The Karlsruhe Pentagram

Karlsruhe in the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in southwestern Germany, is a city with a rich history and an enigmatic mystique. Charles III William, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, founded it in 1715.

The town is located in the Upper Rhine plain not far from the northern foothills of the Black Forest, within sight of the French Vosges Mountains at some distance.

The flat, mountain-fringed terrain seems to have been an important cultural center for many peoples until very far into the past, with numerous pre-Christian places of worship in the region.

There are a number of fascinating things to discover right around the city complex, which is quite unique in Europe and incorporates a variety of hermetic symbolism into its ground plan. Some also call it “Sun City”, due to its distinctive layout.

Karlsruhe city view, copperplate engraving from 1721
Karlsruhe city view, copperplate engraving from 1721

The Pentagram

An amazing formation in the wider surroundings of the city is the so-called Karlsruhe Pentagram, the geomantic figure of a five-pointed star several miles in extent. Ecclesiastical buildings mark its vertices and it seems that they are not there by chance. Many times, all over the world, such buildings have been erected on or near ancient sacred sites. In any case, scattered references to the deliberate placement of buildings around ancient sanctuaries in the Karlsruhe region can be found in local literature.

The Karlsruhe Pentagram

Northern Corner

The northern corner is in Eggenstein, a community first mentioned around 765 AD, whose village chronicle records a prehistoric cult site, on the remains of which the early Romanesque village church St. Vitus and Modestus was possibly built.

St. Vitus and Modestus Church Eggenstein

Eastern Corner

St. Thomas Church in the village of Kleinsteinbach forms the eastern corner of the pentagram. The church contains an ancient bell from 1468 A.D., which was once part of the Frauenalb Monastery and is the oldest bell in the larger area. The mentioned monastery sits on the southeastern corner of the pentagram.

St. Thomas Church Kleinsteinbach

Southeastern Corner

This corner is marked by the ruins of the Frauenalb Monastery. According to legend, the monastery was founded around 1185 after a nobleman was so frightened by a ghostly apparition while hunting that he turned gray on the spot and vowed to build a church. Its original name was “Cella Sancte Marie”.

Near the monastery on a hill is a prominent, mysterious stone, the so-called Bismarck Stone, The extensive area around this stone is extraordinary. The densely wooded hill seems to have traces of terracing and remnants of an ancient ring wall over several hundred meters along its slope. It resembles a debris field of sandstone blocks of different sizes, and quite some of them have conspicuously straight edges, so they appear man-made. Whether this is all of natural origin, or whether it was worked, cannot be undoubtedly reconstructed. Again, the literature is silent about this and leaves possible conclusions to the viewer alone. Anyway, the impression is given that it is a site of megalithic origin of enormous dimensions, once completely destroyed by some unknown event.

The Frauenalb Monastery ruins form the southeastern corner of the pentagram
Frauenalb Monastery ruins and the area around the “Bismarck Stone” on a hill about 1 mile away

Southwestern Corner

This one is located in Rastatt, the former baroque residence town of the margravate of Baden-Baden. It is said that St. Wendelin Chapel there forms the endpoint, but it could possibly also be marked by the baroque palace in the center of the city. This is difficult to narrow down, since there are hardly any useful records concerning prehistoric places of worship here.

Baroque Castle Rastatt & St. Wendelin Chapel

Western Corner

The western corner is located in Buechelberg, a village situated on a slight elevation in the plain of the river Rhine, fully surrounded by forest. It’s been suggested that there may have been a prehistoric cult site in the proximity. A medicinal spring, a Marian grotto, and an ancient stone monument called “The Pyramid” by the residents are located near the village in the woods. Just about 3 miles away, outside the neighboring community Hagenbach, there’s a second Lourdes grotto directly at an artificially-looking mound. That mound is suspiciously reminiscent of a prehistoric tumulus, a so-called cairn. The Lourdes grotto was literally built into this mound. The Celts and Romans have also left their traces in the area.

Buechelberg Lourdes Grotto and Hagenbach Lourdes Grotto nearby

A German occult writer, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, published his widely influential text “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” in 1533, which includes a pentagram illustration. When you examine Agrippa’s drawing, you’ll notice that the planets Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, and Venus are represented by their symbols in the outer circle viewed clockwise from the top.

Pentagram from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s “De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres”. The symbols in the circle represent Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and Venus from the top in a clockwise direction. In the belly is the sign for the sun, and below the cross is the sign for the moon.

If one lays this pentagram over the landscape and looks at the Venus symbol assigned to the western corner of the Karlsruhe pentagram, one notices that there are two Marian grottoes in this area, the Lourdes grotto of the village Büchelberg and the grotto of Hagenbach. Exactly this kind of Christian sanctuaries for the veneration of Mary are often found near prehistoric pagan places of worship. This points to an ancient Roman cult of Venus at these places. Very likely even much older cults with their prehistoric equivalents of the Venus goddess. The relationship, or equivalence, between the Virgin Mary and the Roman goddess Venus is obvious and can be read in detail in relevant literature.

It is remarkable that one of the two rays leading to the northern corner of the pentagram crosses the oldest district of Karlsruhe, Knielingen. The coat of arms of Knielingen is a pentagram.

The early village, which forms the present-day district of Karlsruhe, was first mentioned in the 8th century AD. Excavation finds indicate settlement as early as the Bronze Age, and a Roman cremation burial ground was also discovered.

The region around Karlsruhe and the city itself still hold many secrets that are waiting to be unlocked.

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