Category Archives: magic

Woman makes love to cloud, divine jealousy

Io by Correggio

Jupiter and Io (c. 1530) – Correggio

It would appear that the dynamics of the two married protagonists of Greek and Roman mythology Zeus (Jupiter) and Hera (Juno) is one of a jealous wife chasing a promiscuous husband.

In order to conceal his escapades, Zeus constantly makes use of his shapeshifting abilities. Thus, he transforms himself into a cloud (he hid himself within a cloud with Io), a golden shower with Danae, a swan with Leda, a bull with Europa, depending on whether he needed to be charming and beautiful or powerful and frightening in his conquest.

See also: divine jealousy


Introducing Gabriel von Max

Monkeys as Judges of Art, 1889

Monkeys as Judges of Art, 1889


Äffchen mit Zitrone Gabriel von Max Saure Erfahrung

Monkey with Lemon

Die ekstatische Jungfrau Katharina Emmerich, 1885

Katharina Emmerich, 1885


Der Anatom, 1869

The Anatomist, 1869

Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max (August 23, 1840, Prague – November 24, 1915, München) was a Prague-born Austrian painter. His themes were parapsychology and mysticism. He surrounded himself and with monkeys and painted them often, sometimes portraying them as human.

See also: Monkeys in art

A phantasmal group of huntsmen

The wild hunt (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

The Wild Hunt was a folk myth prevalent in former times across Northern, Western and Central Europe. The fundamental premise in all instances is the same: a phantasmal group of huntsmen with the accoutrements of hunting, horses, hounds, etc., in mad pursuit across the skies or along the ground, or just above it. It is often a way to explain thunderstorms.

The power to unlock any door

Hand of Glory, image sourced here

The Hand of Glory is the dried and pickled hand of a man who has been hanged, often specified as being the left (Latin: sinister) hand, or else, if the man were hanged for murder, the hand that “did the deed.”

According to old European beliefs, a candle made of the fat from a malefactor who died on the gallows, virgin wax, and Lapland sesame oil (the candle could only be put out with milk), and the hand having come from the said hanged criminal, lighted and placed in the Hand of Glory (as in a candlestick) would have rendered motionless all persons to whom it was presented. The Hand of Glory also purportedly had the power to unlock any door it came across.

The legend is traceable to about 1440, but the name only dates from 1707. It was originally a name for the mandrake root (via French “mandragore” and thus “hand of glory”) that became conflated with the earlier legend. The confusion may have occurred because mandrakes are said to grow beneath the bodies of hanged criminals.