Scents of the Samhain Season

The Energy of Samhain

And the Wheel of the Year turns again to Samhain.  Here in the Mid-Atlantic, that means people are starting to think about pumpkin decorations while wondering if the 80-degree temperatures will turn to 60’s.  Whenever this season comes back around our minds turns to the season past, and in a way that spring never really does.  Spring is about the movement forward, birth and growth.  Fall allows us to take stock of where we have been, and who we have been in the past.  This ties in with scents so strongly because of the relationship between smell and memory.  You simply cannot have one without the other.
Scent is 90% memory and only 10% recall, because in the process of understanding each smell we encounter we have to unpack the box of our experience, day by day, because each time we encounter a scent, we are encountering the last time we unpacked the memory of that scent, not the first time.  We are looking at a copy, of a copy so to speak.  The recent days are right there on top of the box fresh and clean because they were only placed there yesterday.  Items that were put in the box five, ten or twenty years ago may take longer to find in the box, or they may be covered in dust, so it could take a minute to figure out what you’re looking at so to speak.
But we go through all of these processes because it simply could not work the other way around.  Could you imagine being shocked and amazed at the smell of your own house every time you encountered it?  There are hundreds of fragrances a day that we take for granted that our noses have (thankfully) written off for us as non-threatening.
With Samhain, it’s the season of taking stock, because we no longer need to take stock of our pantries and larders to make sure our families will make it through the winter, doesn’t mean we can’t take stock of our lives, our groups of friends and families.  One of the easiest ways to do that is to relax our brains, our emotional centers and remind them that it is safe enough to take stock of where we are and let our sense of smell and nostalgia take over from there.

How do we do that?  Call on the powers of fall.  Here are some essential oils, and the magical applications you can do with them. (See ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic’ for a full list of warnings for each essential oil.)

Essential Oils

Anise- (Pimpinella anisum) Anise is a protective plant, as well as a purifying and divining one.  If you have someone in your life if you aren’t sure of their true purpose, place a drop of anise in an essential oil diffuser and use the mist created to scry or meditate on the truth of their mission.  Anise will tell you the truth and help you protect your family and purify your home at the same time if needed.
Black Pepper- Improves mental alertness, physical energy and is great for protection spells.  Can be used to drive away evil and as such is great for hex-breaking spells and uncrossing work of all kinds. This is perfect for Samhain as it’s this time of the year when the Veil between the worlds is thinnest that energetic nasties can be lurking outside your home.  Diffuse this potent protector (again, just one drop! Don’t overdo it and cause yourself or someone else respiratory distress)  to do a quick uncrossing to make sure there is nothing lurking from your latest ‘humble-brag’ at work.
Cinnamon- Boosts creativity of all kinds (artistic, linguistic and more), provides good luck, increases libido.  The warming action burns away threads of negativity so is associated with protection.  Is very uplifting and is associated with increased intuitive gifts. The next time you want to head into your workspace to get to the newest project consider diffusing some cinnamon essential oil  30 minutes before you are planning to get to work, so you don’t have to overcome the ‘get to know you’ part of your work day and can jump into the creative process.
Clove- The warmth of clove burns away that which doesn’t belong so it’s magic is dispelling that which doesn’t belong, especially people who don’t belong in your life anymore.
Ginger- This is energizing, healing and associated with love, passion, and power.  What a great time to make sure that the people in your circle have your best intentions at heart.  Take stock of the people who have been there for you for the past year, through phone calls, late-night PMs when you needed someone to talk to, who never had the time when you needed someone. Everyone has low times in their life, only you’ll know the difference between ‘dealing with something’ and just someone whose friendship has run its course.
Oakmoss- Not everyone is going to know this one, but I wanted to throw in a wild card.  This lichen smells like leather backed with violets and is used for magic dealing with divination, grounding, hex breaking, and big-time manifestation. It also makes a great fixative for magic, so if you want to make sure that your magic is in it for the long haul, use this.  (If you work with poppets, and live in a place like Florida, I’ve see Oakmoss falling off trees, you can stuff poppets with it. Make sure to google a photo of it just because it’s on a live oak, doesn’t make it oakmoss.) I have gotten a decent price online for Oakmoss Absolute, feel free to reach out to my author page if you can’t find it.
By working with the scents of the season we can remember the times of Samhains and Halloweens past and embrace the best parts of ourselves.  We can not only be the best of ourselves that we deserve, but that our friends and families deserve.  By weeding and tending the garden of our hearts we keep those precious reserves for those people who truly deserve the fruits of our labor and our time, attention and devotion.
For more information on working magic with essential oils, the history of plants and their by-products, please consider ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic’ available where books are sold.  Weiser Books has thoughtfully provided a generous sample of the first 50 pages at http://tinyurl.com/blackthornsbotanicalmagic

About the Author

Amy Blackthorn has been described as an arcane horticulturalist for her lifelong work with plants and magic.  She incorporates her past in a British Traditionalist Witchcraft coven with her horticulture studies to form one path.  She has been trained as a clinical aromatherapist and is ordained.
She has appeared on HuffPostLive, YahooNews, Top10 Secrets and Mysteries, and Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.  She has also appeared in print interviews for over 20 years. Her tea company Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends creates magical tea blends based on traditional formulas after 20 years of teaching, of study and of practice. She lives in Delaware.
www.amyblackthorn.com

Tea and Developing Your Intuition

Tea and Developing Your Intuition

 

 

When attempting to connect to the collective unconscious, one of the most challenging parts of opening ourselves to our psychic gifts is quieting the chatter that permeates our thoughts. For some, this is even more difficult when we attempt to relax. To enhance your concentration, let’s establish your ritual designed to help you engage all of your senses, and keep you present at the moment. That ritual is known the world over for connecting people to their inner selves; I’m talking about tea. Lavender is known the world over as a sedative herb, capable of reducing anxiety. Chamomile is calming, internally as well as externally. Reducing external stimulation is another factor in keeping the link with the inner realm connected and reducing caffeine intake can aid that goal. Blending your teas can be a satisfying way to connect the threads of the things you’ll learn here today.

Lavender

Lavender is one of the most common anxiolytic herbs on the market today. Lavender is so synonymous with herbal medicine that it is one of the most commonly adulterated essential oils on the shelves, not because of the cost to produce but to keep up with demand. Adding a quarter of a teaspoon of lavender buds to your tea is enough to bring out the warm, flavor of this herb. Though this lovely purple bud is a flower, it won’t add a traditional floral taste to your tea. This member of the mint family adds a sharper mintier note in the camphor family, closer to the note of rosemary and bringing the air of nobility to your tea ritual. By adding an anxiolytic herb like lavender to a psychic tea, you relax the active parts of the mind that are nervous. It still allows the active part of the brain to quiet and allows the subconscious to step forward.

Chamomile

In emotionally charged situations, people reach for chamomile for its calming effect. Chamomile works both aromatically and physiologically. Chamomile is soothing to muscles and tempers alike. Chamomile also causes blood vessels to dilate, for this reason, consult with doctors if you are on blood pressure medications or blood thinners. The calming effect of chamomile will allow its meditative qualities to shine through. When paired with breathing techniques, you can enter an altered state of consciousness. For those not familiar with the flavor of chamomile, it gets its name from the taste, which loosely translates to, ‘ground apple.’

Intuition

The last piece to this puzzle in linking tea and the sixth sense, in turning up the volume on the inner voice. One of the ways to do this is by reducing the external noise created by caffeine. If you want to get in touch with your inner mystic, you can’t be wired for sound on Monster energy drinks. You’ll be hearing sounds, but your inner voice. The best way to reduce your caffeine intake for this exercise is to create an herbal tea base. Most people hear ‘herbal’ and think mystery plant matter that tastes like dust and is a vaguely green/gray color. The best herbal tea base to use that blasts those assumptions out of the water is Honeybush or “Red Tea” (Cyclopia species) it grows in South Africa. It is caffeine-free, and unlike its caffeinated cousin, it does not bitter if over-steeped. It has a neutral/sweet flavor and is delightful as a stand-alone tea or as the base for all teas, fruity, herbal, spicy or sweet!

Another way to link your practice is to bring some elements of the natural world into your daily practice. Only having tea is a balm for the soul. Having a calming cup, a few minutes of focused breathing, and practicing opening the mind to intuition By regularly exercising the psychic link, it becomes second nature. Blending teas can provide a satisfying way to connect calm, center, and collect your thoughts. Before beginning the journey inward, I hope you will try it if not for your own sake; for the people, your inner voice may help.

*Make sure to take the time to write down any recipes you come up with so that your results can be duplicated at a later date.

**Neither lavender nor chamomile is recommended for pregnant women. Please consult your pregnancy professionals before using any teas, herbs, essential oils, or supplements during pregnancy.

***For more info on herbs, teas and intuition check out, ‘Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic,’ and ‘Sacred Smoke’ by Amy Blackthorn.

Essential Oils for Dandruff

     There are a lot of essential oils that are beneficial to dandruff sufferers.  Dandruff has a few causes, from a fungal infection, (eczema and psoriasis can also cause a dry, flaky scalp), to improper scalp care and conditions like dermatitis.  While it is healthy to shed skin cells, the cells dying too rapidly, or not washed away are problematic.  To tackle common scalp problems there are a few strategies to focus on:
-Anti-fungal oils- Oils that tackle the fungus itself include patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus ), and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia ). Patchouli is hydrating, unlike many anti-fungal oils, so it will help soothe the irritation and give the skin much needed hydration.  Lemongrass is pain-relieving, as well as anti-microbial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Not only will it kill the fungus, but it will reduce the pain and inflammation.  Tea tree is anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiviral, and is beneficial for killing skin fungi of all kinds, including nail fungus and ringworm.  If working with a child under 12 years of age, the 1.8 cineole content makes tea tree unsuitable for children, and thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalol ) should be used instead as it is also a potent anti-fungal, but won’t cause the breathing problems in children that tea tree can.
-Soothing oils- Oils like lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rose (Rosa various species), vetiver (Vetyveria zizanoides ) and sandalwood (Santalum album) are perfect for this kind of work.  Lavender is great for soothing all skin conditions; it has vulnerary, or wound healing properties.  It’s an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory.  The properties of lavender were discovered after an explosion and subsequent fire at a perfume oil distillery.  Those burned in the rescue attempt were coated with lavender oil from the vat that was distilling.  Rose is an anti-inflammatory, it contains a high level of Vitamin C which reduces redness and irritation, it is also an astringent and the scent is uplifting when treatments for dandruff can be upsetting and often smell unpleasant.  Vetiver oil softens the skin, as does sandalwood, its emollient properties make it a must-have for any dry, flaky skin condition.
-Stimulating oils- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)  chemotype Verbenon is best for stimulating the blood flow of the scalp after irritation, and inflammation.  Blood flow will also help get nutrients to irritated hair follicles and help stimulate growth.  Rosemary promotes circulation for post-surgical wound healing and prevents scarring.  The itching and irritation of the skin can cause micro-cuts and permanent scarring if left untreated.  Lemon (Citrus limon) is antiseptic, and stimulating to the skin, and should be used in a dilution of no higher than 1% to avoid sensitization.  The distilled lemon essential oil should be used, rather than expressed to avoid phototoxic burns.  If the label doesn’t specify, look under the cap.  Expressed lemon can stain the plastic yellow, expressed is clear in color.
The carrier oils for these essential oils cannot be understated.  Lavender is the only one that is gentle enough to be applied without a carrier.  Tea tree is often listed as the other exception to the rule, but only in very small applications, like the head of a pimple, rather than the whole face.
-Castor oil- nourishing and emollient, helps regrow hair.
– Olive oil- contains polyphenols to aid the skin.
-Sesame oil- warming and increases circulation, without the irritation of essential oils like cinnamon or black pepper.
-Jojoba- when in doubt, grab this ‘oil’.  Jojoba is called an oil, but the incredibly long shelf life of this oil comes from the fact that it is truly a wax, it just happens to be liquid at room temperature.  It’ll ensure your treatment stays shelf-stable and viable for a long time.
Hope this has been of interest and helpful.
Best wishes.
Amy