Pool of the Black Star
Four entrances lead to three steps, which form the circumference of the room, a perfect circle with a radius of 27 feet surrounding the black, eight-pointed star at its centre.
The Tuscan columns surrounding the inner dome of the Rotunda resemble the columns used in Greek temples signifying boundaries and jurisdiction, and parallel the circular colonnade at the Sanctuary of Athena at Marmaria.
The most unique feature about the architecture of the Pool of the Black Star is its unique auditory qualities, in which sounds from all over the building are caught, distorted, and magnified within the space occupied by the center of the star.
This form of acoustic resonance parallels a similar function in Egyptian temples, which produce some of the most harmonious intervals found in music: the octaves, fifths, fourths, thirds and sixths.
In like manner, if one divides the length of the legislature (337 feet) by the height of the dome (223 feet) the musical fifth (2:3 or .66), otherwise known as the Hermetic constant, is achieved.
The Pool of the Black Star thus operates as the preverbal “Underworld” of the legislative building, the symbolic sanctum sanctorum aligning the black star of Ishtar/Venus (representing the element sulphur), with Hermes Trismegestus (a.k.a. Mercury) directly above. Its not surprising, therefore, that on June 3, 1914, the day the northeast cornerstone of the legislature was laid, the planets Mercury and Venus were also aligned the north Winnipeg sky.
The timing of the laying of the cornerstone corresponds with the ancient belief that a temple should also serve as a map of the heavens, thus exemplifying a stunning architectural metaphor for the golden rule of Hermetic literature: “As above; so below.”
A similar “echoing chamber,” exists under the temple of Apollo in Cumae, southern Italy. In antiquity, it was considered the dwelling of the Cumaean Sybil, an oracle of the god, who directed Aeneas in his journey to the “Underworld’ through the “true” gate, the Gate of Horn. Is it coincidental that the ‘underworld’ area of the legislative building, the Pool of the Black Star, also has an “echoing” acoustic effect? -- Frank Albo, 2004
LegislaturePool of the Black Star