Verdant Gnosis: Cultivating the Green Path Volume 4, published by Revelore Press
Edited by Catamara Rosarium, Marcus McCoy,
and Jenn Zahrt, PhD
Now in its fourth volume, Verdant Gnosis offers a rich selection of international authorities on the Green Way who reveal the ways of engaging deeply with the mysterious intelligence of the plant kingdom and breaking down the barriers of anthropocentric thinking that separate humanity from nature.
With contributions by: John Anderson, Jeremy Bechelli, PhD, Rebecca Beyer, Julia Semproniana Carreras, Karin Di Giacomo, Cody Dickerson, Janine Tyto Hagal, Jesse Hathaway Diaz, Demetrius Lacroix, Marcus McCoy, Joyce Netishen, Catamara Rosarium, & Jenn Zahrt, PhD.
VERDANT GNOSIS is a poetic rendering of the Latin expression, Viridis Genii, which refers to the collective spiritual intelligence of our botanical environment. Viridis means ‘green, verdant, growing’–all that is lush and nourishing; while genii is the origin of the words ‘genius’ and ‘genie’–the spirit, daemon, or guiding intelligence of an entity. Viridis Genii–the verdant gnosis–is thus the spiritual path of working with the intelligence of living nature.
Within this fourth volume you will find a rich selection of international authorities on the Green Way, ranging from professional plant alchemists, shamanic herb-masters, to bioregional animists. Herein you will learn the ways in which you can communicate deeply with the mysterious intelligence of the plant kingdom, breaking down the barriers of anthropocentric thinking that separate humanity from nature. Volume four presents a thread of material focusing on plagues, runes, metallurgy, and early modern European herbalism.
—Catamara Rosarium, Marcus McCoy, and Jenn Zahrt, PhD
Magical Medicine for Plague and Pox
—Jeremy R. Bechelli, PhD
De Metzineria Pirenaica: Intoxication and Poisons in Medieval Witchcraft
—Julia Semproniana Carreras
Three Worms and Five Poisons: An Esoteric Reading of Gu Syndromes and Their Treatment with Chinese Herbal Medicine
Flipping the Mirror: Haitian Vodou in Context
Of Runes and Plants
—Janine Tyto Hagal
The Folk Magic of Hildegard von Bingen’s Herbs
Anima of the Soul
The Element of Fire: A Study of One Letter of the Alphabet in the Book of Nature
—Karin Di Giacomo
Ìrókò gbà mi o: Irokò, the World Tree Deified
—Jesse Hathaway Diaz
Firing Silver at the Moon: Plant-Spirits and Metals in Sorcery, Agriculture, and Folklore
From the Introduction….
…This year, the symposium expanded into a new location at the base of Mount Rainier in the state of Washington. The Center for Sustainable Forestry’s Pack Forest Conference Center is nestled in a 4,300 acre Douglas-fir forest. It is among these trees that our community will connect with the Viridis Arcanum and with each other. These pages you hold are a small record of the many conversations and connections that emerge throughout the event; it is through them that this work may continue to spread into the world beyond this time and place, and perhaps one day encourage you to attend in person.
This anthology, for the first time composed of articles from all of the speakers at this year’s symposium, gives voice to the Viridis Genii itself—a spirit of diverse form that has many secrets and many more faces. The humble messengers of the green spirit have again expressed themselves here through the continued traditions and practices of masters, explorers, its guardians, and garden tenders. With this new volume, we continue our aim to give the Viridis Genii voice and share in its mysteries, so that those mysteries may perpetuate.
Our collection begins again with our keynote speaker. In his second appearance in our pages, Jeremy Bechelli takes us on an extended meditation on magical approaches to curing plagues and pox. From there, Julia Semproniana Carreras climbs with us into the Pyrennees, into the poison traditions inimical to a world of medieval witchcraft that has rarely escaped from those geographical and temporal confines. Continuing the theme of poison and curse, John Anderson introduces us to “Three Worms and Five Poisons,” a comprehensive esoteric exploration of Gu—“sorcery performed with a poisoner’s palate”—in its myriad forms. Our curse-work is rounded out by Demetrius Lacroix who flips the mirror on Haitian vodou, and provides essential context for the rhythms and botanica encountered in these practices, allowing us to expand our concepts of what we think we know about them.
In the middle of our volume, Janine Tyto Hagal’s piece opens with a thunderstorm, which unleashes a powerful transmission on the relations between runes and plants, coaxing us to see each in a new light and giving us important tools to sharpen our own gnosis of esoteric runic and herbal lore. Then, Rebecca Beyer returns to introduce us to an important ancestor of esoteric herbalism with her exploration of the herbal aspects of Hildegard von Bingen’s folk magic. Here we meet Apple, Mandrake, Beech, Fern, Betony, Myrrh, Cypress, as Hildegard used them. Next, Joyce Netishen takes us through her personal process as herbalist, a modern echo of the legacy Hildegard left us, replete with insights into the magic of Mugwort, Rose, Yarrow, Tobacco and Devil’s Club.
From there we move on to Karin Di Giacomo’s elemental experience with the Ponderosa pine as inspired by a Paracelsian approach resembling the call to action provided by Hagal earlier in this volume. Still in the realm of the arboreal, Jesse Hathaway Diaz introduces us to the lesser-known magical lore of Irokó. And our volume concludes with Cody Dickerson unveiling the diverse relations between realms virid and metallic. Dickerson weaves together metal and plant, throughout various traditions, and provides new inspiration for considering the links between these types of materia.
It is with continued humble pride and reverence to this great green work that we transcribe and transmit the voices of those who work with the Viridis Genii. With each volume of this anthology and each year that the symposium grows, it is our hope that the green mysterium tremendomgrows, as do those who seek to perpetuate it in their own garden of dreams and magic.
& Jenn Zahrt, PhD
May 15, 2018
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