Book Title and Author: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Status? : Finished
My overall rating of the book : 10/10
How does this book relate to my magickal practice?: This book is full of Indigenous Wisdom from an Indigenous person. The author writes in such a way that the stories are relatable, memorable, and we feel the importance of the lessons taught in each chapter. The main theme behind the book is that of animism and living alongside nature rather than outside of it. The author gives suggestions and stories that show us how we have been so disconnected from natural cycles, species, and the wisdom of plants and animals.
My personal thoughts/opinions: This book made me think. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me cringe. As an animist, I know that I am not outside of nature. I am nature and everything around me is also nature. Nothing on this Earth is made from things not of the land, even the plastic keyboard I’m using to type this up right now. It has been hard for me to put into words why I enjoyed this book, but I did. The way it made me think about certain things hasn’t happened in a book like this in a long time. It was sad at certain points, happy at others, and urgent when need be. One part that I really enjoyed was the correlation between the Windigo and our current state of the world. I won’t ruin for everyone because I really recommend everyone read this book, but it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
An interesting quote from the book: "One afternoon, I sat with my field ecology students by a wiikwegamaa and shared this idea of animate language. One young man, Andy, splashing his feet in the clear water, asked the big question.
‘Wait a second,” he said as he wrapped his mind around this linguistic distinction, “doesn’t this mean that speaking English, thinking in English, somehow gives us permission to disrespect nature? By denying everyone else the right to be persons? Wouldn’t things be different if nothing was an it?’"
– This quote is talking about how when we refer to things outside of ourselves in English, there isn’t really a word for them besides what they are. For example, we talk about a specific tree. It is tall. It is big and brown. I have a lot to say about the way we speak about our non-human relatives, but I’ll leave it at this. Language is important. Words have meaning and affect how you view the world around you, even if you don’t realize it.
All in all, would I recommend this book?: Yes, absolutely!