A Branch from the Lightning Tree

Reviewed by Nicola

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This is yet another book which has recently crossed my path and which I can’t quite believe why I haven’t come across either the book, or the author before. I can only put it down to divine timing… we get given the things we most need when we are most ready for them.

Martin Shaw is proclaimed to be one of the best storytellers in our country. Having started on his five-weekend storytelling course recently I have to agree. The story he told, which took a whole weekend to tell, gripped me on the edge of my seat and hung around in my mind for weeks and weeks afterwards. Even now well into the throws of summer I am still reflecting on the lessons I learned from the Irish myth of the wolf kings daughter and Finn MacCall.

Martin is a self taught storyteller, and he brings forward the idea that storytelling is the thing that we need to bring back to our culture. Throughout his book he weaves between myths, his tales of rite of passage experiences in the welsh mountains of Snowdonia, and tales of his own journey to become a storyteller.

Not shying around the edges he talks of the descent, the work, death and grief, science, wildness, culture, and the culture of wildness, fear, speaking for the earth, climate change, shamanism and initiation. All the things we should be talking about as a society right now. It’s most refreshing.

This is one book I find impossible to do any justice in summing up. All I can say is it’s one to read, and don’t expect to view things the same afterwards.

Martin also has a second book out in print “The Snowy Tower” which is another great read, following the ancient story of Parzival.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon.