Devil's Playground Picture

A4, graphite on aged typewriter paper, 2010

One in a series of drawings concerning the demons of different sorcerous herbs. See also [link]

This drawing is connected to different things I've read and dreamt. Read on about some tidbits of mythology and folklore...


Henbane, Hyoscyamus niger, is commonly associated with necromancy. Henbane residues were found in neolithic stone vessels at funerary sites. Nordic shamans supposedly used the herb in astral flight and contacting the spirit world. Greek mythology tells the dead that walked along the river Styx were crowned with henbane flowers. In contrast it was also sacred to Apollo and used by the Greek priestesses at Delphi for casting oracles. In Germany Henbane was associated with rain magic and it was believed that witches used the herb for conjuring up storms. The english name seems to comprise of two older roots, hen presumably referring to chickens, and bane is commonly referred to mean death. Thus chicken death, since the herb was seemingly considered to be deadly to poultry life stocks. Henbane is assumed to be the poison called hebenon in Shakespears play Hamlet, poured into the ear of Hamlet's father.

German folklore tells that witches and even the Devil Himself would take on the shape of a bumblebee. If a bumblebee-wax-candle was lit in church all witches present had to be burnt. Evil people were cursed to return as bumblebees after death. The sub-earthen drone sound of a bumblebee would signal the presence of the ghost of a dead. Sometimes bumblebees were given at black masses instead of consecrated wavers. Bumblebees were superstitiously feared as carrier of sickness and ritually buried to drive out plague. Other folklore tells that a bumblebee worn in the pocket would insure it never went out of money. He who managed to secretly steal the bumblebees' honey was destined to also find a huge treasure.

(quoted from various web sources)