Witchy Wednesday: October 25, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It's our last Wednesday with you, so we want to make the best of it. Let's get our Witch on, and have some fun!
The Witches by Navate
Before we go further, let's find out who won that haunting pendulum by Greybeard's Wand Shop! And, the winner is...

Sandy McClean!


Congratulations! Be sure to send your mailing address to Kallan so Greybeard can ship out your prize!

Now, on to the day's festivities!


Today's Music: Shadowdancer, Clanadonia









The Sweet Smell of Samhain in the Air
by Amy Blackthorn



Every year as soon as the air starts to cool our minds turn to memories past. It only seems to happen here in the fall. It seems we are so busy living in the spring and summer months, we don’t have time to dwell in the past. With the coming winter and preparations for colder months we not only yearn to take stock of our lives, our survival can depend on it. We can forget in the convenience of our daily lives that cold and hunger are lurking just outside our doors. The lizard brain part of ourselves will never forget. So we remember what has come before. Our trip through memory lane serves to not only appease that survival instinct but to enliven our spirits for the coming dark.

The best way to appease that is with happy memories of past fall activities. Local farms are offering apple picking, private bonfires and hay rides, but that screams fall, and not necessarily the Samhain / Halloween season. When asked most often people remember the way they felt. The anticipation of a good thrill, the chase of finding the best costumes, and planning the raid on the local streets for the best candy.

If you ask, more often than not you hear one thing, the smells of Halloween. Chocolate. (The best houses were always rated by who gave out the biggest candy bars!) All candy seemed secondary to the chocolate haul of our dreams. Of course the kids who didn't like chocolate did the lion’s share of trading knowing they had the upper hand.

The smells of fall and Halloween are inexorably linked in our minds, but as all frogs are toads, not all toads are frogs. Halloween smells might be fall smells, but not all fall smells are halloween. Close your eyes. Yes, you. Breathe deeply in through your nose. Go ahead, no one is looking. Smell around you. It’s the end of October, and though inside might smell normal, outside (for most of the country) It is starting to smell like fall. In the Eastern Great Deciduous Forest it is smelling like decaying leaves with a tinge of peppercorn in the air. In more temperate parts of the country, they are preparing for the rainy season with cooler temperatures an a hint of ozone. In the north it is likely that snows have already fallen. But no matter how we reach back with our memories, we come back to scent.

Why is that? Why do we smell our memories before we feel them? Each time we smell, whether we are sitting at home merely breathing, or we are out experiencing the world, we are smelling. All the time. Now we don’t actively think about smell much of our day, but we are. Why is that? It goes back to that lizard brain part of ourselves that I mentioned earlier. It’s a survival mechanism. We are always aware of the scents around us, just not in the front of our brain where our grocery lists and bills, and kid’s homework lives.

Smell seems to be the most undervalued sense we have, even though it is responsible for as much of our survival as our eyes, ears, touch and taste. (You know we have more than 5 senses, though, right?) Our nose and sense of smell is always on the job, smelling for danger. Is that a neighbor’s fireplace going for the first time this year, or is someone burning leaves? Are they burning leaves, or is something burning unattended? Has the milk gone bad? Will the lunch meat make us sick? Our sense of smell not only warns of danger, it files away those dangers for future use, each time.

Take a survey of the adults next time there is a lull in conversation. How many have an alcoholic beverage they cannot stomach? A goodly portion I’d imagine, and each one has a similar story of over indulgence that led to sickness so bad that even the smell of it to this day, will make them ill. This is not only a handy way to keep from over indulging in alcohol, but a survival instinct left over from our Neanderthal predecessors to detect poisonous berries and spoiled meats as well as other dangers.

So back to our original question, why do the smells of Samhain act as a trip down memory lane, and a happy one at that? Because our sense of smell is not a stand alone system. In order for a smell to be recognized, the scents enter the nose and bump up against scent receptors that are linked in the brain. Picture a giant rolodex. Once a smell is encountered the wheel starts spinning. In the case of Halloween chocolate, our brain’s rolodex spins past “citrus smell”, “poison smell”, “play-doh smell” and others to land on the space marked “chocolate”. With citruses as our example once our brain lands on the marker that denotes citrus we still have to sift through orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pomelo, and tangelo before landing on mandarin.

So how can we train our brains to feel happy and fall-wondrous all the time? The easy method, though our doctors, dentists and personal trainers might object, would be to eat chocolate all the time. The more rational, and likely easier on our bodies, answer is to train our mind with scents we love.

How do we do that? It starts with a scent we like. Honestly, it’s fairly easy. Don’t stop yourself before you can even start by choosing something you want to like, but simply don’t. This can be a single essential oil that makes you feel happy and secure, or it can be a blend of essential oils. (This case uses essential oils because they’re easily carried so rapidly at hand.) The more personalized the scent, the more tailored the scent experience.

Say you’ve chosen clove, because it feels fall-like, it is warm and stimulating, (magically it brings luck into the home, and who couldn’t use some good luck?) Feel free to carry the bottle around with you during this, the establishment phase, or place a drop of two on a tissue or in an aroma locket. (Caution: Do not put undiluted essential oils on skin as chemical burns can result). We are establishing a routine, when you feel happy, content, smile, or are laughing, smell the oil of choice, in our example, clove. Every time. A nice gentle smell, don’t inhale to hard or too deeply because some oils are strong enough to cause headaches or dizziness if abused. Your brain will start to link the two, the smell and being happy. The stronger the link, the better it will work. Continue this practice with the original scent for a few weeks.

Phase two is adding in times when a little pick-me-up is needed. You are still smelling it during all the happy times, but add in the occasional perk up. You’ll notice the feeling continues, the uplift is still there.

The final phase is only use the original oil when the desired emotion or feeling is needed. If I want to feel happy after a long day at work, a quick, gentle inhale at my clove oil will center me and I can go on with my day. I can also put a teaspoon of ground clove in a pot of warm water on my stove to gently permeate the house.

Using tricks like this can have your home smelling like fall, well after the last pumpkin has gone to the compost pile and the last sweet treat has been eaten. Blessed Samhain and Happy Haunting!

Amy Blackthorn has more scented magical tricks forthcoming from The Encyclopedia of Magical Aromatherapy coming Fall 2018.

Amy Blackthorn has been described as an “arcane horticulturalist” for her work with agriculture, in British Traditional Witchcraft, and with magical herbs. Amy has spent twenty five years in different traditions within Paganism. She has taught classes from Baltimore, Maryland to Toronto, Canada, and out to Arizona. She has been acted as a media liaison for ABC television, and the SyFy Channel. She was recently seen on Top Ten Secrets and Mysteries in an episode about Supernatural Abilities. Her interviews have appeared for nineteen years in numerous publications in matters of alternative religions. You can view Amy’s tea shop at blackthornhoodooblends.com.  Her author page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/AmyBlackthornAuthor/ 





Today's Recipe: Stuffed Pepper O'Lanterns by Amy Blackthorn




Stuffed Pepper O’Lanterns Total Time: 1 h 25 m

Ingredients
6 bell peppers
1 pound ground Turkey
1 egg
2 cups dried stuffing cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1 small can diced tomato
2 minced cloves garlic
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup yellow mustard (I like French’s)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper


Directions

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (167 degrees C).
• Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish or line with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
• Lightly mix together the ground turkey, egg, bread cubes, onion, tomato, garlic, chili sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
• Wash the peppers, and cut jack-o'-lantern faces into the peppers with a sharp paring knife.
• Slice off the tops of the peppers, and scoop out the seeds and cores.
• Stuff the peppers lightly with the turkey stuffing
• Place them into the prepared baking dish so they lean against each other.
• Cover dish with aluminum foil to keep peppers juicy.
• Bake in the preheated oven until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is cooked through and juicy, about 1 hour.




Today's Giveaway: Tea from Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends



What is Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends? One of a kind, hand blended, artisan teas with an energetic theme, clearing out old emotional junk, settling your mind, inspiring love, and increasing protection.
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:

A 16 fl oz sized tin your choice! (Value $21 + Shipping)
(Net Weight depends on the tea chosen)

Here's how to enter: You have until 11:59pm. You MUST post your email address in at least one comment to qualify.

US Residents: 
Entry 1 (mandatory): Go to http://blackthornhoodooblends.com and choose your favorite blend, then come back and tell us all about it.

Optional entries: (Separate comments, please)

Entry 2:
Go to http://www.facebook.com/BlackthornHoodooBlends. Like the page, and post a comment there that you're visiting from Samhain's Sirens.
Entry 3: Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram (your choice) this giveaway. Come back here and comment that you did.
Entry 4:  Like https://www.facebook.com/AmyBlackthornAuthor/. Come back here and comment that you did.
Entry 5: Like the Samhain's Sirens Facebook page.


Canadian Residents: Answer this question for 5 entries.

In what year did Canada become a country?






That's it for our final Witchy Wednesday post of 2017. We'll see you again tomorrow for our final Thriller Thursday!

47 comments:

  1. Already watch Blackthorn web page! Love the Samhain tea!!

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  2. Tweeted: https://twitter.com/mbdauberman/status/923175315412783104

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  3. Visited Amy’s Facebook page: liked, following and sent love!

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  4. Sent love to the Blackthorn HooDoo Blends and already like and follow!! That Samhain tea!!!! Yum!!

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  5. I went to BlackthornHoodooBlends.com, their Samhain Blend sounds divine!
    swensen72@yahoo.com

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  6. As hard as it is to pick a favorite tea, if I have to choose only one, I choose Healer's Way Tea, perfect for me right now, and I adore chamomile and peppermint! Email is dawn@treeoflifedesigns.com

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  7. Went to Blackthorn Hoodoo FB page, look liked it & posted a note saying Hi!
    swensen72@yahoo.com

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  8. Shared to my FB page
    swensen72@yahoo.com

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  9. Shared giveaway and website to my pages https://www.facebook.com/dawn.leith.31 . https://www.facebook.com/tolapothecary/

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  10. Have liked the Samhain’s Sirens for years

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  11. Commented on Blackthorn Hoodoo Facebook biz page!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. As someone who never gets to sleep on time, The Werewolves of London tea appeals to me. --Teresa Seifert

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  14. Commented and liked on Amy Blackthorn Author Facebook biz page!

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  15. I tweeted this page:
    https://twitter.com/kellyanne1313/status/923184865947865088

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  16. Fiery wall of protection tea for me!

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  17. Visited Blackthorns hoodoo blends the pumpkin looks yummy. Debrabecker6@gmail.com

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  18. I liked the sirens page, Amy Blackthorns author page and Blackthorns hoodoo blends page! DebraBecker6a@gmail.com

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  19. As a huge fan for years, I have already liked Amy's pages and I just liked the Sirens page!I have purchased many of her blends over the years so it is hard to choose which one I like the best - but I do have one that I order over and over again and one that most of my friends like and that is All Seeing Eye. I remember Amy saying that I may favor it because I love coffee and the blend has a hint of that earthiness or heartiness...I forget exactly...lol....all I know is that I love it with honey and the one that I run out of the fastest! ; ) Anyway - shared this to my personal FB page.

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  20. Also shared to my blog Ravyne's Reviews, Rants and Reflections! ; )

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  21. the black magic with the hints of grapefruit sounds tasty! My email is sharonmaynard12 at gee mail dot com

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  22. My current favorite Blackthorn Blend is the Road Opener! jonquilsgrdn@gmail.com

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  23. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/jonquilsgrdn/status/923322232738340865

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  24. Liked & commented on Blackthorn Blends page.

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  25. I liked Blackthorn's page and left a comment to say hello. *I had to comment on a post because apparently FB app has been having a hiccup today.

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  26. I liked Amy Blackthorn's author page.

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  27. Shared to my FB https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10214735452810996&id=1564793014

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. Cauldron of Rebirth will have to be on my next order! Fiery Wall of protection has always been my go to I add a dash of maple syrup and some canned coconut milk and I'm ready to start my day. tvschwartz@yahoo.com

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  30. I visited Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends under my facebook name "Clara Pitt."

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  31. I shared the contest on facebook.

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  32. Hecate seems to be calling to me lately and the Hecate tea blend is calling to me as well.

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  33. I have liked and been a follower of Amy's author page for awhile. I am very excited for her book to come out :)

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  34. Canada became a country in 1867. Another wonderful prize!

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