The Flowering Wand: Rewilding the Sacred Masculine by Sophie Strand
The Flowering Wand
Rewilding the Sacred Masculine
By Sophie Strand
Book Size: 6 x 9
Imprint: Inner Traditions
On Sale Date: November 29, 2022
Format: Paperback Book
I met Sophie’s words in the winter of 2021. She wrote a dizzying essay titled Your Body is an Ancestor. Words like synctrophoblast, fossils, Mesozoic, locust, snake, ancestry, and molecular leaped from the page. I knew I wanted to know this person as a friend, kin, and bard. Eventually, she introduced me to Advaya’s Kinship family and I read works by Douglas Rushkoff, Jeremy Lent, Gavin Van Horn, Tim Ingold, and Tyson Yunkaporta among many others. Thank you for this review copy of your book. As Sophie’s readers, we had the privilege to witness her book metamorphosize into a pulsating, strange, messy (she loves, loves this word) organism. She invites us to be the moss. Looking at the moss isn’t just enough.
The Flowering Wand is a tin of salve, a herbal potion of sage and lavender, a bowl of morel soup, and a hearth of hope for everyone plagued with perpetual exasperation in this war-ravaged, burning, and snowed-in, angry world. She brings alternative approaches to address the problems that arise from the putrid patriarchial stench. She provides a floral alternative to a gun-toting mindset. She takes myths and transmutes them into inspiration for our modern minds that have forgotten magic. Ancient deities and mythic figures like Osiris, Dionysus, Orpheus, and Indra erupt alongside archetypes from tarot. Magic goes hand in hand with the matter. She writes about fungal spores responsible for precipitation and invites the reader to imagine Indra’s pearl garland as the life-giving rain cloud. Through archeological findings and historical facts, we are shown the expressive nature of the Minotaur and the Cretan labyrinth as opposed to horned-bull masculinity.
It takes a particular creative sensation to perceive Dionysus as an adaptogenic mushroom. I laughed out loud at the ingenuity of this myco-analysis. “Dionysus and his celebrations were akin to emergent behavior.” Our author brings Enrique Salmón’s resilience ecology alongside this ancient God’s recycling, adapting, resilient, and emerging quality. A thesis in contrast to a phallic, towering, fixed, monotheistic identity. This approach is embedded in all the essays that are inspired by Arthurian legends, Tolkien’s work, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Gnostic, and Biblical stories. Take your mythic pick and prepare to be surprised by the connections made from various medical and biological research findings.
Two of my favorite chapters are about Tom Bombadil and Tolkien’s eucatastrophe. Bombadil’s proto-Shire ambiguity and curiosity made him the master of songs and woodlands. Sophie writes about Gaston Bachelard’s “primal hut of intimacy” akin to Bombadil’s comforting inner sanctum.
This mossy genius brings Bachelard’s Poetics of Space and Tolkien together. Enough for me to keep this at my bedside. This is a spiritual book to disassemble painful masculine cultural tropes. Whether healing from bodily illnesses, trauma, or emotional troughs, there is something to take away from this collection. This is quite a personal review as I have been in conversation with the author for over a year. Copious notes and references follow for nature, ecology, religion, mycology, mythology, history, archeology, and microbiology enthusiasts. Dear reader, I am still recovering from the book.