Since early childhood, I am torn between drawing and photographing. Both are my passion and both influence another. My favorite subject has always been nature, particularly plants. And even more interesting for me are the relations between plants and animals. A few years ago I began a series, fancily titled “Flower Devils”, sparked by my very first success at growing a witching herb, namely henbane, which was visited by a large earth bumblebee. That was the moment, I began researching the folklore of bumblebees, and then bees and other insects…
Meanwhile, the interest in society for the importance of honey bees and wild pollinators grew alike. And I kept photographing them, in my own garden and in nature.
About 10 years later, I am not only celebrating an anniversary with Teufelskunst, but also have accumulated dozens of “Flower Devils” and other photographs related to my occult work. Looking for a medium to suitably transport these photos and fitting them into the Teufelskunst shop, I figured big formats are nice but expensive. So what would be a more humble yet authentic way to deliver my “Flower Devils” to the world? A book? Yes, earlier this year I made a first attempt at a book and figured it’s still too big for me (both editing- and budget-wise). Then I discovered the printing company in Dresden, which I have been working with for years and who print my band photography as well other works, also offer postcards!
I love cards. I love writing personal messages by hand. I love postcards! And what could be more suitable than to have my little “Flower Devils” carry personal written messages all around the globe? So, it is my hope that with time, these postcards become an institution, for both sharing my work as well as forwarding personal messages to loved ones.
You can now order all postcards from me at reduced prizes! This offer will last until the 30th of July, 2019!
Or better said, postcards with new “Flower Devils” can now be ordered from me! The new cards feature newly captured impressions from the summer 2018 as well as some of my earliest photographs in this series, including the auspicious “Henbane Devil” on black henbane flower, which initiated and from which the series got its name.
In German folklore, witches and even the devil himself were believed to take on the shape of bumblebees. A bumblebee-wax candle was lit in church, if a witch was burnt at the stake. Evil people were cursed with having to return as a bumblebee after death. The sub-earthen drone sound of a bumblebee signaled the presence of the dead. Instead of consecrated wavers, bumblebees were allegedly served at black masses. Bumblebees were also superstitiously feared as carriers of sickness and ritually buried to drive out plague. On the other hand, a dead bumblebee worn in the pocket, was believed to ensure the purse would always be filled with money. And he, who managed to secretly steal the bumblebee’s honey, was destined to find a huge treasure. Hence bumblebees were both viewed as good and bad omens.
The other new cards are:
“Belladonna Devil” et al – large earth bumblebee entering a deadly nightshade flower, common carder bees on comfrey and viper’s bugloss flowers, wasps mating on our white lavender, bee inside crocus flower after a long winter
Impressions from recent trip to Crete – symbol laden honey bee among the ruins of the Minoan palace in Malia, a small wasp nest on prickly pear, protected sea daffodil flower with Mediterranean sea in the background
Last but not least, cards with unfolding flower of the “Black Devil” datura, blue Aconite and green Henbane “Dragon” and – upon request – myself among the green “devils” in our garden.
New: postcards with my occult/nature inspired “Plants and Planets” series from 2018!
The postcards are available in two formats, small 10 x 15 cm and large 13 x 18 cm. They have round edges and the sizes comply with common post standards.
In the past botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper associated plants with the planets, fixed stars and zodiac signs. The attributions were based on an intense study of a plant’s features, which included treats such as a thorny or prickly appearance, the scent emitted by the flowers or the entire plant, the plant’s life cycle, colors, metals contained in a plant, medicinal and other uses and of course plenty of folklore. Today plants are classified scientifically based on their genome, but their planetary lore is preserved and continues to evolve in the books of authors such as Stephen Skinner, Paul Huson, Scott Cunningham, Harold Roth and so on.
I find it inspiring to continue this tradition and to explore its own inner logic. Hence I created these planet themed still life photographs of herbs, that I gathered from our garden and surroundings, many of which are also part of my seed boxes. They are ordered according to the Chaldean sequence. With this series I yet delve deeper into the language of plants and the symbolism and magical properties attributed to them.
Please leave a note with your order, if you wish for the postcard to be signed on the back (no extra cost).
Finally done! Here are the latest sets of cards with my plant-inspired sigils. Wrapped in autumn-colored peacock marble paper, fitting for the autumnal equinox.
As you know I am dedicating sigils to each herb I work with. In March this year I made a first print set of these abstract sigilic emanations, which I brought with me for the London Magical Arte event. The cards were passed around, single motifs were discussed and became the basis for inspired conversation. At the time I had only printed the cards but not yet made a nice packaging for them. Later I made a slipcase with paper bought from my local bookbinder. Thus far two smaller editions have been done for the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, now followed by a 3rd for the Autumn Equinox of 15 sets, the content being:
45 cards with plant sigils printed black on heavy paper vergé
4 colored cards with my ‘soul-paintings’
numbered edition specific title card
list with names of corresponding herbs
introduction to the cards
All cards are hand-numbered on the back. With the help of a list you find the name of the corresponding herb for each card. There is no prescribed method of laying the cards. Possible ways of interpreting and laying them are outlined in the introduction that comes with each set.
Price: 31 Euro for one set + shipping – SOLD
Update: as of September 28 these are all sold. I hope to be doing a larger edition in the future with the help of the funds gathered through the sale of these first editions. If you wish to receive one of the next please message me at email@example.com
This is the first time that I am presenting my plant inspired sigil art in a comprehensive way – in the form of these cards. The sigils on them are wordless expressions of subjective impressions from the plants I work with in my garden and surroundings. Their main purpose is to serve as a visual focus and starting point for contemplation and meditation.
Each card carries the signature of one herb and is hand-numbered on the back. By comparing the number with the accompanying list you find the name of the corresponding herb. The first 22 cards are inspired by potentially venific herbs. The next 16 cards carry seals of traditional healing herbs. They are complimented by 6 further cards, which are inspired by herbs of Meso-American culture and one ‘Joker’ card, represented by the High John the Conqueror root. All herbs are of relevance to different sorcerous lines of practice.
The first 22 cards could also be compared to the Major Arcana of Western tarot, even though that was not my initial intent. And whilst it may suggest itself, comparing these to existing divination systems is misleading as that was not the original impulse for these images.
Part of the motivation behind these abstract depictions is to go beyond the attributions given in magical correspondence tables and written lore and to find new forms of expression. Each ‘sigil’ is the summary of my memories connected to these herbs and condensed into simple line drawings, which are loaded with symbolism. However, what is drawn up in about 20 minutes is the result of a much longer and work-intensive process: I study the plants in different ways, reading, photographing, drawing and writing about them as well as gathering first-hand experiences by sowing and growing and thus observing the plant in all stages, from seed to harvest. This is the task I set up for myself and it is one not always possible to accomplish. But I am getting closer each day, always learning something new about the kingdom plantae.
Making sigils for plants and their spirits, or devas, has been done before. But I don’t think it’s been done in the way that I am doing it and I have already received some very positive feedback: When I showed these cards for the first time to a live audience in London, people would pick out their favorite card and riddle and guess the plant in question. New aspects and meanings were found in these images that I myself had not been aware of. This way the cards became a basis for inspired conversation.
So sit down with your witch friends, take out this card set, sort them or shuffle them and lay them out before you. Let each draw a random card and start brainstorming. Get your herbal book out and read up on the herb you picked and contemplate in which way its characteristics could be of relevance to yourself or your current life situation… There are no limits to how these cards can be consulted and I hope and wish that people find their own ways to utilize them.
Finally a note on the four colored cards that come as an extra with this set: these are paintings based on the seals for Belladonna, Black Nightshade, Thorn-Apple and Mandrake, which have been composed with corresponding plant saps or extracts, blood and red wine. On the cards you are being presented inverse versions of the original paintings. The process behind these is always intense as it is a very direct way of approaching the herbs in question. The resulting paintings feel real and powerful, especially since they are still undergoing transformation as they age and the pigments change in color.
This set may be expanded in the future, as there are many more plants I am exploring. But for the time being, I hope that this first illustre gathering will be a joy to explore for the one who owns it.