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"Mastering Herbalism"- Paul Huson/ "Mastering Witchcraft"- Paul Huson/ Author in general


Hecolyte

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I did see one of his books recommended by others in the main forum, but I wanted to talk about his work here first with other newbs first (as well as people more experienced than I :smile: )

 

The book I'm interested in purchasing is his "Mastering Herbalism" book.. If anyone has read it/can share some input, I would appreciate it :smile: . It seems pretty cool since it has info ranging all the way from herbs for spiritual use, to how to make wine, to elixirs  :stirring:  . I like books that get me excited to work...

 

I have a copy of his "Mastering Witchcraft" book, which is such an interesting mix of different non-wiccan occult traditions/witchcraft. :thinking: I can see influences of Kabbalah in his book's work, but his information is pretty diverse- talking about the Lesser Key of Solomon all the way to legends like Aradia being the daughter of Diana and Lucifer (for anyone familiar with Leland's writing and surrounding controversy :smile: ), and talks about various deities (all the way from Cernunnos to Hekate). Anyways, I always prefer when authors cite their sources in text rather than presenting controversial information as fact without citing it (but that's more of a preferred referencing style I guess...). His is not really one traditional path, but a combination of many paths, from what I could tell. It covers so many different things, like protection magick, vengeance magick, spells for lovers, divination, etc. It's an interesting read, nonetheless, even if I don't "use" much from it or ascribe to it.  

 

I feel like some of his herbalism book might be along the same lines for me, which is fine. 

 

Anyways, his books were written decades ago, and they definitely have that feel.

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I enjoyed "Mastering Witchcraft" very much and it really does have that old feel to it. I am impressed that Paul included the various mythology in the book. It really gives a great explanation of the origins of witchcraft. Definitely for the non-wiccan crowd, but very educational. I'm anxious to see how "Mastering Herbalism" compares to the before mentioned. I'd like to get a copy for myself :).

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I also enjoyed Mastering Witchcraft, some parts didn't appeal to me like the mixture of sources and deities, but still a very good read. I hope someone has the Mastering Herbalism book i'm curious about it now :tongue:

Edited by Orin
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I have not read that book but can suggest some other herbalism books if anyone is interested.  I may have to get it.

 

Hecolyte, or for anyone gaining interest in herbalism using North American plants, the book I recommended to you is a very very good starting place.

 

51ySeZrDD5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

I have also come across this, written by one of the moderators here, which I may be purchasing in the very near future :smile:

 

http://www.traditionalwitch.net/forums/topic/8804-baneful-herbs/

Edited by Capsicum
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  • 2 weeks later...

Went through this... Really happy I bought it, as it's right up my alley! :grin_witch:

 

This book is very history/lore focused for each of the herbs, which I am really enjoying. Many, many herbs have their own pages where he does state the history of the herb, lore and detailed info. It covers a huge range of topics from:

histoy of herb use,

herbs for health and healing and medicine,

herbs for cooking,

with tons of: teas,

salves,

recipes,

perfumes,

incenses,

short spells/charms,

more witchcraft and wortcunning ,

harvesting by the moon (woot)

etc!

 

It goes into detail about many of these herbs, and many have pages devoted just to a specific herb, but some are just in list format (when you look up a malady, it gives the useful herbs in a list fomat...) . He purposefully made this book designed around herbs that are very easy to find, simple to grow and easy to use. I really like that-it's practical. Most of the herbs' uses are what they have been historically or commonly used for, so you don't get a lot of info based on his introspection or him "getting to know" the herbs.. You can (and should, I think) do that yourself, as he advises. It also has a good glossary and index (sounds stupid, but some have a really poor one). It's also very, very practical and will tell you how to grow, store, dry, propogate by cutting, transplanting, etc...

 

For the wortcunning/witchcraft section of the book, it has info on: Saxon wortcunning, Medieval Herb Magic, 17th C Herb Magic, Herbs by Astrological/Planet rulings, herbs used to "exorcise evil spirits and neutralize hexes", love charms, divination herbs, Herbs of ill omen, scrying incenses, salves to see the fae... etc! He does detail which are poisonous, etc. Many other sections of the book have witchcraft applications as well, like harvesting and planting by moon phase and moon signs :smile:.

 

 

The upside to this book is also it's downside: It was first copyrighted in 1974, so you'll get a lot of really cool older info from a different perspective that you would be hard pressed to find all in one website or a newer book. It has that "old" feel that I miss! If you want to feel nostalgic, pick it up hehe... I enjoy his lore and tradition approach to herbalism. It also talks about healing, yes, but it also talks about many things that would make mainstream readers squirm :twisted_witch: ... Anyone who wants to learn herbalism properly SHOULD know both sides of the practice exist and have existed throughout history, even if they never use it. This is also it's downside: It's 40 years old so there is a lack of science in the book beyond mentioning compounds in some herbs that are poisonous or hallucingoenic. Also, this problem is easily remedied: if it mentions something, especially if it's an ingestible remedy, especially an obscure one you can easily do your research on that plant. There's 40 years of additional info that has been published on these remedies and their chemical mechanism of action if you really need to find it.That is not the purpose of this book anyways. Another downside would be that the medicinal uses/witchcraft are based heavily in european sources/uses. For me, this is fine, but if you're looking for ayurveda or TCM influence in the medicinal uses, you'll not find much of it. The recipes are clearly older, which doesn't bother me, but might not be useful if you're a "burger and fries" type. If you want a lot of lore and history and traditional uses of herbs all the way from health remedies to witchcraft, pick this baby up. I am enjoying it!

 

I'd be happy to update this thread for anyone who wants something more specific, of course giving proper credit to the author :-). It would be fun for me, so don't hesitate to ask!! When I make something from this book that I can share, I may snap a picture and update and let you guys know how it turned out.. :biggrin: :cauldron04: :oil-bottle: :cauldron:

Edited by Hecolyte
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Thanks for the review! even if it is outdated it sounds like a great book to have especially for the recipes. I think i may get it for that ;)

 

A good herbal book i love similar to this one would be "Herb Craft" by Anna Franklin, it's a great reference for herbs, folklore, correspondences, traditional uses etc but for a more British tradition.

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I also really like The Magic Power of Witchcraft by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, it is written in this older style of anecdotal examples with information built in, but there are some gems in the book if you enjoy that writing style (or get past it, whatever your personal preference).  The Frosts have that same hodge-podge spiritual path thing going on, as well. I found it at a rummage shop, which was a nice surprise.

Edited by RachelLizLear
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I also really like The Magic Power of Witchcraft by Gavin and Yvonne Frost, it is written in this older style of anecdotal examples with information built in, but there are some gems in the book if you enjoy that writing style (or get past it, whatever your personal preference).  The Frosts have that same hodge-podge spiritual path thing going on, as well. I found it at a rummage shop, which was a nice surprise.

I googled the authors and book to find out a bit more about them.. it seems they are pretty big wiccan priests. I'm not saying that wiccans cannot write non-wiccan books, or books worth taking a gander, but do you think this had influence in their work? :-) On the other hand, the book is super cheap, which I like...

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Guest monsnoleedra

The Frosts have been in the Wiccan stuff for a long time.  Have to be careful which edition of a book your getting as they got hammered for some things then changed it later to make themselves look better.  Seem to recall underage sex was one area Gavin got hammered on sometime back and changed that for instance.

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Whoa I so did not know that!!! Thanks for the heads up....The book that I have is a really old edition, and I have found that it is one of those where you have to slog through the crap to get to one good thing. Knowing what you guys have now told me, however, I think will cause me to look at the advising by these two differently. The Wiccan bent is most certainly present, but I have no issue with throwing those views in my mental garbage bin when I come across them.

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Went through this... Really happy I bought it, as it's right up my alley! :grin_witch:

 

This book is very history/lore focused for each of the herbs, which I am really enjoying. Many, many herbs have their own pages where he does state the history of the herb, lore and detailed info. It covers a huge range of topics from:

histoy of herb use,

herbs for health and healing and medicine,

herbs for cooking,

with tons of: teas,

salves,

recipes,

perfumes,

incenses,

short spells/charms,

more witchcraft and wortcunning ,

harvesting by the moon (woot)

etc!

 

It goes into detail about many of these herbs, and many have pages devoted just to a specific herb, but some are just in list format (when you look up a malady, it gives the useful herbs in a list fomat...) . He purposefully made this book designed around herbs that are very easy to find, simple to grow and easy to use. I really like that-it's practical. Most of the herbs' uses are what they have been historically or commonly used for, so you don't get a lot of info based on his introspection or him "getting to know" the herbs.. You can (and should, I think) do that yourself, as he advises. It also has a good glossary and index (sounds stupid, but some have a really poor one). It's also very, very practical and will tell you how to grow, store, dry, propogate by cutting, transplanting, etc...

 

For the wortcunning/witchcraft section of the book, it has info on: Saxon wortcunning, Medieval Herb Magic, 17th C Herb Magic, Herbs by Astrological/Planet rulings, herbs used to "exorcise evil spirits and neutralize hexes", love charms, divination herbs, Herbs of ill omen, scrying incenses, salves to see the fae... etc! He does detail which are poisonous, etc. Many other sections of the book have witchcraft applications as well, like harvesting and planting by moon phase and moon signs :smile:.

 

 

The upside to this book is also it's downside: It was first copyrighted in 1974, so you'll get a lot of really cool older info from a different perspective that you would be hard pressed to find all in one website or a newer book. It has that "old" feel that I miss! If you want to feel nostalgic, pick it up hehe... I enjoy his lore and tradition approach to herbalism. It also talks about healing, yes, but it also talks about many things that would make mainstream readers squirm :twisted_witch: ... Anyone who wants to learn herbalism properly SHOULD know both sides of the practice exist and have existed throughout history, even if they never use it. This is also it's downside: It's 40 years old so there is a lack of science in the book beyond mentioning compounds in some herbs that are poisonous or hallucingoenic. Also, this problem is easily remedied: if it mentions something, especially if it's an ingestible remedy, especially an obscure one you can easily do your research on that plant. There's 40 years of additional info that has been published on these remedies and their chemical mechanism of action if you really need to find it.That is not the purpose of this book anyways. Another downside would be that the medicinal uses/witchcraft are based heavily in european sources/uses. For me, this is fine, but if you're looking for ayurveda or TCM influence in the medicinal uses, you'll not find much of it. The recipes are clearly older, which doesn't bother me, but might not be useful if you're a "burger and fries" type. If you want a lot of lore and history and traditional uses of herbs all the way from health remedies to witchcraft, pick this baby up. I am enjoying it!

 

I'd be happy to update this thread for anyone who wants something more specific, of course giving proper credit to the author :-). It would be fun for me, so don't hesitate to ask!! When I make something from this book that I can share, I may snap a picture and update and let you guys know how it turned out.. :biggrin: :cauldron04: :oil-bottle: :cauldron:

 

WOW, Hecolyte...  this sounds like a wonderful resource and thanks for offering to share it's wisdom with all of us -- that's just GREAT.

 

+ 3

 

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 Hecolyte...btw I'm loving the in depth review of Huson's Mastering Herbalism, I didn't even know he wrote anything other than Mastering Witchcraft.  My edition of that book is super old, it's the first hardcover edition and the dust jacket is all tatty.  My friend's granny passed away about 6 years ago and when they were cleaning out her house he found this book and passed it to me before the rest of his family found out that Granny had been hiding in the broom closet, and was NOT the evangelical pentocostal freakazoid they wanted her to be.  You are most certainly on point about the age of the book preventing a more in-depth scientific study of the herb themselves, but as you mentioned in your post, personal research can be done. I'm looking forward to any pics of the recipes listed!  

 

Oh and I meant to ask...where did you find your copy?  Was it online or in a brick-and-mortar store (like a used bookstore)?  I would love to get my hands on one...  :coffee:

Edited by RachelLizLear
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 Hecolyte...btw I'm loving the in depth review of Huson's Mastering Herbalism, I didn't even know he wrote anything other than Mastering Witchcraft.  My edition of that book is super old, it's the first hardcover edition and the dust jacket is all tatty.  My friend's granny passed away about 6 years ago and when they were cleaning out her house he found this book and passed it to me before the rest of his family found out that Granny had been hiding in the broom closet, and was NOT the evangelical pentocostal freakazoid they wanted her to be.  You are most certainly on point about the age of the book preventing a more in-depth scientific study of the herb themselves, but as you mentioned in your post, personal research can be done. I'm looking forward to any pics of the recipes listed!  

 

Oh and I meant to ask...where did you find your copy?  Was it online or in a brick-and-mortar store (like a used bookstore)?  I would love to get my hands on one...  :coffee:

 

 

I usually buy books used on amazon ^^. I love old book stores, though. That's awesome that you have an older hardcover copy.. I wish I could afford hardcovers right now! 

I can see why people weren't that fond of Huson.. his path is pretty mixed and his study of Kabbalah, Heremetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Stella Matutina, Society of the inner light is all reaalllyyy obvious in his work... Buttt I do think he provides a framework to which a solitary can build :smile:. It also has a lot of history built in it, which I like... I may go through his book again just to see how it compares!  

 

He has a tendency to do something I don't like (but I think it's more the researcher in me); he presents ideas or bits of info as "facts" without saying where exactly they came from, how credible it is, etc etc.... I mean, he does this less than many other books, and granted if authors had to do that in books about witchcraft for every tiny little detail, it would be monstrous, lol. Still... since he blends a lot of traditions, and does not have a familial practice, I always question... Anyways, I'm a fan of his writing style and I like the info he presents :-) 

 

I have a super busy week, but I can't wait to try out some things next week... :biggrin:

 

Also, if anyone is a fan of Huson, he made a tarot deck a couple years ago 

"Dames Fortune Wheel Tarot" Which is described on aeclectic.net as "Dame Fortune’s Wheel, created by Paul Huson and Published by Lo Scarabeo, is a tarot deck that blends ancient images with Etteilla’s 18th century cartomantic tradition and creates a deck that is enthralling, readable and beautiful. " He also wrote a book about tarot Mystical Origins of the Tarot (2004), buttt I'd probably be more interested to check out his other one on tarot called the "Devil's Picturebook" (1971)... 

 

It also sounds very... Huson :D lol!

Edited by Hecolyte
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  • 2 weeks later...

Y'all folks forgive me for this :puppykiss: , I have three of Paul Huson's books - Mastering Witchcraft-1970, Mastering Herbalism-1974, The Devil's Picture Book, Complete Guide to Tarot Cards-1971, and I haven't even read them as of yet. I did read some of the passages of Mastering Witchcraft , but not a word of the other two , perhaps some day in the future. I tend to collect with "good intentions :twisted_witch: " as to getting a round tuit !! Can say that I did get them off of evilbay some years ago for the princely sum of around $60.00 US for the set. Don't know if he published more or not.

 

Nabu

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Guest monsnoleedra

I know Mastering Witchcraft and The Devils Picture Book are available of SCRIBD for online reading or download.  There is another Tarot book available for online reading but you have to have a paid subscription to scribd to access it.

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  • 5 months later...

I correspond with Paul every now and then. He has his own website and he is still quite creative. His Mastering Witchcraft was one of my first books on the subject. That book falls into my "do not lend out" category as I never want to loose my copy! I also have his tarot book and Mastering Herbalism, which is quite charming. As many have pointed out, it's age makes it lag behind in some ways, but one can easily supplement MH with these newer sources. A 'thank you' to "Gardensmith" re the Indian herbal. Very valuable stuff for those of us on "Turtle Island".

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