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Fall 2018

5 Nov

Fall is here, death is here, but the flowers keep on flowering

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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“.

New Postcards: Flower Devils, Plants and Planets and more

6 Oct

“Flower Devils”

In German folklore, witches and even the devil himself were believed to take on the shape of bumblebees. A bumblebee-wax candle was lit in church, if a witch was burnt at the stake. Evil people were cursed with having to return as a bumblebee after death. The sub-earthen drone sound of a bumblebee signaled the presence of the dead. Instead of consecrated wavers, bumblebees were allegedly served at black masses. Bumblebees were also superstitiously feared as carriers of sickness and ritually buried to drive out plague. On the other hand, a dead bumblebee worn in the pocket, was believed to ensure the purse would always be filled with money. And he, who managed to secretly steal the bumblebee’s honey, was destined to find a huge treasure. Hence bumblebees were both viewed as good and bad omens.

Special to me is the photo of a bee among the ruins of an old Minoan Palace in the city of Malia (Crete). In the location was found a massive golden bee amulet, depicting two crowned bees holding a honey drop. Bees and other pollinators played important rolls both in the religion of ancient civilizations as well as folklore.

“Plants and Planets”

Also new: postcards with my occult/nature inspired “Plants and Planets“ series from 2018! Available in two formats.

In the past botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper associated plants with the planets, fixed stars and zodiac signs. The attributions were based on an intense study of a plant’s features, which included treats such as a thorny or prickly appearance, the scent emitted by the flowers or the entire plant, the plant’s life cycle, colors, metals contained in a plant, medicinal and other uses and of course plenty of folklore. The planetary lore of plants is preserved and continues to evolve in the books of authors such as Stephen Skinner, Paul Huson, Scott Cunningham, Harold Roth and so on.

I find it inspiring to continue this tradition and to explore its own inner logic. Hence I created these planet themed still life photographs of herbs, that I gathered from our garden and surroundings, many of which are also part of my seed boxes. With this series I yet delve deeper into the language of plants and the symbolism and magical properties attributed to them.

The postcards have round edges and the sizes comply with common post standards. The motifs are printed on “silk” photo paper and laminated on durable white cardboard, which is pre-printed on the back. For ordering please head over to the Teufelskunst webshop.

Düsseldorf Skies

24 Aug

Sunsets and Cloud Scapes over Düsseldorf, photographed in April, July and August 2018

Perseids

15 Aug

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail (called the radiant) lies in the constellation Perseus. The name is derived from the word Perseidai (Greek : Περσείδαι), the sons of Perseus in Greek mythology.

What we see as “shooting stars” is actually a cloud of debris – tiny pieces ejected by the comet Swift-Tuttle, as it travels along its 133 year orbit around the sun. These particles burn up in the earth’s atmosphere at around 80 km height. They are visible every year from July to August and reach maximum activity between August 9-14, depending on the location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour.

They can be seen all across the sky; however, because of the shower’s radiant in the constellation of Perseus, the Perseids are primarily visible in the Northern Hemisphere. [from Wikipedia]

Shown above are photos from my first attempt at capturing the “Perseids”. They occurred in pretty much all directions and I saw some brilliant trains high in the sky as well as fireballs just short above the horizon line. But it was difficult to photograph them.

I set up the camera towards the North East and the constellation Perseus, with the widest angle available (f 18 mm) and 30 seconds exposure time. And then I spent the following 2 hours pressing the shutter every 30 seconds…

The camera did capture a few Perseids as well as plenty of planes. The difference is that a plane shows a twofold and non-continuous light trace (because the plane lights blink periodically) whereas the train of a meteor shows as a thin, continuous bright line on the photo.

Later that night Auriga rose in the North and the Pleiades became visible in the North East. The camera caught a small train directly above the Pleiades.

Around 2 am the sky started to cloud and my photo session ended.

In the photos I marked some of the constellations and stars for orientation. I hope you enjoy this little excursion. I recommend to check this website for further reading: https://sternenhimmel-fotografieren.de/sternbild-perseus-perseiden-h-und-chi-herz-und-seele-herznebel-sternschnuppen-finden-beobachten-fotografieren/

Wendy McNeill @Kassette, Düsseldorf

9 Aug

My first time out in Düsseldorf, also my first time going to a concert in ages, and also I had not bought any new music for a long time. Nor had I heard of Wendy McNeill before. Until fellow photographer Adrien of Nekrographie gave me the tip. I had no idea that he has been a huge fan of her for years. Well, now I understand why. It’s one of the best things in life, going to a show and falling in love with an artist right there. Even better, to be able to get to meet and chat with them afterwards. So, now I have been out in Düsseldorf, I went to a concert, and bought lots of new music. Mission accomplished. Thanks Wendy and Adrien!

Wendy Mc Neill sings and plays the accordion and guitar. She tells stories so vividly and captivating that it is easy to get lost in tales of wolves, sirens and unlucky men…

Ask Me No Questions video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P4lgdS8xaw
Website: https://www.wendymcneill.com/

Dog Days 2018

9 Aug

This week we had again another “hottest day of the year”. Since June, most of Europe experiences a near ceaseless heat and drought period. These hot days of summer are also referred to as “Dog Days” (Hundstage) and this year they live up to their name.

The Greek called them kynádes hēmérai, Romans adopted it, calling them dies caniculares. Historically the period began with the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius (actually a star system) in the Northern Hemisphere, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck, while to the Polynesians in the Southern Hemisphere the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.

For my “Dog Days” incense I took inspiration from the paralyzing and deadly weather phenomenon.

The formula has been updated, with field eryngo (Eryngium campestre) being added to the baneful blend. In German language this type of thistle is also referred to as “Unruh” and “Elend” and the occurrence of clusters of broken off stems, similar to spiky tumbleweed carried forth by the wind, are named “Steppenhexen”. This stingy plant is almost impossible to touch or harvest without hurting yourself. Yet, and despite the heat and drought, it is frequented by dozens of bumblebees and other pollinators.

Beside obvious herbal references to the the dog/wolf totem, such as wolfsbane and mandrake, the incense contains also black and white henbane, which have been used in prophecy, baneful spells but also for rain magic. I burnt a good amount of it on this day, both to cleanse and bless a dog skull I found at the flea market, as well as to call for rain and cooling. It may have been simply good timing, but rain came the following morning.

I am often asked about side effects and dangers of burning venific incense blends – I can only speak for myself, I did not notice anything, apart from feeling more focused and empowered. I also sensed a relaxing effect on myself. A slight dizziness I attest to the burning sun and heat, not to the herbs.

Luckily, the worst heat seems to be over now and I look forward to enjoying the end of summer and working on art.