TEUFELSKUNST Occult Art Blog
TEUFELSKUNST
Occult Art Blog

Plant Sigil Cards, Autumn Equinox Edition

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 info@teufelskunst.com

September 25, 2014

Posted In: Art, Pflanzenkunst, Feast Days, Prints

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Towards the Equinox

IMG_7657 copy

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…

 

 

September 8, 2014

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Ritual

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Summer in the Garden II: Followup

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!

September 6, 2014

Posted In: Garden, Herbs & Seeds

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Summer in the Garden I: Henbane

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. White Henbane (Hyoscyamus albus)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. White Henbane (Hyoscyamus albus)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. White Henbane (Hyoscyamus albus)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!IMG_5813 copy 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… IMG_5794 copyAnd 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.

 

July 28, 2014

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Garden

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MAGICAL ART/E, Circular Tower of an Event, London 2014

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.

Back in Dresden, I set to work.

art by Dolorosa de la Cruz
art by Amodali Zain
Pomba-Gira shrine by Angela Edwards
tower clockwork and my photographs
tower window and my photographs
visitor checking out a book by Charlotte Rodgers
musician Chris Chibnall at the theremin
talk with Charlotte Rodgers
artist and musician Glen Tomney
artist and publisher Roberto Migliussi
St. Augustine's tower, London Hackney
churchyard next to St. Augustine's tower
symbols at St. Augustine's tower
commemoration plaque at St. Augustine's tower
Watkins Books

March 28, 2014

Posted In: Events

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Sigil Cards

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.

Yours,

X.A.121/W.

March 21, 2014

Posted In: Art, Feast Days, Prints, Pflanzenkunst

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Teufelskunst Bronze Amulets

amulet
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. Hand-cast in bronze 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 ultimately in the hands of their owner. They are offered here with a very basic consecration ritual being performed on them and are accompanied by a blend of wormwood, lavender, myrrh and mandrake as well as care instructions and the metalsmith’s certificate. There are altogether 33 Teufelskunst amulets:

  • 13 engraved shiny
  • 10 embossed with dark patina
  • 10 embossed shiny

In addition were made a few “Red King” amulets, which sold out fast.

Below are some photos for reference:

March 15, 2014

Posted In: Collaborations

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Winter in the Garden

The garden beginning of last week and one day later: winter has finally arrived and the plants can now rest underneath a protecting blanket of snow. The long autumn had a positive aspect though: winterafter a rainy summer and cool autumn I could still bed out young plants that had caught up slowly together with some late acquisitions. This concerned herbs such as Aconite, Belladonna, Henbane and Poison Hemlock as well as Lovage, Hyssop and Wormwood. In the background are planted plain white and purple spotted Foxgloves, which had been sown last year. These are now asleep underneath the white shroud that Hulda has laid upon the earth, awaiting resurrection in spring. Mandrakes kept in pots have been moved inside to the basement, together with a few daturas, angel’s trumpets and other plants that don’t withstand freezing.

Likewise Teufelskunst seems to have gone dormant. However those watching this space  may have noticed silent changes, corrections and additions that have been and continue being done pertaining to the site’s structure as well as content, with new and corrected info texts being uploaded to the Garden library as well as new items being added to our Herbal Supply – for example resins and powders in labeled glass bottles. I am constantly working on expanding and increasing the quality of the service, inspired and spured by recent customer requests as well as interaction with other experienced herb and seed dealers.

A few things on my list to look into in 2014 are for example new Aconite species, namely the beautiful Climbing Monkshood (Aconitum hemsleyanum) with dark claret flowers and the Yellow Monkshood or Healing Wolfsbane (Aconitum anthora). Further I was able to track down rare seeds of the allegedly most poisonous Monkshood, the Indian Aconite or Bish (Aconitum ferox), which I hope to be able to grow from seed this year. Besides this I seek to expand my knowledge about different Datura species, adding the Long Spined or Fierce Thorn-Apple (Datura ferox) to the garden. What else? I did not have any success yet at growing Henbane Bell (Scopolia carniolica) from seed, so I will give it another try with new seeds from a different source. Finally I have also been offered rare seeds of the Indian Belladonna (Atropa acuminata). For those interested I will post about my sowing and growing progress here.

Of course there are also orders to take care of and it is a pleasure and rewarding to receive this type of positive feedback and see the group of new and returning customers grow. Being an artist/hand-crafting things on the one hand and being a seller/taking care of business on the other is certainly not always an easy combination, especially when inspiration kicks in. Occvlta SinistraHaving to hold it back in favor of handling and shipping orders (duty) however does also insure that I am not chasing after any quick idea and forces me to be selective of what I actually manifest. In this regard I am also extremely excited about and thankful for the collaborations that arose last year, first of all with Occvlta, who have already begun creating a new collection of unique Reliquary Pendants with Teufelskunst herbs. (Seeing the new pendants yesterday was a real treat!) Click on the picture to the left to learn more.

Besides this yet another jewellery collaboration is coming to frution with a metal worker from Finland, currently casting the first batch of metal pendants with our Sigilum Major – or Greater Sowing Seal, which is simultaneously also the seal of a certain herb. (If you are familiar with our plant inspired sigilla magicae you may recognize it.) For those interested in the process comes here a photo of the casting procedure… and here are now the final prototypes: Teufelskunst-pendants-2014+

As you can see there is also another pendant being done. More about this, photos and details concerning prizing to be announced soon. Pre-orders are already accepted at info@teufelskunst.com

What more? The past weeks were also filled with new experiences and inspiration transmitted by nature’s silent witnesses, the trees and vine (see documentation). From harvesting Poison Ivy and Mistletoe to communicating with Birch, Alder and other giants, which lastly ought to lead to new creations – amongst others in the form of new altar discs. This year starts with birch and black alder, of which I have a few raw wood slices to work with and that shall result in ten new pentacles to be offered here soon. For reference, these have been inspired by a recent customer request and they are different in that they are pyrographed into raw untreated wood that still has tree bark on. Details and pictures to follow. Besides this I am also working on new regular pentacles.

Lastly I have been approached for different commissions, such as tattoo designs and illustrations. I have also been contemplating the direction into which Teufelskunst is going and aim altogether for a stronger combination of supply, collaborative efforts and original art. Whatever news this year will have – you will read about them first here.

So long, thank you so much for your love, support and patience.

Yours X.A.

IMG_1424+
Blessed New Year

January 28, 2014

Posted In: News & Site Updates, Garden

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