Monday, 25 April 2011

Paracelsus' Dream

In a recent post I already mentioned I had been fortunate enough to visit Heidelberg and Speyer recently. We had decided to go there to celebrate the successful exams of my wife as well as to visit the exhibition of a rediscovered Egyptian Magical Papyrus. However, it was by pure chance we discovered that the ruins of the famous Heidelberg castle - located on a beautiful hill overlooking the small town - house the German Pharmacy Museum in a large underground floor. 

Two steps in and I was left utterly speechless and awestruck. These rooms are nothing short of being Paracelsus' dream: a complete exhibition of 17th to 19th century pharmaceutical officina, laboratory, collection and medicaments. Everything you ever wished for to prepare your magical incenses, planetary talismans, divine sacrifices and alchemical remedies - it was right in front of my eyes.

Here is a short quote from the official webpage of the museum on the exhibition:

"With the help of an exceptional collection of valuable drugs of the 17th to the 19th century you‘ll find the basis of pharmaceutical production in 28 show cases. More than 1000 exhibits of raw materials are representing the range of medical substances of this period: the “materia medica”.

There are long forgotten miracle cures like unicorn, mummy, or the universal remedy called “theriac” containing opium and more than 200 other ingredients. This imposing collection takes the visitor back to times long gone by. The room is divided into the three “kingdoms of nature” (regnae naturae) according to the historical classification: the kingdoms of minerals, of plants, and of animals."

So here we are: from a full blown alchemical laboratory you can find everything down to the famous Mumia, fake remedies such as crystalline Unicorn bones or carved Alraune puppets.

The photos below give you an impression - and hopefully bring Heidelberg up in your magical vacation plans for the years to come. If you want to see more pictures of this outstanding place just follow me to the photo section on

Here is to all the wonderful things we discover by chance.


  1. what an awesome looking place...I would be in heaven... thanks Acher for putting up the pictures..
    I have been working with the land here on Dartmoor and following inner prompts to grow, dry and work with local wild herbs and resins that are quickly becoming rare. It is an interesting journey and a fascinating conversation between the land powers, the plants and the weather. All I need now is a cool looking cellar like this one and I am good to go!

  2. Dartmoor National Park - wow, what a place to live close by! I am learning a lot about the conscious and memory of the land through your book. Will need to turn it into practice soon - in order to connect and ground my magic. Something I have failed to do so far. Well, so much to explore, so many mistakes to learn from!