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Monday, October 5, 2015

Using the terminal powers of Samhain to process trauma.

Using the terminal powers of Samhain to process trauma.

*Originally written by me for Samhain Sirens.  Please see the incredible work by the rest of the Sirens here:

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
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,, 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 and like her page on Facebook at

Three NEW Teas!

 Three NEW Teas!

     Just in time for my blog post to go LIVE on Samhain Sirens today I'd like to introduce you to some NEW members of the Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends Family!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I have a new tea article in this season's Imramma​ magazine. :)

Ostara is almost upon us, and that means a new edition of Imramma Magazine!  This sabbat features a new tea article by yours truly!  Look for "A Green Witch's Tea Party : My Ostara Cup of Tea" in the newest issue today!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends!

     Exactly one year ago today, Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends was born!  On a snowy day in York, PA I spent the day with a dear friend in the Mad Tea Science laboratory creating 15 of the blends we started with.  My how we've grown!

     To celebrate we're launching something our fans have been asking for, a quality, unflavored black tea with a delightful fragrance.  The palate on this tea will please both the novice and tea aficionado alike.