ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Herbs of the Northern Shaman is a book about entheogens and is published again

Updated on October 30, 2016

Loompanics Unlimited

Back in the year 2000, I managed after two years of trying, to find a publisher to get my book Herbs of the Northern Shaman - a Guide to the Mind-altering Plants of the Northern Hemispherepublished by the American company Loompanics Unlimited. It was a very exciting moment in my life!

Originally the idea for the book had been announced in CJ Stone's Guardian column Housing Benefit Hill and eventually I got down to writing it. My angle to make it a unique work was that I would only be writing about herbs, trees and fungi that grew within the northern hemisphere and that these plants could be used as entheogens or had mind-altering properties..

Herbs of Northern Shaman covers and some herbs (my photos)

Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
Heavenly Blue Morning Glory
Original Herbs of the Northern Shaman
Original Herbs of the Northern Shaman
Peyote cactus
Peyote cactus
Wild Lettuce
Wild Lettuce
Datura flower
Datura flower
Thornapple plant (Datura stramonium)
Thornapple plant (Datura stramonium)

Belladonna and Mandrake

I had some misgivings at first because I wasn't sure whether it was a good idea to put information on plants with drug properties out there, but then I thought, the more people know the better they can make valid judgments on any area of life, and I got down to taking an idea out of my mind and making it concrete. I also decided that I would include warnings against any dangerous plants like Belladonna, Mandrake and Thornapple included in the book and would point out that it was for information purposes only.

In 1998, I was a student studying for a Higher National Diploma in Media Studies at a local college and was just managing to learn the basics of using a computer and the Internet. Not having my own PC at home, I used free time at college and all the summer holidays typing up my book. I also collected photos of all the plants and had help from a lecturer friend Tim Brett, whose subject was photography. My former partner the late Janice Pugsley did drawings for all the plants I couldn't get actual specimens of.

Eventually it was all knocked into shape and I set out to find a publisher - much easier said than done! The manuscript went around many London publishers and I had lots of replies usually saying it was well researched and an interesting subject but not what they were looking for right now. There was usually a long wait before I actually got the reply too and I had read it wasn't good etiquette to send to more than one publisher at the same time.

I had some great encouragement from Richard Rudgley, who is the author of Encylopedia of Psychoactive Substances , whom I had contacted and he replied to me offering some advice and approval for my work.

Then I had a nearly lucky break when I got in touch with Louise McNamara of Thorson's Books. I had found her in Julian Cope's Modern Antiquarian credits and I thought if she had been working with him maybe she'd appreciate what I had written.

I was right, because in a long meeting with Louise in London we got on really well and eventually she said: "Leave it with me, Steve. I will do all I can to get this accepted and will let you know very soon."

I was really feeling optimistic and went back to Cardiff thinking at last I have possibly done it. She kept her word because a week or so later Louise wrote to say she was terribly sorry but despite her efforts her colleagues were not willing to publish it.

It was at that point I thought, well, OK, the UK doesn't want to know so let's try America. Within a fortnight Loompanics Unlimited had accepted it and all systems were go. Inner Traditions were also interested - I had just sent them the idea only - but I decided I would go with the first offer I had had!The amazing thing was that after nearly two years of real time in which I failed to get a deal in my home country I had found two interested publishers in two weeks in America!

At last, which wasn't that long after I confirmed the deal, we sorted out a title and cover art and it was on its way to becoming a reality. They sent me $1,000 advance and, when it had been printed, a box of books.

What an exciting day that was. and I had visions of now becoming a successful author and making some decent money eventually. I was soon to find there were many more hurdles to overcome.

I tried local bookstores like Watersone's but they all asked if I had an account with them, and whether I had been in touch with their central office. There are many things you need after you get a book published - you need a distributor for starters and I hadn't got one.

I sold copies to friends and put some "sale or return" copies in Troutmark Books secondhand book dealers, whom I was already friends with but I found the best way to sell books was to get booked as guest speaker at some event. At the Pagan Federation conference in London after my lecture people were queuing up to buy and I sold all the copies I had.

I sold some more when I was guest speaker at Glastonbury Festival talking about the role of mind-altering herbs in witchcraft and shamanism.

I sent out quite a few promo copies that the publisher supplied and we had some great reviews. One of the best was from Howard "Mr Nice" Marks, who sent me a postcard saying "Excellent! If you want a hand with this let me know!"

Howard was actually willing to sell my book alongside his own works on his ongoing tours. This was a fantastic opportunity but all I could do was thank him and let it go. It was far too much money needed to ship the books over in quantity from America to the UK. I didn't have it and I could hardly ask Howard!

The final blow arrived when Loompanics was forced to close and my book became out of print with no hope of it coming out again on its original publisher. After this it started appearing for sale on Amazon and Ebay at crazy prices - almost 10 times the price it had been going for!

I then met up with and became friends with photographer Katrinia Rindsberg at Myspace and we hatched a plan. She would do a whole collection of new colour photos for each of the species and I would do some rewrites to improve it and add a few more herbs that were not covered in the first edition.

We agreed to split any money coming in on the book and we thought we could self-publish on Katrinia's husband Ole is a desk-top publishing wizard so he sorted out all the layout.

At last we are very proud to be able to announce that Herbs of the Northern Shaman is back and in full colour!


Herbs of the Northern Shaman has found a new publisher and was republished by O-Books in November, 2010. Please click on the following link for more info:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      10 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Amanda! My personal copy has just arrived and it looks brilliant! Lulu only took three days to deliver it too!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      10 years ago from UK

      Definitely one to look out for. Hope it all goes well for you!

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      10 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thanks again, Pam! I recommend hubber Brainfire for excellent medical advice:

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Yes, too bad for that! But I'm glad it's available again. As soon as I get paid I'll order up a copy. I'll be needing some medicinal advice now that my health insurance is shot! lol!

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      10 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Thank you, Pam! The only way I could sign it would be if I buy a copy and sign it and then send you it, which of course isn't ideal due to the extra postage first from lulu to me and then from me to you! Why is everything so complicated? lol

      It is available on lulu now but not from Amazon.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Steve that is so cool. I will definitely buy one at Lulu once its available. I love plant books anyway. Will you sign it for me? Can you do that somehow?

      Congrats! Back in the game again at last!

    • Bard of Ely profile imageAUTHOR

      Steve Andrews 

      10 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      VioletSun, the original version has been on Amazon for years and used to be on Barnes and Noble too. It now appears either at crazy prices of $120+ or is listed as "Out of Print" and "Currently unavailable." do not promote books for authors so it will be up to Katrinia and I to get it listed and as it only came out last week we haven't done much yet. Not sure how to get it on Amazon either so will look into this. There was a long wait at lulu. There is an awful lot of waiting involved in my experience, apart from as I said, when I first got published back in 2000 after applying to US publishers. UK ones can hang on for over a month before they even send you a standard rejection letter!

      Thank you, Jerry!

    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Jerry G2 

      10 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Congrats, Bard! I think there's really something to be said about taking control and really pushing for something you love. Sounds like an incredible book, I'll be sure to pick up a copy once my next pay check is in the bank! Thanks for sharing.

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Didn't know you had published a book, how cool! And yikes, it does take a lot of work to have it published, sort of scares me as I am slooolwy but surely writing an inspirational book. I assume your book is in


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)