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Author Topic: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?  (Read 11357 times)

RandallS

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Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« on: March 16, 2012, 08:18:33 am »
Ten or twelve years ago hardly a week went by without some discussion of Silver Ravenwolf and her many books on TC. However, it's been several years since Silver Ravenwolf and/or her books were a major topic of discussion. Perhaps we can now look make on the "Silver Ravenwolf era" with some distance and discuss her influence or Wicca and Paganism.

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?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 08:20:32 am by RandallS »
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Auress

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2012, 10:57:17 am »
Quote from: RandallS;46012
Ten or twelve years ago hardly a week went by without some discussion of Silver Ravenwolf and her many books on TC. However, it's been several years since Silver Ravenwolf and/or her books were a major topic of discussion. Perhaps we can now look make on the "Silver Ravenwolf era" with some distance and discuss her influence or Wicca and Paganism.

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?


Unfortunately, I really do think that SRW is the reason we have the "instant witch, just add SRW book" problem in wicca. Wicca was a very serious religion until she came along. After that it was more like the movie "The Craft", or a caricature of it's former self.

She is the largest spreader of misinformation in paganism, as far as I've seen. I've seen others, but none as prominent or popular and widely read as SRW.

I think she's also responsible for a lot of would-be wiccans dropping the religion and going back to their former faiths, or on to something else. Once they see that it's really not as all fluffy, rosey as she paints it, they move on. This might or might not be tragic, perhaps they would have done that anyway, but I feel like her books give wicca and fluffy, pink veneer. It really is a sexual, dark religion in a lot of ways. I think that scares people whose first tastes are SRW flavored.

The first books I ever read about wicca were SRWs. I had a co worker who was way into her stuff. But, I had read other occult books and had been since my mother started buying them for me at age 8. I was able to sort of shake her off like a bad case of fleas, but not before checking it all out for myself by meeting other people. The co worker most likely never stayed with it because she was convinced that it really was just like in the books and movies.

Thankfully, the internet has cured some of her affects on the community. I hope she just goes away. :D:

Marilyn/Absentminded

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2012, 11:15:37 am »
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?

 
I think a lot of people would like to believe she has become irrelevant.  Especially those who have never read her - they declare firmly that they cannot have been influenced or tainted by her because they never cracked open one of her books.

The problem is, her teachings got so far into the popular culture that you don't actually have to go to the source to be affected by it.  I once had someone argue with me that her views of the Great Universal Matriarchy couldn't have come from Murray because she had never read her - I couldn't convince her that not having read the source did not make the material true or universal; it just made it subtle.

I think SRW has had an influence like that.  People who have no idea where their ideas came from, who think that they are actually cornerstones of paganism and Wicca, will argue for her principles without ever mentioning (or thinking) her name.  I think more effort has to go into tracing the foundational assumptions one has to realize where they come from.

If they come from SRW and are still valid on their own, well and good.  But if they fall apart without the rest of her infrastructure they may need to be replaced with things that make more sense in the long run.

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Ahurani

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2012, 01:02:44 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;46012
Ten or twelve years ago hardly a week went by without some discussion of Silver Ravenwolf and her many books on TC. However, it's been several years since Silver Ravenwolf and/or her books were a major topic of discussion. Perhaps we can now look make on the "Silver Ravenwolf era" with some distance and discuss her influence or Wicca and Paganism.

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?

 
It's been said you can learn some really good things from some really bad places.  Information is always around and sometimes the most valuable teacher is the one you walk away from because they've shown you what you don't want.  Plus, I personally see Paganism as all encompassing as opposed to the dogma specific versions that come with monotheism.  

There's just as much room for the "fluffy bunny" stuff some are more comfortable with as there is for darker practices, it all depends on which path each person is on at any given moment.  Ravenwolf's books did bring more exposure and I'm not certain how that's going to play out in the long run considering the recent turn of extremism in the monotheistic world.  

I come across a lot of negativity about some of the more well-known authors including Ravenwolf but honestly, I think if someone is going to be as fully balanced as possible, you read and absorb and consider everything you come across.  Then you keep what works for you, toss what doesn't and consider it all part of the learning.

'Rani

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2012, 02:18:30 pm »
Quote from: RandallS;46012
Ten or twelve years ago hardly a week went by without some discussion of Silver Ravenwolf and her many books on TC. However, it's been several years since Silver Ravenwolf and/or her books were a major topic of discussion. Perhaps we can now look make on the "Silver Ravenwolf era" with some distance and discuss her influence or Wicca and Paganism.

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?

 
As for me personally (I know you're not looking for personal anecdote, but too bad :P), I got bored with her pretty quickly. The first book on Wicca I cracked open was The Witches Bible, which I found fascinating for the short time it was available to me, so when I went looking for more, SRW is the first thing I got exposed to in the bookstore.

Honestly, I probably would have stayed Wiccan if I'd stopped looking after reading her, but because it was boring, I started delving a little more into the older tenets of religious witchcraft. It didn't take long for me to realize the more I read, the less I could relate to any of it. So I dropped the whole thing with a resounding "meh". So I guess... thanks SRW?

Lokabrenna

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2012, 02:39:00 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?


One of the only books that my high school library stocked on Wicca was "Teen Witch" which I'm told was the worst of her books. (I've heard the others have their merits.) I remember thinking some of the spells had some cute ideas, but the fact that she tells kids to lie to their parents (or "hide it" by showing a sudden interest in angels) is just....just....not something you do.

Fortunately, I read everything I could on the subject. I ended up deciding Wicca wasn't for me, but it wasn't because I was freaked out by the "real deal". I think that's what has people so worried, that newbies will read her books and only her books, and then think she's the only game in town. I believe she put out a "magical kit" with an altar setup, someone said that it would be good for someone who doesn't have a lot of money, but seeing as you're encouraged to shop in thrift stores for magickal tools, you don't have to spend that much on an altar if you don't want to, and most can do a lot better than cheap plastic.

Melamphoros

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 02:46:11 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?

 
I'm probably the wrong person to contribute as TC is the only pagan place I frequent, but if the newbies we've got in recent years are any indication, she doesn't seem to have had much of an influence (don't get me wrong, we've still had a handful of fluffs that didn't stay long.  It's still nothing like it was about ten years ago).  Although I'm willing to chalk it up to TC attracting a different audience than Mama $ilver.  For all I know there could be a bunch of fora out there crawling with fluffies.

As time goes by, her name will be mentioned less and less.  The "Silver Ravenwolf Era" was also the era that people came to paganism after watching The Craft or a few episodes of Buffy or Charmed.  I've noticed that as those works have faded from pop culture, so have the newbies inspired by them.


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Owl

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2012, 02:57:41 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;46038

As time goes by, her name will be mentioned less and less.  The "Silver Ravenwolf Era" was also the era that people came to paganism after watching The Craft or a few episodes of Buffy or Charmed.  I've noticed that as those works have faded from pop culture, so have the newbies inspired by them.


Does this mean we are going to be buried in people interested in faery because of Lost Girl?  I need a rock to hide under.....
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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2012, 03:10:15 pm »
Quote from: Owl;46039
Does this mean we are going to be buried in people interested in faery because of Lost Girl?  I need a rock to hide under.....

 
I'm so glad I have no idea what you're talking about...:rolleye::

Honestly, I'm surprised there hasn't been many otherkin who think they're members of the sparkling dead.


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Owl

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2012, 04:26:12 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;46041
I'm so glad I have no idea what you're talking about...:rolleye::

Honestly, I'm surprised there hasn't been many otherkin who think they're members of the sparkling dead.

Lost Girl is a new show on sy fy channel that is moderately entertaining in the same vein as Being Human sort of.  Basically there are lots of "fae" living among us but not letting us know.  The different fae introduced are somewhat interesting, but if it didn't come on after Being Human we probably wouldn't watch it.  The werewolf is rather yummy though.....

http://www.syfy.com/lostgirl/article//?__source=InternalMktg&o=Lost%20Girl%20Featured%20Content
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 04:26:32 pm by Owl »
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Nyktelios

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 04:47:39 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;46038
As time goes by, her name will be mentioned less and less.  The "Silver Ravenwolf Era" was also the era that people came to paganism after watching The Craft or a few episodes of Buffy or Charmed.  I've noticed that as those works have faded from pop culture, so have the newbies inspired by them.

I was one of those teens who loved Charmed and who read Teen Witch as one of my first books on paganism, although I don't think they were related. I had been watching Charmed since I was 10 years old, and it wasn't until four or five years later when I started looking into Witchcraft in high school because I knew people who were into it and started researching it for myself. I got Teen Witch because it was available, and as a teen then, I thought it was appropriate for me. A friend also gave me To Ride a Silver Broomstick to borrow.

They weren't really what I was looking for, as they were a little light on religion and heavy on magic and ritual, though I wouldn't say they were a plague on the pagan community as we know it. They're light and easy to read, and they do have some mistakes, but most of them are pretty common to pagan books, like how Wicca is an ancient religion that was forced underground by Christians during the witch hunts, etc. Teen Witch is definitely not her best book, but To Ride, To Stir, and To Light are okay. Not the best, but not the worst. She's got nothing on DJ Conway, Edain McCoy, and Gerina Dunwich in terms of fluffiness.

I know SRW has this reputation for encouraging kids to lie to their parents, but that's not what I took from Teen Witch when I read it. As I understood, she was just cautioning teens to be careful, as parents may not be so tolerant of something like Witchcraft. However, she does have an introduction in that book targeted towards parents, which doesn't seem to me like she's encouraging kids to lie to their parents. From what I've seen, those anti-SRW sites take a lot of quotes out of context. She's just an easy target because she's widely known.

Also, I don't understand why people think she's a money-hungry sell-out. Authors can hardly get rich writing pagan books.

Quote from: Ahurani;46031
I come across a lot of negativity about some of the more well-known authors including Ravenwolf but honestly, I think if someone is going to be as fully balanced as possible, you read and absorb and consider everything you come across.  Then you keep what works for you, toss what doesn't and consider it all part of the learning.

Agreed. Her books may not be the most substantial, but they can be helpful in some ways. If a person is looking for hardcore traditional Gardnerian Wicca, then SRW's books will be disappointing. They're not bad when it comes to finding an eclectic solitary practice not based on any particular tradition. Traditional covens aren't always widely available to people, so maybe a lot of her appeal comes from the fact that she does encourage people to find what works for them in solitary format.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 04:49:13 pm by Nyktelios »

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 05:52:46 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;46038
Although I'm willing to chalk it up to TC attracting a different audience than Mama $ilver.  For all I know there could be a bunch of fora out there crawling with fluffies.

 
I'm sure your horror-loving self would be reassured to know conclusively that there are indeed pagan fora where the fans of SRW and the like are not uncommon.
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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 05:59:00 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;46071
I'm sure your horror-loving self would be reassured to know conclusively that there are indeed pagan fora where the fans of SRW and the like are not uncommon.

 
 um...yay?  Well it's a good thing I have my spear and magic helmet ready for possible fluffy invasion:D:


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dionysiandame

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2012, 06:09:49 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?


I remember Silver Ravenwolf being one of the first authors I read going into paganism and, before I found The Cauldron, a good bit of my philosophy was an amalgam of her writings, Laurie Cabot, and Scott Cunningham. The books are easily accessible and can be found in most major chain book stores.

That said I do think she continues to have a great effect on the modern Wiccan/Pagan community. How many times have I had to repeat, over and over, that I don't follow the Wiccan rede? Or that all pagans don't have some axe to grind with Christianity? These were all principles firmly lodged in some of her books and this is an attitude that continues to pour into our community; fed by the angst of a middle class neo-pagan population whose greatest enemy are the Christians who made fun of them, or who tried to proselytize to them. :56:

She's proven that substance isn't nearly as important as popularity. Heaven knows something wouldn't be popular if it was a sack of flattened bollocks with ink splattered on it.

I think, as the pagan community has grown (especially online) more people are exposed to actual history and various paths. In the end, most Wiccans/pagans are going to be confronted with someone who will fill them into where Mama Silver might have gotten a few things wrong OR replaced Wiccan religion with her own ethics.
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RandallS

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Re: Silver Ravenwolf's Effect on Wicca/Paganism?
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 06:51:13 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;46038
As time goes by, her name will be mentioned less and less.  The "Silver Ravenwolf Era" was also the era that people came to paganism after watching The Craft or a few episodes of Buffy or Charmed.  I've noticed that as those works have faded from pop culture, so have the newbies inspired by them.

And Silver's "New Generation Wicca" probably offered exactly what many people coming from The Craft or Charmed were looking for. I wonder if some of Silver's popularity was causing by this "feedback-like effect"?
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