Individuality of Julian the Apostate

From Anthroposophy

Julian Flavius Claudius (331-363) was a Roman Caesar. Although raised a Christian, he turned to the ancient Mysteries again, for which reasons Christian authors called him 'the apostate', which means the unfaithful. He was murdered during a campaign in Asia aged 32.

Other incarnations include:

  • Herzeleide - only known by accounts of the Parsifal legend.
  • Tycho Brahe (1546-1601), a Danish nobleman, astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, well known in his lifetime for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical observations and predictions.

This important Individuality in the Michaelic stream is called, by Rudolf Steiner (1924-09-16-GA238 below)

"a great helper for those things which we must investigate for the future of the 20th century, if we would find one who can advise us in relation to the super-sensible world, if we need impulses that are there within that world, it is the individuality of Julian the Apostate - Tycho Brahe who can help us. He is not on the physical plane today; but in reality he is always there, always ready to give information on those matters especially which concern the prophetic future of the 20th century.

Aspects

  • for the life and importance of Julian the Apostate, see 1917-04-19-GA175 (synopsis below)
  • initiated into Eleusinian Mysteries: aware of the ancient Sun mystery.
  • This individuality inspired oa Schelling (1924-06-01-GA238), and Froshhammer (1924-09-16-GA238)

Illustrations


Lecture coverage and references

1910-12-30-GA126

And now, placing both personal destinies side by side, think how endlessly instructive it is when we learn from the Akasha Chronicle that the individuality of Julian the Apostate appears again in Tycho Brahe, that Tycho Brahe is, so to say, a reincarnation of Julian the Apostate.

1910-12-31-GA126

is an example where the Personalities are covered, but it is not mentioned they are incarnations of the same Individuality.

Hence we can understand that in this period there lies the starting-point for great revelations; that this period is entirely in keeping with the appearance of a man such as Julian the Apostate, who had once been inspired in the Eleusinian Mysteries. At that time he had opened his soul to the revelations coming from the Spirits of Form. But the initial onset of a powerful influence always works for a period of about four hundred years, then it begins to ebb and the streams as it were to separate.

1911-09-19-GA130 quote A

If we read Leibniz, Schelling and Soloviev today, and ask ourselves how they have been inspired, we find that it was by the individuality who was born in the place of Suddhodana, ascended from Bodhisattva to Buddha and then continued to work selflessly

quote B

.. if we look at the whole of spiritual development in its progressive stages, we see that .. the Buddha who sacrificed himself in the fire of love is the inspirer of our spiritual science.

1911-12-13-GA115
1917-04-19-GA175

synopsis:

Importance of Julian the Apostate for the historical evolution of the West.

His early life. The failure of his Christian education on account of his lively interest in Greek culture and neo-Platonic teachings.

Initiated into Eleusinian Mysteries: aware of the ancient Sun mystery.

Wisdom of ancient times still known to Julian. His wish to preserve the continuity of the ancient pagan Mysteries. Rome promulgated laws against the celebration of pagan rites. Julian forbids teachers in the schools and universities, who did not believe in the ancient Gods, to expound ancient writings. His plan to continue pagan Mystery teachings failed.

Julian seeks initiation into the Persian Mysteries — this the real aim of his military campaign.

Assassination of Julian.

Julian's polemic against Christianity anticipated the criticisms of liberal nineteenth-century theology. Julian attempted to ensure continuity of pagan Mysteries by a revival of Manichaeism. Unable in his time to reconcile old principle of Initiation with Christianity.

Drach suggested dogma and ritual of Roman Church a revival of paganism — concealed from the faithful. If the Mass a pagan sacrifice then Julian's purpose to some extent achieved.

1917-05-08-GA175

synopsis

Julian's rejection of Christianity in the age of Constantine. His fear of the invasion of social order by Christianity. Origen and Clement of Alexandria, though imbued with Greek culture, able to recognize real significance of the Mystery of Golgotha.

1919-12-30-GA126
1922-04-24-GA211

Now, there was in a later time a man who came as near to the teachings of initiation as it was possible to come in the time in which he lived, and who was acquainted with the teaching of these three aspects of the Sun — the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra, the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris, and the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras.

I refer to Julian the Apostate. Julian the Apostate was not able himself to behold the Sun in all three aspects, but he knew of the teaching; he knew it as a tradition that had come down in the Mystery Schools. And so impressed was Julian the Apostate by this teaching of the three aspects of the Sun that to him that which Christianity brought seemed small in comparison.

For he still knew of the inexpressible glory and splendour into which Zarathustra had gazed; he had learned to know also of the activities of fire and of light, of the cosmic chemical forces, and of the cosmic life-forces, as man had been able to behold them in the ancient Mysteries. Of all this he, Julian, could in his time still learn, — although only by tradition.

And the whole teaching seemed to him so sublime, so mighty, that he found himself unable to accept Christianity. The thoughts and purposes of his mind were, in fact, turned in quite another direction. He seized with the desire to impart to mankind the ancient Mysteries into which he had himself been initiated up to a certain degree. And this, my dear friends, was what led at last to the unsheathing of the dagger that brought his life to a violent end. The hand that lifted the dagger belonged to one of those who counted it a sin to communicate the Lofty teachings of initiation to the general run of mankind, and who wanted that people should hear the Sun spoken of in an external manner only, that is, of course, in such external terms as were customary in that age.

Julian the Apostate declared that the Sun has three aspects:

  • first, the aspect of the Earthly ether;
  • secondly, the aspect of the light of heaven that is behind the Earthly ether, which is the aspect also of the chemical, the warmth of fire, and the life forces;
  • and lastly, the aspect of pure spiritual Being.

For this he was put out of the way. And indeed it must be admitted that the moment had not yet come when mankind in general was ripe to receive such weighty and solemn truths.

1924-09-14-GA238

You see, for one who studies history with feeling for its inner meaning, a certain event in the first centuries of Christianity is wrapped in the atmosphere of a strange mystery. We see on the one side a personality of whom we may well think that in his inner life he was little fitted to take hold of Christianity or to make it what it then became, the official Christianity of the West. I mean the Emperor Constantine, of whom we have so often spoken. Then, side by side with him (not literally of course, but gazing back into that age from a considerable distance in time), side by side with Constantine we see Julian the Apostate.

Julian the Apostate, he of a truth was one in whom the wisdom of the Mysteries was living, as we may know. Julian the Apostate could speak of a Threefold Sun. Indeed he lost his life through being regarded as a betrayer of the Mysteries, because he spoke about the Threefold Sun. Of these things it was no longer allowed to speak in his time; still less would it have been allowed in earlier times. But Julian the Apostate stood in a peculiar relation to Christianity. In a certain sense we must again and again be surprised that the genius, the fine spirituality and intellect of Julian was so little receptive to the greatness of Christianity. It was simply due to the fact that in his environment he saw very little of what he conceived as a true inner sincerity, whereas among those who introduced him to the ancient Mysteries he found great sincerity — positive, active sincerity. Such was the case with Julian the Apostate.

Yonder in Asia he was murdered. Many a fable is told about the murder. The truth is that it took place because he was regarded as a betrayer of the Mysteries. It was a murder altogether pre-arranged.

Now if we make ourselves to some extent acquainted with that which lived in Julian we cannot but be deeply interested in the question:

How did his individuality live on in later times?

For his was a peculiar individuality, one of whom it must be said that he would have been better fitted than Constantine, better than Clodvig and all the others, to make straight the ways of Christianity. This lay inherent in his soul. If the time had been favourable, if the conditions had existed, he could have brought about out of the ancient Mysteries a straightforward continuation from the pre-Christian Christ, the true macrocosmic Logos, to the Christ who was to work on within mankind after the Mystery of Golgotha. He was indeed a vessel well prepared. Strange as it may sound, we find it so, if we enter into his true spirit. We find in the foundations of his soul the true impulse to take hold of Christianity. But he did not let it emerge, he suppressed it, misled by the stupidities which Celsus had written about Jesus. It does indeed happen now and then that men of real genius are led astray by the stupidest effusions of their fellow-men. Thus we may have the feeling: Julian would really have been the soul to make straight the ways of Christianity and to bring Christianity into its true and proper channel.

We now leave the soul of Julian the Apostate in that earthly life and follow the same individuality with the highest interest through spiritual worlds. But there is always something vague and unclear about it. Only the most intense spiritual striving can come at length to a clear perception of his further course.

On many matters very adequate ideas existed in the Middle Ages. They might be legendary, but they were adequate; they corresponded to the real events. Legendary though they may be, how adequate are the narratives that centred round the personality of Alexander the Great. How vividly his life appears, as I already said, in the description of Lamprecht the Priest!

[Herzeleide, the mother of Parsifal]

But that which lives on of Julian, lives on in such a way that we must say again and again: It seeks to disappear from before the vision of mankind. And as we seek to follow it we have the greatest difficulty, so to speak, in keeping it within our spiritual field of vision. Again and again it escapes us. We trace it through the centuries into the Middle Ages and it escapes us. But when at length we do succeed in following it to the end, we land at a strange place, which though it be not historic in the proper sense, is in reality more than historic. We come at length to the figure of a woman, in whom we find again the soul of Julian the Apostate. It was a woman who accomplished an important deed in her life under the impression of an essentially painful event. For she beheld, not in herself, but in the person of another, an image of the fate of Julian the Apostate, inasmuch as Julian the Apostate went on a campaign to the East and there lost his life by treachery.

The woman whom I mean is Herzeleide, the mother of Parsifal, who was an historic character though history itself tells nothing of her. In Gamuret, whom she married and who lost his life through treachery upon an Eastern campaign, she was pointed to her own destiny in the former life as Julian the Apostate. This went deep into her soul, and under this impression she achieved what is told to us in a legendary way — yet it is historic in the truest sense — of the education of Parsifal by Herzeleide.

The soul of Julian the Apostate who had remained thus in the depths and of whom one would believe that it should have been his very mission to prepare the right way for Christianity — this soul is found again in the Middle Ages in the body of a woman who sent out Parsifal, to seek and to find the esoteric paths for Christianity.

Mysterious like this, and full of riddles, are the paths of mankind in the background, in the foundations of existence. This example — and it is strangely interwoven with the one which I already told you in connection with the School of Chartres — this example may make you realise how wonderful are the paths of the human soul and the paths of evolution for all mankind.

We shall continue speaking of it in the next lecture, when I shall have more to say of the life of Herzeleide and of what was then sent forth, physically, in Parsifal.

1924-09-16-GA238

is a lecture fully dedicated to this Individuality

In this life as Herzeleide, the soul of Julian the Apostate entered into a far deeper inner life. The soul-life of the individuality was deepened, as was indeed necessary after the many storms and inner moods of opposition which he had undergone in his life as Julian the Apostate.

But this later life of which I told you — this life as Herzeleide — spread itself out over the former life as Julian the Apostate like a warm embalming cloud. Thus the soul grew more intense and deep and inward, and grew richer, too, in manifold impulses of the inner life.

...

And at that moment, when I was really able to trace Schelling's life, his biography, his evolution through his life, it was revealed to me — not yet quite clearly, for these things only became clear at a far later date, when I wrote my Riddles of Philosophy — it was revealed to me, I could already perceive, although not quite clearly, how much of Schelling's writing was written down by him under inspiration, and that that inspiring figure was Julian the Apostate — Herzeleide — Tycho Brahe.

He has not appeared again himself on the physical plane, but he worked with tremendous strength through the soul of Schelling.

Then I became aware how greatly Tycho Brahe had progressed in his life as Tycho Brahe. Through Schelling's bodily nature little could penetrate; but once we know how the individuality of Tycho Brahe hovered over him as an inspirer, we read the lightning-flashes of genius in the Divinities of Samothrace quite differently. We read the flashes of genius above all in the Philosophy of Revelation, and in Schelling's interpretation of the ancient Mysteries, which is, after all, magnificent of its kind. And especially if we enter deeply enough into the curious language he uses in these passages, then presently we hear, no longer the voice of Schelling but the voice of Tycho Brahe! Then indeed we become aware how, among other spirits, this Tycho Brahe, especially the individuality who was in Julian the Apostate, played a great part, and contributed many things. For by his genius many a thing arose in the spiritual life of modern time which worked in turn as a stimulus, and whence we were to borrow at least the external form and expression for the spirit and teachings of Anthroposophy.

Another of the writings of German philosophers which made a great impression on me was Jakob Froschhammer's book, Die Phantasie als Welt-Prinzip, a brilliant book at the end of the 19th century, brilliant because this courageous man, having been driven from the Church, and his writings placed in the Index, was no less courageous in the face of science, for he revealed the kinship of the creative principle of fancy working purely in the soul when man creates artistically, with the force that works within as the force of life and growth. In that time it was indeed an achievement. Froschhammer's book on fancy or imagination as a world-principle, as a world-creative power, is indeed a work of great importance.

Thus I was greatly interested in this man, Jakob Froschhammer. Once more I tried to get at him in a real sense, not only through his writings, and once again I found that the inspiring spirit was the same who had lived in Tycho Brahe and in Julian the Apostate. And so it was in a whole number of personalities in whose working we can see a certain preparation for what then came forth as Anthroposophy.

But in each case we need the spiritual light behind, the light which works within the super-sensible. For what came to earth before remained, after all, in a world of abstraction. It is only now and then, in a spirit such as Schelling, or in a man of courage like Jakob Froschhammer, that the abstractions suddenly grow concrete.

And to-day, my dear friends, we may look up to what is working there in spiritual realms, and we may know how Anthroposophy stands in relation to it. And well we know how we are being helped by that which we perceive when we extend our spiritual research into the detailed realities of spiritual life in the course of history. Well may we know it. Here upon earth, striving honestly towards Anthroposophy, there are numbers of souls who have always stood near to the stream of Michael. Added to these, in the super-sensible world, are numbers of souls who have remained behind, among them the teachers of Chartres. And between those who are here in the world of sense, and those who are above in the spiritual world, there is a decided tendency to unite their work with one another.

And now if we would find a great helper for those things which we must investigate for the future of the 20th century, if we would find one who can advise us in relation to the super-sensible world, if we need impulses that are there within that world, it is the individuality of Julian the Apostate - Tycho Brahe who can help us. He is not on the physical plane today; but in reality he is always there, always ready to give information on those matters especially which concern the prophetic future of the 20th century.

Taking all these things together it does indeed emerge that those who receive Anthroposophy in a sincere way at the present time are preparing their souls to shorten as far as possible the life between death and a new birth, and to appear again at the end of the 20th century, united with the teachers of Chartres who have remained behind.

We should receive into our souls this consciousness: That the Anthroposophical Movement is called to work on and on, and to appear again not only in its most important, but in nearly all its souls, at the end of the 20th century. For then the great impulse will be given for a spiritual life on Earth, without which earthly civilisation would finally be drawn into that decadence, the character of which is only too apparent.

Out of such foundations, I would fain kindle in your hearts something of the flames that we require, so that already now within the Anthroposophical Movement we may absorb the spiritual life strongly enough to appear again properly prepared. For in that great epoch after shortened life in spiritual worlds we shall work again on Earth — in the epoch when for the salvation of the earth the spiritual Powers are reckoning in their most important members, in their most important features, on what Anthroposophists can do.

I think the vision of this perspective of the future may stir the hearts of Anthroposophists to call forth within themselves the feelings which will carry them in a right way, with energy and strength of action and with the beauty of enthusiasm, through the present earthly life; for then this earthly life will be a preparation for the work at the end of the century when anthroposophy will be called upon to play its part.

1917-04-19-GA238

is a key lecture on Julian the Apostate, to read in full

Karl Koenig (1954) - diaries

The following is an excerpt from the diaries of Karl Koenig who studied Schelling in 18 and 20 August 1954 (see booklet by P. Selg):

Who was Schelling?

He did not belong to the circle of the apostles, like Novalis and the two Schlegels and others, yet he must have been very close to them .. I begin to understand, or better, to sense how Herzeloid-Tycho inspired him.

...

Read .. the lecture by Rudolf Steiner where he speaks about Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, drawing a link between the loftiness of their idealistic imaginations and the spirituality of Krishna.

And I have to consider that Krishna is the Nathan Jesus and therefore the spirit sun illuminates the three of them.

Thus it would have been his individuality whoch reigned in the Michael School of the last century, and it was Tycho de Brahe who held up the mirror to receive the rays of this Sun, and thus inspired Schelling.

Discussion

[1] - Individuality of Julian the Apostate and Wotan - Buddha

Sometimes concatenating dispersed snippets of information can trigger interesting sparks in the attentive reader. The below is example of such one that occured in this way. Whilst researching the Wotan impulse again with realization that Wotan and Buddha are one, it occured that Schelling was mentioned in the GA130 quote as inspired by Buddha .. whereas usually one knows or recalls first (as this is the info mostly shared or published) that Schelling was inspired by Julian the Apostate. And interest is alerted when recalling Karl Koenig's diary entry on the topic (see above). Below we document with excerpts and the relevant phrases trimmed:

1911-09-19-GA130

If we read Leibniz, Schelling and Soloviev today, and ask ourselves how they have been inspired, we find that it was by the individuality who was born in the place of Suddhodana, ascended from Bodhisattva to Buddha and then continued to work selflessly

1924-09-16-GA238

.. when I was really able to trace Schelling's life, his biography, his evolution through his life, it was revealed to me ... how much of Schelling's writing was written down by him under inspiration, and that that inspiring figure was Julian the Apostate .

.

He has not appeared again himself on the physical plane, but he worked with tremendous strength through the soul of Schelling.

Now then (blinking your eyes) there may be something there, as the following excerpts from the sames lectures correlate again.

.

1924-09-16-GA238

a great helper .. one who can advise us in relation to the super-sensible world, if we need impulses that are there within that world .. is the individuality of Julian the Apostate. .. he is always there .. ready to give information on those matters especially which concern the prophetic future of the 20th century.

1911-09-19-GA130

the Buddha .. is the inspirer of our spiritual science.

The above is interesting when considering the background of Wotan-Buddha (adept in Atlantean Mysteries, how he worked through Sig, the Wotan impulse), in the context of how the Wotan impulse related to what is explained by Rudolf Steiner as impulses on the process of Individuation of the human 'I' (coming from the group souls), see Schema FMC00.377A on the Krishna impulse and the being of Elijah. The Wotan impulse also played a role in this preparation for the age of the intellectual soul in the Northern (European) stream, which was preparing for the fifth cultural age (as explained by and on Germanic mythology).

.

Karl Koenig 1954

Who was Schelling? I begin to understand, or better, to sense how Herzeloid-Tycho inspired him. ... Read .. the lecture by Rudolf Steiner where he speaks about Fichte, Schelling and Hegel, drawing a link between the loftiness of their idealistic imaginations and the spirituality of Krishna.

.

And I have to consider that Krishna is the Nathan Jesus and therefore the spirit sun illuminates the three of them. Thus it would have been his individuality whoch reigned in the Michael School of the last century, and it was Tycho de Brahe who held up the mirror to receive the rays of this Sun, and thus inspired Schelling.

This phrasing evokes the image that the Adam sister soul shines on 'a receiving and reflecting' mirror that then inspires incarnate people on Earth, and with mirror or channel one thinks of bodhissatvas of the White Lodge that do not incarnate but act as a gateway.

However maybe a better way of putting it, is the hypothesis that Wotan-Buddha (with purified spirit now at Nirvana plane level) incarnated into Julian the Apostate's etheric body. Rudolf Steiner explains that is how Bodhisattvas operate after having become a Buddha (GA117, GA123), and so this would provide a plausible, logically consistent explanation. Even though Rudolf Steiner did not explicitly state this, the picture allmost emerges by itself as an insight from a deeper understanding of the many different elements available.

See : Wotan Impulse#Positioning the influences of Wotan-Buddha

Related pages

References and further reading