I have old favorites in my book collection, especially amongst my herbals. My copy of Cunningham's Encyclopedia is dog-eared and just this side of tattered.

I've got a new favorite to add to that shelf.

Hopman starts off with an unusual choice, a chapter on wild crafting. It's odd and brilliant and wonderful to be introduced to this subject through the eyes of an herbalist and druid. Hopman takes us through the seasons, ending with a chapter on (winter) cold and flu care and then bug repellents. Honestly, that section alone made me happy.

The reader is then treated to discussions on more subtle aspects of the plant world, including herbal astrology and communing with the plant spirits. I fell in love with Secret Medicines all over again with her chapter on Bee Medicine in the third part. I was completely impressed with her final section: Formula Making.

It was odd to get used to, but I came to appreciate how plants are the focus in one section, only to sprout again in another, thus revealing new information that may be overlooked by others. I also appreciated how Hopman constantly encourages the reader to make whatever path they walk their own.

This is an excellent primer and highly recommended.
 
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Ellen Evert Hopman
Healing Arts Press, 2016
pp. 384, $19.45

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