THE FIRST ELEMENT OF WATER
Water is the first of the four elements according to the teachings of antiquity, which basically consists of two different components: the wild, destructive and life-giving nature, the prerequisite and basis of all life.
Water trickles: »”Everyone gets their childhood over their heads like a bucket«, says Heimito von Doderer. »It’s going down on us for a lifetime, in spite of one changes clothes or costumes at will.«
My journey through life is determined by four circumstances that had nothing to do with common destinies. They concern my origin, my sea voyage, my water castle and my study of the book of Genesis.
Being born into the “Third Reich” determined my life in advance. The security during the war in the midst of a well-guarded family, which resulted in total insecurity through the experience of collapse, made me an outsider who believed he had to reject all normality. In my search for a meaning in life I came across the ideas of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who came from an important Jewish family from Vienna. His attitude convinced me to give up my academic career and work in the woods.
“”more water !” cried bering .. he had become thirsty.
Konrad Bayer, The Head of Vitus Bering; In: eat and drink / II
After my experience in the woods I looked for a task with which I could be of use to someone without any pretences to achieve something for me and found it with the painter Frederic Hundertwasser, whose mother was Jewish. The fact that I was respected by him as normal human being meant for me the big step of a positive mastering of my burdened past.
Hundertwasser hired me as secretary in February 1965 in the famous Loosbar in Vienna in the presence of his Japanese wife Yuko by mediation of Udo Proksch, who had put me in contact with him. He favoured me because I had passed a Viennese commercial academy, and had spent lot of summers with my eldest sister, who was married in Sicily, and that I did not make any financial claims and was completely uninterested in any career as a high payed manager. But, as his Japanese wife Yuko told me later, the decisive factor that he hired me was that I had worked in the woods.
THE RAINY DAY
My collaboration with Hundertwasser culminated in the work as skipper of the ship REGENTAG or RAINY DAY, the sailing boat I had bought for him in 1966. It happened in August 1967, he was in Darfur in western Sudan to discover brown tones for his paintings. I wrote him that my sister’s best friend wanted to sell his boat – and he replied that I should buy it immediately. As a result, we met in Palermo on the ship again and he was so pleased that he chose it as his permanent residence. The following year he sailed to Venice and converted it for the next five years to his ketch REGENTAG. At that time I was no longer working as his secretary, but visited him frequently and moved in July 1972 on his place, after Peter Schamoni had turned off the REGENTAG film. For the next five years I was on board in his stead, in different ports of the Mediterranean where the boat was constantly improved. Most of the time it was in dry dock, because we planned an epoch-making journey comparable to the discoveries and results of Charles Darwin on the HMS BEAGLE, or at least to the circumnavigation of the Austrian NOVARA. The destination of the trip turned out to be New Zealand. The voyage actually took place in the years 1975 and 1976 with my Swedish wife Jacqueline, whom I had met in Rhodes before our voyage to Israel in 1974.
Postcard to Udo Proksch after crossing the Atlantic © Initiative Haggenberg
Hundertwasser and me on the Grenada island © Initiative Haggenberg
As a result of this trip our daughter Magdalena was born in Kawakawa on the North Island, where, much later, he built his well-known humus toilet, nowadays one of the country’s main tourist destinations.
In August 1977, with a heavy heart, Jacqueline and I decided to give up Hundertwasser and New Zealand and return to Europe in an uncertain future.
The fate of REGENTAG was different, however, as we had imagined: Hundertwasser in his new homestead was so absorbed by the development of his property, busy planting trees, realizing his architectural projects that the original motivation of our voyage was sidelined.
When Hundertwasser finally decided to return to Europe by sea in 2000, he died aboard Queen Elisabeth II off the coast of Australia. He had died, but the idea he had associated with his REGENTAG lives on. For it was I who found the fulfilment of our mission in our forlorn castle.
Hundertwasser’s last sentence in the film REGENTAG by Peter Schamoni, published in 1972:
„… On such a trip you can see mainly the horizon. The horizon is a big clue. The horizon is something to cling to; so to speak the only thing, you have to invent everything else. Since the world gets into disorder, the human really only needs the horizon. He can do everything else. If I come back then I’m sure I’ve found a way out.“
This sentence is the key to our goal, to the that brought me to Hagenberg – the island upon which I finally landed: Here I have found the solution to the disorder that has gripped the world outside.
After leaving New Zealand I was looking for a task that offered a similar challenge to fulfil something unique – not in a physical, but in a spiritual context. The attraction of the Jewish faith, which was laid in my cradle with the fate of my father, now became concrete. I wanted to find out why this religion had remained current over the millennia. The quest for its peculiarity turned into the search for its perfection, which moved the first and most important text of the Hebrew Torah, the Book of Genesis, at the heart of my. It deeply touched me that in the Galician Lviv, the city which my father presided over as governor during the war, the Jewish faith movement of the Hasidim had come into being back in the 18th century. For these “seek in the reality, no matter how imperfect, miserable, tormenting, the perfection of a divine order. He who succeeds, even temporarily, in prayer, will be happy, will feel exalted, enthusiastic. Not for nothing they sing and dance a lot. Rabbi Löb, for example, is said to have visited a sage, “not to hear anything from him: only to see how he straightens his felt shoes.” And Rabbi Menachem Mendel, who comes from Vitebsk like Chagall, is said to have said: “When I see a bundle of straw lying in the street, it is to me that it is of length, and not of breadth, an expression of the divine presence.”
This website is a collection of insights and facts that I have collected over the past three decades and will continue to gather as long as it seems possible. The individual topics may overlap, but are always focused on the same goal – to rediscover the mystery and the message of this place.
Certainly, I owe this to that moment that Plato described to us almost two and a half millennia ago: “For it is by no means as usual learned, but when one becomes familiar with the object through long occupation and living together, then suddenly the light of one arises Fire, which was kindled by a leaping spark, in the soul, and nourishes itself. But so much I know for certain that, if it were in scripture or word to utter, it would be me who could best pronounce it. “
in: Karl Kerényi, Apollon and Niobe 1980 – Introduction to reading Platonic works page 147
Quote Marsilio Ficino:
God did not create humans for small things, but for great ones who, when they recognize them as great, are no longer satisfied with the small. In fact, it is only the limitlessness for which He created man – the only beings on earth who can rediscover their infinite nature and who are not content with anything limited, however great it may be.
Marsilio Ficino in: Michael Shepherd (editor) Friend to mankind: Marsilio Ficino 1433-1499 London 1999
THE ISLAND CASTLE
Nine years after I left Hundertwasser, one year after my mother’s death in 1985 when she passed away in my arms, I acquired the castle and its surrounding moat, of which I had been, as I recalled, magically attracted from the first moment.
With this special habitat, I feel connected to the tradition of my family. For both of my ancestors tried to possess a castle. My grandfather Josef Baron of Wächter who as minister of Defence of the first Republic of Austria wanted to acquire in accordance to his nobility the Castle of Fischhorn on the Zeller Lake , a plan that vanished in the face of the upcoming inflation. My father as Governor of Krakow, had Wartenberg Castle (Zamek Przegorzaly) built in 1940 as a representative family residence, only to stay there for a year due to his transfer to Lviv in German called Lemberg.
Ever since I found myself in the possession of this desolate castle ago I dealt with the uniqueness of its architectural features and its historical background.
THE WASTE WATER
Ever since I acquired this castle, I have always had Hundertwasser’s goals in mind. From the beginning, his concern was the fate of this one and only world, which he sought to influence with all his might throughout his life.
When in 1992 I was engaged against the obstruction of the castle garden, this was a sign of fate. After many years of silence I contacted Hundertwasser again, and he was ready to fight on my side. Everything that I should write he would sign and cause the message would be echoed. The same occurred with my engagement for a waste water plant. After ten years of fighting, which went to the highest court, I was given right: The plant, already built to a design by Hundertwasser, was decided by the highest court in Austria for law. Since 2002 Hagenberg Castle disposes of the only private sewage treatment plant in the region.
Humanity suffers from one-sided views as well as from one-sided nutrition, both physically and mentally, and this is recognizable by what they produce. Humanity thus dies from the one-sidedness of its ideas, above all in art, which was supposed to play a role model. Shit is increasingly being produced – and well-liked by everyone. On the other hand, Hundertwasser’s refreshing insights into the foundations of our functioning are the only alternative to get a grip on our intellectual shit:
IT IS OUR DAMNED OBLIGATION TO FILL IN THESE SIMPLE IDEAS, TO IMPLEMENT THEM, TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP THEM AND TO HAND THEM ON AS LONG AS THIS IS POSSIBLE TO ME.
Our goal is to develop our castle to a showpiece of original concepts. Already the building and its environment stands as a model for the natural use of the element of water, which was and will remain indispensable for the well-being of everybody.
For details see link under: Openings
The visit of the castle is possible in the context of guided tours against donations.
Connoisseurs of ancient mythology welcome.
The restoration of the temple hall
Those who would like to be part of the refurbishment can do so on the special donation account IBAN: AT07 0100 0000 0503 1050 (for foreign countries BIC:BUNDATWW).
Details see link under: Journal - The restoration of the temple hall
News / Journal
The city of Laa an der Thaya lies on the northern border of Austria, which is one of the oldest borders in open landscape of Europe. It was built in the 13th century on rectangular floor plan with four large squares, which were intended as a rallying point for the...
The big challenge of these two years will be the restoration of the baroque frescoes in the temple hall dedicated to Hermes Trismegistos. Dr Hermann Fuchsberger, the actual head of the Lower Austrian Federal Monuments Office was so impressed on his first visit...
We would like to join in quiet mourning of our revered patron and friend, the great supporter and admirer of Haggenberg Castle Professor Hofrat Dr Werner Kitlitschka, who passed away on Friday, 19 October 2018 in his 80th year of life. Connected to the Austrian...
„THE CODED CASTLE - SMASHED AND FORGOTTEN - NOW OPENING FOR THOSE WITH RESPECT YES LOVE FOR THE SIMPLEST - READY TO THROW THE USUAL OVERBOARD.“
Horst A. Wächter