I was really looking forward to this book. Anything related to herbs and folklore always makes me sit up and pay attention. For the most part, I liked it. The good stuff:
She does a really good job of incorporating folklore and divination from a variety of sources, most of which I’ve already read but there were a couple I hadn’t and are on my TBR list. (Or TBL – to be looked up? list. They’re old. My kind of book!)
(One I chuckled at: “swatting a child or animal with one [willow branch] stunts their growth.” Mom’s second husband was fond of willow switches rather than his hand for spanking. Maybe this is why I’m so short?)
The listing of herbs is good, and I liked that she said what kind of plant it was – perennial, biennial, and such. Helpful when planning garden or flower beds!
But I have several quibbles with it that soured me a bit. I will say in advance I’d never heard of her before this book popped up on my radar and I had to look up her name.
- She capitalizes the word, “witch,” throughout. It rather detracts from the overall reading. The other thing that really chapped my ass is she uses that word as a collective noun when she really meant, “Wiccan.” “Wiccan” only appears three times in the whole book, yet so much of what she writes is specific to that religion. (Which is hers, and that’s fine. But please don’t lump me in.)
- I couldn’t find any reference to her being a medical herbalist, yet in a couple places, she gives recipes intended to treat ailments. Two really bothered me:
- On page 60, she writes, “A soothing homemade chest rub can easily be made by mixing ten drops of thyme essential oil into one teaspoon of almond oil.” This is too strong! For a rub or massage oil, one should only use ten drops of EO to one ounce of carrier oil. A teaspoon is approximately 1/6 of an ounce.
- On the following page, she references both meadowsweet and white willow bark without cautioning about salicylic acid sensitivity. This is especially necessary in the recipe for morning sickness. Many pregnant women should avoid salicylic acid (aspirin) if they have conditions which might be aggravated by it.
- On page 70, I would have preferred if she had differentiated between hemp and marijuana. Yes, they’re both Cannabis but one doesn’t have nearly the amounts of THC (what gets you high) as the other.
- While I liked the “Calendar of Magickal Herb Lore” at the back, she mentions Susan Weed and Nicholas Culpeper’s birthdays. Are those cause for celebration?
Overall: 3.5 of 5 stars.