This is a basic incense blend that you can use in daily or weekly offerings on the altar dedicated to the ancestral, beloved and the mighty dead. It consists of equal amounts of myrrh, wormwood and white sandalwood. This blend can easily be adjusted for different purposes, e.g. for “talking” to or “appeasing” the souls of the deceased. Fitting herbs for modifying this blend can be ordered along with it. (see below)
Contains: fresh myrrh resin, white sandalwood, self-harvested wormwood
Oneiromantic incense of the Dead
This blend is designed specifically for contacting the dead in dream and receiving advice about the future. It contains the same ingredients as the veneration incense of the dead and is enhanced with soporific and oneirogenic ingredients, e.g. sandarac resin, mugwort, jasmine and brugmansia flowers, privet flowers and white rose buds. The blend should be burned an hour prior to sleep, in a calm surrounding. It is meant to help the practitioner find a calm state of mind and enter a deep and restful sleep, which is the premise for experiencing sustained and long dream sequences. The same blend can be used for ritually recalling these dreams. It is helpful to use a photograph and other personal links to the dead, whose presence is sought in dream. These links can be placed for example beside the bed or under the pillow.
Safety advice: Please do not leave burning coals unobserved! Don’t burn incense if you feel too tired to pay attention. Instead simply smell on the jar before sleep and burn the incense, when you are well rested and want to revisit the dream experience.
Contains: brugmansia and jasmine flores, fresh myrrh resin, privet flowers*, sandarac resin, self-harvested mugwort and wormwood, silver frankincense, white sandalwood, white rose buds
This list is far from complete, but gives an idea to which end certain resins and herbal agents can be employed in connection with the dead. The blends presented above are meant as starters for exploring the vast and increasingly complex field of “necromancy”.
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.
Finished the first week of January, moon first quarter: the long awaited second batch of Adramelech incense is here. It is so far my most eclectic and also most tedious incense blend in the making. Deep yet aerial, fiery yet also fresh, repulsive yet also strangely attracting – an incense both for the living and the dead.
The incense includes some rare herbs and complex resins such as elemi, opoponax, guggul and galbanum. The spiritual and magical links to the deity Adramelech have been discussed before. This time I will highlight the ingredients that compose this kaleidoscope of fragrant herbs, resins and woods. This is part I.
Adramelech Incense, January 2017
Keywords: Adramelech (name of qliphotic ruler), Samael (name of qlipha, meaning “poison of god” or “blindness of god”), Shaarimoth (name of infernal habitation, meaning “gates of death”)
Associations: Mercury, cunning, eloquence, wit, seduction, trickery, disobedience to God, intoxication, oneiromancy, necromancy, knowledge about poisons
A blessed seed…
Black caraway (Nigella sativa) is also known as black cumin and blackseed. The small black seeds are aromatic and used as a spice. Their aroma is described as a mix between onion, black pepper and oregano. N. sativa was a traditional Old world condiment. N. sativa seeds have been found in several sites from ancient Egypt, including Tutankhamun’s tomb, though its exact function in this context is unclear. It is mentioned in Isaiah 28: 25, 27, where the reaping of nigella and wheat is contrasted. In Islam it is believed, the black seed heals all except death. The famous Persian physician Avicenna describes N. sativa and mentions in particular its use for dyspnea. The oil is used to treat allergies and asthma as well as gastrointestinal diseases and many other health related issues, and is even capable of suppressing cancer cell growth. In magical literature the seeds are also referred to as “blessing seeds”. As the name suggests, the seeds are used for blessing, but also to bring forth the truth and to ritually banish bad people. The black seed is an essential ingredient in this incense blend.
Caraway(Carum carvi) is a culinary herb, which has been used for at least 3000 years. In folk medicine it is well known as a carminative and galactogogue. In folklore and magic caraway is attributed with the power to be protective of Lilith (particularly pertaining to newborns) and any form of “evil”, e.g. it is thought to protect from sickness and the evil eye. The seeds are carried as a protection against theft. Caraway is a herb ruled by mercury. Harold Roth notes that its aroma has something earthy about it, hence caraway may qualify for psychopomp rituals. Besides this caraway is considered lust inducing and employed in sexual attraction spells. Chewing the seed is thought to help attract the love of the one desired. Truth is, chewing a few caraway seeds helps against bad breath. Caraway is also a natural pesticide. I chose to include caraway in this blend because my attention was drawn towards umbelliferous herbs in connection with this qlipha. It teams up herein with common fennel and poison hemlock.
Bittersweet and soothing…
Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), also known as woody and climbing nightshade, fellonwort, poisonberry, poisonflower, scarlet berry, snakeberry, trailing bittersweet, trailing nightshade, violet bloom, blue bindweed and amara dulcis. This plant is one of my favorites. It is a climber that can take over hedges if permitted and – just like a snake – as long as it finds something to support itself. The branches can get up to 7 meters long. The plant, including its lovely purple flowers, is the stuff that fairy tales are made of. The bright red berries taste bittersweet and are a temptation to try, especially for children. But all parts of the plant, including the ripe fruits, are poisonous. The stems of bittersweet nightshade contain cortisone-like substances. Its folk medicinal applications include blood cleansing teas, treating nausea, vertigo, rheumatism, skin diseases, chronic bronchitis and asthma. The bitter sweetness is a reminder to consider both sides of the story. It could stand for the joys and pains of amorous affairs and romances, or the ‘price to be paid’ when the luxuries of the one are built upon the laborious, literal ‘dog’s life’ of others. In this context bittersweet nightshade may function as a soother as well as a revealer. Harold Roth mentions its magical potential for healing bitter memories and bringing balance. Bittersweet nightshade inhibits immune overreaction and eases stress-related symptoms such as neurodermitis. It may be helpful in stressful periods resulting from heavy work load or pressure to succeed as well as for overcoming loss. As such it shows typical mercury ruled attributes. Contained herein are the bittersweet nightshade’s leaves, stems and fruits.
A sexy and deadly devil…
Another poisonous plant ruled by mercury is the cuckoo-pint (Arum maculatum), also known as common arum, adder’s root, arrow root, lords-and-ladies, naked girls, naked boys, Adam and Eve, jack in the pulpit and devils and angels. Already the plant’s folk names are suggestive of the ‘devil’ and carry plenty of sexual allusions. Its dark green leaves are spade-shaped, with a lustrous surface and sometimes carry distinct purple spots. The shape of the flower resembles a chalice or vulva with a phallus-like inflorescence emerging at the center, which emits a scent imitating decay to attract flies as pollinators. It later transforms into a shiny, bright-red or orange infructescence. Arum grows in shady and damp places. The venific nature, voluptuous appearance and cold moistness connected to the arum are aspects I have also come to associate with the qlipha Samael. The name devils and angels in addition carries a nice link to the ambiguous nature of its ruler, who occurs both as an arch-demon and arch-angel. Common arum is poisonous in all parts, the root though would be roasted and eaten, as it is rich in starch. This blend contains the cuckoo-pint’s root.
The next plant is even better known for its peculiar markings. Scattered across the pale green stems and leaf axils of the poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) are dark red to brownish-purple spots. Due these markings plants are given the specific name, maculatum, meaning “stained” or “spotted”. In the esoteric world these markings are viewed as a signature left by the serpent Samael on the plant in the same way that he gave the Mark to Qayin. This mark is a warning to others and at the same time protects its wearer from harm. In the case of the plant it visually distinguishes the poisonous hemlock from harmless lookalikes, such as Parsley or Queen Anne’s Lace. Hemlock brings a slow, cold death. Socrates, an impudent seeker of truth and opposer of authority, was sentenced to death through the poison chalice, which contained fresh hemlock seeds and opium. For this and other reasons poison hemlock is an essential ingredient in this incense blend in his roll as poisoner and lurer at the “gates of death”, as well as protector of the cursed. By extension the herbs functions also as keeper at the threshold of sleep. This blend contains poison hemlock seed, flower, leaf and stem. Btw. poison hemlock stinks! The animalic odor however is covered by the other fragrant ingredients used in this blend.
The third herb in the umbellifer family is common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). This herb was actually among the first ingredients and became a main inspiration for this incense formula, when observing the huge fennel stalks in our garden reaching high towards the sky and swaying majestically in the wind. Fennel is a fiery herb, said to strengthen eye sight and attributed with divinatory and overall benific properties. Contained in this blend are fresh fennel seeds from our garden as well as sweet green fennel seed. Its Mediterranean cousin, the Giant Fennel (Ferula communis) features prominently in Greek myth: Prometheus stole the fire from Mount Olymp and delivered it to mankind, carrying its flame in a giant fennel stalk. With his trickery and theft Prometheus brings, not for the first time, the wrath of Zeus upon him, who has Prometheus chained to a rock and his liver eaten out by an eagle (Zeus himself). As the blood of Prometheus was spilled across the land, a new plant grew where the drops hit the soil. This plant is called “blood of Prometheus” and is thought to have manifested either as the poisonous meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale) or the miraculous mandrake…
Witty tricksters and soothsayers…
I have written about and continue to illustrate my visions pertaining to the mandrake (Mandragora officinarum). It was some years ago that I started to grow mandrake by myself, use it in ritual and make art about it. All along I could watch online prices for mandrake root sky-rocket. You can buy whole roots or pieces for hundreds of dollars. The root, alive or dead, is worshipped and serves as a potent magical tool. As such it appears to fulfill all of a person’s magical desires, whether employed as a poppet, infused in oil or burnt as incense. I remember the first time I did just that: a single piece of mandrake root placed on hot coal as the crowning offering after a long and exhaustive ritual. It was an important working and with mandrake it is best kept this way. It is reserved for “special occasions”. The blend for Adramelech contains mandrake, due to its powerful links to infernal necromancy and other types of divination, e.g. via the alraun or homunculus, which, if fed correctly, would bring fortune, answer the owner’s questions and foretell the future. Secondly mandrake is linked to cunning, trickery and thievery, e.g. through the connection with aforementioned antagonistic hero of Greek myth, but also because it is one of the most forged magical tools in history. Heroic trickster gods embody the darker aspects of mercury perfectly. Hence corporeal links to their plant allies belong in this blend for Adramelech-Samael. This blend contains mandrake root and leaf.
Lending a hand in magic and cunning…
The fronds of the male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) remind of the peacock’s fan. Colonies of male fern plants may be as dazzling to the eye as the peacock’s display of plumage and have been reported to cause vertigo and disorientation in wanderers. It is said that he, who finds himself alone amongst the fern at midnight, will meet the demon Puck, messenger of the fairy king, who will bestow the lucky fool a purse filled with gold. The devil will bestow the “lucky hand” and along with it protection from the fiery element to whoever seeks the male fern’s root on the Eve of St. John. Power of enchantments, riches and overall luck count among the benefits bestowed by this magical herb. The seed is said to make its wearer invisible. Male fern was also thought to repel serpents. Proven are indeed the male fern’s vermicidal properties. Beware though, the whole plant is poisonous. This blend contains fresh male fern root and leaf.
This is the third in a series of ritual incense blends designed for working with the qliphoth (or kliffot). It is dedicated to Adramelech, the ruler of the eighth qlipha on the tree of death. The corresponding qlipha is named Samael, Hebrew סמאל, meaning “poison of god”. The qlipha and its ruler are associated with Sha’arei Maveth (or Shaarimoth), the “gates of death”, one of seven infernal habitations.
Adramelech is described as a “powerful king”. He is one of the eleven heads that govern the qliphotic pantheon. Similar to other demonized deities, Adramelech was once worshiped as a sun god. His worship later merged with that of Moloch.
In Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal, Adramelech is depicted as a mule with peacock feathers, evoking associations with Melek Taus, the “peacock angel” of Yazidi religion. Melek Taus is worshiped for his independence, since he refused to bow to Adam, the first created human. The story resembles that of Shaitan in the Quran. In Islam this refusal to bow to god’s creation is interpreted as a display of sinful pride. Melek Taus however, reasoned that he was made of god’s own light and could not bow to Adam, who was made of dust. Therefore god rewarded Melek Taus and made him his deputy on earth and leader of the other angels. The peacock’s appearance is sublime and likewise Melek Taus proved knowledge of the sublime in his choice. Besides this the Yazidis view the peacock as a symbol of immortality.
Samael also appears as an independent figure: for once he is described as an accuser, seducer and destroyer and a “chief of evil”. At the same time he occurs as an arch-angel, residing in the seventh heaven, as the chief angel of the fifth heaven and features as the “angel of death” in Jewish lore. In the old testament he appears as the serpent in the garden of Eden, and as a demonic entity and spouse of Lilith.
As the serpent in the garden, Samael seduces Eve to eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Similar to Prometheus, who steals the fire from the heavens and, against the will of Zeus, brings it to mankind, Samael delivers the gift of gnosis to the first humans, even though god had forbidden them to partake of it. Henceforth they are expelled from the garden, and the serpent along with them. Samael becomes the consort of Lilith and they breed demonic children.
Eve, impregnated with the seed of the serpent, begets Cain, the son of Samael. Cain slays Abel, and is exiled to wander the land of Nod. But he is protected by a mark, which his father Samael placed on him. This mark is a warning that, whoever attempts to harm Cain, will be punished sevenfold.
The above aspects are of relevance, since the different manifestations of Samael here sort of merge with the qliphotic king Adramelech. All aspects surrounding the qlipha in question are taken into account, before advancing and concentrating the essential links within a single incense blend.
Now let us look at the planetary influence: Adramelech’s qlipha is placed under the influence of Mercury. The corresponding element by the same name is a white-silvery metal, liquid at room temperature and poisonous. Early uses of mercury include the making of divinatory mirror bowls, which were found in elite Mayan tombs. Today it is employed in liquid mirror telescopes. Mercury is also called quicksilver. In alchemy it represents the “spirit” and is attributed with various transcendental properties, due to its volatile nature.
The god Mercury (Greek Hermes), is the messenger travelling between the realm of the gods and the world of humans. In his underworld manifestation, Hermes chthonios, he acts as a psycho-pomp, guiding the souls of the dead through the netherworld.
Of interest in connection with Adramelech and his qlipha are transcendental, transforming and empowering properties that reach beyond the realm of the living and this world. What lies beyond the reflective mirror’s surface? Which herbs help with clear sight and telling the lie from the truth? Which herbs aid in seductions and can confuse or blind an opponent? Which plants and resins assist in opening the “gates of death” and contacting and mobilizing the souls of the deceased? The incense for the work with this qlipha and its ruler is hence complex in nature. The sublime king Adramelech becomes a dark soul-guide, residing beyond the gates of death and initiating the wanderer into the perilous poison path, confusing or leading him/her through his kingdom in the sitra ahra.
Keywords: sublimeness, eloquence and seduction, trickery, exposure of lies and telling truth from lie, knowledge of poisons, communication and problem solving skills, oneiromancy, magical metamorphosis/shape-shifting, necromancy
Contains: black seed, caraway, climbing nightshade, common arum, fennel seed, galbanum, guggul resin, lavender, lily of the valley, male fern, mandrake root, narcissus flowers, opoponax resin, poison hemlock, powdered peacock butterflies, red and white sandalwood, shed snake skin, yew needles
Scent: green, spicy, with floral notes
Details: The first eight 100 ml jars are numbered and accompanied by a peacock eye-feather as well as one hand-stained, emerald green Teufelskunst flyer. The remaining incense comes without extras and is not numbered.
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.
a fever dream continued the winter cold clears the mind but not the soul the body continues aching the soul continues longing the fire keeps burning
Looking back at 2015, an important step was the birth of Planta Magica/ Pflanzenkunst. This project shall receive more attention in 2016. As I continue updating and publishing articles about plants at the new site, I may also start offering downloadable e-books and printed booklets. This can happen in the form of a journal series, discussing in depth certain plants under different aspects. The texts would be accompanied by my photography and plant inspired art. As an example can serve my article about the Mandrake, which was published in Anathema’s Pillars Journal.
Pertaining to Teufelskunst, which is now heading into its 5th year since the site went online, there shall occur some changes. As the work with the green is now receiving space within its own frame, Teufelskunst will focus more on products and creations tied to certain esoteric lines of practice, these being foremost the qliphoth. On top of my list for are two spiritual maps to be offered as prints, as well as the continuation of my qliphothic incense line. Expect incense for Adramelech/Samael very soon.
Along with this, the Teufelskunst website shall undergo a restructuring and the garden will move here. My goal is to cut it down to three site sections: the first is the “Supply”, an overview of available products and tools. I yet have to find a way of implementing a shopping cart. Until that happens we continue with good old ordering via e-mail.
A second site section, the “Trumpet”, is dedicated to interviews with other artists and the exploration of different esoteric concepts.
Secondhand Literature, the third site section, will continue, despite animosity from different directions. I feel it is now more important than ever to appreciate but also to grow a critical view at the esoteric book genre and recent book releases. Besides, lets face it: some want to part with their esoteric library, others want to get their hands on sold out titles. Herein lies potential for magical experience to be passed on along with the books and, being handed on, their prestige grows as well.
What more? At the end of 2015 I found myself in a loop of crafting and delivering. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I did not find any time at all to work on drawings or possible collaborations. I also did not find time to work on larger commissions, such as statues. The road to take will be to focus on fewer products, higher quality and commissions that challenge me on an artistic level. In 2015 part of my life time got sucked up in bureaucracy, e.g. pertaining to customs and import regulations. I learned some new lessons there, however I doubt whether these were conducive experiences. Some things I wouldn’t do a second time.
In 2016 I hence hope to get to projects talked about in 2015. One would include doing artwork for a band. The other is a photography collaboration with Mr. James Patrick of Death Sex Electronics.
But before all of this enrolls, I look forward to a relaxed and creative first week of January, where I see myself preparing a new print edition.
Stay tuned for more and thanks for the great feedback on my work.
This time the herb I’m looking for is not a poisonous one – quite the contrary! It is a classic healing herb, which belongs in any herbal apothecary. A giant in the garden, its name relative is associated with an adversarial hero, who helped man and offended the gods…
The riddle included an illustration, which was to aid in finding the answer. Here is the drawing again:
The illustration hinted at the legend of Prometheus, who stole the fire from the olymp in the shaft of a Giant Fennel (Ferula communis). The drawing also shows the planetary ruler (Mercury) and associated element (Fire), which apply to both herbs. Hence the relative I was looking for, was the Common Fennel (Feoniculum vulgare). I admit this time the riddle was a little more tricky. 😉
Thanks to everyone, who commented and shared their ideas! It was great fun reading your remarks and seeing the chain of thoughts that lead most of you to the right answer. 🙂 Other suggestions included angelica, dill, chamomile and yarrow. Since Angelica had been mentioned often, I’m sharing here for comparison my sigillum for it:
Some of you recognized, the difference in foliage and some other elements. 🙂 I feel inspired though to give this image, which is already a bit older, a make-over and add planetary as well as some more hints at its folkloristic and magical attributions…
For more info about these herbs, please visit my new blog dedicated solely to the Green.
Only few days left until the Winter Solstice, I am excited to share my next plant riddle with you. This time the herb I’m looking for is not a poisonous one – quite the contrary! It is a classic healing herb, which belongs in any herbal apothecary. A giant in the garden, its name relative is associated with an adversarial hero, who helped man and offended the gods.
The riddle is again accompanied by a new illustration I did earlier in autumn and which may help or confuse…