The forthcoming book of occult herbalism Arcana Viridia - The Green Mysteries represents one of the most monumental and comprehensive undertakings of esoteric book production in the modern era. Twenty-five years in completion, its text represents an expression of hermeneutic magical herbalism drawing on past, present, and future esoteric trajectories.
Likewise, the over 270 original images which animate the pages of Arcana Viridia are the result of five years of intense creative work from Benjamin Vierling, one of the most important contemporary artists operating in the esoteric art sphere. Inspired by the exacting European traditions of 15th and 16th century steel engravings, Benjamin's botanical imagery builds on this meticulous style to include previously undepicted occult and magical dimensions of plants and the spirits that indwell them. The result is a body of occult work which, while paying homage to the great herbals of the past, offers new and magically vivified representations of the natural world. A glimpse of Benjamin's career, technique and work on the images for The Green Mysteries is revealed in an in-depth interview with him in Auspices Vol. 6.
At a recent exhibition at the Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle, a small group of original images from Arcana Viridia, both color and black and white, were met with wide acclaim and brisk sales. In conjunction with the release of the book in February 2017, a number of exhibitions at various galleries will also feature selected images from the book. Although original framed pieces of artwork from this project will be available for sale on a limited basis through Three Hands Gallery and through exhibitions, interest in the work —from both botany enthusiasts and occult art collectors alike— has been strong. Thus, Three Hands Press is pleased to offer a limited edition of Arcana Viridia letterpress prints.
As a limited edition offering of art drawn from the corpus of the Book, the Arcana Viridia Art Portfolio features seven separate plant images, chosen both for their historical importance to the occult arts and also their imaginal fascinum:
Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum): a plant of the former plant family Umbelliferae, also known as 'Mark of Cain' for its spots. Shown offered by the Hand of Death in the photograph above, it is known both for its potential lethality as a killing poison and is also implicated in the Witches' Flying Ointment of myth and lore.
Walnut (Juglans regia). A tree associated with the Jovian spheres, it also has deep folkloric associations with the Devil and Witchcraft.
San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi). Formerly genus Trichocereus, this endemic South American cactus is rich in alkaloids and venerated as a ritual divinatory plant. Acordingly is aligned with St. Peter, keeper of the Keys of Heaven.
Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia). One of the holiest trees in the British Isles, the Rowan or Mountain Ash has ancient strands of power associated with protection from fairies and, later, demons.
Monkshood (Aconitum napellus). Perhaps the most toxic plant in the European pharmacopeia, Monkshood, also called Wolfsbane, is another ingredient attributed to the Witches' Flying Ointment. But is is also a supreme medicine, being used for various purposes from anodyne to stimulant.
St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum). The layman will be familiar with the plant in name for its widespread antidepressant attributions in popular alternative medicine. But its folkloric history is intimately tied with demon chasing, and with the concentration of celestial and telluric power emenant in the Summer Solstice. In this image, the plant is characterized with its classic Solar virtue.
Yew (Taxus baccata). Both a lethal poison and a tree of the Dead, Yew also harbors the powers of Longevity, Memory, and Resurrection. It is thus associated with the holy ground of Churchyard and Grave, venerated in such sites before the Cult of Christ arrived.
The Arcana Viridia Print Portfolio was published December 28th and is now shipping. Each portfolio consists of a collection of seven botanical prints as mentioned, signed and numbered by the Artist. Printed letterpress on heavy art paper of seven different colors, each print is 8" x 10" and suitable for framing, hand bound in a black cloth portfolio binding, with green interior papers and gilt stamping. The portfolio is limited to 100 copies only.
|10 x 14 x 1.5 in
9" x 12" x 0.5"
Printed letterpress on heavy art paper of seven different colors
December 8, 2016