What I enjoy about reading Silver Ravenwolf’s books is that she is always true to herself, even if some in the Wiccan/Witch community may find her to be a little bit “witch-lite,” or as some have called her a “fluffy-bunny” (a derogatory term for a witch wannabe who is all sunshine and rainbows).
The world needs a few fluffy bunnies in my estimation, so I won’t rag on Silver Ravenwolf, even though some of her early books having made Wiccans out to be something other than what they are – like cute and cuddly and obsessed with being “good.”
Her most recent offering is a mature look at living as a witch that gets rid of at least some of the opinions from her early books that made people cringe with their non-authenticity. A Witch’s Notebook is based on the author’s personal collection of notebooks that she has kept over the years on a variety of topics that are definitely advanced witchcraft.
It is nearly impossible to find books on advanced witchcraft and the few that I have read really did not have much to offer. Silver’s book is a step in the right direction in that she discusses topics that are not usually covered in Wicca 101 books (like Quantum Psychics for instance!).
Unfortunately it is a short book and could have been much more! In fact Silver even says in the introduction that originally she had considered thirteen lessons, but then changed it to five. I think that was a mistake. This volume could have done with a little more MEAT and a little less filler.
The book is divided up into lessons in five chapters.
In the first chapter Silver explores some “mystical truths” and even touches on Zen Buddhism, which got my attention (as a Buddhist Witch).
If you’ve ever wanted to try chakra cleansing and dealing with your aura, and other New Age things that many witches may not have had much experience with, this chapter will drop you right into that mindset. Or rather, “higher-mind set”. I liked that she included this in a book about witchcraft, as too often, those on the path forget to veer off and take a detour.
The second chapter talks about “life being a Sacred Journey”, and that does kind of bug me. Of course life is a sacred journey! You are alive and you are this fortunate human being with the opportunity to gain enlightenment in your time on earth. You’re not a dog, or a flea on a dog, so it’s fortunate and it’s sacred. Thus, it doesn’t need to be spelled out in such a “life is a Sacred Journey” way, which is kind of like making the observation that hey, puppies and kitties are cute!
This chapter does include some great sigils and rituals for practice (a sigil is a magickal symbol drawn by a witch); Ravenwolf uses many sigils from Hoodoo and Voodoo mysteries — sigils have inherent magickal power on their own and can be used in a variety of magick spells.
The third chapter explores some consequences of karma and the science of witchcraft and the fourth chapter is an interesting exploration of some Hoodoo magickal basics.
Although the fifth chapter is also called a lesson, I don’t think it really is. Silver has included a Witch’s Herbal here, which, although it is interesting to read, is nowhere near the completeness and professional quality of books like A Compendium of Herbal Magic by Paul Beyerl (my personal favorite) or Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham.
I actually consider the fifth chapter to be filler, which is too bad, as Silver was going pretty strong until then.
However, I am glad that I gave Silver another chance as I believe this book is an excellent beginning exploration of advanced witchcraft, from an author who is finally coming into her own. I still would have liked to see more length and more depth, for those of us who are long past reading about what a cauldron is or how to use candles in magick.