The latest seed boxes have been sold and shipped. I received much more inquiries than expected and will get back to each individually. Please bare with me if this takes a few more days. I have also started preparations for the next boxes, these being #31-36. It will take a couple of weeks to complete these. My plan is to have them ready in time for mid-spring – for sowing all those herbs that like it warm. The other seeds that come with the box can be sown in autumn or given the artificial cold treatment in the fridge.
About the boxes: they contain seeds from at least 44 different venific and benific ‘witch’ herbs. The boxes are pyrographed with the “Sigillum Major” or “Greater Sowing Seal”, which you also see as the official logo of Teufelskunst. The boxes are then stained and varnished. Following this, hundreds of little paper bags are labeled and filled with the seeds, which I partly gather by myself and partly purchase from other places. I usually spend at least 40 hours on four of these boxes. It is a tedious but also rewarding process, which gives me the chance to connect deeper with the herbs and it also empties the mind and brings new inspiration. I also learn how the seed for each herb looks and what it requires to break its dormancy. It is my hope that the content of these boxes will bring joy to others and aid them in their own studies.
The boxes contain seeds from at least 44 different venific and benific ‘witch’ herbs. The boxes are pyrographed with the “sigilum major” or “greater sowing seal”, stained and varnished. Then hundreds of little paper bags are labeled and filled with the seeds, which I partly gather by myself and partly purchase from other places. I usually spend at least 40 hours on four of these boxes. It is a tedious but also rewarding process, which gives me the chance to connect deeper with the herbs and it also empties the mind and brings new inspiration. It is my hope that the content of these boxes will bring joy to others and aid them in their own studies.
Update: the boxes are sold. Please write to me at email@example.com if you wish to reserve one in the future!
I am delighted to share with you pictures of the second batch of the Thagirion incense, which is now back in store. The formula has been updated, containing passion flower in addition to the ingredients discussed earlier. This is the perfect blend to use on the upcoming annular solar eclipse of February 26th, 2017. Too late to order? Don’t worry, you will get a second chance on August 21st, 2017 with a total solar eclipse occurring over the Western hemisphere, which will be partly visible also in Western Europe.
My art, photography and writing are part of Anathema’s ‘Pillars Perichoresis‘ anthology, released in 2016.
The book is a compilation of the first three ‘Pillars‘ journals and contains additional material that was not part of previous releases. Therefore, sadly not all artists that appeared in the original journals have been included.
I have shared this with a few customers, so I make it available here as well. This is a short research into the plants that compose my incense blend for contemplative work with the qlipha Thagirion.
Aspects that tie in here are the sun of the underworld and afterlife, the sun’s burning and eruptive aspects, fire of inspiration etc. Here are also references to the ecstasy of the lotophagi. What may need further investigation is the concept of the sin eater, which is addressed in the title illustration, but not discussed in this text.
Keywords: cleansing, renewal, leaving behind the shadow of death, ecstasy, fire of inspiration, arts, collective efforts, destruction/ change of ego-patterns
Scent: deep, warm, sweet
1. Blue Egyptian Water Lily (Nymphaea caerulea) has been used ritually for millennia. The lotus is a symbol of divinity and beauty. In Egypt it rose and faded with the sun and was sacred to the sun gods. An entire cosmogony (rule by the ogdoad) was based on the lotus. The flower features prominently in religious art all over the world and bears associations both with creation myths as well as the afterlife. Both the blue and white water lily contain alkaloids, which act euphoric, narcotic and anti-spasmodic. Extracts of water lily have been used as a substitute for opium during WWI. The lotophagi in Homer’s account of the Odyssey may have consumed this plant. It is said to induce a state of bliss and indolence. In Egyptian art it is depicted in connection with dancing or in key rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife. Whereas the white lotus would appear on the drinking vessels of the living the blue lotus was reserved for sacred ceremonial ritual vessels. Because of its links to the sun of the underworld, sleep and intoxication I found the blue lotus useful in ritual work with the qlipha Thagirion.
2. Calamus root (Acorus Calamus), or sweet flag as it is often called, is associated with the sun and the male. The root oil is aromatic and part of perfumes, liquors and also cola. The root extract has stimulant, warming (sun) and aphrodisiacal properties. It is a traditional ingredient in ketoret temple incense and may aid in establishing contact with one’s guardian ‘angel’. Calamus can act as a mood elevator and cause mild hallucinations. So here we have another plant that grows in or close to water. The name calamus comes from Greek κάλαμος (kálamos), meaning “reed”, “straw” or “pipe”. The shaft has been used for making writing instruments as well as pipes. Calamari are named after the plant. The Latin name acorus in turn may be derived from Greek άχόρου (áchórou) and κόρη (kóri), referring to the pupil of the eye. The root extract was apparently also a remedy for eye diseases, which cause a ‘darkening of the pupil’. The bittersweet and slightly nauseating scent of calamus root has grown on me. When adding it to any herbal blend I feel it gives it a boost (strengthening) and also adds protective qualities. In addition I found it potent in dream work. I also added it to self-made herbal liquors and it left me with a bit of a headache. Use with care.
3. Wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus) is also known by the name lion’s tail. It was brought to my attention by a good friend. The orange flowers and its name are of course evocative of the sun. The herb is endemic to the Southern Africans and used in traditional African medicine. Its energizing effects have been compared to energy drinks, whilst others say it acts similar to Cannabis when smoked. It is said to induce euphoria and mild hallucinations. In smoking recipes it is combined with water lily to enhance these effects. The species Leonorus nepetifolia is said to act significantly stronger than its relative. Leonorus is used in traditional medicine to cure fevers, snake bites, scorpion stings and other inflammations. So this sunny herb counteracts many physical ailments that deal with too much heat – Mars influences, but also the effects of venturing too close to the sun (burns). Leonotis means “lion’s ear” and is a reference to the shape of the flower crown. I found it a nice signature reference to Sorath, the black lion prince of Thagirion.
4. Hibiscus (Hibiscus spcc.) is another plant associated with the sun. But the red hibiscus flower is also sacred to the Hindu goddess Kali, who is sometimes depicted merging with the flower in form. Hibiscus tea is rich in Vitamine C and minerals, strengthens the immune system and is as such used as a mild medicine during the winter time. It is also pleasant to drink cold during hot summer days. Hibiscus lowers blood pressure. Interestingly, extracts from the flowers of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis have shown to function as an anti-solar agent by absorbing ultraviolet radiation. So here is another ‘sun’ herb that counteracts characteristics of its planetary influence. Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia, also called Bunga Raya, “grand flower”, representing life and courage. In China it is also called zhū jǐn, “vermilion hibiscus” and is identified with wealth and fame. Otherwise it stands also for the attractiveness of a young female virgin. In South-Korea hibiscus symbolizes immortality. In the Victorian language of flowers Hibiscus translates as “delicate beauty”. The hibiscus flower tea that is sold in Europe is mostly composed of the calyxes from the species Hibiscus sabdariffa, also known as Roselle and the tea is called Karkadeh. I keep searching for the red Chinese hibiscus, though I feel in shape and essence the flowers of H. sabdariffa are also suitable. I find particularly interesting the association with Kali, as an embodiment of adversarial beauty, black, fierce and destructive, destroyer of illusions, demanding bloody sacrifice, yet also bestowing boons to the faithful – favoring the beautiful hisbiscus flower amongst her offerings.
Now we have three different flowers, all powerful and representative of the sun, and we have also looked at inherent adverse or inverse aspects of that planetary influence. In color we range from blue to green to orange to a deep red. To complete the visible spectrum we are yet missing a yellow herb. One that immediately comes to mind is the sunflower, perhaps the boldest representative amongst all ‘sun’ herbs. (Could have started with this one, right?)
5. The indigenous peoples of America viewed the sunflower (Helianthus annuus) as a symbol of their solar deities, which represented life and sustenance. Early Spanish explorers imported the sunflower to Europe. Consequently sunflower became one of the most important agricultural commodities. Sunflower, particularly seed, is rich in nutrients and has a wide range of medicinal properties. It is also a flower chosen by some spiritual movements as a motto and symbol for ‘turning to the light of truth’, based on the sunflower’s alleged heliotropism. True is, the flower buds and leaves turn indeed towards the light and then usually point towards the noon sun, and act thus as a compass. But the stem of a mature flower freezes and remains in its position, usually pointing East. The size of a sunflower does btw. depend directly on the amount of light it receives, meaning the sunnier the bigger.
The second misconception refers to the “flower” of the sunflower, which is actually a “flower head” or pseudanthium of numerous small individual five-petaled flowers, so-called “florets”. The florets can be of varying color, from yellow to green to a dark brown. Ever fascinating is the spiral arrangement of the florets. Each floret is oriented toward the next by approximately the golden angle, 137.5°, producing a pattern of interconnecting spirals, where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive Fibonacci numbers. Typically, there are 34 spirals in one direction and 55 in the other; however, in a very large sunflower head there could be 89 in one direction and 144 in the other. This pattern produces the most efficient packing of seeds mathematically possible within the flower head. Natural growth patterns are an aspect I have also come to relate with this qlipha and may have subconsciously inspired the title graphic, which builds upon my old sun symbol, employed here in a repetitive pattern to form a more complex structure.
The way, in which the sunflower florets are packed close together does remind me of honeycombs, as if the flower was a mirror to the structures built by bees. Also how bees live in a swarm collective and function together as a single organism, is similar to how the flower head of the sunflower is comprised of myriads of little, neatly organized florets. The florets are surrounded by so-called “ray flowers”, which resemble petals. They help attract pollinators such as bees. We see how the single flowers are organized, each serving its purpose. The individual or the small piece is part of a higher order or collective, which achieves more than the individual alone.
A not so friendly feature are the sunflower’s allelopathic properties: sunflowers emit substances that hinder other plants from growing in their proximity. The sunflower has means to defend itself. This feature would translate also spiritually as a way of self-defense. But more along the line: I grow and prosper here, you may not. Or: for the sun to shine on me, others have to remain in my shadow. This is of course putting it a bit drastic. The sunflower’s biochemical self-defense mechanism reaches only so far, just enough to ensure it can grow and unfold. In my view, this pierces deeply though into that Thagirion complex, where we are confronted with the excesses of ego-worship. It is essentially about balancing ego extremes and finding a way, away from the superficial compensation of inferiority complexes to profound and long lasting changes.
Now on to a herb that is actually more considered a Saturn herb, but which also has some interesting indirect links to the sun. The herb experienced a revival during the hippy era and was consumed together with blue water lily and wild dagga:
6. The wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) sports golden-yellow flowers and spinose green foliage. It goes also by the names bitter lettuce and opium lettuce. Ingesting the plant is said to bring about psychotropic, calming and anodyne effects similar to opium and it is sometimes combined with Nymphea caerulea for that purpose. In herbal medicine it is mainly used as a mild painkiller and for treating nervousness. Whilst heroine and other opiates may initially cause nausea and vomiting, wild lettuce is said to not have such side effects. Either the dried herb or latex extracted from the stem are smoked or added to tea or soaked in alcohol. The dried latex (a milky white sap) is also called Lactucarium and has also been consumed directly. Beside lactucine, the plant is also said to contain the tropane alkaloid hyoscyamine, which is found in most nightshades, such as henbane (Hyoscyamus niger).
The plant is a wild forebear of the garden lettuce, which is widely used in salads. Hildegard von Bingen noted about the herb:
“The lettuces, which can be eaten, are very cold, and when eaten without spice they make the brain of man empty with their useless juice. …But the wild lettuces have almost the same nature. For anyone who would eat lettuces, which are useless and are called weeds, either raw or cooked, would become mad, that is insane, and he will become empty in the core”
Obviously a rather negative review of the herb and its qualities, however the mind altering and emptying attributes fit for the work with this qlipha. In the 16th century, Gerard said of wild lettuce:
“it procures sleep, assuages paine, moves the courses in women, and is drunke against the stingings of scorpions and bitings of spiders. The seed taken in drinke, like as the garden lettuce, hindreth generation of seed and venereous imaginations.”
In other words it kills (or at least decreases) sexual drive. Victorians feared the herb would induce childlessness.
Ironically wild lettuce was sacred to the Egyptian god Min, a fertility deity, god of male sexual potency, crops and also of magical plants. Min was believed to ensure the annual flow of the river Nile and fertility of the land people of Egypt. His depictions are ithyphallic, showing the deity with a large erect penis and lettuce beside him. He was also envisioned to lay on a bed made entirely of lettuce. Wild lettuce was considered an aphrodisiac in ancient Egypt. The milky latex exuded from the stems may have been thought of as resembling semen and the plant’s vertical growth was considered phallic. Oddly, depictions of Min show him as missing one arm and strangely two-dimensional. When still human Min was put in charge to guard and care for the women left behind when the other men went to war, possibly facing defeat and death. But they returned successful. Only to find all their women pregnant. Enraged, they cut Min in two halves. Min was also a god of the desert, lightning and sandstorms. Again we are confronted with ambiguous properties, aphrodisiac and anaphrodisiac at the same time, evocative of male potency, abundance, fertility and prosperity, but also opposite visions of castration, childlessness, destruction and sacrifice (ego death). In ancient Greek manuscripts the plant is btw. referred to as ‘Titan’s Blood’, relating it to the giant gods that battled the Olympians, which links the herb with the adversary of gods and men alike.
Adding wild lettuce means breaking with typical sun herb patterns and euphemistic sun attributes and instead shifting focus further towards other aspects. Wild lettuce also enhances the mind altering qualities of some of the herbs contained herein.
7./8. As for the resins to round up this blend I used storax-soaked charcoal, which adds a sweet warm scent, and Olibanum from Aden, which has a fresh, citrus-like aroma and is overall stimulant. Keeping it simple here.
The above herbs and flowers come from different cultures and regions. When burnt, all of these ingredients will turn black and be reduced to ashes whilst releasing their essence. The ashes may be collected and used in further rituals, e.g. for protection and cleansing.
Update: The first batch is sold out. The second batch will be available February 17th, 2017.
This blend is overall solar, but more the kind that burns hot and makes you feel dizzy and drowsy, as when staring at the sun for too long… It contains herbs with psycho-active properties such as blue egyptian waterlily, calamus root, wild dagga and wild lettuce.
Characteristics: herbs and flowers that represent the sun in shape and color, display the spectrum of visible light and bring out both the fire and light aspect, but at same time are cooling and possess the power of opening the mind and showing gates to other dimensions
Keywords: cleansing, renewal, leaving behind the shadow of death, fire of inspiration
The snow came and went just about the same time as last year. Today has had more snow. Before I post about the new things I’ve been creating for you, I will share here some impressions from my way to work etc.
And how it looked in town…
Things in the works:
+ A new batch of Adramelech incense is completed and can be ordered now! Two blog posts about the different ingredients contained in this blend to follow… + Incense for Thagirion has been added to the store… + Crafted new wooden seed boxes, but yet have to fill them… + Still working on the dark wintry “Isa” incense… More updates to follow soon. +
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 II. (read 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
Flowers in the valley of the shadow of death…
The sweet scent of the lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) tells of spring and the returning of life, yet the plant often adorns graves and is deadly poisonous. As yet another mercurial herb with venific properties it perfectly represents the darker aspects of the planetary influence corresponding with this qlipha. Whether it was this or another “lily of the valley”, we do not know, but legend tells that a flower by such name grew where the tears of Eve fell, when she was banished from Eden. It is also told, the serpent that tempted Eve to taste the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was either Lilith or Samael in disguise. For disobeying god, man was sentenced to a life of labor and eventually die, only to be granted eternal life after death if… well, you know the story. In the Christian faith the lily features also as a symbol for the second coming of Christ and thus the resurrection of the dead at the day of judgment. From seduction, to sin, to the bitter truth, to the tears that followed and lastly the flower that grew from them; the lily of the valley is an essential part of this incense.
Shed snakeskin is added herein as an animalic link to the qlipha’s ophidian manifestations. The serpent is also a totem guarding the astral gates to the realm of the dead. I was given shed skins from a red-tailed boa (Boa constrictor) and carpet python (Morelia spilota). The owner of the snakes noted the python is quick and populates trees, whilst the boa resides in the field and is altogether a bit slower. I recommend looking up both species and reading about them. I will share here just one bit I came across and found interesting in this context. The boa features in Mesoamerican myth: it was believed the serpent was sent by the gods (which is expressed in its German name “Abgottschlange”) as an omen of impending doom. It was also believed the boa would hide in the manioc fields and impregnate unwitting women, to spawn a new serpentine breed. This is similar to the esoteric lore about the serpent Samael impregnating Eve, who then gave birth to Qayin. Shed snake skin has a fascinating, transparent, paper-like texture. It crackles when crushed and is surprisingly tear-proof. The color of these skins is a ghostly grayish white to pale golden-red and partly iridescent. When burnt it smells like burnt skin or nails, but this is covered by the aroma of the resinous and herbal ingredients.
Protector at the threshold…
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of those herbs, that covers unpleasant odors, including the stench of decay. More conventional applications include the use of lavender oil in relaxing baths and for a calm sleep. Lavender may ease nervous tensions and help focus the mind. In magic it is also thought to aid in contacting spirits, it is used for cleansing and for helping the dead find rest. The flowers are also added to dream pillows. Personally I have found lavender to be a potent messenger between the realm of the living and the dead, especially in dream, thereby being protective of as well as guiding the dreamer. This would be a proof of its association with the planetary influence of Mercury and deities such as Hermes, and particularly Hermes chthonios. This blend contains French blue as well as intensely fragrant white lavender from our garden.
The mirror gates of death…
The daffodil aka narcissus is a bright spring flower with an intoxicating scent. In Greek myth however it features as a flower of death. Persephone was lured by the pale fragrant flowers and they would be the last thing she reached for, before Hades abducted her to the underworld. The banks of the river Styx are described as being covered with daffodils. The flower is named after the youth Narcissus, who committed suicide, after he saw his own reflection in the water. Narcissus was blessed with otherworldly beauty and adored by girls and boys. At the same time he was cursed, as he only was to live long if he would never recognize himself (“si se non noverit“). Obsessed with his own beauty and aloofness he drove one of his admirers into suicide. The young man’s death was revenged by the gods. Nemesis caused Narcissus to see his own reflection in the water and he fell in love with it. Longing for his own reflection he drowns. Instead of his corpse is found a flowering daffodil. The daffodil is hence also a symbol of seduction, unfulfilled longing and obsession with one’s ego, which is popularly known as narcissism..
Another aspect addressed in the story of Narcissus is the delusive nature of the mirror’s surface. In one version of the legend a leaf falls into the water and distorts the reflection of his image, perceived as so ugly by Narcissus that he commits suicide. The mirror here is more than a deceptive surface, it becomes a gate or a trap through which Narcissus enters death. I have mentioned the connections between this qlipha and reflective surfaces as are found in the poisonous white-silvery metal mercury, which is liquid at room temperature and extremely volatile. 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. I cannot include real mercury within this incense blend. As a simple visual substitute and eye candy I use silver-colored Frankincense.
The tears that open the heavens and hells…
Galbanum (Ferula galbaniflua) is the semi-liquid resin derived from a species of giant fennel (not to be confused with the common fennel). The resin has a bitter, green scent and is of a sticky, honey-like consistence. It is one of the ingredients used in the incense of the tabernacle (Ex. 30:34) and features in Agrippa’s spirit suffumigation. It was sacred to Ancient Egyptians, used for divination, contacting celestial spirits as well as communing with the dead. It has strong oneiric properties and is great to burn prior to sleep and dream work. I was looking for a resin complimenting the deep green scent and dark mercurial nature of this blend. Galbanum is a perfect match. Only its sticky-fluid consistence can be a little tricky: I heat it prior to use, then pour the hot liquid into the bowl with my blend and then (wearing rubber gloves) start kneading and kneading…
Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) has similar properties as galbanum but comes along more aerial and lofty, with its intense dill-like scent and fresh coniferous undertones. It also has a sticky consistence and, like galbanum, is somewhat difficult to blend with other herbs and resins. I hence store elemi in the freezer, then crush it for as long as it remains brittle and try to blend it as fast as possible with the rest. The elemi then binds with the other ingredients and forms clusters, which I then knead through, over and over. To prevent the sticky mass from gluing unto my hands I use a plant oil or alcohol, which act as a natural solvents.
This process can take hours and is one of the reasons why this blend is a little more arduous to produce then other incense I offer. But the result is worth it, for when burnt, this blend can boost your awareness and elevate your perception in a quite extraordinary way. It is rather strong and intense in its pure form and hence can be blended with other resins and basic ingredients for a more moderate effect.
Opoponax is also known as sweet myrrh and bisabol myrrh. The resin is typically orange-brown to red in color and has an intense aroma, which can actually be a little sickening. Its scent, when burnt, is sweeter, somewhat animalic and less bitter than that of myrrh. Opoponax is traditionally used to cleanse, protect against negative or parasitic influences and to improve intuition. It cleanses and strengthens a wounded aura, helps fine tuning the senses and inspires creative work. Harold Roth notes that it is especially useful against negative thoughts. The resin used in this blend comes from trees in the Commiphora genus. Opoponax is an alternative spelling for opopanax, from Anglo-Norman opopanac, from Latin opopanax, from Hellenistic Greek ὀποπάναξ, from Ancient Greek ὀπός “vegetable juice” + πάναξ “panacea” = all healing. The original source for this resin may though in fact not have been the aforementioned trees but different plants in the Apiaceae family, such as the Hercules-all-heal (Opopanax chironium). The juice obtained from this herb has an acrid bitter taste, but produces a balsamic lavender-like scent when burnt.
The earthy, sweet, balsamic aroma and strengthening properties of guggul (Commiphora mukul) compliment opoponax and other resins used in this incense. Guggul has a soft consistence and is of a dark brown to near black color but is translucent against a light source, then taking on hues of light-brown to deep blood-red or sometimes green. In Hebrew, ancient Greek and Latin sources it is also referred to as bdellium. It has been cultivated and used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for nearly 3000 years. It is a personal favorite, as it has the best of myrrh and opoponax, both in scent as well as pertaining to its spiritual effects. It is also noted to have impact on the blood flow and circulatory system and is applied to wounds for disinfection. In India it is burnt as an incense for cleansing and banishing bad spirits from a home. It is also burnt prior to sleep, to calm the mind and relax the body. Unfortunately the Indian tree species is threatened due to over-harvesting. Alternative sources are African and Arabian Commiphora trees, which yield a less balsamic but equally potent resin.
Arboreal messengers between the realms…
There are various trees thought to guard the entrance to the underworld or the mythical gates of death, but there is one tree in particular attributed with the special power of not only connecting all the dead but being able to revive them from their graves. This guarding tree of the dead is the yew (Taxus baccata). And whilst the wood or any part of this tree is considered to be blessed with bearing the power of bringing life to the dead, it is a fact, that its dark-green, poisonous, needle-shaped leaves bring the reverse, namely death to the living. The smallest amount can kill a man. Yet shamans would use it to travel to the realm of the spirits (the dead) and return with wisdom and knowledge about curing the sick. Or the lost wanderer would fall asleep under the tree, sometimes never to return. It is fascinating how this dark, slow growing tree would bear such potent quickening powers. It is yet another example for a plant being ruled by both Mercury and Saturn.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) too bears associations with the dead, as it is burnt to please their souls. In Hinduism the dead are cremated on the wood as its scent is thought to appease their souls and help them leave. White Sandalwood is called so because of its white heartwood. It is also referred to as the “Great Receiver”, since the oil extracted from the wood absorbs the aromatic compounds of other oils and because of this is used in traditional attars. The fragrant oil is attributed purifying, relaxing, mind calming, cooling effects and is also thought to induce sensuousness and lust. Interestingly S. album is semi-parasitic, in that it derives nutrients by parasitizing the roots of other trees, however without causing the hosts greater damage. Originally spread across India it is now cultivated in other Asian countries and Australia. The Indian sandalwood is threatened due to over-exploitation and altered land use, its trade and export is regulated strictly by the Indian government. The trade of Australian sandalwood is cautioned as well. Similar scented woods exist, but are considered of lower quality. Commercially available white sandalwood is often adulterated or artificially scented. Real Indian sandalwood is rare and expensive and its trade is banned in some countries. In Germany few sellers carry it. This blend contains natural, fragrant Indian sandalwood, which is not perfumed.
Red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) is not related to the aforementioned white sandalwood. It is valued for its red color and used as a natural food dye and also as a paint pigment. It has a neutral, mildly woody scent and is used as a base material for incense sticks and cones. It is attributed cleansing properties. In traditional herbal medicine it is used among others as an antipyretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. Some employ the wood also because of its color in love and martial spellwork. It should be noted that the tree is slow growing, producing a hard red wood, which is sought after by furniture makers. Red sandalwood is listed as an endangered species because of over-exploitation for its timber in South India. Its export and trade require a CITES certificate, yet red sandalwood chips for incense making are widely available. The red sandalwood contained in this incense has an intense vermilion color.
Due to the threatened status of both red and white sandalwood I consider substituting both ingredients with hazel and rowan wood in the future.
Last but not least, one small but mighty addition, that rounds up our excursion through the garden of Adramelech-Samael, is the dust obtained from dead peacock butterflies. These adorable creatures would frequent my altars for the dead during the cold season of the year, feeding on the offerings given to the dead and their saints. Some say the butterfly or moth is a messenger of the dead, that can guide or lead astray the living. Whatever it is, I leave it up to you to find out…