The Jesuit and the Uroboros

Dettaglio dell'obelisco kircheriano per Cristina di Svezia

Detail of Kircher’s obelisk for Christina of Sweden

Detail of the Uroboros on the Obelisk designed by jesuit priest Athanasius Kircher for queen Christina of Sweden (1626-1689) in 1654. “Great Christina, Isis Reborn, erects, delivers and consecrates this obelisk on which the secret marks of Egypt are inscribed.”(‘Visconti’ College’s museum in Rome – Jesuit Collegium Romanum before).

In October 1633 the German Jesuit scholar and Egyptologist Athanasius Kircher, now aged thirty-two, arrived in Rome. Soon after his arrival in Rome, Kircher joined the famous Collegio Romano as a teacher of mathematics, astronomy, and Hebrew. Kircher would become a close friend of Bernini and would collaborate with him on some architectural projects, including a fountain in Piazza Navona involving ancient Egyptian obelisks.

Christina, in 1654, would shock the whole of Protestant Europe by converting to Catholicism, then abdicating and going to Rome to live under the protection of Pope Alexander VII. Christina was a living encyclopedia and, to occult-minded scholars such as Kircher, an incarnation of ‘Divina Sapienza’ (Divine Wisdom). Christina is one of the only two women to be buried in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.


(From “The Vatican Heresy – Bernini and the Building of the Hermetic Temple of the Sun”, 2014)