- Hardcover: 520 pages
- Publisher: XOANON; Basic edition (2005)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000HPLUWK
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,811,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Viridarium Umbris : The Pleasure Garden of Shadow Hardcover – Special Limited Edition, 2005
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latest from the current "Magister" of the alleged "zos kia cultus". art and text regarding English witchcraft traditions and the lore of herbs and plants.
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Top customer reviews
There are a few works on herbal magic that are worth looking at, like the all-too-brief Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magic, which has a ceremonial bent, and the workmanlike Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, which is handy for its collection of attributions. These treat the the plant as a magical tool. Works on plants as teachers are often confined to neoshamanic perspectives and focus mostly on New World plants, such as Dale Pendell. Despite all the hoohah in traditional witchcraft about wortcunning, the only writing on working with plant spirits that I have seen that is worth reading is by medicinal herbalists with no interest in magic at all, such as James Green and Eliot Cowan. There is just a dearth of knowledge of plantwork amongst people who would call themselves witches or sorcerers. Maybe that's because most people realize that you cannot fake being able to grow a plant.
That's where this book stands out. It is clear that the author of VU has actually grown and wildcrafted and worked with these plants magically and spiritually, and that he has developed an understanding of them and a plant praxis from actual experience.
The book is in no way repetitive. The author divides the work up by focusing on practices or results rather than discussing a plant and then moving on to the next one. Therefore, you get a plant showing up in more than one section. But there is no repetition of information. Each time, you learn something completely new about the plant.
For me, the ultimate test of a magical worker's knowledge of plants is what they have got to say about mandrake. This is a plant I know in detail, as I have grown it and studied it for years. As soon as I read what Mr. Schulke had to say about mandrake, I knew that this was someone who knew this plant in real life, who had worked with the real thing. I cannot say that about a single other author I have read, and that includes all of those who claim some special knowledge of traditional witchcraft.
Yes, this book is written in very playful language. I find this actually helpful in apprehending the material, but I should point out that playful language is in the stream of writing about plant spirits beginning with Dale Pendell's works. His writing is of a completely different style, but it has a similar effect--in forcing the reader to slow down and actually absorb the material instead of just skimming across the surface.
This book is in no way easy, which also distinguishes it from the vast majority of books on plant magic (or on magic in general, for that matter). It is an very demanding book with a large number of possible works described in it. "Daunting" definitely applies to it. You could work it the rest of your life and not finish it, and yet you know when reading this that this is just the door cracked open, that there is so much more beyond it. That is how plants are for those who know them even a little.
Lots of writers of books on magic claim to have some special body of knowledge because they are a member of some sooper-seekrit coven or group or they inherited lore in their mommy's milk or their family has been witches for centuries or their ancestors told them blah blah blah and they are so so knowledgeable. Bah, humbug. It is thus all the more refreshing to come across someone who actually knows what the heck he is talking about, who proves what he knows.