Books by Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue

The Silver Branch and the Otherworld:
Forest Magic with Plant and Fungi Allies

The Silver Branch and the Otherworld

Find healing and connection by engaging with wild plants.

Braiding together insights from herbalism, ecology, neurobiology, psychology, Irish history, and magical tradition, Seán Pádraig O’Donoghue shows how we can tap into the flow of communication from the wild world and our ancestral traditions to transform our lives. He provides simple practices for engaging with wild plants and your ancestors. 

This book:

  • Shares insights from herbalism, ecology, neurobiology, psychology, Irish history, and magical tradition to show how to tap into the flow of communication from the wild world.
  • Explores the seven principles of animist herbalism and the ancient Irish understanding of the "three cauldrons" of the body, showing how they can be applied to the practice of modern herbalism.
  • Introduces thirteen important plant and fungi allies and provides simple practices for deepening your connections with wild plants and your ancestors.

To our ancestors, the wild world around them was filled with meaning, guidance, and insight. They recognized the symbols hidden in Nature that represent invitations to connect with our wild kin, such as the Silver Branch of Irish legend. They understood that plants and fungi are living teachers who can become our allies in healing and magic. They knew that there is deep healing available when one lives in direct connection with the living world.

As Seán introduces the seven principles of animist herbalism, he revitalizes the ancient Irish understanding of the "three cauldrons" of the body and shows how this framework can be applied to the practice of modern herbalism. He examines the importance of physical and spiritual nourishment, including the role of seasonal ritual in setting the rhythms of our lives. He shares ancient Irish stories, with precautions and protocols regarding the ethics of engaging the Otherworld and working with plant medicines, especially psychedelics.

O'Donoghue introduces thirteen of his closest plant and fungi allies, discussing what it means to develop a relationship with a plant and how to work with their medicines for healing and magic. He also provides simple practices for rooting in nature, navigating the wheel of the year, and deepening your connections with wild plants, as well as trees, water, and the ancestors.

Revealing the depths of healing and magic available through wild plants, O'Donoghue helps us to reconnect body and spirit with the living world around us.

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Courting the Wild Queen

Courting the Wild Queen

“Just as a god might be the mind that arises from a forest, a river, a planet or a cluster of galaxies, so too each person’s consciousness is a collective consciousness born of the matter and energy that make up our beings.”

RITONA Press is thrilled to announce the release of Courting The Wild Queen, by poet, herbalist, and mystic Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue.

Courting The Wild Queen is a deeply poetic exploration of the ancient and modern world through the mythic and the ecological. Mycelium networks spreading their tangled threads of meaning beneath the forest floor reveal to the reader our own tapestries of meaning, while the ancient lore of Irish Kings and Queens of Land unveil the lost -- but recoverable -- centers of human existence. 

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I have attended workshops on herbalism taught by Seán O'Donoghue, and read his previous work, The Forest Reminds Us Who We Are, which is dedicated to understanding and working with plants and other wild medicines. Here, too, he approaches his subject with a complex analysis that incorporates somatic, mental, and ecological perspectives, but he's moving in some different directions. In Courting the Wild Queen, the author takes a deep dive into his own past, and the ways he has faced difficult reckonings and also the ways the Irish people have coped with their historical periods of oppression. He talks about those who have been kissed by darkness and made their lives into offerings to the living world, or to their own people. Kings and Queens here are amply illustrated through myths and legends, but the idea isn't that they are simply figures: these are things that a person can become when they act in accordance with the ancient principles that guided sovereigns to wisely steward their realms.

At the end are some original poems the author wrote, which weave together stories of our wild kin (animals, plants, etc.), mythic themes, and the ecstatic and erotic experience of being part of an interconnected world, which is 'one prayer'. In themselves, they would be reason enough to buy this book.

      —Baudolina Ballyhoo (via Goodreads)


“A deep dive into the magical consciousness of our natural world... I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by Sean at this year's Good Medicine Confluence and bought his book immediately after. This slim volume is packed with amazing historical facts, mystical teachings, and so much more. It's kind of hard to put into words because it feels like years of study and thought have been paired down into so few pages, but in a word: Amazing. I've been reading this book slowly (each chapter encompasses one lesson/story), savoring it, taking it on long walks into the forest and reading it in only the most magical places. Can't wait to read Sean's other book, and attend some of his online classes.”
      —Anonymous (via Amazon)