One week ago I took part in the second Samhain Celebration, hosted by the House of Inkantation, at The Londoner in Gotha. I attended bleary-eyed yet exited. I had worked until the very last minute on the artworks and merch, which included ink drawings of my sigilla magica, samples and glass jars with my self-made incense blends, the last Teufelskunst rosaries, postcards and the original art I had done for German doom band Werian.
The House of Inkantation folks prepared again a unique stage design, which was crowned by a horse skull, into which G. Bergfex of Kvlt&Knochen had carved and imbued with blood the official Samhain Harvest Seal. On the stage performed Rim Runa, Werian, Forndom, Sun of the Sleepless and Malokarpathan. Another special treat were the dedicated wooden boxes pyrographed by C. & M. Falkenstein.
My company, the photographer Anne Ida Helmer, has set herself the goal to document me for a photo series – by all means not an easy task. But I was glad to have her around. We spend the whole weekend in Gotha, touching base and forging future plans. It was nice to finally meet some of the people in person, whom I had done artwork for, and to get to know new faces. I was overwhelmed by the support and interest in my work. This made me forget the sacrifices of the past weeks. It was also refreshing to get to witness new music, bands I had and had not heard of before. I come out of this gathering with new art commissions, possible participation in new events and more.
As I am typing this, the candle has already extinguished and there are nearly as many tiny air bubbles in the glass of water as dots on the ink drawing in the background.
My little fall equinox altar is made of tokens gathered during the past days. It also features a small glass of self-made hawthorn liqueur. The hawthorn goddess was addressed for empowerment at a time when I am down with flu and need to recharge both physically as well as spiritually.
The drawing is one of three drawings I did last week. It is the second in the small series and titled “Pathfinder”, since the shape reminded me of a creature equipped with plenty of sensors, which seems to be pushing forward against an icy storm. The third drawing is now in the possession of The Witching Veil, together with the autumn mandrake root depicted on it.
The incense burnt was the Black sacra from Luban Frankincense Supplier. It has a deeper, somewhat richer aroma than the green and white frankincense from Oman, and fits just perfectly for the season.
With the passing of the Fall Equinox, Samhain is just around the corner. I will hence begin preparing my presentation for this year’s Samhain Celebration in Gotha, which I am attending for the second time in a row.
The latest addition to the shop will be new autumn mandrake roots, which will go up for sale in the evening. Please also take a look at the new listings in the Sigilla Magica category.
Last but not least I thank all of you, who ordered my Dog Days incense. I have but one jar each left. The coming days I will work on new batches of Samhain incense, as well as restocking incense for Qayin and Lilith.
For the past weeks (and with interruption due to sickness), I have been working meticulously on the set-up for ritually blessing this year’s harvest. Of course it is not possible to pile up all the herbs and seeds gathered over the year. So instead I created a new, dynamic working sigil, which can be adopted and rearranged for different needs. In my own ritual the sigil is constructed from different plant parts and seeds, each corresponding with one of the four elements and esoteric symbolism. I.e. the sickles are made out of fennel stalks and vervain herb. For the stang in the center was used a thorn-apple stalk with pods and thornapple leaf and seed for the triangle symbolizing the spirit housed within the green. Of course you could use other herbs, real sickles, or simply trace the lines in the soil.
My offerings given to the spirits included self-gathered pine tree resin, Samhain protection incense, four beeswax candles, water and rum. The operation can be performed in silent contemplation or you call upon specific crossroad spirits and deities of your tradition. When done, all parts of the sigil can be gathered and employed to different sorcerous ends. Important is, if the ritual is dedicated to a certain spirit or deity you should stick with it.
Now I mentioned this was a dynamic sigil. As you can see in the above picture, the ritual aimed at blessing objects (in this case my seed boxes), which are placed inside the blades of the four sickles. A different ritual setting would consist of placing links to the four elements inside the sickles, e.g. offerings corresponding to each or your main altar tools. The point is, that you can construct and arrange the set-up in different ways suiting your needs. Now here are a few suggestions how to go about it:
Recently someone pointed out that the placement of the four elements inside my sigil was “wrong”. He was reasoning from the viewpoint of Western Mystery Tradition / Tarot. Well, as you can see there are different versions that all can be worked with. It is entirely up to you if you want to employ a tradition-specific succession and which you chose. Important is, if you do, that you contemplate and know why you chose one option over another.
Btw. I am looking forward to use the earth-bound altar again. It was altogether a very powerful experience employing sorcerous herbs and soil in this way.
PS: Please remember, I will process any new orders by the 2nd week of November. Until then I am preparing for my stall and exhibition at the Samhain Celebration on November 4th in Gotha (Germany).
This incense blend is dedicated to the rituals surrounding the summer solstice, when the sun reaches it’s annual zenith. The ophidian seal adorning the vessels that contain the solstice incense, is inspired by the viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) herb.
The ingredients for this blend are the herbs and flowers traditionally associated with the summer solstice. The incense blend evokes in particular a vision of a summer meadow at dusk: bushes of blue flowering viper’s bugloss cover the ground and transform into nests of serpents. Plantain, thistle and St. John’s wort grow at its side. Nearby, the fragrant yellow flowers of the evening primrose glow in the evening light and emit their sweet scent into the sweltry air, attracting the most wondrous kind of fairy folks…
Use this incense blend for cleansing, purification and letting go of the old, for protection, renewal, celebrating the night, inspired dreaming and creativity. The blend can also aid in decision making: cast out the serpent as a symbol of “evil” or embrace it as a symbol of wisdom and become a serpent yourself.
One of the commissions I’ve been working on lately and now going into the official Teufelskunst program: the first qliphothic incense blend, an offering to the dark goddess Naamah. Naamah here refers to a demonic entity, sometimes also called the “younger Lilith”. She rules over the lowest sphere on the adverse or reverse tree. Her name is commonly translated as “pleasant one”. Naamah belongs to the sitra ahra, the “other side”. Her sphere is called Nahemoth and of all the adversarial or dark gods she is closest to the created world. Nahemoth is thus sometimes portrayed as a sphere permeated by dead tree-roots entangling with the roots of Malkuth of the tree of life: where the roots of the one tree end the other tree begins. Naamah is therefore associated with the element earth or “black earth”. Her womb is the gate through which the various inclinations of the other side manifest inside the created world. Her beauty is a mask, behind which are hidden darker intentions. She is sometimes also compared to the Whore of Babalon.
I was commissioned to compose an incense blend focusing on the “pleasant” aspect. Earthy, warm and musky notes define this blend, which contains various fragrant herbs connected to the darker seasons (autumn and winter) and the element earth as well as other herbs and flowers evocative of Naamah, such as red rose and belladonna. Some of these ingredients are venific in nature (Belladonna, Bittersweet Nightshade), hence this blend is recommended for advanced practitioners.
Besides this I had to find a suitable vessel and packaging. Having been recommended Miron glass before, the uv-proof dark-violet glass would be my first choice for the spirits of the night side. The slender 100 ml wideneck jar also has an elegant shape. Besides this I’m also offering the blend in 50 ml jars. Miron glass is more expensive than normal clear or brown glass. Hence the qliphoth incense blends are a bit more expensive than my standard offers.
For ordering please write e-mail to email@example.com with the wished amount. I will get back to you with the full price including shipping and payment info. I accept payments with PayPal and SEPA bank transfer within the EU.
In my part of the world the past new moon occured close to the midnight hour and when the moon was just entering into the sign of Scorpio. In addition friends and followers in Eastern Asia and most of North America could simultaneously witness a beautiful partial solar eclipse. An astrologically and magically interesting time, some would already hold their Samhain celebrations on this night, closing another circle, saying farewell to the old and inaugurating a new year. It is the beginning of a liminal time, when the veil between the world of the living and the other side thinnens. It is believed the souls of the deceased – both beloved or malign, familiar or nameless – come to visit and contact the living, in dream or even physically. Temperatures are dropping, you see your breath in the cold air. The trees are yet aflame in autumn colors but will soon turn barren. Winter is just around the corner.
I felt it sooner this year than usual, perhaps owed to the early arrival of summer, autumn and winter are coming earlier as well. And it feels like its going to be a cold one. I experienced some dark days and nights, where I turned inside and contemplated, what has been done and what can and will be done. I got inspired and wrote these lines:
I feel the change of season
this autumn fire
the nights getting longer
the impending darkness
this cold breath down my neck.
But I am aflame and
burning with passsion
to a degree that it
almost consumes me.
Memories and dreams
the future and the past
they are merging
in a round-dance of autumn leaves
in the yellow light of street lamps
or in the dim grayness of
one drizzly September day.
I am day dreaming
and the world around me becomes
like the surface of a pond
into which I dip my finger
and suddenly the whole picture
starts to ripple and disperse
and the voices of people talking to me are muted
and I hear something else.
The veil is thinning.
I am dreaming of reconciliation.
I hear from a lot of people this year has been their worst by far. Some say they felt a strong negative Saturn influence in their life. Things being stolen or lost, relationships breaking apart, unexpected changes for the worse and in some instances also suicide attempts. There was a lot happening around me and for all I know there is little in life to rely on. Believes and faith, relationships and worldly values are questioned and challenged. And the idea that from loss and pain still something good or even better arises, may infact not always hold true. Yet the quality of conversations improves, deepens. Superficialties don’t suffice any longer. And I still feel lucky. I do have my self, my work, and spirits and friends to turn to. Even if they may be struggeling themsselves; as long as there is a shared will to continue and work towards better times – not sit and wait – there is reason for hope.
What really helps me during times, when there is apparently nothing positive at all, is the feedback I receive from you, my customers and followers. It does indeed mean a great deal to me. It is one reason why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I continue this project. Feedback such as this:
Having received one of your plant sigil card sets, I wanted to thank you for your work and express my gratitude in having received one. It is a beautifully crafted work, with an obvious spine of honesty, experience and exploration. A profound expression of the green, from the veils of the divine. – JR/O.
Thank you and all who write me messages, comment, like and fave! Thanks to over 2000 followers on facebook and 500 on tumblr, thanks to my watchers on deviantArt and elsewhere! Thanks to the loud and silent supporters and the imps and gnomes and wizzards doing ‘magic’ in the background and spreading the word! You know who you are.
And though it is true that this is often a lonely path we do take inspiration from another, consciously or unconsciously. I like to think that the same spirits contact us individually and sometimes they whisper the same and other times different things into our ears. Tuesday I thought about harvesting Belladonna under the waning moon. But the night was cold and rainy and there was no sharp shining crescent sickle to be seen that would have called for harvest. Thursday I read of Harold Roth‘s plan to harvest Belladonna under the new moon. I first thought no, lets leave them for another month or wait for next year’s Walpurgis. But then I gave it a second thought, went outside short before midnight and the conditions were just right.
The midnight hour was the hour of Venus and the dark moon had just entered Scorpio. A fitting constellation for working with the poisonous (scorpio) green (venus), and the darker aspects of the goddess (black moon), of whom the Belladonna is evocative. The Deadly Nightshade also has connections to the Germanic myths of the Wild Hunt, especially the Valkyries, daughters of heaven and earth (Wotan and Erda), who accompany the souls of the warriors that died in battle, to their final destination in Valhalla, which is reflected in the German name “Walkerbeere”. The Wild Hunt is said to begin with Samhain and culminates during the Winter Solstice and following nights. My first abstract vision of the plant’s essence shows her infront of a dark stormy sky with flashes of lightning and blood is raining from black clouds.
I took two roots, grown in pots, and both about 3 years old. The plants have flowered ready and the lasts berries are also ripe. In fact the stems are already slowly dying back and new green sprouts come from the root base. So it was indeed good timing. Especially since the following nights were even colder and the green parts don’t survive freezing. It makes sense that the time around Samhain is traditionally the time for the last harvest, which is then put up in the home for drying.
I also encountered a surprise when digging up the second plant as it had grown a long tap-root. It wouldn’t take an end and I actually could not unearth it wholly. I had to dig much deeper to get to the end of the part still stuck in the ground and it turned out that entire thing was indeed over 40 cm long!
I removed the soil manually, then cleaned them in rainwater and put them on the harvest altar, together with previously harvested roots. I lit beeswax candles and offered libation. I noticed a spicy smell and, though I used gloves, felt actually a bit benumbed from the fumes. I learned that the alkaloids concentrate in the root during autumn and winter. It may well be possible these two roots have a higher potency. They are now drying slowly and I plan to later make fetishes with them that tie together visullay the mentioned astrological and magical aspects. Below are a few pictures to show you their raw beauty:
In September I had already gathered leaves and sprigs, which I put between newspaper pages for drying. What do you read in there? It’s been a Belladonna year for sure!
Yet there are plenty of other herbs (and for that matter also seeds!) and so I find myself again running around the house and garden, collecting, sorting and processing all sorts of green harvest. It will still be a giant task to take photos of everything and make it available for ordering. I am also working on a larger herbal commissions, which includes labeling and filling custom bottles for a client.
At least I am ready now with rearranging our front garden (more about this later) and next is the raised bed. So lots to do this week until the official Samhain date. And I still have a very special interview in the making, as well as news concerning my contributions to the third Pillars Periodical Journal! But all in good time. 🙂
So long, after so much deadly nightshade here is now another plant, which embodies the month of October: the Chinese Aconite (Aconitum carmichaelii), or Herbst-Eisenhut, as it is called in German, is the last of the aconites to flower and brightens up the October month with its lush blue-violett inflorescences. It’s poisonous as hell too and another name for aconite was in fact Scorpio. The aconite, as the ‘king of poisons’ is in different ways to be seen as a counterpart to the belladonna or ‘queen of poisons’, who’s atropine is the physiological antidote in aconite poisoning. Now I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing the test. However I do like to grow them besides each other, for higher inspiration and guidance. In fact, I do have quite a few aconite and belladonna seedlings to plant out yet… Yep, lots do! 🙂
Tonight I finished another two Sigil Card Sets to be shipped this week and spent the rest of the night with some red wine and a herbal contemplation, celebrating the end of summer and welcoming autumn. The equinox is not yet here but the air already smells like autumn and I am heavily working towards completing the next edition of my card sets as well as harvesting and preparing all sorts of herbs from our garden. E.g. yesterday I collected most of the Black Henbane and plenty of ripe Belladonna. Earlier this week I have been gathering Yew and Bittersweet Nightshade, with which I sat down tonight. These are noisy times, a lot of heated up thoughts are floating around and so I felt the need to oppose all that with the help of these herbs, which are simultaneously marking the start of a new circle… summer passed too fast, but I had some interesting experiences and crossed ways with a wonderful person (a huntress and taxidermist), who sent me some really amazing frankincense of the finest quality I’ve used up to this point… burning this heavenly stuff rounded up the night. Now the altar candle is still burning and the libation slowly drying/being consumed…
What took months in the making is now finally completed. With relief and some excitement we introduce the first set of Official Teufelskunst Pentacles as well as a new edition of our precious Teufelskunst Wooden Seed Boxes. Please read on for details and descriptions of each…
The pentacle, or pentagram disc, represents the earth element upon the altar and acts as a focal point for manifesting the magician’s will and secondly it protects the magician and the work. In our previous post we have already discussed the meaning of the pentagram and hinted at various ways of using it in ritual. In our first collection we offer now three different types. The first version carries, plain and simple, a bold black pentagram enclosed within a circle and fits for any ritual work. The second version is more delicate and alchemical symbols of the four elements and spirit have been added to the disc, which makes this Black Alchemy pentacle also suited for higher ritual work. Both versions are pyrographed in massive Beech, a neutral wood traditionally used in letterpress printing. Several layers of blood-red varnish stain have been applied to the surface, whereby the bottom and side of the first discs is varnished black. At the back of each is pyrographed the Teufelskunst Sigilum Major (which you find on all our work).
Price: 50 Euro for 1 regular Pentacle / 66 Euro for 1 ‘Black Alchemy’ Pentacle
Besides these puristic versions done in Beech wood we crafted a series of dainty and intricately ornamented pentacles pyrographed in heavy Oak wood. These one of a kind Oaken pentacles possess a rougher surface and have a rustic look and feel to them. They are painted with a thin layer of Golden Oak varnish stain and like the beech pentacles are sealed with an additional layer of transparent varnish. Beneath follow descriptions and pictures of each.
Decorated with ornamental motifs of Oak leaves and acorns hiding two crescent moons. Crowned by thorn and trident, in reference to the path of thorns and the holy trinity, flanked by two devil’s representing the witches father and mother and the dualism in all nature. The symbols inside the pentagram are the same as those in the Pentagram of Solomon and are meant to protect the magician from danger as well as command the spirits. The very first in our series of Oak Pentacles it channels the overall beneficent aspects of its wood and the four elements.
Price: 99 Euro – available
EYE OF G’D
Combining elements from classic black magical ritual grimoires this Oak Pentacle represents wrathful aspects of the divine. Starting with the ‘All Seeing Eye’, which upon closer examination occurs no longer human but demonic, from which flashes of lightning emerge, tearing the skies apart and sending forth the Wrath of G’d towards the earth, where men and beast have transformed into the evil dead roaming the earthly plane. The night has turned into day and the day into night; the dogs are loose, the trees are alive and reaching out for the lonesome wayfarer, whilst the devils in the sky are triumphing. Possible uses: workings of wrath, casting the evil eye, evoking mischief during the time of the Wild Hunt or Rauhnächte.
This unique Pentacle has been inspired by the mysteries of the Deep Sea and men’s Fear of the Unknown. There is the mask of the Green Man lurking behind the five-pointed star, but the foliage emerging from his face is made of seaweed and his beard becomes the tentacles of a monstrous Octopus. To the left and right are his devil companions occuring in the shape of winged and horned seahorses. He is the ruler over the watery element. Behind and around him the sea gives birth to a mighty, all-encompassing whirlwind. His trident is supreme. Once evoked he will not know good or bad. Possible uses: protection, weather magic, dream work, calling the old gods, invisibility.
The Wooden Seed Boxes
Upon request we have crafted a few more of our original seed boxes, which are pyrographed with our Sigilum Major (also called the Greater Sowing Seal) and twin devils – the overseers of our work. The lid and inside are varnished in bloodred, the sides are varnished black and coated with a thin layer of transparent varnish. Each box is numbered at the bottom, this set being #9-14. The boxes contain seeds from over 50 different Witch Herbs. Sowing instructions for all herbs will be provided online in the form of a pdf.
Price: 99 Euro – All Reserved
All customers who have reserved and pre-ordered will be notified during the coming days. If you wish to purchase one of the remaining pentacles or reserve one of the next row of seed boxes write to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the details concerning shipping etc.
On another note, we are currently teaming up again with Occvlta who will do a new jewelry collection with our specially preserved flowers, herbs and mushrooms. With this small teaser we wish all our customers and followers a blessed Season of Light!