Last Update: 18.1.2005

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Alexander von Bernus
& die Alexander  von Bernus Gesellschaft e.V.
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Alexander von Bernus
Gesellschaft e.V.
Schloss Donaumünster
Alexander v. Bernus-Strasse 4
86660 Tapfheim
Kontakt

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Coat of Arms
 
Biographical Sketch

 

The following text has been abridged from a publication by the Alexander von Bernus Foundation. I've tried to keep the translation close.

Alexander von Bernus (click on the name below for a larger picture) Alexander von Bernus (1880 – 1965) was a poet and alchemist. His first exposure to the literary and artistic puplic occured when he was still a student. He became the publisher of the literary magazine »Die Freistatt«, for which wrote renowned authors, who, at the turn of the century, had made the Munich district of Schwabing famous. Among them were, to name but the most well known,  Karl Wolfskehl, Ricarda Huch, Else Lasker-Schüler Frank Wedekind, Franz Blei, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Scheerbart, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, with whom von Bernus had friendly relationships over the years. Until 1926 he kept open for them Stift Neuburg, his country residence near Heidelberg, to serve as a meeting and working place over the summer months. Also among the frequent visitors were Stefan George and his circle.

Only 23 years old he went public with his own literary works and met immediate success. His first volume of poetry »Aus Rauch und Raum« (roughly »Of Smoke and Space«) was received positively by the public. Together with, among others, Will Vesper, Karl Wolfskehl, Rolf von Hoerschelmann, Karl Thylmann and Emil Preetorius he ran his own little theatre from 1907 to 1912, the »Schwabinger Schattenspiele« (Schwabinger Shadowplay). In 1912 he met Rudolf Steiner and a close friendship developed between both of them until Steiner's death. From 1916 to 1920 he published the magazine »Das Reich« (»The Realm«) for which Steiner was one of the most important contributors. Over the course of his life Alexander von Bernus published over twenty volumes of poetry, he wrote novellas, shadowplays, theatre plays, mystery plays, prose texts and an important work in the fields of alchemy and natural science: »Alchymie und Heilkunst« (»Alchemy and the Art of Healing«).

Beside his literary work von Bernus dedicated himself to research in alchemy and the natural sciences. In the year 1921 he founded his own alchemical-spagyrical laboratory, in which, in decades of concetrated work, he developed more than thirty healing substances. Bernus continued the ancient tradition of alchemy – which had more or less fallen into discontinuity after Paracelsus – in a practical way, hence returning to the natural sciences their spiritual dimension. With the very effective healing substances, which where the results of his work, he proved to the 20th century that there is more to alchemy than superstitions from the middle-ages 

Alexander von Bernus' life and work tell of a rich personality, and a combination of many talents. He was both, a withdrawn, and in his spiritual beliefs often lonely poet and researcher and a public figure. He was a member of the PEN and of the Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (Academy of Language and Poetry), and he was always in contact with other creative thinkers of his time. Bernus entered three marriages, the last of which, with Isa von Bernus, née Oberländer, was to bring the fulfilment he had been looking for. Both of them lived and worked together for 35 years until Alexander von Bernus' death in 1965.

 

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