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Ian Williams
Soil & Spirit
Monumental challenges threaten the sixth mass extinction on planet Earth. From increasing rates of infertility and chronic disease to soil degradation and climate collapse, reviving civilization requires changemakers to step forward and lead with their own unique genius. In Soil & Spirit, Ian C. Williams presents a simple solution: self-actualization. Solutions at scale begin with individuals organizing themselves. Ian guides the reader through that process via four primary landscapes: internal, social, external, and spiritual. These landscapes chart the path from personal to planetary transformation. Soil & Spirit is not only a message but a methodology for designing resilient landscapes, both inside and out. Creating a regenerative future means committing to self-cultivation. Once you learn to navigate the four primary landscapes and awaken to your life’s core purpose, you become a catalyst for true cultural transformation.
Public speaker and business advisor Williams’s transcendent debut opens with a short poem that builds to this declaration: “All the solutions you seek begin with sitting still.” Simply put, Williams offers readers permission to enter a space of stillness to be pulled, with a gentle, careful hand, into a guide that has been crafted “to provide you, the modern-day human, with resources to live a more natural and spiritual life.” What follows reads something like a softly spoken sermon in the church of Mother Nature, the text powered by a commitment to ushering humanity into what Williams identifies as the next stage of evolution: “eco-reverence.”

Directly opposed to the “Western cultural values ... of capitalism, consumerism, racism, and classism,” eco-reverence suggests a design for living that is aligned with the preservation and perpetuation of nature’s resources and cycles. Williams makes the case that transformation begins with excavating the individual’s “internal landscape” and embarking on a process of “ascension, though we could just as easily say ‘descension,’ returning to the core of our being.” Along with these at times esoteric insights, Williams offers practical guidance for readers that’s heavily based on Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese medicine, and indigenous wisdom to give a nonrestrictive foundation to commence a practice of nature-based spirituality.

From there, Williams delves into the social, external, and spiritual landscapes and covers a slew of topics, including nutrition, exercise, romantic relationships, social justice, spiritual similarities between major religions, and many more, but although the breadth of Williams’ proposed method for spiritual transformation is vast, it ultimately comes down to the most powerful and obvious solution: love. “If we are the needle” Williams writes, “and life is the fabric, love is the thread that sews us together.” To readers yearning for a nature-aligned spiritual path, Soil and Spirit is a nurturing place to begin.

Takeaway: Nourishing guide offering spiritual path in harmony with nature.

Comparable Titles: Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, William Martin’s A Path and Practice.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-