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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.

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The Leaper Between

19 Feb

18 February 2015

In the mail today: Andrew D. Chumbley’s “The Leaper Between”. The book was released in 2012 by Three Hands Press. The text was written by Chumbley in 2000, an abridged version was first published in The Cauldron magazine in 2001. I yet have to understand in how far the essay is related to ONE: the Grimoire of the Golden Toad (or isn’t). Apparently the Golden Toad is more of a personal account whereas the Leaper is a historical research. I’ve been recommended to read both, but unfortunately the Golden Toad is now very hard (and costly) to obtain. The hardcover editions of the Leaper had sold out rather quickly as well and it was only thanks to a customer that it came into my hands.

This is number 219 of 231 “deluxe hand-numbered casebound copies in iridescent brick cloth”. It has a gilt toad device on the cover, designed by James Dunk. The same illustration is used on the title page, which is wrongly referred to as showing the toad at the roots of the alchemical tree from Samuel Norton’s Mercurius Redivivus. A correction for this is given with a bookmark, along with the title for the illustration being “Waters of the Moon”, a reference to the ritual account of the Norfolk horseman Albert Love (b. 1886) as well as the initiation rite given in Chumbley’s Golden Toad. The title illustration is a beautiful work of illustrative calligraphy, reminiscent of Arabic calligraphy and said to contain hidden links to Chumbley’s own alphabet.

Besides, paperback copies of the Leaper are available and unlimited in number.

On the above photo I added my own toad talismans. One is a mummified pet toad, which I’ve worked with in various ways. It’s not really connected to the ritual described in the book, apart from that it does serve as a talisman. Perhaps one day I’ll share my own working in this regards.

Some toad related artwork of mine:

PS: Tonight it’s having a “black supermoon“. This means the moon is in close proximity to the earth (occuring larger than usual) just that we cannot see it at this time, because it’s positioned right between the sun and the earth. So watch out, perhaps you can see even more darkness than usual on this night.

Edit: I’ve just been told one could read the Golden Toad grimoire at the Museum of Witchcraft. It’s certainly on my list of places to visit…

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.