From astrology to typology: a look ahead to 'Esoterika 2005'

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Prague will be host to a most unusual trade fair this week. "Esoterika 2005", which opens April 1 at the Holesovice fair grounds, will feature masters of Feng shui, courses on the "Blue Alpha" method of meditation, lectures on "landscape energy", the history of herbal healing, and a wide range of other lesser-known disciplines, from harnessing reincarnation imagery to colour therapy.

Ahead of the opening of the fair --and with a rather noisy parrot in the room-- Radio Prague's Brian Kenety spoke with the main organisers of the event, Hana Ruzickova and Ctirad Hemelik. He began by asking them what their motivation was to launch the fair.

Hana Ruzickova: "I discovered that this world is a little bit about something else than the society educates its people, its children about, and that a lot of people really are seeking for an alternative, for another way how to live here; how to think, what to do."

Ctirad Hemelik: "The whole project is that we would like show the word 'esoterica' in its whole meaning, about healing, about something behind this word, or behind something that we cannot see."

Radio Prague: What kind of exhibits will there be? If I went to the Esoterika fair, what might I find?

HR: "You can find a lot of lectures, there will also be a podium for sign making [astrology]. Also many exhibitions, like on the history of alternative medicines."

RP: I could learn about Chinese herbal medicines, for example?

HR: Yes, or about ayurveda, for example. There will also some reincarnation pictures —"

CH: "— which is a kind of art where the people who are painting — it's not his hand which is doing it.... [But] our prime project is a history of healing, which we are doing with Dr Dana Motyckova of the Academy of Sciences; and we've got about 50 [related] things that we are going to show the people, including one of the oldest books of [herbal remedies], printed in 1562 in the Czech lands."

HR: "A big part of it will be about alternative medicines and natural cosmetic products"

RP: No animal testing under that roof...

HR: "Not animal testing, of course!"

CH: "Another project which we have done is 'painting stones', based on the general aesthetics of Roger Caillot [phonetic], a French guy who guy who wrote that there is something between stones and painting...."

HR: "And the third part is some specialities: like a room for rest with a little cinema."

RP: A kind of mediation room?

HR: Mediation, yes. Also there will be tea rooms, restaurants with health food, 'autogramia', amulets, candles, [tarot] cards, minerals, visions..."

CH: "There is Antonin Baudis, who is going to talk about our Prime Minister, Stanislav Gross, about his horoscope and mandala.... Milan Calabek, who is the head of the University of the New Age in the Czech Republic, will talk about Buddhism... and a lot more."

HR: "Yes, the nomenclature of the trade fair is very large."

RP: How many exhibitors will be there?

HR: "One hundred and forty: a very good number, I think, for the first year of this fair!"

And if you'd like more information on the Esoterkia 2005 fair, which begins on Friday, please see their webpage, www.esoterica.cz