A PERSIAN SUN-GOD NAMED MITHRAS
by Bruce Johnson
Bruce Johnson has over 30 years of study in the fields of Ancient Wisdom and occultism. He has taught classes on a wide range of topics, from Atlantis to mediums to Zoroaster. He is also a Spiritualist minister, with a background in spiritual astrology. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their cat.
A divine dual-sexed and triple-natured Mithras is the key figure in Mithraic philosophy, which is a simplification of ancient Zoroastrian doctrines. Mithras the rock-born god is masculine, active, and solar, signifying the qualities of fire, spirit, light, and heat. The feminine aspect of Mithras is Mithra, who’s qualities are passive and lunar, and indicate matter along with the earth and water elements. Some esoteric writers use the term Mithra to mean the Lord of the Sun Mithras, with no mention of his female traits.
Like the other sun-gods including Horus, Quetzalcoatl, Krishna and Apollo, Mithras the Persian savior was three-fold, and demonstrated a 3-in-1 trinity. Mithras is also the mediator who stands at the balance point between the two opposing forces of good and evil, depicted by light and darkness. As the god of intelligence, Mithras is represented by the yellow ray and the planet Mercury, the perpetual companion of the sun. In relation to the five elements Mithras denotes the ether element which emanates fire, earth, air and water.
The birth of Mithras out of the fire mountain called Bordj is depicted in the familiar picture of Mithras lifting out of a stone. This image portrays the sun[Mithras] as a ray of light rising over the eastern horizon at the spring equinox with the sun at 0 degrees of Aries. Symbolically, this representation of the solar-god Mithras shows him as light interacting with and being released out of the earth, or physical matter.
Mithraic philosophy begins with Ahura-Mazda who depicts the ultimate creator, the sacred source of good from which all things are fashioned. All beings and life including positive and negative angels proceed from the primordial light of Ahura-Mazda. This preeminent God was without name, sex, or physical form, and was indescribable to human minds. The principles of good and evil are illustrated by Ormazd, the force of good and Ahriman, the power of evil. A Mithraic axiom teaches that the struggle for dominance between Ormazd and Ahriman takes place within each human personality. The Satan of the Bible is modelled after Ahriman.
Contained in the Mithraic Mysteries are seven “Revelations” or Initiations starting with the neophyte being “born again” in the ritual of baptism. These seven initiations are paralleled in the seven seals that are opened in the biblical Book of Revelation. Those who passed these spiritual initiations were called “lions” like Mithras who is often shown as a lion-headed man. The initiation rites of Mithras had three primary degrees that were prepared for by the purification of the physical and non-physical bodies, controlling the lower animal nature, and mental development. Astrology involving seven planets and the sun were a major part of traditional Mithraic occultism.
The Mystery Schools of Mithras were located underground in subterranean caves, chambers and temples. Mithraism was popular in Europe and especially in Rome during the first several centuries A.D., with at least one Roman emperor being a follower of Mithras. During this time, the Persian Mysteries were taught to disciples in caverns and catacombs under the city of Rome.
When possible, the underground Mithraic temples were oriented toward the east so that the first rays of the rising sun fell on an image of Mithras or an altar through an opening or window in the ceiling called a light funnel.