Apollonius Tyanaeus

Bust of Apollonius in the Capitolini of Rome, from a photograph by Anderson

(born c. 4 b.c.e., vanished c. 96 e.v.)

by T. Apiryon
Copyright © 1995 Ordo Templi Orientis. All rights reserved.

Also known as Apollon, and Apollonius of Tyana. Cappadocian philosopher of the Pythagorean school. See Part III of The Heart of the Master.

Born into the noble family of Tyana, Apollonius was educated by a Pythagorean philosopher in Tarsus. In his later youth, disgusted by the luxury, idleness and vice of Tarsus, he retired to the nearby village of Aegae, where he spent several years meditating in ascetic isolation. He then set out on what he regarded as his mission to learn, to heal, and to teach, throughout Asia Minor. He traveled to Assyria, Babylonia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Egypt and India, curing the sick and studying with the learned. He almost certainly was influenced by Jain teachers, then known as "Gymnosophists," and may have been influenced by Buddhists as well. Later, he became an initiate of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

In his travels, he became well known as a man of the loftiest character, a gifted healer and charismatic spiritual leader. He developed a considerable following. Many fantastic legends of his feats of prophesy and miracle-working were recorded after his death, and he came to be regarded as a "divine being." He is probably one of the models for the syncretistic figure of Christ, many anecdotes in the life story of Apollonius are duplicated in that of Jesus. No writings of Apollonius survive, but his detailed life story was assembled from the records of his friends and associates by the scholar Flavius Philostratus (172 - 250 e.v.) at the command of the emperor Severus.

Eliphas Lévi's only recorded act of ceremonial magic was the conjuring of the spirit of Apollonius of Tyana. Lévi also translated a document called the "Nuctemeron of Apollonius of Tyana" which he published as a supplement to Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie. Despite the title, the document is almost certainly not the work of Apollonius Tyanaeus.


Barrett, Francis; The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer [1801], Citadel, Secaucus, NJ 1967
Forlong, J.G.R.; Faiths of Man, a Cyclopaedia of Religions [Bernard Quaritch, 1906], University Books, NY 1964
Lévi, Eliphas; Transcendental Magic, translated by A.E. Waite [1896], Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine 1970/1986
Mead, G.R.S.; Apollonius of Tyana, the Philosopher-Reformer of the Fisrt Century A.D., University Books, NY 1966
Rohmer, Sax; The Romance of Sorcery, Causeway, NY 1973


Originally published in Red Flame No. 2 -- Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic Ecclesiastical Gnosticism by Tau Apiryon and Helena; Berkeley, CA 1995 e.v.