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Forward Look 2016: Changes, Ideas, New Projects

31 Dec

Keywords: road maps, systematic approaches, reduction, advancement

Looking back at 2015, an important step was the birth of Planta Magica/ Pflanzenkunst. This project shall receive more attention in 2016. As I continue updating and publishing articles about plants at the new site, I may also start offering downloadable e-books and printed booklets. This can happen in the form of a journal series, discussing in depth certain plants under different aspects. The texts would be accompanied by my photography and plant inspired art. As an example can serve my article about the Mandrake, which was published in Anathema’s Pillars Journal.

Teufelskunst - Pflanzenkunst copy

Pertaining to Teufelskunst, which is now heading into its 5th year since the site went online, there shall also occur some changes. As the work with the green is now receiving space within a new frame, Teufelskunst will focus more on products and creations tied to certain esoteric lines of practice, these being foremost the qliphoth. On top of my list for 2016 are two spiritual maps to be offered as prints, as well as the continuation of my qliphothic incense line. Expect incense for Adramelech/Sammael very soon.

Along with this the Teufelskunst website shall undergo a trimming and the Garden will move here. I will cut it down to three site sections: the first is to give an overview of available products and tools. A second site section, the Devil’s Trumpet, is dedicated to interviews with other artists and the exploration of different esoteric concepts. Secondhand Literature, the third site section, will continue, despite animosity from different directions. I feel it is now more important than ever to appreciate but also to grow a critical view at the esoteric book genre and recent book releases. Besides, lets face it: some want to part with their esoteric library, others want to get their hands on sold out titles. Herein lies potential for magical experience to be passed on along with the books and, being handed on, their prestige grows as well.

What more? At the end of 2015 I found myself in a loop of crafting and delivering. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I did not find any time at all to work on drawings or possible collaborations, as my mail-order kept me busy 24/7. I also did not find time to work on larger commissions, such as statues. The road to take in 2016 will be to focus on fewer products, higher quality and commissions that challenge me on an artistic level. In 2015 part of my life time got sucked up in bureaucracy, e.g. pertaining to customs and import regulations. I learned some new lessons there, however I doubt whether these were conducive experiences. Some things I wouldn’t do a second time.

In 2016 I hence hope to get to projects talked about in 2015. One would include doing artwork for a band. The other is a photography collaboration with Mr. James Patrick of Death Sex Electronics.

But before all of this enrolls, I look forward to spending New Year’s in a small circle of friends, then a relaxed and creative first week of January, where I see myself preparing a new print edition.

Stay tuned for more and thanks for the great feedback on my work.

Lets rock 2016

Wiebke

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Plant Riddle #3 – Solution

30 Dec

As a reminder, I gave the following hints:

This time the herb I’m looking for is not a poisonous one – quite the contrary! It is a classic healing herb, which belongs in any herbal apothecary. A giant in the garden, its name relative is associated with an adversarial hero, who helped man and offended the gods…

The riddle included an illustration, which was to aid in finding the answer. Here is the drawing again:

riddle-no3

 

The illustration hinted at the legend of Prometheus, who stole the fire from the olymp in the shaft of a Giant Fennel (Ferula communis). The drawing also shows the planetary ruler (Mercury) and associated element (Fire), which apply to both herbs. Hence the relative I was looking for, was the Common Fennel (Feoniculum vulgare). I admit this time the riddle was a little more tricky.

Thanks to everyone, who commented and shared their ideas! It was great fun reading your remarks and seeing the chain of thoughts that lead most of you to the right answer. Other suggestions included angelica, dill, chamomile and yarrow. Since Angelica had been mentioned often, I’m sharing here for comparison my sigillum for it:

Angelica

Angelica

Some of you recognized, the difference in foliage and some other elements. I feel inspired though to give this image, which is already a bit older, a make-over and add planetary as well as some more hints at its folkloristic and magical attributions…

For more info about these herbs, please visit my new blog dedicated solely to the Green.

Plant Riddle #3

17 Dec

Only few days left until the Winter Solstice, I am excited to share my next plant riddle with you. This time the herb I’m looking for is not a poisonous one – quite the contrast! It is a classic healing herb, which belongs in any herbal apothecary. A giant in the garden, its name relative is associated with an adversarial hero, who helped man and offended the gods.

The riddle is again accompanied by a new illustration I did earlier in autumn and which may help or confuse…

riddle-no3

Which is the plant in question?

Regina Bombina

17 Jul

Regina Bombina

My contribution to the mystery and folklore surrounding the bumblebee. This sigil is inspired by my garden work and continues my line of magical images dedicated to the otherworldly emanations that cross between plant, animal and human realm.

Watch this awesome documentary about bumblebees: www.3sat.de/mediathek/?mode=pl…

Did you know? Bumblebees collect up to 5 times as much pollen and nectar daily as honey bees. In the animal realm they are the fastest at recognizing colors. No other insect cares as devotedly for their offspring as bumblebees.

Mandrake Family

11 Apr

Family
These three were once conjoined as a single root. Sadly after the winter I noticed the tissue at the top had become soft and started rotting away. I decided to dig them out and safe what was left. They’ve been drying for 3 weeks now and thus far looking good, still almost as fleshy as on the photo.

Mandragora officinarum plantlets

Small mandrake plants from a German seller, arrived today. I quickly unpacked and watered them. They currently reside in our veranda, where they have evening sun, and seem to be doing well thus far. The leaves keep growing. I will wait with repotting until they withdraw their foliage.

Christmas Rose

14 Nov

“Then he who is about to dig out the plant turns to the East and prays that it may be accounted lawful for him to do this and that the gods may grant him permission.” – Pliny the Elder

Folklore: East is where the sun rises and considered to be the place in heaven where the good spirits dwell. According to Christian tradition the dead are buried facing East, which is the direction from which Jesus is believed to arrive on the day of the resurrection in order to take them with him into the kingdom of heaven. But already before the Christian custom pagans would bury their dead so they would face the rising sun.

“One part hellebore with as much artemisia placed beneath a diamond gives animosity and audacity, guards the members [of the wearer] and makes victorious over what you wish.” – Hermes Trismegistus, 15 Fixed Stars 15 Herbs 15 Stones and 15 Figures

According to Hermes Trismegistus black hellebore is attributed to the fixed star Algol, together with the diamond. Agrippa connects the plant further to Mars and places it also under the rule of Saturn:

“Hellebore is dedicated to Mars and the Head of Algol.” – Agrippa

In ritual, hellebore may be burnt for consecrating Saturnian talismans and conjuring spirits of Mars. Christwurzel is also a key herb in Faustian rites of exorcism and coercion, along with garlic and sulfur:

“Carry with you Aaronis and also Hellebore, so that he [the demon] cannot delve into you or possess you.” – Dr. Faust, Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis

The name Christmas Rose comes from its auspicious time of flower or from the Christian legend that it sprouted from a young girl’s tears fallen on the snow, when she was sad that she had no present for the Christ child in Bethlehem. Another legend tells of the goddess Freya, who rescued an abandoned child during a deadly cold winter night by transforming it into a hellebore flower. Hellebore is also a symbol of innocence. It was considered holy and believed to ward off evil spirits, help heal the black death and safe pigs from swine flu if a helleborus flower was placed on the animal’s ears.

The name hellebore is composed of the Greek word ellein = to injure and bora = food, whilst the Latin adjective niger = black, may refer to the color of the plant’s root, which is almost black when dried. The German name Nieswurz refers to its use in sneezing powders. In medieval medicine it was a cure against demonic possession. The plant has a long tradition in healing madness and epilepsy (also called the ‘divine disease’ if a person was possessed by a demon): Ovid writes in his Metamorphoses of the three daughters of king of Argos, who had been driven mad by Dionysos and were screaming and running naked all across town, being cured by the healer Melampus of Pylos with a drink of hellebore solved in milk. Hence the herb was also known by the name Melampodium. Alexander the Great on the other hand is said to have died of an overdose of medication containing hellebore. During the Siege of Kirrha 585 BC, the Greek were said to have poisoned the city’s water supply with hellebore and waited until the enemy was too weak to be able to defend it any longer due to the diarrhea caused by the plant’s poison.

Pliny the Elder mentions the existence of an opposite to the Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger), with the ‘White Hellebore’ or ‘False Helleborin’ (the plant referred to is probably Veratrum album).

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…