Qliphotic Incense of Thagirion, 2nd

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I am delighted to share with you pictures of the second batch of the Thagirion incense, which is now back in store. The formula has been updated, containing passion flower in addition to the ingredients discussed earlier. This is the perfect blend to use on the upcoming annular solar eclipse of February 26th, 2017. Too late to order? Don’t worry, you will get a second chance on August 21st, 2017 with a total solar eclipse occurring over the Western hemisphere, which will be partly visible also in Western Europe.

Limited stock. Offer good while supplies last.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com or visit the Teufelskunst Etsy shop

Up next: I have been working on four new wooden seed boxes. Two are already sold…

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Thagirion Incense, Ingredients

Thagirion Herbs, Jan. 2017

I have shared this with a few customers, so I make it available here as well. This is a short research into the plants that compose my incense blend for contemplative work with the qlipha Thagirion.

Aspects that tie in here are the sun of the underworld and afterlife, the sun’s burning and eruptive aspects, fire of inspiration etc. Here are also references to the ecstasy of the lotophagi. What may need further investigation is the concept of the sin eater, which is addressed in the title illustration, but not discussed in this text.

Keywords: cleansing, renewal, leaving behind the shadow of death, ecstasy, fire of inspiration, arts, collective efforts, destruction/ change of ego-patterns

Scent: deep, warm, sweet

Source: Wikimedia Commons, photo by Maimaid

1. Blue Egyptian Water Lily (Nymphaea caerulea) has been used ritually for millennia. The lotus is a symbol of divinity and beauty. In Egypt it rose and faded with the sun and was sacred to the sun gods. An entire cosmogony (rule by the ogdoad) was based on the lotus. The flower features prominently in religious art all over the world and bears associations both with creation myths as well as the afterlife. Both the blue and white water lily contain alkaloids, which act euphoric, narcotic and anti-spasmodic. Extracts of water lily have been used as a substitute for opium during WWI. The lotophagi in Homer’s account of the Odyssey may have consumed this plant. It is said to induce a state of bliss and indolence. In Egyptian art it is depicted in connection with dancing or in key rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife. Whereas the white lotus would appear on the drinking vessels of the living the blue lotus was reserved for sacred ceremonial ritual vessels. Because of its links to the sun of the underworld, sleep and intoxication I found the blue lotus useful in ritual work with the qlipha Thagirion.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. Calamus root (Acorus Calamus), or sweet flag as it is often called, is associated with the sun and the male. The root oil is aromatic and part of perfumes, liquors and also cola. The root extract has stimulant, warming (sun) and aphrodisiacal properties. It is a traditional ingredient in ketoret temple incense and may aid in establishing contact with one’s guardian ‘angel’. Calamus can act as a mood elevator and cause mild hallucinations. So here we have another plant that grows in or close to water. The name calamus comes from Greek κάλαμος (kálamos), meaning “reed”, “straw” or “pipe”. The shaft has been used for making writing instruments as well as pipes. Calamari are named after the plant. The Latin name acorus in turn may be derived from Greek άχόρου (áchórou) and κόρη (kóri), referring to the pupil of the eye. The root extract was apparently also a remedy for eye diseases, which cause a ‘darkening of the pupil’. The bittersweet and slightly nauseating scent of calamus root has grown on me. When adding it to any herbal blend I feel it gives it a boost (strengthening) and also adds protective qualities. In addition I found it potent in dream work. I also added it to self-made herbal liquors and it left me with a bit of a headache. Use with care.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, photo by Júlio Reis

3. Wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus) is also known by the name lion’s tail. It was brought to my attention by a good friend. The orange flowers and its name are of course evocative of the sun. The herb is endemic to the Southern Africans and used in traditional African medicine. Its energizing effects have been compared to energy drinks, whilst others say it acts similar to Cannabis when smoked. It is said to induce euphoria and mild hallucinations. In smoking recipes it is combined with water lily to enhance these effects. The species Leonorus nepetifolia is said to act significantly stronger than its relative. Leonorus is used in traditional medicine to cure fevers, snake bites, scorpion stings and other inflammations. So this sunny herb counteracts many physical ailments that deal with too much heat – Mars influences, but also the effects of venturing too close to the sun (burns). Leonotis means “lion’s ear” and is a reference to the shape of the flower crown. I found it a nice signature reference to Sorath, the black lion prince of Thagirion.

4. Hibiscus (Hibiscus spcc.) is another plant associated with the sun. But the red hibiscus flower is also sacred to the Hindu goddess Kali, who is sometimes depicted merging with the flower in form. Hibiscus tea is rich in Vitamine C and minerals, strengthens the immune system and is as such used as a mild medicine during the winter time. It is also pleasant to drink cold during hot summer days. Hibiscus lowers blood pressure. Interestingly, extracts from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis have shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation. So here is another ‘sun’ herb that counteracts characteristics of its planetary influence. Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia, also called Bunga Raya, “grand flower”, representing life and courage. In China it is also called zhū jǐn, “vermilion hibiscus” and is identified with wealth and fame. Otherwise it stands also for the attractiveness of a young female virgin. In South-Korea hibiscus symbolizes immortality. In the Victorian language of flowers Hibiscus translates as “delicate beauty”. The hibiscus flower tea that is sold in Europe is mostly composed of the calyxes from the species Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle and the tea is called Karkadeh. I keep searching for the red Chinese hibiscus, though I feel in shape and essence the flowers of H. sabdariffa are also suitable. I find particularly interesting the association with Kali, as an embodiment of adversarial beauty, black, fierce and destructive, destroyer of illusions, demanding bloody sacrifice, yet also bestowing boons to the faithful – favoring the beautiful hisbiscus flower amongst her offerings.

Now we have three different flowers, all powerful and representative of the sun, and we have also looked at inherent adverse or inverse aspects of that planetary influence. In color we range from blue to green to orange to a deep red. To complete the visible spectrum we are yet missing a yellow herb. One that immediately comes to mind is the sunflower, perhaps the boldest representative amongst all ‘sun’ herbs. (Could have started with this one, right?)

photo by Wiebke Rost

5. The indigenous peoples of America viewed the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a symbol of their solar deities, which represented life and sustenance. Early Spanish explorers imported the sunflower to Europe. Consequently sunflower became one of the most important agricultural commodities. Sunflower, particularly seed, is rich in nutrients and has a wide range of medicinal properties. It is also a flower chosen by some spiritual movements as a motto and symbol for ‘turning to the light of truth’, based on the sunflower’s alleged heliotropism. True is, the flower buds and leaves turn indeed towards the light and then usually point towards the noon sun, and act thus as a compass. But the stem of a mature flower freezes and remains in its position, usually pointing East. The size of a sunflower does btw. depend directly on the amount of light it receives, meaning the sunnier the bigger.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The second misconception refers to the “flower” of the sunflower, which is actually a “flower head” or pseudanthium of numerous small individual five-petaled flowers, so-called “florets”. The florets can be of varying color, from yellow to green to a dark brown. Ever fascinating is the spiral arrangement of the florets. Each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals, where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; however, in a very large sunflower head there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds mathematically possible within the flower head. Natural growth patterns are an aspect I have also come to relate with this qlipha and may have subconsciously inspired the title graphic, which builds upon my old sun symbol, employed here in a repetitive pattern to form a more complex structure.

The way, in which the sunflower florets are packed close together does remind me of honeycombs, as if the flower was a mirror to the structures built by bees. Also how bees live in a swarm collective and function together as a single organism, is similar to how the flower head of the sunflower is comprised of myriads of little, neatly organized florets. The florets are surrounded by so-called “ray flowers”, which resemble petals. They help attract pollinators such as bees. We see how the single flowers are organized, each serving its purpose. The individual or the small piece is part of a higher order or collective, which achieves more than the individual alone.

A not so friendly feature are the sunflower’s allelopathic properties: sunflowers emit substances that hinder other plants from growing in their proximity. The sunflower has means to defend itself. This feature would translate also spiritually as a way of self-defense. But more along the line: I grow and prosper here, you may not. Or: for the sun to shine on me, others have to remain in my shadow. This is of course putting it a bit drastic. The sunflower’s biochemical self-defense mechanism reaches only so far, just enough to ensure it can grow and unfold. In my view, this pierces deeply though into that Thagirion complex, where we are confronted with the excesses of ego-worship. It is essentially about balancing ego extremes and finding a way, away from the superficial compensation of inferiority complexes to profound and long lasting changes.

Now on to a herb that is actually more considered a Saturn herb, but which also has some interesting indirect links to the sun. The herb experienced a revival during the hippy era and was consumed together with blue water lily and wild dagga:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. The wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) sports golden-yellow flowers and spinose green foliage. It goes also by the names bitter lettuce and opium lettuce. Ingesting the plant is said to bring about psychotropic, calming and anodyne effects similar to opium and it is sometimes combined with Nymphea caerulea for that purpose. In herbal medicine it is mainly used as a mild painkiller and for treating nervousness. Whilst heroine and other opiates may initially cause nausea and vomiting, wild lettuce is said to not have such side effects. Either the dried herb or latex extracted from the stem are smoked or added to tea or soaked in alcohol. The dried latex (a milky white sap) is also called Lactucarium and has also been consumed directly. Beside lactucine, the plant is also said to contain the tropane alkaloid hyoscyamine, which is found in most nightshades, such as henbane (Hyoscyamus niger).

The plant is a wild forebear of the garden lettuce, which is widely used in salads. Hildegard von Bingen noted about the herb:

“The lettuces, which can be eaten, are very cold, and when eaten without spice they make the brain of man empty with their useless juice. …But the wild lettuces have almost the same nature. For anyone who would eat lettuces, which are useless and are called weeds, either raw or cooked, would become mad, that is insane, and he will become empty in the core

Obviously a rather negative review of the herb and its qualities, however the mind altering and emptying attributes fit for the work with this qlipha. In the 16th century, Gerard said of wild lettuce:

“it procures sleep, assuages paine, moves the courses in women, and is drunke against the stingings of scorpions and bitings of spiders. The seed taken in drinke, like as the garden lettuce, hindreth generation of seed and venereous imaginations.”

In other words it kills (or at least decreases) sexual drive. Victorians feared the herb would induce childlessness.

Ironically wild lettuce was sacred to the Egyptian god Min, a fertility deity, god of male sexual potency, crops and also of magical plants. Min was believed to ensure the annual flow of the river Nile and fertility of the land people of Egypt. His depictions are ithyphallic, showing the deity with a large erect penis and lettuce beside him. He was also envisioned to lay on a bed made entirely of lettuce. Wild lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac in ancient Egypt. The milky latex exuded from the stems may have been thought of as resembling semen and the plant’s vertical growth was considered phallic. Oddly, depictions of Min show him as missing one arm and strangely two-dimensional. When still human Min was put in charge to guard and care for the women left behind when the other men went to war, possibly facing defeat and death. But they returned successful. Only to find all their women pregnant. Enraged, they cut Min in two halves. Min was also a god of the desert, lightning and sandstorms. Again we are confronted with ambiguous properties, aphrodisiac and anaphrodisiac at the same time, evocative of male potency, abundance, fertility and prosperity, but also opposite visions of castration, childlessness, destruction and sacrifice (ego death). In ancient Greek manuscripts the plant is btw. referred to as ‘Titan’s Blood’, relating it to the giant gods that battled the Olympians, which links the herb with the adversary of gods and men alike.

Adding wild lettuce means breaking with typical sun herb patterns and euphemistic sun attributes and instead shifting focus further towards other aspects. Wild lettuce also enhances the mind altering qualities of some of the herbs contained herein.

7./8. As for the resins to round up this blend I used storax-soaked charcoal, which adds a sweet warm scent, and Olibanum from Aden, which has a fresh, citrus-like aroma and is overall stimulant. Keeping it simple here.

The above herbs and flowers come from different cultures and regions. When burnt, all of these ingredients will turn black and be reduced to ashes whilst releasing their essence. The ashes may be collected and used in further rituals, e.g. for protection and cleansing.

Thagirion Incense, Feb. 2017

Thagirion Incense, Feb. 2017

Update: The first batch is sold out. The second batch will be available February 17th, 2017.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

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Thagirion Incense

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This blend is overall solar, but more the kind that burns hot and makes you feel dizzy and drowsy, as when staring at the sun for too long… It contains herbs with psycho-active properties such as blue egyptian waterlily, calamus root, wild dagga and wild lettuce.

Characteristics: herbs and flowers that represent the sun in shape and color, display the spectrum of visible light and bring out both the fire and light aspect, but at same time are cooling and possess the power of opening the mind and showing gates to other dimensions

Keywords: cleansing, renewal, leaving behind the shadow of death, fire of inspiration

Contains: blue Egyptian water lily (Nymphaea caerulea), calamus root (Acorus calamus), frankincense from Aden, hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), lion’s tail aka wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), storax scented charcoal, wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa), shed snakeskin

Scent: deep, warm, sweet

Thagirion Incense

Thagirion Incense, Jan. 2017

Update: The first batch is sold out. The second batch will be available February 17th, 2017.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

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Winter 2017

The snow came and went just about the same time as last year. Today has had more snow. Before I post about the new things I’ve been creating for you, I will share here some impressions from my way to work etc.

And how it looked in town…

Things in the works:

+ A new batch of Adramelech incense is completed and can be ordered now! Two blog posts about the different ingredients contained in this blend to follow… + Incense for Thagirion has been added to the store… + Crafted new wooden seed boxes, but yet have to fill them… + Still working on the dark wintry “Isa” incense… More updates to follow soon. +

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Teufelskunst Rosaries

11|11|2016 - Blessing the Teufelskunst rosaries

11|11|2016 – Blessing the Teufelskunst rosaries

Blessed under the cold moon of the eleventh November night, these hand-made rosaries by Soth Arts are a special offer to followers of Teufelskunst. They consist of 58 black and 8 ebony wooden beads and carry one bronze amulet cast by our blacksmith. Please note, each amulet is a little different from the other since small variations are part of the manufacturing process.

The crossroad seal on the amulet is also called “Sigillum Major” or “greater seed sowing seal”, as it is both rooted in the work with plants as well as the rituals performed at different crossroads. A closer look reveals the horned cross or witches’ stang and a non-human eye at its center, underlining the magician’s connection to the wild and untamed world. The rosary and amulet should thus be worn hidden from the mundane eyes of man. It may as such be employed as an empowering tool for the witch as well as a protection amulet against the “evil eye” and the manipulative efforts of other people. It can also be utilized when ritually working with the spirits and guardians of plants and trees.

The rosaries’ inherent numerology reveals the numbers 8, 55, 58 and 66. The following are evocative aspects connected to these numbers, which through prayer and ritual can be linked with the rosaries (gematrical associations taken from Sepher Sephiroth):

8
The entrance, threshold
number of the sephirah Hod and the qlipha Samael

55
Ornament
5 + 5 = 10
10 = number of the sephira Malkuth and the qlipha Nahemoth

58
Secret Wisdom
5 + 8 = 13
13 = number of the descendants of the Qayinite bloodline (sometimes referred to as “mighty dead”)

66
The Mystic number of the Qliphoth and of the Great work
The Lord thy God (is a consuming Fire) [Deut. iv. 24]
6 + 6 = 12
12 = number of the Zodiac and their respective qliphotic adversaries

Within a religious context the rosarium = “crown of roses” or “garland of roses” is the name of a prayer used in the Catholic church and also applies to the string of prayer beads used for counting the component prayers. A similar purpose is found with the so-called witches’ ladder, which consists of threads, hair or feathers tied by a peculiar number of knots into which are whispered spells.

The Teufelskunst rosaries are supplied as a lasting magical talisman to those, who feel a deeper connection with the work presented here. An empowering herbal blend to be used as an incense or for infusing an ablution bath is included with your purchase.

Availability and pricing:

  • beaded rosary with crossroad seal, 80 Euro – Sold out
  • “Key of Thaumiel” amulets with bronze chain, 70 Euro – Sold out
  • amulet with crossroad seal and bronze chain, 50 Euro (11 left)

Shipping:

  • 6,20 Euro for registered mail international
  • 4,99 Euro for shipping inside Germany

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

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Gotha Follow-up

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Impressions from the Samhain Celebration in Gotha, 4th of November ’16

I arrive in Gotha Thursday evening and find the town nearly empty. Having to bridge time and spotting a supermarket nearby,  I buy food, water and a pomegranate… Gotha seems to be a place of short distances. At the train station I meet Soth Arts, who will be my comrade for the next 2 days. We could take the tram but decide to walk. Through the park and by the castle; Gotha has its charm, despite or because it feels very much like a ghost town that evening. We check into our hotel, were I am presented the rosaries made for the event: black and ebony wooden beads harmonize perfectly with the Teufelskunst bronze amulets. I quickly put mine on. We have no time to loose…

Out again in the cold night and in a roundabout way we arrive at the pub. There Martin (the organizer) greets us. We find him surrounded by a bustling team of helpers, who are threading up chestnuts, painting banners and applying various green to the stage. One contributor supplied half of his garden to transform the stage into a theatrical scene worthy of an opera production, and 100% in harmony with the Samhain theme.

We quickly join the industrious proceedings and begin stamping and filling little bags with the prepared incense. It gets late and as we finally head back to the hotel, passing by the park again and from the corner of our eyes noticing different interesting trees and crossroads, we plan our spirit offerings for the coming night: I already have the pomegranate and incense; to this we add rum and candles.

The next morning we continue, finishing the last preparations for the evening. Then we have lunch, buy our offerings and pack everything to come with us tonight. It is all damn tight. Even minutes before the pub opens we are putting finishing touches to merch items and set up our table. In the end all is on time, save for my photo exhibition. It turns out the pub is too dark (behold the irony). In addition I face resistance by the pub owners over hanging up the heavy gallery frames, which would involve the hammering of nails into their walls and timber… The darkness wins, I no longer want for my sombre photographs to adorn the even more sombre pub walls. So I improvise and put up the works on chairs and inside windows, where they are still best seen. This serves as a temporary solution for the evening. A better place has yet to be found.

So this is a bummer. I am also starting to feel the lack of sleep and food and the pressure on me, just minutes before the audience begins rolling in. But I am not alone. Soth Arts is there, being an immense support. Erik from Grift, who I meet here for the first time, cheers me up with Swedish lessons and of course there are the many helping hands that are now waiting to see the result of their hard work. I forget to worry about my photos (whoever is meant to see the works will notice them.)

The venue fills quickly and the first band, Vivus Humare, starts on time, followed by Grift from Sweden, MOSAIC and finally Farsot. All four are new to me. Vivus Humare play Black Metal without much add-ons. The 60 minute performance passes in no time. Grift provide a contrast: there is Erik Gärdefors with his acoustic guitar and little singing bowl. He is the special guest of the evening and delivers a beautifully melancholic performance, which convinces the audience and is met with applause. Then comes the time for MOSAIC, the host of the celebration, if you will. Though Martin performs in fact with three bands on this evening, which deserves respect on its own. I watch the MOSAIC performance closely. Martin appears absent, absorbed in his roll of “Inkantator”. His facial expression are grotesque and there is a cold passion in his voice, which seems to echo from a distant glacier world. We spoke of Dame Hulda and her connection to the town of Gotha before – her icy presence is certainly to be felt on this night.

In between and during the gigs I chat with people dropping by our table. For me this is a new experience, as I have not presented my work with Teufelskunst to a live audience before, much less in a metal concert setting. I am used to black metal and the metal audience due to my photography and past-time freelancing for music magazines, but this is altogether a different situation. I was not sure at all if this would work out and whether the audience would accept and treat the hand-made artworks with respect. But it turns out they do, which is partly owed to the solemn atmosphere. On the other hand I also burn plenty of our protecting incense…

Those who are shy or can not relate, do not bother us. Others become curious: metal fans inquire for gardening advice and buy incense. Some communicate their understanding or serious interest in occult symbolism and practices. In the end there are around a dozen people that drop by our table, leave positive feedback and purchase photography as well as crafted items. It is nothing I take for granted and I am thankful for each and everyone one that shows interest. A special thanks goes to Soth Arts as well as Martin and his amazing co-workers. The spirits are thanked elsewhere.

Now I will leave you with these impressions in picture and sound, but not without a hint that you shall prepare for new offerings in November…

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Handmade twin-serpent rosaries by Soth Arts

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Teufelskunst harvest seal used as a focal point for the night; the stage was decorated elaborately with fern fronds, ivy, bladder cherry, shocks, corncobs and chestnuts.

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Official merch, including journal with my Samhain essay, music tape, leather amulet and Samhain incense blend

Reviews and further reading:

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Samhain Celebration Gotha

Teufelskunst contributes to the Samhain Celebration on November 4th, in Gotha (Germany). Teufelskunst provides the central part of the visual concept in the form of the “Samhain harvest” seal, which is featured on various merchandise articles. Teufelskunst also provides the incense of the night. A sample of the blend comes with each of the 100 merchandise kits. Included in this special offering is also a journal, the “Samhain Herald” featuring my essay about Samhain and the Wild Hunt, paying special attention to the European and Germanic traditions associated with the darkest time of the year.

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Samhain Incense 2016

Support: Soth Arts

Soth Arts created unique qliphotic rosaries for the night, eight of which are adorned with our blacksmith’s  Teufelskunst bronze amulet. The rosaries are made of ebony and black wooden beads. Besides this will also be available seven rosaries with sawn-out twin-serpents as well as one rosary with a black Calvary cross pendant:

Soth Arts rosaries  Soth Arts rosaries

Date: November 4th
Location: The Londoner – English Pub, Gotha
Entrance: 6 pm
Begin: 8 pm

Tickets:
VVK: 15€, AK: 18€

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