An exploration of the relationship between myth, wilderness, and a life of depth and meaning. A “Culture of Wildness” is possible for a restoration of Soul in our lives.
Martin Shaw’s writing rattles the cages of souls. In A Branch from the Lightning Tree, Shaw creates links between the wildness in landscape and language, with myth being the bridge between the two. Shaw uses four great myths from Welsh, Norwegian, Siberian, and Russian territories that explore the process of leaving what is considered safe and predictable and journeying out into wild, uncertain areas of nature and the psyche. Shaw’s work focuses on both men and womens movement into wildness as part of the bigger awareness of climate change and ecology. It presents the old stories as keys into any debate on these issues, showing how the ability to think metaphorically and mythologically “re-enchants” our perspectives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A true master. Martin Shaw is one of the very greatest storytellers we have. Shaw presides over an astonishing flow of language. His prose reaches up into the high old areas Joseph Campbell used to do his arm wrestling in, and many of Shaws leaps are absolutely superb. He is talking about experiencing ancient myths in a new way and he does it elegantly. He encourages the teeth of professors to fall out and the teeth of the young to grow. ~ Robert Bly, author of Iron John and winner of the National Book Award
Eloquent and elegant, Shaw offers an irresistible invitation to dive down the rabbit hole into realms that hold the wisdom of, not only survival, but expanding into ones sense of purpose, maturing into the gift of service to the collective. ~ Malidoma P. Somé, teacher and author of Ritual: Power, Healing & Community
This is an astonishing book part memoir, part retelling of old tales, and part courageous delving into the psyches trek from the civilized out into the wild. Shaws inspired writing and, as he says, “wild thinking,” come from both inner and outer experiences, from the wealth and daring that a wilderness teacher and storyteller must have. When I finished reading it, I felt I had been given a gift. ~ Gioia Timpanelli, storyteller and Womens National Book Association Award winning author of What Makes A Child Lucky
Shaw is a writer of rare and fierce beauty, and a great enemy of mediocrity, wherever it may hide. A Branch From the Lightning Tree is an oceanic dive into the mythic fire-on myths own terms. The whole book conjures a tale of who we are and where we might be going. ~ Daniel Deardorff, author of The Other Within: The Genius of Deformity in Myth, Culture, and Psyche
This is visceral and imaginative writing. Shaw creates links between the wildness in language and landscape, myth being a bridge between the two. As a book it both nourishes and inspires, superbly placing story in the centre of the challenges of ecology, leadership and climate change. He writes with a poetic flair that gives the book mystery, fire and purpose. This needs to be read! ~ Rosie Boycott, author, former editor of The Independent and Chair of the 2008 Samuel Johnson award for nonfiction
Shaw has so much knowledge and wisdom about the old stories it emanates from his pores. He knows about the mythic trap of eternal youth that is the shadow of rocknroll. He knows why Jim Morrison went down. His prose is voracious it will gobble up the readers psyche and challenge it to change. ~ John Densmore, essayist, best selling author, and founding member of The Doors.