The Flowering Wand: Rewilding the Sacred Masculine (Paperback)
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A deep exploration of the regenerative and magical secrets of sacred masculinity hidden in familiar myths both ancient and modern
• Reveals the restorative fungi archetype of Osiris, the Orphic mysteries as an underground mycelium linking forests and people, how Dionysus teaches us about invasive species and playful sexuality, and the ecology of Jesus as depicted in his nature-focused parables
• Liberates Tristan, Merlin, and the Grail legends from the bounds of Campbell’s hero’s journey and invites the masculine into more nuanced, complex ways of dealing with trauma, growth, and self-knowledge
Long before the sword-wielding heroes of legend readily cut down forests, slaughtered the old deities, and vanquished their enemies, there were playful gods, animal-headed kings, mischievous lovers, trickster harpists, and vegetal magicians with flowering wands. As eco-feminist scholar Sophie Strand discovered, these wilder, more magical modes of the masculine have always been hidden in plain sight.
Sharing the culmination of eight years of research into myth, folklore, and the history of religion, Strand leads us back into the forgotten landscapes and hidden secrets of familiar myths, revealing the beautiful range of the divine masculine, including expressions of male friendship, male intimacy, and male creative collaboration. In discussing Dionysus and Osiris, Strand encourages us to think like an ecosystem instead of like an individual. She connects dying, vegetal gods to the virtuous cycle of composting and decay, highlighting the ways in which mushrooms can restore soil and heal polluted landscapes. Exploring esoteric Christianity, the author celebrates the Gnostic Jesus of the Gospel of Thomas, imagining the ecology that the Rabbi Yeshua would have actually been referencing in his nature-focused parables. Strand frees Tristan, Merlin, and the Grail legends from the bounds of Campbell’s hero’s journey and invites the masculine into more nuanced, complex ways of dealing with trauma, growth, and self-knowledge.
Strand reseeds our minds with new visions of male identity and shows how each of us, regardless of gender, can develop a matured ecological empathy and witness a blossoming of sacred masculine powers that are soft, curious, connective, and celebratory.
About the Author
Sophie Strand is a poet and writer with a focus on the history of religion and the intersection of spirituality, storytelling, and ecology. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous projects and publications, including the Dark Mountain Project and poetry.org and the magazines Unearthed, Braided Way, Art PAPERS, and Entropy. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.
“If we want to locate the underlying source of our civilization’s headlong rush to destruction, we must dig deeper than capitalism, deeper even than the Western worldview, until we encounter the bedrock of patriarchy. In this exuberant tableau of resurrection, Strand reveals how even our most archetypal myths have been molded and devitalized to fit the patriarchal straitjacket, and Strand lays the groundwork for a regenerated masculinity--one that is liberated to explore life-affirming possibilities grounded in the deep wisdom of long-buried ancient lore.”
— Jeremy Lent, author of The Web of Meaning
“Sophie Strand’s beautiful and poetic book is a game changer. With The Flowering Wand as a tool, it is possible to rewrite the mostly traumatizing patriarchal narratives Western males so often base their identity in and reconnect them with the underlying story of a cultural and natural deep history of mutual transformation with other beings beyond all modern binaries.”
— Andreas Weber, biologist, philosopher, and author of Enlivenment: Toward a Poetics for the Anthropoc
“Sophie Strand writes with the urgency of a prophet and the musicality of a bard. Weaving myth together with botany, history with theology, her virtuosic linguistic skeins would do her beloved mycorrhizae proud. In The Flowering Wand, the masculine appears as lover, as partner, as inspirer, as friend. This is a book important in its joy, powerful in its love--exuberant in its curiosity. Taking us by the hand, Strand leads us into a garden of delights: tarot cards, ancient scriptures, Shakespearean comedies, sky gods, the Minotaur, the Milky Way. Strand holds the gates of wonder open and love comes flowing out. These are the birth waters breaking. Rejoice! The masculine is reborn.”
— Amanda Yates Garcia, author of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch
“A magnificent weave of ecology and myth--it is evident there’s some pretty rich dirt, culturally speaking as well as actual dirt no doubt, under the fingernails that have written this lyrical journey. A book filled with magical insight, revealing Strand’s wondrous curiosity and impressive learnings of the complex relationships between humans and nature.”
— Sam Lee, musician and author of The Nightingale
“The wisdom in this book is almost beyond expression. Sophie Strand’s The Flowering Wand reveals the full potency and profligacy of myth.”
— Manchán Magan, author of Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape
“Sophie Strand’s work is a must-read for lovers of mythology and the Earth. Her work is poetic yet practical. It’s whimsical and transportive, yet it’s describing the world around you, inviting you back home to the reality of this mystical life and world we inhabit.”
— Annabel Gat, author of The Astrology of Love and Sex and The Moon Sign Guide
“The Flowering Wand is a ‘wild thing’ and seeks out other forms of recombination and transformative fusion and gives them life. The surprising conclusion is, we humans have always been more-than-human. Are you wild enough to find out why?”
— Glenn Albrecht, Ph.D., philosopher and environmentalist
“Sophie Strand’s new book offers a luminous exploration of the radical mythic underpinning of the masculine narrative. Here the autocratic sky gods and sword-wielding dominators of people and landscapes are replaced by a dynamic ensemble of dancers, lovers, and liberators. Strand reminds us how these actors--from the Minotaur to Merlin--inspire people of all places and genders to break out of the straitjacket of patriarchal control and become more embodied, protean, dramaturgical, and emergent in our lives. Get entangled!”
— Charlotte Du Cann, author of After Ithaca: Journeys in Deep Time
“Sophie Strand’s words embody both the chthonic depth of well-myceliated soil and the crystals, sharp with insight, among its hyphae. In The Flowering Wand, Sophie remediates the ground of western culture by rerooting the divine masculine--in all its fertility, magic and imagination-- back into the earth. Through Sophie‘s richly seeded prose and deep scholarship she shows us how reclaiming this fertile, soporific energy--an energy that lives within us all--can help heal our connection with the Animate Everything and nourish the re-flowering of the world.”
— Asia Suler, author of Mirrors in the Earth
“Readers will feel the words in this book tendril around their hearts and minds, forming adaptive connections and creating conversations with the ‘Animate Everything’ in the wilds of their everyday worlds. Myths that stay the same don’t survive, Strand tells us; she waves a wand toward the earth and summons up vital wisdom for our time.”
— Gavin Van Horn, author of The Way of Coyote