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Away from the Paper Maze

10 Mar

Done and through with that paper hell, which kept me from crafting and being creative for the past weeks. Whatever the result of all this filling out forms and balancing numbers will be, I’m just glad to be done with it. I’m an artist, not an economist. I’ll probably never have much to live on, but therefore I’ll always be rich in spirit…

Also, and what brought some light into my life these past weeks, were friends, who just grabbed me and dragged me to events, forcing me to actually live a life, lol. That is my friend Bianchina Rê​, who invited me to see Monster Magnet​ in concert, which against all prejudices turned out one of the best gigs I’ve attended, as well as discovering a new band, Bombus​, who I’ve never heard of before but who did in fact blew the audience, myself included. And it’s damn nice to still be friends after 15 years or longer and partying as decently as we used to when still in school – or actually better, hah!

Last week, I got to attend Philipp Gloger‘s exhibition opening. I had once done portrait photos for his art catalogue and love his painting style. So last Thursday was another turn for seeing old and new works on display under the motto “Ausflug” at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf​. It was nice to spend this evening in the company of my family (that is my parents and boyfriend) and friends and check out art. For samples of Philipp’s works go to http://www.philippgloger.de

Then Saturday was time for “Chappie​! Turns out Neil Blomkamp​ kept his promise towards DIE ANTWOORD​. This could have gone very wrong or easily could have gotten embarrassing putting the two musicians in co-starring rolls, but instead it turned out damn right and absolutely authentic, probably because Die Antwoord have always been a complex entity and it was a good choice to let them lend their own flavour to this project. This sure wouldn’t have worked with any movie but here it just fit in very well. Besides, the movie was so damn moving. I almost teared up.

Sunday we went on a photo spree in and around an old water works building. The weather was amazing and we got a few nice shots. This is the first time in ages for me photographing in a team! My boyfriend made panorama shots with his new phone, I used my Canon and our friend used a Nikon camera. I’m very excited to see and compare the results! Also, I handed over a photo from my “Tree Lights” series printed on wooden board…

Monday evening we attended a reading at Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr Dresden​. The topic of the evening was the bombing of Dresden in 1945, as experienced by the novelist Erich Kästner​. Records of the events were shown in the form of manuscript pages and postcards exchanged between Kästner and his mother. It was very interesting, the descriptions sure sending shivers down my spine. Even a man of such literary skill and diversity battled finding words for describing the scale of devastation brought about in less than 1 hour… Leading through the evening were Dr. Ulrich von Bülow (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach) and poet Durs Grünbein​, a former class mate of my mom, who has been awarded the Georg Büchner Preis amongst others, and who also read from his own books… back home I read half of his 49 stanza poem “Porzellan“, an attempt at reflecting and reconstructing the late WWII events and scenery, which more or less erased Dresden from the maps… The big question, not WHO, but HOW and WHY could this happen?

There is much food for thought and yet my mind is again filled with completely different things… there is a new sigil that wants to be brought to paper, I still have to fix the “Regina prints and with the solar eclipse ahead I am also planing to finally make available a few Lilith– and Regina-specific incense blends, which I’ve been working with for years, but never shared as of yet…

And least I forget my recent commission works… life proceeds at a high speed. I just took a short break to type this up. Photos and more detailed reports to follow…

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Auferstehungskirche

9 Jan

We spent this New Year’s in a small church in Dresden Plauen. It’s been my dream to see this church from the inside for years. I was told it had a beautiful art nouveau interior but little could I know… The history of this church dates back to the 12th century. There are still Gothic and Baroque elements to be found. E.g. the baptismal font and crucifix over the lectern date back to the 17th century. The main building is however a unique example of Art Nouveau architecture. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century under architects Lossow and Viehweger. The church, which was formerly known as Michaeliskirche, was then renamed and is since called Auferstehungskirche. Angel faces all around the quire remind of the church’s former name. Apart from the windows and church bells the building was not damaged during WWII. On the 1st of July 1945 the Dresdner Kreuzchor gave here their first concert after the war. During the 50ies the stucco of the entire choir was removed and the windows bricked up. In 1985 a new organ was installed behind the front of the old organ. After 1989 the windows around the choir were re-opened and the walls painted new. The altar room also received new windows, which were designed by artist Wolfgang Korn (Dresden). Lastly the tower and roof were restored. Today the church counts amongst the most beautiful churches of Dresden. The wooden art nouveau elements are indeed a special treat and remind of the wood carvings found in stave churches. I do in fact not know any other church that would show a similar, almost cinematic architecture, which came to life even more, when the organ started playing…

Christmas Rose

14 Nov

“Then he who is about to dig out the plant turns to the East and prays that it may be accounted lawful for him to do this and that the gods may grant him permission.” – Pliny the Elder

Folklore: East is where the sun rises and considered to be the place in heaven where the good spirits dwell. According to Christian tradition the dead are buried facing East, which is the direction from which Jesus is believed to arrive on the day of the resurrection in order to take them with him into the kingdom of heaven. But already before the Christian custom pagans would bury their dead so they would face the rising sun.

“One part hellebore with as much artemisia placed beneath a diamond gives animosity and audacity, guards the members [of the wearer] and makes victorious over what you wish.” – Hermes Trismegistus, 15 Fixed Stars 15 Herbs 15 Stones and 15 Figures

According to Hermes Trismegistus black hellebore is attributed to the fixed star Algol, together with the diamond. Agrippa connects the plant further to Mars and places it also under the rule of Saturn:

“Hellebore is dedicated to Mars and the Head of Algol.” – Agrippa

In ritual, hellebore may be burnt for consecrating Saturnian talismans and conjuring spirits of Mars. Christwurzel is also a key herb in Faustian rites of exorcism and coercion, along with garlic and sulfur:

“Carry with you Aaronis and also Hellebore, so that he [the demon] cannot delve into you or possess you.” – Dr. Faust, Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis

The name Christmas Rose comes from its auspicious time of flower or from the Christian legend that it sprouted from a young girl’s tears fallen on the snow, when she was sad that she had no present for the Christ child in Bethlehem. Another legend tells of the goddess Freya, who rescued an abandoned child during a deadly cold winter night by transforming it into a hellebore flower. Hellebore is also a symbol of innocence. It was considered holy and believed to ward off evil spirits, help heal the black death and safe pigs from swine flu if a helleborus flower was placed on the animal’s ears.

The name hellebore is composed of the Greek word ellein = to injure and bora = food, whilst the Latin adjective niger = black, may refer to the color of the plant’s root, which is almost black when dried. The German name Nieswurz refers to its use in sneezing powders. In medieval medicine it was a cure against demonic possession. The plant has a long tradition in healing madness and epilepsy (also called the ‘divine disease’ if a person was possessed by a demon): Ovid writes in his Metamorphoses of the three daughters of king of Argos, who had been driven mad by Dionysos and were screaming and running naked all across town, being cured by the healer Melampus of Pylos with a drink of hellebore solved in milk. Hence the herb was also known by the name Melampodium. Alexander the Great on the other hand is said to have died of an overdose of medication containing hellebore. During the Siege of Kirrha 585 BC, the Greek were said to have poisoned the city’s water supply with hellebore and waited until the enemy was too weak to be able to defend it any longer due to the diarrhea caused by the plant’s poison.

Pliny the Elder mentions the existence of an opposite to the Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger), with the ‘White Hellebore’ or ‘False Helleborin’ (the plant referred to is probably Veratrum album).

Gallery

The Electorial Chapel

13 Nov

Meißen Windows

11 Nov

In October we also visited Meißen. I was especially happy to finally get to see the Dome from inside. Above is a selection of photos of from this short trip. For this post I chose windows as a main theme, inspired by a photo taken through the distorted window glass inside the castle and the details on a gothic window flanked with arrows..

 

Moritzburg

26 Oct

Last weekend we were invited for a short trip to Moritzburg and visited the newly restored castle and afterwards had lunch at restaurant Seeblick. The weather was badass, the trees aflame with autumn colors. I took a couple of photos of the castle and lake in the warm light of the golden October sun. On our way back we stopped once more to take a picture of the castle as sun was setting…

Seeblick / Lakeview

Guests are leaving as sun is going down; the lakeside seems to glow in the afternoon sun; light reflections are dancing on the waves; run down stairs are leading down to where the water used to reach; now there is just reed and sand

I decided to try the poached carp… next time may opt for a smaller fish! 😉

Moritzburg Castle

Favorite view towards the castle from the distance through the tree branches; castle reflection in the remaining water of the lake as it slowly empties before the winter; grey goose gathering; reed and chestnut trees by the water; people riding out by the lakeside

The statues on the ballustrades all around the castel have been vivdly restored. The originals were designed amongst others by Permoser and students. Depicted are puttos, animals and other figures as part of different hunting scenes…

I would have loved to also share pictures from inside the palace but unfortunately taking photos indoors was not allowed. Intitially we had planned to take a special guided tour to get a chance to see the more remote parts of the builduing but sadly it was sold out. It was still amazing to see the newly restored Feather Room, the large collection of deer antlers and Meißen porcellan.

Crowded main road: we had trouble finding a place to park. Lots of people used the sunny day to pay Moritzburg a visit. So did we. Till next time!

Antiquarian: Aus dem Reiche der Drogen, 1926

7 May

Stumbled upon this book a few weeks ago at an antiquarian bookshop in Dresden and swore to myself if I returned and sold some stuff in the meantime I’d buy it. Turns out I did!

The book is from 1926 and published by Schwarzeck-Verlag Dresden. I was surprised to find such a publication here. It contains valuable information and references to the earliest herbals from the 15th century, which thanks to the invention of the letterpress printing were for the first time available to a larger audience, especially as they were not in Latin but in German language so that the common man could understand and use them. These books were richly illustrated with delicate woodcuts depicting each plant. Both pharmacology and botany would develop quickly during this time and soon would follow similar herbal books in other countries such as Belgium, Italy and England.

The first chapter gives an introduction to these early herbals of the “Middle Ages” and their authors, such as Conrad von Megenberg, Otto Brunfels, Leonhart Fuchs, Hieronymus Bock, Petrus Andreas Mathiolus, Konrad Gesner, Tabernaemontanus etc., as well as illustrators, who designed extraordinary woodcuts for these books and publishers. Guess what, it wasn’t easy to publish a book at a time when there were no laws yet on coyprights so that reprints occured still within the same year and neither the original publisher nor author could do anything about it. To this add competition and price dumping amongst publishers once a larger number of similar books was available… Wait, that all sounds familiar doesn’t it? Even today… The authors describe all of this quite vividly and so this short discurse on the first herbals ever printed is a pleasant read, spiced with examples and quotes from these very first books on plants and their alleged medicinal properties. Simultaneously we learn how the first volumes on botany and pharmacognosy came into being.

As I cannot go into detail on each chapter I will instead just list the titles for reference:

  1. The Herbals of the Middle Ages
  2. The Doctrine of Signatures
  3. The art of distillation
  4. The spice wars
  5. The cultivation of drugs in Germany
  6. The China-Bark
  7. The Liquorice
  8. The tropein-containing Nightshades
  9. The Strophanthus
  10. The noxious and innoxious types of Strychnos
  11. The Elder
  12. The Indian Hemp (Cannabis indica)
  13. The Yohimbe bark
  14. The Guajacum tree
  15. The Sarsaparilla root
  16. The Shepherd’s Purse
  17. The Rhubarb
  18. The Aconite
  19. The Opium
  20. The Cantharides

I have not read through all of the 272 pages but whenever I skim over the text I find something new and interesting, which I have not read elsewhere. This book contains plenty of interdisciplinary references and I am glad to have bought it.