Ode to Mother: RishiCulture Yoga Magazine

    18March 2014
    In honour of Ammaji’s Bheemaratha Shanthi (pages 32-35), we dedicate this issue to Mother. I know that she would prefer to have all attention given to Swamiji, but for this one issue she must indulge us in our desire to put all attention onto her. In truth, however, the energies of Ammaji and Swamiji are everywhere, as one cannot exist without the other. In the Gitananda photo archives, there was a severely damaged photo of Swamiji with Ammaji. I have digitally repaired the image (page 6), although I kept the feel of it painterly, so as not to mask the fact that it has been reworked.
    • At first glance, read through the articles and the many quotes about Ammaji.
    • On a second pass, look at the images in a two-page view.
    • Look at the eyes, the direction of each gaze and where they lead you (pages 6-7).
    • Look at a mother’s playful hands (pages 12-13).
    • Consider the contrast of meaning in image and text (page 18).
    • Look at the layout for archetype shapes, especially the triangle. The power of Sri Yantra is everywhere, intersecting upward and downward triangles, representing both male and female energies. An obvious example is on page 46, the image of the lioness represents the female principle while its shape is that of the upward triangle, the male principle.
    • For the first time, included in the magazine is a quick reference guide (page 17) and glossary of a specific yoga practice (pages 19-23). In keeping with the theme of ‘Mother’, this issue focuses on pre-natal and post-natal yoga.
    One of the great joys of doing research for the magazine is making new discoveries, like the beautiful sculptures by Norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland (pages 14-15) and German artist Rudi Hirt (page 36). Enjoy this issue and keep in touch. I look forward to collaborating with you in the near future.
    01March 2014

    “What past merits we must have earned to have landed into Ammaji’s nest.”

    During the time of training her young ones to fly, the mother-eagle nudges the eaglets out of the nest. Because they are scared they soon jump back into the nest where it is comfortable and familiar. Next, the mother-eagle removes the soft layers so that the nest is less comfortable.  The thorns are left bare and the eaglets shriek in pain when they jump back into the nest.  They do not understand yet the purpose of this perceived cruelty. The mother-eagle is steadfast in her resolve to teach her eaglets how to fly.  She proceeds to push the fledgelings off from the top of the cliff where the nest is built.  The eaglets shriek in fear but before they hit the ground, they are caught by one of their parents. This process is repeated until the eaglets start to flap their own wings, and get excited in the new found knowledge and experience that they can fly.

    “Every Spring, a new batch of eaglets leaves the nest at Ananda Ashram.  They spread their wings and fly into the world – continuing to grow and glow in a wonderful yet challenging Yoga Life.”

    During the training at Ananda Ashram, the student quickly understands that they are there to learn more than a bag of tricks.  The toolbox they leave with contains more than just a list of asanas and pranayamas, they leave with knowledge on how to be a better person and live a better life – a Yoga life. There is a reason why Ammaji is selective of the students she accepts into the inner sactum of Ananda Ashram and the inner circle of the Gitananda family.  Anyone she feels who could not take direction to fully appreciate the ancient knowledge of the Rishis, or who are unwilling to commit themselves fully to the challenges of the gurukula – do not enter the front door. When the student is ready, the teacher appears with wings outstretched, inviting a tender embrace, and a place with the others in a comfortable nest, where guidance and opportunities for spiritual growth awaits them.  But when the student is READY, the teacher pushes them out of the nest so that they can fly on their own.  A few lost feathers, scrapes and bruises along the way is inevitable, if not required, but if everything goes as it should, the student soars upward on the path of enlightenment. The teacher, the guru, always knows what the student needs, at any given time, whether it be gentle or not.  The intention however, is always that of ‘profound interest’ in one’s conscious evolution.

    “Let all the eaglets of Ananda Ashram imbibe and transmit the knowledge and the Light that Ammaji has so generously shared.”

    01June 2013
    This edition of the RishiCulture Yoga Magazine has received the most individual submissions to date!  Sincere thanks to all contributors. This issue is packed with the theme of Krishna: poems, flutes, mantras, Arjuna and a butterball. On page 15 is the last article of a trilogy on Tantra, Yantra and Mantra by Dr Swami Anandakapila Saraswati, “Mantra: The Psychic Elevator”.  I would also like to highlight the thought provoking article by Yogacharini Danielle Prohom Olson “The Great Belly: A Yogini’s Lament” on page 23. The next issue is dedicated to “Mother”, in celebration of Ammaji’s 70th birthday. We all recognize that she is a beacon of light in this world, and it is my hope that your expressions of gratitude and love will manifest in a contribution to the next issue of the Magazine (article, poem, photograph, artwork etc.).  Commit to a trilogy, or to a longer series if you can.  Make it part of your sadhana.  All sincere contributions are welcome.  This Magazine does not exist without you!
    01May 2013
    The power of thought and the mind. ‘You think, therefore you are!” “You only accept the amount of love you think you deserve.’ “It is the nature of thought to find its way into action. “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” It is true that most of our limitations are imposed by our own self, whether it be for love, wealth, a job, relationships etc. At the same time, doesn’t someone who think that they are ‘entitled’ or ‘deserve’ this or that, not coming from a place of ego? Being self-confident and assertive is a good thing, but can one be too self-confident and too assertive, where a positive quality becomes a negative one? When someone says:  ‘I knew that (bad thing) was going to happen!”  Did this person invite the bad thing to happen by focusing on that bad thing instead of the postive outcome? Or does intuition have any place in the equation? Is intuition a form of thought? A crossroads where thought and feeling intersect? Not listening ‘to your gut’, results in a cosmic ‘smack on the head’, a wakeup call to a lesson that needs to be learned and is being ignored. Is this cosmic hand the hand of karma playing its role in our conscious evolution? Of which our perception is that of intuition?  Or does intuition exist as a separate concept in and of itself? I always say that it was intuition that connected me to my Yoga family and cemented my life journey towards one of conscious evolution. How a bank robbery (yes this is true), actors playing on a cosmic stage for me, was the trigger I needed, to eventually bring me to India and introduce me to Yoga and Gurukula living. One morning I woke up with the feeling that I should not bring my purse with me to the bank, which logically made no sense at all.  But since I knew my bank account nunber by heart and all I wanted to do was deposit a cheque, I left my house that morning with a cheque in one pocket and my bus pass in the other.  I did not know that there was going to be a robbery at the bank, at the exact moment I was to be there, but somehow my gut knew. Since then, my gut and I have become very good friends.  
    01February 2013
    This edition of the RishiCulture Yoga Magazine is the best one yet!  Sincere thanks to all contributors. This issue is packed with the theme of ‘three’.  Over 60 concepts are presented, but I am sure that we did’t list them all.  Let us know of any others that you can think of, and if we get enough feedback we will do a follow up article in the June issue of the Magazine. Of particular interest is the article “The Triune Teaching of Swami Gitananda” written by Yogacharya Shantideva (William H. Phillips).  He tells us about his interactions with Swami Gitananda back in the 60’s, when Swamiji was practicing medicine and living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  It is particularly insightful for those of us whom never had the opportunity to meet Swamiji. This edition of the Magazine also sees the second article of a trilogy “Tantra, Yantra and Mantra” by Dr Swami Anandakapila Saraswati.  It arrives in time to coincide with the Yantra course in February at ICYER. Please consider contributing content for the upcoming issues of the RishiCulture Yoga Magazine as we are getting dangerously low on content.  All sincere contributions are welcome.  Remember that this Magazine does not exist without you.  
    15January 2013
    Pranayama by Saagara Amma would probably say that this app is an unnecessary prop, but I have found that on those days that I am not motivated to practice Pranayama - this app has helped me to stay on track. No need to count your breaths!  Use the breathing pie animation to see when to inhale, exhale and hold your breath.  The advanced settings allows you to set the breath ratios - so any of the Pranayamas learned during the Teacher’s Training can be practiced but what I really love is the audio.  Each breath type has a different sound as the app silently counts down, which means that you can practice with your eyes closed, which is preferable. Trace Sanskrit Alphabets by While doing the Teacher’s Training at ICYER, the weekly Sanskrit class was my favorite.  But how soon one forgets after the course is over.   Although the graphical interface is meant for kids - this is an excellent tool to re-learn how to write and pronounce Sanskrit.   You can trace any vowel (swag) or consonant (vyanjan) in the Sanskrit alphabet. The app even shows you where to start and end writing the letter.  With a touch of a button, you can also listen to the phonetic sound behind each letter.   Once practice is complete you can test yourself to see how well you have learned the letters in each section.  It does not replace Devasena... but it is the best tool that I have come across. All-in YOGA by Arawella Corporation During the Teacher’s Training, one of the things I did was create index cards, different colors for pranayamas, asanas, kriyas and mudras, and on each card I wrote Sanskrit and English names, definitions, explanations and drew images to help me remember all the techniques I was learning.  Since acquiring an iPad, I have been trying to find an app to replace my index cards.  I have seen many, but this app is the best of what is out there. The app contains over 300 asanas with photo, video and audio guides, plus there are 3D muscle models for every pose, and over 30 pranayamas with detailed how-to guides.  You know you are on the right track when each entry is labeled by their correct Sanskrit name.  The best thing however is that the app is completely customizable.  You can add  pranayamas, asanas, kriyas and mudras and create your own programs.  What is an excellent app to start with can be transformed into a uniquely Gitananda Yoga inventory.
    01December 2012

    My Last Day

    Regan left early in the morning to catch her flight back to Canada.  I had one extra day before leaving for Nairobi and it was a gorgeous one.  Blue skies and sunny.  A nice way to end my visit in Prague. 

    After taking my time getting ready, I headed to Paul's where I bought a sandwich and mint tea for lunch.  I took the tram towards the Monastery and ate my lunch outside, in the sun.  That felt really nice.  I had to wait for the Boutique to open, so I walked around, found the path that leads directly to the Square and from there to the Loreto.  I listened when the bells chimed a tune, indicating it was noon.  Since I had to wait until 1pm for both the Monastery boutique and Loreto to open, I bided my time by walking around the quaint streets in the area, enjoying the scenery and the warmth of the sun.   

    After visiting the Loreto, which was worth waiting for, I walked towards the castle, using the side streets.  Just Gorgeous.  I had to go back to visit St. Vitus Cathedral, as I did not take enough time when I first was there.  I arrived just in time, as it was closing early.  The church emptied slowly, and  I stayed until the very end, when noone was left inside.  I never thought that I  would experience the quiet and a view without the guards and barricades.  How peaceful! I went to the Golden Lane, as I missed that the first time as well.  It was now sundown, and the cold was gripping me again.  I huddled in the Boutique until the light ceremony and choir performance started.  Never did make it back to Old Town and the official first day of the Christmas market.   

    Our Lady of Loreto: a Pilgrimage Site

    Loreta is a Marian pilgrimage site containing a copy of the Holy House (Santa Casa), the Baroque Church of the Nativity of Our Lord, a cloister and six chapels. The complex took on its current appearance over time. First the Holy House was built in 1626 -1627, gradually followed by a single-storey cloister with chapels, the Baroque Church of the Nativity of Our Lord (1734 - 1735), fountains, space for a unique treasury and more. All this is presented on the outside by a single façade designed by architect Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, whose design was based on the previous plans drawn up by his father, Christoph Dientzenhofer.

    After completion, the Loreto has been maintained by the Capuchins, an order connected with the St. Francis of Assisi's Brotherhood.

    Loreto Treasury

    The Loreto treasury, which started from a substantial donation by Benigna Katharina von Lobkowitz, is priceless. Most items, predominantly monstrances, chalices, altars, miniatures and other votive gifts, stem from the 17th and 18th centuries. The oldest object is a 1510 Gothic chalice donated by Christoph Ferdinand Popel Baronet von Lobkowitz. The most well-known object is a diamond monstrance called the Prague Sun. The gilded silver, 12 kilogramme, 6,222 diamond monstrance (An open or transparent receptacle in which the consecrated Host is exposed for veneration) was created in 1699 by Viennese goldsmiths who followed a design by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

    Loreto: Inside the Bell Tower

    Loreto Carillon

    The Loreto’s frontal façade is dominated by a tall baroque tower built in 1693, where the famous carillon, set in motion in 1695, is located.  

    The bells were cast by Amsterdam bellmaker Claude Fremy, and the playing mechanism was constructed by Peter Neumann, a Prague clockmaker. The instrument has a total of 27 bells in the span of over two octaves, with a keyboard of atypical proportions. The bottom octave is also controlled by a row of pedals. The carillon has two separate playing systems – a clock machine with a cylinder that is programmed to play the hymn “A Thousand Times We Hail Thee” on the hour, and a completely independent mechanism that is controlled by the player. 

    The carillon was restored in 1994 by Petr Rudolf Manoušek and is one of the oldest working carillons in Europe, especially among those that have been preserved without the use of inauthentic interference. Despite its imprecise tuning, it was decided to keep the original bells for their artistic and historical value, as this is the last existing set of playing bells by C.Fremy in the world – it is not possible to change the fixed tuning of his bells.

    Loreta Casa Santa

    Santa Casa is the place in Nazareth where the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ, the Son of God would be born from her blessed womb. In the very same house the Holy Family stayed after their return from Egypt and Mary lived there for years to come. In 1291, a Christian family named Angeli had the Holy House moved, piece by piece, from Nazareth to Dalmatia and later in 1295 to the Italian town of Loreto. From the name of the Italian family “Angeli” people developed in time the legend that the Holy House had been brought to Loreto by angels. The story has become popular in all Christian world and many other copies of Santa Casa have been built all over the world. This Santa Casa copy, complete with stunning fresco pieces and the statue of Our Lady of Loreta, sits in a delightful courtyard surrounded by chapel-lined arcades. The Loreto in Prague is the biggest and most famous copy of the Santa Casa and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.

    Loreto Cloister

    Church of the Nativity of our Lord

    I sat quietly in this small church - in awe.  But at the same time, this style is a bit  (ok a lot) over the top for me.  The Dientzenhofers, an important family of architects, had an impact on the building development of the Prague Loreto in the first half of the 18th century. Christoph Dientzenhofer began the two-phase reconstruction of the church and designed the western facade of the entire complex, which was finished, after his death in 1722, by his son Kilian Ignaz. (The latter is also the author of the design of the terrace with balustrades in front of the facade.) In 1735, Christoph’s stepson, J. G. Aichbauer, finished the final reconstruction of the church, financed (as was most of the interior decoration) by Countess Maria Margarethe Waldstein, née Czernin von Chudenice. 

    It was consecrated on 7 June 1737, but work on the interior continued until the end of 1738. The principal altar is decorated with an alleged replica of a Renaissance painting of the Adoration (perhaps from the circle of F. Lippi), with a wrought rocaille frame and sculptures of SS Joseph, Joachim, God the Father and the angels, by M. Schönherr (1701-1743). The two side altars of St Felicissimus and St Marcia, with the large reliquary display cases, are located in the chancel.

    The side altars in the nave have superb Rococo paintings of St Apollonia and St Agatha, by Anton Kern (1709-1747), supplemented at the sides by equally impressive sculptural pairs of cherubs by Richard Prachner.

    The original organ by the master L. Spiegel, provided at the expense of Countess Eleonore Caroline von Lobkowitz in 1718, was replaced between 1734-38 by a new instrument by the masters F. Katzer and K. Weltzer from Králíky. The frescoes of the Nativity of Our Lord and the Adoration of the Magi are the work of J. A. Schöpfl (1702-1772); they are inferior to the painting in the third vaulting field above the chancel, with the scene of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, by W. L. Reiner (1698-1743)..2 

    My Last Night

    The last hours of the day were spent listening to a choir sing while the Christmas tree lights were turned on outside of St. Vitus Cathedral, a yearly ritual I am told...  and one more walk over the Bridge, looking over the beautiful landscape that is Prague.

    30November 2012

    A worthy assessment of the area by both domestic and foreign experts resulted in the acquisition of historic monument preservation status. In 1963, the town was declared a Municipal Preserve, in 1989 the castle became a National Monument, and in 1992 the entire complex was included onto the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Monuments.

    The mighty complex of the castle is erected on the rock promontory which has been sculpted by the Vltava river on the southern side and by the  Polečnice stream on the northern side. The castle towers proudly above the refined Renaissance and Baroque burgher architecture of the town below. 

    Like a precious pearl, the town of Český Krumlov is situated in a valley surrounded by Blansko Forest to the north and the undulating foothills of Šumava to the south and west.

    The name of the castle Krumlov originated from the Latin expression castrum crumnau or in ancient German Crumbenowe. It reflects the configuration of the landscape, krumben ouwe, the place on the rugged meadow. The expression "Český" has been used in connection with Krumlov since the middle of the 15th century.

    The historical development of the town is marked mainly by four aristocratic families: the Lords of Krumlov, the Rosenbergs, Eggenbergs and Schwarzenbergs.

    The Czech noble family of the Lords of Krumlov originated as one of the branches of the Vítkovci family. The last member of Lords of Krumlov was Wok who died without descendants in the year 1302, and the Krumlov castle together with the contiguous surroundings fell upon the Rosenberg branch of the Vítkovci family. The Coat-of-arms of the Lords of Krumlov was represented by a green five-petalled rose in a silver field.

    Perhaps the most significant marks are those of the family of the Rosenbergs (1302-1602).  The town lived through the greatest cultural and economical bloom during the Renaissance, under the rule of Wilhelm von Rosenberg.  Their symbol was that of a red five-petalled rose with a gold center in a silver field.

    In the 17th century the Krumlov dominion passed onto  the Eggenberg family (1622-1719).  They built the first theatre in 1675 but interest in theatre declined after the death of Johann Christian I. von Eggenberg in 1710.  The family emblem is composed of a trio of ravens bearing a golden crown.

    The German noble family of Schwarzenbergs was originally called the Lords of Seinsheim and their proper emblem was a shield with silver and blue stripes. After the conquest of Raab, the Turkish fortress, the emblem was enlarged in 1599 with the head of a Turk, his eyes being pecked out by a raven. 

    During the second generation of the new owners, the princes of Schwarzenberg, interest in theatre culture rose again. During the reign of Josef Adam zu Schwarzenberg, the original Eggenberg theatre was rebuilt in 1765 along with a large-scale Baroque reconstruction of the rest of Krumlov castle.  

    It was a few hours drive to get to Cesky Kremlov.  We walked through the grounds and headed to the museum.  Because of the time of the year, I was not expecting nice gardens or active fountains, however I was disappointed that none of the Castle rooms, cellars or buildings were open.  We would have to be satisfied with the castle museum.  A big creepy factor was the relic room.  How odd that someone would collect bones and keep them in their house.  In the end, seeing artifacts in cases is not that interesting.  The bulding itself, with thick walled structures and stone floors is what caught my eye.  It must cost a fortune to heat this place, which is probably why everything else is closed.  After the museum we stopped for lunch at this medieval restaurant.  Cool atmosphere and yes huge portions of porc was on the menu!

    We had free time after lunch for walking around town to soak up some of the beautiful architecture and painted buildings. 

    I did not intend on buying anything, but I discovered the most beautiful jewelry.  A green jagged semi transparent stone, which turned out to be meteorite.  One stone in particular, encased in silver caught my attention, and I ended up getting it, with some proding by Regan.  I am glad that I did, as it is unique to this area of the world, and I really like green, even though I do not have anything to wear that matches.

    What we did not know when we booked this tour, is that everything, except the castle museum would be closed.  I was greatly disappointed, as I was really looking forward to visiting the baroque theatre, my main motivation for coming to Cesky Krumlov.  October would have been a much better month to travel to Prague, as so many more things would have been open.  Also, a day trip is really not enough, a few days spent here when everything is open would allow you to soak up the many layers of rich history that are present here.

    In the beginning of the 20th century the castle theatre was used only occasionally and was not open to the public. 

    Only two records from 1903 and 1906 record the use of the theatre for social events.

    All of the artistic and technical equipment of the theatre is located partly in the theatre itself and partly in the neighboring building, which is used as a theatre museum.

    Proof of the rich theatre culture of the Český Krumlov castle is preserved in material objects (the theatre building, stage, orchestra pit, auditorium, stage machinery, fire fighting and signalization technology, technical props, etc.), in written pieces (librettos, partituras, particelas, notes), in literature (books about theatre art, about the repertoire, dances, ceremonies, festivals, construction and craftsmanship principles), in pictures and iconographic materials (examples of costumes, scenes, drafts, studies, portraits, with musical, dance and theatre subjects). This rich study material offers the possibility of the complex study of theatre history.

    In the 20th century the theatre was used only for a short time from 1956 untill 1964 as a part of  the South Bohemian Theatre Festival. In 1966 the theatre buildings and equipment were declared to be in catastrophic condition. The state historical caretakers finally had good reasons to have the theatre closed for regular theatrical performances and to the public. Restoration work began and continues until now.  At present, we estimate that about 80% of all theatre inventory has been completed and restored. The introduction of trial visiting periods by the general public commenced in the autumn of 1997. 

    View from the Roof of the Dancing Building

    The food was expensive but the French cuisine tasted really nice, and no porc!  Unusual for me, but I had a drink with alcohol, with homemade syrup made with lavender.  It was yummy, although a bit sweet.  Had to wait for the ice to melt, but you probably should drink it that way. A bit disappointing though was the view from the dinning area. Only small oblong windows and depending on where you were sitting, you could not see much. When we were leaving, we noticed an adjacent section with bigger windows and nicer views.  Too bad that we did not notice on our way in.  Before leaving, we went on the roof and took our last photos of Prague's nightscape.  We did not stay long as it was windy and cold. The building portrays two people dancing hence the original name of the edifice: Fred and Ginger after the famous dance couple  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The building soon became known as the 'dancing house'. Zagreb-born Czech architect Vlado Milunić describes the building as a dance performed after the Velvet Revolution.

    The construction of the building in what is described as a deconstructionist style (the architects themselves consider the style 'new Baroque'),  created quite a stir since the modern building starkly contrasts with its surroundings, both in its architecture and in its use of materials. Opposition against the building continued even after it was completed in 1996 but eventually Prague citizens have come to accept and even appreciate the building.

    An interesting chandelier got our attention.  How does it work?

    29November 2012

    This morning we went to a local cafe for breakfast.  Nice cheap food where the locals hang out.  Across the street was this church and market.  Regan loves markets as much as she loves puppets.  We hung out for a while and I bought some bath salts and a baboushka hat.The black hat had fake black and white fur around it and you can wrap it around you like a scarf.  Today was a miserable, cold and wet day.  The week started at +9 and it must be close to zero degrees today.  The rain just made it feel all the more cold.  I brought my pleather jacket, which was excellent for cuting the wind and protecting me from the rain - but it was not warm.  Today, I definitely could have worn a winter jacket.  

    Art Museum

    The Veletrzni Palace, part of the National Gallery of Prague, was once destined to outdo the Pompidou Center in Paris in sheer size and cultural power. The Museum's history dates back to 1796 when a group of prominent representatives of Bohemia patriotic aristocracy and enlightened middle-class intellectuals formed the Society of Patriotic Friends of the Arts and established the Academy of Fine Arts and the Picture Gallery.  In 1918 the Picture Gallery became a central art collection of the newly formed Czechoslovakia. In 1995 a new gallery dedicated to modern art opened in the refurbished Veletržní Palace. In Prague 7 sits a huge gem of a building, the Veletrzni Palace; constructed from the design of Oldrich Tyl and Josef Fuchs in the years 1925-1929, this massive building was used for trade fairs until 1951 after which it was home to several international companies. A heartbreaking fire destroyed it in 1974. Four vast floors, resembling a huge cruise ship, house a wonderfully impressive collection of 19th to 21st century European and Czech art.  The vast collection contains a large number of Czech and Slovak paintings and sculptures, including works by Gutfreund, Kupka, Fila, Benes and Bohumil Kubišta.

    Loved this exhibit by Thomas Ott, a Swiss artist and comic book author.  Ott's stories and independent works are linked by the theme of classic horror. This is also reflected in the scratchboard technique that has made him famous.

    František Kupka, was a Czech painter and graphic artist. He was a pioneer and co-founder of the early phases of the abstract art movement and Orphic cubism.

    Because of the bad weather, today was a perfect day to spend inside.  We spent a few hours going through the three floors of the permanent collection, most of which were Czech artists.  Their international section was very small, which makes sense considering they were under communist rule until 1989 and outside influences were not encouraged.  They did have a gorgeous Klimt painting.

    I have to admit that I really enjoyed this Exhibit and that I am a fan of Art Nouveau.  I appreciate the drawing skills and realism and how the graphic design can easily be transfered for commercial use.  Never made it to the Mucha Museum though.

    David Cerny is arguably one of the most popular contemporary artists in the Czech Republic.  Of notable fame are his crawling babies (up a radio tower) and his large scale bronze babies with weird faces. 

    In front of the Kafka Museum there are two bronze sculptures peeing into a receptable in the form of the Czech Republic.  What is interesting is that there is an electric mechanism driven by a couple of microprocessors that swivels the upper part of the body, while the penis moves up and down. The stream of water 'writes' quotes from famous Prague residents.  Visitors can interact with the sculptures by sending a SMS message to a number that is displayed.  The living statue then “writes” the text of the message before carrying on as before. 

    The hanging Freud sculpture is interesting and the one that everyone misses... including me.  

    I saw the fingers in Cesky Kremlov and the sculpture was attributed to Cerny. Interesting placement. it looked like it was holding up the building. 

    Went to see this show at the Image Black Light Theatre.  The photos are stunning, but the dancers in the show did not stop for us to 'see the pictures'.   Also not all of the dancers were of equal talent.  This show has a lot of potential.  It could have been spectacular, but I was left  feeling a bit disappointed. 

    Africania - Black Light Show

    Went to see this show at the Image Black Light Theatre.  The photos are stunning, but the dancers in the show did not stop for us to 'see the pictures'.   Also not all of the dancers were of equal talent.  This show has a lot of potential.  It could have been spectacular, but I was left  feeling a bit disappointed.

    28November 2012
    Wenceslas was considered a martyr and a saint immediately after his death, in Bohemia and in England.  Within a few decades of Wenceslas's death four biographies of him were in circulation. These hagiographies had a powerful influence on the High Middle Ages conceptualization of the rex justus, or "righteous king", that is, a monarch whose power stems mainly from his great piety, as well as from his princely vigor.

    Referring approvingly to these hagiographies, the chronicler Cosmas of Prague, writing in about the year 1119, states:

    "But his deeds I think you know better than I could tell you; for, as is read in his Passion, no one doubts that, rising every night from his noble bed, with bare feet and only one chamberlain, he went around to God’s churches and gave alms generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and afflicted by every difficulty, so much so that he was considered, not a prince, but the father of all the wretched."

    Several centuries later the legend was claimed as fact by Pope Pius II.

    Although Wenceslas was, during his lifetime, only a duke, Holy Roman Emperor Otto I posthumously "conferred on the regal dignity and title" and that is why, in the legend and song, he is referred to as a "king".  The usual English spelling of Duke Wenceslas' name, Wenceslaus, is occasionally encountered in later textual variants of the carol.  Wenceslas is not to be confused with King Wenceslaus I of Bohemia (Wenceslaus I Premyslid), who lived more than three centuries later. An equestrian statue of Saint Wenceslas and other patrons of Bohemia (St. Adalbert, St. Ludmila, St. Prokop and St. Agnes of Bohemia) is located on Wenceslaus Square in Prague. His helmet and armour are on display inside Prague Castle. The hymn "Svatý Václave" (Saint Wenceslas) or "Saint Wenceslas Chorale " is one of the oldest known Czech songs in history. Its roots can be found in the 12th century and it still belongs to the most popular religious songs to this day. In 1918, in the beginning of the Czechoslovak state, the song was discussed as one of the possible choices for the national anthem. Since 2000, the feast day of Saint Wenceslas (September 28) is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrated as Czech Statehood Day.

    Wencenles Square

    Less a square than a boulevard, Wenceslas Square has the shape of a very long (750 m, total area 45,000 m²) rectangle, in a northwest–southeast direction. The street slopes upward to the southeast side. At that end, the street is dominated by the grand neoclassical Czech National Museum. The northwest end runs up against the border between the New Town and the Old Town.

    The two obvious landmarks of Wenceslas Square are the  National Museum Building and the statue of Wenceslas. A more recent landmark is a bronze cross  set into the ground in front of the National Museum to honour both Palach and Zajíc who committed suicide by self-immolation as a political protest.

    The square is named after Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. It is part of the historic centre of Prague, a World Heritage Site.

    Formerly known as Koňský trh (Horse Market), for its periodic accommodation of horse markets during the Middle Ages, it was renamed Svatováclavské náměstí (Saint Wenceslas square) in 1848 on the proposal of Karel Havlíček Borovský.


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