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Thagirion Incense, Ingredients

Thagirion Herbs, Jan. 2017

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

Source: Wikimedia Commons, photo by Maimaid

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.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, photo by Júlio Reis

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?)

photo by Wiebke Rost

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.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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:

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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.

Thagirion Incense, Feb. 2017
Thagirion Incense, Feb. 2017

Update: The first batch is sold out. The second batch will be available February 17th, 2017.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

January 19, 2017

Posted In: Incense, Herbs & Seeds

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Thagirion Incense

black_sun_web

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

Contains: blue Egyptian water lily (Nymphaea caerulea), calamus root (Acorus calamus), frankincense from Aden, hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa), lion’s tail aka wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), storax scented charcoal, wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa), shed snakeskin

Scent: deep, warm, sweet

Thagirion Incense
Thagirion Incense, Jan. 2017

Update: The first batch is sold out. The second batch will be available February 17th, 2017.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

January 17, 2017

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Adramelech Incense, The ingredients – part II

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, Jan. 2017
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.

Ophidian emissary…

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.

European Peacock (Inachis Io)
European Peacock (Inachis Io)

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…

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

January 15, 2017

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"Sakura Yume" oneiric incense

IMG_1686web

The most exquisite incense blend I may have composed up to this day, contains costly aloeswood, sakura blossoms, white lavender, benzoin siam resin etc. and is my personal “if all else fails” agent. I made it recently for myself and for my dad, who was extremely moved and emotional over receiving it. He does not burn it as incense but simply enjoys smelling on the incense glass.

The blend itself is inspired by a dream of flying – an intense and surreal experience. Imagine you are flying on a magic carpet and find yourself enveloped in a whirlwind of sakura blossoms*, their tender petals gently brushing your face. The magic carpet moves swiftly and carries you further, across endless lavender fields, letting you observe the world from a birds eye view. In an abandoned landscape garden fragrant roses release their sweet scent in the sun’s warmth. At the end you land smoothly, in a familiar place, with both feet planted firmly on the ground. In my dream this place was near a cemetery, I had been visiting so often and there I met and received guidance from a dead friend. Whilst the incense blend does not contain any necromantic herbs, it can still open astral channels to one’s tutelary spirits, which may also include dead friends.

The seal adorning the incense vessel is my “dream gate” seal, which is inspired by the aforementioned dream and which  I have used in various contexts and in connection with different deities:

dream-seal-web

Uses: restful sleep, inspired dreaming, protection, joy, receiving guidance from familiar and tutelary spirits in dream, honoring the spirit of the cherry tree

Contains: aloeswood, benzoin siam resin, cherry blossoms, lavender buds, fragrant rose petals, star anise, styrax-scented charcoal, black and silver olibanum resin

* in Japanese tradition the falling sakura blossoms stand for the souls of the dead

Available options and pricing:

  • 100 ml violet glass jar – 39,90 Euro
  • 50 ml violet glass jar – 22,90 Euro
  • 60 ml brown glass jar – 22,90 Euro
  • 120 ml brown glass jar – 39,90 Euro

Order this blend via e-mail and from my etsy shop – CURRENTLY SOLD OUT

Besides, this incense provides a good alternative for persons allergic to mugwort etc.

August 15, 2016

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Incense Blends of the Dead

Incense blends for working with the dead

Veneration Incense of the Dead

This is a basic incense blend that you can use in daily or weekly offerings on the altar dedicated to the ancestral, beloved and the mighty dead. It consists of equal amounts of myrrh, wormwood and white sandalwood. This blend can easily be adjusted for different purposes, e.g. for “talking” to or “appeasing” the souls of the deceased. Fitting herbs for modifying this blend can be ordered along with it. (see below)

Contains: fresh myrrh resin, white sandalwood, self-harvested wormwood

Oneiromantic incense of the Dead

This blend is designed specifically for contacting the dead in dream and receiving advice about the future. It contains the same ingredients as the veneration incense of the dead and is enhanced with soporific and oneirogenic ingredients, e.g. sandarac resin, mugwort, jasmine and brugmansia flowers, privet flowers and white rose buds. The blend should be burned an hour prior to sleep, in a calm surrounding. It is meant to help the practitioner find a calm state of mind and enter a deep and restful sleep, which is the premise for experiencing sustained and long dream sequences. The same blend can be used for ritually recalling these dreams. It is helpful to use a photograph and other personal links to the dead, whose presence is sought in dream. These links can be placed for example beside the bed or under the pillow.

Safety advice: Please do not leave burning coals unobserved! Don’t burn incense if you feel too tired to pay attention. Instead simply smell on the jar before sleep and burn the incense, when you are well rested and want to revisit the dream experience.

Contains: brugmansia and jasmine flores, fresh myrrh resin, privet flowers*, sandarac resin, self-harvested mugwort and wormwood, silver frankincense, white sandalwood, white rose buds

Order these blends via e-mail 


Herbs with different properties pertaining to the dead

aconite (death curses, resurrection), aloeswood (protection, sleep, overcoming sadness), benzoin resin (enchantments, sleep), blackthorn (coercing), brugmansia flowers (astral work, divination, coercing), copal resin (appeasing), cornel cherry wood (resurrection), cypress needles and bark (protection), dittany of crete (manifestation), elder flowers (gate opening), galbanum resin (dreams, protection), foxglove (death curses, resurrection), guggul resin (dreams, protection), laurel leaves (sleep, communication), lavender (appeasing, sleep), mugwort (astral work), henbane (manifestation, communication, cursing), mandrake (dark dead), mullein (manifestation, protection), myrrh resin (mourning, protection), opoponax resin (protection, astral work), poplar (gate opening), rose petals (dreams, protection), sandarac resin (sleep), tobacco (feeding, communion, banishing), valerian root (sleep, protection), vervain herb (appeasing, dreams), white sandalwood (appeasing), willow (gate opening), yew needles (gate opening, death curses, resurrection)

This list is far from complete, but gives an idea to which end certain resins and herbal agents can be employed in connection with the dead. The blends presented above are meant as starters for exploring the vast and increasingly complex field of “necromancy”.

July 26, 2016

Posted In: Feast Days, Ritual, Incense

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Adramelech Incense, The Ingredients – part I

Fire within, cold without…

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, Jan. 2017
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.

Spicing up…

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)
Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

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.

Marked…

Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)
Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum)

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.

Eye-opener…

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

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…

"Mandramelech"
“Mandramelech”

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…

Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) root resembling a skeletal hand. The fetish made from the root is known as "devil's hand".
Male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas) root resembling a skeletal hand. It is made into a fetish known as “devil’s hand”.

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.

For ordering write to info@teufelskunst.com

April 16, 2016

Posted In: Herbs & Seeds, Incense

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