Tag Archives: flowers

June Devils 2017

1 Jul

 

Impressions from my month of June, including my ritual for the summer solstice 2017.

View the entire Flower Devils series here.

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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

Sunflower Field and Sunset

12 Aug

Visiting a sunflower field, before venturing on to gather wild herbs and rowan berries. I recharge and absorb the warmth of the evening sun. The temps have dropped to a chilling 12 °C. Going deeper into the sunflower field, a bee, stiffened from the cold, is stuck to a huge sunflower head. I wonder if it will make it through the night. It would wake up to plenty of food though. A few seconds later the sun has vanished and the sky is ablaze…

Bees on our White Lavender

11 Jul

Every year, dozens of bees and bumblebees are collecting nectar and pollen on our white lavender. Now is that time again. The above photo was a lucky shot. My lens is not really suited for macro photography. But in this image all the details of the insect are clearly visible, whereas the surrounding has a nice bokeh effect, created by motion blur and depth of field. So here we go, another bee joins the “flower devils” photo series.

Foetid Devil

8 Mar

Foetid Devil

Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), on Stinking Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) flower

-> Flower Devils

Harvest Circles and other Compositions

30 Dec
Fungi collection, 2013

Fungi collection, 2013

Find updated the site’s Art section, to which has been added amongst others a new page for “assemblage” works, which includes old and new pieces.

Assemblage is an artistic process. In the visual arts, it consists of making three-dimensional or two-dimensional artistic compositions by putting together found objects.

Usually this refers to fixed creations constructed from various elements, which may or may not be movable. I am expanding the term as I also group temporarily assembled objects into that category. You find there for example my “Harvest Circle” series and various other loose compositions, which are put together only for the moment of the photo and later re-used for other purposes. E.g. the dried herbs, fungi and flowers may be utilized by Occvlta jewellery in the creation of unique pendants and artefacts. Yet these temporary works have a point and meaning of their own and may talk to the viewer in different ways. Technically these could be considered still lifes, however I feel the elements are literally assembled, and the process and style of the compositions are closer to assemblage than classical still life.

Central to the work are the dried (and dead) parts of plants, from seed to root, from flower to fruit and everything in between. Usually the material is derived from plants I have grown and harvested by myself. Hence another working title for these compositions is “Dead & Arranged”. Below are some more examples.

In the future I consider doing fixed assemblages in the manner pictured, however I am still researching techniques and materials.

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).