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.
Death Shrine To The Holy Whore, Part 4 - Meta.Morf Trondheim art biennale, Norway
“Life is too short to care what other people think about you or your work.”
The first time I meet Angela Edwards is in London earlier this year. We are both participating in an esoteric art event, which is taking place inside an old tower that once used to be a church. In the top floor of this tower Angela has built a bizarre altar to Pomba Gira. Whoever makes it up here, is confronted with a highly controversial set-up.
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! 🙂
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
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…
Summer is coming to an end and yet I did not even share half of the photos I’ve taken during the past three months. So I sat down with a glass of red wine and made this summary of summer garden impressions for you. Click through the gallery to find a commentary on each motif and feel free to comment!
It’s been a while since I last blogged about the garden. So I will dedicate this entry entirely to the Green and all news concerning herbs and plants… and wow, they have been prospering! Do you still remember this? Well see how things are looking this summer… actually the Foxgloves have flowered ready by now and the same goes for the Poison Hemlock and Northern Wolfsbane. And whilst Henbane and Belladonna will soon also have flowered ready and their fruits are ripening, the Blue Monkshood is in full bloom now! Everything seems to be a couple of weeks ahead this year. Remember what I said about the mild winter? Well, in addition we are now having one really unusual hot summer!
So but one at a time. There is another herb currently flowering and bringing me much joy. And this herb shall introduce the stroll through the venific garden. The herb I am talking about is the White Henbane (Hyoscyamus albus). Sometimes it is also referred to as Yellow Henbane. This herb is a lovely relative of the Black Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). It can be distinguished from the type species by some distinctive features: the flower petals are a brighter sulphur yellow and less veined. The stamina are coming more out of the bell-shaped flower chalices and are a pale yellow instead of black. I love how they jut out of the flower’s dark purple center… it’s somewhat quaint! The foliage is hairy as on Black Henbane, but differently shaped and silvery. The first sets of leaves are more round though still crenate whilst the distal or upper leaves are rather lanceolate and not serrated. For comparison I am posting photos of both. Besides this I find the flowers to stand a bit more loosely on the stem than on black Henbane but this may actually change, the taller the plant grows. Now I had success for the first time growing this herb from seed. It may in fact be owed to that super-summer I mentioned earlier. The White Henbane is native to the Mediterraneans and likes hot and dry climates. I actually think to have seen it growing wild by the sea when visiting Malta! Hence I guess last year was simply too rainy and cold for the plantlets. This year I could sow earlier and the temperatures have been relatively warm and stable. Anyway, I have not worked with the plant further than growing it. I imagine thought it will make a fine addition to white powders and incense for divination and necromancy – possibly also for restoring lost memories. And it makes me think of summer, sun and the sea! All this in mind I am starting to wonder whether this is not the actual herba apollinaris, which was part of divinatory incense offered up to the oracle at Delphi…
So, but here are the photos of the black henbane… the white henbane literally pales in comparison! You see the flowers are also slightly larger and of course the purple veins spread all across the yellow petals! The stamina are colored inverse to that of its relative and do not protrude as much. The foliage is pilose too but has a more juicy green and the leaves are deeply serrated. On the second photo you see it better. There you also get an idea how huge the black henbane grows! I am particularly fascinated with the way the pods and supporting foliage are lining up. It reminds of the vertebrae of a human backbone or the spine of a serpent or dragon… it’s utterly evocative of primal forces such as Leviathan or Jörmundgandr or the Hydra. E.g. the henbane on the photo is having five heads by now… And remember the story about Python slain by Apollo? Its body fell into a crevice in the ground and from the decomposing corpse intoxicating vapors rose up. Above that mythical place the oracle of Delphi was built and the priestess (Pythia), inhaling the fumes, became possessed by Apollo to foretell the future. It all leads again to that oracle… perhaps it’s time to offer some Delphian oracle incense? But least we forget, Henbane was also part of Pillars Golden Eitr incense!
–>*Hint* Pillars 1.III is being worked on heavily and I am contributing once again and this time actually with a written piece! My article will also indirectly deal with a subject rooted in the Green Kingdom… more about this soon! <–
Anyhow, back to the garden. I still have plenty to share, both on poisonous and benific herbs… But for tonight I must call it quits.
Esoteric art exhibition and talk event, St. Augustine's, London Hackney, 21st - 23rd of March 2014
This was an unusual art exhibition as well as an unusual occult gathering. This event was different in a number of ways. It was also a personal challenge.
If you would have asked me two weeks earlier about going to London and exhibiting my art there, I would have declared you insane. But it happened. All my concerns, about lacking the funds, health, whatever, and other obstacles magically vanished, just one week before eventually embarking on my journey to London. It would be the first time in seven years.
It felt like a tip on my shoulder, followed by a physical and mental boost. The next few days I was like a maniac, preparing prints, packing art, clothes etc. Everything had to fit into a board case. The woman at the print shop became my best friend. I booked the flights last minute and eventually, after days and nights of no-sleep and few hours of rest, I found myself on the bus to Berlin airport, feeling lucid yet focused, constantly going up and down mental check lists.
“A tower of an event…”
The tower usually evokes a dark and fearsome image. However, my journey went smoothly. When I say smoothly, I mean everything worked out perfectly. I was on time, did not forget a thing, did not loose anything, flights, buses, trains – whatever was needed to get to the place did not let me down. If I was lost for the way, people helped me find it. I was met with so much friendliness that I eventually started wondering whether any of this was real.
“A circular gathering…”
It is the day of the vernal equinox. When I arrive at Andrea Kundry’s place, the other guests are already involved in animated conversation. I know noone and expect to be plutoed as the ‘German girl’. Instead I am welcomed warmly and find myself instantly involved in creatively engaged talk. It is Charlotte Rodgers who takes the initiative; Glen Tomney and Roberto Migliussi join and a couple of minutes later we are talking art and meanings. It will continue throughout the event.
We have no time to loose and soon head straight to the location: St. Augustine’s tower appears as a solitary monument in the middle of London Hackney, medieval and out of place looking, reminding indeed of the tower tarot card. At the entrance, which is locked, we meet a little woman named Paula, who is dressed in hippie apparel. By little, I mean that she is maybe less than 5 feet tall. She has come here for the equinox and to light a candle in front of the tower, which she explains, is situated on the same ley-line as Stonehenge. She also tells us the tower was the oldest church tower of entire Britain and twelve monks had committed mutual suicide in this building. Her words sound like the perfect initiation into the event.
Unlocking the gate, we promise Paula to leave her candle burn, even though I wonder how any candle would remain lit under these conditions. This equinox comes rather as a late come-back of winter than a warm spring beginning.
Then we entered…
The tower’s inside is flooded with day light, shining through tall Gothic windows, illuminating layers of dust collected on cobwebs and the various artworks positioned on tables and hung on wire threads. In one corner, covering a wooden balustrade, hangs resplendent the large image of a black devil dancing on skulls and sticking out its tongue. It is painted by Dolorosa de la Cruz.
Passing art by Andrea Kundry and intricate sculptures by Charlotte Rodgers, we proceed up a narrow stairway and enter a small room that houses the tower’s clockwork. A reproduction of Amodali Zain’s iconic work is arranged alongside miniature paintings by Jezebel Halewood-Leagas, to be joined by various drawings and a goblin-themed assembly by Glen Tomney. In the same room I am later also setting up my long exposure nature photographs.
Crossing a small wooden bridge, we enter a second room with animal sculptures by Charlotte Rodgers. The iridescent black feathers of a winged corvid creature refract the daylight into its single parts. The bird resides over the talks, meditations and musical evenings taking place here.
We climb up to the last floor, the tower’s attic. In a dark corner presents itself an enormous vulvic shrine dedicated to Pomba-Gira. It consists of multiple ceramic and paper pieces, all created and set up by Angela Edwards. Two visitors are leaning thoughtfully over the installation. Later there will be Christian visitors inspecting the tower and wondering about the unusual happening and they will be shocked and confused by Angela’s work. But even esoteric folks visiting the tower for the exhibition will react ambiguous and unable relating to the presentation. It is the first time for me getting to know Angela and her work, and I too have to sort my feelings in regards to its provocative and violent yet strangely beautiful and enigmatic forms. I shall learn later, how much substance there is to it. Angela provides the viewer with candles and incense for paying respect to the spirits. So I light some, the rest remains an inner dialogue. Later I will spend more time chatting with Angela and without knowing or deciding on it, we are to stay in touch for years to come.
The inside of the tower is cold, electricity is not working properly and there are few facilities for hanging up our work, as it is forbidden to hit nails into the walls of the historical building. But somehow we manage by improvising: arranging our works in window frames, underneath timber beams, at the edge of protruding wall stones and on the wooden doors encasing the clockwork. At night we light candles to illuminate our artworks. The natural light and warmth of the candles creates a special and beautiful atmosphere inside this unique location. After three days at the tower none of the pieces would feel quite the same. Amidst cobwebs and dust centuries old they become charged with the special vibes of the place.
The following day we are greeted with storm and hail whilst the sun keeps on shining, creating a twilight mood, which again reminds me of the imagery on the tarot tower card…
Below is the view from the tower’s entrance towards the churchyard with its old gravestones. Rooted directly in front of the tower is a beautiful majestic tree, looking all the more dramatic against the scenery in the sky formed by dark clouds, sunshine and hail. Beneath, see also a sandstone relief mounted at the left side of the tower’s entrance, showing three skulls with triple crossed bones, hourglass and dragon wings – a memento mori, representing mortality, evanescence and resurrection.
Saturday is full-packed with talks, meditations and musical performances. On top of a busy schedule, Andrea, the organizer herself continues feeling (and looking) ill, despite hoping for recovery until the very last minute. As she can not attend her own talk, she asks me to jump in. Suddenly I find myself in the unexpected situation of having to talk in front of a foreign audience, in a foreign language, who are expecting in depth info and insights about the very location of this event, St. Augustine’s. Instead I fill the spot with talk about memes, the symbolism of plants and drawing, handing around my sigil cards for inspired conversation. Somehow we manage and my Sigilla Magica gain the attention of the audience.
Saturday evening ends with a jam session by Roberto Migliussi (vocals), Chris Chibnall (theremin), Gavin Semple (guitar), Mark O Pilkington, Glen Tomney and Freya Black (magic flute). The tower provides amazing acoustics and so we sit there, chatting and listening to the wondrous vibrations.
On the last day it is time to pack and leave. We say goodbye, exchange contacts and return to our homes. Some people I meet throughout the event, are probably of high relevance within the London/UK esoteric scene. But my mind is already overwhelmed with new impressions and my journey is not over yet, as I am invited to check out two esoteric book stores. I need to catch my flight though and so there is only time left for one. We check out Watkins Books, recommended by Roberto Migliussi. I am impressed by the beauty of the place as well as the sheer amount of esoteric books on the shelves. I don’t think something similar exists in Germany. Roberto also purchases the very first of my sigil card sets and simultaneously entrusts me with the task of coming up with a better packaging for them.