TEUFELSKUNST Occult Art Blog
TEUFELSKUNST
Occult Art Blog

Gardening with the Moon and the Planets

All plants grow towards the sun (helio- or phototropism) and use its light as energy source (photosynthesis). Hence the sun is the dominating factor in all plant life. However, the moon as the closest celestial body near to earth and its gravitational pull, especially on water molecules, influences plant development too, since plants are made up to 98% out of water. Plants are essentially structures or vessels built around water, which is required in all physiological processes.

The closer the moon is to the earth the stronger is its gravitational pull. This strongly affects water molecules, but also the earth’s solid surface. Every night the ground is literally lifted by the moon, yet this is hardly sensible. The sun too has a gravitional effect on earth. If sun, earth and moon align – either during a full or a new moon – this effect is even stronger and results in what is known as spring tide.

The moon hence also has an impact on the growth of plants. During the waxing phase the leaves develop stronger, whereas during the waning phase the growth is directed towards the roots. It is not clear how, but possibly this is due to gravitational changes.

The phenomenon that plants grow straight upwards, at an approximate 90° angle away from earth’s center, regardless of whether they grow on a straight plain or at the side of a hill, is called gravitropism. Better said, parts that grow above ground show a negative gravitropism whereas the roots show positive gravitropism, since they follow earth’s gravitational pull. This is directed mainly by the plant hormone auxin. (*see) Now, the moon’s gravitational pull interacts with earth’s own. During the full moon it gets stronger and thus may increase negative gravitropism in plants and support growth of leaves and stems, whereas during the waning moon it ceases and thus indirectly strengthens positive gravitropism, resulting in increased root growth. If and how the gravitational pull of moon and other celestial bodies influence gravitropism has yet to be studied in detail. But experience shows the following picture:

The observance of the moon and the sky has been employed by agricultural societies and gardeners ever since. However, when referring to a lunar phase or month, it must be clarified which moon is actually meant…

Some terminology….

  • synodic month – the time from one new moon to the next (as shown above) ~ 29d 12h 44m = 29,530 days
  • sidereal month – return to the same star or the time it takes for the moon to travel throught the zodiac signs (shorter than a synodic month) ~ 27d 7h 43m = 27,321 days
  • tropical month – depending on the vernal equinox this lunar month is slightly shorter than a sidereal lunar month and significantly shorter than a synodic lunation ~ 27d 7h 43m = 27,321 days
  • draconic month or nodal period – the return to the same lunar node ~ 27d 5h 5m = 27,212 days

The tropical month is of special relevance in farmer’s almanacs. As opposed to the synodic waning and waxing moon the focus lies here on the diurnal arc of the moon, which is the path the moon draws on the daytime sky. During the first half of a tropical month the moon’s arc is daily getting closer to the horizon line; the moon is “falling” or is nidsigend. During the second half, the moon’s arc is daily increasing and moving further away from the horizon line; the moon is “rising” or obsigend. Both periods last around 14 days. The nidsigent moon is symbolized by an upside down crescent, the obsigent moon is pictured by an upwards pointing crescent, which resembles a bowl.

Btw. the word tropical comes from Greek tropos = “turn”, the terms nidsigend and obsigend come from Alemannic dialect and mean ascending and descending.

Related names, coming from Hawaiian mythology, are “wet moon“, where the upwards pointing moon is likened to a bowl catching up falling rainwater during the winter, and “dry moon“, where the lunar sickle turns upright as summer is approaching and pours out the collected water in the form of summer rains. The wet moon is also pictured as a smile and is called “Cheshire moon” after the grinning cat from Alice in Wonderland. Notably, these names apply to the actual shape and orientation of the sickle moon, not to its culmination on the daytime sky.

According to folk saying, root growth is supported by the nidsigend moon and leaf growth by the obsigend moon. Hence, root vegetables and plants that grow mainly subterranean should be planted during the nidsigend moon. All other vegetables and plants that produce crops above ground should be planted during the obsigend moon. Further, the nidsigend moon is in general considered the favorable phase for planting and separating young plants, since it promotes rooting. The obsigend moon is the phase during which the plants grow in height.

Again, the nidsigend and obsigend moon are not to be confused with the waning and waxing phase. Things get really interesting, when seeking out the best time for planting. The moon may be waning and in an earth sign (perfect for roots), but is also obsigend and thus not favorable for root growth. So you wait until the moon is nidsigend and in an earth sign, but alas, the moon is waxing and in addition, the moon is in one of its nodes or draconic. It is said, that lunar nodes should be avoided for any gardening activity.

So, which is the right time pertaining to the moon? Start with the waxing and waning moon, then have a look at which sign it is in, then see if its ascending or descending and finally avoid lunar nodes. Take notes in a personal gardening calendar, writing down your activity, day and time, add the moon phase and sign and other aspects, which you can look up and add later. You can also purchase a lunar gardening calendar by Maria Thun or download one for free.

Other factors that might impact the development of a plant are constellations of sun, moon and the planets. Apparentyl there is a correlation between the orbital period and the pattern that a planet draws when it circles around the sun and the growth pattern of plants and fruits. More precisely, both orbital period and plant growth follow Fibonacci sequences… (see graphic above)

For the nerd….

The orbital period is the time the planets need to return to their starting point when revolving around the sun. Plants mirror this movement pattern for example in the way in which their leaves are arranged around their stems. These patterns are also found in the way how the seeds are packed on sunflowers or pine cones. The succession in which planets orbit and leaves revolve around the stem follow infact the sequences that Fibonacci introduced to Western European mathematics.

Annual or short-lived and fast developing plants are influenced by the Moon and the sub-solar planets Mercury and Venus. They are sown in spring and brought outdoors after the last frosts. Some annual plants, ie poppies, can also be sown in late summer and then behave as biennials.

Biennial plants may be under the influence of Mars or slower revolving planets. They are best sown in July/summer – the warmest and brightest time of the year. They often produce a basal leaf rossette and long root during the first and a large stem, flowers and fruits during the second year.

Perennial plants can be grouped under Jupiter and Saturn, and under the latter especially shrubs and trees. They are best sown in autumn and often require cold periods ahead of germination. These slow growing plants often take 2-3 years before starting to flower and producing seeds.

Taking things even further, one could create a natal chart for all gardening activity or follow other rules for planetary magic such as are outlined in Picatrix. But rather than getting entangled in astrological theory, better tend to your garden and perhaps and foremost consult the plant devas themselves.

Lastly, plants also respond to the individual. Sometimes we are just not ready yet for certain plants and they may come to us at a later point – not when we think that we need them, but when we or perhaps also the creatures around us do. That is when a plant may suddenly occur in nature to us, even repeatedly, or when a seed, we have forgotten in a pot or flower bed suddenly germinates. The passionate gardener not only tends to the physiological needs of the plants (which are usually dealt with during day time) but also comes back to the garden at night, for feeding the devas, elves and gnomes that inhabit the soil, stones and vegetation. This way the plants help us reconnecting spiritually to our selves and beyond.

May 3, 2024

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Garden

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Seed Boxes 2024

The first 5 seed boxes have been shipped during the vernal equinox week! It’s been a hell of a work again and took longer than last time from start to finish. Extras inlcuded are some rare Echinacea ‘Green Twister’, darkred climbing monkshood, different ‘slate black’ lenten roses, Caucasian mandrake, some lovely low growing foxglove called ‘silverfox’ and big fat mandrake seeds harvested by my German friend @bussardflug Further this year’s box comes with seeds for growing your own fragrant sweet grass (Hierochloe odorata) and the endangered white sage (Salvia apiana).

This year’s seed box is different! The boxes are pyrographed on all sides, with a variation of the Sigillum Major (Greater Seed Sowing Sigil) on the lid and devils and lunar planting symbols on the sides. The bottom is pyrographed again with the Sigillum Minor (Lesser Seed Sowing Sigil).

I have now started on the next 5 boxes… there’s exactly one box left for pre-order. 🙂

The preview shows the plain pyrographed boxes. In the next step these are stained with dark oak on the corpus and dark green to light oak color on the lid.

They are filled again with the annual seed harvest, gathered from my own witch plants, as well as seeds sourced from trusted nuseries and herbalists. The full list:

  • Aquilegia atrata
  • Aconitum napellus
  • Aconitum hemsleyanum ‘Red Wine’ (rare!)
  • Atropa belladonna
  • Datura ferox (rare!)
  • Datura innoxia
  • Datura metel var. Fastuosa ‘Black Currant Swirl’
  • Datura metel var. Fastuosa ‘Golden Queen Triple’ (rare!)
  • Datura stramonium
  • Digitalis purpurea ssp. heywoodii ‘Silverfox’ (rare!)
  • Helleborus foetidus
  • Helleborus x orientalis, dark color mix (rare!)
  • Hyoscyamus niger
  • Mandragora caulescens (rare!)
  • Mandragora officinarum (rare!)
  • Nicotiana tabacum
  • Papaver somniferum ‘Black Peony’
  • Solanum dulcamara
  • Angelica archangelica
  • Artemisia absinthium
  • Circaea lutetiana
  • Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Twister’ (rare!)
  • Foeniculum vulgare ‘Bronce’
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Black Magic’
  • Hierochloe odorata
  • Hypericum androsaemum
  • Rudbeckia occidentalis ‘Green Wizzard’
  • Ruta graveolens
  • Salvia apiana
  • Symphytum officinale
  • Tropaeolum minus ‘Black Velvet’
  • Valeriana officinalis
  • Verbena officinalis

Below are some examples of plants and flowers I have grown successfully from seed and which are included in this year’s seed box:

Update: the pre-order for the second batch of boxes is sold out. When I have finished these I will announce the next five boxes.

April 1, 2024

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

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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

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds

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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: Incense, Herbs & Seeds, Ritual

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