Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs
"What an excellent book! A grand contribution to African healing traditions, herbalism, and ethnobotany. Written with the expertise of someone who truly understands, from personal background and experience, the rich complexity of the African healing traditions. Stephanie Rose Bird explains in great detail and depth the multicultural history of African folk medicine and its influence on many other systems of healing found throughout the world. Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones is full of practical advice, recipes, and tips on how to apply this ancient system of rootwork in our modern lives. I loved every page and plan to use this practical and inspiring book as a reference in my programs and classes."
"Stephanie Rose Bird is a gifted writer who writes with Spirit that will bring her before you, allowing you to feel as if she is standing right in front of you sharing a most fascinating coverage of rituals and ceremonies, all of which are simple, clear, and precise."
While Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones shares many ingredients used in other books containing recipes for beauty products, it goes beyond the typical "ounce of this and teaspoon of that" to shed light on some of the ancient history surrounding the art of concocting products to enhance body, soul and the life experience overall. Written from the perspective of a woman who inherited her family's way with sticks, stones, roots and bones, this book is filled with more than recipes. As highlighted by the above excerpt, the book includes an extensive backdrop for many recipes in the form of history and insights into the beliefs, rituals and traditions of the African people who inspired them.
For example, rather than simply providing recipes for romance in the chapter entitled, "Gettin' Some Love & Keepin' It Close," Bird provides historical references to the use of roses in the ancient world. Another example from the same chapter refers to orris root as an herb considered in ancient Khemet (a part of northern Africa describes as "Black Egypt") to have been able to enhance the power of individual herbs and even "transform" any other plant it came into contact with. Against these types of backdrops, we find recipes such as Love Fruit Pomander, Angels on High Soap and Nefertiti's Milk Bath.
I made Nefertiti's Milk Bath and enjoyed every minute of the process, plus the bath! The recipe calls for neroli hydrosol (orange blossom water), essential oils of rose and myrrh, milk and rose petals. Because I have a really large bathtub, I used a gallon of whole milk instead of the cup called for in the recipe, and I used a full cup of kaolin instead of just 1/2 cup. How yummy is that?!
If you enjoy using herbs, flowers and oils to enhance your self-care experience and your life in general, you'll be delighted by Bird's recipes. The fact that the author also includes her unique perspectives combined with well-researched references to African history is a rare and special bonus.