Tag Archives: wolfsbane

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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New Artwork and Music

4 Aug

Spent the night and all morning preparing new pieces of paper with coffee, wormwood tincture and fresh leaves from my datura plants. Now the paper is drying, then has to be pressed and then can be drawn on with ink. I am planning on a small series of inked sigils and perhaps one or two realistic datura plant drawings. Besides this, I yet have to prepare the paper for my next mandrake series and I also have a few new tinctures in the making. Meanwhile, here are my most recent ink drawings from past weeks (all sold and shipped):

While working with the datura I was blessed with new music by a lady, who creates audio-visual compositions inspired by the same plants that I grow and revere in my art. The project goes by the name CHTHONIA. I was given six tracks, to which I did not listen consciously, but rather had them running in the background. Yet there were moments, where I’d listen up and think, “well, this strangely harmonizes with how I perceive the plant’s character”. A very interesting experiment and endeavor, of which I hope we will soon hear more.

Back in Green

23 Apr

Spent all day in the garden, weeding, cleaning and preparing containers, pricking and repotting and doing this year’s first herb harvest! Due to the mild winter and early spring the green are exploding and everything seems to be one month ahead. Our cherry tree has already flowered, the apple tree is in full bloom as well as the lilac. The meadow is white with daisies and cuckoo flowers and the sweet woodruff is already flowering. The new additions to the garden planted last year are blossoming. But there are also some ‘wild’ additions, such as the common lungwort, which I spotted growing wild now on our meadow and which has been known as a medicinal herb for centuries. Below are some recent impressions of the Green and our garden. You see what has become of the seedlings I had posted a few weeks ago…


Above: the bed in half-shade, which we dug out and manured with fresh compost soil last year – before weed had taken over the whole place, so we removed about half a meter soil, strained it and laid foil around everything. Now it’s filled with plants for study and pleasure. I start to worry though it may soon be too packed!

Below: a bed left wild and overgrowing; forget-me-not and hyacinths have found a new place there admidst ground elder unconquered. All attempts to weed it out were futile. Therefore I learned it has also some benific qualities and now would actually be a good time for harvesting and using it fresh in cooking… Besides the sweet woodruff has been expanding not only there but this year it also started taking over the raised bed! As you can see it is overflowing and it was high time to clear it and do a first herb harvest. Lets see what to do with all the woodruff and wormwood! Well, the latter I already know what to use it for… There is also our lilac tree blooming by the compost, spreading its sweet scent.

And there is also the lungwort, which I look forward to study more…