The artist herman de vries has often included me in his artworks. For herman, nature is always art. He puts tree trunks on plinths, draws using different kinds of earth, and hangs museum walls full of all sorts of grasses.
His four-part ‘Monumenta Lamiae’ (1985) (meaning ‘witch monument’) comprises a variety of framed, dried plants on paper: wolfsbane, valerian, ergot and belladonna.
All these plants refer to their oldest uses: wolfsbane for poison, valerian for comfort, ergot for childbirth and abortion, and me, belladonna, for altered states.
Moreover, these plants are all ingredients of ‘witch’s flying ointment’ – a mixture of fat and a variety of indigenous poisonous plants, like me, that ‘witches’ rubbed onto their bodies.
Herman de Vries shows the hallucinogenic effects in a 30-minute film, called ‘bella donna’. A woman skips and dances through the woods.
She has eaten some of my berries, and is seeing all sorts of delusions. Her pupils are huge and she can hardly bear the light. I wouldn’t be surprised if she flew away…