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.



Legend: The Arthurian Tarot and Keeper of Words (companion book) by Anna Marie Ferguson

I chose this book because of my love for tarot. I was not disappointed.
Anna Marrie Ferguson demonstrates her passion for this subject by
intertwining her knowledge of Arthur and tarot throughout this well
thought out book. She gives each card a meticulous meaning as she takes
you on a journey through the life and times of King Arthur. Each card
represents a person or a story that draws you into the legend, making
it easy to absorb both the cards and their meaning. The description of
each illustration is a guide to the symbolism. Here’s an example:

    The lady of the lake appears to
    Arthur, representing cosmic law. She is a reminder that there is a
    mightier court than the king’s justice.
    In light of his past deeds the lady of the lake deems him worthy of her
    seal, presenting him with Excalibur and the scabbard.

    Her figure embodies the scales of
    justice as she weighs the virtues of sword and scabbard. The
    determination and decisive actions of the sword are in equilibrium with
    the mercy and protection of the scabbard. this represents a well
    balanced person who can be entrusted to carry out responsibilities in
    an honourable manner.

I enjoyed Ferguson’s
explanations of the reversals of each card as well as the short intro
she provided to the basic meaning of each suit(cups, swords, etcetera).
She also gives an example reading for three different kinds of tarot
spreads: horseshoe, astrological, and Celtic.

I strongly recommend this book
to beginners. The stories linking each card to the illustrations make
it very easy to commit meanings to memory. However, I would also
recommend it to anyone else — If you have any interest in Arthur it
will be even more appealing. The illustrations are very well done,
making it not just a tarot deck but a compelling story unfolding before

  • Buy the Book & Deck Edition 
  • 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.

    Witches’ Night Out A novel for teens by Silver Ravenwolf

    Let me start by saying I am nearly 40 years old, and I have never read
    of Silver RavenWolf’s books before. I know her work is wildly popular
    witches, especially her writings for teenagers. I am a witch, and I
    teenage girls’ series novels, so I had high hopes for this little book,
    the first of a series about teen witches. Even though I’m not a
    I had hoped I would enjoy and resonate with the story. I am as
    engrossed in
    the Harry Potter series as any 11-year-old out there!

    But, alas, I did not enjoy this book. I should have been able to tell from

    the cover what was to come. It shows a group of five teenagers through a

    window, dressed in midriff-baring street clothes, with the most glamorous

    one front and center, her arms stretched out. The four others

    are slouching in the background with their hands in their pockets; the young

    man even has a hat on, backwards. The illustrator either has no occult

    knowledge, or had no interest in portraying a witches’ coven raising energy

    in an authentic manner.

    And the story is not much better. The story centers around Bethany Salem

    (what a nice witch name, don’t you think?), a sixteen-year-old who just lost

    her boyfriend in a car accident and is determined to use her coven of five

    teenagers to catch the person who killed her boyfriend. Her favorite form of

    magick seems to be curses — definitely not ‘harm none, for the good of

    all.’ She breaks the nose of one character in a brawl while invoking the

    Dark Mother, and cuts the face of her teacher while invoking the Dark


    There were also small details that distressed me. A male cat, her familiar,

    named Hecate? Why didn’t RavenWolf pick a name befitting a male cat, rather

    than name a cat after a formidable goddess? Now if Bethany should ever want

    to invoke the goddess Hecate in a circle (which she doesn’t in this book),

    she will have an imagery of the cat in her mind, at least at first, because

    she uses the cat’s name on a daily basis. Another detail that bothered me

    was the appearance of a wart on the cheek of a rather unlikeable character

    who may have some occult talent of her own. So witches are warty, cruel


    I just could not get into this book, nor feel any great warmth or concern

    for the characters. The teens did not seem to talk to each other in

    teen-talk that felt authentic. The slang seemed dated. They didn’t

    seem to interact like friends; when another of them is in a car accident,

    they don’t seem to show much immediate concern, and not until six pages

    later do they even explore what injuries had occurred. And there were twists

    and turns to the story line that had completely unrealistic results. Someone

    dies in our heroine’s bedroom while she is in there, and no one explores the

    possibility of murder? It becomes known to the parents of these five that

    they are practicing witchcraft, and only one of the sets of parents shows

    concern? There is no punishment for brawling and breaking someone’s nose?

    Unless you are a diehard Silver RavenWolf fan, I’d say skip this book. I

    don’t see anything about this book that would be enjoyable for teenage

    witches. If you’re looking for magickal suspense novels for teenagers, I

    think Lois Duncan’s novels (“Locked in Time,” “Stranger with my Face,” and

    A Gift of Magic“, for instance), are much more authentic to a teen’s

    experiences. And I adored Caroline Cooney’s time traveling series of three

    books, “Out of Time,” “Both Sides of Time,” and “Prisoner of Time.” Any of

    these titles will give you much more enjoyment than RavenWolf’s story.

    The Goddess Path Myths, Invocations, & Rituals — by Patricia Monaghan

    This is a beautiful book, in more ways than one. Physically, it is beautifully designed. The cover shows a ripe and burstingThis
    is a beautiful book, in more ways than one. Physically, it is
    beautifully designed. The cover shows a ripe and bursting pomegranate,
    of the yoni, with gold embossing at the borders. The chapter
    illustrations by
    Nyease Sommersett are wonderful. After encountering the first one in my
    reading, I couldn’t resist pa
    ging ahead to look at them all. All the
    drawings are in the round … am I the only one who looked at some of
    them and said, “wow, that would make a great tattoo!”?

    The beauty of the book is more than superficial, however. This is a finely

    crafted, thoughtful, engrossing work. I thought I’d never finish the book;

    each chapter begged to be examined in depth. After the introductory chapters

    on the basics of goddess spirituality and ritual, the book has twenty

    chapters, each devoted to one goddess. Her myth and meaning, her symbols,

    and her celebrations are explained, and then Monaghan gives some suggestions

    of how to work with that goddess individually. The chapter ends with a list

    of questions best explored in a journal writing session.

    The first two chapters in particular spoke volumes to me in my life at this

    time. The first one was about Gaia, the creator goddess who feeds us all

    from her bounty. The journal work for the chapter revolves around hunger

    issues – what we hunger for, how we satisfy that hunger, what we fear we

    will never have enough of in our lives, etc. The day I started working on

    this chapter was the day after I had joined Weight Watchers and had begun

    dialogue with the other folks in my WW group about these issues. I lingered

    on this chapter for at least a week – examining on my own, and processing

    with my group members. It was extremely revealing, and very helpful as I

    started to explore how to feed myself without binging on food.

    I had a similar reaction to the second chapter, which focused on Athena,

    the protector goddess of the Greek cities. The journal work for the chapter

    centered around protection – how we react when threatened or challenged,

    experiences with physical assault and martial art forms, etc. The day I

    started on this chapter happened to be the day after I had been walking with

    my partner near a pond, and we were surrounded by four men determined to mug

    us. I was able to deter the attack by screaming “Police! 911!” but the fear

    I had felt was still ringing in my body the next day as I read this chapter

    and started the journal work. Again, this was a chapter I lingered on for a

    long time.

    The next chapter focused on Hera. I put the book down for a long time,

    dreading that if I started reading that chapter, I’d find out about some

    secret affair my partner was engaged in! But eventually I did pick it up

    again, and I found the rest of the book spoke more to events in my past than

    the first two chapters did. (Much to my relief!) And I found them all just

    as interesting, and revealing, and helpful.

    This is a wonderful book. I love the fact that the ritual ideas for each

    goddess was not a completely scripted rite, but simply an outline for the

    reader to flesh out as she sees fit. I loved the ritual poetry to each

    goddess that started each chapter, and I’m glad that Monaghan quoted her

    sources for these invocations. I highly recommend this book.

    Witches’ Night of Fear Witches’ Chillers Teen Mystery Novel Series — by Silver Ravenwolf

    This novel is the second in the author’s Witches’ Chillers series of teen mysteries. I reviewed the first one in the series, Witches’ Night Out, for Spiritualitea a few months ago, and was promptly criticized in the Forum for my negative review. So why did I even pick up the second one in the series, you might wonder, if I gave the first one a no-star rating?

    Well, chalk it up to idle curiosity. I am fond of series books; I like to see how an author develops her characters from title to title. So when I spotted this book recently, I couldn’t resist sitting down with it for a few hours. It’s written for teens and pre-teens, so it’s short (less than 300 pages) and easy to devour.

    I am relieved that I won’t have to write another no-star review for this book. I had been quite disturbed by all the cursing in the first book, and this sequel didn’t have anything like that in it. Bethany Salem, the heroine of the story, does disturb someone else’s spell, though, with the deliberate intent of interfering with the spell’s purpose. But at least there’s discussion about the repercussions of choosing to interfere, before Bethany acts on her decision to interfere. And she did choose to interfere because she thought the spell was blocking someone else’s safety and well-being. So there’s definitely some signs that our heroine is maturing in her magickal knowledge from the first book to this one.

    The story lines are absorbing, and deal with aspects that many teens can relate to: first love, a widowed father starting to date someone his daughter doesn’t trust, not getting enough attention from a parent, and bullies in school, for instance. The author has created a circle of friends from many backgrounds and races, which is nice to see in a world of mostly white book characters from other authors. And Bethany is having potent visions and is doing rituals and spells with her coven and teacher that could make this book interesting and meaningful to a young witch.

    I wish the author had been more careful in the final editing of the book,

    though. There are several clues that are laid out that go undetected by the

    reader because of bad editing. I don’t want to give away any of the story

    line, so this is not the real clue but a similar example. At one point in

    the story, a “yellow ball” is introduced as a clue. In the final twist and

    turns of the story, a “green ball” leads to an identity, and Bethany bemoans

    the fact that she didn’t put two and two together earlier about the “green

    ball” connection. Too bad nobody in the editing department at Llewellyn

    noticed the original “yellow ball” reference in the text should have been


    I wish some of the dead-end clues had been explained too. In one scene,

    one character refuses to go to a place where she would meet up with another

    character, leading one to conclude that there is some fear or bad blood

    there. In reality, it is revealed that they are good friends and on good

    terms with each other. So why go through all that drama in the first place?

    RavenWolf never offers a theory.

    I wonder what teens will pick up about Wiccan practice from this series.

    Bethany’s teacher is a French-Creole black woman who gets her spiritual

    supplies from a botanica. While the author doesn’t say the woman practices

    Santeria or Vodou, she seems to imply it with these details. Yet the

    French-Creole woman teaches Bethany and her friends Wiccan practices. Is

    RavenWolf trying to say that Santeria and Vodou are Wiccan? Similarly,

    there is a Native American character in the story that they want to get into

    the coven; since he is Native American, goes the thinking, he’s already

    familiar with Wiccan practice. Adults who have studied Wicca for a while

    will be aware that Native American practices are not Wiccan, and Santeria or

    Vodou is not Wiccan, but will the teen audience of her novels know that?

    So, while I found this book to be entertaining for a few hours, I don’t

    think I would recommend it to a teen unless it was someone who had read a

    lot about Wicca already and could discern between the good and the dubious

    in this book. I think there is definitely a need for teens to get good

    information on Wicca and its practices, but I hope they will not be turning

    to these books to get that information.

    Dancing With Dragons by D.J. Conway

    Dancing With Dragons book cover

    This 300 page tome is chock full
    of dragon lore, magical principles and knowledge gleaned from author
    D.J. Conway’s 25 years of metaphysical experiences and, of course, her
    own magical workings with dragons.

    Books by D.J. Conway:

  • The Celtic Dragon Tarot

  • Moon Magick : Myth & Magick, Crafts & Recipes, Rituals & Spells
  • By Oak, Ash & Thorn : Modern Celtic Shamanism
  • The Celtic Book of Names

  • As I understand her premise,
    dragons are creatures of the Astral Plane related to Elementals. They
    and/or their potent energy may be summoned and used by magicians (if
    approached in the proper manner) to enhance magical workings. This book
    explains how it all works and provides rituals, spells, correspondences
    and heck, even the kind of music and dance that dragons prefer. A whole
    cosmology is described down to the minutest detail. Overall, it’s
    really well written and researched (the “Dragons in Myth and Legend”
    chapter is great!) and the Appendices provide good general witchy info.
    But really, is there an audience out there for dragon-centered

    A book like this would have made
    any self-respecting Dungeon Master back in the seventies drool, but I’m
    sorry to say it’s not my cuppa (Spirituali)tea. Sorry, DJ Conway fans.
    I mean no disrespect. I actually like dragons, which is why I chose the
    book to review. I was born in the year of the Dragon. I rooted for
    Smaug in the Hobbit. I’ve collected dragon stuff over the years. Old
    boyfriends have called me Dragon Lady..uhm, anyway, as I said I don’t
    wish to offend but I really don’t know who I could recommend this
    volume to. Then again, if you like DJ Conway’s other works or you are a
    practitioner of dragon magic yourself, this book is certainly worth a

    The Shining Tribe Tarot Deck and Book Set by Rachel Pollack

    When I first opened The Shining Tribe Tarot
    I was immediately enthralled with the cards themselves. Each card
    brings to mind images of Native American stories and mysticism. In
    fact, the artwork is said to be drawn from Stone Age rock art, Native
    American and African shamanism, Australian Aboriginal art, and the
    Kabbalah. It is no wonder, as each card stirs feelings of ancient
    wisdom that continue to hold truth and value in our modern day lives.
    The cards are different: instead of the expected Minor Arcana Wands,
    there are Trees representing the Fire element. Rivers, Birds and
    Stones, stand in for the usual Cups, Swords and Disks. Personally, I
    enjoy the use of such elemental symbols, drawn straight from the
    natural world, for it seems to touch a more ancient place within
    myself, a place more tribal and rooted in the Earth.

    deck comes with a superb guidebook, with each card carefully explained.
    The book is very easy to read and follow, even for a newcomer such as
    myself. At the end of the book, Rachel takes time to suggest possible
    spreads and includes a glossary, as well as an index of name changes
    she implements in these cards. For instance, the 12th Major Arcana card
    is named “Hanged Woman,” rather than the more traditional “Hanged Man,”
    which may also account for my strong appreciation of these cards, for I
    tend to enjoy cards that are more woman-centered and woman-identified.
    I would certainly recommend this deck and accompanying manual to anyone
    who is searching for a slightly different tarot and/or a deck that
    reaches into the ancient times where mysticism and symbols were more a
    part of everyday life and taught all the lessons.

    Gardening With the Goddess : Creating Gardens of Spirit and Magick by Patricia Telesco

    In the dark time of the year, there’s no more enjoyable reading for
    me than garden and seed catalogs. This new book by Patricia Telesco
    was an ideal supplement to my catalog reading and my sketches and plans
    for my spring garden in my new home.

    This was a fun book to spark ideas in even the most experienced
    gardener. She offered suggestions for gardening by the moon cycles,
    gardening with crystals, and blessing the land. She also gave
    tips on fertilizers and companion plantings for those with little or
    no gardening experience.

    The bulk of the book described specific gardens designed for a
    particular goddess. She included historic and cultural information
    about the goddess, suggested plants that the goddess held dear,
    patterns in which to lay out the garden to harmonize with that goddess,
    colors, stones, and decorations that honor that goddess, how to
    orient and adapt the garden to fit your garden and its location, and
    what to do with the harvest afterward.

    She selected goddesses from many different cultures, which was a
    welcome sight to me. And I enjoyed reading her suggestions, which were
    creative and evocative. I was disappointed that she did not include
    drawings for any of the gardens, to see how she’d suggest grouping the
    plants to be visually appealing and practical. And I wished she had
    footnoted her information so that I could read more about a particular
    goddess. For instance, I didn’t know the Egyptian goddess Kefa before
    reading here about a garden dedicated to Her. It would have been
    helpful to have the Kefa chapter footnoted with a resource or two
    specifically about Her, rather than going to the bibliography at the
    end of the book and guessing which might be the one to explore(Most
    of the bibliography was about gardening and herbology, not mythology).

    But despite these quibbles, I still think the book offers some
    wonderful ideas and is worth the purchase. Enjoy your own dreams of

    Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton, Ph.D.

    progression of the soul after death is a mystery that has been
    contemplated since ancient times. In Destiny of Souls, Dr. Michael
    Newton shares his work with and case studies of past life regressions
    to reveal the spiritual realm beyond death.

    Dr. Newton holds a doctorate in
    Counseling Psychology, is a certified Master Hypnotherapist and is a
    member of the American Counseling Association. He describes himself as
    a traditional hypnotherapist who was initially skeptical about the use
    of hypnosis for metaphysical regression. He subsequently stumbled upon
    past life regressions in his practice and over the years embarked upon
    a path of research which enabled him to construct a model of the spirit
    world and its processes.

    In this book Dr. Newton gives us
    a view of the afterlife as an orderly and loving place of regeneration,
    learning and progress in-between incarnations. His case studies review
    the process the soul goes through after death beginning with some of
    the therapeutic techniques recently departed souls use to aid the
    grieving processes of the living left behind. He also explores the
    concepts of Angels or Heavenly Hosts, Spirit Guides, ghosts, and nature
    spirits as reported in his regression sessions with clients and their
    relations to the myths and legends of Earth.

    He goes on to explore and
    describe the process souls go through to recover from their
    incarnations before they are able to rejoin their collective soul
    groups. His subjects describe the greater soul community extensively
    as a loving and orderly place/existence where souls are guided to learn
    from their past lives so that they may be enabled to move on to new
    incarnations and so learn new lessons.

    He gives in great detail
    descriptions of the progression of levels souls go through on their way
    towards growth and enlightenment, their access to their Akashic
    records, aura color associations and much more. In like manner, Dr.
    Newtons case studies also describe the evaluation process a soul
    encounters, as well as the appearance and composition of the Elder
    beings, which evaluate it. Some of his more interesting studies cover
    the idea of soul-mates as well as groups of souls that incarnate
    together over and over.

    I found much of Dr. Newtons book
    to be quite interesting, however, some of the case studies became
    rather tedious, especially as similar information is often repeated.
    Despite the many excerpts from his case studies, his overall message is
    one of hope in that as we grow in awareness of the true meaning of
    perfection, so too will the quality of existence expand to encompass
    that awareness.

    I would recommend this book
    especially to the reader who is engaged in pursuing some of the more
    contemplative questions of the meaning of life and death. Whether or
    not you accept Dr. Newtons view of life after death, he does bring up
    stimulating theological and ethical issues which engage the reader in
    deeper thought.