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The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Natureby Stephen Harrod Buhner
Synopses & Reviews
NEW SCIENCE / ECOLOGY
“Of the truly great books appearing today The Secret Teachings of Plantsis easily the most rewarding I have had the privilege of reading.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Biology of Transcendence
“A ‘must read’for herbalists, healers, gardeners, nature lovers, and anyone who has ever been moved to tears by the everyday miracles of life.”
Susun S. Weed, author of Healing Wise
Mankind cannot survive without the nutritional and medicinal properties of plants. The number of plant species on Earth has been estimated at around 400,000, with many of these species remaining unknown to humans. While only a fraction have been identified and categorized by Western botanists, it is safe to say that many of the plants unknown in the West are known to indigenous people living within the plants’natural ranges.
All ancient and indigenous peoples insist their knowledge of plant medicines comes from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that these plant teachings are at the basis of many of the modern discoveries in both medicine and in plant foods.
Throughout the world there is a tradition of direct perception of nature through the “intelligence of the heart.”Recent discoveries in neuroscience have proven that over 50 percent of the heart is comprised of neural cells. The heart is, in fact, a brain in its own right. Heart-centered perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capacities, as indigenous and ancient peoples assert.
Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this heart-centered mode of perception in great detail. He includes leading-edge information on the physical mechanisms of heart-based cognition and explores the work of numerous remarkable people who perceived the world with their hearts, including Henry David Thoreau; Luther Burbank, who cultivated the majority of food plants we now take for granted; George Washington Carver; Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution; and the great German poet and scientist Goethe, who studied the metamorphosis of plants. Buhner shows us how these great thinkers achieved a direct perception of nature using the cognitive abilities of the heart. He provides the knowledge and techniques necessary to develop heart-based perception, which is our birthright. He teaches us how to learn the medicinal uses of plants directly from the plants themselves and to understand the soul-making process that such deep connection with the world engenders.
STEPHEN HARROD BUHNER is an Earth Poet and senior researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies. He lectures throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, and the intelligence of Nature. He is the author of nine works of nonfiction and one book of poetry, including the award-winning The Lost Language of Plantsand Sacred Plant Medicine. He lives in Braintree, Vermont.
Ancient and indigenous peoples have insisted their knowledge of plant medicines came from the plants themselves, perceived through a heart-centered mode of perception, not trial-and-error experimentation. Author Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this heart-centered mode of perception, helping readers to learn about the medicinal uses of plants, and how to gather information directly from the heart of Nature.
Reveals the use of direct perception in understanding Nature, medicinal plants, and the healing of human diseaseandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;and#8226; Explores the techniques used by indigenous and Western peoples to learn directly from the plants themselves, including those of Henry David Thoreau, Goethe, and Masanobu Fukuoka, author of andlt;iandgt;The One Straw Revolutionandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;/iandgt;and#8226; Contains leading-edge information on the heart as an organ of perceptionandlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;All ancient and indigenous peoples insisted their knowledge of plant medicines came from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that many Western peoples made this same assertion. There are, in fact, two modes of cognition available to all human beings--the brain-based linear and the heart-based holistic. The heart-centered mode of perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capacities if, as indigenous and ancient peoples asserted, the heartand#8217;s ability as an organ of perception is developed.andlt;BRandgt;Author Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this second mode of perception in great detail through the work of numerous remarkable people, from Luther Burbank, who cultivated the majority of food plants we now take for granted, to the great German poet and scientist Goethe and his studies of the metamorphosis of plants. Buhner explores the commonalities among these individuals in their approach to learning from the plant world and outlines the specific steps involved. Readers will gain the tools necessary to gather information directly from the heart of Nature, to directly learn the medicinal uses of plants, to engage in diagnosis of disease, and to understand the soul-making process that such deep connection with the world engenders.
About the Author
Stephen Harrod Buhner is an Earth Poet and senior researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies. He lectures throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, and the intelligence of Nature. He is the author of nine works of nonfiction and one book of poetry, including the award-winning andlt;iandgt;The Lost Language of Plants andlt;/iandgt;and andlt;iandgt;Sacred Plant Medicineandlt;/iandgt;. He lives in Braintree, Vermont.
Table of Contents
A Note to the Reader
Of Nature and the Heart
Prologue to Part One
Section One: Nature
1. The Nonlinearity of Nature
2. The Self-Organization of Life
3. The Energetics of Life
Section Two: The Heart
4. The Physical Heart: The Heart as an Organ of the Body
5. The Emotional Heart: The Heart as an Organ of Perception and Communication
6. The Spiritual Heart: Aisthesis
Gathering Knowledge from the Heart of the World
Prologue to Part Two
Section One: Veriditas
7. The Door into Nature
8. The Necessity for Acuity of Perception
9. Feeling with the Heart
Section Two: The Taste of Wild Water
10. Gathering Knowledge from the Heart of the World
11. The Pregnant Point and the Mundus Imaginalis
Section Three: The Fruitful Darkness
12. Depth Diagnosis and the Healing of Human Disease
13. The Importance of Rigorous Self-Examination and the Necessity for Moral Development
Section Four: Grains of Sand from Another Shore
14. Reading the Text of the World: The Geography of Meaning and the Making of the Soul
Appendix: Exercises for Refining the Heart as an Organ of Perception
Bibliography with Commentary: The Wisdom of the Earth Poets
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