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New Artwork and Music

4 Aug

Spent the night and all morning preparing new pieces of paper with coffee, wormwood tincture and fresh leaves from my datura plants. Now the paper is drying, then has to be pressed and then can be drawn on with ink. I am planning on a small series of inked sigils and perhaps one or two realistic datura plant drawings. Besides this, I yet have to prepare the paper for my next mandrake series and I also have a few new tinctures in the making. Meanwhile, here are my most recent ink drawings from past weeks (all sold and shipped):

While working with the datura I was blessed with new music by a lady, who creates audio-visual compositions inspired by the same plants that I grow and revere in my art. The project goes by the name CHTHONIA. I was given six tracks, to which I did not listen consciously, but rather had them running in the background. Yet there were moments, where I’d listen up and think, “well, this strangely harmonizes with how I perceive the plant’s character”. A very interesting experiment and endeavor, of which I hope we will soon hear more.

Pale Glow

8 Apr

April nightfall – chill, raindrops on pale petals of daffodils and tulips, roses

The garden after dark, all the myths…

In antiquity a marriage outside one’s social class would bring shame over the family. Abductions were staged to justify such liaison.(1) Against this background the story of the abduction of Persephone appears in a new light. It enabled her to be part of and live in two worlds, which were otherwise closed away from each other. She maintained the privileges of the world of the living, but also dined with the dead in the underworld and was let into its secrets. According to legend she picked daffodils when Hades ‘abducted’ her to the underworld. Her story remains fascinating, her flowers remind us of it.

Martin Luther too staged his abduction. Believed to be dead by his foes, he used the time ‘in the dark’ to translate the bible from original sources into German language (with a little help from his friends), one of the most significant cultural contributions of mankind. His signature flower became the rose. (2)

(1) Harold Roth, The Witching Herbs, p. 48 “Kidnapped Brides

(2) The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_rose

Besides…

I watched lots of docus on Arte +7. Yes, the one about the comet (so amazing) and the series on space time and matter. About the chief and the forests. Also earlier about the super plants. And now I am hung up on the magic garden series… eg this one about the garden as a place of initiation:  http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/057898-003-A/magische-garten

Wooden Seed Boxes #27-30

11 Mar


Seed boxes #27-30, completed

The boxes contain seeds from at least 44 different venific and benific ‘witch’ herbs. The boxes are pyrographed with the “sigilum major” or “greater sowing seal”, stained and varnished. Then hundreds of little paper bags are labeled and filled with the seeds, which I partly gather by myself and partly purchase from other places. I usually spend at least 40 hours on four of these boxes. It is a tedious but also rewarding process, which gives me the chance to connect deeper with the herbs and it also empties the mind and brings new inspiration. It is my hope that the content of these boxes will bring joy to others and aid them in their own studies.

Update: the boxes are sold. Please write to me at info@teufelskunst.com if you wish to reserve one in the future!

Harvest Seal (or making sure, you reap what you sow)

26 Feb
Reaping Seal

Original “Harvest Seal”, 2011

I am writing this due to recent events. I thought this was yesterday’s news, but apparently it isn’t. So once again:

The above design is my work.

It has been spreading on the internet, which is great.

What is not so great is, that it continues to be mistaken for being in the “public domain” (it isn’t). E.g. it has happened repeatedly that people used it for promoting their events, printed it on t-shirts and other types of merchandise, without knowing that the original design was by me and without awareness of the original context and purpose for which I designed it.

To shed some light (and hopefully to prevent future abuse and misuse), I explain here the concept behind the image and why it would be not particularly smart to employ it out of context.

I created the sigil in 2011 with ink and initially titled it “reaping seal”. I designed it for myself, as I was looking for a suitable sigil to burn on my altar table. It is pyrographed in the center, along with other esoteric glyphs and illustrative elements (the usual “satanic” suspects, serpents, pentagram etc.). Here are some photos of the table with different powerful herbs placed on it (some harvested by myself, others sent to me by fellow practitioners):

My other sigil designs are inspired by my study of and practical work with traditional “witch herbs”. But before that I had been illustrating occult books, where my job was mainly to execute other’s ideas and visions. I literally “inked” hundreds of sigils from another author and this way became familiar with current specific symbolism and its peculiarities. I understood that in order to develop artistically I would have to come up with my own designs, also in my personal ritual work, rather than replicate another’s. This posed a challenge since the illustration job had inevitably left a trace on me and I was stuck in its forms.

The then so-called “reaping seal” serves as an example for a transition period, both in my art as well as ritual work.

The design plays with harvest symbolism, with sickles and quarters (connected to the four seasons, the four elements and returning cycles). It carries obvious references to the aforementioned occult forms employed within said books. (I do not name the book titles here, not because I do not want to give credit, but because the magi of said current do not like to see official links made between real names and their esoteric teachings, which is a rule I generally respect, but which was also the reason why I had to start creating my own designs if I wanted to get more jobs as an artist).

It should be clear now why (due to the aforementioned influence) it would not be smart to use the seal out of context. I uploaded the digital image to my Pinterest account years ago (I do not remember when exactly I pinned it there and Pinterest does not provide such information). I also uploaded (and later deleted) the image to my occult art page on Facebook, as well as a photo of the pyrographed altar table. I changed the title to “harvest seal”, which does not sound as grim.

I always note in the comments that I am the creator of the work and do not wish for my work to be used without permission. Most of the time people respect this wish. But apparently sharing a work on online platforms such as Pinterest means that some people consider it free to use as they please: from changing or deleting the original artist comment, to downloading and re-uploading, this way erasing all traces of the original source. Low resolutions seem to be no obstacle either these days, because there is software capable of vectorizing the smallest images. Due to this (and because the sigil seems to be really popular with esoteric online folks) it has sadly become one of my most stolen artworks. From witches printing it on their products to bands using it on their merchandise or for advertising events – it has happened and continues to happen. Once some band even claimed old illustration work of mine as their “graphic designer’s own creation”. But even individuals that bother doing a check-up and search the original artist behind artwork they find online and would like to use, end up being fooled. The question is not so much, who is to blame, but what to do about it.

No longer uploading my work online cannot be the way. Marking all works with bold ugly watermarks cannot be the way either (especially if the work is already a mark of sorts on its own). Putting a lawyer in charge – sorry, but I don’t make that much money. Contacting google – I have been told this would be the most efficient way, alas I may need help there by someone, who has already been through the process and could guide my step by step.

I am hence thankful that my followers are keeping an eye out and bring art theft to my attention. I am also thankful for everyone that reacts positive and respects my copyright. As it happens to be, once the connection is made, I sometimes end up with new illustration jobs. An example is the altered “harvest seal” I created specifically for the “Samhain Celebration” in Gotha:

"Samhain Celebration" merch bundle, Nov. 2016

“Samhain Celebration” merch bundle, Nov. 2016

With my consent and being compensated, the organizer was welcome to use the design on all merchandise sold on that evening and it was also painted on the backdrop used only on that night:

"Samhain Celebration" Gotha, 2016

“Samhain Celebration” Gotha, 2016

Earlier, I made my own set up with the seal, employing it in the blessing of my seed boxes before they were shipped to customers:

Harvest Blessing, 2016

Harvest Blessing, 2016

In this ritual I constructed the seal with dried plant parts strewn on soil – a meditative and joyful work. I used vervain (Eisenkraut) for the sickle blades and fennel stalks for the sickle handles. The center circle is strewn with aromatic fennel seed.  The symbols for the four elements are made out of corresponding herbs: fire – wormwood (Wermut), water – belladonna (Tollkirsche), earth – mugwort (Beifuß) and air – bittersweet nightshade (Bittersüßer Nachtschatten). The forked stang in the center is a dried thorn-apple stem. The triangle at the base (representing the “fifth” element – spirit) is made from dried thorn-apple leaves and seeds. The wooden boxes placed inside the four sickle blades are my “seed boxes”, which are pyrographed by hand and filled with seeds from different witch herbs – many of which are gathered by myself and then filled into little bags to be contained in these boxes, which are then shipped to fellow practitioners for sowing in their own witch garden.

To quote much admired fellow artist, Harold Roth, I am “working my butt off” on these boxes. And in the same way I am putting a lot of thought and work into all other art I do, and of course I wish to share this work with the whole wide world.

So all I can hope for is, that awareness will grow and that more people know about me and my work, respect it and not trying to take advantage.

Pillars Perichoresis

19 Feb

Pillars Perichoresis, Anathema Publishing

"The Bleeding Tree", photograph in Pillars Perichoresis

"Regina Amandrakina", essay and illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

"Heqet-Hekate", illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

Several of my artworks and one essay are featured in the now sold-out “Pillars – Perichoresis” anthology by Anathema Publishing, 2016. The book is a compilation of the first three “Pillars” journals and contains additional material that was not part of previous releases. I have contributed to all three journals and look forward to continue working with Anathema Publishing in the future.

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.

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