It's a Maniacal Monday here, which means we've taken over the asylum!
Come see who won Friday's giveaway, and we'll give you some food for thought, as well as recipes, music and more.
What are you waiting for? The party's just down that dark hall and through the big creaky door to the basement....
The winner of the Touch of the Goddess giveaway is....
Today's Blogger: Amy Blackthorn
Samhain. How many times have we seen it? Local papers do a special interest story on the witches at Samhain. “Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) means summer’s end.” It’ll then go on to make endearing noises about how witchcraft has seen a resurgence in x number of years and how we’re ‘totally not devil worshippers”. They’ll be sure to include a photo of a non-threatening woman in black (bonus points if they can talk her into a pointy hat!) with a big smile and usually at least five candles. It’s beyond formulaic at this point. I’ll admit it’s better than the late 80’s and early 90’s formula of making a genuine effort to communicate on the part of the practitioner, into a spookily lit punch line about ‘the weirdoes’.
The part these outlets miss is the END in ‘summer’s end’. I’m sure it’s easier to rest on the finely carved narrative that sensationalizes our beloved dead. Other cultures and religions have festivals surrounding loved ones who have died, but this is so much juicer because you can include the word, “witch”.
Instead of spending our Octobers waiting for stories to validate what we already know, that we’re just human, and trying to make a difference in this world, let us focus on our own endings. We end things all the time. Many folks make new year’s resolutions in January for the Julian calendar date. We avoid the talk of ending things with language surrounding the new. We fawn over the idea of birthing a new year, forgetting that birth is the other side of death.
We understand the year as the Wheel of the Year, admitting that time passes. However circles have no beginning, and no end. It makes it easier to gloss over the ending portion because we know that there will always be another. The only flaw with this thinking is that we fail to acknowledge the passing of the current, and the understanding that we aren’t guaranteed another anything, day, week, month or year.
This time of year is important for releasing the things in our lives who have had their time in the sun, and are ready to die. Samhain is the perfect time to process our trauma and leave it in the past, before moving on to that shiny and new we look forward to. Trauma is our brain and body reacting to the painful events in our lives. Our lives and our years have trauma, insidious events that color our world.
Using this time of year as a catalyst toward beneficial change is a great blessing. It needn’t be something as traumatic as a death, a car accident or a physical altercation to cause lasting change in our lives that weighs us down. Dealing with an abusive boss, ending of a friendship, relationship or dealing with financial worries are all stressful and traumatic. Any event that leaves you overwhelmed and feeling alone counts. Just because you may not have experience a death or sudden loss doesn’t mean that you aren’t dealing with things that are difficult. Life isn’t a contest. It can feel selfless to worry about the suffering of others close to us because they’re dealing with intense emotions, but don’t let that worry keep you from processing your own emotions.
It’s time to take time to look at your trauma. Anyone who promises a “quick and easy ritual to release trauma” is at the very least, pulling your leg. It’s not easy, but you are worth it. This is all about your comfort level and ability to deal with the past. It may be as simple as lighting candles and incense and looking at yourself in the mirror to talk about the things you need to let go of, before moving into the new year. I will be taking a ritual bath with herbs and oils and examining my scars to acknowledge all of the things I’ve overcome this year. Some will decide to attend counseling, good for you! The stigma of getting help is decades past its time to go. Acknowledging that the events of your life are best dealt with, with someone in your corner is a great step.
The important part of this process is using the terminal powers of Samhain to process that trauma. Too often we see carrying the baggage of our traumatic past as a badge of honor. “See? I survived!” Remember, the baggage is weighing you down, now allowing you to celebrate your victory. The baggage come after the trauma, it’s not proof that the trauma happened. It feels amazing to say we’ve survived the horrible things that happened to us. It can be difficult to look that pain in the eyes. Being able to put down the bags and still honor the survivor in you is the message of this Samhain.
You have dealt with a lot this year, and over a lifetime of years. You are Brave. You are Loved. You are worth protecting, defending, and loving. I hope the end of this year finds you feeling stronger than you’ve ever felt before. You deserve it. You are magic.
For more information on dealing with emotional trauma please visit http://ptsd.about.com/od/selfhelp/a/CopingTriggers.htm
and resources for finding help when you can’t afford a therapist
Rev. Amy Blackthorn does double duty in life as both a witch and ‘personal tea shaman’ but also as a personal defense coach. She got her black belt in April 2002, and has worked as a certified firearms instructor, and has helped people reclaim their sense of self and safety since January of 2010. She has been described as an "arcane horticulturalist" for her understanding of Green Witchcraft, her work as a Plant Spirit Oracle and her history of teaching hoodoo and the creation of herbal remedies. Amy has 24 years in Paganism and various magical traditions. Amy started her formal schooling in horticulture, herbalism, and agriculture more than sixteen years ago, and somehow all of that higher education didn’t stamp out her love for the arcane, occult and mysterious. She has taught classes from Maryland to Toronto, Canada and out to Arizona. She has been called on to act as a Media liaison for ABC television, and the Sci-Fi Channel. Her interviews have appeared in the Associated Press, Baltimore Sun,BankRate.com, the Boston Globe, the Huffington Post, Stamford Advocate and the Connecticut Post in matters of alternative religions. Amy has been an active member of her local religious communities for more than sixteen years. Amy uses her plant knowledge to create tea recipes from old hoodoo oil recipes. You can view Amy's tea collection at her website http://blackthornhoodooblends.com and like her page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BlackthornHoodooBlends
The Sirens' Song with Jennifer RasmussenNo Samhain Celebration is complete without this song!
All Soul's Night by Loreena McKennit
Today's Recipe by Autumn Earthsong
Now autumn is also all about apples, not just pumpkins J I particularly love caramel apples and always have to have at least one this time of year. But something even better? A caramel apple in a pie! This recipe is amazing! And delicious!!
Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie
1 unbaked pie crust (homemade or store bought is fine)
7-8 cups granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup caramel topping
Preheat oven to 375* Have your pie crust ready in your baking pan. In a large bowl, toss in the apples. Add the sugar, flour, salt and lemon juice and stir to combine. Let them sit in bowl while you make the topping.
In a separate bowl, combine the butter, flour, brown sugar and salt with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and lumpy. Add the oats and the pecans and stir until combined completely.
Mound your apples into the pie crust. Then sprinkle on all the topping.
Lightly cover the crust edges with foil and bake pie for 25 minutes. Then remove foil and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown. If the top starts burning, cover loosely with foil.
Remove from oven and drizzle with the caramel sauce all over the top of the pie..let cool a little and serve warm!
*Try serving this with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream!
It just doesn’t get any better than this..and so easy, too!
Blessings and Love,
Autumn Earthsong is back for the 3rd year as our resident Kitchen Witch. You may have seen her recipes in Imramma Magazine and The SundayStew as well. Autumn has been a practicing Witch for 17 years and hails from Ohio. She is a wife, mother of two, and Nana to three busy little grandchildren. Samhain is a favorite time of year for her….with her name indicating what Season she loves! Hearth, Fire, love of family and good food is how she brings Magick to her home. You can also find her blogging at www.autumnearthsong.com. She looks forward to sharing her recipes with you all and hopes that you have a very Blessed Samhain Season!
Stones and Crystals with Jennifer Hodgson
Hematite is not only effective at grounding but also protecting.
An amazing stone to use when astral traveling, it protects the soul. Hematite also prevents negative energy from entering your aura and helps to restore harmony to the body.
This is also a good legal stone.
Will help with self-esteem and will help remove self-limitations.
A very useful study stone especially with math.
Giveaway from Amy of Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends
I started blending my own teas and sharing them with the people I love, six years ago. After each new person experienced the flavors and emotions I put into each and every blend, I kept hearing, “You should go into business!” but I kept my day jobs. In February, after much soul searching and long conversations I decided to take a leap of faith and leave a stable but miserable and emotionally toxic job. It was the best thing I could have done.
I was working in my kitchen one day on a Road Opener candle. I wanted to clear the old debris of the last job’s misery and open the way to the next stage of my professional journey. I had anointed my candle with Van Van Oil, and lit it when the door bell rang. When I came back to my altar to make sure the candle was secure, the smell of the Van Van hit me. All I could think was, “I wish I had some tea that smelled like this, I could continue the working and enjoy some lemongrass.”
It was like a bolt from the Gods. I have been teaching classes relating to the Pagan sphere for fifteen years, and my hoodoo classes are always full of raucous fun and the formulary classes the most full. So I had all of the recipes I’d been teaching. Lots of these recipes are herbs that are used in food and teas anyway, why not make these same potent and magical oil recipes into tea form. Thus Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends was born.
What you’ll win:
First Prize- A 6 Flavor set of Deluxe Samples, your choice! (Value $25 + Shipping)
Second Prize - A Full Sized tea of your choice! (Value $9 + Shipping)
So, here's how to enter:
1. Go to http://blackthornhoodooblends.com and choose your favorite blend, then come back and tell us all about it.
2. Go to http://www.facebook.com/BlackthornHoodooBlends. Like it. Let us know you did in the comments.
3. If you have any helpful suggestions as to what you’d like to see on the website, tell us about it. If your suggestion is chosen you could win a $25 gift card!
4. Don't despair! If you don't win the tea of your heart's desire, we'll have a special Discount Code on the shop all through the Samhain Sirens season for you at home. Just enter "Siren" (no quotes) in the discount box and everyone (Including Sirens!) will get 20% off of your order over $25. Valid NOW until November 30th.
5. Like the Samhain's Sirens Facebook page. Come here and comment to let us know you did. If you already liked us earlier, simply comment on that as well.
6. Use some form of social media to share this blog today. You can blog, tweet, or share on Facebook. Just remember to put the link to your share in the comments!
Canadians, your country requires that you answer questions instead of participating the American way ;) So, we're bringing you some good old-fashioned trivia about your country this year. Answer the question correctly in comments (don't forget to put your email address in the comment!) and you'll be given 6 entries in the giveaway!
Here's your question:
Where does the word Canada come from?
a) Jacques Cartier
b) Samuel de Champlain
c) Jean Nicollet
d) A foreign language
This giveaway is open until 9pm EDT tonight. Winner will be announced tomorrow at 9am EDT. Remember, we have to notify the winner in email first, so those email addresses are critical for you to qualify for the giveaway!
Good luck everyone!
See you tomorrow.. same time, same bat channel!!