It has been a cold, mostly rainy and busy start into 2019, but suddenly spring is here! And what I had started a year ago with the – somewhat random – introduction of the “Blessing Seal of Spring”, has now evolved, and sees a new manifestation with the completion of my “Spring Blessing” incense!
As temperatures rose to 17 °C today and the sun warmed up the city unhindered, I could feel the excitement and eagerness in the air and with the birds around our place. So I am happy to present you this new incense blend!
This brand-new Teufelskunst creation is dedicated all to the rituals of spring, including the celebration of the Vernal Equinox, Easter, the Roman Veneralia and leading up to Beltane. It smells pleasantly sweet and spicy, thanks to fragrant and traditionally spring related ingredients, such as clary sage, dammar, lemon grass, myrtle, violets and sweetgrass. In addition, yellow flowering primrose and amber resin evoke the sun and fire. The return of the vegetation, and pollinators along with it, is honored with precious bee propolis, which adds a warm and earthy aroma. For fertility spells and referencing the very essence of Venus, the blend contains further aromatic apple peels from our own apple tree. Water mint and willow both connect this blend to the element water, evoking Batrachian and ophidian currents.
The old Irish Beltaine is derived from common Celtic *belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire”. Fire is often part of spring and May Day celebrations, e.g. for cleansing (burning) the old and making way for the new or as a primitive reference to the return of the sun.
Uses: love & fertility spells, blessing rituals, luck, prosperity, dream, veneration of beloved spirits
Cleansing and blessing a dog skull with "Dog Days" incense, August 7th 2018
This week we had another “hottest day of the year”. Since June, most of Europe experiences a near ceaseless heat and drought period.
The hottest days of summer have been known for centuries as “dog days” (Hundstage), but this year they truly live up to their name.
The Greek called them kynádes hēmérai, Romans adopted it, calling them dies caniculares. Historically the period began with the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius in the Northern Hemisphere, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck, while to the Polynesians in the Southern Hemisphere the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.
For my “Dog Days” incense I took inspiration from the paralyzing and deadly weather phenomenon.
The formula has been updated, with field eryngo (Eryngium campestre) being added to the baneful blend. In German language this type of thistle is also referred to as “Unruh” and “Elend” and the occurrence of clusters of broken off stems, similar to spiky tumbleweed carried forth by the wind, are named “Steppenhexen”. This stingy plant is almost impossible to touch or harvest without hurting yourself. Yet, and despite the heat and drought, it is frequented by dozens of bumblebees and other pollinators.
Beside obvious herbal references to the the dog/wolf totem, such as wolfsbane and mandrake, the incense contains also black and white henbane, which have been used in prophecy, baneful spells but also for rain magic. I burnt a good amount of it on this day, both to cleanse and bless a dog skull I found at the flea market, as well as to call for rain and cooling. It may have been simply good timing, but rain came the following morning.
I am often asked about side effects and dangers of burning venific incense blends – I can only speak for myself, I did not notice anything, apart from feeling more focused and empowered. I also sensed a relaxing effect on myself. A slight dizziness I attest to the burning sun and heat, not to the herbs.
Luckily, the worst heat seems to be over now and I look forward to enjoying the end of summer and working on art. In other news, new batches of “Qayin” and “Naamah” incense are now back in stock!
"Rain Spell" ritual with dog skull and "Dog Days" incense, August 7th 2018
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.
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.
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
This section of our website has been dead for too long and it is with joy that we finally present you our first pair of magical Wands. The two wands we begin with are quite different from each other, due to their origin and character. Both are hand-crafted from wood we have harvested by ourself on special occasions and are part of a row different wands we are currently working on. Please read the descriptions for each and if you find one these would resonate with yourself and your work you can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and we sort out the details concerning payment and shipping.
Rowan Wand for the Urban Witch
The wand has three points and receives its character for once from its origin and secondly from a rich dark pattern caused by age and environmental influences. It was harvested from a solitary Rowan tree, which stood strong admidst a gathering of beton at a large traffic intersection in town. From its location the tree’s spirit could observe the fast moving nature of city life and radical changes in history and culture, yet it ever remained there as a silent observer, untouched and unmoved by the happenings around it, a symbol of strength and souvereignity, which would shine in deep green and bright red colors within an otherwise gray scenery. Another interesting aspect of this wand is its two-sided nature arising from its distinctive pattern and coloring: the bottom side is of a darker hue and has a rich pattern whilst the top is of a light-yellow color. The wand could be viewed as unifying opposites of light and dark, positive and negative, active and passive in a single magical weapon. The whirls and banding remind of olive wood, but with a red hue. The wand has a very smooth surface (in harmony with the royal nature of this wood) and has been oiled with almond oil, which brought out the wonderful dark pattern even more. The photos actually do not do it justice. The wand measures 43 cm (17”) in length and the handle is 2,2 cm (0,9”) in diameter. It feels wonderful to hold and is a pleasure for the tactile senses. Possible applications would be healing and protection magic, wisdom work, contacting the ancestral spirit world (particularly for those who lived an urban live) and meditation. Due to its origin it bears also associations with urban history, culture and theatres. Origin: Dresden
Price: 49 EUR
Pyracantha Snake Wand
pyracantha – thorny shrub of the apple family, from Modern Latin genus name Pyracantha, from Greek pyrakantha (Dioscorides), from pyr– “fire” + akantha “thorn, thorny plant,” from the root ak– “sharp, pointed”
The Wand is crafted from Firethorn wood, resembling the shape of a snake, and has been oiled with almond oil. It measures 45 cm in length and the handle ca. 2 cm in diameter. It is a small, handsome, inconspicuous, elegant piece, which was harvested from a special location. Due to its origin it bears invisible connections to the realm of the Dead. It is an overall benific wand, not fundamentally inimical but certainly fiery and spirited in character, which possesses also the power to bolster a curse and unleash a blazing attack against an enemy, when it is needed. It would fit to a bantam and vivacious person, and would be applied foremost in protection and/or defense spellwork, magic involving the element fire, heating up a spell and would constitute a lovely fetish in the hands of fire, serpent and thorn fetishists. In inverse magic the wand could also aid in cooling and taming the spirits, particularly when a situation has become too heated up. As with any magical tool, the outcome of the spell is in the operator’s hands and depends on how the tools are utilized. There are no guarantees.
The wand is available for purchase together with a powder consisting of the wooden dust left from crafting, dried firethorn berries, thorns and leaves.