Archive for the 'Ancient Wonders' Category

The Alchemy Museum of Prague

If you needed one more good reason to visit Prague, here it is!

 

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From Dangerous Minds,

 

Of Man, myth and magic: Prague’s creepy alchemy museum

 

“In 1576, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II chose Prague to be his home. More than any other person, Rudolf made Prague a hotbed of alchemical interest. Rudolf lived in the Prague Castle, where he welcomed not only astrologers and magicians but also scientists, musicians, and artists. In addition to noted alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, Prague was also home to the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, among others. Rudolf arguably spawned the most intense period of occult activity in history.

 

If you want to know more about the reign of Rudolf II, you could do a lot worse than Peter Marshall’s The Magic Circle of Rudolf II: Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague.

 

Celebrating this alchemical contributions of Rudolf II is the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, located at Jansky Vrsek 8 on the western side of the Vltava. The museum consists of two levels of displays and tableaux that document Rudolf’s alchemists in Prague, especially Kelley. (There is a sister museum called the Speculum Alchemiae Museum, but that’s on the other side of the river, at Hastalska 1.)

 

Quoting Altas Obscura,

 

The main floor has displays and replica artifacts of the trade alongside such fantastical scenes as a failed magician being stolen up into the ceiling by the Devil while cackling sorcerers huddle around the glowing runes beneath. The second floor, which claims to be the actual tower where the real Kelley performed his esoteric experiments if decked out like an alchemists lab, all aged scrolls and stacked grimoires, complete with a half-completed homunculus, the ultimate alchemical achievement. The museum is more than a little sensational in its presentation, but to be fair these alchemists were likely more than a little bit showmen themselves. What better way to remember and learn about their arcane history than with a little bit of magical realism?

 

Here’s a peek at some of the treasures within…”

 

For the rest, and many bizarre pictures, click here.

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How Love Amplifies Beauty

Love is still a mystery.

 

“Perhaps it is expected that I should lament about how I have suffered living with a man like Diego. But I do not think that the banks of a river suffer because they let the river flow, nor does the earth suffer because of the rains, nor does the atom suffer for letting its energy escape. To my way of thinking, everything has its natural compensation.” – Frida Kahlo

 

Those words seem like a metaphor for everything. Frida is speaking of her love for Diego, and yet isn’t this how all of everything really is? Work, art, health, beauty, age…and on and on. The darkness is the very home of light. Without it, light has nowhere to go…

 

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From Brain Pickings,

 

Frida Kahlo on How Love Amplifies Beauty: Her Breathtaking Tribute to Diego Rivera

By Maria Popova

 

 
“As artists, Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907–July 13, 1954) and Diego Rivera (December 8, 1886–November 24, 1957) each possessed boundless talent bolstered by an unbending will. As partners, they possessed each other with a ferocious love, intense and complicated and all-eclipsing — the kind for which, in Rilke’s immortal words, “all other work is but preparation.” They wed when Kahlo was twenty-two and Rivera forty-two, and remained together until Kahlo’s death twenty-five years later. They had an open marriage long before the term existed as a trend of modern romance — both had multiple affairs, Rivera with women and Kahlo with both men and women, most notably with the French singer, dancer, and actress Josephine Baker and with the Russian Marxist theorist Leon Trotsky. Still, both insisted that they were the love of each other’s life — a deep conviction crystallized in Kahlo’s passionate love letters and Rivera’s affectionate account of their first encounter.

 

But nowhere does their uncommon love come more vibrantly alive than in Kahlo’s short portrait of Rivera, included as an afterword to his My Art, My Life: An Autobiography (public library). In just a few wholehearted, wholebodied paragraphs, she captures the enormity of their love. Her sincere humanity radiates a testament to the enormity of all love as a transfiguring force, the ultimate wellspring of beauty and grace…”

 

For the rest, click here.

 

 

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The Thin White Duke & The Occult

The Thin White Duke’s occult leanings are explored in this very in-depth piece. There is so much in the media right now about our dearly departed David Bowie, it’s quite difficult to sort through it all – but this article has much in it that was previously unknown to us. Enjoy…

 

P.S. The comments associated with this article are an interesting blend of insanity – we chose to ignore them.

 

R.I.P Beautiful soul. We will miss you.

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The Occult Universe of David Bowie and the Meaning of “Blackstar”

By VC

 

“In the wake of David Bowie’s death, his last album, “Blackstar”, is his swan song, an enigmatic conclusion to a career punctuated by otherworldly alter-egos and esoteric symbolism. We’ll look at the meaning of “Blackstar” in the context of David Bowie’s career.

 

Very few artists can boast the longevity of David Bowie in the music industry, as his career spanned over five decades and produced 28 albums. Throughout the decades, Bowie migrated from one musical genre to another, and even from one persona to another, but a constant remained: He was surrounded by an otherworldly aura.

 

Through his work, Bowie turned himself into a musical ‘ascended master’, a Gnostic Christ-like figure who achieved a high level of illumination and who sought to communicate a cryptic message to humanity. While many of Bowie’s eccentricities could be attributed to drugs and rock and roll, one cannot paint a complete picture of this artist without mentioning his most enduring obsession: Western occultism.

 

David Bowie, born as David Robert Jones in 1947, is seen by some as a sort of ‘Renaissance Man’ whose professed ‘universality’ is an attempt to show the apex of evolution by reassembling the fragmentary pieces of our society; thus, he resembles many occultists.

However unlike most occultists, Bowie has considerable wealth, critical acclaim, penetrating intelligence, and enduring good looks; he seems set to go on to even greater heights and achievements. What next, godhead? There is a Faustian/Mephistophelean element here. How else can one explain the absolute zenith of this man’s worldly trajectory? In fact, there are people who are convinced that his brobdingnagian success is not without some kind of otherworldly assistance. (…)

Nevertheless, it can not be ignored that Bowie has constructed his public persona from the various parts of the puzzle that are at the roots of modern occultism. He was summoning up some of these pieces at the early age of 16.

– Peter R. Koenig, The Laughing Gnostic – David Bowie and the Occult

 

Throughout his career, Bowie often turned himself into a mere vessel as he lent his body to various personas who spoke through him, often communicating messages of deep occult significance…”

 

For the rest, click here.

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