llewelyn publications I've been avoiding....I honestly haven't read any of them,I've loathe one sided things and fluffy white stuff to me just avoids the truth that there's more grey than there is black or white,but anyhow....


I think it's always good to remember that one person's "fluff" is another person's information. I can sit here and tell people online, or students, or friends what I don't like and why I don't like it, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't investigate that source for themselves.

Many of the newer new-age publications are available as ebooks, and at least with Amazon Kindle stuff, you can get a free app for use on your PC and try samples of books for free. Usually it's the first chapter. Public library systems can be hit and miss with this stuff. Go to your local new age store and flip through books... read a page or two here or there at random and see what you think.

I just get... itchy... at the thought of people being set up in the Pagan community as gurus of what to ignore. By all means, share opinions and be critical where critical is due, but... don't ignore things because of what someone else says or thinks. Draw your own conclusions.

Karen

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2012, 06:37:16 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;46574
So I think I'll end this with an argument I made in comment to something else unrelated... while "fluff" of any sort isn't really good for a subculture, how many people utilize that "fluff" as a gateway to the good stuff? Or not even the good stuff... into something they enjoy that doesn't really hurt people.

Good questions, Karen. I think I'll break them off into a thread of their own.
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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2012, 07:19:26 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;46474
I'd have to do more thinking (and perhaps digging) than I have time for right now, to give any details, but it's not so much a matter of her inventing things that didn't previously exist, as her interpretations (often wildly off-base, and in a few intances outright bizarre) of existing ideas, and her habit of presenting those interpretations as if they were standard/common/representative.

Sunflower

 
I'd be very interested in what you find if you have the time to look into it. c:

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2012, 08:30:42 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;46474
I'd have to do more thinking (and perhaps digging) than I have time for right now, to give any details, but it's not so much a matter of her inventing things that didn't previously exist, as her interpretations (often wildly off-base, and in a few intances outright bizarre) of existing ideas, and her habit of presenting those interpretations as if they were standard/common/representative.

 
This.

(Sorry, I've been off running a Pagan convention, and my brain is still sort of fried, so please ask if the following expansion doesn't make sense. I also got rid of the Ravenwolf when I moved cross country, so don't have it handy.)

In general, I agree (as above) with Sunflower. Topics where this is particularly obvious:

- The more esoteric uses of tools, sometimes with some very odd results. (There's a line in "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" that runs something like "The athame is the symbol of will. I do not use mine very much." which I am sure is not how she *meant* it, but which does read very oddly.)

- Watering down specific practices - her descriptions of Drawing Down, the Great Rite, and several other core practices within traditional Wicca are so much so as to be offensive to those concepts.

That by itself would not be as big a problem if she didn't also strongly imply that parts of those practices are Wrong and Bad and Not Things Nice People Do. It's one thing to say "I prefer to do it this other way." It's totally another to say "The source for this, under the same name as the one I'm using, is something I find disgusting." (and that comes through very strongly in parts of her work.)

- The fact her work ducks a great deal of the material that is truly and seriously *necessary* in any religion that is going to be a support to people in hard times as well as a good excuse for a party. (Nothing wrong with parties: I was at an awesome Pagan ball Saturday night. But the good ones encourage transformation, not still it.)

It's this bit that I think is most upsetting, honestly, because it's the bit that people truly need, the stuff that gets them through the hard time.

- And finally, there really is something in her writing style that caused a lot of people to fixate on what she said, and be unable to listen to alternatives. I remember a conversation about 10 years ago (might have been on an earlier version of the Cauldron, actually) in which someone *insisted* over and over again that one could only make consecrated/holy water at midnight on the full moon (because Silver Said So), and she had to work, and it was just Horrible. Even though people kept telling her, no, that wasn't the case, here's some other options. Or that if she really felt that strongly about the time, pick a day she was off work near the moon phase that worked for her. She was having none of it.

(That's the example that sticks most in my mind, but I had dozens of them, once upon a time. They were *really really common*. To the extent that it was a rare fortnight when I wouldn't see something of the kind go across my screen. In a wide variety of Pagan fora and discussions.)

I've done some poking at linguistic analysis to figure out why that was the case, when Cunningham or Starhawk, or later authors haven't done quite the same thing (I mean, they have their strong adherents, but not to that overwhelming extent.) but without a lot of success.)

- And one more finally : I am deeply cautious about someone for whom the group work is quite as much fixated on any one person - no matter how good they are - as the Black Forest stuff is. There was a good long while when Silver was charging for being in ritual with her at public events or those that had invited her to present.

The structure of the Black Forest trad is very central-org centered (in contrast to most Wiccan trads where the hived covens certainly generally continue to talk and collaborate on various things, but also have a great deal of independence in how they do specific things - like, oh, choose and train students, determine initiation readiness, and so on.)

This also has some financial and other implications (initiates beyond a certain point have been expected to attend yearly full-trad gathering which implies both a certain amount of financial discretionary income *and* jobs that allow vacation at that time of year *and* family who don't have other obligations (like family reunions, etc.)

None of those things are entirely a bad decision for a given group. But at the same time, it does set up certain patterns that make me a little cautious.
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SunflowerP

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #43 on: March 21, 2012, 11:42:09 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;46609
(There's a line in "To Ride a Silver Broomstick" that runs something like "The athame is the symbol of will. I do not use mine very much." which I am sure is not how she *meant* it, but which does read very oddly.)


Oh, it's even more :eek: than that.  The full quote:

"The athame stands for intellect, right thinking, and calculation.  I do not use mine very often as I look upon knives in general as potentially harmful items, even in the kitchen."

It's not so much the lack of grammatical precision per se, as what is revealed by that imprecision - the best interpretation I can put on it is that, however good her grasp of the symbolic properties of the athame may be, her unease about its physical properties is so strong that it affects her application of the symbolic.  And sees no problems whatsoever in passing her unease and the effect it has along to her readers.

Her willingness to pass that along without more discussion of the matter, her choices of what symbolic properties are worth mentioning, and a few other things about her word choices, do not inspire me with much confidence in her grasp of the symbolic properties.  I don't buy my "best interpretation"; I think that her mistrust of edged tools really does carry over into a mistrust of intellect.

I'm not sure how much this is something that has spread, mind you.  I haven't noticed a marked increase in aversion to athames among pagans, and while I've definitely noticed an increase in anti-intellectualism, it correlates to an increase in anti-intellectualism in the broader culture.  SRW may, on this point, be a symptom rather than a cause.  Which, come to think, might apply for many of her shortcomings; my initial reaction to Silver Broomstick, all those years ago, was that it was typical of the kind of superficiality I was observing in Pagandom at the time among those who avoided depth.

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Tana

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #44 on: March 22, 2012, 05:56:21 am »
Quote from: Jenett;46609


- And finally, there really is something in her writing style that caused a lot of people to fixate on what she said, and be unable to listen to alternatives. I remember a conversation about 10 years ago (might have been on an earlier version of the Cauldron, actually) in which someone *insisted* over and over again that one could only make consecrated/holy water at midnight on the full moon (because Silver Said So), and she had to work, and it was just Horrible. Even though people kept telling her, no, that wasn't the case, here's some other options. Or that if she really felt that strongly about the time, pick a day she was off work near the moon phase that worked for her. She was having none of it.


Maybe this is not so much a result of her writing style only. But the fatal combination of the fact, that what we hear/learn first about any topic, is what will stick with us in the most stubborn ways - even if it is wrong.

A lot of people stumbled first about SRW's books. So it was their first contact with the topic at all and this combined with the role the author likes herself to be seen in: Big Mama Silver on the Porch, knowing all, telling you all you need to know - that might caused the impact you described.

And yes, I have read all the To Ride, To Whatever and have a few of her spellbooks.
I collected for some years everything that implied anything witchy or magical on the cover. ;) And I must say, this surely does help to identify crap and even to find some pearls between the pile of BS.

But I really, really, really wouldn't recommend SRW to a beginner.
\'You had to repay, good or bad. There was more than one type of obligation.
That’s what people never really understood.….Things had to balance.
You couldn’t set out to be a good witch or a bad witch. It never worked out for long.
All you could try to be was a witch, as hard as you could.\'
Terry Pratchett \'Lords and Ladies\'

Confuzzled and proud. :p

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