30 December 1910, Stuttgart
From indications in the preceding lecture you will have been able to gather that in a certain respect the Greco-Latin civilisation-epoch lies in the middle of the Post-Atlantean epoch as a whole. The three preceding civilisation-epochs are as it were a preparation for that activity of the human soul which characterises Greek culture — the ego working in the ego. The culture of the ancient Indian, Persian and Egyptian epochs represents a descent from clairvoyant vision to purely human vision in the Greek epoch. What begins with our own age, and must be attained in ever-increasing measure during the coming centuries and millennia, should be conceived as a reascent, a reattainment of forms of culture imbued with clairvoyance. The Egypto-Babylonian-Chaldean epoch is therefore to be regarded as the last stage of preparation for the essentially human culture of Greece. In the preceding, third Post-Atlantean epoch, man descends from the old clairvoyant conditions which enabled him to participate directly in the life of the spiritual world, in preparation for the purely personal, purely human culture characterised by the activity of soul that may be described as “the ego works in the ego.” Hence we saw how the vision into earlier incarnations which had been implicit in clairvoyant culture was, to begin with, uncertain and indistinct in Gilgamesh, the inaugurator of the Babylonian civilisation; how even when Eabani had as it were endowed him with certain faculties for looking back into earlier incarnations, he was not really sure of his bearings. And everything we see transmitted to posterity through the activity of these Babylonian souls is entirely in accordance with this descent from spiritual heights and entry into the purely personal element that is peculiarly characteristic of the Babylonian soul.
In studying the occult aspect of history it is borne in upon us more and more that with their activities and cultural achievements the several peoples by no means stand isolated in world-evolution, in the general progress of humanity. Each people has its spiritual task, a special contribution to make to human progress. Our civilisation to-day is extremely complex, for many single streams of culture have converged in it. In our present spiritual life and in external life, too, there is a confluence of the most varied folk cultures which were developed more or less one-sidedly by the several peoples in accordance with their own missions, and then flowed into the general stream. Hence the single peoples all differ from one another; in each case we can speak of a particular mission. And we may ask: To what can we, who have received into our own culture the work achieved for civilisation by our forefathers — to what can we point that will show us what contribution was made by this or that people to the general progress of humanity
It is deeply interesting here to think of the task and mission of the Babylonian people. The Babylonian people presented a great riddle to historical research in the 19th century as a result of the decipherment of the cuneiform writing. And even the superficial information which it has been possible to acquire is in the highest degree noteworthy. For the researcher can state to-day that the length of time formerly accepted as historical has been almost doubled by the information gained through the decipherment of the cuneiform script. Evidence provided by external records themselves enables historical research to look back five and six thousand years before the Christian era, and to affirm that through the whole of this period a civilisation of greatness and significance existed in the regions which later on were the scene of the activities of the Babylonians and Assyrians. There, above all in the earliest times, lived a most remarkable people, known in history as the Sumerians. They lived in the regions around the Euphrates and the Tigris, mainly in the upper districts but also towards the lower. There is not enough time to go into the question of the historical records themselves and we must rather concern ourselves with what can be learnt from occult history.
In their thought and spiritual achievements, and also in their outer accomplishments, this people belonged to a comparatively very early stage of Post-Atlantean civilisation. And the farther we go back in the history of the Sumerians, who may be called the predecessors of the Babylonians, the more evident it becomes that spiritual traditions of the highest significance were alive in this people, that there was present among them a spiritual wisdom which may be described by saying that in them the whole mode of life, the way of living not in thought alone, but in the very soul and spirit, was entirely different from anything that developed in later periods of world-history. In the men of later times there is evidence, for example, of a certain hiatus between the thought and the spoken word. How can anyone fail to realise to-day that thinking and speaking are two quite different matters, that in a certain respect speech consists of conventional means of expression for what is being thought This is evident from the very fact that through our many different languages we express a great many common ideas. Thus there is a certain hiatus between thinking and speaking. It was not so among the Sumerians, this ancient people whose language was related to the soul quite differently from what came to be the rule in all later languages. Especially when we go back into times of the greatest antiquity we find something like a primal human language — although no longer preserved, even then, in complete purity. True, we already find differentiation in the languages of the various tribes and races in widespread areas of Europe, Asia and Africa, but there existed among the Sumerians a kind of common speech-element which was intelligible through the whole of the then known earth, especially to more deeply spiritual men. How was this possible? It was because a tone or a sound evoked a definite feeling and the soul was bound to express unequivocally what was felt in association with a particular thought and at the same time with a particular sound.
Let me indicate what this implies by saying that even in the names I quoted from the Epic of Gilgamesh — even there striking sounds are still to be found: Ishtar, Ishulan and the like. When these sounds are pronounced and their occult value is known, one realises that they are names in which the sounds Gould not be other than they are if they are to designate the beings in question, because U(oo), I(ee) and A(ah) can relate only to something quite specific. In the course of the further development of language men have lost the feeling that sounds—consonantal and vowel sounds—are related to specific realities, so that in those ancient times a thing could be designated only by a definite combination of sounds. As little as when we have some definite object in mind to-day do we have a fundamentally different idea of it in England and in Germany, as little could men in those times designate some object or being otherwise than by a specific combination of sounds, because the immediate spiritual feeling for sounds was still alive. So that language in ancient times — and in the Sumerian language there was an echo of it — bore a quite definite character and was intelligible to one who listened to it simply because of the nature of the soul. This applies, of course, to the very earliest Post-Atlantean civilisations.
But it was the task of the Babylonian people to lead this living connection of man with the spiritual world down into the personal, to the realm where the personality is based entirely upon itself in its separateness, in its singularity. It was the mission of the Babylonians to lead the spiritual world down to the physical plane. And with this is connected the fact that the living, spiritual feeling for language ceases and language adjusts itself according to such factors as climate, geographical position, race, and the like. The Bible — which narrates these things more accurately than do the phantasies of the self-styled philologist Fritz Mauthner 21Fritz Mauthner, 1849–1923. A writer, Journalist and author of philosophical works, notably on the subject of language, often referred to by Rudolf Steiner. describes this significant truth in the story of the Babylonian Tower of Babel, whereby men who speak a common language are scattered over the earth. 22Genesis, XI. When we know that the erection of sacred buildings in ancient times was guided by certain principles, we can also understand this Tower of Babel in the spiritual sense. Buildings intended to serve as places where certain acts dedicated to the sacred wisdom were to be performed, or which were to stand as signs and tokens of the holy truths—such buildings were erected according to measures derived either from the heavens or from the human structure. Fundamentally, these are identical, for man as the microcosm is a replica of the macrocosm. Therefore the measures to be found in buildings such as the pyramids are taken from the heavens and from the human body.
If we were to go back into relatively early times, we should find in sacred buildings symbolic representations of the measures contained in the human structure or in the phenomena of the heavens. Length, breadth, depth, the architectural form of the interior — everything was modeled on the measures of the heavens or those of the human Body. This was possible because when there was living consciousness of man's connection with the spiritual world, the measures were brought down from that world. What, then, was bound to happen when human knowledge was to be led down from the heavens to the earth, from the universal spiritual-human to the human-personal? The measures could then be taken only from man himself, from the human personality in so far as it is an expression of the single egohood. Thus the Tower of Babel was to be the cultic centre for men who were henceforward to derive the measures from the human personality. But at the same time it had to be shown that the personality must first mature to the stage of being able again to ascend to the spiritual worlds. The fourth and the fifth civilisation-epochs must be lived through before the reascent is possible — which it would not have been at that time. That the heavens were not yet within the reach of powers deriving from the human personality — this is indicated by the fact that the Tower of Babel was bound to be an unhappy affair. Infinite depths are contained in this world-symbol of the Tower of Babel through which men were limited to the personality as such; to what the personality could achieve under the particular conditions prevailing among some rate or people.
Thus the Babylonians were led downwards from the spiritual world to our earth; there lay their mission and their task. But, as I have already said, underlying the external Babylonian civilisation there was a Chaldean Mystery-culture which, while remaining esoteric, nevertheless flowed quite definitely into the outer civilisation. Hence we see the primeval wisdom still glimmering through in the ways and means available to the Babylonians. But these means were not to be used for the purpose of ascending into the spiritual regions; they were to be applied on the earth. This element in the mission of the Babylonians was embodied in their culture and has come down to our own times, as can be demonstrated. We must, however, learn to have at least some respect for that still great and powerful vision into the spiritual worlds which nurtured the old traditions in the soul and over which the shadows of twilight were only just beginning to creep. We must learn to have respect for the profound knowledge of the heavens possessed by the Babylonians, and for their great mission, which lay in drawing forth from what was known to mankind through vision of the spiritual world, from the laws of measure prevailing in the heavens, everything that must be incorporated into civilisation for the needs of outer, practical life. At the same time it was their mission to relate everything to man. And it is interesting that certain ideas have lived on into our own times, ideas that are like an echo of feelings that were still living experiences in the Babylonians — feelings of the inflow of the macrocosm into man, of a law which, holding sway in man as an earthly personality, mirrors the great law of the heavens.
In ancient Babylon there was a saying: “Look at a man who goes about not as a greybeard and not as a child, who moves about as a healthy, not as a sick being, who neither runs too swiftly nor walks too slowly — and you will behold the measure of the sun's course.” It is a momentous saying and one that can point us deeply into the souls of the ancient Babylonians. For they pictured that if a man with a good healthy gait, a man who maintains a pace in his walking consonant with healthiness of life, were to walk round the earth neither too quickly or too slowly, he would need 365¼ days to complete the circuit — and that is approximately correct, assuming he walks day and night without pause. And so they said: “That is the time in which a healthy human being could complete the circuit of the earth, and it is also the length of time which the sun takes to move round the earth” (for they believed in the apparent movement of the sun around the earth). “If therefore you walk as a healthy human being, neither too quickly nor too slowly around the earth, you are keeping the tempo of the sun's course.” And this means: “O Man, it lies in your very health that you keep the pace of the course of the sun around the earth.”
This is certainly something that can inspire us with respect for the majestic vision of the cosmos possessed by the Babylonian people. For on this basis they divided up the journey of a man sound the earth, using certain fractional measures and then arriving at a result approximately equal to the distance covered by a man when he walks for two hours: this comes to about a mile. (Note by translator: a German mile equals about five English miles.) They calculated this on the basis of a normal, healthy pace and adopted it as a kind of norm for measuring the ground on a larger scale. And in fact this measure persisted until fairly recently—when everything in human evolution became abstract — in the German mile, which can be covered in about two hours, And so there lasted on into the 19th century something that stems from the mission of the ancient Babylonians, who brought it down from the cosmos, calculating it in accordance with the course of the sun.
Not until our own time were there measures which originated from man's nature itself reduced inevitably to abstract measures taken from something deal. For it is obvious that measure to-day is abstract in comparison with the concrete measures directly connected with man and with the phenomena of the heavens — measures which are in truth all to be traced back to the mission of the Babylonian people. In the case of other measures too, such as the “foot,” derived from a human limb, or the “ell,” derived from the human hand and arm, we could find underlying them something that had been discovered as law prevailing in man, the macrocosm, In point of fact the ancient Babylonian way of thinking still underlay our system of measure until a time not so very long ago. The twelve zodiacal constellations and the five planets gave the Babylonians 5 times 12 = 60 — this they took as a basic number. They counted up to 60 and then began again. Whenever they were counting things of everyday life they took the number 12 as the basis, because, since it derives from laws of the cosmos, it is related in a fax more concrete way to all external conditions. The number 12 is capable of much division. Twelve — the dozen — is nothing else than a gift from the mission of the Babylonians. We ourselves base everything an 10 — a number which causes great difficulty when it has to be divided into parts, whereas the dozen, both in its relation to 60 and in its various possibilities of division, is eminently suited to be the basis of a metrical and numerical system.
When it is said that humanity has sailed into abstraction even in respect of calculation and counting, this is not intended as a criticism of our time, for one epoch cannot do the same as the preceding epoch. If we want to portray the course of civilisation from the Atlantean catastrophe to the Greek period and on through our own, we may say: The Indian, Persian and Egyptian epochs are periods of descent; in Greek civilisation the point is reached where the essentially human is unfolded on the physical plane; then the reascent begins. But this reascent is such that it represents one aspect only of the actual course of development, and on the other side there is a progressive descent into materialism. Hence in our time, side by side with spiritual endeavour there is the crassest materialism which links deeply, deeply into matter. These things are natural parallels. This current of materialism is inevitably present as an obstacle which has to be overcome in order that a higher forte may be developed. But it is the nature of this materialistic current to make everything abstract. The whole decimal system is an abstract system. This is not criticism but simply characterisation. And in other directions, too, the whole tendency is to suppress the concrete reality. Just think of the proposals that have been put forward — for example to make the Easter Festival fall an a fixed day in April, in order that the inconveniences caused to commerce and industry may be avoided! No heed is given to the fact that there we still have something which, determined as it is by the heavens, reaches over to us from ancient times. Everything has to nun into abstraction, and concrete reality, which pressed on again to the spiritual, flows into our civilisation to begin with only as a tiny trickle.
It is extraordinarily interesting to see how not only in Spiritual Science, but outside it as well, humanity is instinctively impelled to take the upward path, to ascend again, let us say to a connection with measure, number and form similar to that which prevailed in the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. For in our time there is actually a kind of repetition of Babylonian and Egyptian culture; the civilisation-epochs preceding our era repeat themselves: the Egyptian in our own epoch, the Persian in the sixth, the Indian in the seventh. The first corresponds with the seventh, the second with the sixth, the third with the fifth, our own; the fourth Stands by itself, forming the middle. For this reason., so much that went to form the ancient Egyptian view of the world is being repeated instinctively. Remarkable things come to light. Men may be rooted in thoroughly materialistic ideas and concepts, nevertheless through the weight of the facts themselves—not through the scientific theories, all of which are materialistic to-day — they can be 1ed into the spiritual life. For example, there is in Berlin au interesting doctor who has made remarkable observations based entirely an facts, apart from any theory. I will indicate it on the blackboard. — Let us suppose that this point represents the date of a woman's death. I am not speaking of a hypothetical case but of something that has been actually observed. — The woman is the grandmother of a family. A certain number of days before her death a grandchild is born, the number of days being 1,428. Strange to say, 1,428 days after the grandmother's death another grandchild is born, and a great-granddaughter 9,996 days after her death. Divide 9,996 by 1,428, and you have 7. After a period, therefore, seven times the length of the period between the birth of the first grandchild and the death of the grandmother, a great grandchild is born. And now the same doctor shows that this is not an isolated case, but that one may investigate a number of families and invariably find that in respect of death and birth absolutely definite numerical relationships are in evidence. And the most interesting point of all is that if, for example, you take the number 1,428, again you have a number divisible by seven. In short, the very facts compel people to-day to rediscover in the succession of outer events certain regularities, certain periodicities, which are connected with the old sacred numbers. And already to-day the number of findings in this direction collected by Fliess — such is the name of the doctor in Berlin 23Wilhelm Fliess, b. 1858. Author of Der Ablauf des Lebens: Grundlagen zur exakten Biologie, Leipzig and Vienna, 1906; also Das Jahr im Lebendigen, Jena, 1919. — and his students, is a proof that the sequence of such events is regulated by quite definite numbers. These figures are already available in overwhelming quantity. The interpretation placed upon them is thoroughly materialistic, but the facts themselves compel belief in the factor of number in world-happenings. I must emphasise that the application of this principle by Fliess and his students is extremely misleading and erroneous. The way he applies his main numbers, especially 23 and 28 — 28 = 4 times 7 — will have to be amended in many respects. Nevertheless, in a study such as this we can see something like an instinctive emergence of ancient Babylonian culture in the age when mankind is an the path of ascent. Of course, such things are confined to Small circles; the vast majority of people have no feeling for them. But it is certainly remarkable to see the unusual thoughts and feelings which arise in people such as the pupils of Fliess, for example, who discover these things. One of these pupils says: “If these things had been known in ancient times, whatever would men have Said?” — But they were known! And the following passage seems to me particularly characteristic.
After this pupil of Fliess has collected a great deal of such material, he says: “Periods constructed on the clearest mathematical principles are here derived from nature, and such things have at all times been beyond the reach of gifted minds accustomed to far more difficult problems. With what religious fervour would the Babylonians, with their love of calculation, have investigated this domain and with what magic would these questions have been surrounded.” — So you see how near people have already come to an inkling of what has actually happened! How unmistakably men's instinct is working once again in the direction of the spiritual life! But just where the science current in our time passes blindly by, there is much to be found that sheds great illumination on the occult force of which people are completely unconscious. Those who draw attention to this remarkable law of numbers explain it in an altogether materialistic way; but the weight of the facts themselves is already compelling people to-day once again to recognise the spiritual, mathematical law prevailing in the things of the world. We see how deeply true it is that everything which comes to expression in personal form in the later course of human evolution is a shadow-image of what was present formerly in elemental, original grandeur, because the connection with the spiritual world was still intact.
In order that it may be deeply inscribed in your souls, I want to emphasise that it was the Babylonians who in their transition to the fourth civilisation-epoch bad, as it were, to bring down the heavens into measure, number, weight; that in our own day we experience the echo of it; and that we shall find our way again to this technique of numbers which will inevitably come more and more into prominence, although in other domains of life an abstract system of measure and number is naturally the appropriate one. Here again, Chen, we can see how on the path of descent a certain point is reached in the Greco-Latin cultivation of pure, essential manhood, of the expression of personality an the physical plane, and how then a reascent begins. So that in very fact the Greek epoch lies in the middle of the whole course of Post-Atlantean civilisation.
But we must remember that in this Greek epoch there came the impulse of Christianity which is to lead humanity upwards into other regions. We have already seen how in the first phase of its development this Christianity did not at once appear with its full significance, with its spiritual content and substance. The behaviour of the men of Alexandria towards Hypatia gave us a picture of the failings and the shadow-sides with which Christianity was fraught at the beginning. It has indeed often been stressed that the times have yet to come when Christianity will be understood in all its profundity, that there are still infinite and unfathomed depths in Christianity, which really belongs more to the future than to the present — let alone to the past. We see how in Christianity something still in the throes of birth places itself into what had entered into the heritage of primeval world-wisdom and spirituality. For what the culture of Greece had received, what it bore within itself, was actually like a heritage of everything that in countless incarnations had been acquired by men through their living connection with the spiritual world. All the spirituality experienced in the preceding ages had sank down into the hearts and souls of the Greeks and lived itself out in them. Hence it is understandable — especially in view of what had resulted from the Christian impulse in the first centuries that there were men who could not regard the coming of Christianity as equal in value to all that had been transmitted to Greek culture with overwhelming greatness and depth of spirituality, as an ancient heritage of thousands of years.
There was a particularly characteristic personality who experienced
as it were within his own breast this battle of the old with the new,
this battle between treasures of primordial, spiritual wisdom and what
was only at its very beginning — a feebly flowing stream. This
personality of the Greco-Latin epoch in the 4th century, who experienced
these things in the arena of his own soul, was Julian the
the Apostate, 331–63. Emperor from 361–63. See Rudolf
Steiner: Building-Stones for an Understanding of the Mystery of
Golgotha, lectures VII and VIII; Man's Life on Earth and in the
Spiritual Worlds, lecture I; The Sun Mystery in the Course of
Human History; Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies, Vol.
IV, lectures V and VI; World-History in the light of
Anthroposophy, lecture VI.
There are many other references, too numerous to be detailed here. The above are of outstanding importance. It is interesting in the very highest degree to follow the life of the Roman Emperor Julian. He was a nephew of the ambitious, revengeful Emperor Constantine, and the intention was that he and his brother should both be put to death in childhood. He was allowed to live only because it was feared that his death would cause too great an uproar, and because it was expected that whatever harm he might be able to do could afterwards be counteracted. Julian was obliged to acquire his education through many wanderings among various communities, and strict care was taken to ensure that he should imbibe what at that time was accepted, for opportunistic reasons, in Rome and by Rome, by the Roman Empire, as Christian development. This, however, was a hotchpotch of what took shape by degrees as the Catholic Church and what existed as Arianism, the desire being that neither element should be impaired by the other. And so at that time hostility against the old Hellenistic-Pagan ideal, the ancient Gods and the ancient Mysteries, was fairly vehement on all sides. As I said, every effort was made to ensure that Julian, who might be expected eventually to succeed to the throne of the Cæsars, should become a good Christian.
But a strange urge was asserting itself in this soul. This soul Gould never really acquire any deep feeling for Christianity. Wherever the boy was taken, and wherever vestiges not only of ancient Paganism but of ancient spirituality still survived, his heart warmed to it. Wherever he found something of the old sacred traditions and institutions living an into the civilisation of the fourth epoch, he drank it in. And so it happened that on his many wanderings, to which he was driven by the persecutions meted out to him by his uncle the Emperor, he came into contact with teachers of the so-called Neo-Platonic School and with pupils of the men of Alexandria, who had received the old traditions handed down from there. It was then that for the First time Julian's heart was nourished with that to which he was so deeply drawn. And then he came to know such treasures of ancient wisdom as still existed in Greece itself. And with all that Greece gave him, with all that the old world gave him in the way of wisdom, Julian could not bat unfold a living Feeling for the language of the heavens, for the secrets which in the starry script speak down to us from cosmic spare. Then came the time when he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries by one of the last hierophants; and in Julian we have the strange spectacle that one who is inspired by the ancient Mysteries, one who stands fully within what can be received when the spiritual life becomes a reality through the Mysteries—that such an initiate sits on the throne of the Cæsars. And although many misconceptions crept into Julian's writings against the Christians, we know what greatness there was in his conception of the world when he was speaking out of the majestic experiences of his Initiation.
But because as a pupil of Mysteries already in decline he did not rightly know how to find his bearings in the times, he faced the martyrdom looming before one who is inspired but is no longer aware of which secrets must be kept hidden and which may legitimately be communicated. Out of the ardour and enthusiasm kindled in Julian by his Hellenistic education and through his Initiation, out of the sublime experiences which the hierophant had enabled him to undergo, there arose in him the resolve to re-establish what he beheld as the active, weaving life of the ancient spirituality. And so we see him endeavouring by many ways and means to introduce the old Gods again into a civilisation already penetrated by Christianity. He went too far both in the matter of speaking openly of the Mystery-secrets and in his attitude towards Christianity. And so it came about that in the year 363, when he had to conduct a military campaign against the Persians, he was overtaken by his destiny. Just as destiny overtakes anyone who has unlawfully uttered those things which may not be uttered without authorisation, so it was in the case of Julian, and there is historical proof that on this expedition against the Persians, he fell by the hand of a Christian. For not only did this news spread abroad very soon afterwards and has never been disavowed by any of the Christian writers of note, but it would have been highly astonishing if the Persians had brought about the death of their arch-enemy without boasting about it. Among them, too, the view prevailed immediately afterwards that Julian had fallen by the hand of a Christian. It was really something like a storm that went forth from this inspired soul, from the fiery enthusiasm acquired from initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries which were already approaching their period of twilight. Such was the destiny of a man of the 4th century, of an entirely personal human being whose world-karma consisted, essentially, in living out in personal anger, personal resentment and personal enthusiasm, the heritage he had received. That was the fundamental law prevailing in his life.
For the study of occult history, it is interesting to observe the laxer course taken by this particular life, this particular individuality. During the 16th century, in the year 1546, a remarkable man was born of a noble house of Northern Europe, and in his very cradle, so to speak, everything was laid — including family wealth — that could have led him to positions of great honour in the traditional life of that time. Because, in line with his family traditions, it was intended that he should occupy some eminent political or other high position, he was marked out for the legal profession and sent with a tutor to the University of Leipzig to study jurisprudence. The tutor tormented the boy — for he was still a boy when he was forced to study law — all day long. But at night, while the tutor was sleeping the sleep of the just and dreaming of legal theories, the boy stole out of bed and observed the stars with the very simple instruments he had himself devised. And very soon he knew not only more than any of the teachers about the secrets of the stars but more than was to he found at that time in any book. For example, he very soon noticed a definite position of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Leo, turned to the books and found that they recorded it quite erroneously. The longing then arose in him to acquire as exact a knowledge as possible of this star-script, to record as accurately as possible the course of the stars. No wonder that in spite of all his family's resistance he soon extracted the permission to become a natural philosopher and astronomer, instead of dreaming his life away over legal books and doctrines. And having considerable means at his disposal, he was able to set up a whole establishment.
This was arranged in a remarkable way. In the upper storeys were instruments designed for observing the secrets of the stars; in the cellars there was equipment for bringing about different combinations and dissolutions of substances. And there he worked, dividing his time between observations carried out on the upper floors of the building and the boiling, fermenting, mixing and weighing which went on in the cellars below. There he worked, in Order to show, little by little, how the laws that are written in the stars, the laws of the planets and fixed stars, the macrocosmic laws, are to be found again microcosmically in the mathematical numbers underlying the combinations and dissolutions of substances. And what he discovered as a living connection between the heavenly and the earthly he applied to the art of medicine, producing medicaments which were the cause of bitter animosity around him because he gave them freely to those he wanted to help. The doctors at that time, intent upon extorting high fees, raged against this man who was accused of perpetrating all sorts of “horrors” with what he endeavoured to bring down from the heavens to the earth.
Fortunately, as the result of a certain happening, he found favour with the Danish King, Frederick the Second, and as long as he retained this favour, all went well: tremendous insight was gained into the spiritual working of cosmic laws in the sense I have just described. This man did indeed know something about the spiritual course of cosmic laws. He dumbfounded the world with things which admittedly would no longer find the same credence to-day. On one Occasion, when he was at Rostock, he prophesied, from the constellation of the stars, the death of the Sultan Soliman, which came true within a few days of the date he had foretold. The news of this made the name of Tycho Brahe 25Karmic Relationships: Esoteric Studies, Vol. IV, lectures V and VI; also Appendix, p. 121. (also Appendix) famous in Europe. To-day the world at large knows hardly anything more of Tycho Brahe, whose life lies such a short time behind us, than that he was somewhat of a crank and never quite reached the lofty standpoint of modern materialism. He recorded a thousand stars for the first time in the maps of the heavens and also made the epoch-making discovery of a type of star, the “Nova,” which flares up and vanishes again, and described it. But these things are mostly passed over in silence. The world really knows nothing about him except that he was still “stupid” enough to devise a plan of the cosmos in which the earth stands still and the sun together with the planets revolve around it. That is what the world in general knows to-day. The fact that we have to do here with a significant personality of the 16th century, with one who accomplished an infinite amount that even to-day is still useful to astronomy, that untold depths of wisdom are contained in what he gave — none of this is usually recorded, for the simple reason that in presenting the system in detail, out of his own deep knowledge, Tycho Brahe saw difficulties which Copernicus did not see. If such a thing dare be said — for it does indeed seem paradoxical — even with the Copernican cosmic system the last word has not yet been uttered. And the conflict between the two Systems will still occupy the minds of a later humanity. — That, however, only by the way; it is too paradoxical for the present age.
It was only under the successor of the King who had been well-disposed towards him that the enemies of Tycho Brahe arose an all sides. They were doctors and professors at the University of Copenhagen, and they succeeded in inciting the successor of his patron against him. Tycho Brahe was driven from his fatherland and was obliged to go south again. It was in Augsburg that he had originally set up his first great planisphere and the gilded globe an which he always marked the new stars he discovered — finally amounting to a thousand. This man was destined to die in exile in Prague. To this very day, if we turn, not to the usual textbooks, but to the actual sources, and study Kepler, let us say, we can still see that Kepler was able to arrive at his laws because of the meticulous astronomical observations made by Tycho Brahe before him. Here indeed was a personality who again bore the stamp, in a grand style, of what had been great and significant wisdom before his time; one who could not reconcile himself to the kind of knowledge that became popular immediately afterwards in the shape of the materialistic view of the world. Truly it is a strange destiny, this destiny of Tycho Brahe!
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. Thus strangely and paradoxically does the law of reincarnation take effect when the karmic connection of the single individual are modified by world-historic karma; when the cosmic Powers themselves use the human individuality as their instrument.
Let Inc expressly emphasise that I do not speak of such matters as the connection between Julian the Apostate and Tycho Brahe in order that they shall be proclaimed at once from the housetops and discussed at every dinner-table and coffee-table, but in order that they may sink into many a soul as the teaching of occult wisdom, and that we may learn to understand more and more how super-sensible reality everywhere underlies the human being in his physical manifestation.