Make your own free website on Tripod.com

 

 

 

Mithras - Lord of Ages

 

This website is under construction and was last updated on:  19 February 2012


Purpose of this Website

I first became aware of the Mithraic Mysteries in the early 1960s, when I took two seminars given by the well-known MIT professor of the history of science, Giorgio de Santillana (1902-1974).  At that time I was a very young college undergraduate who had been fortunate enough to convince Professor de Santillana that I should be permitted to take his seminars, which were usually reserved for graduate students only. At that time, Professor de Santillana was at the peak of his intellectual powers; in 1961 he had published what I believe was his finest book: The Origins of Scientific Thought from Anaximander to Proclus, 600 B.C. to 500 A.D. He was  a good lecturer and was even better in the give and take discussions of the seminar room. A great deal of reading and essay writing was required, but it was very interesting to me and I enjoyed making the necessary extra effort. The main focus of the course was on the early Greek philosophers, who flourished from about 600 to 300 B.C. Professor de Santillana took the position that they had been extremely important in laying the intellectual foundation for the European scientific revolution of the 17th century. We only spent a day or two in discussing the Mithras cult and its significance to the philosophical and astronomical thinking of the Roman Empire. Even so, I do recall at least some of his ideas regarding the connection between the main Mithraic myths and the astronomical knowledge of the time.

Many years later, in 1970, I acquired a copy of his last book, which he had co-authored with Dr. Hertha von Dechend (1915-2001) entitled: Hamlet's Mill, An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time. Unfortunately, I was more than a little disappointed in the lack of clarity and poor organization of the book. His main thesis was one which he had also expressed during his seminar; unfortunately, this published work lacked both focus and clarity. I later found out that Professor de Santillana was in failing health at the time and that most of the chapters in the book had really been written by his younger but less well organized colleague.* One area of almost total omission was a discussion of the Mithras belief system, even though this belief system was almost overflowing with astronomical/astrological ideas. Indeed, there was only one reference to Mithra (Mithras) which appeared on pages 263 and 264 of the book (see quotation cited in the Introduction Section).

I have recently renewed my interest in the Mithraic belief system after reading the online, current edition of the Rosicrucian Digest; the entire issue is devoted to Mithras. The purpose of this website is to discuss my ideas concerning this rather strange mystery school and also record the ideas of Professor de Santillana on this subject, to the extent that I am able to recall them. It is to the memory of Giorgio Diaz de Santillana that I dedicate this website.

* By my reckoning, only six of the 23 chapters were written or mostly written by Giorgio!


Contents

I

Song Lyrics

II

Introduction

III

Central Myth - The Tauroctony

IV

Astronomical Matters

V

Mithraeum Design

VI

Mithraic Grades

VII

Golden Dawn Grades

VIII

Ascent of the Soul

IX

Conclusions

X

References

 

Appendices

A

Porphyry

B

Plato and Philolaus

C

Giorgio de Santillana

D

Tilton Family Genealogy

 


Song Lyrics from "Lord of Ages" by Neofolk Band Blood Axis

Mithras, god of the morning, our trumpets waken the wall
Rome is above the nations, but thou art over all
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day

Mithras, god of the noontide, thy heather swims in the heat
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet
Now in the ungirt hour, now ere we blink and drowse
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows

Mithras, lord of ages, below you we march
Invincible sun, the flame of life, you dwell within our hearts


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

Mithras, god of the midnight, here where the great bull dies
Look on thy children in darkness, oh take our sacrifice
Many roads thou hast fashioned, all of them lead to the light
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright

Mithras, lord of ages, below you we march
Invincible sun, the flame of life, you dwell within our hearts
Mithras, lord of ages, below you we march
Unconquerable sun, the flame of life, you dwell within our hearts


Introduction

"It will help now to take a quick comparative look at the different "dialects" of mythical language as applied to "Phaethon" in Greece and India. The Pythagoreans make Phaethon fall into Eridanus, burning part of its water, and glowing still at the time when the Argonauts passed by. Ovid stated that since that fall the Nile hides its sources. ... This is the "birth" of the valid representatives of both the poles, the sons of Mitra and Varuna and also of their successors. To follow up the long and laborious way leading from Rigvedic Mitravaruna to the latest days of the Roman Empire where we still find a gloss saying "Mithra funis, quo navis media vincitur" - "Mithra is the rope, by which the middle of the ship is bound," would overstep the frame of this essay by far. Robert Eisler relying upon his vast material, connected this fetter of "rope," Mithra, right away with the "ship's belt" from the tenth book of Plato's Republic."

 

-- Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill (1969), pages 263-264.

 

 

 

Conclusions

 

 

 

References

The following is a partial list of books and other sources that I used in the construction of this website:

 


My Websites

I currently support twenty-four websites. Fifteen sites are related to philosophy and art and nine are related to genealogy and local history. Hyperlinks to those sites are shown below.

Philosophy and Art:

Alchemists of the 20th Century

Baudelaire and the Impressionists

Concepts of Consciousness

Greatest Minds and Ideas

Mozart's Opera - The Magic Flute*

Objective Art

Philosophy of Heraclitus

Platonic Golden Chain*

Platonism, Paganism and Christianity*

Introduction to Mythology

Biography of Pamela Colman Smith

Mysteries of Isis and Osiris

Lehrtafel of Princess Antonia

School of Athens

Mithras - Lord of Ages*

* Sites that are still under construction

Genealogy and Local History:

Bell Witch of TN

Campbell Family

Cherokees of Rusk County TX

Mayfield Family of VA, NC, KY, and TN

Mayfield Family of SC

Mason, Mortier and Cory Families

Norfleet Family

SC Revolutionary War Sites

SC Tories and Rebels

 


Copyrightę 2011 by Phil Norfleet

All Rights Reserved. Published in the United States of America. My essays and other narratives, provided at this web site, may be reproduced for nonprofit personal or educational use only. Any commercial use of these materials is a violation of United States copyright laws and is strictly prohibited.


Home Tauroctony Astronomy Mithraeum Mithraic Grades Golden Dawn Grades Ascent of the Soul Porphyry Plato and Philolaus Giorgio de Santillana Tilton Family