I'd like to welcome readers in joining me as we learn a bit more about Stephanie Rose Bird, a woman whose specialties and talents cover a broad spectrum. After receiving an MFA from the University of California at San Diego, Stephanie Rose Bird's line of experiences quickly grew to include the following: Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute in painting and drawing; a Fulbright Senior Scholar to Australia in the field of anthropology; and teaching at the Chicago Botanic Garden as well as the Garfield Conservatory. Ms. Bird is also a professional member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (Black Midwives and Healers) and the Herb Research Society of the American Botanical Council. She is also a member of Author’s Guild.
Ms. Bird's works include: Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs, Four Seasons of Mojo: an Herbal Guide to Natural Living, and A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for Body and Spirit, and her newest release, The Big Book of Soul: The Ultimate Guide to the African American Spirit.
Stephanie Rose Bird resides in the Chicago area with her husband, where she also is a practicing magical herbalist and aromatherapist.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about The Big Book of Soul: The Ultimate Guide to the African American Spirit? What is the story about, who are the characters, and so forth?
The Big Book of Soul: The Ultimate Guide to the African American Spirit: Legend & Lore, Music and Mysticism, Recipes and Rituals, was released February 5, 2010 and it was published by Hampton Roads Publishers and distributed by Red Wheel Weiser Books. The Big Book of Soul investigates the phenomenon of soul and the development of soulful practices from ancient through contemporary times in the African diaspora. As its title suggests it is a complex book that combines folklore and mythology with alternative spirituality, healing, and African American and well as continental African history. I wrote it because I saw a need for a book that explored the heart-felt spirit, so present in African societies, that we call soul.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book that you could share with us, please?
Here is an excerpt from the conclusion of The Big Book of Soul:
The Big Book of Soul is an epochal exploration into the meaning of soul in sacred and mundane life of African Americans in the diaspora with spiritual lessons for all. This book is also an investigation into the nexus of heart, art, and soul — how the three can come together to imbue life with unfathomably rich possibilities. The trio’s possibilities include depth of loving, potential for healing the self and others, as well as the idea of tapping into energy that enriches the soul experience.