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Tree Wisdom: The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore and healing power of Trees Paperback – August 13, 1997
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From the Back Cover
Tree Wisdom explores the world of trees through the eyes of the ancients and our eyes of today. Trees existed long before humans and provide a unique holistic insight into our relationship with the land. In this time of increasing ecological awareness trees have become a symbol of our connection with Nature. Concentrating on the indigenous trees of Britain through the changing seasons of the year, Jacqueline Memory Paterson draws on years of extensive research to tell the story of each individual species of tree. This beautifully illustrated work covers every aspect of tree wisdom including comprehensive physical descriptions and botanical illustrations, the legends and myths surrounding each tree, its healing powers, both for ourselves and the planet, its artistic and practical uses, its specific inspirational qualities, its magical properties and how each features in the ancient tree alphabet.
About the Author
Jacqueline Memory Paterson has lived most of her life in the West Country, developing her unique understanding through an intense relationship with Nature. She is deeply involved with alternative educative theatre, and as Archdruidess of Glastonbury she has campaigned for the right of people to worship at Stonehenge. She currently holds the Bardic Chair of Avebury.
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The book's focus is on Anglo-Saxon and Celtic legends (although it does include references to Greek myth and others); the illustrations, although nice, are not sufficient to identify the trees if you don't know them already; this is not an encyclopaedia - if, indeed, such a thing could exist for this subject matter.
It is full of beguiling stories and nuggets, however, for those who like the romance of the greenwood tree, and the whole charming effect is a bit like going for a stroll in the woods with a well-informed and chatty - some would say batty - friend.
The book is interesting and gives a lot of information on 17 trees that are also seen in the ogham (for those that view the ogham as a tree alphabet) and it is filled with mythological references. There are some things that she could have done better though.
My biggest dissapointment was the lack of references to researchers, translators, or citations of any sort. She seems to know what she is talking about but I am always wary of this especially after so many Llewellyn "experts" have been exposed as frauds or to have written about subjects that they clearly have little experience with (Tree Wisdom is a Thorsons/Harper Collins book).
Like many other books on the subject there seems to be a lot of filler for certain trees. Some trees have very rich Celtic associations like the apple or hawthorn while others are a little less found in documents such as pine or ash. As is often the case the author talks about what every other culture thought of the tree-such as the Greeks or Norse and leaves a gaping hole when it comes to the celts ("the druids burned fires of pine" and "pine is prolific in Britain" are all she says on pine for example). Other myths are interesting but consistency is always nice. I agree with the other review that speaks of runes as well. So many writers try to make a connection between the runes and the ogham but there are very few actual connections and they are just forced to fit.
The "recommended reading" in the back seems to lack any reason and lists Carlos Castanada, J.R.R. Tolkien and many other random books despite only being two pages long. The only relevent books are Tree Oracle, White Goddess,and a few books on mythology, a few on herbs and a couple on identifying trees but mostly irrelevent to the book itself and having read the books suggested I know much of the information came from somewhere else - not sure where.
Good book but with a little extra attention to detail it could have been much much more.
This is a healer and ritualist's book; it does not explore tree alphabets or Ogham script, but the way in which trees were seen by the ancestors and how they have served humanity in the past -- and may serve again in the present. The author takes us from the historical directly into practical philosophy, uses, and methods that are accessible even to those with no prior experience. Probably the most comprehensive book of its kind and a perfect complement to Hopman's herbals. Intelligently written and accessible; an indispensible guide for the beginning Druid, herbalist, healer, and folklorist and of continuing use to the experienced practitioner. A foundation text for any esoteric, spiritual, folkloric, shamanic, and traditional healing library!