To Light A Sacred Flame: Practical Witchcraft for the Millenium by Silver Ravenwolf

In the best of all possible worlds, a young witch can find a mentor to guide her as she learns to grow her personal power, celebrate divinity in ritual and cast spells to enrich her world and help others. But, more often than not, individuals find themselves turning to books to learn these new skills.

Silver Ravenwolf has established herself as a virtual mentor to hundreds of new witches, with her wildly popular To Ride a Silver Broomstick and To Stir a Magic Cauldron. Her newest in this series, To Light a Sacred

Flame, continues on in this vein, presenting innovative Craft ideas in practical language and methods.

Silver begins her book in a casual writing style that is, at best, approachable, but can become distracting and dulls her credibility. But this casual style pops up less often as the book continues, in favor of more straight-forward information. She sometimes seems to stray into New-Age cheerleading and at other times you almost wonder if she was thinking in terms of another of her books more recently released, Teen Witch. But she eventually finds her best voice and the lighter conversation fades considerably to lead the reader on to pure learning.

The first section in the book is devoted to building personal power and self-confidence. This approach is an excellent one, as it builds a good basis for doing exercises and group work presented later in the book. It’s also helpful for the beginner to learn to identify self-created energy so they’ll be better equipped to identify energy created by other sources.

At first glance, the exercises and methods might seem too contrived or

over-the-top. But when you look at the collection of correspondences,

meditation methods, energy work and spells, you see that Silver’s

strength is her ability to demystify the Craft. Those individuals for whom

complex ceremony and ritual is discomforting or just “doesn’t feel

right”, Silver’s suggestions are more down-to-earth and practical. Most

things are meant to be done within a few minutes, regardless of your

location. A chain of paperclips becomes a reminder of accomplishments, a

bad habit is written on a scrap of toilet paper and flushed away. A

packet of salt, a lighter, a vial of water and a small feather represent

the four elements hidden away in an office desk drawer.


Most of what Silver teaches is not terribly new for Craft literature. She

includes generous helpings of classic Wiccan practice, from

Alexandrian-style formal ritual to chants that will be familiar to many.

However, one subject that may raise and eyebrow is her use of Angel

energy. Working with Angels is not an unheard of method in the Craft.

But, with the relatively recent resurgence in Christian artifacts geared

toward the masses, from gold-plated Angel pins at the drugstore impulse

bin to the popular TV show, Touched By An Angel, working angel energy may

take some getting used to for many witches. Although Silver spends a good

many words describing ways in which to work with various angels, this

aspect of the book shouldn’t scare away those who prefer not to work in

that way. I might add that Silver is correct to indicate that using Angel

energy is an excellent way to frame ritual work for family and friends

who may be Christian or at least a little wary of Wicca. Not many people

fear angels.


Finally, Silver includes scripts for several popular types of rituals,

including Wiccaning and handfasting, performed in a variety of ways, from

the highly formal to spontaneous. These rituals are ready to go right out

of the book (just add coven) but can also be modified by a more creative

Wiccan. A handful of correspondence tables and other things for your Book

of Shadows completes the book.


Sacred Flame could, technically, be appropriate for someone very new to

the craft, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A more experienced witch can

benefit from the variety and number of ritual, devotional, and

self-enrichment ideas, but would be better equipt to separate Silver’s

own preferences from the information and take the useful morsels. Since

most readers are probably self-taught and accostomed to building

confidence by reading more books (you know who you are — I’m one, too),

Sacred Flame does an excellent job in giving enough examples, ritual

ideas and exercises to prompt the reader to get their nose out of the

pages of the book and to their altar to try something new.


In her acknowledgements section, Silver mentions that this book is the

culmination of a lifetime of work an Craft practice and it shows. Sacred

Flame is a rich, densely packed compilation of handy things to try,

correspondences, specific ritual ideas in addition to instruction. This

book would make a handy addition to any witch’s library.



Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit by Patricia Monaghan

With The Goddess Companion, Patricia Monaghan has delivered a daybook

of ancient celebration, a touchstone of daily inspiration, and a bountiful

reference book.

Monaghan, one of the premier authors of goddess-focussed resources, has

compiled hundreds of prayers, chants, and folk songs from such diverse

sources as Lithuania to Japan to the Christian bible to native Alaska. Each

is a potent invocation to the goddess in her mother, lover, warrior, and

other aspects and lends itself well to public or private ritual recitation.

Monaghan’s own text instructs the reader on the history of a particular

piece, a celebration commemorated, or a new way of embracing goddess energy

and blessings into our lives.

Other books by Patricia Monaghan

  • Goddesses & Heroines
  • The Goddess Path
  • Magical Gardens
  • Meditation
  • The Office Oracle
  • Serious students of cultural history may find fault with some of the

    liberties Monaghan takes with the prayers. But this is clearly a work of

    inspiration, intended to engage the mind, please the ear, and uplift the

    heart. The reader can excuse Monaghan’s choices to reword a passage to

    emphasize the feminine or impose a rhyme to improve the rhythm of the piece.

    And Monaghan makes no attempt to hide her decision to make changes in the


    Readers can take their time savoring a morsel of goddess lore every day or

    can jump to an appropriate passage with the help of three indexes, by

    culture, subject and goddess. While Monaghan refrains from giving

    suggestions on a particular regimine for using the prayers as devotionals,

    she does provide hints on easing ritual into daily life in small ways. Not

    only can the reader learn about hundreds of goddess aspects and the ways in

    which various cultures celebrated them, but she can gain insight on the

    turning wheel of the year. Move from a blossoming Homeric hymn to Demeter

    March 4,


    Imagine this: the maiden goddess playing in a flowery

    meadow, together with the full-bodied daughters of the

    ocean. They were gathering flowers: just-open roses,

    crocuses, and dark violets from the soft grass, and lilies

    and hyacinths.

    to a Pima rain-making song June 8,


    The light dawns and finds us singing,

    singing as the corn waves tassels at us.

    The dark falls and finds us singing,

    singing while the squash waves leaves at us.

    to a medieval Irish death chant October 31,


    Go home now, to the mother of winter.

    Go home now, to your sprintime home.

    Go home now, to the mother of summer.

    Go home now, to your autumn home.

    to a Pueblo dawn call to winter feast December 11,


    Draw clouds forth from the sky’s quarters.

    Draw clouds full of snow to us here!

    Snow falling now means water in summer.

    Come ice, cover my fields!

    The Goddess Companion offers a well-paced journey into self-discovery

    and personal transformation through feminine appreciation. It is a

    cornucopian addition to any magickal or mundane bookshelf.