Tag Archives: rituals

Dog Days 2018

9 Aug

This week we had again another “hottest day of the year”. Since June, most of Europe experiences a near ceaseless heat and drought period. These hot days of summer are also referred to as “Dog Days” (Hundstage) and this year they live up to their name.

The Greek called them kynádes hēmérai, Romans adopted it, calling them dies caniculares. Historically the period began with the heliacal rising of the dog star Sirius (actually a star system) in the Northern Hemisphere, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck, while to the Polynesians in the Southern Hemisphere the star marked winter and was an important reference for their navigation around the Pacific Ocean.

For my “Dog Days” incense I took inspiration from the paralyzing and deadly weather phenomenon.

The formula has been updated, with field eryngo (Eryngium campestre) being added to the baneful blend. In German language this type of thistle is also referred to as “Unruh” and “Elend” and the occurrence of clusters of broken off stems, similar to spiky tumbleweed carried forth by the wind, are named “Steppenhexen”. This stingy plant is almost impossible to touch or harvest without hurting yourself. Yet, and despite the heat and drought, it is frequented by dozens of bumblebees and other pollinators.

Beside obvious herbal references to the the dog/wolf totem, such as wolfsbane and mandrake, the incense contains also black and white henbane, which have been used in prophecy, baneful spells but also for rain magic. I burnt a good amount of it on this day, both to cleanse and bless a dog skull I found at the flea market, as well as to call for rain and cooling. It may have been simply good timing, but rain came the following morning.

I am often asked about side effects and dangers of burning venific incense blends – I can only speak for myself, I did not notice anything, apart from feeling more focused and empowered. I also sensed a relaxing effect on myself. A slight dizziness I attest to the burning sun and heat, not to the herbs.

Luckily, the worst heat seems to be over now and I look forward to enjoying the end of summer and working on art.

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Osterquelle

3 Apr

On Easter Sunday – the last weekend before my move to Düsseldorf, my mom took me to a well, where we gathered natural spring water. A couple told us, a big toad was hiding inside the rocky cavity surrounding the well. I gathered the water in a brown glass bottle and washed the apple wood disc, which I had pyrographed with my “Blessing Seal of Spring”.

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.

By the Willow, with Anne Ida Helmer Photography

19 Jun

I had the honor and pleasure of being photographed by professional photographer and photography teacher Anne Ida Helmer from Berlin.

We spent the whole day preparing and set to work in the evening, as the blue hour descended. Our meeting happened to coincide with the dark of the moon. The location is an old hollow willow tree close to the river. I refrained from a complex ritual set-up and instead focused on the act itself, burning Incense of Lilith and pouring libation of self-made pomegranate vodka for the spirits of the place. Whether we nurtured invisible specters or mainly ourselves – the religious aspect of occult ritual work is part of the complex topic explored by Anne in her ongoing series “Gravis” and “Krura“.

Anne’s website: http://www.anneidahelmer.de/

Images © Anne Ida Helmer 2017. All rights reserved. You may not copy, save or reproduce these images without the expressed written consent of the artist.

Back at the Blackthorn Gate

2 Jun

2016 05 29 Sunset

The sunset that evening

2016 05 29 Meadow

The grass on the meadow in full bloom; everything smelled like summer

2016 05 29 Thorngate

The Blackthorn hedge forms a gate around a beaten path. As the former hedge slowly grows into trees, they begin to wither from within, whilst new blackthorn shrubs grow on the outside. With the years a dense thicket is formed, where birds and other animals find a home.

2016 05 29 Schierling

A poison hemlock plant, found on a meadow. The purple spots on green stem and pungent smell easily distinguish it from other umbelliferous plants.

Blackthorn Crowns '16

From the gathered blackthorn branches thorn-crowns are made. I’ve been working with the blackthorn for over a decade; since three years I am returning annually to gather branches for making these thorn-crowns. This year I gathered material for making four to five crowns. Two are already reserved. E-mail me if you are interested in receiving one as well.

Fingers II

9 Apr

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This time it is not about a surreal dream and also not about the fennel. But it is about another plant’s “fingers”. In folklore the male fern’s “hand” is a lucky charm, meant to bestow fortunes and the power over the souls of the dead to it’s owner. In order to obtain it, the sorcerer must harvest the male fern’s root on the Eve of St. John. Then he must roast the root in the fire. The hand is made in such manner as to bind five strands of the fronds together: the root base of the stem is left attached and the rest of the frond’s foliage is removed. The result resembles a “hand”, with tendons (hairy stems) and fingers (stipe bases). Frankly, I never made such “hand” in this manner. But I’ve gathered plenty of male fern roots and had the most magical experiences granted through working with these roots in various ways, always discovering new aspects to this wondrous plant. Above is another version of this “lucky hand”, formed by the stipe bases and a single frond.

Btw., the stipe bases of the male fern’s fronds are green and spongy towards the center, whereas as the outer (old) parts turn black and rot. So if you were to use the root, make sure you actually use the parts that still have juices in them. Below is a close-up of how that should look:

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Male Fern stipe base, light green in color and of a spongy texture

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Male fern root: in the bowl are the vital parts, to the left are the rotten parts

More about the male fern

Male fern inspired art:

Dead Man's Eve, 2010

“Dead Man’s Eve”, pencil drawing, 2010

Wurmfarn Siegel

Male Fern plant sigil, 2010

 

Die Toten Kommen (the dead are coming)

28 Jun

Die Toten Kommen

If you are wondering about the grave-cross photo I posted last night, here is the background story: the “grave” is part of a nation-wide campaign against European refugee policy. Berlin art group, “Zentrum für Politische Schönheit”, calls out to create awareness and establish artificial graves all across Germany and Europe in memory of the unknown refugees that died when trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Part of the campaign is also the transferring of bodies of dead refugees to Germany for giving them a proper burial and giving relatives the possibility to say goodbye in a respectful manner. Their activism is of course not welcomed by the German government. However people all across the country and the EU can take part in the activities that aim to create awareness, as opposed to ignorance and looking away from what is happening at the Southern European border.

It was a surprise to find this “grave” last night. I’m occasionally lighting grave-candles here in necromantic cross-road workings. I’m usually honoring Hecate and other, known and also unknown dead, e.g. I also give offerings to anonymous dead. Now I come here and find a grave with offerings, looking so familiar. I really do support the cause behind it.

“Die Toten kommen ” (The dead are coming) – the motto is to be taken literal. If you want to support the efforts made to give the dead a proper burial right there, where it hurts politicians the most, please consider donating: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/die-toten-kommen#/story

In turn for donations you can chose to receive art items, postcards, posters, shirts etc.