Herbs that can be used to affect the mental state of the consumer, as well as for their healing properties, have been a part of cultures and sub-cultures all around the world ever since our early ancestors first started experimenting to find out what various plants could be used for. Author Steve Andrews takes the view that the best herbs for use by shamans are those plant teachers that grow locally. This book is unique because it focuses only on those species that can be found growing within the northern countries of the world. Best-selling author Howard Marks, aka Mr Nice, described Herbs of the Northern Shaman as EXCELLENT! That was for the original version of this book when it was first published. Now, Herbs of the Northern Shaman has been updated to include additional species of herb and fungus, as well as a whole new collection of stunning photos by Katrinia Rindsberg. Besides well-known psychoactive herbs such as Cannabis, Morning Glory and Datura, other plants that have been said to have mind-altering properties are also described, plants such as the Meadow Buttercup, the Lime Tree and the Rhododendron.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Book Review: Herbs of the Northern Shaman
Posted by ESOTERICMOMENT on MARCH 27, 2016
Paganism is large Forest that includes a great many paths and practices that I’ll never tread. It can be easy to keep oneself isolated and protected in the groves that one is familiar with never adventuring further afield than necessary. To combat the stagnation this encourages, I try to at the very least read about practices that I am not familiar with. Reading Herbs of the Northern Shaman: A Guide to Mind-Altering Plants of the Northern Hemisphere by Steve Andrews and Katrinia Rindsberg was my most recent attempt at stepping outside my comfort zone.
I have never used anything that could be considered a drug besides sugar, caffeine, and limited consumption of alcohol. All of these substances are perfectly legal given my age and location. Since I work in a legal setting for my day job and generally prefer following the rules, I don’t mess with anything that could be illegal. However, I am well aware that there are many natural plants and herbs that work as drugs to produce different mental states. My work in gardening and with herbs allows me to glimpse the possibilities of using mind altering plants, many of which have been used in a limited way for other types of healing. I started reading this book with that as my only previous knowledge of these plants.
The book approaches the topic much like any other guide book to plants. The plants are in alphabetical order by common name and includes an index. Each plant starts with the common name, the Latin name, and other names it might be known by. Plants have lovely photos presented and include a brief description of appearance, although not enough to identify the plant in the wild by. Following this basic information, the authors provide descriptions about the type of altered state the plant produces and how one might go about using the plant. Historical or cultural uses might also be included. Each plant is given a different amount of attention. Sometimes, you have a great deal to work with and other plants leave you wondering where to get more information about it.
I was surprised by some of the plants listed. Things like Bittersweet, Burdock, Juniper, and Wooly Yarrow seem pretty innocuous. Yet, they were still mentioned in the book. Others like Tobacco or Cannabis was expected and included. A little over 60 plants were included.
Overall, I thought the book was interesting. It was organized well and presented in a clear way, even for a noob like me. There was a lot to learn from it. I don’t think it’s convinced me in anyway to add these plants into my regular practice, but that isn’t the aim of the book anyway. It’s purely meant for those who are already working with mind-altering products and are looking for a resource guide or hoping to expand into working with a larger selection of plants. ~ EsotericMoment, http://esotericmoment.com/2016/03/27/book-review-herbs-of-the-northern-shaman/
Received this book today and it is very good indeed. Covers a lot of information about a lot of plants and herbs, many of which I hadn't realised contained psychoactives, warns of the very dangerous ones and those which are easily confused with other plant or fungi types. Very well illustrated with good clear photos to aid identification. Should add some extra fun to those inclined to forage. ~ Paul Wright, https://www.facebook.com/paul.wright.9231?fref=ufi&pnref=story
The writer is clearly an expert in several fields, being not only an informed naturalist, an inspired horticulturalist and experimenter with odd additions to his house-plant collection, but a mystic traveller too. One feels a certain confidence in his sure-footed guidance around this obscure but fascinating area of knowledge.
So whether you merely wish to browse on the subject of alchemical gardening, or prefer to experiment with free and freely available mind-altering substances, this book is a must for you. Highly recommended. ~ CJ Stone.
I highly recommend Steve's book - it is simply laid-out with nice clear pictures and gives you a valuable insight into the hallucinogens of the northern druids... This book is the key to understanding the mind-set of the people who lived in Europe during the Neolithic era... ~ Christopher Everard, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Feed-Your-Brain-Magazine-Official-Fan-Page/113778695303021
As someone with a general interest in plants and herbs I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it is easy to read and well presented and contains a lot of information which is new to me. I found it fascinating and friendly at the same time and would recommend it to any with an interest in flora. ~ Carrie de Fey, From http://www.warband.org/review_herbs.html
A nicely produced reference book for anyone interested in the use of psychoactive herbs. The herbs covered range from the obvious ones such as Fly Agaric, Magic Mushrooms, Mandrake, Thorn Apple and Vervain to more obscure herbs like corydalis, hawkweed, periwinkle and saffron, to name but a few. ~ Witchcraft & Wicca, Avalonia, http://ritualmagick.co.uk/reviews/?tag=shamanism
This really is an excellent book. I own a copy, and I would definitely recommend it. It includes many many entries, not only the usual suspects, but also many plants you will find growing wild in Europe and America. It contains information about the recreational, entheogenic, medicinal and magical use of plants. Highly recommended. ~ Plot55, http://www.plot55.com/books/herbs_shaman.html
If anyone can locate mind altering northern hemisphere plants then it's the bard of Ely (Cardiff) Steve Andrews. This easy to read, well illustrated and informative directory is about as comprehensive as you can get - how do you want your mind altered? How much do you want to pay? What risks do you run? is it illegal? Where do the plants grow? Can you nurture them yourself out the back? Steve does, shows how, explains and entertains. A must. ~ Peter Finch
Whether you are a retired hippy now paying rent on a residential caravan, a beach bum with a time share in Ibiza or simply a traveller seeking to catalogue the wonders of this ephemeral planet, take a look inside Steve's magic collection to expand your awareness of what is out there. ~ Robert Parker-Munn
Herbs Of The Northern Shaman is very strongly recommended reading for students of botany and natural hallucinogens, as well as personal and academic psychoactive plants reference collections. ~ Midwest Book Review, Oregon, WI USA
Herbs of Northern Shaman delves into the history of the magical, religious and ceremonial uses for herbs and there are literary quotes from ancient texts to 20th century drug-culture best-sellers. The book is also really informative about the herbs themselves, where they grow, what they look like, their active properties, their medicinal, spiritual and magical uses and the dangers involved in taking them - as well as the effects they have on the mind. ~ Lucya, badwitch.co.uk
This is a great book, made even greater by the addition of stunning colour photography by Katrina Rindsberg. I still own a copy of the original edition, published by Loompanics (now selling for significant amounts on the internet, apparently) but this version is much, much better. The colour photographs really bring it to life, plus it is smaller and more compact - almost pocket sized - making it that much easier to take out in the field with you. The writing is witty and informative, with copious quotes from ancient and modern literature, as well as being concise when it needs to be, when giving you the necessary descriptions for identification purposes. Plants are identified by their narcotic effects, by their active constituents, their medicinal properties, and by their ruling deities, making the book useful for many different purposes. Not that I would personally recommend you trying most of these plants, but it's great fun to read about them. A real collectors item which will one day be recognised as a definitive work in its field. ~ C J Stone, Amazon.co.uk
Excellent! ~ Howard Marks, best-selling author, DJ, public speaker and writer
If anyone can locate mind altering northern hemisphere plants then it's the Bard of Ely, Steve Andrews. ~ Peter Finch, Cardiff poet, author and literary critic http://www.peterfinch.co.uk/aboutpf.htm
Good luck with this. ~ Richard Rudgley, author and broadcaster