This incense blend is dedicated to the rituals surrounding the summer solstice, when the sun reaches it’s annual zenith. The ophidian seal adorning the vessels that contain the solstice incense, is inspired by the viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare) herb.
The ingredients for this blend are the herbs and flowers traditionally associated with the summer solstice. The incense blend evokes in particular a vision of a summer meadow at dusk: bushes of blue flowering viper’s bugloss cover the ground and transform into nests of serpents. Plantain, thistle and St. John’s wort grow at its side. Nearby, the fragrant yellow flowers of the evening primrose glow in the evening light and emit their sweet scent into the sweltry air, attracting the most wondrous kind of fairy folks…
Use this incense blend for cleansing, purification and letting go of the old, for protection, renewal, celebrating the night, inspired dreaming and creativity. The blend can also aid in decision making: cast out the serpent as a symbol of “evil” or embrace it as a symbol of wisdom and become a serpent yourself.
Steady-paced I walk up the hill. The air is pleasantly cold. It clears the mind and disperses my headache. I am not freezing. The road I’m walking up is called Am Kirschberg, literally meaning “by the cherry mountain”. The field to the left is covered with a thin layer of snow. The dark frozen soil is sticking out of the white. Ploughing traces create zen like, eye-dazzling patterns. At the end of the long stretched field the view is clearing up towards town. Over the horizon line a narrow golden band illuminates the sky. Above me are grey clouds. I am planning on a short walk, but my legs carry me in a different direction…
Atop a stone wall by the castle, I find the wormwood has not entirely fallen victim to the frost. Next to fading foliage, fresh silvery green leaves are sprouting forth. I gather a few of them, enough for a small winter herb bundle to hang up at home. When dried, it will empower necromantic incense blends. Looking across the river valley, remnants of snow are showing between leafless trees and dark rocks. The sky is an eyeful and I would enjoy the silence, if it wasn’t for cars flashing past on a mint-green autobahn bridge.
The Thorn Grove in Winter
The way down is frozen over and I hold onto the rusty handrail in order to not slip and fall. People coming my way do not greet me and I do not greet them either. Halfway down the hill, I arrive at the thorn grove. The path up there leads through leafless hawthorn trees growing in all directions. A jay sitting in the branches looks at me but does not fly off. Cautiously I venture on. The ground is muddy and slippery. Most of the snow at this side of the hill has melted. By the rocks I find another wormwood plant and spot a bird’s nest near where the jay had been. I am looking around, breathing the fresh winter air, trying to focus my myopic eyes on the distance. I think of none. It is a good place for the soul.
Above, the hawthorn thicket is overgrown by raspberry and wild rose. To the right there are young blackthorn shrubs. Their thorns are long and sharp. The young twigs are flexible and make the best thorn-crowns. Further uphill, there is another areal of high-grown hawthorn trees, partly covered in ivy. It’s bordering at a property and the allotment gardens are close. One is likely to meet passersby here. But a magician knows to use the gaps and at night the place is dead silent. Today, however, I am only a passerby myself.
A Thin White Veil upon the Field
I’m on my way home, stopping now and then, intrigued by the formations of clouds and the golden light of the sun further afar. A skein of geese is on its way southwards. Passing by wild cherry trees lining the field, I search their stems for resin and at last find a group of three tall and slender trees, the base dripping with soft, blood-red gum. I memorize the spot and proceed, faster now. I have to watch my steps. The trail is akin to an ice rink.
At the birch tree, I stop once more. From here the field looks softer…
The birch is a pioneer, a tree of new beginnings and the first to come back after complete devastation. The birch profits from death and desolation, but it also paves the way for others to follow and thrive. Beith is for birch, the tree of January, the door opener.
Remnants of snow on the barren field, remind of the birch’s torn bark. It starts raining and continues to do so. The next day the snow will be gone.
The Blood-Red Resin Tears of the Cherry Tree Sisters
Returning to the cherry trees, the resin is moist from the rain water and easy to scrap off. I collect a jar full, which I later place on the heat. The resin dries and hardens quickly. In its soft state it is sticky and a yellow golden color. It smells remotely of ripe cherries and of caramel, when burnt. In German it is also known as Katzengold, literally “cat’s gold”, and used for sweetening cough tea. In my worship, I employ the dark red resin tears for Naamahand other female entities. In their harvest, take care to not take everything and leave some behind for the spirits, along with offerings for the guardians of the trees. Physical gifts are symbolical and in order, but they count none without respect and patience. The latter are the true sacrifice. The trees will remember your signature and recognize you next time you approach them.
I am thankful. The thought had crossed my mind to scar the trees in order to gather their resin. But I have not done so. Therefor I am blessed.
Completed on this new moon, 11/11 – 1,2 l of Lilith incense, blessed in a black moon triangle of manifestation underneath the talon feet of the skull-masked corpse queen.
This is the second incense blend dedicated to the qliphoth. It contains flowers, herbs and resins connected to the death moon and honors Lilith as the black queen of the night side. Lilith is a demonic deity, often associated with seductions and sexual perversions. Of the seductress it is said
“Her house sinks down to Death, And her course leads to the shades. All who go to her cannot return And find again the paths of life.” (Proverbs 2:18-19)
In the qliphotic working system Lilith rules the qliphah Gamaliel, which is referred to as “the obscene ones” within the qliphotic context, even though it rather translates as the “reward of god”. Gamaliel is seen opposite the sephirah yesod on the tree of life, which is associated with the planetary influence of the moon – the unconscious in which the other spheres are present yet dormant, like a lake filled with emotions and fluctuating reflections, situated in between the higher planes and the physical plane of manifestation. Therefore Gamaliel is connected to an inversion of these lunar flows, the dark of the moon, lunar eclipses and may be envisioned as a lake filled with black water or “soul matter”.
The absence of the sun’s reflected light facilitates recreation and healing, calm, meditation, genuine inspiration and independent creativity. It is also a period, during which the influence of the mundane and ordered world is weakened. A time of silence and looking inward or it may mark the beginning of a journey on a less traveled road… Ventures undertaken during the dark of the new moon are out of sight and safe from the light of the world. Hence it is also a time beneficial for criminals and unlawful acts.
In the darkness of a new moon strange and fantastic flowers may blossom, and in the redness of the eclipsed harvest moon the flow of life’s currents might be reverted, facilitating the occurrence of manifestations or incarnations from the other side.
Of Lilith is also said she is a mother of demons and rules over 480 legions of shadows. Among these ‘shadows’ are the souls of the children that have died as infants, in childbirth or due to abortion. In this context Lilith is envisioned as a demon who “snatches away the souls” of these children and she is portrayed with bird talons or referred to as “screech owl”. Hence protecting amulets against Lilith were hung above cradles for protecting the infant from the grip of Her talons.
Among the herbs sacred to this demonic deity are Mugwort and Wormwood (both potentially abortive). Both herbs are also often employed in astral workings, as part of incense for divination (e.g. in dream, necromancy etc.) and philters. Besides these, the blend contains flowers of Jasmine, Lilac, Lily, Lotus and Rose. Jasmine is a classic for any “lunar” blend. Sweet Lilac covers the stench of death. Lily is not only evocative in name but also perhaps the most iconic funeral flower and there’s just tons of religious lore connected to this flower. (To me the sweet morbid smell of white regal lilies is simply most evocative of Lilith.) Lotus is the flower representing female divinity and bears links to the realm of death, rebirth and resurrection. Lastly Rose, both white and red are the traditional flowers used in Her veneration, as they both represent mystery and sacredness.
Further ingredients are myrrh, dammar, a small amount of camphor and colored frankincense in red, black and silver – for red is the color of the blood, the red moon and gamaliel, silver evokes the astral and black is for the goddess veiled in darkness. Calamus root and musk seed address the seductress and dominatrix. Orris root as an aromatic binding agent most often employed in dream work may not be missing. White sandalwood adds a warm balmy scent and is a sacred wood traditionally employed in veneration and pleasing the souls of the dead.
And then there is willow bark, added not only because its typically associated with ‘female problems’ and facilitating the blood flow. This bark is harvested from an old hollow willow tree, for it was in the trunk of such tree that the creature named ki-sikil-lil-la-ke (translated as Lilith) had made its nest and the tree, named huluppu, is generally identified as a willow tree. In another account Lilith is also described forming the branches and further demons forming other parts of such tree.
Use this incense for general veneration of the dark goddess Lilith, in combination with the black mirror and scrying bowls and for other types of astral workings that aim at manifestations.
Scent: camphorous, floral sweet, slightly morbid
100 ml, limited to 11 jars
Note: There are 11 filled jars charged with the vibrations of this most auspicious date coinciding with the dark of the moon. They are available for purchase here and will also be listed in my Etsy online store.
Edit: all jars sold over night. More of this incense will be available after the next new moon, Friday, 11 December.
One of the commissions I’ve been working on lately and now going into the official Teufelskunst program: the first qliphothic incense blend, an offering to the dark goddess Naamah. Naamah here refers to a demonic entity, sometimes also called the “younger Lilith”. She rules over the lowest sphere on the adverse or reverse tree. Her name is commonly translated as “pleasant one”. Naamah belongs to the sitra ahra, the “other side”. Her sphere is called Nahemoth and of all the adversarial or dark gods she is closest to the created world. Nahemoth is thus sometimes portrayed as a sphere permeated by dead tree-roots entangling with the roots of Malkuth of the tree of life: where the roots of the one tree end the other tree begins. Naamah is therefore associated with the element earth or “black earth”. Her womb is the gate through which the various inclinations of the other side manifest inside the created world. Her beauty is a mask, behind which are hidden darker intentions. She is sometimes also compared to the Whore of Babalon.
I was commissioned to compose an incense blend focusing on the “pleasant” aspect. Earthy, warm and musky notes define this blend, which contains various fragrant herbs connected to the darker seasons (autumn and winter) and the element earth as well as other herbs and flowers evocative of Naamah, such as red rose and belladonna. Some of these ingredients are venific in nature (Belladonna, Bittersweet Nightshade), hence this blend is recommended for advanced practitioners.
Besides this I had to find a suitable vessel and packaging. Having been recommended Miron glass before, the uv-proof dark-violet glass would be my first choice for the spirits of the night side. The slender 100 ml wideneck jar also has an elegant shape. Besides this I’m also offering the blend in 50 ml jars. Miron glass is more expensive than normal clear or brown glass. Hence the qliphoth incense blends are a bit more expensive than my standard offers.
For ordering please write e-mail to email@example.com with the wished amount. I will get back to you with the full price including shipping and payment info. I accept payments with PayPal and SEPA bank transfer within the EU.
During the dark and cold season the body and mind may require additional stimuli that bring positivity and warmth into the home and life. Especially for lofty Gemini creatures such as myself, this can be essential. Mental strength, vigilance, coping with ego matters, removing bad vibes, recreation and vitality are some keywords coming to mind in this context. And to stay with the example, Gemini tend to have a need for being the center of attention, which can easily become a nuisance. Whereas the opposite would be a lack of self-confidence and a deficit in joy of living. Neither is desirable and dealing with such ego problems is part of the spiritual work associated with the ‘sun’. Besides, looking at typical sun herbs, you will find many of them are indeed fragrant and aromatic – so perfect for use in incense and aroma therapy. Now there are plenty of herbs that fall into this category and some of them have in fact several planetary attributions. The past weeks I’ve been researching this topic again, took notes, combined and re-combined ingredients. Throughout this I literally followed my nose (but also my eyes) and the result are three incense formulae that each put emphasis on a different solar aspect, scent and color:
Blend I is the first I created and comes as an ‘all purpose’ incense, containing epitomes of solar herbs. Now the old formula has been modified, adding optionally either Amber or Labdanum to the composition, which further contains Bay leaf, sweet Blood Orange peel, aromatic Calamus root, spicy Cassia bark, Clove, fragrant Cedar wood, Frankincense Aden as well as Safflower and Sunflower petals. This is a warm and glorious blend, unfolding a smooth, balmy, spicy-sweet aroma when burnt. Embodying zest for life, this incense awakens the vital spirits. Burn for positivity, power, strength, lust for life, vitality, wealth and overall wellbeing.
Blend II is aerial, refreshing and somewhat tarter. It contains the precious Gum Mastic resin, which is combined with high quality Frankincense, Elemi and green Lime peel as well as Hops, Rue and Walnut leaf – giving this blend an overall lemony fresh and pleasantly bitter-sweet aroma. Cinnamon adds sweet warmth. Spicy Angelica banishes negativity and sickness. Female & male Mistletoe from various trees are there for luck and invincibility. Use this blend for cleansing and removing bad vibes, for balancing and calming down, healing, protection, rejuvenation and revitalisation, for mental strength, vigilance and sharpening the senses, also for receiving and formulating visions.
Blend III is a special offer, containing a unique type of heterogeneous black copal, which is varying in color from black to blood-red to golden-yellow and unfolds a mind-blowing, pine-like scent that is beyond comparison. Spicy-tangy, wintry fresh and uplifting, yet also warming, combining dark and light aspects. This blend embodies the signs of life shining through a blanket of snow covering the earth, its scent being rather heavenly. Further ingredients are White Copal, Yauhtli, Rosemary, Marigold, Juniper, Clove, Cinnamon, Carnation, Chamomile and Bay leaf. Elevating and unifying dark & light aspects, use this blend for purification, as a ceremonial incense, for meditation and spiritual work dealing with ego matters, transformation, heightened state of consciousness, and also for love, prosperity and protection.
As part of a special offer these incense blends are available in 50 ml Miron violet glass jars with black screw caps (offer good as long as supplies last). Besides this blend I + II are also available in standard 50 ml glass bottles with cork stoppers. If you’d rather like small samples you can also get a 14 ml test bottle of each. View below the details for pricing & packaging. For ordering please write e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you prefer, visit the Teufelskunst online shops at Storenvy and Etsy (yes, I’m back there!).
Worldwide: 5,60 € up to 500 g or 9,15 € up to 1 kg (ships with registered mail)
Germany: 4,99 € with DHL or 4,50 € with Hermes (insured up to 500 €)
The above incense blends are meant for burning on coals inside a fireproof censer. An alternative option is to use a warmer, where the herbs and resins are heated over a tea light.
In my part of the world the past new moon occured close to the midnight hour and when the moon was just entering into the sign of Scorpio. In addition friends and followers in Eastern Asia and most of North America could simultaneously witness a beautiful partial solar eclipse. An astrologically and magically interesting time, some would already hold their Samhain celebrations on this night, closing another circle, saying farewell to the old and inaugurating a new year. It is the beginning of a liminal time, when the veil between the world of the living and the other side thinnens. It is believed the souls of the deceased – both beloved or malign, familiar or nameless – come to visit and contact the living, in dream or even physically. Temperatures are dropping, you see your breath in the cold air. The trees are yet aflame in autumn colors but will soon turn barren. Winter is just around the corner.
I felt it sooner this year than usual, perhaps owed to the early arrival of summer, autumn and winter are coming earlier as well. And it feels like its going to be a cold one. I experienced some dark days and nights, where I turned inside and contemplated, what has been done and what can and will be done. I got inspired and wrote these lines:
I feel the change of season
this autumn fire
the nights getting longer
the impending darkness
this cold breath down my neck.
But I am aflame and
burning with passsion
to a degree that it
almost consumes me.
Memories and dreams
the future and the past
they are merging
in a round-dance of autumn leaves
in the yellow light of street lamps
or in the dim grayness of
one drizzly September day.
I am day dreaming
and the world around me becomes
like the surface of a pond
into which I dip my finger
and suddenly the whole picture
starts to ripple and disperse
and the voices of people talking to me are muted
and I hear something else.
The veil is thinning.
I am dreaming of reconciliation.
I hear from a lot of people this year has been their worst by far. Some say they felt a strong negative Saturn influence in their life. Things being stolen or lost, relationships breaking apart, unexpected changes for the worse and in some instances also suicide attempts. There was a lot happening around me and for all I know there is little in life to rely on. Believes and faith, relationships and worldly values are questioned and challenged. And the idea that from loss and pain still something good or even better arises, may infact not always hold true. Yet the quality of conversations improves, deepens. Superficialties don’t suffice any longer. And I still feel lucky. I do have my self, my work, and spirits and friends to turn to. Even if they may be struggeling themsselves; as long as there is a shared will to continue and work towards better times – not sit and wait – there is reason for hope.
What really helps me during times, when there is apparently nothing positive at all, is the feedback I receive from you, my customers and followers. It does indeed mean a great deal to me. It is one reason why I’m doing what I’m doing and why I continue this project. Feedback such as this:
Having received one of your plant sigil card sets, I wanted to thank you for your work and express my gratitude in having received one. It is a beautifully crafted work, with an obvious spine of honesty, experience and exploration. A profound expression of the green, from the veils of the divine. – JR/O.
Thank you and all who write me messages, comment, like and fave! Thanks to over 2000 followers on facebook and 500 on tumblr, thanks to my watchers on deviantArt and elsewhere! Thanks to the loud and silent supporters and the imps and gnomes and wizzards doing ‘magic’ in the background and spreading the word! You know who you are.
And though it is true that this is often a lonely path we do take inspiration from another, consciously or unconsciously. I like to think that the same spirits contact us individually and sometimes they whisper the same and other times different things into our ears. Tuesday I thought about harvesting Belladonna under the waning moon. But the night was cold and rainy and there was no sharp shining crescent sickle to be seen that would have called for harvest. Thursday I read of Harold Roth‘s plan to harvest Belladonna under the new moon. I first thought no, lets leave them for another month or wait for next year’s Walpurgis. But then I gave it a second thought, went outside short before midnight and the conditions were just right.
The midnight hour was the hour of Venus and the dark moon had just entered Scorpio. A fitting constellation for working with the poisonous (scorpio) green (venus), and the darker aspects of the goddess (black moon), of whom the Belladonna is evocative. The Deadly Nightshade also has connections to the Germanic myths of the Wild Hunt, especially the Valkyries, daughters of heaven and earth (Wotan and Erda), who accompany the souls of the warriors that died in battle, to their final destination in Valhalla, which is reflected in the German name “Walkerbeere”. The Wild Hunt is said to begin with Samhain and culminates during the Winter Solstice and following nights. My first abstract vision of the plant’s essence shows her infront of a dark stormy sky with flashes of lightning and blood is raining from black clouds.
I took two roots, grown in pots, and both about 3 years old. The plants have flowered ready and the lasts berries are also ripe. In fact the stems are already slowly dying back and new green sprouts come from the root base. So it was indeed good timing. Especially since the following nights were even colder and the green parts don’t survive freezing. It makes sense that the time around Samhain is traditionally the time for the last harvest, which is then put up in the home for drying.
I also encountered a surprise when digging up the second plant as it had grown a long tap-root. It wouldn’t take an end and I actually could not unearth it wholly. I had to dig much deeper to get to the end of the part still stuck in the ground and it turned out that entire thing was indeed over 40 cm long!
I removed the soil manually, then cleaned them in rainwater and put them on the harvest altar, together with previously harvested roots. I lit beeswax candles and offered libation. I noticed a spicy smell and, though I used gloves, felt actually a bit benumbed from the fumes. I learned that the alkaloids concentrate in the root during autumn and winter. It may well be possible these two roots have a higher potency. They are now drying slowly and I plan to later make fetishes with them that tie together visullay the mentioned astrological and magical aspects. Below are a few pictures to show you their raw beauty:
In September I had already gathered leaves and sprigs, which I put between newspaper pages for drying. What do you read in there? It’s been a Belladonna year for sure!
Yet there are plenty of other herbs (and for that matter also seeds!) and so I find myself again running around the house and garden, collecting, sorting and processing all sorts of green harvest. It will still be a giant task to take photos of everything and make it available for ordering. I am also working on a larger herbal commissions, which includes labeling and filling custom bottles for a client.
At least I am ready now with rearranging our front garden (more about this later) and next is the raised bed. So lots to do this week until the official Samhain date. And I still have a very special interview in the making, as well as news concerning my contributions to the third Pillars Periodical Journal! But all in good time. 🙂
So long, after so much deadly nightshade here is now another plant, which embodies the month of October: the Chinese Aconite (Aconitum carmichaelii), or Herbst-Eisenhut, as it is called in German, is the last of the aconites to flower and brightens up the October month with its lush blue-violett inflorescences. It’s poisonous as hell too and another name for aconite was in fact Scorpio. The aconite, as the ‘king of poisons’ is in different ways to be seen as a counterpart to the belladonna or ‘queen of poisons’, who’s atropine is the physiological antidote in aconite poisoning. Now I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing the test. However I do like to grow them besides each other, for higher inspiration and guidance. In fact, I do have quite a few aconite and belladonna seedlings to plant out yet… Yep, lots do! 🙂
Tonight I finished another two Sigil Card Sets to be shipped this week and spent the rest of the night with some red wine and a herbal contemplation, celebrating the end of summer and welcoming autumn. The equinox is not yet here but the air already smells like autumn and I am heavily working towards completing the next edition of my card sets as well as harvesting and preparing all sorts of herbs from our garden. E.g. yesterday I collected most of the Black Henbane and plenty of ripe Belladonna. Earlier this week I have been gathering Yew and Bittersweet Nightshade, with which I sat down tonight. These are noisy times, a lot of heated up thoughts are floating around and so I felt the need to oppose all that with the help of these herbs, which are simultaneously marking the start of a new circle… summer passed too fast, but I had some interesting experiences and crossed ways with a wonderful person (a huntress and taxidermist), who sent me some really amazing frankincense of the finest quality I’ve used up to this point… burning this heavenly stuff rounded up the night. Now the altar candle is still burning and the libation slowly drying/being consumed…
from Latin amuletum
according to Pliny “an object that protects a person from trouble”
These amulets or medals are dedicated to our spiritual guides and followers alike. Cast in bronce and finished by hand, each one is unique and meant to serve as a long-lasting tool, potentially granting its wearer protection and power. Whether these medals will actually serve as protecting amulets is of course in the hands of their owner. They are offered here without any formal consecration and are accompanied by a small portion of wormwood, lavender, myrrh and mandrake as well as care instructions and the gold smith’s certificate. There are altogether 33 Teufelskunst amulets:
10 embossed dark, with patina
10 embossed bright, without patina
The price is 49 Euro for one amulet including chain. The shipping costs are charged extra and bundled with your other orders. As usual shipping is only via registered mail.
Concerning the Red King pendants, I have received more requests than I have pendants. Initially this was a commission by a single customer and we did only a couple extra. But since I keep getting requests we might do some extra and I am taking on reservations now, without guarantee though, just to have an estimate. The price for these was and remains 69 Euro including chain. If you are interested write to the same e-mail.