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Philosophy stone  - Max Ernst

Philosophy stone - Max Ernst























The Star Royal Summer Palace in Prague (Letohradek Hvezda)

The Star (Hvezda) Royal Summer Palace in Prague belongs to those rare buildings the primary purpose of" which was not purely utilitarian, as its location, layout and the surviving interior decorations reveal.

Fulcanelli called such building"the dwellings of the philosophers.'1s It is a building designed and built with an inner, more or less hidden idea of" initiatory content.

Consequently, its mysterious radiation over the years attracted curious onlookers as well as inspired artists.

However, it was only a handful of people in contrast to the general indolence of the times to come. A mere century later not even the pundits knew what to do with the Star and they made up fairytales about its origins. During the 'Thirty Years' War the Star was ransacked several limes; in the 18th century it was used to store gunpowder, and after that it was forgotten and inaccessible. It was like a magic palace under a spell and no one was aware of its riches.

Only after the middle of the 19th century, when the Innsbruck archivist David von Schonherr studied the Tyrolean archives, did the sun start to rise over the Star again. The gunpowder storage was discontinued and the Star opened to the public.

On the basis of the study of the Ambras Palace documents, it became clear that the Summer Palace was carefully designed by its builder and founder, the Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol, who served as a viceroy of Bohemia between 1548 and 1567, during the reign of his royal father. He belonged to a circle of educated men influenced by the ideas of Neo-Platonism and by Hermeticism, which was brought to life again at that time. They ranked harmony, proportions, symmetry, mutual correspondence and numerical symbolism among their creative principles. They viewed architecture as a small-scale analogical reflection of macrocosmic events in the work of man. Their credo was the fulfilment of the old Hermetic notion, according to which as above, so below and vice versa.

The architectural form revolving around a centre was equally important to them. It corresponded to old heliocentric as well as to metaphysical and Hermetic ideas concerning the composition of the world's matter. These ideas had been applied in the 16th century both in the construction of secular buildings with central axes and in the idealized allegorical engravings such as the "alchemical citadel," "the temple of the Philosophers' Stone," or the cabalistic "Mountain of Adepts.

However, one had to wait until the mid-20th century for an important event to take place in the National Library in Vienna that would enhance our understanding of the founding of the Star. There, the original folio comprising the first plans for the Summer Palace was "rediscovered." It consists of seven paper sheets. Drawn in ink, they contain the ground plans of the underground, the ground floor, and the two upper floors as well as a water-colour drawing depicting a cross section of the entire building. Archduke Ferdinand drew them himself in his own hand. Above the first building plan of the underground premises we find a passage in Italian, most probably written by one of the Italian builders of the Summer Palace:

La Casa dil Barcho nuouo fatta fare il ser(enissi)mo Principe Ferdinando mio gratiosissimo Principe et signore ne fondame(n)ti alleguali sono statte poste vna grande guantita di Medaglie diuerse et monete moderne di varia sorti tutte di oro et Argento fino per assai buona summa di valore poste p(er) mano di sua Altezza sotto la primera Pietra delli fondamenti me p(resen)te adi 25 Junio 1555 co(n) gli epitaphii in(scri)tti.

(The house in the new game park was built by the Archduke Ferdinand, my most gracious Lord, at the place where there was no building before and he put many various medals and current coins of great value made of pure gold and silver into the foundations; on June 25 (sic?), 1555, in my presence his Majesty laid in the first fundamental stone by his hand with carved epitaphs.)

Moreover, we learn from the note that somewhere in the Star's underground lies the stone on which the founder's inscriptions in Latin are carved. They run as follows:

Cum lustra viderat tercentu(m) et vndecim Aetas

A Jesu nobis data salute Nato Sola me finxit Fondato lapide primo Fernandi Archiducis Diua Minerua manus Me vt vides finxit posuitque dexter a sacra Fernandi Regis Romanorum filii

et gueste littere anchora (accompanied by capital letters)

F. F. F. A. M. D. L. V. (That is, "Fieri Fecit Ferdinandus Anno MDLV".)

The text makes it quite clear and indisputable that the foundation stone was laid by Ferdinand himself. It happened on either June 28 (as many commentators maintain) or on June 25 (as we can read on the inscription). However, the first verse of the inscription is of more interest. The word lustrum means a five-year period in Latin, after which in ancient Rome the purging sacrifices were made. The verse specifies that the foundation stone was laid exactly on the 311th cluster (5 x 300 +11) after the birth of Jesus, which gives the year 1555, without it being explicitly mentioned.

In view of the fact that the building also contains many other echoes in its proportions as well as interior decorations, it possible to interpret the first verse of the carved inscription rather differently.

One could take the group of three fives in the year of the building commencement (1555) as a possible connecting-key between the Star Royal Summer Palace, the date and the numerical rebus of the first verse in the inscription. In 311 AD, Roman Emperor Galerius published the first and most important edict extending religious freedom to Christians. This occurred even before Constantine's famous Edict of Milan. This year multiplied by five gives us exactly the year of the construction commencement. Its three fives correspond to the number of the pointed rooms (if we exclude the staircase) in the first three levels of the building; and one corresponds to the large hall on the third floor.

The second verse mentions the famous birth of our Jesus. This mysterious date was—as is well-known — anticipated by the appearance of a star that took the Magi to his cradle. In the following verses, the stone itself "speaks," confirming that the building was measured and allowed to be built by the son of the Roman Emperor with the help from goddess Minerva.

From the plans it follows that the Archduke based the design of the building on the ground plan of the so-called Star of Solomon, the magic image of two intersecting equilateral triangles. In its totality the image expressed the perfect coupling of the four elements. Undoubtedly, the building was an expression of both a Hermetically conceived analogy, in which an element (star) represents the whole (cosmos), and a syncretism interconnecting individual branches of traditional sciences, such as astrology and alchemy, with the mythological concepts of the ideas of the pantheon of the Antiquity.

Sometimes it is maintained that the Star Royal Summer Palace was to serve as a hunting palace in the park, which was rich in game. One is also reminded of Ferdinand's affair with beautiful Philipina Welser, a woman of low birth, whom he later married, and of the possibility that he built the Star for her. Undeniably Ferdinand had plenty of reasons to build his Summer Palace, but the most significant ones appear to be the motivations of a philosophical nature.

The Summer Palace was built within one year. The Italian builders of the royal court, Giovanni Maria Aostalli and Giovanni Lucchese, participated in its construction at first under the supervision of Hans Tirol and then in 1556 under Bonjfaz Wohlmut.

In contrast to the higher floors, in which we encounter several inscribed dodecagons of various sizes and rhombic rooms in the points, the underground is designed on a circular ground plan with two different diameters creating a gallery around the central vault with protruding entrances into the triangular rooms in the points. The staircase runs through one of them. The massive stone mass of the underground creates a dim meditative grotto in the "entrails of the Earth," which are, according to a famous alchemical axiom (V. 1. T. R. 1. O. L.), to be visited first before going anywhere else.

The Star's three aboveground levels and the one in the underground can he understood as an echo of the four traditional elements of the ancient laboratories—as is already expressed by the ground plan itself. The element of the Earth (¥) corresponds to the underground labyrinth; the motifs belonging to the element of Water (V) are preponderant in the changeable and multifaceted decorations of the ground floor; the second floor is dedicated to Air (A); and, finally, the large hall of the third floor, over the ceiling of which towers the pyramids] spire of the roof, corresponds to Fire (A). Individual levels in the building also represent the group of four characteristic phases, through which the spiritualizing matter gradually passes in the course of the Opus Magnum. Accordingly, black goes with the underground, as it is the place of the initiation and symbolical death. On the ground floor, the alabaster stucco directly insinuates the state of the so-called albedo, the attainment of the Philosophers' ''white stone.” No records concerning the original colours of the other two floors have survived. However, according to traditional symbolism, lemon yellow would correspond to the second floor, and the purple of royal power, the colour of the Philosophers' Stone, or the prevailing red on the original tiles of the hall (rubedo) would correspond to the unpartitioned third floor.

Contemporary generations have grown used to the obtuse angle of the roof that the Star has borne since the late 18th century. But one does not have to go too far for proof that it fundamentally disrupted the esoteric poise of the building, and thereby also its symbolic proportions. If we erect vertically the distance of one side of its triangles from the ground plan, its height exactly corresponds to the summit of the original narrow hexagon of the roof. The mutual interconnectedness of the proportions can be anticipated in this kind of building in the same manner as its numerological symbolism. We have already suggested the possible relationship between the year when the construction was commenced and the inscription on the foundation stone. All that remains to say is that apart from the omnipotent presence of the number twelve, which appears as a module in several locations of the ground floor and second floor (which naturally stems from the original hexagon), one can meet here with the number twenty-one, usually associated with the sum of the Hebrew alphabet (three times seven spaces on the first three levels) and with the number twenty-two of the major Arcanum of the Tarot (if we add to it the large hall on the third floor).

No documents that would directly attest to the esoteric inclination of the founder have survived. All that is known of him is that later he asked Emperor Rudolph II to provide him some information about the major alchemists working at his court.2/

The Star's interior stucco and painted decorations were created between 1556 and 1560; the hall on the third floor was painted only in 1562. The fragile alabaster stucco embellishing the walls and ceiling on the first floor ranks among the most precious that have been preserved in the Star. It was prepared by the Italian guild workshop and inspired by the Roman stucco of the Antiquity. The spreading of these motifs, at first throughout Renaissance Italy and then to the north of the Alps, occurred in the early 16th century after the uncovering of the underground grottos of the Roman Antiquity. The works of Giovanni da Udine, a worker in stucco in Raffael's workshop, are most often listed among the inspirational models for the Star in Prague. The main figurative motifs drew on the mythology of Antiquity and on the legendary history of Rome—as it was described by Titus Livy in his work Ad urbe condita. (We should bear in mind that Ferdinand of Tyrol was a son of a Roman emperor who claimed succession after the Roman Empire.)

The small quadrangular salons in the points were dedicated to the main Roman gods. They are depicted in the central section of the ceiling. Accordingly, we can speak of Jupiter's, Mercury's, or Diana's salons. In the context of the hexagram it would be natural to think of a probable link with the tradi¬tional planets. However, the design and the concept of the stuccos are far more subtle. With certain degree of probability, one could ascribe the fourth small salon to Saturn; however, the depic¬tion is not une¬quivocal in terms of its icono¬graphy. In line with traditional opinion, the rema¬ining two rooms should be dedi¬cated to Mars and Venus, the divine antago¬nistic pair. These are at exactly opposite points; the undecorated staircase is loca¬ted in one of them, and in the other there is the learned centaur Cheiron, carrying his pupil on his back The pupil could be one of the legendary heroes (Jason on Achilles), of whom it is said that Cheiron was their teacher. Surprisingly, this motif is placed on the spot where we would expect one of the major gods; it could indicate the initiation ceremony function of the Summer Palace, because this is exactly what Cheiron did through his centaur-like language—the cabala.

These six premises are separated from each other by six radial hallways, into which open the entrances of individual salons. It is this very layout that creates the network of several inscribed dodecagons of various sizes. Like the rooms, the hallways are decorated with numerous figures and ornamental motifs. The entrance corridor is governed by the allegory of Purity (a woman with her leg on the head of a boar) as a gentle reminder of the necessary precondition (above all in the spiritual sense) for the penetration to the "mystical centre".

Venus, lacking in the salons, is placed (along with Minerva) in the fourth hallway, opposite the entrance hallway and at the same time adjoining the room with centaur Cheiron. From the other side of this salon the third hallway is adjoined. It also contains a woman's motif (Prudence or Cleopatra with the ser¬pent). This could justify the assumption that the whole area around the third salon is dedicated to Venus and through the language of associated symbols expresses the "love for wisdom." Buildings constructed around a centre, and especially those built on the ground plan of a star, are often connected by a very subtle net¬work of relations and correspon¬dences between the meanings of stars with various numbers of points. If we for the moment dis¬count the point designed for the staircase on all floors, the Summer Palace's ground plan can be perceived as that of a five-pointed star, with the summit ascribed to Venus. Traditionally, an image of a man with his arms spread wide and his head receiving the cosmic rays whose inserted into such a star. "Wherever a pentagram is found, it need be replaced with Venus."3/ This quotation only accentuates the previous findings.

The opposite sixth space without decorations next to the entrance could belong to Mars; this is attested by the placement of the relief of a Roman soldier or even the god of war in the adjoining entrance of the fifth hallway. The aforementioned concept of the rooms could also express Ferdinand's personal creed: on the most honourable place, in the first room, Jupiter's splendour as an homage to the royal power; Mercury in the second and Cheiron in the third salon (representing his espousal of the esoteric initiatory current); the "area of Venus" as a subtly hidden homage to his unequal but burning love; finally, Diana in the fifth and last salon, as a reminder of his passion for hunting and the recreational function of the Summer Palace.

Apart from the mentioned gods, there are a dozen other gods, demigods and fabulous heroes, some of whom we have already met on our way. Noted randomly: Minerva, Nike, Bacchus with the procession of maenads and satyrs, Ceres, Aiolos, Alpheus, Ganymede, Perseus, Zephyr, Hercules, Leda, Europa, Lachesis, Centaurs fighting the Lapiths and, above all, Neptune with the cohort of Tritons and Nereides. Also very typical are the accompanying decorations of the intertwined dolphins, ships with bows turned into imaginary birds, winged gryphons and dragons, more than one Pegasus, birds, goats, dogs, lions and many other specimens of more or less imaginary fauna in heraldic positions which one can encounter on the pages of alchemical treatises. This deluge of widely varied symbols and allegories within a relative small area of the ceiling is somehow reminiscent of a Mannerist comic strip, on which some fight each other, while others attract each another. They all dance in a seemingly chaotic whirl. In spite of this, we suspect a deeper and well-concealed idea behind this mythological gathering. It is hard to imagine that the stucco decoration or at least its fundamental design was created without the Archduke's active participation, as he himself was already the author of the building's basic ground plan, the magic seal of the Star. Also the rich presence of masks in the decorative motifs would not be just a matter of chance. This makes it clear that behind the depiction of the conventional allegories there are hidden esoteric meanings. As is well-known, the gods of Antiquity did not have their parallels only in planets, but also in metals. The six-pointed radial dispositions of the rooms with a seventh central hall echo the group of seven traditional metals with gold as the central ruler. The old alchemist works depicted them in exactly the same manner. The vault of the central hall represents the non-stabilized iconographic concept of the so-called Speculum Virtutis, the Mirror of the Virtues, composed by scenes from the legendary history of Rome. In the first three rectangular relieves placed on the left from the entrance on the back, walls of the radial salons there are gradually depicted Mucius Scaevola, burning his hand over the flame, Horatius Codes defending the bridge across the Tiber against attackers, and Cimon drinking from the breast or his daughter Pero. In the right group of three fields toward the entrance there is the Consul Atilius Regulus tortured in a barrel and Marcus Curtius leaping on his horse into the abyss on the Roman forum. Surprisingly, the sixth motif rounding out the whole is not another of the Roman virtues, but the oriental theme of the illness incurred from love which befell the royal son Antioch I vis-a-vis his stepmother Stratonike. It must be mentioned once again that Ferdinand's family, as a long-time ruler of the "Holy Roman Empire", considered itself the inheritor of these virtues. The sixth oriental motif could be an allusion to the relatively unattainable object of Ferdinand's desire, Philipina Welser.

However, the depicted deeds of heroism on the first four fields can also be perceived as transmutations of the secret element, Mercury, during a laboratory process, as well as of fundamental values of the laboratory himself. The first two relieves closest to the entrance depict elements already encountered on our journey. On the first relief it is the barrel, the hieroglyph of the alchemical furnace, the athanor, in which the hero Atilius Regulus, our small king of the Opus, is being subjected to the effects of fire. In another facet, Mucius Scaevola represents the regime of the secret fire in the first relief on the left.4/ On the spiritual level the legends about Scaevola put an especially heavy emphasis on silence, even at the price of a horrible sacrifice. Horatius Cocles symbolizes the individual defence of the most precious possessions "upon which he stands, even if the bridges were torn down." The story of the military leader Atilius Regulus stresses the importance of the value of the given word and keeping one's promise, even to an extreme degree. Finally, Marcus Curtius accents sacrifice and extreme courage in facing the metaphysical abyss.

Further from the entrance, but exactly facing it, there are the last two relieves, placed symmetrically and thereby underscoring the twin perceptions of love. In contrast to the first four, in which the individual hero is a martyr and an image of martyrdom of gradual transformation of a single matter (fire, barrel), both these fields are polarized by pairs of two individuals of opposite sex. On the relief on the left, we see the motif of Cimon and Pero. Usually, it is interpreted as a moral paradigm of the grateful love for one's parents, but this explanation, in the context of the strangeness of the depicted scene, is far from satisfactory. According to the legend, Pero, daughter of Cimon, visited her father in prison, where he was condemned to death by starvation, and nourished him from her breast. It is difficult within this context not to remem¬ber the perpetually repeated alchemist command, "Nourish your old man with the milk of a virgin!" - a motif we have already encountered in this book. 5/

The relief opposite on the right depicts Antioch as he lies observing his stepmother Stratonike. According to the myth, the royal son Antioch fell madly in love with her. In his belief that his sinful love was hopeless, he ceased to eat and fell ill. The court physician uncovered the true cause of his illness by observing his behaviour during various calls from different women. He reported it to his father, King Seleucus, who upon hearing it handed over to his son not only his kingdom, but also his wife Stratonike. A very strange story, indeed!

Both of the depicted scenes are clearly linked by the latent motif of incest. It can be uncovered at the base of every hierogram, every sacred union. However, what is less known is that a chemical wedding is always celebrated by two pairs at one time... It is worth mentioning that both motifs are linked by the element of hunger. In the first case it is involuntary but materially satisfied, and in the second case it is self-inflicted hunger stemming from pas¬sion but nourished, though at first only metaphysically.

The symbolic patron of this group of four is the goddess of love, Venus, placed in the Summer Palace exactly in between them, in the fourth hallway opposite the entrance. Accordingly, both relieves thus become the subjects of the imaginary corridor of our "journey after the star," which we conti¬nuously refer to in this book.

The central circular field of the stucco vault in the central hall depicts the legendary ancestor of the Roman nation, Aeneas, bringing out his father Anchises from the flames of burning Troy. The motif is supplemented by the Aeneas' son Ascanius and wife Creusa. As is well-known, most heroes from the mythology of the Antiquity display solar characteristics. Just on the basis of a formal compa¬rison it is obvious that this circular central stucco work is more than just a representation of an old graphical sign for the Sun-Gold.

This motif of a grateful son's love ranked among the frequently depicted series of motifs allegorizing the virtues. But why is it dominating the entire Star? There is an explanation at hand, even though it is not very convincing, according to which the Archduke wanted to please his royal father through this manifestation of a loyal son's love. In this case, it would be probably better to look at that which can connect the star conceived as a general symbol with the myth of Aeneas. In his Mystery of the Cathedrals, Fulcanelli writes: "Varro in his Antiquates rerum humanorum makes a remark concerning the legend about Aeneas saving his father and his family's penates from flames of Troy, finding the goal of his journey on the Laurentian Fields after a long pilgrimage. The cause of that was the following: Since leaving Troy Aeneas saw all time even during the day the star of Venus, until he reached the Laurentian Fields, where he lost it from his sight. And that was the sign that he had reached the land cast for him by Destiny.6/

Fulcanelli in his own note on the words "Laurentian Fields" makes the point that from the cabalistic perspective they mean "grafted gold" (L´ or ente, greffe). Even the Star Summer Palace offers us a possible interpretation of this dark place. The name "Laurentian Fields" may not be necessarily related to any locality in the Italian Latio, but the gold could have been carried over by means of a "philosophical graft" or implanted on a similarly marked place. As one can see, we are again in the midst of alchemical symbolism. The previous quotation speaks of a star Venus that could be seen even during the day. Well, if we are standing under the Star's central relief, we can see that Aeneas is turned in that direction and does really walk after Venus who lights up his skies from the vault of the fourth hallway He can really "see" her from his place even during the day! From here we can watch Venus on the stucco as well as the Evening Star (with some good luck) as the hallway continues westward through the window into the place where the Evening star usually rises. Is it one of the reasons that could have led the builder not to hide it inside of one of the salons from where Aeneas could not see it? The relationship between the arche¬type of the star and the myth was expressed here beyond any doubt. Aeneas, this true solar hero, walks westward and follows Venus, just as the Sun, in its everyday run, rises after the Morning Star which sub¬sequently dissolves itself in the Sun's glare. Let us add that in the Summer Palace the star "literally and allegorically brings in the myth. The local main motif of Aeneas could be interpreted as a conspicuous reminder of the "pilgrimage of the Magi after the star." of the philosophical navigation after knowledge.

The placing of this motif exactly in the centre of the Star was also achieved by the altogether special dynamism of this whole gamut of symbols, in prin¬ciple akin to the eternal hunger of the serpent Ouroboros which devours its own tail. The hero pursues the star in which he is already fully contained, just as his star of love, grown in his heart, commands him to set out on this journey.

"Our star is a single one, and yet a double. Learn to recognize its real impression from its image and observe that it glares with more intensity during the daylight than at night." With these words Fulcanelli described the character of the philosophical star, which is one and at the same time double. It can be related to our Summer Palace. The twin shining of the star attests to this as well as its subsequent perception: on the one hand, although material, it appears to be reduced to a mere "image," on the other, an ancient archetype clearly emanates from her—the impression, the only real and permanent one. Let us remind ourselves how Venus' double identity materializes in the image of the Evening Star and Morning Star. Finally, the comment concerning its different glare throughout time can be related to historical periods in which the glow of empathy followed the Cimmerian shadows of the aphelion.

The east-west direction of the Summer Palace design is supported also by the composition of the surviving original floor tiles in the large hall on the third floor.7/ We find here the clear duality aligned with this axis, suggested by two large empty fields in the southern and northern summit of the star. It divides the tiles into the daily (south) and nocturnal (northern half) while the southern part is clearly composed in a more complex manner. The more detailed division of this daily half corresponds to the layout of the stucco on the first floor. Accordingly, for example, the celestial area of Venus is laid out here (even more unequivocally than on the first floor) and that not only by the three lines of bluish "verdigris" tiles, but also by the four adjoining fields which are the only ones of the entire mosaic to be fitted with partitioned tiles. If we synthesize the layout of both floors, then Jupiter, Mercury and Venus belong to the daily metals of the Star, while Saturn, Luna and Mars belong to the nocturnal. This layout further divides on a more detailed level the southern half into the east and west. Generally speaking, a hexagram is inscribed into the ground plan of the "big star" (with tops in the points of the star) and into it is inscribed a smaller hexagram, positioned as the big star. The image of the above mentioned two stars in one is also manifested here.

Owing to this initiation, the Summer Palace became a sort of a Hermetic aggregate with a potential magnetic power which later could inevitably attract to it some historical turning points that take place on the local "surface of the solution," in the melting crucible of the Czech Lands.

This double and yet single star should appear to the laboratory above the surface of the canonically prepared solution as its magnetic seal and the pledge of a successful completion of the Opus Magnum. The solar sulphur is born from an infinitesimal seed. The wise ones have been watching out for the sign of the star which it is necessary to follow.8/ In the alchemist treatises it took on the form of a hexagram star of Solomon. We think that Ferdinand's conscious deed—that is, visibly inserting the star into the construction of the building—aimed toward the fulfilment of a secret intention, which was to let shine the Golden Star in the place of the first one on the philosophical sky of Knowledge. As the statement from Basil Valentine's The Twelve Keys of Philosophy bears witness: "God had lent to me two stars in order to lead him to a great Wisdom; man: observe and follow day and night their glare with endurance, because the Wisdom is to be found in it."9/


1/ The Star has always attracted the scouts of magic. The French surrealist poet Andre Breton recognized its esoteric quality in 1935 during his stay in Czechoslovakia. The passage from the book whose first published in Minotaure already in 1935, accompanied by an imaginary painting of the Star by Marx Ernst. On a different occasion, Andre Breton said of Prague that it was "a magic metropolis of old Europe."

5/ Between 1560 and 1570, Leonhard Thurneysser (1530-1596), a major Renaissance alchemist, worked for Archduke Ferdinand. Ferdinand's permission allowed him to conduct an experimental vivisection on a condemned man. Later Ferdinand put him in charge of collecting alchemical secrets during his travels around the Middle East and Ethiopia. Jacques van Lennep: Alchymie, (Brussels: Dervy Livres, 1985), p. 159.

3/ H. Hunwald, Les Origines Cosmiques du Pentagramme, p. 15.

4/ On the general alchemical meaning of the barrel, see the chapter The Cabala of Minerals and the Unicorn. Here we shall only pass a remark that regulus, bunny rabbit was often used as a synonym for young sulphur. For the meaning of the bridge (from the legend about Horatius Codes), see the chapter Splendor Solis. The hero's name means one-eyed; just like the three giant Cyclops who hammered lightning for Zeus. For the legend about Mucius Scaevola and his personified left hand, see the chapter The Ancient Chivalric War. Another depiction of Scaevola can be found on the southern side of the lower row on the Royal Summer Palace of Queen Anne, as well as Curtius' Leap into the Abyss.

5/ For the description of the colour illustration from Aurora consurgens in which the personified Wisdom nurses two old men, see the chapter The Ancient Chivalric War.

6/ Fulcanelli, Tajemstvi katedral {The Mystery of the Cathedrals), (Prague: Trigon, 1992), p. 62.

7/I want to extend my thanks to Mr. Vladimir Adamczyk, the director of the department of the Memorial of National Literature at the Star Summer Palace, for the kindness with which he lent us the diagram of the floor tiles on the third floor of the Star Summer Palace as well as other materials.

8/ The name of Epiphany—the celebration to commemorate the visit of the Persian Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem—is derived from the Greek words epi {on the surface) and phany {appearance).

9/ In Prague, stars appeared on house signs, for example, on the house At the Golden Star {U zlate hvezdy) at Rytirska Street No. 10. Now it can be seen in the Municipal Museum of Prague. It was also on the house of the same name that stood on the Old Town Square and was torn down. In the Lesser Town there is the house At the Golden Star {U zlate hvezdy) at U luzickeho seminare Street No. 9 and also the house At the Star {U hvezdy) at Zamecke schody Street No. 10.

Martin Stejskal was born in 1944 on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces. Since the 1960s he has participated in the activities of the surrealist movement. He paints, writes and translates from French.

He is the author of Through the Labyrinth of Mystery, A Guide to the Magical Locations in Czechoslovakia; The Star/An Attempt to Define the Prague Summer Palace as a Dwelling of Philosophers; Journeys After the Star – A Mirror of Hermeticism in the Czech Landscape.

The autor of Letohradek Hvezda texts is Martin Stejskal.

All these texts are published with the coordination and an agreement of the author.

STEJSKAL, M.: Praga Hermetica, An Esoteric Guide to The Royal Route; Eminent 2003; ISBN 80-7281-164-9

Date determination

day: 25   month: 6   year: 1555



Art, Arts / Concept, Cite ideal, History, Chimérisation, Immortality, Planning and architecture, Science, Sciences, Symbolic system, Theory, Thought, Town, Universe of the Utopias, Urban, Urbanism, Utopian

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