THE VERMONT LODGE OF RESEARCH #10
THE MYSTERIES OF MITHRAS
There has developed quite a large historical record on the cultic practice of Mithraism beginning around 1400 BC to its wane in the 3rd century AD. My focus in this lecture is to discuss only the initiatic degree system as a prototype of the initiatic systems in the ancient mysteries. Mithraism recognized seven degrees of divine knowledge. Members could advance from one degree to the next by undergoing a special initiation, with tests of courage and stamina at each stage. The seven ranks corresponded to the seven known celestial planets, and scaling them was a metaphor for the passage of the soul through the planetary spheres toward heaven
Lets look at a traditional description of the seven degrees of Mithras by the historian Everett Ferguson in his book BACKGROUND OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY:
"The symbols of the different grades are found in a remarkable pebble mosaic in the floor of a mithraeum dedicated by Felicissimus in Ostia, the port city of ancient Rome. The mosaic portrays three objects for each grade: one representing the grade itself; one an emblem of a function of the grade and one for the planetary god associated with the grade.
(1) RAVEN. The first grade was under the protection of Mercury, whose role as a messenger of the gods was taken by the raven in the Mithraic myth. The symbols of this degree are the raven a cup and the caduceus of mercury.
(2) BRIDE. The second grade was under the protection of Venus. There is shown a lamp and a crown. There is a suggestion of a wedding ceremony and a bridal bath, so the element of water and purification b water may have occurred in the initiation.
(3)SOLDIER. The third grade was under the patronage of Mars. The symbols are the pouch that the soldier wore over his shoulder, a helmet and a lance. There is evidence of branding on the forehead. The soldier has been associated with the element of earth.
(4) LION. The forth grade was connected with Jupiter The symbols were a fire shovel, sistrum and thunderbolts. This degree belonged to the element of fire. The inscriptions describe incense burners and in the paintings, torches are held close to the initiate, perhaps for some purification by fire.
(5) PERSIAN. The fifth grade was under protection of the moon. The symbols shown are a hooked knife, a scythe or plow and the moon and a star.
(6) SUN RUNNER. The sixth grade, messenger of the sun, was under the protection of the sun., whose representative he was on earth. The symbols on the mosaic are a torch, the radiate crown and a whip, which Sol drives the horses of His chariot. The sun-runner and the father are the two most important members of a Mithraic society.
(7) PATER-FATHER. The highest grade was under the protection of Saturn and the holder of this grade is Mithras himself. His symbols are a ring and staff, the Persian cap and a sickle. The title father, became the practice of the christian community as early as the third century.
The seven degrees represent the order of the seven planets of the ancient world. The initiate who had passed thru all degrees could, on his death, pass thru the seven planetary spheres to heaven. According to the paintings in some temples, the candidate was led thru the ceremonies naked and was at first blindfolded. The initiate took an oath of secrecy before admission to the sect. Other paintings indicate such actions as the laying on of hands, pouring on of water like baptism, striking with the leg of a bull placing a solar crown on the head, and fire held close to the body. "
The important thing to remember is that the initiatic degree system of ancient Mithras represents the gold standard of the ancient cultic mystery centers. It is the historical cumulation of all the ancient traditions that arose before Christ in Greece, Egypt, Chaldea, Persia and India. By the first century AD, it probably represented the complete reformation of the mysteries by the great adept Apollonius of Tyana that occurred contemporaneously with the life of Christ in Judea.
We discussed in the lecture SYMBOLISM OF THE MASONIC TWO ST. JOHNS that the mysteries of Eleusius in Greece were divided into a two tiered system of the 'greater' mysteries and the 'lesser mysteries.' Using the correspondence to the Mithras mysteries, one could say the first, second and third degrees of Mithras correspond to the lesser mysteries.
The first degree was primarily concerned with the purification of the individual of his faults and desires so as to be receptive to higher spiritual influences that could only descend upon a pure soul. This could only occur after a spiritual death and rebirth unto a spiritual path shown by the hierophant of the initiation. The raven is a symbol of this death. A mantra was given to him to repeat and rebirth was signified by his sins being washed away by baptism in water. The idea of the raven has lingered in myths and sagas. There are the Ravens of Wotan, the ravens of Elijah and in the German Barbarossa saga, ravens are the intermediaries between the emperor under a spell in the mountain and the outer world.
The second grade was that of the "Occult One". The candidate wears a veil and carries a lamp in his hand. He is unable to see the light of truth until the veil of reality is lifted. This is the veil of Isis that is removed when one accumulates the great secrets of occult wisdom. He is wed to the cult and becomes its bride, remaining celibate for at least duration of this stage.
The third grade was that of the "Fighter." The candidate had to kneel naked, blindfolded with hands tied. He was then offered a crown on the point of a sword. Once crowned, his binds were cut with a single stroke of the sword and blindfold removed. Under the sign of the warrior god Mars, these were initiates who felt their higher self in service in the battle of good vs. evil in their nation. Their ego was now a community ego. The fighter lived in service to the nation. Of them it was said "Though thou fightest thou art not the fighter."
At the completion of the first three degrees, the candidate was not required to proceed any further into the higher four degrees. The same is true of masonry, three degrees completes the cycle of initiation, nothing further is required. The purpose of the first three degrees is to lead the candidate on the path back to the primordial state, that of humanity before the "Fall." But this is a long path and in practice, very few candidates actually reach this final result. The goal is a reintegration of the individual soul with the group soul of both the community or nation and also that of the soul of all humanity. Thus, one feels at the same time, both a center unto himself and a periphery of a circle radiating into the ethnic community.
Using the correspondence again to the Mithras mysteries, one could say the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh degrees of Mithras correspond to the greater mysteries of Eleusius in Greece.
The fourth grade was achieved when that third degree candidate had actually achieved oneness with his ethnic community. He participated in the life of the angelic kingdom and was called that of the "Lion". Such an initiate had so developed the occult life in himself that he could represent the occult not only with words but with deeds. Meanwhile, the consciousness of a person who has passed through these four stages of initiation extended further and further into the angelic kingdom. In ancient Palestine one designated as a "Lion", had raised himself up to encompass the consciousness, the ego, of a whole tribe. The "lion" of the tribe of Judah is the term applied to someone who had reached such a stage of initiation that he bore within himself the ego of the whole tribe. The initiate of the fifth grade had so overcome his personality that he could take up the nation's folk-soul. The folk-spirit lived in him. In Persia such an initiate was called a "Persian". In Greece one would have called him a "Grecian", if it had been the custom. Proof of this is related in the gospel of Gospel of John where it is said:"Philip findeth Nathanael and saith unto him: We have found him of whom Moses in
the law and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him: Can there any good thing out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him: Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him and saith of him: Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile!"
By calling him an Israelite, (like a Persian, above), Nathanael is here acknowledged as an initiate of the fifth grade. The person initiated in the fifth degree participated in the life of the archangels. When such a person was initiated in the mysteries and received the soul-content which corresponded to the fifth degree, the archangel looked at the soul of such a person and read in that soul as we read in a book that informs us of certain things which we must know in order to accomplish something. The archangel read in the person who was initiated in the fifth degree what a race or nation needed. Initiates of the fifth degree must be formed on earth in order for the archangels to lead correctly. Those initiates are the intermediaries between the leaders of the ethnic group and the people of the nation. They carry up to the sphere of the archangels what is needed in order for the nations to be correctly guided. How could this fifth degree be attained in pre-Christian times? It could not be attained while the soul remained in the body. The human soul had to be elevated out of the body by the hierophant. The soul had to abandon the earth and enter the spiritual world in order to attain what it needed.
When the sixth degree of the old initiation was reached, the Sun-Hero degree, then in the soul of such a Sun-Hero reigned not only what is necessary to lead a people, but what is higher than that. If you observe the evolution of humanity on the earth, you will see how nations arise and disappear, how they develop. Nations are born and die as individuals do. What a nation has accomplished for the earth must, however, be retained in the earth's evolution. Not only must a nation be led and guided, but also what that nation or race accomplishes on earth must be preserved beyond that nation. In order for this to happen the Sun-Heroes were necessary. In the higher worlds it is possible to read what lives in the soul of a Sun-hero and gain the strength which carries over the achievements of a nation into the work of humanity as a whole. And just as the soul of the fifth degree initiate had to leave his body in order to accomplish what was necessary, so the soul of the Sun-hero had during the initiation to leave his body and spend time in the sun sphere. During this time, the soul experienced a meeting with the Christ before He descended to earth and incarnated in Jesus.
And after the three and one-half day initiation, the soul returned to earth with the strength it needed to take up the nation's karma and work in into the evolution of humanity as a whole.
The last degree was that called the Father. This person bore the whole karma of the nation. Moses was such a Father, as was Hermes, Buddha, Krishna and Zarathustra, all Fathers of their respective nations. In the mysteries he bore a key. The key to the threshold, the passage from purgatory into heaven. St. Peter at the gate of heaven with his key is such a christian symbol.
At the time of initiation, the etheric body of these leaders was outside the physical body and it observed the nature of their whole nation or race. After deciding what was best for the nation, when the initiate returned to his physical body, he made laws, customs and rituals, to guide his nation. We saw Moses do this on the mountain top of Sinai and return with the ten commandments. Since the Father created each nation's laws, he became personally responsible for the sins against the laws he had created. For this reason, the Father had to reincarnate many times into the race to expiate the karma of the sins of the citizens.
There was an actual union of the folk-soul of the race with the etheric body of the Father during the initiation. In the case of Moses, the arch-angel Michael united with Moses and dwelt within him.
Now, I have used the Mithras mysteries as an archetype or proto-type of all the mystery cults that existed from the age of Atlantis until the birth of Christ. How do all these degrees of initiation fit into the development of a particular race or nation? For each epoch of evolving humanity beginning the Aran age with the Hindus, we have Krishna as a Father initiate leader, bestowing on his nation the laws, religion, customs and cults. In the next epoch of the Persian cycle, we have Zarathustra as the Father initiate. In the third epoch, for the Egyptians, we have Hermes as the Father initiate, for the Jews we have Moses and later Solomon. For each nation, there was created an mystery center from which emanated the wise guidance of its citizens by the initiated elite, lead by the Father. Every nation, in its rise and fall of civilization, followed this archetypal pattern.
For each of the leaders of the respective nation, the initiates of the higher 4th - 5th - 6th and 7th degrees, there corresponded a respective guiding angelic hierarchy. The evolution of mankind was guided thru the ancient mystery centers on two levels. First, on the physical level, by the Father and his subordinates, the LIONS, PERSIANS, and SUN RUNNERS. Second, on the spiritual level, by an angelic hierarchy, of angels, archangels, archons and powers or elohim. To see how these two hierarchies operate in the life of a particular race or nation, we can look to the history of the Jewish nation, leading up to the birth of Christ. This archetypal evolution has been preserved in the Solomonic degrees of the Scottish rites, for which we are grateful. However, we will now look at it from a different angle.
First, at the angelic level, there was an inspiring folk-soul, Elijah, who was not merely the normal angel, aspiring to rise to the level of arch-angel. He had the (miraculous) powers of an archangel who had descended to the level of an angel. In each of his incarnations as Phinehas (son of Eleazar), Elijah-Naboth, Elijah-Elisha and St. John the Baptist, he rescued the fallen group spirit of the people and restored its vigor to fulfill their karmic mission.
At the arch-angelic level, Michael was the guiding folk-spirit, who received orders from the higher Archai and give orders to his folk-soul. He was also more elevated than the normal archangel, being a sun spirit and acting as the countenance of Jehovah. The corresponding Spirit of the Age was the Greek Archon, which had basically fulfilled his task by the end of the Golden Age of Greece.
In normal cultural evolution, when we approach the second angelic hierarchy, there is no direct correspondence between the nation and the guidance from the Spirits of Form and Spirits of Motion. These higher spirits normally work equally thru all nations of a race or sub-race. However, with the Hebrew nation, Jehovah-Elohim, as a Spirit of Form worked directly in the Jewish blood from Abraham, thru the 3 X 14 generations of the Matthew Gospel, to the birth of Jesus.
At the level of the Planetary Spirits of Motion, the Semitic race belonged to the Mars race-spirit. Again, there is not a normal relationship here. The Mars Spirits themselves work directly thru the blood producing the Mongolian race. However, in order for Jehovah to intervene and work directly thru the blood, a special cooperation had to be reached between the two spirits, so that Jehovah ALONE and not the Mars Spirits, could have exclusive influence over the Hebrew nation.
Thus, throughout the second and first angelic hierarchies, all angelic beings worked cooperatively for the great karmic task of the evolution of the Semitic race; which in the Abraham-Isaac line would bear the incarnation of the Christ and in the Abraham-Ishmael line which into the future would continue the monotheistic tradition of the Prophet and the Word. The special angelic beings who guided this mission were:
|Greek Archai||Spirit of the Age/Elohim|
|Jehovah-Elohim||Spirit of Form|
|Mars/Jehovah||Spirit of Motion|
THE TEMPLE SLEEP
Alfred North Whitehead once remarked that the entire history of western philosophy consisted of a series of footnotes to Plato and Aristotle. Madame Blavatsky (in the SECRET DOCTRINE) says this of Plato,
"The initiated adept, who had successfully passed thru all of the trials, was attached, not nailed, but simply tied on a couch in the form of a TAU (T), cross, plunged into a deep sleep. He was allowed to remain in this sleep for three days during which time his spiritual ego was said to confabulate with the gods. His body remaining at all times in a temple crypt or subterranean cave. In Egypt, where Plato was initiated, it was placed in a sarcophagus in the King's Chamber of the pyramid of Cheops and carried during the night of the approaching third day to the entrance of a gallery, where at a certain hour, the beams of the rising sun struck full on the face of the entranced candidate. Who awoke to be initiated by Osiris. The King's Chamber of the pyramid of Cheops was an Egyptian Holies of Holies."
Thus, we see here several things. First, the masonic symbolism of the Tau Cross of Hiram Abiff. Second, the masonic symbolism of the crypt, where the candidate was placed for three days, which in our third degree was replaced by the coffin of Hiram. Third, the rising of the candidate from the crypt or coffin the to rising sun of Osiris in the east. In our third degree, Hiram is raised, but in death not life.
Fourth, we see what is called the "Temple Sleep" of the candidate. In all the ancient mystery centers, the candidate was given a drug that would render him catatonic, usually poison from the puffer or stone fish. The Hierophant would lead the candidate in his soul bodies out into the spiritual worlds, first into the sphere of the moon, then to the sphere of the sun, which has both a lower level and a higher level, called Devachan. The sphere of the moon was purgatory where the candidate conversed with all the spirits of his ancestors and the ancient Masters of Wisdom who reside there. The sphere of the sun was higher and lower heaven, where he conversed with all the spirits of the angelic hierarchies of angels, archangels and archons. He experienced the "sun at midnight" and met the ruling spirit of the sun, who later would descend to earth and redeem the world.
The drug separated the candidate's etheric body from the physical body, leaving the astral, soul and spiritual bodies to float and travel outwards into the atmosphere. The three and one half days represented the maximum amount of time the candidate's etheric body could be separated from the physical body without suffering physical death. This temple sleep was practiced as the method of initiation in all the ancient mysteries up to the time of Christ. This procedure is no longer available today, as such a separation would cause death in several hours. When the candidate returned at the end of the sleep, he would consciously remember the entire personal experience of the three days journey by the Hierophant throughout the spiritual worlds. Obviously, he would never be the same again. For his present life, he would be an initiated third degree of the Mithras (or other) mysteries, ready to prepare and qualify for the higher 4th-5th-6th degrees. After death, he would again re-experience the journey thru the heavenly spheres, in his soul bodies, this time for real. After experiencing the cosmic midnight, he would descend thru the spheres again in reverse order and incarnate into a new life on earth, being 'thrice born', as was said of Hermes.
As we saw how the initiated Fathers of the mysteries became the leaders of mankind, so too did the initiates of the lower degrees became the teachers of humanity. Plato was initiated in the King's Chamber of the pyramid of Cheops. Pythagorus was also initiated here and learned the secrets of geometry from the Egyptian priests.
Aristotle was initiated in the Greek mysteries of both Samothrace/Kabiri and those of Elusius. Plato was the master of Aristotle. The following scene which took place between Plato and Aristotle, at a time when Plato was very old, and really at the end of his earthly career. I must of course clothe in words what naturally occurred in a much more complicated way. Plato said to Aristotle somewhat as follows: "Many things I have told you and my other pupils may not have seemed correct to you, but what I have told you is really an extract of the most ancient holy Mystery Wisdom. Human beings will, however, in the course of their evolution acquire such a form and such an inner organization, which will gradually lead them to something certainly higher than we now possess but this will at the same time make it impossible for them to accept natural science in the way it is presented to the Greeks." Plato made this clear to Aristotle. "Therefore, I will withdraw myself for a time" said Plato, "and will leave you to yourself. In the world of thought, for which you are so especially endowed, and which will become the thought-world of humanity for many centuries, try to build up in thoughts what you have learnt here in my school." So Plato and Aristotle separated, and Plato therewith fulfilled, as commanded, a high spiritual mission through Aristotle.
This imagination is of the sort that occurred between John the Baptist and Jesus, where John says that he must decrease while Jesus must increase. Aristotle really gathered together the whole ancient wisdom of Plato, the sum total of the cognition of the ancients in the fourth pre-Christian century, and wrote it down into his 10 categories and natural philosophy and logic sent out a kind of system of logic into central Europe, yet he himself stood firmly based on the Greek Mysteries, and indeed on all the Mysteries of that time. Any scholar will be able to sense that a certain inner connection with the secrets of nature underlies the entire Aristotelian logic and philosophy. Thereafter, the pupil of Plato became the teacher of Alexander, who then went out and conquered the whole known world and Hellenized it with the Greek system of language, measures and logic. In the 3 generations from Plato to Aristotle to Alexander, the ancient Greek mystery wisdom of Plato was first transformed into the new modern wisdom of the logical categories of Aristotle and second, this new logical wisdom was spread over the known world by Alexander. In this way the entire foundation of western knowledge was set forth as characterized above by the philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, as a series of footnotes to Plato and Aristotle.
All forms of knowledge in western civilizations came from the ancient mystery centers. The mysteries extended over different regions of the earth, and took different forms; each region of the earth according to its people and according to the conditions for that region of the earth, had its own special form of the Mysteries. They mystery centers were originally distributed according the planets in a seven fold scheme. The planetary spirit of Saturn has a mystery center in a particular race, as did the planetary spirits of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Vulcan.
Separating the outermost planets from the innermost planets, stood the planet of the sun. The leader of the sun mysteries was
always called Manu. The always living Jewish high priest named Melchizadek was a manu who donated his etheric body to
form the physical bodies of the children of Noah, after the flood, Japhet, Seth and Ham. In Egypt, we see a certain Menes
who was worshiped as the founder of the Egyptian dynasties. In Crete we also see a certain, Minos, who was the founder of
that culture. Behind the great leaders of humanity we showed above in Krishna, Zarathustra and Hermes, stood a great
Manu, who was the genetic founder of the race/culture. He always emanated from the sun oracle to establish the order of
evolution. This sun oracle named Melchizadek meet a certain Abraham in Jerusalem and from his descendants came the son
of the sun, Jesus Christ.
ASTRONOMICAL SYMBOLISM OF MITHRAS
Madame Blavatsky once said that all great symbols have 7 levels of symbolism, the first and highest level is astronomical. Returning to our religion of Mithras, the central icon is the tauroctony in which Mithras is riding on the back of a bull and he slays the bull by stabbing a sword into the shoulder of the bull. Our scholar on Mithrasism, Franz Cumont, could never adequately explain the symbolism of this central icon. Of course, Cumont was not versed in the mystery wisdom of the ages as we masons are. A few years ago, a Boston university scholar, David Ulansey, discovered the ancient symbolism and wrote a book of his findings (1989). He wrote that the tauroctony represents the astronomical situation of the stars during the epoch when the spring equinox was in Taurus. The figures in the tauroctony, the bull, snake, dog, cup, raven and scorpion, represent the constellations which lay on the celestial equator on or below the ecliptic when the spring equinox was in Taurus. To understand this claim it is necessary to first understand the astronomical phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes.
An astronomical age is determined by the vernal point of the sun in the plane of the sidereal zodiac. What the ancients called the "great Platonic year" is now called the precession of the equinoxes caused by the wobble of the earth's axis due to the gravitational pull of the sun and moon. The length of this solar sidereal year was also determined by the ancients and even today is determined to be 25,920 years. While there is an apparent eastward movement of the sun thru the plane of the houses of the zodiac over the course of a tropical solar year, there is also a reverse, precessional motion of the sun thru the sidereal zodiac over the course of 25,920 years. The vernal point is the location of the sun in the sidereal zodiac on the day of the spring equinox. Our present tropical calender and zodiac places this as 1 degree Aries, when in fact, due to the precession, every 72 years it is 1 degree backwards in the zodiac. As of February 10, 1983, the longitude of the vernal point was exactly 5 1/2 degrees Pisces in the sidereal zodiac. For this reason, we live in the astronomical age of Pisces.
Each year as the sun passes on its yearly cycle of 365 days through each zodiacal house, it returns to its starting point, the vernal or spring equinox. As previously discussed, this point precesses one degree every seventy-two years and through one sign of the zodiac every 2,160 years. Thus, the vernal equinox stands in one zodiacal house for a period of 2,160 years.
The ancients called these periods an "age" of the zodiac and also called these periods a "religious age" because each age was accompanied by a particular Messiah or Sun Hero as we can now say. Hence, each religious age was derived from its zodiacal sign such as the Taurean Age, Piscean Age, Aryan Age, etc. Because of this relationship, the symbols of all religions have an astronomical basis, the key to which is the zodiacal house. For example, during the Taurean Age, the bull was sacred as depicted by the Egyptians as Apis, and the Persians as Mithras and to Aaron and the Jews in the desert as the golden calf. In the Piscean Age, the fish was the symbol of deity as described by St. Augustine, if you join the first letters of the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" they will form the word for FISH, which the Fisher of Men fed the multitudes on the mountainside. There is no need to elaborate on the astronomical basis for religious symbolism here, but it is worthy to respect the incredible effort made by the 19th Century occult writers such as Godfrey Higgens in Anacalypis, Albert Pike inMorals and Dogma and the Madame H.P.B. in Isis Unveiled. They removed the veil of hypocrisy from the so-called mysteries of the Church and showed the true pagan mystery cult sources of all great religions.
To determine when the age of Pisces will precess into the age of Aquarius, simply multiply the 5 1/2 degrees left in this age by 72 years and add (396) to the last determined year of 1983. Thus, the "Dawning of the age of Aquarius" begins about year 2379, further in the future than many new age gurus predict. Likewise, subtracting 2,160 years from the end year, we arrive at the beginning of the age of Pisces at year 219 AD.
Our scholar, David Ulansey, sets the record straight by saying that the age of Taurus was historically dated to about 4000 BC to 2000 BC. The tauroctony of Mithras represents the celestial equator as it was when the spring equinox was in Taurus according to the precessional cycle of the equinoxes. At that historical time, the position of the Pleiades star group was exactly where in the tauroctony the dagger of Mithras is shown entering the shoulder of the bull. Mithras represents the 'sun hero' of the sixth degree in our Mithras. The bull represents the astronomical Age of Taurus and its slaying by the sun hero represents the end of the cycle, the end of the Age of Taurus, giving way to the new age of Aries, ushering in the Greek/Roman cultural cycle. For other actors in the tauroctony, the dog represents the star group of Canis Minor; the snake, the star group of Hydra; the cup, the star group of Crator, the raven, the star group of Corvus and of course, for the scorpion, the constellation of Scorpio. The astronomical symbolism is now complete! The cultic icon of the tauroctony was, as it were, a complete picture of the stars in the heavens at the end of the age of Taurus and the beginning of the age of Aries, preserved in thousands of sculptures, spread throughout western Europe.
By extrapolation, we can determine the astronomical ages for the five sub-races of the Fifth Aryan root race as follows:
1. For the Ancient Indian or first sub-root race, the vernal (spring) equinox of the sun was in Cancer, and the corresponding planet was the moon.
2. For the Ancient Persian or second sub-root race, the vernal equinox was in Gemini and the corresponding planet was Mercury.
3. For the Ancient Egyptian-Chaldean or third sub-race, the vernal equinox was in Taurus and the corresponding planet was Venus.
4. For the Ancient Greek-Roman or fourth sub-race, the vernal equinox was in Aries and the corresponding planet was Mars.
5. For the fifth and present sub-race, the vernal equinox is in Pisces and the corresponding planet is Jupiter.
It is always a source of amazement to me that the 20th century scholars think they are so smart and the ancients so stupid. The astronomical discovery of the precession of the equinoxes has historically been attributed to Hipparchus who lived 190 to 126 BC.
Ptolemy indicates that Hipparchus called this cycle the "great Platonic year" although Plato died some 300 years before Hipparchus lived. By calling this a Platonic year, does he not admit that Plato wrote of this astronomical cycle in his TIMAEUS hundreds of years earlier? Do we not know that Plato was initiated in the ancient Egyptian mysteries? Ptolemy also wrote that Hipparchus believed this cycle to last some 36,000 years. Did not the keepers of the ancient mystery wisdom know that this cycle actually lasted 25,920 years and for that reason calculated the cycle as the religious ages discussed above?
One of the keepers of the ancient wisdom was the third century neo-platonist, Porphy who wrote in his CAVE OF THE NYMPHS,
"Mithras is placed in the region of the celestial equator. And for this reason he bears the sword of Aries, the sign to Mars; he also rides a bull, Taurus being assigned to Venus."
Our scholar David Ulansey, should have read Porphy who exactly corresponds the symbolism above in no. 3. "For the
Ancient Egyptian-Chaldean or third sub-race, the vernal equinox was in Taurus and the corresponding planet was Venus."
CORRESPONDENCES WITH CHRISTIANITY
The cult of Mithraism arose about the same time as Christianity and spread about Europe in the same geographic areas. If for some reason, Christianity died in its infant years, western Europe would have become Mithraic. Mithraism began to spread in the Roman Empire around the 1st century, reached its peak around the 3rd century and succumbed to Christianity at the end of the 4th century with the Emperor Constantine.
It was primarily a religion of roman soldiers. It excluded itself from the Hellenic world we saw above in the spread of the knowledge of Aristotle by the sword of Alexander. The cult held services usually in an underground cave, which dates back to the practice of the Zoroastrians of ancient Persia. At the entrance of the chapel stood a baptismal font full of holy water. They practiced baptism for the initiates. They held a religious service resembling a catholic mass. In a bas relief found in Rome, the objects include an Eucharistic chalice and the bread of the Eucharist. At the conclusion of the mass, the celebrant consecrated the wheat bread and water with a sacred juice called Hoama, a name which closely resembles the Hindu name for their sacred juice, Soma, which was used to induce the temple sleep.
The days of the week are named after the names of the gods who preside over these days. Sunday is the day of the sun. The Mithras mass was celebrated on Sunday. The birth date of Mithras was celebrated on December 25. They greeted each other with a hand shake. The chief priest was called Father and the members were called brothers. Their theology was monotheistic and included a heaven, full of saints, and a hell, full of demons, situated in the center of the earth. They believed in the immortality of the soul and of the resurrection of the dead. Their earth history began with a flood.
We know from history that Emperor Constantine won a great battle against the roman army after he painted a cross on his shield and flag. He ushered in christianity which became the religion of the empire and its soldiers. As christianity waxed, so did Mithraism wane. The council of Nicea in 325 AD set the dogmas for the remainder of the cycle.
Was it a coincidence that these two religions were like sisters, and the ugly pagan sister, passed away and died? It has been said that,
"out of the remnants of the old initiation, the initiates, who were contemporaries of the mystery of Golgotha, spoke about the secret of the Christ to those who were willing to accept it....the initiates pointed out to the people that the Christ had come in order to solve the riddle of death...the vestiges of the old initiation methods thru which the initiates at the time of the mystery of Golgotha and their successors were able to speak correctly about the descent of the Christ and the path he took until His embodiment, these vestiges continued until the 4th century."
The leading thought here is that there was a Father of the sun oracle, who taught the sun mysteries in every culture, as opposed to the mysteries we discussed of the Moon, Venus, Mercury, etc. Thus, for every culture that followed the sun mysteries, a sun god was worshipped, such as in the Hindu, a god named Vishna Karman, in the Persian, Ahura-Mazda, later Mithras, in the Egyptian, Osirius and in the Greek, Apollo. That the other mystery centers had degenerated and that the birth of Christ was the fulfillment of the sun mysteries. In each of the old sun mystery centers, the life and deeds of Christ was taught as its fulfillment and the need for further exposition was over, so the ancient sun mysteries waned and christianity waxed.
Maybe not a coincidence that the mysteries of Mithras had so many common cultic rituals, such that when the roman world
was ordered by Constantine to convert to christianity, this transition occurred very rapidly because the foundation had
already been laid by the Mithras cult? After the Christ incarnation and its spiritual recognition by the Father hierophants of
the old sun mysteries, the old pagan sun cults merged with christianity, over a period of 300 years, and preserved the best
aspects of each, such that pre-nicean christianity preserved both the best of the ancient sun mysteries and the secret of the
S. C. Jan. 2008