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Regina Bombina, Golden Bee Pendant, The Sacred Bee

14 Oct

“Regina Bombina”, ink, 2017

Totemic artwork, first show-cased at Circle1 gallery in Berlin last year. It is my homage to the great mother and queen, as she has been depicted in the form of crowned bees or half human half bee shaped spirits in ancient civilizations. She is surrounded by her servants, little bee demons.

Golden Bee Pendant, Malia, Crete, 1800-1700 BC

Honey Bee, Malia, Crete, 2018

“The Sacred Bee”, Hilda M. Ransom, Dover Press, 2004

“The Sacred Bee”, Hilda M. Ransom, Dover Press, 2004

After seeing the golden bee pendant from Malia in person, I started a new read: “The sacred Bee” by Hilda M. Ransom. It discusses the mythology and folklore of bees in ancient civilizations across the world and also features a chapter on the roll bees played in ancient Cretan life and worship practice. I am hence delving deeper into the concept behind my “Regina Bombina” and “Flower Devils“.

Pillars Perichoresis

19 Feb

Pillars Perichoresis, Anathema Publishing

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.

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

This book caught my attention a few weeks ago: it was on display in the window of an antiquarian bookshop in Dresden and I swore to myself, to return and I’d buy it. So I did.

The book is from 1926, published by Schwarzeck-Verlag Dresden. It contains information and references to herbals from the 15th century, which – thanks to the invention of letterpress printing – were for the first time available to a larger audience, especially since they were written not in Latin but in German language, so that common people could understand and use them. These herbals were richly illustrated with surprisingly accurate woodcuts depicting the plants. Both pharmacology and botany developed quickly during this time. Soon followed similar herbals in Belgium, Italy and England.

The first chapter gives an introduction to these early herbals, their authors and illustrators. Mentioned are among others: Conrad von Megenberg, Otto Brunfels (botanist and illustrator), Leonhart Fuchs, Hieronymus Bock, Petrus Andreas Mathiolus, Konrad Gesner, Tabernaemontanus. Publishing a book was not an easy endeavor at a time, when there were no laws yet on coyprights. Unauthorized reprints occurred within the same year as the original and neither the original publisher nor author could do anything about it. (Sounds familiar in times of the internet, doesn’t it?) In addition, there was fierce competition among publishers and prices were dumped, once a larger number of a similar book was available… The authors describe all of this quite vividly and so this short discourse, on the first herbals ever printed, is a pleasant read, spiced with examples and quotes from these very first herbals. Simultaneously we learn how the first volumes on botany and pharmacognosy came into being.

I cannot go into detail on each chapter. Instead I list the translated index 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

There are altogether 272 pages. Whenever I skim through, 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.