TEUFELSKUNST Occult Art Blog
TEUFELSKUNST
Occult Art Blog

Lughnasadh, Lammas, Nemoralia and other Festivals of August

Around the 1st of August, the first harvest of the year is celebrated, and it is the best time for gathering fragrant and medicinal herbs since now they are rich in aromatic oils! It is also the time when the bilwis – originally benevolent priests guarding the fields, later envisioned as corn demons with sickles on their feet – cut the first corn. Common festivals held during this time are Lughnasadh or Lammas, which celebrate the ripening of the corn and the baking of the bread from the first harvest. Traditionally, this first bread is offered to the spirits, and likewise, corn dolls are crafted and offered. Altars are decorated in flaming red, orange, and golden yellow colors. Most emblematic of this time are the sunflower, the lion and the cornucopia. But all the herbs and fruits that are ripe during this time of the year can be used to decorate the home and honor the spirits.

It is a time for celebrating Lugh, the Celtic god of craftsmanship and weaponry. Lughnasadh is translated as the ‘killing of Lugh’ in old Irish language, which is an allegory for the end of summer. Wolf Dieter Storl identifies the Celtic Lugh as a god of fire, who imbues medicinal herbs with power and associates him with the Germanic Loki (Lodur), the trickster and fire god. On the same first day of August, the torch bearing bringer of light, Lucifer was banished from heaven. It is hence believed that persons born on the 1st of August would become a witch and a ghost-seer.

My personal incense for celebrating the fire of August:

  • black, golden and / or white copal
  • coriander seed (ground)
  • nutmeg (a pinch)
  • palo santo or sandalwood
  • red carnation or red rose flower petals
  • sunflower petals
  • tobacco (optional)
  • white sage

Aside from the witches’ Wheel of the Year festivals, there are other feasts taking place in August. Romans celebrated the Nemoralia, a festival sacred to Diana Nemorensis. Interestingly, the Romans would pay tribute to Diana by honoring the dogs of the hunt and polishing the spears, meaning no hunting or fighting would take place during this time. Instead, the dogs were cared for and adorned, and slaves, warriors, and hunters were granted a time of rest and nurture. Torches were carried to the grove of Diana in Nemi, which offered a refuge for slaves during the hottest time of the year. At the center of her grove stood an oak tree, which was guarded by a priest titled rex nemorensis, who himself was an escaped slave. This priest had to defend the tree and his own life against other slaves, until the next slave would take his place by killing him and breaking a branch from the tree. This unusual ritual seems to have pre-Roman roots.

Diana is identified with the Greek Artemis and also bears references to the Greek Hecate.

My suggestion for a Nemoralia incense:

  • belladonna leaves
  • fennel seed
  • frankincense
  • galbanum
  • juniper berries
  • mugwort
  • mullein leaves
  • myrrh
  • oak bark
  • sandarac or pine resin
  • thyme
  • wormwood

Similar to the motive of Lugh as a god of fire, weaponry and craftmanship, the Romans celebrated one of their oldest deities, the fire god Vulcan, around the 23rd of August. Vulcan was worshipped and appeased during the August heat as to be protected from (wild) fires and especially to protect the granaries from fire. During the Vulcanalia, bonfires were lit and grain offerings were thrown into the flames. After the Great Fire of Rome, the worship of Vulcan only increased, and the offerings now also included red bulls. Noteworthy, Pliny the Younger documented the outbreak of the Vesuvius in Pompei only one day following the Vulcanalia festival.

Shortly before the middle of August is also the time of the Perseid meteor shower, during which the trinity of heaven, earth, and the underworld was celebrated in antiquity. Another ancient goddess revered during this time was Hecate, who governed these three realms. The herbs that are especially sacred to her include monkshood, henbane, wormwood, asphodel, mandrake, pomegranate and the saffron crocus.

Incense for Hecate:

  • aconite flowers
  • myrrh (soaked in red vine and honey)
  • orris or mandrake root
  • saffron
  • styrax
  • wormwood

In August, we also honor the mother goddesses per se.

On the 15th of August, Christians celebrate the Assumption of Mary. Along with it, various herb blessing traditions once sacred to Freya have been adopted and converted into the Maria-Kräuterweihe. Herbs that are traditionally part of the Mariä Kräuterbuschen:

  • chamomile
  • elecampagne
  • mullein (at the center)
  • mugwort
  • St. John’s wort
  • tansy
  • thyme
  • valerian
  • vervain
  • wormwood
  • yarrow

The blessed herbs were then given into the food of sick animals, hung in the home and barn, or thrown into the fire for protection from thunder and lightning. The time spanning from the 15th of August to the 8th of September (Nativity of Mary) is also known as Frauen-Dreißiger. The entire time is considered auspicious for the gathering of medicinal herbs.

Likewise, the Germanic Holle/Holda/Dame Hulda, in her role as the ancient mother goddess of neolithic origin, can be honored and asked for maternal blessings during the August full moon. Especially sacred to Holda is the Elder tree, which is now full of ripe fruits.

In Argentina, Paraguay and Southern Brazil the 15th of August (or alternatively the 13th of August) is dedicated to a folk saint, which is not accepted by the Catholic church: devotees of San la Muerte praise the Saint of Death with offerings of flowers, candles, liquor, tobaccco, money, food offerings such as pork and sweets and coffee. My favorite incense for San la Muerte is similar to the August fire blend Iisted above.

Finally, in Japan, the festival of the Dead, called Obon, is celebrated around the middle of August. A key symbol for this liminal time is the cherry blossom, also known as sakura. According to Japanese folklore, the souls of fallen kamikaze fighters (revered heroes) are symbolized by falling sakura petals.

My personal ‘Sakura’ blend for contacting the dead in dream:

  • aloeswood
  • benzoin (Siam)
  • cherry blossoms
  • lavender
  • orris root
  • silver colored frankincense
  • star anise
  • styrax
  • white sandalwood

Conclusion: the feasts of August both venerate the light and fire of life, the culmination of summer, the bountyful harvest, the vegetation and mother goddesses, as well as the sickle, death himself and the dead. Do you know more feasts of August? Please write in the comments!

August 31, 2023

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Winter Solstice 2019

In December I finished fresh batches of “Rauhnächte” and “Winter Solstice” incense and started a new round of working with the birch’s arboreal spirit

Incense ‘master’ Caroline Maxelon of Bussardflug and me began plotting a future collaboration. Along with a lot of powerful shamanic items for my ritual work, she also send me her new book “Räucherstoffe aus aller Welt” (published by Nymphenburger). I was thrilled to read about so many new incense ingredients, that are not part of standard encyclopedias and was especially thrilled to find incense materials described for the first time in it, which I had been discovering intuitively by myself over the past years. It feels, like my own weird and wild incense formulas are now receiving confirmation through Caroline. I thus highly recommend this book – both for its content as well as its photography.

Special edition of “Secret Ambrosian Fire” by MOSAIC/Eisenton Records

Yesterday I received yet another surprise in my mail – the special edition of “Secret Ambrosian Fire” by German black metal originators MOSAIC (Eisenton Records). Some time ago I was asked to compose an alchemical inspired plant sigil for this record. This sigil now adorns the cover of the digi-pack edition. I begin to grasp the broad idea behind this opus magnum and it is deeply satisfying to witness the fruits of our mutual efforts!

Everything points in to a new direction in my life, but it is also getting more complex, along with all these new impulses. Today I went to different trees, burnt some of the winter incense and blessed the new birch wood pentacle among a circle of young birch trees and at the roots of two older birch trees, which are frequently visited by crows. For me, the circle of the old year is now closed and I head into another phase of creative work after the holidays.

Culmination: blessing the new “Berkano” birchwood pentacle in the smoke of my “Winter Solstice incense” and at the base of different trees

Rauhnächte Blessings!

W.

December 22, 2019

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Spring Blessing

It has been a cold, mostly rainy and busy start into 2019, but suddenly spring is here! And what I had started a year ago with the – somewhat random – introduction of the “Blessing Seal of Spring”, has now evolved, and sees a new manifestation with the completion of my “Spring Blessing” incense!

As temperatures rose to 17 °C today and the sun warmed up the city unhindered, I could feel the excitement and eagerness in the air and with the birds around our place. So I am happy to present you this new incense blend!

This brand-new Teufelskunst creation is dedicated all to the rituals of spring, including the celebration of the Vernal EquinoxEaster, the Roman Veneralia and leading up to Beltane. It smells pleasantly sweet and spicy, thanks to fragrant and traditionally spring related ingredients, such as clary sage, dammar, lemon grass, myrtle, violets and sweetgrass. In addition, yellow flowering primrose and amber resin evoke the sun and fire. The return of the vegetation, and pollinators along with it, is honored with precious bee propolis, which adds a warm and earthy aroma. For fertility spells and referencing the very essence of Venus, the blend contains further aromatic apple peels from our own apple tree. Water mint and willow both connect this blend to the element water, evoking Batrachian and ophidian currents.

The old Irish Beltaine is derived from common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire”. Fire is often part of spring and May Day celebrations, e.g. for cleansing (burning) the old and making way for the new or as a primitive reference to the return of the sun.

Uses: love & fertility spells, blessing rituals, luck, prosperity, dream, veneration of beloved spirits

Contains: Baltic amber, apple peel, benzoin Siam, clary sage, dammar, frankincense, lemon grass, myrtle, primrose, propolis, sweetgrass, vetiver root, violet, water mint, willow bark

Scent: warm, sweet, spicy

Colors: green, yellow, white, purple

February 15, 2019

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Samhain / Day of the Dead 2018


A quick reminder, to receive your order in time for Samhain/Halloween/Day of the Dead it must be placed until Sunday, the 21st of October!

Fitting incense blends for both occasions are available in the shop. For the first time I am also offering sample bags with 30 ml of each. Perfect for small budgets and one time use!

Next week I am participating again in the Samhain Celebration in Gotha and after that will travel on to Dresden for 2 weeks, in order to winter-proof the garden and work on new art. So please note, that any orders placed after this weekend may not ship before the 15th of November. Thanks for your understanding!

A blessed Samhain / All Hallows / Day of the Dead or however you celebrate this liminal time!

Yours X.A.121

October 19, 2018

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Walpurgisnacht Followup

“Walpurgisnacht” incense and “Sabbath Seal” pyrographed on willow wood, April 2018

Thanks to everyone that ordered the incense and especially to those, that made use of the opportunity to get their hands on the pyrographed “Sabbath Seal”. The offer was sold out within 24 hours, which makes me proud and encourages me to proceed on this wicked journey. Special thanks to Antinomian Antipodean and Hanged Man’s Seed Apothecary for extra supplies.

I am now working on the next offer, which will be 6 regular wooden seed boxes, 4 black flower themed wooden seed boxes and 5 mandrake drawings + live plants. Reservations may be placed via email.

Thank you for your patience and continued support!

On a personal note, my move went well. The new work place is nearly set up and I have started discovering  Düsseldorf and making new friendships. It is still a big change and I have to get used to living without a garden here and adopting to a new rhythm. I still have a few plants in pots and sown simple kitchen herbs last weekend. Meanwhile the green in the garden in Dresden are exploding. Likewise does the nature around me.

So continue the hunt and the attempts at trying to capture fleeting moments of enticement. The grey heron watches and leaves, only to return in unexpected moments. The shower of cherry blossoms in the light of the rising sun is long gone again. The impressions live on in the mind and heart and art of the magician, who keeps collecting and processing, surrounded by the current bloom of fragrant lilac and carnation…

 

May 3, 2018

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Winter Break and News

I will be spending time with loved ones and continue on artwork, finishing commissions and preparing the incense blend for the upcoming Raunächte. So long, please have a look in the shop and consider purchasing one of three new paper sigil talismans, which were completed for the winter solstice:

Mullein, Winter Solstice Special ’17, 3 available

The “Mullein” illustration is a newer work in the “Sigilla Magica” series. It was available for the first time during the Samhain Celebration 2017, in Gotha. The illustration shows an anthropomorphic vision of the lovely mullein (Verbascum spp.), which is also known as hag’s taper, aaron’s rod and Königskerze. In the sigil I summarize folklore and personal experiences related to this powerful magical plant. It contains links to the Venusian, Saturnian and martial aspects of the plant, as well as to the various names, by which it is known.

You can now purchase an original ensouled paper talisman with the motif. It is drawn with black India ink on coffee stained paper, which has been infused with extracts of mullein, wormwood and honey. Each paper sigil is signed and dated on the back . The entire talisman measures ca. 9,9 x 21 cm.

You receive one of the original works shown here. There are 3 available as part of my Winter Solstice special and each comes with an incense sample for the Raunächte.

Please note, that each paper talisman is unique and whilst the motif is the same, can have slight variations and differences in texture. The yellow color comes from the mullein’s own flowers.

Winter Solstice Edition 2017 – comes including incense sample – 3 available. For ordering please go here.

December 22, 2017

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Blessed Winter Solstice 2017!

Mullein, Winter Solstice Edition ’17, 3 available

Wishing to all my customers and followers a blessed Winter Solstice and Yule time! The Teufelskunst shop is taking a break from tonight until the 2nd of January. This means, the shop stays online and you can still place orders, but order processing and shipping will be limited. Expect news and updates after the Christmas holidays. Thank you all for the immense support! 🕯🌟☄

The mullein artwork on the photo can be purchased here: https://teufelskunst.com/product/mullein-winter-solstice-17/

December 21, 2017

Posted In: Pflanzenkunst, Art, Feast Days

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All Souls 2017

All Souls: offerings included bread of the dead, self made liqueurs, cempasuchil flowers

All Saints: Burning the Incense of the Dead and Samhain Protection Incense

Cold November full moon night at the cemetery…

 

November 5, 2017

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