I have been looking forward to Herb Magic for quite a while, so I took my time reading it, uncovering the content like a present with many delightful gems inside. Patti Wigington does not disappoint, and this book is not only for novice herbalists, but also those on the journey, and a refresher for those well-versed in the fascinating world of magic herbalism.
Including history, beautiful illustrations, and a friendly, informative tone, this book was a wonderful read. Herbalism can be intimidating for those wanting to venture beyond their spice cabinet, and the author makes it a welcoming place to explore. It’s a book you can devour from cover to cover, or pick up and put down in a bout of curiosity. I did both, and am looking forward to returning to it often.
Divided into three parts, the first section is titled Magical Herbalism I. Included are the Principles of Herb Magic, a section about magic herbs, and a segment on Practicing Magic. Many books I have read from prolific authors such as Patti can sometimes take on a weary or practiced tone, but she conveys her enthusiasm and knowledge on every page. I also appreciate her inclusion of many references to other books that may possibly end up on your bookshelf as well. It’s like being part of a very interactive workshop, where you learn so much, that it’s hard to keep track of all your notes. This will not be a problem, because this book is sure to be well-worn and used often, with many of your own personal notes in the margin (if you do that sort of thing).
The second part of the book covers forty magic herbs, from Allspice to Yarrow. Included in each is the Common Name, the Latin Name, Folk Name, Gender, Magical Purpose, Planetary Ruler, and Elemental Ruler, along with a vivid illustration. As a reader who also loves to research, I really appreciated the information that I would no doubt have looked up on my own. This saved me much time as I dove into the history and magical uses of the herb, along with references to spells contained later in the book. It is a cross-reference dream, so if you want to know one particular area, such as the history of the herb, you can skip the rest, and focus on that.
The third part of the book is titled Spells and Rituals. Some you may have seen before, but bolstered by the history and uses of the herb, these take on new depth. This section is divided into Protection, Love, Healing, Wealth and Divination, with clear directions and list of items required. The spells and rituals are not intimidating, and again, Patti writes with welcoming and enthusiastic tones, and encouragement to expand into your own workings.
For myself, I recently discovered a wild tobacco plant in my backyard, and was thankful I had this book as a reference, along with a few words of caution and ideas for uses. The information presented is clear and easy to understand, along with suggestions, so if you are fascinated with a particular herb or herbs, you can start working with them right away, bolstered with the background of history and knowledge presented.
Glossary, Resources, References and Index round out the book, and provide a springboard into more research if interested. This book is a welcome addition to my bookshelf, and one I am sure I will be delving into for quite a while.