Braiding Sweetgrass – Review


Braiding Sweetgrass, book


Reading this book felt like reading a prayer. This is a book to take your time with so you can savor the beautiful writing as well as take in the layers of what is being said. The subtitle of the book, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants gives you a sense of the content but not the experience.

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer weaves, or I should say braids, together stories, both traditional and personal, science and her love of the earth. Braiding Sweetgrass is a call to action from the heart.

Dr. Kimmerer is a professor of environmental biology at SUNY, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, a beautiful writer and eloquent speaker. She is also founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, an organization dedicated to “creating programs that draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge in support of our shared goals of environmental sustainability.” She is also, proudly, a mother.

From these perspectives she offers examples of how we can learn from nature; the plants, the salmon, the waters. While it can be devastating to really look at how much our earth and its inhabitants are suffering, it is also imperative that we do look, listen and feel – and from there move to action. Action in whatever form that takes for each of us.

If you are looking for an inspiring read for yourself or someone else, I highly recommend this book. The reading of Braiding Sweetgrass will be well worth your time.



Botanica Erotica

Tune into on Thursday, 2/09/12, 1-2PM, PST for a live radio interview with Diana De Luca, author of Botanica Erotica.  Or, if you miss the broadcast, listen to the archived program at,

 Just when the dreariness of winter is getting to you, along comes a book that can rekindle your passion. Botanica Erotica; Arousing Body, Mind and Spirit, is just such a book. While it came out a few years ago, the information is always useful and inspiring. Botanica Erotica is a good reminder to put some energy into the sensuous in your life; whether or not you have a partner.

Author, Diana De Luca, fills the pages of her book with mouth-watering recipes, stories, herbal information, delightful quotations and lovely graphics. Most importantly, Diana fills the book with her enthusiasm for the subject, inviting readers to explore and appreciate their sexual selves.

So, I won’t bore you with cute little cupid references because I do take this topic quite seriously, in a fun way of course. Our sexual health is a vital part of our overall health. Like all aspects of our being, we are not complete without all of ourselves. How you choose to express or not express your sexuality is up to you, but the bottom line remains important. Sensuality is part of what keeps us enlivened and connected to nature and connected to our bodies. In our dominant culture here, there is so little focus put on being in your body, truly inhabiting your physical form. All of the focus on the physical is the exterior; how your body looks, not if you are healthy or if anyone is home.

luscious food photo from Botanica Erotica

De Luca also emphasizes the importance of good overall health in the pursuit of feeling sexy. Her book contains reminders about how the simple things in life can bring us pleasure. Take this quote by Dr. Hans Balzi, for example, “After a perfect meal we are more susceptible to the ecstasy of love than at any other time.” Food recipes as well as  recipes for herbal tonics, elixirs and libations fill the pages.

Botanica Erotica also gives us a glimpse into the past with stories of the love goddesses and gods as well as entertaining lore of plants and foods that were believed to inspire passion.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, perhaps you will be inspired to cook up a little something special to share, or to celebrate your fabulous self.

Be well!