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Fingers

5 Apr

I woke up many times last night. The documentary I had watched about the Panama papers, followed me into sleep and seemed to occupy my mind for no good reason, other than that I felt betrayed and somehow sharing into the fears and worries of those people that risk their life and well-being for exposing the truth. So my sleep was already restless and my emotional state was not, what one would consider “sunny”. I got some rest after all, but the dream that woke me up again, was one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced… I say experienced, because in dream it’s always real.

I am inside a foreign room. Beside me on the table, is standing one of those plastic bowls, inside of which I usually gather my herb harvest. I am holding a pair of scissors and one by one, I am chopping off fingers from a hand, and placing them inside the bowl. It occurs to be the most natural thing to do. The hand, it turns out, is my own. I have grown it, similar to how the comic character Deadpool is able to regenerate hands and other body parts. So, I am standing there, chopping off fingers from my own, self-grown hands, of which there are about half a dozen, and collecting the fingers inside the bowl. When I am out of hands, I continue cutting the fingers of my left hand – the one that’s still attached to my arm and body! I sense no pain, as I cut through the knuckle joints and observe myself doing this with a scientific sort of fascination. The fingers don’t bleed as I cut through them. Instead there is immediately skin overgrowing the cut off part. I wonder if or when the fingers will grow back on my hand. When I realize that this may take some time or not happen at all, I stop and begin to worry. What have I done? I look at my hand: of the index and ring finger are only stumps left. In this moment my mother enters the room. Ashamed I hide my hand from her. But at the table is still standing the bowl full of fingers. Some of them are dirty, as if they had just been digging in soil. Worried, that she may see the bowl any second, I wake up.

The first thing I do, is check my hands and fingers upon waking. They are still there. Then I remember, how I had been chopping off and through the hollow stalks of fennel plants, left from last year. I had been cutting them right at the joint, where once the leaves and sheath grew out of the stem. It was already getting dark and with the sun gone, the temperatures went down as well. But I was standing beside the compost, hypnotized, cutting one fennel stalk after another, until I was done with all. I placed the stem segments inside plastic bowls, just like the one in my dream, and then put them up for drying beside my bed. My plan is to fill the hollow stems with a special incense blend for inducing vision and second sight. Well, it looks like I just have been given but a taste of their potency.

Winter Walk: Sacred Thorn Grove, January’s Mysteries and the Bloody Tears of the Cherry Tree Sisters

14 Jan

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Steady-paced I walk up the hill. The air is pleasantly cold. It clears the mind and disperses my headache. I am not freezing. The road I’m walking up is called Am Kirschberg, literally meaning “by the cherry mountain”. The field to the left is covered with a thin layer of snow. The dark frozen soil is sticking out of the white. Ploughing traces create zen like, eye-dazzling patterns. At the end of the long stretched field the view is clearing up towards town. Over the horizon line a narrow golden band illuminates the sky. Above me are grey clouds. I am planning on a short walk, but my legs carry me in a different direction…

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Atop a stone wall by the castle, I find the wormwood has not entirely fallen victim to the frost. Next to fading foliage, fresh silvery green leaves are sprouting forth. I gather a few of them, enough for a small winter herb bundle to hang up at home. When dried, it will empower necromantic incense blends. Looking across the river valley, remnants of snow are showing between leafless trees and dark rocks. The sky is an eyeful and I would enjoy the silence, if it wasn’t for cars flashing past on a mint-green autobahn bridge.

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The Thorn Grove in Winter

The way down is frozen over and I hold onto the rusty handrail in order to not slip and fall. People coming my way do not greet me and I do not greet them either. Halfway down the hill, I arrive at the thorn grove. The path up there leads through leafless hawthorn trees growing in all directions. A jay sitting in the branches looks at me but does not fly off. Cautiously I venture on. The ground is muddy and slippery. Most of the snow at this side of the hill has melted. By the rocks I find another wormwood plant and spot a bird’s nest near where the jay had been. I am looking around, breathing the fresh winter air, trying to focus my myopic eyes on the distance. I think of none. It is a good place for the soul.

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Above, the hawthorn thicket is overgrown by raspberry and wild rose. To the right there are young blackthorn shrubs. Their thorns are long and sharp. The young twigs are flexible and make the best thorn-crowns. Further uphill, there is another areal of high-grown hawthorn trees, partly covered in ivy. It’s bordering at a property and the allotment gardens are close. One is likely to meet passersby here. But a magician knows to use the gaps and at night the place is dead silent. Today, however, I am only a passerby myself.

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A Thin White Veil upon the Field

I’m on my way home, stopping now and then, intrigued by the formations of clouds and the golden light of the sun further afar. A skein of geese is on its way southwards. Passing by wild cherry trees lining the field, I search their stems for resin and at last find a group of three tall and slender trees, the base dripping with soft, blood-red gum. I memorize the spot and proceed, faster now. I have to watch my steps. The trail is akin to an ice rink.

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At the birch tree, I stop once more. From here the field looks softer…

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The birch is a pioneer, a tree of new beginnings and the first to come back after complete devastation. The birch profits from death and desolation, but it also paves the way for others to follow and thrive. Beith is for birch, the tree of January, the door opener.

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Remnants of snow on the barren field, remind of the birch’s torn bark. It starts raining and continues to do so. The next day the snow will be gone.

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The Blood-Red Resin Tears of the Cherry Tree Sisters

Returning to the cherry trees, the resin is moist from the rain water and easy to scrap off. I collect a jar full, which I later place on the heat. The resin dries and hardens quickly. In its soft state it is sticky and a yellow golden color. It smells remotely of ripe cherries and of caramel, when burnt. In German it is also known as Katzengold, literally “cat’s gold”, and used for sweetening cough tea. In my worship, I employ the dark red resin tears for Naamah and other female entities. In their harvest, take care to not take everything and leave some behind for the spirits, along with offerings for the guardians of the trees. Physical gifts are symbolical and in order, but they count none without respect and patience. The latter are the true sacrifice. The trees will remember your signature and recognize you next time you approach them.

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I am thankful. The thought had crossed my mind to scar the trees in order to gather their resin. But I have not done so. Therefor I am blessed.

Concerning the Wood Wide Webhttp://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141111-plants-have-a-hidden-internet

Abandoned Park in Spring – The Fuming Womb

11 Apr

Old ash and yew trees in an abandoned park from the 19th century

The trees grow atop arranged rocks, underneath is hidden a small cave. The park’s landscape has once been planned carefully and in alignment with prominent buildings, such as the steeple of the Auferstehungskirche. Channels once lead water through the protracted park scape, which stretches along the Weißeritz river. Most of the paths and arranged parts are overgrown and the original park’s landscape is only slowly re-emerging, due to the thoughtful work of conservationists. Thus are revealed oddities such as gnarly, half dead – half alive trees and previously hidden pathways…

Herbs such as hollowroot (Corydalis cava), wood squill (Scilla sibirica) and thimbleweed (Anemone nemorosa) are currently in bloom, covering the grounds in purple, blue and white. As the sun was setting, I did an incense offering between the base of the stems of two ash trees, which are merged by their roots, observing the smoke rising from the womb formed between both trees and watching the sun go down…

New Year’s 2015

5 Jan

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I spent my New Year’s in a church and I liked it.

I’m from Dresden. That’s the town famous for its late baroque pomp and for being bombed to ashes at the very end of WWII. It’s also known as “Tal der Ahnungslosen” due to the geographical location, which made it difficult to receive tv from Western Germany during GDR times. It is also known for people protesting peacefully on the streets, which eventually lead to the events that brought down the Wall. In 1989 the motto “Wir sind das Volk” was used because people yearned for more freedom, equality and unity. It was motivated by positive ideals and hope. 25 years later people are protesting again on Dresden’s streets. They are using the same motto, but the motivation is a different one. People are now driven by fear, frustration and hatred. Interviews with single participants of these “silent protest marches” show how diverse the motifs are. Social injustice ranks high, amongst fears of being outnumbered, underprivileged. People are troubled with various problems. The actual motto of these demonstrations occurs almost secondary to the participants, but it is this motto, which is now being perceived world-wide: “against the Islamification of the Christian Western civilisation”. The main motif, which is carried forth on banners and in news headlines is xenophobia. The individual motivations of the people do not make the headlines.

In other countries people protest for freedom, justice and a better education. The message is clear and unequivocal.

In Germany people are apparently unable to formulate their actual concerns or they feel not taken serious if they do. Instead people now march under the banner of “PEGIDA”. It is a motto that the biggest number of the participants of these protests does not support. Yet they decide to follow it for whatever reason. The message on that banner is clear and there is no way of trying to relativize it. This is tragic and we have seen before where such passive followership can lead.

I truly hope that most of the people participating in these protest will come to senses and choose the right language for their goals. Preserving our values is indeed something to stand up for. But it is even better done by contributing one’s part and being a good example, whether you’re an artist, architect, dental technician, engineer, gardener, hair stylist, waiter/waitress, university professor or unemployed. It starts with yourself and good manners. It continues with being nice to others.

So what did I do this New Year’s? I was in fact still sick with tonsillitis and had been on antibiotics since the weekend. I felt weak and in a situation where help, love and comfort are needed. I’m extremely grateful to have two loving parents and friends that care for me in such situations. I’m grateful there was a doctor on Saturday morning to have checked me and prescribed the necessary medication. I’m grateful also, to have spirits to call upon and pray to in such a situation.

I do in fcat believe in god and a higher cause. I am interested in the essence behind the religious forms of all sorts of traditions, which are a continuous inspiration in my art. I take from all places and I pick out the best for myself. I feel this is the natural way to do in life.

We (that is my parents and me) spent this New Year’s in a small church in Dresden Plauen. This in itself felt like a little miracle and it would have sounded like an impossibility if you would have told me a few weeks ago. But this is another story and here we were. It’s been my dream to see this church from the inside for years. And little could I know of how beautiful its art nouveau interior really was…

The pastor made a very short speech, welcoming the guests, introducing the organist, Andreas Jud, a young, award-winning musician from Switzerland, and then wished us all a Happy New Year. The rest of the evening was music. No talk, no politics, no agendas. Just the organ in full blast, the organist giving his very best. And every attendant was left to his own thoughts and contemplations.

With this in mind I wish all my followers and friends all the best for 2015.

(more photos of the church to follow in my next post)

Tree Lights

1 Jan

Last photos for 2014, first post for 2015 –  I’m still sick but went for a short walk on New Year’s Eve and took the camera with me. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with long exposure times and flashlight at night. Especially when not feeling well, this always had an uplifting effect on me.

See also: https://wiebkerost.com/2014/01/18/natures-church/

Thanks so much to my followers and supporters!

All the best for 2015!

All Hallows 2014

7 Nov

All Hallows is amongst others a time to remember your Dead and be receptive for the messages they communicate from the other side. I have previously blogged about the season and thinning of the veil that usually separates the worlds of the living and the dead. This post is about the actual period known as Allhallowtide, or more famously Halloween, which is celebrated on October 31, and the following nights of All Saints and All Souls, which are commemorated successively on November 1 and 2. These celebrations have a Christian background, though Halloween is often also viewed to have originated from Pagan harvest festivities, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. All have in common an occupation with death and the souls of the dead. Hence skulls and ghoulish appearances are a prominent theme during Halloween. Halloween could be translated as the ‘eve of the hallowed ones’ – the holy or good dead, spirits and saints of Christian faith. However, these long nights are also seen as a time of mischief and in pagan tradition they mark the beginning of the Wild Hunt, a fearsome and dangerous time associated with fateful events.

During these nights it is common to light candles and serve offerings for the dead. These customs find a climax in the Mexican celebrations of the Dia de los muertos, Day of the Dead, when the cemeteries turn into oceans of light, offerings of sugar skulls and pan de muerto, bread of the dead, are placed on graves and home altars, people dress up as skeletons and identify consciously with their dead and the skeletal saints Santa Muerte and la Calavera Catrina. (These customs may be rooted in but are actually far removed from Aztec times, when gruesome deities such as Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl were feared and appeased with bloody sacrifices). Today’s day of the dead customs are mostly influenced by Catholicism and similar practices exist in other parts of Latin America and catholic parts of Europe.

I have been impressed and moved by the intensity and beauty of these celebrations since the first time I learned about them, and feel an urge to create a similar atmosphere in my place of living. Actually we too have a time for commemorating the dead, which is Totensonntag, the last Sunday before Advent. This is when we visit the graves of our dead relatives, grandparents and great-grand parents. But in my practice I also relate to the Dead that I once shared a part of my life with and the so-called Mighty Dead, which are much older spirits that act as spiritual guides and idols. For me these three nights of Allhallowtide are a time to relate to and honor these Dead and to do so I adopted some of the practices from the Mexican festival, some of which have been taught to me by friends and so another aspect of following these customs is carrying on a tradition.

Below you can see the offerings placed outside on my window bench. They consist of grave candles (which are weatherproof and indispensable during the stormy autumn nights), normal candles (which may or may not burn, depending on the weather), bread of the dead shaped into preferred forms and sweetened with honey, pomegranate (a reference to underworld deities such as Hecate and Persephone), orange or other type of fruits, e.g. figs, Vervain strewing herb and a glass filled with fresh water. Later I also added a pumpkin-lantern, into which I carved a Teufelskunst devil, to strengthen the flame that keeps me and my artistic work alive:

These offerings are left for as long as the candles keep burning (e.g. 72 hours) and then brought to a graveyard or a remote place in the forest, ideally where they won’t be removed by third parties, just so the souls can ‘feed’ on them undisturbed. And again in this case these offerings are not related to ones normal dead relatives and hence are not placed on those graves, but rather a neutral yet powerful spot is chosen, such as a crossroad, in front of a large tree or cross. Additional candles are lit, incense burnt and through silent or spoken prayers the tie between oneself and the spirits is renewed and strengthened.

Now I hope this post is helpful to my readers and especially those, to whom this festival (and my obsession with it) occurs as strange. Respect the work and you may prosper from it as well.

Update: I am adding some useful links on the topic below. The list shall grow as I find time and inspiration to add more…

Symbol

9 Jan

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This symbol is used on my sun incense blends and is also pyrographed on a walnut wooden pendant (the walnut being a sun tree). The symbol is an altered version of the planetary symbol for the sun (a closed circle with a dot in the center). By breaking the closed circle and turning it into a coil, it emphasizes an active and dynamic principle as opposed to a passive state or ‘perfection’. The shape is inspired by solar flares. The coil can also standard for the inner flame. It also resembles the number 6 (kabbalistic number of the sun). If turned upside down it becomes a crowned number nine. Seen anti-clockwise, it stands for involution/ revolution/ return to a primal state – or the centering and focusing of the mind in meditation. Seen clock-wise, it would stand for evolution/ development/ progressing to a higher state – or the expression of one’s inner thoughts and impulses.

Our sun is going through an interesting period, which affects the entire planetary system.