It’s wonderful to be receiving such feedback! Remember last year`s mandrake post about “Alien Monstress” and “Crippled Astronaut”? Well, who would have guessed that! First photo shows a recent post by obviously blessed and knowledgable David ‘Mr. Mandrake’ Simmons. Second photo is of the same root about a year ago and third is of my ink portrait, now framed and adorning D. Simmon’s wall. Thanks David!
My gratitude goes to the organizers Catamara and Marcus as well as the team of people that made it all possible, especially Kim, Katrink and Prof. Porterfield. Huge thanks also to the people that attended and took part in the workshops, especially David. We made it work, despite catching Covid, despite hurricanes and despite all the other obstacles. I am looking forward to the next point in time when the portals open for communing with the genii of the plant kingdom. Below is a summary of my presentation and workshop.
1 hour live presentation with Q&A
Creating Magical Images of Plants – Combining Phytography and Ritual Magic
1 hour lecture + 3 hour workshop included the following topics:
methods of ritual magic, sympathetic magic and planetary magic
indepth information on plant pigments
short history of nature printing
alternative photography processes feat. work by Malin Fabbri and Kristina Feldhammer
Datura wrightii flower at Pinwheel Cave California
examples of phytographs created with coffee and plants
workshop guides through the ritual creation of your own magical plant paper talismans
question & answer on anything plant/ritual related
Workshop materials provided to attendents included:
ritually harvested, pressed flowers and plants
signed print of the witch hazel seal
Phytographs created during the 3 hour workshop:
Magnolia, hour of Venus
Fennel, hour of Mercury
California Poppy, hour of Mercury + Moon
Blue Lotus, hour of Moon
Witch Hazel, hour of Saturn
Phytographs created during VGS VII workshop, using planetary hours
In December I finished fresh batches of “Rauhnächte” and “Winter Solstice” incense and started a new round of working with the birch’s arboreal spirit…
Incense ‘master’ Caroline Maxelon of Bussardflug and me began plotting a future collaboration. Along with a lot of powerful shamanic items for my ritual work, she also send me her new book “Räucherstoffe aus aller Welt” (published by Nymphenburger). I was thrilled to read about so many new incense ingredients, that are not part of standard encyclopedias and was especially thrilled to find incense materials described for the first time in it, which I had been discovering intuitively by myself over the past years. It feels, like my own weird and wild incense formulas are now receiving confirmation through Caroline. I thus highly recommend this book – both for its content as well as its photography.
Special edition of “Secret Ambrosian Fire” by MOSAIC/Eisenton Records
Yesterday I received yet another surprise in my mail – the special edition of “Secret Ambrosian Fire” by German black metal originators MOSAIC (Eisenton Records). Some time ago I was asked to compose an alchemical inspired plant sigil for this record. This sigil now adorns the cover of the digi-pack edition. I begin to grasp the broad idea behind this opus magnum and it is deeply satisfying to witness the fruits of our mutual efforts!
Everything points in to a new direction in my life, but it is also getting more complex, along with all these new impulses. Today I went to different trees, burnt some of the winter incense and blessed the new birch wood pentacle among a circle of young birch trees and at the roots of two older birch trees, which are frequently visited by crows. For me, the circle of the old year is now closed and I head into another phase of creative work after the holidays.
Culmination: blessing the new “Berkano” birchwood pentacle in the smoke of my “Winter Solstice incense” and at the base of different trees
For the past weeks (and with interruption due to sickness), I have been working meticulously on the set-up for ritually blessing this year’s harvest. Of course it is not possible to pile up all the herbs and seeds gathered over the year. So instead I created a new, dynamic working sigil, which can be adopted and rearranged for different needs. In my own ritual the sigil is constructed from different plant parts and seeds, each corresponding with one of the four elements and esoteric symbolism. I.e. the sickles are made out of fennel stalks and vervain herb. For the stang in the center was used a thorn-apple stalk with pods and thornapple leaf and seed for the triangle symbolizing the spirit housed within the green. Of course you could use other herbs, real sickles, or simply trace the lines in the soil.
My offerings given to the spirits included self-gathered pine tree resin, Samhain protection incense, four beeswax candles, water and rum. The operation can be performed in silent contemplation or you call upon specific crossroad spirits and deities of your tradition. When done, all parts of the sigil can be gathered and employed to different sorcerous ends. Important is, if the ritual is dedicated to a certain spirit or deity you should stick with it.
Now I mentioned this was a dynamic sigil. As you can see in the above picture, the ritual aimed at blessing objects (in this case my seed boxes), which are placed inside the blades of the four sickles. A different ritual setting would consist of placing links to the four elements inside the sickles, e.g. offerings corresponding to each or your main altar tools. The point is, that you can construct and arrange the set-up in different ways suiting your needs. Now here are a few suggestions how to go about it:
Recently someone pointed out that the placement of the four elements inside my sigil was “wrong”. He was reasoning from the viewpoint of Western Mystery Tradition / Tarot. Well, as you can see there are different versions that all can be worked with. It is entirely up to you if you want to employ a tradition-specific succession and which you chose. Important is, if you do, that you contemplate and know why you chose one option over another.
Btw. I am looking forward to use the earth-bound altar again. It was altogether a very powerful experience employing sorcerous herbs and soil in this way.
PS: Please remember, I will process any new orders by the 2nd week of November. Until then I am preparing for my stall and exhibition at the Samhain Celebration on November 4th in Gotha (Germany).
This project began earlier in 2016, when parting with a few homegrown live mandrake roots and sending them to new homes. Part of the deal for the new owner was to commission a portrait of the very root they were to receive.
Each root is drawn with ink and quill on stained paper. Attention is paid to the peculiar shape and features of each root. The result are detailed portraits, which are not only unique pieces of fine art but which also give the owner a reference, when the roots are planted back into soil.
Examples of roots that have left my own mandrake family and joined new homes:
Available roots (prices including hand-drawn art, excluding shipping):
Only few days left until the Winter Solstice, I am excited to share my next plant riddle with you. This time the herb I’m looking for is not a poisonous one – quite the contrary! It is a classic healing herb, which belongs in any herbal apothecary. A giant in the garden, its name relative is associated with an adversarial hero, who helped man and offended the gods.
The riddle is again accompanied by a new illustration I did earlier in autumn and which may help or confuse…
Good things come to those who wait. I have received many requests for new wooden seed boxes, but it was only during the past month that I was able to finish new boxes. So here they are: stained in the colors of fall and charged with the vibrations of the blood red moon, the boxes are filled with the year’s harvest of seeds coming from 50 different herbs.
The philosophy behind the boxes is to share the seeds, which I gather from my own witch garden, so that other practitioners may grow herbs from them as well. This means, we keep in touch, exchange experiences and compare our results with growing and sowing the herbs under different conditions. I am also giving advice here and on my garden blog, for growing and handling these herbs. Besides this the boxes also contain some seeds from new herbs, that I yet plan to sow and where I wish for others to join in.
Each box is pyrographed with the Teufelskunst Sigilum Maior/greater sowing seal on the cover and Sigilum Minor/lesser sowing seal on the inside. The boxes are stained in a warm red hue and finished with a thin layer of transparent varnish. There are THREE boxes filled with seeds (see the listing of the exact content here). The price for one box is 99 Euro + shipping.
Accepted payment methods: Paypal, SEPA bank transfer inside Euro countries
Update: the boxes are SOLD
NOTE: I have been asked whether these boxes are also available without the seed content. If you would rather have an EMPTY BOX with the same or different decor, please contact me and we work something out!