Mária Szepes

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Mária Szepes
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Mária Szepes (Hungarian pronunciation:  [ˈmaːriɒ ˈsɛpɛʃ] ; 14 December 1908 3 September 2007) was a Hungarian author. She worked as a journalist and screenwriter, as well as an independent author in the field of hermetic philosophy since 1941. She would sometimes write under the pseudonyms Mária Papir or Mária Orsi.

Hungary Country in Central Europe

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.

Hermeticism set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces

Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These writings have greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition traces its origin to a prisca theologia, a doctrine that affirms the existence of a single, true theology that is present in all religions and that was given by God to man in antiquity.

A pseudonym or alias is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from their first or true name (orthonym).



Szepes was born Magdolna Scherbach into a Hungarian family of theater stars in Budapest. Her father, Sándor Papir, was a bon vivant and great star of Budapest's stages. Her mother was primadonna. Her parents and her brother were to her like "brothers and sisters in spirit", as well as she admitted only spiritual relationship: "Everything else is just experience, engagement, disengagement – karma."[ clarification needed ]

Budapest Capital city in Hungary

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary.

Karma concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions

Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths.

From 1916 to 1933, she appeared as a film actress (mostly under the name Magda Papir). One year after marrying Béla Szepes on 2 January 1931, she accompanied him to Berlin, where they lived until Hungary's German occupation towards war's end. In her book Magie der Liebe ("Magic of Love"), Szepes writes about the marriage, which lasted 56 years, and discusses the so-called "Alchemistic Marriage", the dissolution of the ego in the other.

Béla Szepes was a Hungarian skier, athlete, graphic designer and journalist. He competed at the 1924 Winter Olympics and won the silver medal in the javelin throw in the 1928 Summer Olympics. He captured seven Hungarian Athletics Championships and three British Athletics Championships titles.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Szepes studied literature, art history, and biology in Berlin. Back in Hungary she first worked as a journalist, screenplay writer, and author. Her first novel The Red Lion was written in a hideout during World War II and became a worldwide bestseller of esoteric literature. The two Raguel volumes are referred to as her chief work by Szepes herself.

Literature written work of art

Literature, most generically, is any body of written works. More restrictively, literature refers to writing considered to be an art form or any single writing deemed to have artistic or intellectual value, often due to deploying language in ways that differ from ordinary usage.

Art history the academic study of objects of art in their historical development

Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts; that is genre, design, format, and style. The study includes painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects.

Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical processes, molecular interactions, physiological mechanisms, development and evolution. Despite the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation and extinction of species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis.

The Red Lion

The Red Lion, Mária Szepes' first novel, was published in 1946 in Hungary (original title: A Vörös Oroszlán). During the communist regime Rákosi The Red Lion was considered to be nonconformist and therefore was prohibited. All copies of the book were ordered to be destroyed. However, the librarian and novelist Béla Hamvas managed to save four copies. Then, several supporters of the author typed up the novel, made templates for printing, and released the self-made copies through the underground. Almost 40 years later, the novel arrived at the desk of the Heyne publishing company via the agency Utoprop. The book was translated into German by Gottfried Feidel and was published as a paperback in 1984. More details regarding the history of origin are reported by Hans Joachim Alpers in his preface of the 2002 re-issue.

Communism socialist political movement and ideology

In political and social sciences, communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state.

Mátyás Rákosi Hungarian Communist leader

Mátyás Rákosi[ˈmaːcaːʃ ˈraːkoʃi] was a Hungarian communist politician. He was born Mátyás Rosenfeld in Ada. He was the leader of Hungary's Communist Party from 1945 to 1956 — first as General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party (1945–1948) and later holding the same post with the Hungarian Working People's Party (1948–1956). As such, from 1949 to 1956, he was the de facto ruler of Communist Hungary. An ardent Stalinist, his government was very loyal to the Soviet Union, and he presided over the mass imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people and the death of thousands.

Librarian person who works professionally in a library, and is usually trained in librarianship

A librarian is a person who works professionally in a library, providing access to information and sometimes social or technical programming to users. In addition, librarians provide instruction on information literacy.

The Red Lion has been adapted to stage and is performed in various theaters of the United States.

Plot summary

Szepes tells the story of the unhappy Hans Burgner, a miller's son born in the 16th century. After the death of his weak father and of a likewise miserable but beloved teacher, he becomes afraid of the unavoidable death of all living things. Driven by a monomania fed by persistent rumors of an Elixir of Immortality, he becomes an apprentice of a mysterious physician and alchemist. However, instead of listening to the Alchemist's compassionate counsel and warnings, Burgner is driven by feverish greed to murder him; in this way, he acquires the Elixir while he is still spiritually unprepared, and is cursed thereby. This is the starting-point of a journey through the centuries: while Burgner can physically die, the Elixir enables him to retain the full memory of his previous lives as he repeatedly reincarnates into a variety of different circumstances. It also bestows upon him a profound spiritual sensitivity. Several times he attempts the Great Transmutation in order to deliver himself from his self-imposed curse. Hans Burgner is refined through his various incarnations. Against the backdrop of the last five centuries of European history, he undergoes dramatic personal development: beginning as a spiritually unawakened (and even infamous) character, he matures spiritually through the various challenges he is led to confront. He is first an initiate and Aspirant, eventually attaining the perfection of human personality which characterizes the Magus, or spiritual Adept.

An elixir is a clear, sweet-flavored liquid used for medical purposes, to be taken orally and intended to cure one's illness. When used as a pharmaceutical preparation, an elixir contains at least one active ingredient designed to be taken orally.

Alchemy ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition

Alchemy was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries AD.

Initiation rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society

Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense it can also signify a transformation in which the initiate is 'reborn' into a new role. Examples of initiation ceremonies might include Christian baptism or confirmation, Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, acceptance into a fraternal organization, secret society or religious order, or graduation from school or recruit training. A person taking the initiation ceremony in traditional rites, such as those depicted in these pictures, is called an initiate.

Selected filmography

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