Smoke Hole:
sneak preview video released

Dr Martin Shaw has recorded a short video from his Dartmoor cottage about his latest book Smoke Hole: Looking to the Wild in the Time of the Spyglass
The book, due to be released by Chelsea Green in May and available now for pre-order from Cista Mystica, was written over lockdown and gives us, says Martin, “a very ancient way of looking at a modern predicament, the situation we have all found ourselves in over the last year.”

This new little video just recorded a few days ago, includes a reading – a sneak preview – from Smoke Hole.

The book is divided into three sections offering, each offering a different kind of perspective on the times we’re in.

 “The reality is that many of us are lonely, disorientated, sometimes afraid,” Martin explains. “There was no ceremonial announcement for the experience we were falling into, but I want to offer us three navigational tools for moving forward.”

The sections are:

Growing Your Hands Back –  we’ve been encouraged to touch nothing this last period of time. How do we move back out into the world in a new way?

Breaking Enchantments – many of us have spent far too long in our own head, stewing in fantasy not imagination. This has to stop.

And finally, Kicking The Robbers Out Of The House – apprehending social media and the internet not as an influencer or savior but as a tool.

Martin writes: “Three roads, three strands, three stories.
I want to change the pitch, alter the register, offer a different kind of perspective on the times we’re in.

“Most of that gear shift won’t come from yet more conceptual hi-jinks but from very ancient stories and philosophies. Three stories in fact, stories you can slip in your pocket. May you set out on the most magnificent journey.
I’ve always written for those at a crossroads, and I now find we’re all at one.”
Endorsements for Smoke Hole

‘Strung between the urgency of heartbreak and the joyful ferocity of hope.’
Ariel Burger, author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom

‘Seize this book.  It will be the deepest and most delightful reading you do this year.’
Sarah Chayes, author of Everybody Knows: Corruption in America and The Potomac River: An Invitation to Change Course

‘With potent, lyrical language and a profound knowledge of storytelling, Shaw encourages and illuminates the mythic in our own lives. He is a modern-day bard.’  Madeline Miller, author of Circe and The Song of Achilles. 

See the video
Pre-order Smoke Hole

Letters to the Earth: paperback

A letter from Dr Martin Shaw entitled We are in the Underworld is among the 100 contributions in this award-winning collection published by HarperCollins. The letters from around the world written in response to the climate crisis, are introduced by Emma Thompson and include contributions from activist Yoko Ono, actor Mark Rylance, poet Kae Tempest and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. The paperback edition was released in February. For more information and link to the audio book, see here.

Letters to the Earth website

New Cista archives

During the wintering months the team at Cista Mystica has been gathering up nuggets – interviews, videos, articles, book reviews, essays and assorted shiny things  to add to the archives for your perusing pleasure. The list can be found in the news section of the website. It’s our hope you’ll find something here to stash in your saddlebags for the road ahead, whatever it may bring.

See the new archives