The Alchemical Emperor of Prague


The Emperor of Alchemical Prague

Bohemian.  The word in English is a polite way of dismissing a beatnik, hippie, or hipster.  To say that someone is bohemian accuses them of being artistic, kooky, way out of the ordinary, probably devoted to underground arts or shady spiritual pursuits.

In the early 19th century the French occultist Papus wrote a book called The Tarot of the Bohemians.  Today the title inspires visions of disheveled hipsters shuffling cheap plastic cards hoping to divine the future.  People have forgotten Bohemia was a country in central Europe.  How did the name of the people of what we now call Czechoslovakia become a synonym for counterculture?

Read more here: The Emperor of Alchemical Prague