Book Reviews

Book Review: The Illustrated Herbiary

For today’s daily reading, we used Maia Toll’s The Illustrated Herbiary oracle deck. While these 36 gilt-edged cards depicting herbs, fruits, and flowers are gorgeous, the book itself is the showstopper. Maia’s words combined with Kate O’Hara’s illustrations are what make this set truly magical. From the vibrant colors to the thought-provoking quotes, there’s a reverence that comes with handling this set. There’s a feeling that reading this book will change our perspective and, in the end, we were not disappointed. The book is 168 pages of storytelling that combines rituals and reflections aimed at creating an experience connecting us to history and folklore.

Maia introduces her book with an explanation of how she became an herbalist, an inspiring albeit quirky journey that resonates as she explains, “I’ll confess: I meant to keep my distance. I meant to learn the medicine of the plants without dipping into the “woo-woo” and hippy skirts. But learning with my sense, instead of through the power of my intellect, moved me incrementally into my right brain – my intuitive brain” (p. 12). Her straightforward and incredibly relatable style of writing somehow enhances the touch of mysticism surrounding this book. We begin to believe that we too can embrace our intuitive nature, that we too can explore the inspiring properties of plants previously ignored.

As we turn the pages, we see familiar facts about common plants but explained in such a way that each one is seen in a new light.

Why yes, the Daisy does have a bit of a personality and now that we see it, it can’t be unseen. But as we learn more, we are also encouraged to not only connect further through a ritual but also explore how it all impacts us through reflection, ultimately rewiring us into respecting and appreciating these plants in ways we never thought we would.

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