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Dog Days 2018

9 Aug

This week we had again another “hottest day of the year”. Since June, most of Europe experiences a near ceaseless heat and drought period. These hot days of summer are also referred to as “Dog Days” (Hundstage) and this year they 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 (actually a star system) 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.

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Plants and Planets

13 Jul

In the past botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper associated plants with the planets, fixed stars and zodiac signs. The attributions were based on an intense study of a plant’s features, which included treats such as a thorny or prickly appearance, the scent emitted by the flowers or the entire plant, the plant’s life cycle, colors, metals contained in a plant, medicinal and other uses and of course plenty of folklore. Today plants are classified scientifically based on their genome, but their planetary lore is preserved and continues to evolve in the books of authors such as Stephen Skinner, Paul Huson, Scott Cunningham, Harold Roth and so on.

I find it fun and inspiring to continue this tradition and to explore its own inner logic. And since I spent the past 3 weeks gardening, I took to it and photographed the recent herb harvest according to the planets. The following series follows the Chaldean sequence. Photos by myself. Please share and credit.

Please visit my garden blog for further info on plants and their planetary correspondences: https://pflanzenkunst.wordpress.com/planetary-correspondences/

Wounds

14 Feb

A collection of photographs of wounds, scars and malformations on trees

Isa

2 Jan

With the new year came the first lasting snow and in my mail arrived five little cat’s eye cabochons… I have been asked to do a runic incense for Isa and began gathering corresponding ingredients:

The rune Isa is written with a single straight vertical line. Its meaning is “ice”. Its associated tree and herb is the black alder and henbane, color black and stone is the cats eye (cymophane). Cats eye cabochons break the light in such manner that a single bright line appears across the stone. One could say the rune Isa is literally marked on it. (The effect is stronger under a light bulb or other single light source.) In Asia it is considered a magical stone that shows the direction to hidden and forgotten treasures. The stone comes in colors ranging from honey yellow to green to a dirty blue or gray. A special form is the Alexandrite, which changes color from blueish green to a deep blood red. I like the blueish gray versions best in this context, as these are also the colors of ice and winter.

Isa seemingly represents stillstand. It marks a time when to formulate dreams and vision and choose a direction. It calls for patience and contemplation, but not laziness. Now have to be done preparations and laid down the foundation for a future harvest.

Sacred Space

10 Jul

A space, empty. A place for contemplation. A prayer room, a modern “church” if you will. The human is confronted with the present, the past, the future – ultimately the inevitable end of it all – and what will be left. There is a black figure of death, a red candle and behind the figure is a large painted canvas. The painting has a vertical format. The colors are merely shades of dim grays on a muted white. Forms dissolve in white mist. A thorn tree is barely visible in the distance. To the right of the statue is a small potted tree. The statue carries a rosary made of seeds and is mounted on a small reliquary box made of dark wood. There is a censer for burning copal, frankincense and aloeswood. The walls to the left, right and in the back are empty. The individual enters to face himself and the inevitable.

Fingers II

9 Apr

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This time it is not about a surreal dream and also not about the fennel. But it is about another plant’s “fingers”. In folklore the male fern’s “hand” is a lucky charm, meant to bestow fortunes and the power over the souls of the dead to it’s owner. In order to obtain it, the sorcerer must harvest the male fern’s root on the Eve of St. John. Then he must roast the root in the fire. The hand is made in such manner as to bind five strands of the fronds together: the root base of the stem is left attached and the rest of the frond’s foliage is removed. The result resembles a “hand”, with tendons (hairy stems) and fingers (stipe bases). Frankly, I never made such “hand” in this manner. But I’ve gathered plenty of male fern roots and had the most magical experiences granted through working with these roots in various ways, always discovering new aspects to this wondrous plant. Above is another version of this “lucky hand”, formed by the stipe bases and a single frond.

Btw., the stipe bases of the male fern’s fronds are green and spongy towards the center, whereas as the outer (old) parts turn black and rot. So if you were to use the root, make sure you actually use the parts that still have juices in them. Below is a close-up of how that should look:

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Male Fern stipe base, light green in color and of a spongy texture

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Male fern root: in the bowl are the vital parts, to the left are the rotten parts

More about the male fern

Male fern inspired art:

Dead Man's Eve, 2010

“Dead Man’s Eve”, pencil drawing, 2010

Wurmfarn Siegel

Male Fern plant sigil, 2010

 

Forward Look 2016: Changes, Ideas, New Projects

31 Dec

Keywords: road maps, systematic approaches, reduction, advancement

Looking back at 2015, an important step was the birth of Planta Magica/ Pflanzenkunst. This project shall receive more attention in 2016. As I continue updating and publishing articles about plants at the new site, I may also start offering downloadable e-books and printed booklets. This can happen in the form of a journal series, discussing in depth certain plants under different aspects. The texts would be accompanied by my photography and plant inspired art. As an example can serve my article about the Mandrake, which was published in Anathema’s Pillars Journal.

Teufelskunst - Pflanzenkunst copy

Pertaining to Teufelskunst, which is now heading into its 5th year since the site went online, there shall also occur some changes. As the work with the green is now receiving space within a new frame, Teufelskunst will focus more on products and creations tied to certain esoteric lines of practice, these being foremost the qliphoth. On top of my list for 2016 are two spiritual maps to be offered as prints, as well as the continuation of my qliphothic incense line. Expect incense for Adramelech/Sammael very soon.

Along with this the Teufelskunst website shall undergo a trimming and the Garden will move here. I will cut it down to three site sections: the first is to give an overview of available products and tools. A second site section, the Devil’s Trumpet, is dedicated to interviews with other artists and the exploration of different esoteric concepts. Secondhand Literature, the third site section, will continue, despite animosity from different directions. I feel it is now more important than ever to appreciate but also to grow a critical view at the esoteric book genre and recent book releases. Besides, lets face it: some want to part with their esoteric library, others want to get their hands on sold out titles. Herein lies potential for magical experience to be passed on along with the books and, being handed on, their prestige grows as well.

What more? At the end of 2015 I found myself in a loop of crafting and delivering. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I did not find any time at all to work on drawings or possible collaborations, as my mail-order kept me busy 24/7. I also did not find time to work on larger commissions, such as statues. The road to take in 2016 will be to focus on fewer products, higher quality and commissions that challenge me on an artistic level. In 2015 part of my life time got sucked up in bureaucracy, e.g. pertaining to customs and import regulations. I learned some new lessons there, however I doubt whether these were conducive experiences. Some things I wouldn’t do a second time.

In 2016 I hence hope to get to projects talked about in 2015. One would include doing artwork for a band. The other is a photography collaboration with Mr. James Patrick of Death Sex Electronics.

But before all of this enrolls, I look forward to spending New Year’s in a small circle of friends, then a relaxed and creative first week of January, where I see myself preparing a new print edition.

Stay tuned for more and thanks for the great feedback on my work.

Lets rock 2016

Wiebke