Sunday, July 07, 2024

book review: A Shamanic Herbal by Matthew Wood

 This is one of those very rare books that I savor like fine chocolate.  I don't want to read a lot at one sitting, because each herb (for instance) description or tale requires some introspection.  To read too quickly, I couldn't absorb it properly.  It deserves the time.

Physically, the book feels good.  Nice size (over 400 pages), easy to hold at 9" x 6" - and print that I can easily read.  The paper is non-glare, which I also appreciate.

Very often when people are attempting to convey experiences that are mystical or beyond the mundane, they employ a sort of language that I find ambiguous and confusing. Although that can be good in works of fiction, it is less than helpful when sharing information.

The GOOD news is that Matthew's voice is very clear, leaving out innuendo.  By speaking this way, he makes it easy to read about faeries, spirit, clairvoyance, and the like and takes the reader along willingly.  He talks it through and I find that to be unusual and wonderful.

The first half of the book describes the things that got his attention along the way and led to learning from so many teachers himself (not all human) to have a confidence and familiarity in that information.  I need to reread it to really get all of it - and I wanted to get this post up since the book is out!

The second half of the book is different kinds of medicine and the animals that help share their magic.  The animals are described in their realm and how they interact with us, each other, their enemies, surroundings, or qualities specific to them. These clarify their role in medicine.  Each animal has a number of herbs that relate to them, and we are allowed a peek into the way Matthew considers how to choose a plant for a situation.  

It's fascinating and the book is generous, opening doors for us to wander through.  Eye-opening.  If you want to learn what shamanism means and how it relates to herbalism, you will learn it here.

Stay tuned, subscribers!  I will get a chance to talk with the author about this book at the upcoming Black Walnut Botanical Conference, and I'll share it in the Sept/Oct issue, along with an excerpt from the book.  

But don't wait for me - get this book!

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist for more than 40 years. An internationally known author and lecturer in the field, he holds a master of science degree in herbal medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine and is the author of several books, including The Earthwise Herbal and The Book of Herbal Wisdom. He runs an online school, the Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism, and lives in Spring Valley, Wisconsin.


A Shamanic Herbal: Plant Teachers and Animal Medicines by Matthew Wood

ISBN: 9798888500200, July 2024 Also available as an ebook 

Paperback: $29.99, 416 pages, 6 x 9. Imprint: Healing Arts Press

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