Posted in book reviews, witchy book reviews

Devils and Demonology in the 21st Century by Katie Boyd

Devils and Demonology: In the 21st Century : Katie Boyd ...

If you’re into the paranormal, you have GOT to read this book. First of all, I’m a third generation exorcist. My mother and her mother before her both had/have the ability to perceive and banish demons, as do I. To actually, FINALLY, find a book that is also about an exorcist who is also a woman (and an LGBT woman, no less! Just like meee!) was like a miracle. You cannot even begin to imagine how happy I was when I read this book.

Not only does Boyd come at it from an open minded point of view, she has researched and collected and presented a long, inclusive list of demons from various cultures and religions (not ALL, of course, but many of the more popular ones) and how to get rid of them, where to find them, etc. She doesn’t really take a specific standpoint from one single belief system and instead treats them all equally. This book takes the things I disliked about The Demonologist and fixed it! Not only that, but Boyd has several real life accounts of exorcisms she has done on different kinds of demons, as well as a ton of historical information about exorcism in general. She even has a list of famous exorcists and short bios on them. It is seriously like an exorcist’s or a demonologist’s wet dream. It is an AMAZING book and one of my favorite resources.

The only issues I could find was that a few of the demon descriptions were a little off (bound to happen, though, with so many to cover.) and there were a couple spelling mistakes. Nothing huge and it definitely doesn’t effect the overall presentation and educational worth of the book. I give it a 5/5 and it sits among my most prized reference books on the occult/paranormal.

Posted in book reviews, Cultural Appropriation, witchy book reviews, Witchy Tips

Witchcraft Books by Silver Ravenwolf

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When I first starting practicing Wicca, like a decade ago, I came across a copy of To Ride a Silver Broomstick by SIlver Ravenwolf. I gobbled it up. It is not until, now, as a 23 year old witch with ten years of experience under my belt, that I realize what an absolute load of crap that entire book was. I can wax poetic about why, for the love of all that is good in this world, you should not, under any circumstance read, buy or support Silver Ravenpoop’s books. She is not an even remotely good source and she profits off the ignorance of young pagans.

 

  • She claims that Wicca and Witchcraft are the same thing. Yup, if you are a witch, you have to be Wiccan.
  • She claims that Satanist and Christian witches do not exist. Because all witches are Wicca, right?
  • She’s very clearly heteronormative, and does not acknowledge any genders other than the Male/Female, God/Goddess idea. Oh, and I do mean the CIS idea of Male/Female. Apparently you’re only a dude or a girl if you have the biological body parts to go with it. Yeah.
  • She talks a LOT about sex and fertility rites, but only in regards to straight people. Yup, if you’re LGBTQA, Ravenwolf refuses to acknowledge or write about you.
  • She believes and preaches the importance of an intact hymen being equal to a person’s virginity. As if virginity is actually a biological state and not just a sociological concept invented by men. Mhmm.
  • Her books are rank with cultural appropriation. Like, you name a sacred religious rite from a minority culture and she has probably written about it and said its 100% a-okay to steal stuff that doesn’t belong to you.
  • She’s clearly racist and speaks from a standpoint of white privilege, and her words are aimed at a young, white, straight audience.
  • She teaches hate and intolerance.
  • She teaches a completely incorrect version of history and tries to convince her readers that everything is a conspiracy.
  • She tries to convince us that witches are the most persecuted group of people in history and completely erases any mention of Native American genocide and the enslavement of African Americans.
  • She believes Christians and Christianity is evil and is outspoken about how much she hates them. Same for Satanists, pretty much. If you don’t believe in Wicca, you should be shunned, apparently.

 

I just. I can’t even. I could go on. There is more I could list. But honestly, I will say it right now, do not even bother reading anything by this fraud. She teaches nothing but hate and prejudice and if you have already had the misfortune of reading one of her books, throw it away or burn it and try your best to unlearn everything she has taught you. Egads, she is just awful. (shudders) All 21 of her books are laughably bad and full of crap. I attempted to read some of her other books, thinking maybe To Ride A Silver Broomstick was just like, a bad start, or something. Nope. They’re all awful.

Posted in book reviews, witchy book reviews, Witchy Tips

Dancing with Dragons, Celtic Magic and Norse Magic by D.J. Conway

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So, it’s occurred to me that some of these posts don’t need to be about one specific book. And this article is going to be about three books by D.J. Conway. Get ready to cringe. The first book I read by her was called Dancing with Dragons, and I thought, ‘Oh cool! Finally a good book on dragon magic!’ I was such an innocent and naive little witch back then, hah.

Dancing with Dragons, for it’s subject matter, is actually very informative, and I enjoyed reading it for a while. There are chapters about how to find and communicate with dragons, how to work with dragons in your magic, and the kinds of dragons that are out there, in mythology and modern days.

However, Conway has a very clear set of binary-Wiccan-glasses that she sees the world through, and it really shows in all of her work. She automatically assumes that all her readers are Wiccan, believe in the God/Goddess, and that there is only one gender binary aka she talks about the Female/Male styles of magic a lot. So there’s that to consider when reading this book.

The next book is Celtic Magic, and for the most part I could find no fault in the book. The Celtic religion/magical tradition is open for anyone to use, as its considered a ‘dead’ culture. Again, she refers a lot to the God/Goddess, Male/Female dynamic and very narrow-mindedly, might I add. The only chapters worth reading in this book are the ones about Celtic history and deities. Other than that, the entire book feels like it was regurgitated from a Silver Ravenwolf book (I’ll get to that monster later.)

After Celtic Magic, I read Norse Magic, which explains my dislike for both books, really. Nordic Magic is basically the same exact book as Celtic Magic, word for word, except she switched out ‘Celts’ for ‘Norse’, and the chapters about Celtic History and Celtic mythology are replaced by information about Nordic History and Nordic Mythology. Again, she narrow-mindedly refers to no genders outside the cis-hetero idea of Male/Female and God/Goddess. For us gay folks, that get’s old really, really fast.

While Conway may have some good educational points, honestly, its nothing you can’t read about by using google. She’s an outdated author who is biased, white, cis and hetero. Nothing wrong with that in itself, I guess, but it definitely shows in her writing. As a witching community, we’ve outgrown her. Don’t even bother buying her books.

Posted in book reviews, Cultural Appropriation, witchy book reviews, Witchy Tips

Animal Speak by Ted Andrews

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So, I’ve taken it upon myself to read and review some witchcraft books, in order to find some that maybe aren’t COMPLETELY awful to share with you guys. Because, let’s face it, we all like to be able to find things in book form. Now, to toot my own horn, I do have a book out right now that’s a pretty good starting point as a grimoire, but I plan to release a revised, much larger, copy sometime next year containing a lot of the things I’ve learned recently. That’s why Witchcraft is called a practice, we never really stop learning.

 

Okay, on with the review. This first book is very cringe-worthy. Like, I mean, as a Native American, reading it made me want to vomit. The book is Animal Speak by Ted Andrews, and just on the cover alone you can already tell its going to be full of cultural appropriation and disrespect to us Natives. Now, the dictionary part itself was actually not too bad. The book contains a comprehensive list of animals and what they mean and stand for, etc. But there are also entire chapters devoted to ‘finding your totem’ and ‘calling your spirit animal’. I just. Nope. Nope. So much nope.

 

As I’ve said before in my ‘On Totems/Spirit Animals’ post and my ‘Common Misconceptions in Witchcraft’ article, people who are not born into/accepted and recognized by a specific Native American tribe that has a history of practices and traditions that involve totems and spirit animals, cannot, in any way, have a spirit animal or a totem. While many cultures do have Clan Animals or a history of animal guides, the terms ‘Spirit Animal’ and ‘Totem’ refer specifically to the Native American religious traditions that involve a rite of passages and several difficult trials one must undergo to EARN a Totem or a Spirit Animal. Native American cultures and religions are closed to outsiders. So the fact that this WHITE author is going around trying to teach WHITE pagans/witches and “shamans” (gags) how to contact their ‘spirit animals’, is not only disgusting but also incredibly offensive and insulting. Also, their idea of a Spirit Animal/Totem is an animal that represents you, which is completely false. A totem is an animal that chooses you because it has things to teach you. I’ve wrote extensively about this.

 

In conclusion, Ted Andrews has written many a book and most, if not all, of them include a form of cultural appropriation. Animal Speak has a good little dictionary to refer to when Animal Scrying, but you can guy a pocket version of it that includes a lot less racist garbage. Personally, I would not recommend reading this book or buying this book. Supporting authors who steal sacred traditions from minority cultures is a lot like aiding and abetting the enemy. Just don’t do it.

 

If you are interested in learning about some animal correspondences without having to be exposed to this kind of trash, you can check out my posts on the subjects here: Insects and Spiders, Reptiles, Mammals and Birds.