The Mithras Cult

The god Mithras was part of the polytheistic firmament in ancient Iran and India. Mentioned in the ancient Vedas (1400 p.e.v.) and later Zarathustra wrote down the dogma of his religion including Mithras  (ca.800-600 BCE)

Mithras has always represented as covenant, friendship, loyalty to a contract, fidelity through a handshake, and all connected  gestures.

During Hellenism  mithraic current developped which had the tauroctony as the most significant moments of Mithraism.

The mithraism, which spread in the Roman Empire in the first century BCE is different from the Indo-Iranian cult – has created a mystery, cosmogonic and saving religion and above all a secret one. The core of this religion is the creation of the cosmos through the tauroctony.

Mithras makes a pact with the Sun and is notified by a messenger (the raven) that it is time to kill the primoridal bull. This sacrifice of the bull gives life to the world and to life. After the killing of the bull, Mithras and the sun  participate in the sacred banquet. The iconography of this scene is almost always represented the same way:

TauroctoniaMitra takes the bull by its nostrils and sticking a dagger into the jugular, looking toward the sun. From the bull’s flooding blood grows life, it fertilizes the soil. From the bull’s tail comes a spike, another symbol of growth in the world. A dog and a snake are trying to lick the wound, a scorpion grabs the testicles of the bull with its pincers to get the semen (another symbol that gives life). On the right, you can seet the moon, which ascends the bull after his death. In the scene we also find the two torch bearers, inseparable companions of Mithras, Cautes with the raised torch and Cautopates with the lowered torch.

The Mithraic cult is made of a pater and his followers. The community is governed by a rigid structure divided into degrees of initiation, the last degree represents the Father, the spiritual leader of the community.

Here below the seven degrees of initiation which also correspond to the seven planets(known at that time) , as well as to the seven protective deities, from the lowest to the highest degree:

  • Corax – the degree of the raven under the protection of Mercury
  • Nymphus – the degree of the chrysalis under the protection of Venus
  • Miles – the degree of the soldier under the protection of Mars
  • Leo – the lion’s degree, under the protection of Jupiter
  • Perses – the degree of the Persian under the protection of the Moon
  • Heliodromus – the degree of the courier of the sun under the protection of the Sun
  • Pater – Mithras himself  is under the protection of Saturn
in order to become part of the community and to pass various degrees of initiation, the adepts were to overcome several proofs. There is no certainty of this, only despicable descriptions by Christians, therefore, perhaps not quite reliable.:-) Other details will follow!

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