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Cherry Blossoms and Düsseldoves

30 Mar

Since the birth of our son I did not have time to post anything new. But back in March, I did take a few photos of the blooming cherry tree and doves in our yard.

Full Moon (and Partial Eclipse), January 10 2020

10 Jan

Ein bisschen Mondfinsternis, von heute Abend. Das erste Bild ist vom Mond, der den Kernschatten der Erde tangiert, aufgenommen um 20.13 Uhr. Die übrigen Bilder zeigen den Mond im Halbschatten mit rötlichem Hof, aufgenommen kurz nach 19.00 Uhr.

A bit of lunar eclipse, from this evening. First photo shows the moon touching upon the earth’s umbra, at 20.13. The other photos show the full moon in the earth’s penumbra with a red halo, at around 7 pm.

Raven King

28 Nov

Years ago I began creating abstract line drawings, or ‘sigils’, inspired by nature. In these works I summarize nature science, folklore and personal experiences connected to the plants and animals that surround me. Some of these works are already 10 years old. The best known is perhaps the official Teufelskunst logo, which is inspired by the wormwood herb. Another is my sigil for the ‘black mandrake’ and the metamorphous art titled “Regina Amandrakina”, which were both published in Pillars Periodical, The Ebon Kteis (Anathema Publishing, Canada, 2014).

A first print edition of these works was introduced at the London “magical Art/E” event, which took place in 2014 at the old Hackney tower. Later (still self-produced) print editions sold out quickly. In follow, I created smaller ink drawings and miniature editions with these sigils. An important aspect of these drawings is the treatment of the paper, which is infused with tinctures and corresponding extracts of natural materials. In November 2017, these ink drawings premiered as part of the “Bad Intentions” group exhibition at Gallery CIRCLE1, Berlin.

“Raven King” Sigil

This is my second work in this line representing an ‘animal’ spirit. It combines mythology and spiritual lore connected to the Corvidae family.

Ravens and crows both feature extensively in the mythology and folklore of basically all continents and nations. I cannot remember when exactly my own journey with these animals started. But they continue to present me with the most auspicious magic and moments, whenever I open up and notice their ever-presence. Hence, when a friend inquired for a crow skull tattoo, I already felt a deep connection to the animal’s collective spirit. But then began a reading and study journey, for which I received some wonderful recommendations. The sigil art presented here is the quintessence of my autumnal journey with the crows, ravens, magpies, jackdaws and grosbeaks around me and their universal lore.

In November 2019 I created the first ink drawings on infused paper. The sigils are signed and numbered on the back. They come in a black cardboard box, which is also signed and numbered. Along with the artwork you also receive a 30 ml bag of evocation incense, created specifically for the King of all Corvid Folk, as well as one piece of cherry resin and one auspiciously branched “Pin of Slumber” from the blackthorn.

Artwork size: ca. 12,5 x 12,5 cm

Edition specifics: limited to 2 x 7

Available here

 

New “Flower Devils” + Postcards!

31 Jul

I am not only celebrating an anniversary with Teufelskunst, but also have accumulated dozens of “Flower Devils” and other photographs related to my occult work. Looking for a medium to suitably transport these photos and fitting them into the Teufelskunst shop, I figured big formats are nice but expensive. So what would be a more humble yet authentic way to deliver my “Flower Devils” to the world? A book? Yes, earlier this year I made a first attempt at that and figured it’s still too big for me (both editing- and budget-wise). Then I discovered the printing company in Dresden, which I have been working with for years and who print my band photography as well other works, also offer postcards!

I love cards. I love writing personal messages by hand. I love postcards! And what could be more suitable than to have my little “Flower Devils” carry personal written messages all around the globe?

You can now order all postcards from the Teufelskunst web shop at reduced prizes!

10 Seconds

17 Jul

You have probably had enough eclipse photos thrown at you by now. Alas, I at least wanted to add an own photo to my “Sun, Moon and Stars” collection. So here are is a sequence of the partially eclipsed moon, 1 per second… and a simple one of the eclipse, 2 minutes before midnight. That was the best I could do with a tripod and Sigma lens. At least one can see the Tycho and Grimaldi Crater, as well as the Mare Nubium and Humorum.

World Goth Day, Observation and Contemplation

23 May

Another exploration of Düsseldorf’s Nordfriedhof, in the twilight of the evening hour and short before rain set in. It’s becoming a habit and I keep being surprised by how much splendor and pomp but also food for thought this place has to offer. Some facts:

The graveyard is the closest nearby place, where I can enjoy a bit of calm and solitude in “nature”. There are wild parts, reminiscent of English landscape gardens, which occur quite magical to the senses. On the other hand, the majority of graves is fostered with an accuracy resembling that of miniature baroque gardens. The ballast bed trend is also taking over people’s last place of rest. There are exceptions, with lush planting gone wild, such as the grave covered in columbine, which is pictured above.

The caretakers seem to employ ecological concepts and care for biodiversity. E.g. I found an abandoned sandy part, previously covered in black nightshade, and now filled with fragrant phacelia, which is a soil conditioner and attracts a multitude of pollinating insects, not only honey bees. There are bee hives being implemented on this graveyard. There is a small pond visited by various water fowl as well grey herons and I spotted at least one large bird of prey, a common buzzard. The entrance on one side smells heavily like fox. There is a huge population of rabbits digging burrows all across the graveyard, which is probably not to the liking of all bereaved, but partly amusing to observe.

There is an abundance of large and impressive family gravesites as well as memorials for the victims of WWI and WWII. The annexed stonemason does an admirable job with the restoration of the historical gravesites.

It is easy to become enticed by the romanticism conveyed through the abundance and sheer beauty of the place and its funerary art. Yet I am also finding something oppressive or at least overwhelming about this. There is some money flowing into the maintenance of these graves, which are also a symbol of status and an ultimate expression of people’s egos. This in turn touches upon my own ego and leaves me behind with mixed feelings.

As much as I am occupied with the topic of death and the dead, I am part of a generation that will likely not enjoy the luxury of such post-mortem vanity. In truth, it has always been only a small part of humanity to take part in such luxury. Further, the fate of today’s youth is likely, to dissolve into spirit and not leaving much traces of physical existence behind. The larger mankind grows, the less space it will have for its exponentially growing amount of bodies. Neither are the monuments built over decades to last forever. However, they help to implement and strengthen the status of a few over a certain period.

Yet I keep returning to these places, which exhibit at least 2 centuries of opulent European grave culture, while caught in a dichotomy between the modern world and the past, between ego obsessions and spiritual ideals, between personal emotions and the need for detachment.

Nordfriedhof Düsseldorf

10 May

May 7th, 2019, Nordfriedhof Düsseldorf

Camellia Flower Tincture

6 Apr

Friday evening is tincture time

Kamelienblüte Schloss Pillnitz, Frühlingsanfang 2019

22 Mar

The camellia in Pillnitz is around 230 years old, almost 9 m high and 11 m in diameter. From February to April it is covered in carmine red flowers. During the cold season, the tree, which was planted in 1801 by court gardener Terscheck, is protected by a large glass house with stairs. During this time visitors can enter and view the tree from two levels.

In the mid 19th century Dresden became a European hot spot for the culture and breeding of camellias, and exported them to Russia as well as Italy and Spain. The camellia was viewed as a status symbol among European aristocrats, and Russians in particular, had a high demand for camellia flowers, which were exported in thousands to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

With growing popularity among Westerners, and contrary to its Far Eastern symbolism, the meaning of the flower changed. Thanks to popular literature, most prominently La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas from 1848, as well as real life personae, such as the “Wiener Cameliendame”, a dancer named Fanny Elßler, the camellia became erotizised!

On the other hand the longevity of the flowers, and particularly white camellia flowers, became associated with death and mourning and were woven into funeral wreaths.

The seeds of all known (about 200) camellia seeds yield a valuable oil, which smoothes the hair and juvenates the skin. The oil is rich in linolenic acid, and is also used in cooking and reduces cholesterine. Samurai rubbed camellia oil unto their sword blades to protect them from rust. The oil is also used as a natural surface finish for wood, as lube in watches and precision engineering and more.

Camellia wood is hard and durable and was used in the manufacture of weapons, different tools as well as kokeshi dolls. Up to the Edo period, a camellia rod was used in Buddhist ceremony to punish and drive out malign spirits. The wood also yielded a spark-free and, hence sought after charcoal.

Camellias are highly resistant against diseases and may contain different antibacterial and fungicidal agents.

Besides, the first Westerner to portrait a camellia flower was likely a Saxon gardener by the name George Meister. His book “Der Orientalisch-Indianische Kunst- und Lust-Gärtner” was published in 1692 in Dresden. In it he describes both the camellia as well as its crop plant, Camellia sinensis var. sinensis – the tea shrub!

Further Reading:
https://kamelienschloss.de/botanische-sammlung/kamelien/geschichte-verwendung-von-kamelien/
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillnitzer_Kamelie
https://www.schlosspillnitz.de/de/schloss-park-pillnitz/kamelie/

Nordfriedhof, January 2019

23 Jan

Nordfriedhof Düsseldorf, January 11th, 2019