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September Kräuterbuschen, Guardian Angel Contemplation

I went herb gathering on this beautiful warm September morning, as the sun shone bright on the green meadows and trees. Nature is noticeably on the verge of the vegetation period and gives everything before autumn kicks in. Red rosehips and hawthorn berries are ripe, the Cornelian cherries are already bleting. The herbs are now full with aromatic oils and active substances. Hence the last weeks of summer are the best time for gathering herbs.

The tradition of gathering herb bundles and having them blessed by the goddess Frigg/Freya has been adopted into Christian faith. The Virgin Mary is prayed to for blessing the gathered herbs, which are called Kräuterbuschen in German.

The best places for gathering herbs are those that are untouched by humans and their pets; in other words, which are free from pesticides, street dust and pet excrements. If you live in an urban area, it may be diffcult to find such places, the least frequented not seldom being the graveyards. Hence, asking permission from the spiritus loci – in this case the dead and their guardian – is often the best and only option if you want to gather healthy plants. When paying the spirits, avoid leaving unnatural or decomposable offerings. It is much more important that you act respectful and do not disturb the place more than is necessary in order to gather what you need.

September Kräuterbuschen: hawthorn, mugwort, rosehips, yarrow, ribwort, nettle seeds, daisy

Whom to thank?!

When spiritual practice turns into tradition and tradition turns into dogma, gestures become hollow and the forms loose their essence. Hence there always comes a point, when its time to question one’s practice and reconnect to the source. This is when the mind should turn silent and silence and awe are the best means of thanking ‘the spirits’. Contemplation and reconnecting to forms is to follow.

When this point is reached in one’s spiritual practice, it may also be a good time to contemplate the nature of one’s guardian angel.

According to Wikipedia, a guardian angel is a type of angel that is assigned to protect and guide a particular person, group or nation. The belief is that guardian angels serve to protect whichever person God assigns them to. In some faiths, a single person has several guardian angels. In Christianity the guardian angels have their own theology. In modern times the concept of the Holy Guardian Angel, as developed in the order of the Golden Dawn, and which was based on Marther’s translation of the 15th century book The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage by German cabbalist Abraham of Worms, was complemented and popularized by Aleister Crowley. However, the guardian angel already played a major role in ancient Judaism and likewise existed patroni and tutalary beings throughout antiquity. According to the Hebrew bible, angels have been assigned to protect nations. E.g. the archangel Michael is the patron saint of Isreal, but he also became the patron of many Christianized countries.

The favorite deity worshipped by Germanic tribes was Donnar/Thor. His holy places were subsequently transformed into sites dedicated to St. Michael, who became the patron Saint of Germany. On a lower level, this is also reflected in the saint’s personification as Deutscher Michel. The name originates from Hebrew Mi kamocha elohim, which means something like “who is like you, god”. Michael hence embodies the effort to be like god. When the divine order was challenged by Lucifer (the light bearer) and Samyaza (master of weaponry), it was archangel Michael that lead the heavenly hosts and cast the rebelling angels out of heaven and into hell. Michael thus silenced the rebellion in heaven and re-established the heavenly order, while Lucifer (in some sources also Belial) continues to challenge this same order. Michael and Lucifer are arch-enemies, or less dramatically put, dual fighting principles. While Michael protects the divine light, Lucifer aims to bring it to the people. Without judging their respective positions and relevance, St. Michael hence serves as the patron of military and police in many countries and is often featured in heraldry. His feast day is 29 September. On this day begins the accademic new year and it is the time when articificial illumination starts. (Read more about this feast day in my next post.)

An interesting idea concerning the guardian angel appears in Rabbinic literature:

Rashi on Daniel 10:7 “Our Sages of blessed memory said that although a person does not see something of which he is terrified, his guardian angel, who is in heaven, does see it; therefore, he becomes terrified.

In other words, it is due to the impulse of the guardian angel, who warns us, that we experience emotions such as fear and anxiety in the face of danger, which in turn are physical mechanisms that protect us from harm. In modern physiology this role would be taken by hormones and the influence of micro-organisms in- and outside of our body. Noteworthy, the guardian angel does not simply remove harm from the person but rather confronts and guides the person in dealing with it. So here we have a concept, in which the guardian angel is not simply a benevolent being but it induces fear/negative emotions in its assigned human.

An example for a guardian angel in Rabbinic literature is Lailah, from Hebrew Laylāh, meaning: “night”, associated with the night, as well as conception and pregnancy. Lailah serves as a guardian angel throughout a person’s life and at death, leads the soul into the afterlife (see). Lailah presents a drop of semen to god, who then decides its fate, however, not its character. Hence the decision for good or bad is left to the person’s free will, only the outward conditions are preset.

If one was to seek polar opposites, then Lilith, as a night demon and waster of semen, would be the counterpart to Lailah. Yet in truth, they are rather two sides of the same coin. In ancient Germanic faith, both roles would be taken by Hulda/Frau Holle/Percht, who guards the souls of the unborn children, as well as receives the souls of the dead and both occurs as a benevolent goddess to the diligent as well as as a terrifying monster to the indolent.

Conclusion: it can be exciting and fascinating to explore and look for forms and names for one’s personal guardian angel. There are guardian angels for the nations and systems we belong to (or rebel against), common or mutual guardian angels residing over our time on earth and beyond, as well as individual guardian angels, which may have special names and embodiments and characters. They may be simply there for us, when needed, or challenge us. Their mutual core is though, that they are assigned and not chosen. However their nature maybe transformable and they can be addressed, similar to how we can employ a natal chart and extract the best from it.

September 5, 2023

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Feast Days

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Dried Mandrake Roots

Upon request, I am offering here some dried mandrake roots, which I have grown and harvested over the past years. For reference, the leave is ca 12 cm long. These roots are talismans. They are not meant to be made into incense. They can be oiled and/or fed with traditional offerings, such as red wine, milk and honey, herbal essences, bread, incense or tobacco smoke, coins, stones etc. If you purchase one, you agree to stay in touch about your work with the root. I am happy to give you guidance and set up a ritual practice with you based on your personal magical background.

Pricing from top left to bottom right:

93 € top left – sold
prices for the 2 small roots are negotiable (they are suitable to wear in a glass amulet with other herbs – a custom amulet can be made for you) – sold
83 € top second from right
111 € top right – sold
88 € bottom left – sold
center – sold
108 € bottom second from right – sold
131 € bottom right – reserved

Handdrawn mandrake root phytographs can be purchased along with the roots and start at 100 € per phytograph. If you commission a phytograph together with the root I will give 10% discount.

August 23, 2023

Posted In: Mandrake Project, Herbs & Seeds, Ritual

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“Dead Astronaut” is aLive

It’s wonderful to be receiving such feedback! Remember last year`s mandrake post about “Alien Monstress” and “Crippled Astronaut”? Well, who would have guessed that! First photo shows a recent post by obviously blessed and knowledgable David ‘Mr. Mandrake’ Simmons. Second photo is of the same root about a year ago and third is of my ink portrait, now framed and adorning D. Simmon’s wall. Thanks David!

In memoriam H.H. Ewers

July 17, 2023

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Art, Ritual, Garden, Pflanzenkunst, Mandrake Project

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Crippled Astronaut and Alien Monstress Mandrake Roots

Crippled Astronaut and Alien Monstress Mandrake Roots

Here come “Alien Monstress” and “Crippled Astronaut” mandrake root.

They are two of the first mandrake roots I had purchased back when starting out with Teufelkunst as a “sorcery supply”.
A lot has happened since then (such as moving across the country, motherhood and other things). Originally there were a few more of those old mandrake roots, but only these two survived the winters, drought and pests that came and went with the years. I took them out of their earthen homestead now, as I felt it was time. They are still sturdy and astronaut looks like she’s about to produce a new shoot. But as I am now busy preparing for presenting at this year’s VGS (see next post for more about my lecture and the workshop I am giving), and since I need to raise funds for new investments (ie a new laptop), I have decided to offer them for sale now. It is up to the new owner to decide whether he/she wants to dry them and care for their spirits in the form of a magical famulus or try a new round of growing and further fostering their green shape.

Along with the purchase you receive a portrait of the root drawn with India ink on ensouled paper. The drawing(s) will be shipped separately and a few months later after you have received the root(s), as I am yet to produce them.

Size, Weight and Pricing:
93 Euro for the “Astronaut” (~ 14 cm, 65 g) and 188 Euro for the “Alien Monstress” (ca 17 cm, 125 g)
Prices are without shipping costs. Please inquire for an individual offer ensuring safe and fast shipping to your country.

NOTE: I have more dried and live roots available (see pictures below). Please contact me for individual offers including shipping.

e-mail: info [a] teufelskunst.com

August 18, 2022

Posted In: Mandrake Project, Herbs & Seeds

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Seed Boxes 2019

The past months were spent crafting and filling another row of Teufelskunst seed boxes. This year’s regular series included again a variety of new and old witch herb classics, while the recent “Black Flowers” edition, which was finalized this week, holds again a little treasury of extravagant, black or near black flowering plants as well as some vegetables with black fruits. Below are a few impressions of the final boxes. All remaining black flowers boxes will be shipped on the 15th of July. Please watch your email inboxes (and spam folders) for shipping notifications.

July 13, 2019

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Dog Days 2018

Cleansing and blessing a dog skull with "Dog Days" incense, August 7th 2018

This week we had another “hottest day of the year”. Since June, most of Europe experiences a near ceaseless heat and drought period.

The hottest days of summer have been known for centuries as “dog days” (Hundstage), but this year they truly live up to their name.

The Greek called them kynádes hēmérai, Romans adopted it, calling them dies caniculares. Historically the period began with the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius in the Northern Hemisphere, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck, while to the Polynesians in the Southern Hemisphere the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.

For my “Dog Days” incense I took inspiration from the paralyzing and deadly weather phenomenon.

The formula has been updated, with field eryngo (Eryngium campestre) being added to the baneful blend. In German language this type of thistle is also referred to as “Unruh” and “Elend” and the occurrence of clusters of broken off stems, similar to spiky tumbleweed carried forth by the wind, are named “Steppenhexen”. This stingy plant is almost impossible to touch or harvest without hurting yourself. Yet, and despite the heat and drought, it is frequented by dozens of bumblebees and other pollinators.

Beside obvious herbal references to the the dog/wolf totem, such as wolfsbane and mandrake, the incense contains also black and white henbane, which have been used in prophecy, baneful spells but also for rain magic. I burnt a good amount of it on this day, both to cleanse and bless a dog skull I found at the flea market, as well as to call for rain and cooling. It may have been simply good timing, but rain came the following morning.

I am often asked about side effects and dangers of burning venific incense blends – I can only speak for myself, I did not notice anything, apart from feeling more focused and empowered. I also sensed a relaxing effect on myself. A slight dizziness I attest to the burning sun and heat, not to the herbs.

Luckily, the worst heat seems to be over now and I look forward to enjoying the end of summer and working on art. In other news, new batches of “Qayin” and “Naamah” incense are now back in stock!

"Rain Spell" ritual with dog skull and "Dog Days" incense, August 7th 2018

August 9, 2018

Posted In: Ritual, Incense, Herbs & Seeds

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Seed Boxes 2018

Over three months in the making – the seed boxes for 2018 are finally here! All those, who had asked to be added to the reservation list, have been notified in e-mail earlier and pre-orders have now been processed. It is with joy, that I can say, the special “black flowers” edition sold out within a few days. There are still 3 of the regular seed boxes left. For ordering please go here.

Some impressions of the work progress on these latest seed boxes:

6 regular (red) with seeds for 69 different witch herbs + 4 “black flowers” boxes

wooden seed boxes, pyrographed, stained and varnished by hand

new motif for the “black flowers” special, applied by hand with blueprint paper

finished “black flowers” seed boxes, pyrographed, stained and varnished by hand

For details about the seeds contained in these boxes and growing info please view the listings in the Teufelskunst webshop and visit my garden blog at Pflanzenkunst.

June 16, 2018

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Wooden Seed Boxes #31-36

Wooden Seed Boxes, April 2017

In follow to the wonderful feedback and many emails received after the last boxes had been sold, I spent the past weeks crafting and researching what would become the content of the next row of wooden seed boxes, these being numbers 31-36.

This time my focus was drawn towards magical herbs, which can be found on a blooming summer meadow and are traditionally used on the summer solstice. Many of these herbs are sown in April and May, hence the timing. Some annuals, such as poppies, you may be able to harvest already this summer, if sown now.

Besides this I wanted to include some new venific herbs, to accompany the well-known nightshades and popular poison plants. In my search my attention was drawn to the spurge, more precisely the caper spurge (Euphorbia lathyris). Earlier I had been asked for spurge to use in a martial incense recipe and had trouble finding the right type. By chance I came across references pointing to the caper spurge with its poisonous milky sap, prominent size and auspicious shape. The plant seems to have been well known in Germany. It would be planted near one’s home as a protection against curses and it was used to break the spells of other witches. It was also thought to ward of moles and is hence also known as mole plant in English language.

Besides this I included the wild relative of the candle larkspur, named field or rocket larkspur (Consolida regalis), with its lovely deep blue flowers. The flowers are used in protection spells and the herb is planted to protect the home, similar to the closely related delphinium. The rocket larkspur is unfortunately in decline due to intensified agriculture. Another reason, to include it here.

A threatened herb with strong healing attributes is the lovely centaury (Centaurium erythraea). It has been attributed a plethora of benific properties and is rare to find in the wild these days. I am thus happy to have found a supplier of seeds for this rare healing herb. Another old and perhaps forgotten about healing herb of antiquity, which is now experiencing a renaissance is the wood betony (Stachys officinalis). Likewise the motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) was a popular healing herb in medieval times until interest in the plant declined. It makes for a nice background plant with other purple and pink flowering herbs and interesting addition to the ‘witch’s garden’.

In selecting the herbs I also paid attention to the 13 plants described in Harold Roth’s book “The Witching Herbs” (signed copies available here) and thus included seeds for each.

Altogether there are now seeds for over 50 different sorcerous benific and venific herbs contained in one box. The box itself is pyrographed stained and varnished by hand. The sigil on the box is the “Sigillum Major” or “Greater Sowing Seal”. It includes references to the work with plants, crossroad symbolism etc. and is also used as the official logo for Teufelskunst. The sigil inside the box is called “Sigillum Minor” or “Lesser Sowing Seal” and is an abbreviated form of the former, traceable in one stroke of a line. Each box is numbered on the bottom.

Printed sowing instructions in tabular form are included with each box. For detailed information on each herb please visit my plant blog.

Update: The boxes are sold. You can still e-mail me for the complete list of seeds contained in this series at info@teufelskunst.com. I will work on 4 more boxes this spring to round up the number before the summer solstice. Than that’s it for a while.

April 20, 2017

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds

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