Harvest Seal

Reaping Seal

Original “Harvest” aka “Reaping Seal”, 2011

I created the sigil in 2011 and initially titled it “Reaping Seal”. It was one of the first sigils I designed for myself. My other sigil designs were inspired by my study of and practical work with traditional “witch herbs”. Before that I had been illustrating occult books.

The sigil is as an example for a transition period both in my art as well as ritual work. I originally designed it as the center motive for my personal altar table. It is pyrographed on the wooden table along with other esoteric glyphs and various illustrative elements. On the table are placed herbs harvested by myself, or sent to me by fellow practitioners:

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The design plays with harvest symbolism, with sickles and quarters – connected to the four seasons, the four elements and returning cycles. It also carries obvious references to the occult forms and symbols employed within a certain wrathful current. It would hence not be smart to use this seal out of context. Yet it happened and continues to happen…

Harvest Seal Spreads on the Internet, Unauthorized Use and Commercial Abuse

I uploaded the above image to my Pinterest account years ago. I also uploaded (and later deleted) the image to my occult art page on Facebook, as well as a photo of the pyrographed altar table. I later changed the title to “harvest seal”, which does not sound as grim.

Since, the black and white image has been spreading on the internet (likely via pinterest and tumblr) and apparently has been mistaken as being in the “public domain” (it is not). In follow, it has been abused among others for:

  • promoting events
  • printed it on t-shirts, mugs and other types of merchandise
  • graffiti art
  • candles
  • engraved on a series of amulets

These are the instances that have been brought to my attention by my dear customers and followers. All happened without my knowledge or consent, despite all my artwork uploads containing an artist comment, in which I emphasize that non of my art may used, reproduced or altered in any way without my expressed written consent.

Versions and Authorized Use, 2016 and Onwards

Harvest Blessing, 2016
Harvest Blessing, 2016

A version of the “Harvest Seal” from 2016, constructed in ritual, with dried plant parts arranged on soil from our garden. I used vervain (Eisenkraut) for the sickle blades and fennel stalks for the sickle handles. The center circle is strewn with aromatic fennel seed. The symbols for the four elements are made out of corresponding herbs: fire – wormwood (Wermut), water – belladonna (Tollkirsche), earth – mugwort (Beifuß) and air – bittersweet nightshade (Bittersüßer Nachtschatten). The forked stang in the center is a dried thorn-apple stem. The triangle at the base (representing the “fifth” element – spirit) is made from dried thorn-apple leaves and seeds. The wooden boxes placed inside the four sickle blades are “seed boxes”, which are pyrographed by hand and filled with seeds from different witch herbs – many of which are gathered by myself and then filled into little bags to be contained in these boxes, which are then shipped to fellow practitioners for sowing in their own witch garden.

It has been pointed pout to me by fellow artist Anne Ida Helmer, who is a studied photographer and teacher, that she has not seen anything like it and I was extremely honored, that the ritual with the sigil lead to my participation in a group exhibition with international artists in Berlin.

In 2016 I also created a new version of the sigil for musician Martin Falkenstein/House of Inkantation to be used for an event series and on various merchandise:

"Samhain Celebration" merch bundle, Nov. 2016
“Samhain Celebration” merch bundle featuring “Samhain Harvest Seal”, Gotha, 2016
"Samhain Celebration" Gotha, 2016
Samhain Harvest Seal used as stage design for the “Samhain Celebration” in Gotha, 2016
Carved horse skull by Kvlt&Knochen, featuring the “Samhain Harvest Seal”, Gotha, 2017
Samhain Harvest Seal 2018, collab between Teufelskunst, House of Inkantation and Black Arts of Mine

The “Samhain Harvest Seal” is an alternative version of my old “Reaping Seal” (see above) and was created exclusively for the “Samhain Celebration” in Gotha. It is used for the stage backdrop, on tickets and event related merchandise.

In 2017 Austrian artist G. Bergfex of Kvlt&Knochen carved a horse skull with the seal and imbued it with his own blood. The skull crowned the stage, on which Rim Runa, Werian, Forndom, Sun of the Sleepless and Malokarpatan performed. In 2018 Black Arts of Mine created a limited amount of etched copper amulets with another version of the sigil

Closing this, I repeat, what I wrote above: My artist comment always includes the note that I am the creator and do not wish for my work to be used without permission. Most of the time people respect this wish. But apparently some people are ignorant – from changing or deleting the original artist comment, to downloading and re-uploading, this way erasing all traces of the original source. Low resolution seems to be no obstacle either, because the smallest image can be vectorized and printed. Due to this (and because the sigil seems to be really popular) it has sadly become one of my most stolen artworks. From witches printing it on their products to bands using it on their merchandise or for advertising events – it has happened and continues to happen. Once some band even claimed illustration work of mine as their “graphic designer’s own creation”. But even individuals that bother doing a check-up and search the original artist behind artwork, end up being fooled. It is a strange and sad irony this would concern of all things this sigil the most.

A popular graffiti artist including the seal in his street art, rejecting to credit me when sharing photos of it online

The question is not so much, who is to blame, but what to do about it. No longer uploading my work online cannot be the way. Marking all works with ugly watermarks cannot be the way either (especially if the work is already a mark of its own). I am often recommended to employ a lawyer. In the meantime I am thankful that my followers are keeping an eye out and bring art theft to my attention. I am also thankful for everyone that listens and respects my copyright. As it happens to be, once the connection is made, I sometimes end up with new illustration jobs.

So all I can hope for is, that awareness will grow and that more people know about me and my work and respect it.

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