Book Review: "How Does it Touch Your Heart?" - Herbs and Incense with Amy Blackthorn in Sacred Smoke

By Elyse Welles

© 2021 Elyse Welles.  All rights reserved.

Incense is not just Wildberry sticks from the gas station - it’s an intimate experience with herbs and their healing properties.

Picking up Sacred Smoke by Amy Blackthorn, I knew going in how much I enjoyed incense, and I thought I knew how to include it in my practice. But her book provides a deeper look at how to build your relationship with incense - a relationship you might not have realized you were neglecting, and one that is certainly worth your time.

I felt reinvigorated in my path after embracing her view of incense as a sacred act, not only a powerful magickal tool. As a licensed herbalist, Blackthorn's knowledge and respect for herbcrafting is abounding, lending more credibility to her voice.

Her recipes are great - anyone will find recipes to enjoy here. However, this is actually a book to get readers on the path of making their own concoctions by building a relationship with the herbs they use. Blackthorn's confidence and positivity is contagious, and motivates the reader to have faith in their own magickal intuition. She challenges us to think creatively about our choices, but also not to think too hard. Feel, trust, and follow.

Blackthorn's voice and spirit leaves a lasting impression. Like a memorable teacher, her voice is strong and personal. She feels like a friend by the end of the book, and I want to have a few with her for sure! Luckily, I had the opportunity of meeting her at our monthly Pagan book club meeting, and her presence was even more wonderful in person.

Building a Relationship with The Herbs of Your Practice

“When that plant reaches out to you, how does it touch your heart?” She tells us to ask as we get to know new herbs. “The word “use” is the problem,” Blackthorn explains. "We shouldn’t feel that we use these herbs or stones. We are working with them, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, a partnership… Like you can find your partner in a large crowd, you can pick out the personality of a plant.”