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Explore the magical power of Celtic and Druid herblore|
The Druid Plant Oracle
Author: Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm [a Witchvox Sponsor]
Publisher: St.Martin's Press
Category: Oracles Level: All
The Druid Plant Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, is an oracular system based on the sacred herbs and plants of the Celts and ancient Druids. 36 full-colour cards (and three spares) are accompanied by a 144pp book that gives a wealth of folklore, myth and interpretations for each card. The deck has been designed as a sister set to The Druid Animal Oracle, so that the two decks of cards can be shuffled together to offer guidance from both the plant and animal realms.
At last we have enterprising Druids who do the field work which was the essence of Ancient Druidry. Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and Will Worthington have actually gone forth and smelled, touched and appreciated real plants. The results of their careful research, and understanding of the plant world they share to us in this book, combined with their Druid Animal Oracle insight is provided not only to the use of plants for healing but also the inter-relation with the spiritual realm that provides Oracles. Olivia Robertson, The Fellowship of Isis
The book shows spreads, including a Bridhid’s Cross spread, and of course gives the meanings of the cards, upright and reversed. The reversed cards here are not bad omens, but they may show us that the way ahead may be challenging, so we will hone our skills to resolve our problems. The Oracle offers guidance and advice, rather than predictions. There are blank cards in the deck, which can be used to create our own additions with plants that are, or become, significant to us. The Oracle may also be consulted by drawing a card for ‘on the spot’, synchronistic divination. I am looking forward to using the cards out in nature, sitting by trees, in a field or by a stream. I may have to wait until the weather improves. However, Will Worthington’s cards are such luscious and inviting doorways, it is not difficult to step into them and journey, as Mary Poppins stepped into the chalk pavement pictures!
The Druid Plant Oracle, like the many drawers of an apothecary’s chest, offers aid and restoration. It is also a useful tool for problem solving, journeying, and re-connecting with nature. It is not just for Druids, I have given it as presents to a keen gardener, a counseller and a homeopath and I am getting very positive and highly excited feedback! Caroline Wise in review for 'The Mirror of Isis'
If you are one of those for whom plants are people, complete with Spirits that are part of the Great Soul of Nature, this book is for you. Lovingly illustrated by Will Worthington, the book and card deck are worthy companions to The Druid Animal Oracle...The illustrations are magnificent. As I write this review we are waiting for the season's first serious snow storm and the cards glow before my eyes like a warm summer's day. The paintings are egg tempera (pigment mixed with egg yolk) on wooden panels and the artist has skillfully blended detailed botanical portraits of each herb with views of archaeological sites, ancient villages and mystical Celtic symbols. Ellen Evert Hopman, review for 'Eolas' magazine.
Author's Notes: I was spellbound by Gwydion,
Prime enchanter of the Britons,
When he formed me from nine blossoms,
Nine buds of various kind;
From primrose of the mountain,
Broom, meadow-sweet and cockle...
Nine powers of nine flowers,
Nine powers in me combined,
Nine buds of plant and tree.
Working with plants in a sacred or magical way lies at the heart of Druidism, or Druidry as it is often called now. More and more people are being drawn to the ‘Old Ways’, such as Druidry, because they combine a sense of deep spirituality with a love for the Earth and Her creatures. Any sense we might have of being split between Spirit and Matter, Inner and Outer, the committed and the detached, even the mystical and the magical, can be healed when we work with solid, sensual beings – such as plants, animals and humans – in a sacred way.
Reflecting on this led us to create The Druid Plant Oracle, which offers a way of working with the rich heritage of plant lore that can be found in the Druid source-lands of the British Isles, Ireland and Brittany. We can trace this heritage at least as far back as the Bronze Age, when people in the Orkneys, Scotland and Wales used Meadowsweet as a floral tribute at burial sites.
Although little has been written about what plants the ancient Druids revered, as we began researching traditional plant lore we found to our delight that we were able to piece together much of the old herb-lore that would have been used in those far-off times. We did this by drawing on information from five sources: the science of archaeobotany; the information given in the old herbals that were written at the time of the ancient Druids; accounts of the practices of later herbalists; the clues left to us in the old Irish and Welsh legends and in folklore; and the findings of botanical pharmacology.
If we found that a plant had been growing in the territory of the ancient Druids, and if its healing powers had been discussed in one of the old herbals that were written by their contemporaries (such as Dioscorides) we deduced that it was highly likely that the Druids would have used it. If, in addition, the plant was mentioned in one of the old legends and if it appeared in folklore then it was clearly entrenched in tradition and was even more likely to have been used by them. The other sources of information were then used to offer supporting evidence.
By researching in this way we identified over 40 plants that we reckon were almost certainly used in those ancient times. Now, of course, it is perfectly possible to argue that Druidry is a living tradition and that if - for example - a Druid wishes to use or recommend the taking of Gingko Bilboa then the fact that the ancient Druids would not have used this is irrelevant. Even so, while fully accepting that Druid herblore today can be as eclectic and universal as it likes, the fact that we can identify those plants they are likely to have used inspires us, and we took that inspiration one stage further.
When we read the folklore and old stories about plants we asked ourselves “What do these stories mean? What are they trying to tell us?” ‘They’ are both the stories themselves and the Ancestors, who collectively have created this body of plant lore over the centuries. By putting this lore - the stories, the customs and uses associated with them - into the cauldron and stirring it a little we found clear oracular interpretations arising for them, and Will Worthington, the artist, then created beautiful pictures to accompany our interpretations.
Developing the oracle felt like a natural progression – and the completion of a thirteen year cycle in which we worked on three oracular systems: The Druid Animal Oracle, The DruidCraft Tarot and now The Druid Plant Oracle. The cards in the plant and animal oracles are the same size so the two decks can be shuffled together to obtain guidance from both the plant and the animal realms.
You can use an oracle either to try and predict the future, or as a way of gaining insight into your life so you can make more informed choices. The problem with using an oracle for prediction is that it suggests the future is something inevitable, and that you are fated. This is disempowering. But using an oracle to look beneath the flow of surface events, to try to gain some insight into what is happening in your life, has the opposite effect – it empowers you to make decisions and actively shape your destiny. Used in this way an oracle becomes a magical tool that can help you create your future.
We’ve made The Druid Plant Oracle with this magical purpose in mind. We hope that it will help put you in touch with the deeper currents, and perhaps hidden dynamics, which are operating in your life, and at the same time we hope it will inspire you with an appreciation of the richness of the plant lore that exists in these islands and within the Druid tradition.
Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm
Where To Buy: The Hart of Oak - the online store of The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Also available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
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