Threefold Sun

From Anthroposophy

Contemporary science regards Sun as a star in the center of our solar system, a physical body and sort of a huge nuclear plant where nuclear fission of matter takes place.

Ancient cultures, more correctly, saw the Sun as a divine being with three aspects: a source of light, life force, and love (1921-11-06-GA208) hence the threefold Sun.

The three aspects in more depth:

  • [1] for contemporary mineral science, the physical Sun gives light and energy, warmth .. as Man experiences with current physical sense or waking consciousness. This physical sun is a gaseous body in the element air, which corresponds to the body of Christ who detached himself into a body in element air during the Old Sun stage. (1911-08-26-GA129)
  • [2] the spiritual Sun as the source of the higher ethers, invisible to Man, the life force contained in the sunlight that gives life to all living things; and this is also the 'I'-engendering Sun, the origin of the I thanks the Spirits of Form who have their 'dwelling' on this spiritual Sun
  • [3] the sun is also a mighly spiritual being, the source of the spiritual essence of the cosmos: universal goodness or spiritual love. This third, still-more-spiritual Sun is the Christ principle, as the mediator of the highest spiritual forces, which unites the outer Sun forces with the inner Sun forces in Man since the Mystery of Golgotha (MoG). It is what human beings can experience within themselves as their higher spiritual Self when they truly comprehend the statement of Paul: "Not I, but Christ in me." With I.C.M. is meant exactly that Man unites with this Christ force, which is a latent buddhi spark in Man since the MoG.


  • Julian the Apostate was murdered because he wanted to re-institute the mystery of the spiritual sun and the sun's threefolded nature (1921-11-06-GA211). He declared that the Sun has three aspects: [1] the aspect of the Earthly ether; [2] the aspect of the light of heaven that is behind the Earthly ether (the chemical, the warmth of fire, and the life forces); [3] the aspect of pure spiritual Being.
  • Relating to the teachings of the various cultural ages, the three aspects of the Sun are also (1921-11-06-GA211):
    • [3] the aspect of the Sun according to Zarathustra: the Zarathustra Sun is the teaching of the spiritual Sun, the Sun as a mighty spiritual being
    • [2] the aspect of the Sun that is associated with Osiris - the source of life (in contemporary spiritual scientific language: the higher ethers)
    • [1] the aspect of the Sun as seen and understood by Pythagoras and Anaxagoras. What can be called the 'elemental Sun' is what the Greek initiates called Zeus: the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth, the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth and permeates also Man himself
  • The Palladium is an important symbol for the Threefold Sun and particular centre of primordial wisdom. Legend states that it originates in the secret Mystery Centers of Troy, Greece. It first saw the light when it was transported from Troy to Rome. Later, it was transferred from Rome to Constantinople on the orders of Constantine as part of a plan hoping to save the Roman empire from decline (1917-04-17-GA175). The legend states that it will see the light of day a third time when it is transported from Constantinople to a Slavonic city.
  • also the triple crown worn by the Popes of Rome is a remnant outer symbol of the threefold Sun without its inner meaning (1922-04-24-GA211), see also papal tiara, the three-tiered form is also called the triregnum, triple tiara, or triple crown.
  • Other :
    • pharaoh Akhenaten (or Echnaton or Akhenaton or Ankh-en-Aton) was noted for abandoning Egypt's traditional polytheism and introducing monotheistic worship of the Sun God or Aten. See oa Great Hymn to Aten

Inspirational quotes

From the Great Hymn to the Sun God Aten, probably around 14th century BC

O sole god, like whom there is no other

Thou didst create the world according to thy desire


You are in my heart


Schema FMC00.267 provides a summary table from E. Vreede's letter from Dec. 1927


Schema FMC00.139 is an illustration by the clairvoyant Johanna von Keyserlingk. Some of her esoteric conversations with Rudolf Steiner are published in 'Birth of a new agriculture' (1999), see extract below.


Schema FMC00.266 shows (see 1920-12-18-GA202 below) how the spiritual Sun [1] works on Earth and Man [2], but that Man radiates this morality out into the cosmos [3], and after a certain distance is reflected: "the physical sun is only the seemingly physical appearance of a spiritual mirroring" [4]. For this radiating out [3], see also: Christ Module 7 - Cosmic dimension

Lecture coverage and references


see quote on Sun



from record A (SWCC)

First of all, there are two Suns: the physical Sun that enlivens the physical Earth through its rays of light and warmth, and the spiritual Sun that gives us the 'I'. From the spiritual Sun forces, human beings receive the 'I'-force - the consciousness of self that unites with the Moon forces, and so on - in order to bring about the whole being of the human being.

Then we must grasp a third Sun, namely the mediator of the highest spiritual forces, which unites the outer Sun forces with the inner Sun forces, and which sends its forces of grace onto the Earth, and has ever since the Mystery of Golgotha took place. This spiritual Sun is the Christ principle: it is what human beings can experience within themselves when they truly comprehend the statement of Paul: "Not I, but Christ in me." (Galatians 2:20).

This third Sun was always revealed to the candidate for initiation in the centers of Christian initiation. It was a great tragedy that Julian the Apostate (331-363), who knew about this third Sun, could not inwardly experience it completely.

from record B

.. the "I" takes hold of and grasps itself in our memory. High beings have given us the 'I' and memory. The 'I' grasping itself in the memory is like a letter that esotericists must learn, and which the gods have written in cosmic space.

The high beings who bring the 'I' have their dwelling on the Sun; they give us what goes from incarna­tion to incarnation. We received our physical bodies from forces that work down through the generations, and these forces work upon us from a circle inscribed by the Moon orbit. What goes thus from generation to generation is like a second letter. We can draw this schematically. We will draw the 'I', which becomes conscious in the memory as a point. Around this we draw a circle as the orbit of the Moon.


From the Sun, we receive the forces that strengthen our 'I'. We should not just passively observe the Sun, but allow the thought to arise: Oh, you magnificent cosmic body! Through you—through your Sun forces of grace—I received my 'I' and all the forces that are connected with it. In all-filled reverence, I thank you! We can draw the Sun forces as a second circle.


Between the collaboration of Mars and Venus is the Sun circle of the third Sun. All the Mysteries have talked about this third Sun.

  • The first [Sun] is the creative physical one that sends us its warming rays.
  • The second stands behind the physical Sun and is the spiritual Sun which bestows the I upon us.
  • The third Sun is the high bearer of the Christ principle: the Christ who grants us, with his Sun forces of grace, the higher 'I'. Since the time of the Mystery of Golgotha, a connection goes from this third Sun to the Earth. It is the Sun of which Paul spoke: "Not I, but Christ in me." It is the Christ, whom every human being can receive since [the Mystery of Golgotha]. This third Sun became manifest to the candidate during the Christian initiation. The tragic fate of Julian the Apostate is that he knew of the third Sun and could not identify it with Christ.

from record C

Let us consider such an esoteric script sign. We must first of all regard the human being as a conscious I, established in a 'self'. All human beings possess the ability to remember back to a certain point. This occurs because they are conscious of their 'I'.


We strengthen 'I'-consciousness when we bring interest to all things that confront us in the outer world. ... We may not become indifferent toward the things and facts around us; we should take everything in. ... We should look at and pay attention to everything—which includes what we don't like or find interesting. Through this the I-consciousness is increasingly strengthened.

Let us imagine that this 'I' established itself as this point in cosmic space: In order for such an 'I' to experience itself and become active in the physical body, forces must be involved. These forces can be imagined as the circle around the point O.


And when love intensifies more and more in the human soul, this love becomes warmth that flows down to us from Saturn. Between Mars and Venus is the Sun, yet not just one Sun but a threefold Sun: a physical Sun; a spiritual Sun behind the physical; and a still more spiritual Sun that we call the Christ.


As esotericists, when we see the sunlight we no longer see just the physical Sun. We know that without the sunlight, we could not feel ourselves as an I: the sunlight also contains the force which brings about the I. .. and behind the physical Sun, and the 'I'-engendering Sun, there is yet a third Sun. This is the Christ-force with which we unite ourselves: I.C.M.


.. .. the Greeks reverenced Apollo, the reflection of the Nathan Jesus-child as he had been at the end of the Atlantean time. It was out of the Hyperborean land, from the North, that Apollo came to the Oracle at Delphi. Through the Pythia, in summer, he spoke the most important things that the Greeks wished to hear. In the autumn he returned to his Hyperborean land. We connected this journey of Apollo with the journeys of the sun; but it is the spiritual sun that speaks through Apollo, and the spiritual sun goes away to the north, while the physical sun goes to the south. The myths are seen to be endlessly full of wisdom if they are considered in the light of true occultism. But in revering Apollo the Greeks did not look on the sun as his visible sign in the heavens; Apollo was not a sun god in this sense. For a god symbolised by the external sun the Greeks had Helios; it was he who regulated the course of the sun in the sky.

Even if we take only the physical sun into account, we find that its influence on earth-life is not confined to the direct effects of its rays. The sun works in the first place through air and water and water-vapour, and so through the vapours which (as we have seen) rise from the site of the Castalian spring and coil round the neighbouring hillsides like a dragon — the dragon killed by the Greek St. George. The sun works in all the elements, and after it has worked into them, inoculated them, its activity plays out from them on to human beings, through the servants whom we call elemental spirits. In the elements the Sun-Spirit is actively alive, and this is the activity the Greeks saw in their Apollo.

Thus for the Greeks Apollo was a sun god, but not the Helios who drove the chariot of the sun across the heavens and to some extent regulated the times of the day. In Apollo the Greeks saw the sun's activity in the atmosphere, and this activity they addressed as Apollo when they addressed it spiritually.


is on the Palladium

[Constantine's interventions hoping to save the Roman empire from decline]

You will now understand more clearly why the Senators and the Roman Emperors were alarmed, for they naturally associated the decline that was prophesied with the external empire which they saw slowly crumble under the impact of Christianity.

And the emperor Constantine shared this view. Although not himself initiated, he was aware that a primordial wisdom had once existed in ancient times when man possessed atavistic clairvoyance. This wisdom had been transmitted to later ages, had been preserved by the priesthood, but had gradually become corrupted. In Rome too, Constantine said to himself: our social order embodies something that is associated with the institutions of this primordial wisdom, but we have simply buried it beneath the social order of a materialistic and secular empire. This was expressed in a pregnant symbol that is an “Imagination”, and not only an “Imagination”, but also an historical cult act, for these “Imaginations” often took the form of cult acts.

People knew that in earlier times wisdom was not an arbitrary invention of Man but was a revelation from the spiritual worlds. They knew that in primordial times priests had preserved this wisdom, not in Rome, of course, but across the sea in Ilion, in Troy where they originally dwelt. And this is expressed in the legend of the palladium, the so-called image of Pallas Athene which fell from Heaven in Troy, was preserved in a sanctuary, was then transferred to Rome and buried under a porphyry pillar. In all that was connected with this symbolical cult act people felt that they were able to trace back their civilization to the ancient wisdom which they had received from the spiritual world, but that they could not reach the heights which this wisdom had known in ancient Troy.

Such were the feelings Constantine harboured; and he also felt that even if he were to be initiated into the later Mysteries, they would be of little help to him; they would not lead him to the palladium, to the ancient primordial wisdom. He therefore decided to challenge the cosmic powers after his own fashion in order to save the Roman empire from destruction. He realized that this must be achieved in accordance with certain cosmic impulses and that it would have to take place in accordance with certain cult acts which were publicly enacted for all the world to see.

He decided therefore to transfer the capital from Rome to the site of ancient Troy, to have the palladium dug up and taken back to Troy. The plan miscarried.

Instead of establishing a new Rome on the site of Troy, he decided to found a new city, Constantinople, transfer the power to her and thus save declining Rome for future ages. By these means Constantine hoped to stem the tide of world evolution. He was prepared for Rome to become the habitat of foxes and wolves as the Sibylline oracle had foretold, but at the same time he wished to transfer the hidden impulses of Rome to a new site and so restore them to their original source.

[Founding of Constantinople]

Constantine therefore embarked upon the ambitious plan to found Constantinople, and the work was completed in A.D. 326. He intended that the foundation of the city should coincide with this turning-point in world history. He therefore chose to lay the foundation stone at the moment when the Sun stood in the sign of the Archer and the Crab ruled the hour. He followed closely the indications of the cosmic signs.

He wished to make Constantinople famous and to transfer to her the enduring impulse of eternal Rome. He therefore had the porphyry pillar (which was later destroyed by storms) transported to Constantinople. He ordered the palladium to be dug up and to be placed beneath the pillar. He also treasured among his possessions some relics of the Cross and a few nails that had originally secured the Cross. The relics of the Cross were made into a kind of frame to hold a much prized statue of Apollo and the nails into a nimbus with which he was crowned. This statue was set up on the porphyry pillar and an inscription was engraved on it which read somewhat as follows: That which sheds its beneficent influence here shall, like the Sun, endure for all time and proclaim the fame of its founder Constantine to all eternity! These things must of course be taken more or less imaginatively, but with this qualification, that they refer at all times to actual historical events.

This whole story has passed over into legend and, transmuted, lives on in the following legend:

  • the palladium which is a symbol for a particular centre of primordial wisdom had been deposited originally in the secret Mystery Centres of the priest-initiates of Troy.
  • It came to light for the first time when it was transported by circuitous routes from Troy to Rome.
  • It saw the light of day a second time when it was transferred from Rome to Constantinople on the orders of Constantine.
  • And those who believe the legend say that it will see the light of day a third time when it is transported from Constantinople to a Slavonic city. This legend is still vitally alive and survives in many things and under manifold forms. Today many things which appear in their purely physical aspects conceal a deeper layer of meaning.

Constantine therefore actively strove to prevent the downfall of the Roman empire in spite of his firm belief in the prophecy of the Sibylline oracle. He wanted to save Rome from herself.


threefold sun mystery of ancient times, eg in Greece

  • spiritual essence is the universal goodness of the world and cosmos, love
  • soul aspect (Helios)
  • physical: light and energy

spiritual and physical sun

Then a time arrived when the heavenly bodies were seen as purely physical entities orbiting or standing still in accordance with mathe­matical laws, attracting and repulsing each other and so on. Yet a knowledge—more instinctive in ancient times—of how things really are was retained through all eras.  We are now in a period when instinctive knowledge is not sufficient, and full awareness is required to grasp things that were once known instinctively.

And if we ask how those who had full vision of the universe, that is, physical, soul and spiritual vision, pictured the sun, we can roughly state that they conceived it as a spirit being [1]. Initiates conceived this spirit being as the source of all morality. And when I said in The Philosophy of Freedom that moral intuitions are drawn from this source, they are drawn in fact from within the earth and shimmer forth from human beings—from what can live in us as moral inspiration [2].

How greatly is our sense of responsibility enhanced if we know that without people on the earth, who can kindle authentic morality or glowing spiritual ideals in their soul, the human race would not aid our world's further evolution. Rather than working towards a new creation,they would help the world to die away.

This power of radiance present upon earth [3] works out into the universe, so that what lives as morality in us shines out - invisibly initially for ordinary human perception.

If a sad age dawned across the globe when millions and millions of people passed their days devoid of spirituality - in which I included morality, which is indeed part of it - the earth would however still shine out in solar, spiritual radiance if only a dozen people still possessed lucid moral and spiritual enthusiasm.

What shines out in this way only does so for a certain distance, where it is then reflected back upon itself, thus mirroring what shines out from the human being.

Initiates of all ages have seen this mirroring as the sun. You see, there is nothing physical there: whereas mainstream astronomy speaks of a glowing ball of gas, in fact the sun is only the seemingly physical appearance of a spiritual mirroring [4].

You can therefore see how far removed the Copernican world-view was from initiation mysteries, how far removed from them even was ancient astrology. Huge power was possessed by those who considered such truths dangerous for the common populace to know about, not wishing them to be publicized.

We can get a sense of this in the fate of an idealist such as Julian who was given the epithet of 'Apostate'. He wanted to make these secrets more widely known, and was then killed by subversive means.

There are certainly reasons why some secret societies refuse to share universal truths with the world, since this allows them to wield power. If, in emperor Julian's time, certain secret societies had him killed, it is scarcely surprising if the guardians of particular secrets—who keep these secrets to themselves and wish to safeguard them from public knowledge in order to enlarge their power—hate it when even the least of such secrets are disclosed. And here we find part of the deeper reason why such dire hatred raises its head against what the science of the spirit feels its duty to teach humanity in our modern era. But we live now in a period when either earthly civilization will go under, or when, alternatively, humanity is given access to certain secrets. These things have hitherto been safeguarded as secrets, to which humanity once had access through instinctive clairvoyance. But they must now be reacquired through fully conscious vision not only of the physical world but also of the spirit within it.

What did Julian the Apostate really want?

He sought to awaken people to the fact that they had become increasingly accustomed to seeing the sun as only a physical entity, but that a spiritual sun exists of which the physical sun is only a reflection. In his own way he wanted to impart the secret of Christ to the world.

But there are powers that seek to conceal the connection between Christ, the spiritual sun, and the physical sun. And this is why certain figures in positions of power become most furious of all when anyone discloses the secret of Christ in relation to the secret of the sun. This leads to all kinds of slander. But the science of the spirit is an important matter in our present age, and only if we understand this, will we give it the full and serious attention it deserves.


The other planets do not appear as light sources but as images. This is why it is said in popular astronomy that their light is borrowed light, for they reflect the light of the sun. Just consider the difference between the sun, which lets its own essential nature emerge with the light, and the other heavenly bodies, the planets, which merely present an image of their outer nature, or of whatever they have on the surface, making this visible by reflecting the light of the sun. It is a major difference. And being the source of light, the sun is also the source of life.

It is also the source of something else. At all times, even when people had only instinctive knowledge, it was said that the sun was threefold, the source of light, life and love. This trinity is to be found in the sun.

Sun is:

  • source of light
  • source of life
  • source of love

is called 'The Sun mystery in the course of human history'

quote A

This experience of the sun sank more and more deeply into man's being and gradually vanished into the ocean-depths of the soul. And it is in the ocean-depths of the soul that man bears the sun-nature today. It is beyond his reach, because the Guardian of the Threshold stands before it; it lies in the depths of being as a mystery of which the ancient teachings said: Let it not be uttered — for sinful is the mouth that speaks of it and sinful the ear that hears of it.

In the fourth century A.D. there were schools which taught that the sun-mystery must remain untold, that a civilization knowing nothing of the sun-mystery must now arise. Behind everything that takes place in the external world lie forces and powers which give guidance from the universe. One of the instruments of these guiding powers was the Roman Emperor Constantine. It was under him that Christianity assumed the form which denies the sun.

Living in that same century was one whose ardor for what he had learnt in the Mysteries as the last remnants of the ancient, instinctive wisdom, caused him to attach little importance to the development of contemporary civilization. This was Julian the Apostate. He fell by the hand of a murderer because he was intent upon passing on this ancient tradition of the threefold Mystery of the Sun. And the world would have none of it.

Today, of course, it must be realized that the old instinctive wisdom must become conscious wisdom, that what has sunk into the subconsciousness, into purely organic activity and even into sub-organic activity, must once again be lifted into the light of consciousness. We must re-discover the Sun-Mystery.

But just as when the Sun-Mystery had been lost, bitter enemies rose up against the one who wished this mystery to be proclaimed to the world, and brought about his death, so again enemies are working against the new Sun-Mysteries which must be brought to the world by spiritual science. We are living now at the other pole of historical evolution. In the fourth century A.D. there was sunset; now there must be sunrise.


Physically it appears as though the sun gives the planets light, but in reality it is the planets that radiate light to the sun and the sun is the reflector. As such it was recognized by the wise men of ancient Persia with their instinctive wisdom, and in this sense the sun was regarded as the earthly source of Light — not indeed as the source itself, but as the reflector of the Light. Then, among the Egyptians and Chaldeans, the sun became the reflector of Life and among the Greeks, the reflector of Love.

This was the conception that Julian the Apostate wanted to preserve — and he was done away with. In order to reach freedom it was indeed necessary that men should hold for a time to the superstition of the sun as a globe of gas in space, giving out light — a superstition enunciated as a categorical truth in every book of physics today. But our task must be to penetrate to the reality.

In truth, Julian the Apostate and Constantine stand before us as two symbols ... Julian the Apostate was bent upon preserving those ancient memorials of the world which could, in a certain way, have made it possible for the true Sun-Mystery to find its way to men. Indeed during the first centuries of Christendom, Christ was still a Sun-Figure — an Apollo.

quote B - including Palladium

[Threefold Sun Mystery]

We are no longer aware of the fact that on awakening we bring light into our eyes. Light is a shadowy element outside us. This meant that the Greeks were no longer able to perceive the sun as the true source of life but as something which penetrated them inwardly. To them, the element in which the sun lives inwardly in human beings was the element of Eros, love. Eros, the sun-element in man, was the true inner experience of the Greeks. Thus the sun was seen as the source of divine love.

Then, from about the 4th century onwards came the age when the sun was experienced as no more than a physical body, a sphere of vapour, out there in space. The sun had, in fact, become obscured for humanity.

Persians truly felt the sun to be the reflector of the light which billowed and lived in space with tremendous vigour.

The Egyptians and Chaldeans saw it as life billowing and pulsing through the universe.

The Greeks experienced it as something which instilled love into organic nature, as Eros guiding them through the waves of the emotions.

Entering more and more into the human being, experience of the sun vanished into the deep down depths of soul. Today we carry the sun element down in those depths. We are not meant to reach it, because the Guardian of the Threshold stands before it, and because it is in the depths of which it was said in the ancient mysteries that no utterance should be given, for sinful were the lips which uttered it, and sinful the ear which heard it.

  • Schools existed in the 4th century who essentially taught, to allow Christianity to spread: The Sun Mystery must not be revealed; a civilization has to come where the Sun Mystery is not known. Behind everything which happens in the physical world are the inner powers which, I'd say, are teaching out of the universe. The Roman emperor Constantine (306-337) was one of the instruments of those powers. Under him, Christianity took the form in which the sun is denied.
  • Another emperor, Julian the Apostate, took less account of developments in his day but let himself be guided by his enthusiasm for the last remnants of the old instinctive wisdom learned from his mystery teachers. He was murdered because he sought to restore the old tradition of the threefold Sun Mystery. The world did not want to take that road.

Today we have to realize that the old, instinctive wisdom needs to be revived in conscious wisdom. Wisdom which has gone down to subconscious levels, into mere organic, and even sub-organic, activity needs to be brought back to consciousness. The Sun Mystery must be found again.

When the Sun Mystery was in the process of being lost, Julian, who still wanted the world to be aware of it, made the most terrible enemies who finally killed him. Today we have enemies who are against the new Sun Mystery which anthroposophy must give to the world. Historical evolution now follows the opposite trend. The 4th century brought the decline; today we need the rise.

In this respect Constantine and Julian are symbols of historical evolution. Julian may be said to have stood on the shattered ruins of the past, wanting to rebuild the forms of the old wisdom out of those ruins. The old forms had been destroyed by Christianity, which initially, under Constantine, had taken materialistic form. Countless works of art, works of ancient wisdom and written works were destroyed, anything that might give people even a hint of the old Sun Mystery.

[Current view of the Sun]

It is true that in order to achieve freedom, humanity had to come to believe that a sphere of gases moved through the universe out there, though physicists who would be able to go there would be really surprised, for instead of a sphere of gases they would find an empty space, indeed less than space. They would discover that the sun out there is not a sphere of luminous gases (which is a nonsense) but in the first place just a reflector, unable to radiate light and at most merely reflecting it. In the spirit, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus and the moon radiate light. Physically the sun appears to be shining on them, but in reality they radiate light towards the sun, which acts as a reflector. This is the physical reality.

The ancient Persians were still able to perceive the sun as the source of light for the Earth, but not an actual source but a reflector. Later it became the reflector of life and the reflector of love.

Julian the Apostate wanted people to understand this and was got rid off because of this. To achieve freedom, humanity had to go through superstitious belief in a sphere of gases radiating light—something we see represented as the absolute truth in modern physics textbooks. Now we must penetrate to the truth of the matter again.

In this respect, therefore, Constantine and Julian are very much like two symbols. Julian wanted to preserve the old traditions so that the true Sun Mystery might still reach people. During the early centuries, the Christ was still an Apollo or Sun figure.


The Sun Mystery was seen as the most precious jewel humanity possessed. It was symbolized in the Palladium, which was said to have been kept in Troy, where the mystery priests used it to reveal the true nature of the sun to people in ritual, sacramental form.

It was then taken to Rome, and part of the secret knowledge held by Roman initiates was that the Palladium was in safe keeping in Rome. Essentially the initiate priests of ancient Rome, and also the early emperors of Rome, above all Augustus, based their actions on the knowledge that the greatest jewel the world possessed, or at least its physical symbol, was in Rome. The Palladium had been placed beneath the foundations of the most highly esteemed temple in Rome, a fact only known to those who knew the deepest secrets of Roman life. Through the spirit, it had, however, also become known to those whose role it was to bring Christianity to the world. The early Christians went to Rome because of this. So there was a definite spiritual element.

When Christianity was secularized under Constantine, the Palladium was removed from Rome. Constantine founded Constantinople and had the Palladium put in the ground under the column he erected to himself. The further development of Roman Christianity was that the Sun mystery was taken away by the very emperor who established the rigid forms, rigid mechanisms, of Christianity in Rome. With this, Christendom has lost the wisdom of the world, the outward sign of this being the transfer of the Palladium from Rome to Constantinople.

In some parts of the Slavonic world—people always put their own interpretation on this—it was believed until the beginning of the 20th century that in the not too far distant future the Palladium would be taken from Constantinople to another city, in their belief a Slav city.

[Move to the East, mention China and Washington]

Whichever way this may be, the Palladium—you may take the whole as an outer symbol, but it is the inner aspect which matters—is waiting to go forth from Constantinople, which is casting darkness on it, to a place where it will be totally obscured. The Palladium is thus taken to the East, where the old wisdom lives in decadence and growing obscurity.

Just as the Sun is a reflector of light given to it from the universe, everything depends on it in the further evolution of the world that the Palladium be illumined by a wisdom arising from the treasury of insight gained in the West. The Palladium, heirloom of the past taken from Troy to Rome and then to Constantinople, and to be taken even further into the darkness of the East, the Palladium, jewel of the Sun, must wait until in the West grows in mind and spirit and is able to release it from the dark, obscured treasury of insight limited to the natural world. Our mission for the future is thus linked to the most sacred tradition of European development.

To this day, then, legends are still alive for those initiated into these mysteries, some of them very plain, simple people who walk about on this earth. Legends are still alive of the Trojan Palladium being taken to Rome, of the Palladium jewel of wisdom, being taken to Constantinople when Roman Christianity became worldly and superficial, and that it shall be taken to the East one day when all the old wisdom will have been stripped away in the East, having fallen into utter decadence, and legends that speak of the need to bring new light from the West to this Sun jewel.

The Sun has vanished into the depths of human nature. We have to find it again by developing the science of the spirit. Humanity must find this Sun again, or the Palladium will vanish into the obscurity of the East. Today it is sinful to utter words that are wrong: "Ex oriente lux". The light can no longer come from the East, which has fallen into decadence. Yet the East, which will have the Sun jewel, however obscured, is waiting for the light of the West.

Today, people walk in the darkness, arrange to meet in the dark, their eyes turned to—Washington. Salvation, however, will only come from Washingtons able to speak out of the mood of the spiritual world in such a way that they not only open economic gates for China, looking for the darkness which surrounds the Palladium. Salvation will only come when conferences held in the West decide to take light to the East, letting the Palladium shine out again.

Like a fluorescent body, the Palladium in itself is dark; it shines out when light streams into it. The same holds true for the wisdom of the East. Dark in itself, it will be illumined and fluoresce when the wisdom of the West, the light of the spirit from the West, enters into it.

The people of the West are as yet unable to see this. The legend of the Palladium needs to be placed in the bright light of consciousness.

We must feel the right kind of compassion for Julian the Apostate who wanted to close his eyes to the age when the light of freedom would be able to germinate in the darkness, who wanted to preserve the instinctive wisdom of old and therefore had to perish. We have to realize that Constantine took the light of wisdom from the Romans by giving them a worldly Christianity, sending Christianity into the darkness. We have to realize that the light which will let the Palladium shine out again must be sought in modern science. Only then will an important step in world history come to fulfilment. Only then will the Palladium, which became Western the moment the Greeks burned down Troy and which still holds the light that shone from Troy, become Western and Eastern. It is now in the dark and must be brought out of the dark. Light must be brought to the Palladium.

We can win enthusiasm from historical evolution if our hearts are in the right place. If they are, in the sense of what I have been presenting today, we shall also be able to find the  right response to the impulses which are the true impulses of the science of the spirit.


In GA211 is the lecture: 'Die dreifache Sonne und der auferstandene Christus.'

the threefold sun (oa eating bread as a symbol of the spiritual forces of the sun in earthly food, read: the higher ethers, life power)

quote A

When we come to the age of Greece, we find that by the eighth, seventh, fifth century before the Mystery of Golgotha, man had lost all power of looking into the Mysteries of the Sun, he could see only the effect of the Sun's influence in the environment or the Earth. Man beheld the working of the Sun in the ether that fills all the space around the Earth. And this ether, that spreads out around the Earth and permeates also man himself, the Greek initiates — not the people generally, but the initiates — called Zeus.

There have been then these three stages in the cultural evolution of mankind. First there was the stage when the initiates beheld in the Sun a Divine-Spiritual Being; then came a second stage, when the initiates beheld the Sun's forces that are working there; and finally a third stage, when the initiates beheld only the influence of the Sun Being in the Earth's ether. 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. ...

.. A study of history can, however, bring to light something else in this connection, that is of very great significance. A good deal of this threefold teaching of Zarathustra, Osiris, and Anaxagoras

  • the teaching of the spiritual Sun; of
  • the elemental Sun; and of
  • Zeus, the Sun-flooded ether environment of the Earth — found its way into the external exoteric culture of Greece


I have to call these things to mind; the consideration of the subject we have in hand made it necessary to begin by referring to them — taking our thoughts back, even if only for a brief while, to the far-off time when the spiritual teachers of man could still turn their gaze to the starry heavens and behold up there the threefold Sun. The only remnant of this knowledge that has been left for later generations is the symbol of it in the triple crown worn by the Popes of Rome. The outer symbol remains; the inner reality is lost. But through the new initiation of modern times, a way has, opened once again for man to look back into those earlier epochs of his evolution. This new initiation of which our anthroposophical teaching has to tell enables us to look back and behold how, it was for Man, when he looked up from Earth to the Sun and listened to hear what the Sun should teach him of the mysteries of human evolution.

quote B - full extract on Individuality of Julian the Apostate#1922-04-24-GA211

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.


Johanna von Keyserlingk

talks about a conversations with Rudolf Steiner:

We know that at the moment when Christ's blood flowed down onto the earth at Golgotha a new sun-globe was born in the earth's interior.

My search had always been directed to the study of the earth's depths, for I had seen a golden kernel light up within the earth—named by Ptolemy the primeval sun. These golden depths I could only connect with that land which Rudolf Steiner said had been hidden from the sight of man, and that Christ would open the gates in order to lead those who seek for it to the submerged fairy-tale land of Shamb-halla, of which the Indians dream.

I asked him what substance kept the primeval fire alight, for where there is fire there must first be substance, and so the primeval fire is not the beginning which produces original life out of itself.

Rudolf Steiner replied: `No, it is different—it is not so in this case. On earth there has to be material for fire to bum. But the primeval fire burns spontaneously, it is its own sub-stance and Being! Substance only came later and was added to the Fire.'

I: 'Then is the primeval sun of Ptolemy, which he perceived in the centre of the earth as the creative ground of the world, the golden fairyland Shambhalla?'

Rudolf Steiner: 'Yes—and midnight conceals it.'


I: 'And is the interior of the earth made out of that gold which comes from the hollow cavity in the sun and which is destined to return there?'

Rudolf Steiner: 'Yes, the interior of the earth is of gold.'

Central fire

Carl Huffman in 'Philolaus and the central fire' (2008)


Philolaus' decision to posit an unobserved and unobservable central fire in the middle of the cosmos is one of the most puzzling moments in early Greek cosmology. The consequences of this were, eventually, epoch making. ... .. Note Aristotle does not assign the central-fire cosmology to Philolaus by name but rather to the Pythagoreans as a group. His pupil Theophrastus however later did assign this cosmology to Philolous and no one else.

Philolaus (470-385 BC), a Pythagorean philosopher and regarded by some as his successor, did away with the ideas of fixed direction in space, and developed one of the first non-geocentric views of the universe. His new way of thinking quite literally revolved around a hypothetical astronomical object he called the Central Fire.

Joannes Stobaeus (5th century AD)

gives the following account

Philolaus says that there is fire in the middle at the centre [...] and again more fire at the highest point and surrounding everything. By nature the middle is first, and around it dance ten divine bodies—the sky, the planets, then the sun, next the moon, next the earth, next the counterearth, and after all of them the fire of the hearth which holds position at the centre. The highest part of the surrounding, where the elements are found in their purity, he calls Olympus; the regions beneath the orbit of Olympus, where are the five planets with the sun and the moon, he calls the world; the part under them, being beneath the moon and around the earth, in which are found generation and change, he calls the sky.

In Philolaus's system a sphere of the fixed stars, the five planets, the Sun, Moon and Earth, all moved round his Central Fire. According to Aristotle writing in Metaphysics, Philolaus added a tenth unseen body, he called Counter-Earth, as without it there would be only nine revolving bodies, and the Pythagorean number theory required a tenth.

Nearly two-thousand years later Nicolaus Copernicus would mention in 'De revolutionibus' that Philolaus already knew about the Earth's revolution around a central fire.


The Mystery of Golgotha and Christ as the center of a new cosmos of love

Various worldviews put the center of the cosmos in different places (re Pythagoras, Ptolemaeus and Copernicus).

If one regards a Sun as the center, the threefold sun demands to contemplate all three Suns, see the drawing of Schema FMC00.139. So one can view the physical or spiritual Sun at the center. However, the future of the cosmos has the Earth at the center of a new start and a new beginning from the Mystery of Golgotha onwards.

See Christ Modules 7, 11 and 12 (links below under 'related pages'), whereby Module 7 discusses this new beginning.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • anthrowiki page for the threefold sun
  • Elisabeth Vreede: Astronomy and Spiritual Science
  • Joachim Schultz: Rhythmen der Sterne
    • Die drei Sonnen und die Zeitgleichung (p 55-61 in 1977 edition)


  • Johanna von Keyserlingk : 'Die Reise nach Byzanz - Das Palladium des Sieges'
  • Georg Goelzer: 'Palladion, Gral und Grundstein : Der Kampf um das kosmische Menschentum' (1989)

Various other (unqualified)

  • Peryt Shou: The Mystery of the Central Sun (2010, original 'Das Mysterium der Zentralsonne' (1912))