A SHAMANIC HERBAL — Plant Teachers and Animal Medicines – A Book Review


A SHAMANIC HERBAL — Plant Teachers and Animal Medicines—by Matthew Wood

Healing Arts Press—Rochester, Vermont – 2024

This is really a surprising and very interesting book. The correspondence between the animal totems and the plant world is of great interest to herbalists and those who work with the animal spirits in their healing modalities. I have found here so very many interesting plants in their relationship with important animal spirits and an authentic shamanic approach to herbalism. I’ve even started a few experiences with some herbs that are of interest to me because of their relationship with my own animal totems.

This author is steeped in an integrated and profound world view of both shamanism and herbalism. In fact, this book is more an investigation into many aspects of shamanism by an authentic shaman than the herbs themselves. Most of the book investigates different aspects of shamanism that are of interest.

What I found especially interesting is that this man is well read. This is uncommon especially amongst Native American shamans. Some of the most powerful shamans of our times have been deliberately kept away from western schools and western patterns of thought by their elders and teachers as it is considered to be contrary to the deepest regions of shamanic exploration and manifestation. I’ve often seen how the modern world is so very removed from the foundations of natural law and healing, in contradiction with the ways of spirit that are the lifeblood of the shamanic way of life. Thus, to find an author who references so many different philosophies and authors is quite special. From Plato to Carlos Castaneda, Karl Jung to Wallace Black Elk, the references are quite numerous and there is an impressive bibliography for a work of this nature. He also references many important herbalists and it’s obvious that his first passion is really the plant kingdom.

This is the work of a truly modern and authentic shaman steeped in many different philosophies in an investigation of shamanism, herbalism and the spirits of the animal world. A great book!


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