cover image Whispers from the Woods: The Lore & Magic of Trees

Whispers from the Woods: The Lore & Magic of Trees

Sandra Kynes, . . Llewellyn, $17.95 (273pp) ISBN 978-0-7387-0781-5

Kynes, who has written about pagan spirituality previously in Gemstone Feng Shui and A Year of Ritual, helps readers to incorporate the wisdom of trees in this how-to guide. She begins with an overview of the biological and historical importance of trees, touching on multiple ancient mythologies in a breathless and rather unfocused introductory survey. Better are the subsequent chapters, which elucidate various techniques for trying tree magic. She begins by suggesting that readers forge connections with trees through means both physical (the yogic tree pose) and spiritual (performing "tree meditation," though it's not clear that this differs substantially from traditional meditation). She offers a tree calendar, discussing which trees are associated with which months and seasons, makes suggestions for using trees in spellwork and explores how to engage trees in shamanic journeys and quests. The book's second half offers specific information on 50 kinds of trees and their magical properties. Kynes's book is carefully researched and generally well presented, though sometimes she loses the literal forest for the trees. For example, her chapters on the Ogham, an ancient Celtic musical scale, can be overly detailed for the novice practitioner who may not be initially aware of how the Ogham relates to trees. Overall, though, this is a useful guide for druids and pagans. (Feb.)