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Taurus to Aries
Cosmic Egg
Franz Cumont
Emperor Aurelian
Emperor Diocletian Roman emperor (284–305),
Emperor Theodosius
Hamlet's Mill
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Mithrasism merged
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Rise & Fall of Mithras
Mithras to Masonry
Unicorn constellation
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Pyramids monuments in harmony with the universe
Phrygian Cap
Myth and Magic
Great Ages
Jospeh Campbell
Sacred Sciences
The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries by David Ulansey Mithraism began as a religious response to Hipparchus's discovery of the precession of the equinoxes.
Mithraic ritual
Emperor Aurelian
Precession of a gyroscope
celestial equator
a projection of the terrestrial equator out into space used for millenniums to chart the night sky. As result of the Earth's axial tilt, the celestial equator is inclined by ~23.5° with respect to the ecliptic plane. As a result of the top like wobble while the earth rotates the night sky changes in a cycle known as the


Tarsus is a junction point of land and sea routes connecting the Cilician plain (today called Çukurova), central Anatolia and the Mediterranean sea. Capital of the Turkish province of Cilicia, scene of the romance between Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and birthplace of Saint Paul.
Precession (astronomy)
Berossus [also Berossos or Berosus] Earliest written source for precession. Ran school of astrology on island of Kos at the beginning of the 3rd century BC. under the patronage of the king of Egypt.
Hipparchus 190 BC – ca. 120 BC) Greatest astronomer of the Roman age. Accurate models for Sun and Moon. predict solar eclipses. He was the first to exploit Babylonian astronomical knowledge and techniques systematically adding his own observations to those of Babylonian and Chaldean astronomers in the preceding centuries.
The first  reference to precession as the result of a motion of the Earth's axis is  Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543). He called precession the third motion of the earth.
New Testament author from 
Tarsus, Cilicia,considered birthplace of the Mysteries of Mithras. In Acts there are three accounts of his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus. His contributions are among the most influential although least related to the historical Jesus.
Most of the ancient philosophers and great religious teachers are acknowledged as having derived their wisdom from the Egyptian initiates including Sophocles, Solon, Plato, Cicero, Heraclitus, Pindar and Pythagoras
In the Vedic religions that preceded Hinduism, Mitra is a solar deity of oaths and treaties who is closely connected with the sky god Varuna and has aspects of a solar deity In Persian religion, he is also a solar deity of friendship and honesty operating under the supreme god Ahura Mazda. The god has similar roles in these two cultures because they both share an older Indo-European heritage.
Franz Cumont
Three Magi
2 Dec 2002
A new proposition for redating the Mithraic tauroctony scene
E. Bon, M.M. irkovi, I. Milosavljevi
mith by Ceisiwr Serith in 2003
Farvardyn Project excerpted research from Mithras, the Secret God, M.J. Vermaseren, London, 1963 including extensive illustrations and examination of the myth and speculations on the myth by others
MITHRAISM The Legacy of the Roman Empire's
Amazing student essay written in 1993 by David Fingrut with no footnotes
Mithra References Page
Copyright © 1995, Alison B. Griffith
/mithra.html Christian defense denying similarities between Mithras & Jesus as outlined by "The Christ Conspiracy" author Acharya S

Web article survey
Mithraism and Christianity By Vexen Crabtree 2002; member of the Church of Satan Compiles a lot of evidence from different sources supporting key influences on creation of the early Christian church
Rome in Late Antiquity: Everyday Life and Urban Change, AD 312-609 by Bertrand Lançon Published 2000
Taylor & Francis

Frek.JM -- Freke, Timothy and Peter Gandy. The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? New York: Harmony Books, 1999.

Mithras and his Temples on the Wall by C.M.Daniels, 3rd ed. 1989, Newcastle upon Tyne (available through the Museum of Antiquities)
'The Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh', by I.A.Richmond and J.P.Gillam, in Archaeologia Aeliana 4th series, XXIX (1951) 1-92
Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae  by M.J.Vermaseren (2 vols., 1956 and 1960)  

CUMONT, "Notes sur un temple Mithraique d'Ostie" (Ghent, 1891); IDEM, "Textes et Monuments figures relat. Aux Mysteres de Mithra" (2 vols., Brussels, 1896-1899); IDEM, "Les Mysteres de Mithra" (2nd., Paris, 1902

B.G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets," Harper & Row, (1983) 

Mithras List @ groups.
  for people with scholarly or spiritual interest in Mithraism.

During the rituals, the evolution of the universe and the destiny of mankind was explained. The service consisted chiefly of contemplating the Mithraic symbolism, praying while knelt before benches, and chanting hymns to the accompaniment of flutes. Hymns were sung describing the voyage of Mithras' horse-drawn chariot across the sky. Invokers and worshippers of Mithras prayed, "Abide with me in my soul. Leave me not [so] that I may be initiated and that the Holy Spirit may breathe within me." Animal sacrifices, mostly of birds, were also conducted in the Mithraeums.

The Mithraic clergy's duty was to maintain the perpetual holy fire on the altar, invoke the planet of the day, offer the sacrifices for the disciples, and preside at initiations. The Mithraic priests were known as Patres Sacrorum, or Fathers of the Sacred Mysteries. They were mystically designated with the titles Leo and Hierocorax, and presided over the priestly festivals of Leontica (the festival of lions), Coracica (the festival of ravens), and Hierocoracica (the festival of sacred ravens).

The great festival of the Mithraic calendar was held on December the 25th, and the 16th of every month was kept holy to Mithras. The first day of the week was dedicated to the sun, to whom prayers were recited in the morning, noon, and evening. Services were held on Sundays, in which bells were sounded and praises were offered to Mithras. On great occasions, the 'soldiers of Mithras' took part in the sacrament of bread and wine as sacred bulls were sacrificed.


"Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main. Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again! Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn, Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!”
~From Song to Mithras, Rudyard Kipling, Freemason."1
Commentary on Hamlet's Mill by John Major Jenkins


Mithras laid an emphasis on astrology and the movements of the astral bodies as passed down by the high civilizations ofThe image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. antiquity.

Mithras was the deity that mediated between the earth and the sky for humanity and he is seen killing the bull because the act symbolizes the ending of the cosmic age in which Mithraism was born and by killing this primeval bull, its life force is released for the benefit of humanity.

Precessional movement of earth defines the great ages. The central image of Mithras portrays the death of the Age of Taurus the Bull

The Earth goes through one complete precession cycle in a period of approximately 25,800 years, The precession results in the equinoxes moving slowly backward along the zodiac, passing through one zodiacal constellation every 2,160 years and through the entire zodiac every 25,920 years.
From the point of view of naked-eye astronomy, precession makes stars rise 'late' in relation to given solar dates, such as solstices and equinoxes. Thus, as the poets write, 'the times are out of joint' and 'worlds' - or, more properly, 'world ages' - 'come and go'.
Many consider  2012 to be the year the planet will begin the Age of Aquarius.

The great wealth of preserved iconography is our primary source of knowledge about Mithraic beliefs. The central image in Mithrasim is called the tauroctony and the star constellations represented by its symbols all lay on the celestial equator as it was positioned during the great age of Taurus immediately proceeding the Greco-Roman "Age of Aries". Mithra is the Mediator (Mesites) between God and man. Ironically, the religion of Mithras historically has performed the role of hand-maiden to the birth of the age of Pisces and the m onotheism of Christianity and Islamic religions which distinguish the first two millenniums after Jesus Christ. It might yet perform this role again as we move tenuously into the next great age of Aquarius.

Like the other ancient "mystery religions," such as the Eleusinian mysteries and the mysteries of Isis, Mithraism maintained strict secrecy about its teachings and practices, revealing them only to initiates. The cult, which was known as the Mysteries of Mithras and was reserved for male initiates only. The place of worship were called mithraeam and have no windows as each mithraeum was intended to be as dark as the original cave of Mithras.  

The best speculation to the origin of the official religion of Rome tells us that Stoics in Tarsus to "hypothesize the existence of a new divinity responsible for this new cosmic phenomenon, a divinity capable of moving the structure of the entire cosmos and thus a divinity of great power." developed in the eastern Mediterranean in the 2nd or 1st century BC, spread to Rome in the 1st century AD, and was practiced throughout the Roman Empire from then until about the 4th century.

This function first arose from the fact that as the light-god he is supposed to float between the upper heaven and the earth as a mediator between the Sky and the Earth. Likewise a sun-god, his planet was supposed to hold the central place amongst the seven planets.

mithraic tauroctony

The tauroctony - bull slaying scene

the only image found universally in Mithraic cult sites and the central icon of Mithraism

Mithras's early life was one of hardship and painful triumph. Finally,he captured the primeval  bull and, after dragging it back to his cave, killed the animal in order to release its life force for the benefit of humanity: from the bull's body grew useful plants and herbs, from its blood came the vine, and from its semen all useful animals.
This bull slaying scene - known as a tauroctony -was to be found in relief or as a wall painting in all Mithraea. Mithras is clad in a tunic, trousers, cloak, and a pointed cap usually called a Phrygian cap. He faces the viewer while half-straddling the back of a bull, yanks the bull's head back by its nostrils with his left hand, and plunges a dagger into the bull's thoat with his right. Various figures surround this dramatic event. Under the bull a dog laps at the blood dripping from the wound and a scorpion attacks the bull's testicles. Often the bull's tail ends in wheat ears and a raven is perched on the bull's back. Two figures named Cautes and Cautopates wear the same garb as Mithras with Cautes holding an upraised and burning torch while Cautopates' torch is pointed downward. In the upper left corner, is the sun god, Sol, in his chariot.

A long series of studies beginning with one by K. B. Stark in 1869 and culminating in studies by Roger Beck (1984 and 1988), David Ulansey (1989) and Noel Swerdlow (1991) has revealed a comprehensible astrological symbolism. Each figure and element in the scene correlates to specific constellations, to the seven planets recognized by the ancient Romans, and to the position of these in relation to the celestial equator and the ecliptic, particularly at the time of the equinoxes and the solstices.
The most compelling speculative theory is that the constellations indicate knowledge of the Precession of the Equinoxes by Professor Ulansey who points to its written recognition during the first great age of astrology when Alexandria was the seat of knowledge for the Mediterranean. Since then the debate for the Mithras moment or the time depicted has been led by the contributions of archeo-astronomers and the star maps generated by their computers. takes a closer look at this fascinating mystic subject of the Bull's Eye here
The above tauroctony in the Vatican has it head tilting in the wrong direction, indicating an inaccurate repair was made by a curator at some point in its long history.


In many inscriptions Mithras is invoked as
 deus Sol invictus,
 the invincible Sun-god

  The greatest concentrations have been found in the city of Rome itself, and in those places in the empire where Roman soldiers-- who made up a major segment of the cult's membership-- were stationed. The historic Slovenian city of Ptuj,a crossing point of the Danube favored by Romans has discovered six mithraeums thus far. In Ostia, the port city of Rome,  17 mithraeas have been discovered so far . They are all small, holding no more than 30 or 40 people and rarely large enough for a bull sacrifice.These represent the largest concentrations of evidence for mithraic worship yet found but the

Worshippers preferred caves and grottos as temples wherever possible, or at least gave temples the internal appearance of caves or of being subterranean by building steps leading down to the entrance. The cult's membership included significant numbers of bureaucrats and merchants. It was possible for a mithraic initiate to be a member of more than one cult, but women were not permitted to become members. At the end of the aisle was always found a representation of the central icon of Mithraism: a "bull-slaying scene" in which Mithras is shown in the act of killing a bull.

The pagans of Alexandria lynched George the Arian, bishop of the city, for attempting to build a church over a Mithras cave near the town. The laws of Theodosius I signed its death warrant. The magi walled up their sacred caves; and Mithra has no martyrs to rival the martyrs who died for Christ.
1913 Encyclopedia





Rome: Below the pretty 12th century Basilica of San Clemente are excavated levels. Stairs lead you down to the remains of a 4th century basilica, which was devastated by Northmanns. Via another pair of stairs you arrive at a shrine for Mithra.

Mithraeum of San Clemente, Rome

In the late 1st century AD, built on top of earlier structures that were destroyed in the great fire of 64 AD under Nero, an insula (apartment building) and mansion were built here. A Christian community is believed to have met in the mansion by the 2nd century. In the early 3rd century, the inner courtyard of the insula was made into a Mithraeum, or Temple of Mithras.

St. Peter's in Rome: The Mithraeum which St. Peter's Basilica was built upon is still accessible.

Mithraeum of the Seven Spheres  - The mithreum of the seven spheres is one of the most preserved in Ostia.

London Temple of Mithras, Walbrook is a Roman temple whose ruins were discovered in Walbrook, a street in the City of London, during rebuilding work in 1954. It is perhaps the most famous of all twentieth-century Roman discoveries in the City of London.Download
Though the present location is at grade, the original Mithraeum was built partly underground, recalling the cave of Mithras where the Mithraic epiphany took place. In 2007 the Temple will be relocated to its original location beside the ancient Walbrook River, as part of the demolition of
Bucklersbury House, and the creation of the new Walbrook Square development.

At least five other Mithraeums have been found in Great Britain.  Remains were discovered in London near St. Paul's Cathedral, in Segontium in Wales, and three were found along Hadrian's Wall in Northern England.

One of the most famous Mithraic bas-reliefs, showing twelve scenes from the life of the god, was discovered in Neuenheim, Germany in 1838.

Franz Cumont
At the end of the nineteenth century Franz Cumont, the great Belgian historian of ancient religion, published in French a magisterial two- volume work on the Mithraic mysteries based on the assumption of the Iranian origins of the cult. Cumont's work immediately became accepted as the definitive study of the cult, and remained virtually unchallenged for over seventy years.
According to the historian Plutarch, who lived in the first century A.D., the Romans became acquainted with Mithras through pirates from Cilicia, a province of Asia Minor. These  pirates where extraoridinary and  constituted such a threat to Rome that Pompey achieved his reputation as a great general by driving them from the seas.
Franz Cumont, who died in 1947, has neatly summed up the position in his Die Mysterien des Mithra:
 'It is,' he writes, 'as if it were only possible to study Christianity through the Old Testament and the mediaeval cathedrals.' Because of this great gap, the story of Mithras is bound to be incomplete and distorted, and those who wish to read it must wait for and assimilate the fresh discoveries which are made year by year."

In the absence of any convincing alternative, Cumont's explanation satisfied scholars for more than seventy years. However, in 1971 the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies was held in Manchester England, and in the course of this Congress Cumont's theories came under concerted attack. Was it not possible, scholars at the Congress asked, that the Roman cult of Mithras was actually a new religion, and had simply borrowed the name of an Iranian god in order to give itself an exotic oriental flavor? How else to explain that the tauroctony, the secrecy and initiations, the masculine exclusivity - have no parallels from Persia.

The suggestion of the central role of astrology. first made  in 1869 by K. B. Stark has now become the accepted explanation of the symbols. First, every figure found in the standard tauroctony has a parallel among a group of constellations located along a continuous band in the sky: the bull is paralleled by Taurus, the dog by Canis Minor, the snake by Hydra, the raven by Corvus, and the scorpion by Scorpio. Second, Mithraic iconography in general is pervaded by explicit astronomical imagery: the zodiac, planets, sun, moon, and stars are often portrayed in Mithraic art. David Ulansey in his book and on his web site puts forth the idea that the central secret of Mithraism was the precession of the equinoxes, and that Mithras killing the bull is his bringing about the change of the spring equinox from occurring in Taurus to occurring in Aries

Archeological evidence suggests that initiations involved three ordeals that the initiate had to endure: heat, cold, and hunger. Since Father was the highest rank it was one frequently mentioned in inscriptions, but becoming a Lion was also seen to be very important and was regarded as a watershed in one's authority and responsibility within the cult. Through their association with Jupiter, Lions were aligned with fire and so it would have been inappropriate for them to have been cleansed at their initiation with water. Instead honey was used; it was also put on their tongue to symbolise their pure and cleansing words.

The worshippers of Mithras were divided into seven grades, each marking a stage of knowledge in the cult's mysteries. An initiate started as Corax (the Raven), then moved progressively through the stages.  Each grade wore a costume and headmask to symbolize his grade.

  1. Corax (the Raven)
  2. Nymphus (bridegroom),
  3. Miles (soldier),
  4. Leo (lion),
  5. Perses (Persian),
  6. Heliodromus (Runner of the Sun)
  7. Pater (Father).

Preceding initiation into the Mithraic fold, the neophyte had to prove his courage and devotion by swimming across a rough river, descending a sharp cliff, or jumping through flames with his hands bound and eyes blindfolded. The initiate was also taught the secret Mithraic password, which he was to use to identify himself to other members, and which he was to repeat to himself frequently as a personal mantra.

The goal of their religious quest was to achieve the soul's ascent out of the world again by gaining passage through seven heavenly gates, corresponding to seven grades of initiation. Therefore, being promoted to a higher rank in the religion was believed to correspond to a heavenly journey of the soul. Promotion was obtained through submission to religious authority (kneeling), casting off the old life (nakedness), and liberation from bondage through the mysteries.

The process of Mithraic initiation required the symbolic climbing of a ceremonial ladder with seven rungs, each made of a different metal to symbolize the seven known celestial bodies. By symbolically ascending this ceremonial ladder through successive initiations, the neophyte could proceed through the seven levels of heaven. The seven grades of Mithraism, were: Corax (Raven), Nymphus (Male Bride), Miles (Soldier), Leo (Lion), Peres (Persian), Heliodromus (Sun-Runner), and Pater (Father); each respective grade protected by Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, the Moon, the Sun, and Saturn.

The lowest degree of initiation into the grade of Corax symbolized the death of a new member, from which he would arise reborn as a new man. This represented the end of his life as an unbeliever, and cancelled previous allegiances to the other unacceptable beliefs. The title Corax (Raven) originated with the Zoroastrian custom of exposing the dead on funeral towers to be eaten by carrion birds, a custom continued today by the Parsis of India, the descendants of the Persian followers of Zarathustra.

Further initiation involved the clashing of cymbals, beating of drums, and the unveiling of a statue of Mithras. The initiate drank wine from the cymbal to recognize it as the source of ritual ecstasy. Next, he ate a small morsel of bread placed on a drum, to signify his acceptance of Mithras as the source of his food. This bread had been exposed to the rays of the sun, so by eating the bread the worshipper was partaking of the divine essence of the sun itself. The initiate would also offer a loaf of bread and cup of water to the statue of Mithras.

When a neophyte reached the degree of Miles (soldier), he was offered a crown, which he had to reject with the saying "Only Mithras is my crown". The indelible mark of a cross, symbol of the sun, might then branded on his forehead with a hot iron to symbolize his ownership by the deity.

The Cosmic Egg
That the rock from which Mithras is born does indeed represent the cosmos is proven by the snake that entwines it: for this image evokes the famous Orphic myth of the snake-entwined "cosmic egg" out of which the universe was formed when the creator-god Phanes emerged from it at the beginning of time. Mithraists  explicitly identified Mithras with Phanes.

 The Orphics equated Phanes with the Elder Eros (Sexual Desire) of Hesiod's Theogony, who emerged at the beginning of time alongside Khaos (Air) and Gaia (Earth). Phanes also incorporated aspects of other primordial beings described by various ancient writers.

Phanes was portrayed as a beautiful golden-winged hermaphroditic deity wrapped in a serpent's coils. The poets describe him as an incorporeal being invisible even through the eyes of the gods. His name means "bring to light" or "make appear" from the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô.

This sculpture shows Mithras bursting from the Egg whilst holding in his upraised hands the Sword of Truth and Torch of Light. Around him in an egg-shaped frame is the Cosmos containing the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac. This is an unique representation in Britain and is thought to be the earliest surviving representation of the Signs of the Zodiac in the north-west provinces of the Roman Empire.


The gods Vishnu, Phanes, and Mithras, are all "egg born" solar deities. Another solar entity, the rooster, is also born of an egg.


Mithraic leontocephaline or lion-headed figure, who is always depicted with a snake winding around him.

This marble statue, now in the Vatican Library,  is a representation of time: a naked body in the coils of a snake and with the head of a lion. In its hands are two keys and a sceptre. It has four wings, symbols of the seasons.
From a shrine excavated by the Irish painter Robert Fagan between 1794 and 1800 somewhere between the Palazzo Imperiale and the ancient mouth of the Tiber [

The serpent plays an important role in every culture. It is a dual role, as a symbol of wisdom and of evil. A snake is a lowly creature who cannot leave the ground, making it an obvious symbol of base desires and material entrapment. As a sexual symbol, the snake can represent the energies of the universe, or base human desires and lust- traditional pictures of dragon slayers are allegories to conquered material desires such as these, as are many human/monster hybrids. However, as even the lowest serpent sheds its skin and renews itself, it is a token of resurrection. As a symbol of spiritual power, the serpent represents the awakened self.

Serpents depicted symbolically on a vertical axis nearly always represent sexual energy- the twin serpents of the cadeceus, the kundalini serpents, the alchemical crucified serpent, and the serpent of Genesis are all symbols of the sexual nature of man. In the Ouroboros. Click for home. The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its tail and forming a circle. It is associated with alchemy, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism. It represents the cyclical nature of things, eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. In alchemy, the ouroboros symbolises the circular nature of opus which unites the opposites: the conscious and unconscious mind. Yin and yang are suggested in the bi-coloration often seen. Ouroboros is here representing the Wheel of the Year that you will find in these articles.Judeo-Christian allegorical story of Adam and Eve, the serpent represents the dual nature of sexual energy, which can either entrap or release the spirit. It is this serpent who guards the mythical tree of life and immortality featured in mythology the world over, where it serves as both a protector of the aspirant and an obstacle to the uninitiated.

Even the name Vatican bears the etymological imprint of the serpent: Vati = place; can = serpent."

Mithrasism merged into Christianity in 4th century
Mithras was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by gift-carrying Magi. This was celebrated as the "Dies Natalis Solic Invite," The "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."

The faithful referred to Mithras as "the Light of the World", symbol of truth, justice, and loyalty. He was mediator between heaven and earth and was a member of a Holy Trinity. According to Persian mythology, Mithras was born of a virgin given the title 'Mother of God'. The god remained celibate throughout his life, and valued self-control, renunciation and resistance to sensuality among his worshippers. Mithras, like Jesus, is a central figure incarnating the Light and the Good, in perpetual conflict with Evil. Mithras represented a system of ethics in which brotherhood was encouraged in order to unify against the forces of evil.

Cult Of Cybele & Attis

Some might say Mithraism likely borrowed its Sacraments from the Cult of Cybele

The Phrygian cult of Cybele, the Maga Mater, which had been introduced in Rome in 204 BC, still had pious followers in the 4th century. They gathered in sanctuaries like the Vatican phyrigianum, or temple on the Campus Martius. Like Mithras, this cult had an initiation covering several grades including baptism and rebirth using the blood of a bull whose throat was cut drenching the inititiate as part of a pledge to a new life as described by the poet Prudentius. The initiate also ate food from the tambourine and drank liquor from the cymbal which were used in the cult of Attis, Cybele's partner. Their great annual festival was a holy week in Spring. This all led to followers accusing the Christians of imitating their rites with baptism, the Eucharist and Easter week.
Their religion was banned by Emperor Theodosius
Bust of Attis wearing a Phrygian cap
Bust of Attis wearing a Phrygian cap. Mithras is also typically depicted as wearing a Phyrigian cap
 Initiates might be members of several cults imported from the eastern empire such as Magna Mater and Attis, Isis, Serapis, Jupiter Dolichenus, Hecate, and Liber Pater.

The most popular and threatening cult for the Romans was the Egyptian cult of Isis, which was periodically outlawed and their adherents persecuted.  The festival of Isis where her image is carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season, was called the "Carrus Navalis" and many believe this is the true origin of the word "Carnival" not the "Farewell to the flesh" from the Latin roots, carne [meat] and vale [farewell] which has been popularized. The inability to manage the cult of Isis of a major impetus for the Roman Emperors to find a workable arrangement with the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

During his life, Mithras performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples  representing the twelve houses of the zodiac. He ascended to heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21.

Devotees knelt when they worshipped and a common meal - a communion- took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of the god. Sundays were held sacred. The transformation of Mithras into a Bull or Ram which preceded the eating of his flesh and blood directly parallels the Christians Jesus' death and rebirth, his statement that his disciples should eat and drink his flesh and blood to wash away sin and gain eternal life.

Both Mithraism and Christianity tell of an ark built to escape a flood.

Mithraism had seven sacraments, the same as the Catholic Church, baptism, and communion with bread and water. The Eucharist hosts were signed with a cross, an ancient phallic symbol which originated in Egypt, and the Egyptian cross (the ankh) still shows the original form which included the female symbol.

The worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell. The faithful to the Mithra believed they would live in bliss after death until the Judgment of mankind.They looked forward to a final day of judgment in which the dead would resurrect, and to a final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things to bring about the triumph of light over darkness relegating the wicked to hell and establish the millennial kingdom.  

The worshippers of Mithras did not lose themselves in a contemplative mysticism like the followers of other near-eastern sects. Their morality particularly encouraged action, and during a period of war and confusion, they found stimulation, comfort and support in its tenets.

The parallels to the Roman Catholic Church are startling at first glance but should not be so surprising considering Rome's interest in creating unity by replacing their former official religion with the Christian zealotry for belief. In fact, harsher critics consider the Christian claim of being the sole source of Salvation, as the only truly original and distinguishing characteristic of the new religion besides its insistence on the literal historical veracity of its Savior and His miracles.

Previously the Christians were also known as Gnostics and were tolerant of very diverse beliefs. Some thought that Jesus was a man, while others thought that he was a God, and some believed that he became a God only after he was baptized. Some believed in a struggle between good and evil, others were non-dualistic. Most had widely-varying intricate systems of intermediaries between the ultimate deity and humanity.

The Magi
The Magi likely had a large impact on Mithraism, it is said they kept star records of the precession of the equinoxes.
"Scholars have recognized, these Magi were not priests of orthodox Zoroastrianism. Rather, judging from their various tenets, which included a divine triad, pantheism, magic, astrology, number mysticism, the belief in reincarnation and the four elements, their cult was closer in similarity to the Kabbalah, believed also to have originated in the same city in that century.

"In fact, nearly the entire population of the Jewish people, except for a contingent that followed Jeremiah to Egypt, was in Babylon in exile. Many had reached prominent posts, and even Daniel himself was appointed to head the Wise Men, that is, the magi.

"The creed of the Chaldean magi, and its various elements, was introduced to Greece during the Persian invasions, and led to the emergence of what we call philosophy in that region. Then, with the conquests of Alexander, these doctrines were then spread to the rest of the known world, flourishing particularly at Alexandria in Egypt, where they led to the formulation of Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and the Ancient Mysteries.

"It took a mere 20 years for the Muslims to go on the war path after the death of their prophet Mohammed. Between 642 and the first decade of the 8th century A.D. Arab Islamic forces pierced the vulnerable underbelly of magian Iran, and across the Oxus river into the lands of the nomadic Turkic tribes." In 712 A.D. Khorezm, a bastion of Zoroastrianism, fell to Islamic forces.

The magi "had ruled large tracts of Asia, served in the court of the Chinese Emperor, and studied alongside the priests, priestesses and philosophers of Greece, Rome, India and Egypt. Could it be that a religion so famed throughout antiquity should perish?"

"Then came the Arabs of Islam, who picked up on this tradition, where it led to the formulation of the heresy of the Ismailis, and the esoteric version of Islam, known as Sufism. When the love poetry of the Sufis, and perhaps the Ismaili doctrines of the Assassins, were introduced to Europe during the Crusades, they influenced the Age of Chivalry and ultimately the production of the Grail legends." The Templar Knights are a famous example of Crusaders influenced by Sufism.

[more @]Les Gosling via Shelagh McKenna

an illustrated history portal on ancient Persian history

Hamlet's Mill The Twilight of the Gods WAS ONCE, then, a Golden Age. Why, how, did it come to an end? This has been a deep concern of mankind over time, refracted in a hundred myths, explained in so many ways which always expressed sorrow, nostalgia, despondency. Why did man lose the Garden of Eden? The answer has always been, because of some original sin. But the idea that man alone was able to commit sin, that Adam and Eve are the guilty ones, is not very old. The authors of the Old Testament had developed a certain conceit. Christianity then had to come to rescue and restore cosmic proportions, by insisting that God alone could offer himself in atonement.

In archaic times, this had seemed to be self-evident. The gods alone could run or wreck the universe. It is there that we should search for the origin of evil. For evil remains a mystery. It is not in nature. The faultless and all-powerful machine of the heavens should have yielded only harmony and perfection, the reign of justice and innocence, rivers flowing with milk and honey.

---Hamlet's Mill

 First published in 1969 and written by two professors of the history of science - the late Giorgio de Santillana of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hertha von Dechend of Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt - it is the book that has best made the case that ancient myths from all over the world contain, on one level, a language encrypting  astronomical observations which unify the planet.
While nearly every religion of the world shows traces of astrological influence,  Mithraism, which can take as much credit for Carnaval as the Roman Catholic Church, still lives on as part of our zeitgeist.

All things are woven together and the common bond is sacred, and scarcely one thing is foreign to another, for they have been arranged together in their places and together make the same ordered Universe. For there is one Universe out of all, one God through all, one substance and one law, one common Reason of all intelligent creatures and one Truth.
Frequently consider the connection of all things in the universe.
We should not say ‘I am an Athenian’ or ‘I am a Roman’ but ‘I am a citizen of the Universe.

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)

Lion-headed god standing on cosmic sphere with intersecting circles of the ecliptic and the celestial equator. and holding key in right hand is a common figure. One of the most famous and important references to this cross formed by the ecliptic and the celestial equator is found in Plato's dialogue Timaeus, where Plato tells us how the Demiurge (the creator of the universe) constructed the universe out of two circles which he joined "in the form of the letter X. The name Arimanius. was found on the base of a statue of him in York, England.
Christianity's greatest rival
"The Mysteries of Mithra, which came to flower in the near east during the Hellenistic age as a kind of Zoroastrian heresy, and in the Roman period was the most formidable rival of Christianity...
Celebrants wore masks representing animals of the Zodiac: for astronomy was undergoing a new development in this period through an application of Greek thought to the data of the centuries of Sumero-Chaldean observation. In all religions of the age, the Zodiac had come to represent the bounding, ever revolving sphere of time - space - causality, within which the
Download unbounded Spirit operates unmoved yet moving in all." Joseph Campbell
December 25th

Winter Solstice

The Babylonians celebrated their "Victory of the Sun-God" Festival on DEC-25. Saturnalia (the Festival of Saturn) was celebrated from DEC-17 to 23 in the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Aurelian  (September 9, 214–September 275), blended Saturnalia with a number of birth celebrations of savior Gods from other religions, into a single holy day: DEC-25. After much argument, the developing Christian church adopted this date as the birthday of their savior, Jesus. The people of the Roman Empire were accustomed to celebrating the birth of a God on that day. So, it was easy for the church to divert people's attention to Jesus' birth.

Mediterranean intellectual and religious life was pervaded by astrological beliefs. It was widely believed that the stars and planets were living gods, and that their movements controlled all aspects of human existence. In addition, at this time most people believed in what scholars call "astral immortality": that is, the idea that after death the human soul ascends up through the heavenly spheres to an afterlife in the pure and eternal world of the stars.

A Song to Mithras
"Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!
--- Rudyard Kipling, British author and poet

Tauroctony encircled by the 12 signs of the zodiac

Cautes and Cautopates
Cautes and Cautopates
can be found with varying levels of emphasis in the Tauroctony itself where the torch-bearers have been though to represent the two equinoxes, the points where the zodiac crosses the celestial equator. Cautes always holds an uplifted torch whilst Cautopates has a down-turned torch. They are clothed in the costume of ancient Persia, including the Phrygian cap.  
In 2002 archaeoastronomy sky simulations asserted that the two identical figures represent the constellation of Gemini since this would explain why the equatorial constellations of Orion and Libra were not included in the Mithraic icons despite being missing for only a small portion of the 2160 years of Spring Equinox represented by Taurus. This period was around 4000 BC at the beginning of the age of Taurus when   Gemini was also an equatorial constellation. [more]
Powerful Patrons

Why its the "Roman" Catholic Church

At a time when Christianity was only one of several  foreign Eastern cults struggling for recognition in Rome, the hierarchal organization,  religious dualism, and dogmatic moral teaching of Mithraism set it apart from other sects, creating a stability previously unknown in Roman paganism. The cult's emphasis on truth, honor,  courage, and personal discipline had a special appeal to the spiritually ambitious among soldiers, merchants and noblemen,

The Roman emperors early on formally announced their alliance with the sun and emphasized their likeness to Mithras, god of its divine light. Mithras was also unified with the sun-god Helios, and became known as 'The Great God Helios-Mithras'.


“There is one light of the sun, though it is interrupted by walls, mountains and infinite other things. There is one common substance, though it is distributed among countless bodies which have their several qualities. There is one soul, though it is distributed among several natures and individual limitations. There is one intelligent soul, though it seems to be divided. “
---Marcus Aurelius, 
Nero, emperor of Rome
Emperor Nero [ruled from 54 to 68] adopted the radiating crown as the symbol of his sovereignty to exemplify the splendour of the rays of the sun, and to show that he was an incarnation of Mithras. He was initiated into the Mithraic religion by the Persian Magi brought to Rome by the King of Armenia. Emperors from that time onwards proclaimed themselves destined to the throne by virtue of having been born with the divine ruling power of the sun. Nero was a popular emperor with the people and ruthless in protecting his throne. His tutor Seneca was well known as a Stoic writer and was the last word on a heliocentric solar system till Copernicus 1500 years later.

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), the Roman emperor, was the last of the great Stoics. Stoicism died out, as the popular saying goes, "because everyone became a Stoic." Everything Stoicism had to say became common property in Late Antiquity, and what was of value was absorbed into the Neoplatonic synthesis.

When Commodus (Emperor from 180‑192 A.D.) was initiated into the Mithraic religion, there began an era of strong support of Mithraism that included emperors such as Aurelian, Diocletian, and Julian the Apostate, who called Mithras "the guide of the souls". All of these emperors took the Mithraic titles of 'Pius', 'Felix', and 'Invictus' (devout, blessed, and invincible

Emperor Aurelian


Aurelian (September 9, 214–September 275) strengthened the position of the Sun god, Sol or Oriens, as the main divinity of the Roman pantheon. His intention was to give to all the peoples of the Empire, civilian or soldiers, easterners or westerners, a single god they could believe in without betraying their own gods. The center of the cult was a new temple, built in 271 in Campus Agrippae in Rome, with great decorations financed by the spoils of the Palmyrene Empire. Aurelian did not persecute other religions. However, during his short rule, he seemed to follow the principle of "one god, one empire", that was later adopted to a full extent by Constantine. On some coins, he appears with the title deus et dominus natus ("God and born ruler"), also later adopted by his successor Diocletian.

Emperor Diocletian
Image:Dio coin3.jpg
Emperor Diocletian (c. 236-316),also a worshipper of Mithra, the Sun God, burned much of the Christian scriptures in 307 A.D.

In 303, Diocletian ordered a persecution of Christians that was to be the last and greatest in the Roman Empire.

On February 24, 303, Diocletian's first "Edict against the Christians" was published. This ordered the destruction of Christian scriptures and places of worship across the Empire, while prohibiting Christians from assembling for worship. Arrested bishops and priests were later released if they agreed to sacrifice, which was taken as a sign of apostasy from Christianity.  Those that refused to surrender their sacred writings faced imprisonment and death.

This wave of persecution was enforced most strictly in the Empire's eastern provinces, where it lasted in some areas until 313 when the Edict of Milan by Constantine I and Licinius.

In 305, at the age of 59, after almost dying from a sickness, Diocletian retired to his palace in Dalmatia, where Split Croatia is today on the Adriatic Sea, becoming the first Roman Emperor to voluntarily remove himself from office.

Emperor Constantine
Emperor Constantine merged the cult of Mithra with that of Christianity that was developing much power among his constituents. He declared himself a Christian but at the same time maintained his ties to the Mithra cult. He retained the title "Pontifus Maximus" the high priest. On his coins were inscribed: "Sol Invicto comiti" which means, commited to the invincible sun.

In the 4th century, the Christian Church was wracked with controversy over the divinity of Jesus Christ, his relationship to God the Father, and the nature of the Trinity. In 325, Constantine I convened the Council of Nicea, which asserted that Jesus, the Son, was equal to the Father, one with the Father, and of the same substance (homoousios in Greek).

Emperor Theodosius

declared Christianity as the only legitimate imperial religion

Flavius Theodosius (January 11, 347 – January 17, 395), was Roman Emperor from 379-395. Reuniting the eastern and western portions of the empire for one last time and assuring the ultimate irreparable division of the empire after his death. He is also known for making Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Theodosius promoted Nicene Trinitarianism within Christianity and Christianity within the empire.
 In May, 381, Theodosius summoned a new ecumenical council at Constantinople to fix the schism between East and West on the basis of Nicean orthodoxy. "The council went on to define orthodoxy, including the mysterious Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost who, though equal to the Father, 'proceeded' from Him, whereas the Son was 'begotten' of Him. The council also "condemned the Apollonian and Macedonian heresies, clarified church jurisdictions according to the civil boundaries of dioceses and ruled that Constantinople was second in precedence to Rome." In his early reign, Theodosius was fairly tolerant of the pagans, for he needed the support of the influential pagan ruling class. However he would in time stamp out the last vestiges of paganism with great severity. Many Christian churches would be built above temples of Mithraism, Cybele & Isis.

In 391 he declared Christianity as the only legitimate imperial religion, ending state support for the traditional Roman religion.

Pagan members of the Senate in Rome appealed to him to restore the Altar of Victory in the Senate House; he refused. After the last Olympic Games in 393, Theodosius cancelled the games, and the reckoning of dates by Olympiads soon came to an end


Emperor Eugenius
the last stand at Italy-Slovenia border
Theodosius then moved from Constantinople with his army, and met Eugenius and Arbogast in the Battle of the Frigidus (on the modern Italy-Slovenia border) on September 6, 394. The bloody battle lasted two days, and was marked by unusual astronomical and meteorological events, but in the end Theodosius won. Arbogast immediately committed suicide after the defeat, while Eugenius was held for execution as a criminal, his head afterward being displayed in Theodosius' camp.