8.22.2018

Review: The Illustrated Herbiary by Maia Toll

Title: The Illustrated Herbiary
Author: Maia Toll
Publication Date: July 7th, 2015
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 176
ISBN: 1612129684
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating:

Synopsis (from Publisher):
Rosemary is for remembrance; sage is for wisdom. The symbolism of plants — whether in the ancient Greek doctrine of signatures or the Victorian secret language of flowers — has fascinated us for centuries. Contemporary herbalist Maia Toll adds her distinctive spin to this tradition with profiles of the mysterious personalities of 36 herbs, fruits, and flowers. Combining a passion for plants with imagery reminiscent of tarot, enticing text offers reflections and rituals to tap into each plant’s power for healing, self-reflection, and everyday guidance. Smaller versions of the illustrations are featured on 36 cards to help guide your thoughts and meditations.

Maia Toll spent a life-changing year apprenticed to a traditional medicine woman in Ireland. She mentors spiritual wellness seekers, practitioners, and teachers through her online program, The Medicine Keepers Collective, and is the founder and owner of Herbiary, a natural products store with locations in Asheville, North Carolina, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Maia has taught Botanical Medicine at West Chester University and at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research in the Peruvian jungle. She lectures at hospitals, universities, and herbal conferences and runs her own Deep Magic Retreat in the North Carolina mountains during the witchy twilight of autumn. She blogs to an international following at maiatoll.com and lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

I have Celiac Disease. When I was attending the PLA (Public Library Association) Conference in Philly back in March, I got sick off of cross contaminated food. For the first two days I was there I was miserable with a migraine, sleeplessness, stomach problems, inflamed lymph nodes, and fatigue. One day, when I was meeting up with some conference friends at Reading Market for lunch, I stumbled upon the Herbiary.
I’m generally drawn to any place that looks like it was plucked fresh from a wildwood, so I went to see what I may find. I told the girls at the counter I was needing something for lymphatic health, and they lead me to a burdock and red root compound. I also decided to purchase some Moon Drops to help me sleep, and off I went.
Within 10 hours of taking the compound I finally felt better and slept through the entire night. I was able to enjoy the rest of the conference without issue! I decided to look this “Herbiary” up and was ecstatic to find this book was releasing...but not until August!
Back up a little. Herbalism is something I’ve taken an interest in over the last year or so. My family doctor is a Naturopathic Doctor, and I’ve always favored natural pathways to health. I knew how to use plants once they got to me, but cultivating the plants themselves is something I’ve never done before. So, I moved into a house and started a garden and learned to wildcraft. Because of this, Maia Toll’s approach to building a relationship with the plants came through to me in a language I wanted to understand better. That’s why I preordered the book back in April and anxiously awaited its launch (and attended the online watch party!).
The Illustrated Herbiary is one of the most gorgeous books I have ever owned. Kate O’Hara’s artwork is lavish and inspiring. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it online, but when I had it in my hands the metallics brought it all to life.
Each section has a beautifully illustrated interpretation of a plant, followed by Maia Toll’s commentary on the importance of that plant. After we are introduced, Toll provides a ritual and reflection to know our plant better. A ritual may be a meditation or a recipe, and the reflection will give us a focus.
In the back cover of the book, all those illustrations are provided as oracle cards for easier meditation. I love this aspect of the book. In the last several pages, you will find images or them laid out, and advice on how to use them.


If you are looking for a textbook on herbs, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a practice to connect more with your herbs, then I highly recommend it.