I had previously heard of Monica Gagliano PhD and her scientific work with plants, but nothing with this depth – there are a few lectures dotted about on the internet that I had listened to, but it wasn’t until I heard her being interviewed on the Rune Soup Podcast that I got an idea of her more in depth connection to the plant world. The interview is linked below.
Anyway, I bought the book.
I found the book completely fascinating and an unexpected journey. I don’t think that English is Monika’s first language and at the beginning of the book I found myself re-reading some of the sentences to fully understand them, it helped when I started reading in her voice, but this wasn’t a big problem ( I’ve struggled with english-as-first-language writers before when they are describing technical stuff) and I soon just got into the flow of it without thinking.
I loved the narrative of the book going through different phases. The outline of the book was laid out by plants, and she followed their direction, which really made the whole book very easy to follow.
The overlying theme is of this as a spiritual journey. We start at the end of Monica’s previous scientific research career when her marine subjects offered themselves to her a sacrifice and this greatly affected her entire worldview. I fully get this notion of sacrifice. Within druidry I often give offerings or sacrifice (not of living beings) as a bargaining tool asking for change to manifest from the other world. The sacrifice here appears to be from the otherworld, asking Monica to manifest change in this world.
There is the beginning of her journey into plant spirit medicine, and how this presented itself , how it happened and how some really deep insights were presented to her from the plants she was journeying with.
There is the story about how the plant spirits organised her life path, the break through being that she had to have faith in them and to follow their advice. Again, as a druid, I fully get this as I have had similar guidance from the otherworld that has caused me to take different directions (and succesfully too) that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken.
Then it goes back into scientific research -but with a twist. The plants had a plan for Monika, they have a message that they want to bring into the world at this time (and it actually is coming through towards mainstream thinking now, partly because of this work) and they needed to use Monica as a scientist to get this message into being.
So she was given a set of scientific experiments to do, and the means to do them. The plant spirits told her what to look for, and how to conduct the experiments.
This progressed further with the pea plants, when something quite specific was to be looked for, and this went unseen until something happened within Monika to change the way she was looking at the experiment. A paradigm shift occourred and the predicted (by plants) results became clear as day.
The spiritual journey continued from there, but with a change from being taught and introduced to plant spirits by spiritual teachers, the plant spirits became the teachers themselves and are now taking Monika on a pathway of their choosing.
I found this book easy to get into and a joy to read, I read it much quicker than other books, simply because I didn’t want to put it down.
The ending of the book is such a joyous revelation and life path, it much more of a beginning than an ending, I would her to write another book in a few years time and see what new chapters have been unveiled for her.
This is an absolute gem of a book that spans both scientific and spiritual realms without being awkward of clunky. It just seems totally natural, and how we should be doing science. Science and Spirituality do not have to be polar opposites.