Monday, July 7, 2008

Book Review: The Wicca Herbal

Today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite books about herbal magick, The Wicca Herbal by Jamie Wood.

The introduction contains a bunch of information that is, as usual, questionable, but not offensively so. She describes a tradition, which she calls Wicca, which is certainly earth-based spirituality and witchcraft, but is not really Wicca, though the definition of Wicca is so convoluted these days, who knows what it is. She gives a brief ritual outline that is certainly Wiccan and she explains how to get in tune with the energies of plants, which isn’t anything in particular. She expounds romantically on how she believes ancient people viewed the plant world as if it were fact, which is moderately annoying, but still romantic and pleasant so it’s forgiveable. She also includes handy tips for growing, gathering, storing and preserving herbs, but she’s pretty light on general information about making herbal preparations. If you already know all that, you won’t miss it.
Finally, we get to the nitty gritty, the plants themselves. For each plant she gives a brief introduction and provides practical information for integrating it into your magical practice. Here is where the herbal preparations are, but you have to find the herbs she’s chosen to provide recipes for to get the information.

She wraps the whole thing up with a list of sources and of course a handy index.

I just like this book. It’s a good reference and it has lots of neat ideas and recipes. It would be nice, perhaps, if there was more detailed information about the individual herbs, their correspondences, growing conditions, plant identification tips, but I don’t think that’s what this book is all about. I think it assumes you are already familiar with the plants under discussion and just wants to give you some ideas about how to use them. All and all, a great book to have as a companion to more mundane book with more detailed information about the plants themselves.

Of course you can find lots of information about magical herbs at http://www.witchipedia.com/herbs if you want to know more about magical herbs.