Tag Archives: occultism

Pillars Perichoresis

19 Feb

Pillars Perichoresis, Anathema Publishing

"The Bleeding Tree", photograph in Pillars Perichoresis

"Regina Amandrakina", essay and illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

"Heqet-Hekate", illustration in Pillars Perichoresis

Several of my artworks and one essay are featured in the now sold-out “Pillars – Perichoresis” anthology by Anathema Publishing, 2016. The book is a compilation of the first three “Pillars” journals and contains additional material that was not part of previous releases. I have contributed to all three journals and look forward to continue working with Anathema Publishing in the future.

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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…

MAGICAL ART/E, circular tower of an event – part II

31 Mar

The Art

Below you see some of the art displayed at St. Augustine’s tower last weekend. We set up our works in the tower’s different storeys, starting with the entrance hall, which had the best facilities for displaying drawings, paintings etc. I somehow missed to take snapshots of Charlotte Rodgers‘ sculptural works, which were shown on the first floor, where also the talks, music perfomances and meditations took place. (Might do a special about those at another time in connection with Charlotte’s recent publications.) On the second floor was the room for the tower’s clockwork, where Glen Tomney, Amodali and Jezebel Halewood-Leagas and myself arranged our different works (see photos below).

Lastly on the third and top floor Angela Edwards had set up a controversial art-shrine dedicated to Pomba-Gira. Think for a moment of a demonic vulvic altar, all covered in blood, being exposed in the top of a church tower and accessible to a wide audience – not only Christian visitors felt repulsed by the visual aggressiveness, but also esotericists and occultists of various backgrounds had a hard time relating to the work. It was very interesting to see the different reactions from outraged to amused, from stunned to indifferent. My way of response was by lighting candles and icense because that’s what the incense and candles was there for. Amidst the provocation and controversy there was also a way of showing respect.

This was certainly not a ‘professional’ exhibition as you would expect from a normal gallery. The tower was cold, electricity was not working propperly and there were little facilities for hanging up work (hitting nails in the walls was not allowd inside the historical building). Regardless we managed to work around that and improvised: at night we lit candles to illuminate our artworks, which we arranged inside and around the windows and upon the wooden doors of the tower’s clockwork. The light and warmth of the candles created a special and beautiful atmosphere inside this unique location. After three days at the tower none of the pieces felt quite the same. Amidst cobwebs and dust centuries old they had now been charged with the special vibes of the place.

The People and Surroundings

On Saturday it was hailing whilst sun kept on shining, creating a very special mood, which again reminded me of the imagery on the tarot tower card… Below is the view from the tower’s entrance door towards the old gravestones lined up to the left. Directly infront of the tower was a beautiful majestic tree, looking all the more dramatic against the scenery in the sky formed by dark clouds, sunshine and hail. You see also a sandstone relief left to the tower’s entrance, showing three skulls with triple crossed bones, hourglass and dragon wings…

The other photos are from Saturday’s talks and musical performance, perhaps the busiest day and drawing the largest crowd to the tower throughout the entire week. You see painter and performance artist Angela Edwards chatting with Lucius Matthiesen, the audience at Charlotte Rodgers‘ talk on spirit houses etc… Saturnnight ended with a jam session by Roberto Migliussi (vocals), Chris Chibnall (theremin wiz), Gavin Semple (guitar), Mark O Pilkington, Glen Tomney and Freya Black (magic flute). I could not attend the entire session due to being left in charge of guarding the entrance, however I could still enjoy the sound-scapes from the hall below (the tower proving to have amazing acoustics).

MAGICAL ART/E, circular tower of an event – part I

28 Mar

This was not your usual exhibition, talk event or art show nor was this your usual esoteric gathering or occult conference. This event was different, in a number of ways and a challenge to all participants. If you would have asked me 2 weeks before if I was going I probably would have ruled out the option for a lack of funds, time and motivation. All of this changed precisely 1 week before I eventually embarked on my little journey to London (for the first time in 7 years). It was as if something had tipped me on the shoulder and all of sudden I felt a boost of physical and mental strength I seldom have the joy to parttake of these days. (It may sound weird but at the age of 30 I feel like 40 despite looking like 20). I figured I had to go. The next few days I was preparing maniacally my prints. The woman at the print shop became my new best friend. I booked my flights and transfers as if steered and eventually, after days and nights of no-sleep, preparing and packing and but a few hours of rest I found myself on the bus to Berlin airport. I would describe my state as lucid yet focussed. Constantly going up and down mental check lists.

What struck me that despite the dark and somewhat fearsome attributions that the image of the tower is usually associated with (see the tarot card XVI for reference) my journey went smoothly. And when I say smoothly I mean everything worked out perfectly. I was on time, did not forget a thing, did not loose anything either, flights, busses, trains – whatever was needed to get to the place did not let me down. If I was lost for the way people helped me find it. I was met with so much friendliness I eventually started wondering whether this was real life (usually not as handsome) or a movie – in the most positive sense.

When I arrived at Andrea’s (the organizer’s) place I knew noone. I expected to be greeted politely and then quickly labeled as the ‘strange German girl you rather not waste too much time on’ (which is what I am used to). Instead I was indeed welcomed so warmly and found myself immediately involved in the most creatively engaged talk. I remember how Charlotte Rodgers took the initiative; Glen Tomney and Roberto Migliussi joined in and a couple of minutes later we were talking art and meanings, of a quality and depth of understanding, not intellectual but intelligent talk, I rarely find in people and which impressed me. This was down to earth and honest. No bollocks. And this was something that continued throughout the event.

We had no time to waste and soon headed straight to the tower: a solitary monument in the middle of London Hackney, medieval looking and reminding me indeed of the tarot card. At the entrance, which was locked, we met a little hippie woman. She explained she had come here for the equinox and to light a candle at the place, which according to her would be situated on the same ley-line as Stonehenge. She also told us stories of the tower being the oldest church tower of entire Britain and twelve monks having commited mutual suicide in this building. We do not know if either is true. But I was amused and felt reminded of other occasions where a stranger would appear out of the blue, telling stories and legends. To me Paula was a messenger.

Unlocking the gate to the tower, we promised her to leave the candle burn (even though I wondered how it was possible for any candle to remain lit under the windy conditions). Entering the hall I could now get a first impression of the inside of the tower building as well as the art on display:

–> Continue for part II

MAGICAL ART/E circular tower event, London

20 Mar

I will be attending and participating in the London MAGICAL ART/E, a circular tower of an event this weekend. The happening takes place at St. Augustine’s tower, Hackney, London, providing a unique location for performances and exhibitions. Coming with me are 20 photo prints from the Listen to the Silence series as well as prints of my drawings and abstract sigil art. Below is a photo of the tower.

St. Augustine’s Tower, Hackney, London