Archive | plants and herbalism RSS feed for this section

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/

Plants and Planets

13 Jul

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. Today plants are classified scientifically based on their genome, but their planetary lore 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 fun and inspiring to continue this tradition and to explore its own inner logic. And since I spent the past 3 weeks gardening, I took to it and photographed the recent herb harvest according to the planets. The following series follows the Chaldean sequence. Photos by myself. Please share and credit.

Please visit my garden blog for further info on plants and their planetary correspondences: https://pflanzenkunst.wordpress.com/planetary-correspondences/

Gallery

Botanical Garden Düsseldorf

8 May

New Artwork and Music

4 Aug

Spent the night and all morning preparing new pieces of paper with coffee, wormwood tincture and fresh leaves from my datura plants. Now the paper is drying, then has to be pressed and then can be drawn on with ink. I am planning on a small series of inked sigils and perhaps one or two realistic datura plant drawings. Besides this, I yet have to prepare the paper for my next mandrake series and I also have a few new tinctures in the making. Meanwhile, here are my most recent ink drawings from past weeks (all sold and shipped):

While working with the datura I was blessed with new music by a lady, who creates audio-visual compositions inspired by the same plants that I grow and revere in my art. The project goes by the name CHTHONIA. I was given six tracks, to which I did not listen consciously, but rather had them running in the background. Yet there were moments, where I’d listen up and think, “well, this strangely harmonizes with how I perceive the plant’s character”. A very interesting experiment and endeavor, of which I hope we will soon hear more.

Pale Glow

8 Apr

April nightfall – chill, raindrops on pale petals of daffodils and tulips, roses

The garden after dark, all the myths…

In antiquity a marriage outside one’s social class would bring shame over the family. Abductions were staged to justify such liaison.(1) Against this background the story of the abduction of Persephone appears in a new light. It enabled her to be part of and live in two worlds, which were otherwise closed away from each other. She maintained the privileges of the world of the living, but also dined with the dead in the underworld and was let into its secrets. According to legend she picked daffodils when Hades ‘abducted’ her to the underworld. Her story remains fascinating, her flowers remind us of it.

Martin Luther too staged his abduction. Believed to be dead by his foes, he used the time ‘in the dark’ to translate the bible from original sources into German language (with a little help from his friends), one of the most significant cultural contributions of mankind. His signature flower became the rose. (2)

(1) Harold Roth, The Witching Herbs, p. 48 “Kidnapped Brides

(2) The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_rose

Besides…

I watched lots of docus on Arte +7. Yes, the one about the comet (so amazing) and the series on space time and matter. About the chief and the forests. Also earlier about the super plants. And now I am hung up on the magic garden series… eg this one about the garden as a place of initiation:  http://www.arte.tv/guide/de/057898-003-A/magische-garten

Wooden Seed Boxes #27-30

11 Mar


Seed boxes #27-30, completed

The boxes contain seeds from at least 44 different venific and benific ‘witch’ herbs. The boxes are pyrographed with the “sigilum major” or “greater sowing seal”, stained and varnished. Then hundreds of little paper bags are labeled and filled with the seeds, which I partly gather by myself and partly purchase from other places. I usually spend at least 40 hours on four of these boxes. It is a tedious but also rewarding process, which gives me the chance to connect deeper with the herbs and it also empties the mind and brings new inspiration. It is my hope that the content of these boxes will bring joy to others and aid them in their own studies.

Update: the boxes are sold. Please write to me at info@teufelskunst.com if you wish to reserve one in the future!