Mithras, according to the September/October 2022 issue of Minerva, is a very ancient god whose name appears in Indo-Iranian groups as early as the 14th century BC. Ancient sculptures depict Mithras slaying a bull which is academically described in Minerva as a “tauroctony.”
According the the article, Mithras is described in the ancient Vedic (Rigveda) and Iranian (Avesta) texts. On the latter:
The Avesta contains a hymn dedicated to Mithras the ‘Mihr Yasht’, that paints the portrait of a solar deity, a god of justice who rules over alliances between gods and mortals and guarantees that contracts between people are upheld. This latter role finds a direct expression in the very name of ‘Mithras’, which is the ancient Persian word for ‘contract.’
How did Mithras come to be slaying a bull?
That part is unclear in the historical records. It may have been a Roman thing because they were very good with slaying both themselves and others.
But what is Mithras achieving by slaying a bull?
In this sculpture at the British Museum Mithras slays the bull while a scorpion attacks the testicles, a snake bites the chest and a dog laps up the blood. Astrology, no surprise, has symbolism that fits nicely here, sans the gruesome slaughter:
The fixed signs are: Taurus (earth – the bull which rules the body), Leo (fire – the lion which rules the heart), Scorpio (water – the scorpion which rules the genitals) and Aquarius (air – the water bearer which rules circulation).
Taurus is being slaughtered while Scorpio takes the energy of the genitals, Leo the energy of the blood and Aquarius the energy of the breath.
Taurus is the body and physical reality. Without air, breath and blood we cease to function. Maybe rather than a sculpture of violence it is a sculpture of understanding of the life forces and how easily we can move from life to death.
Is Mithras, then, the controller of the body and the life within it?
Mithras means “contract” in ancient Persian. Our current definition of contract is:
a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales or tenancy that is intended to be enforceable by law
In a spiritual sense I’m learning, contracts are the agreements we make for our interactions in physical form. Spiritual “laws” are like properties of physics, immutable and not subjective. Karma is the most recognizable of these “laws” and like much in the world is sometimes viewed very literally but appears to be within our soul’s contracts and not always the one-to-one (eye for an eye) that we want it to be.
Is Mithras slaying our bodies so which in turn slays our contracts?
The symbolism is there but something seems to be missing from the story that was handed down through time and which was then converted by the dominant and domineering Romans into a cult.
Uranus the planet of sudden changes, unexpected events and enlightening strikes stays in a sign for about seven years – hence the “itch” we have after seven years of doing something.
Recently I picked up a copy of Steven Forrest’s The Changing Sky which is a wonderful book on transits. (As an aside, if you are learning astrology I highly recommend Forrest for his wonderful perspective on astrology and unique and clear way of explaining the energies.)
Uranus Forrest describes as the cycle of individuality with the aim of freedom. Individuality and freedom in the astrological (and psychological senses) are something entirely different from the political “freedom” and are not comfortable states.
To my perspective, most people share the beliefs of their culture as we are enculturated before we are conscious. Uranus involves honesty with the self, the self beneath the enculturation. Many do not examine this until a Uranus transit forces it.
To one day wake up to a Uranus transit and discover you don’t share the religious beliefs of your culture can be very disconcerting. In fact, it can be highly dangerous in many parts of the earth. Uranus leads to freedom because one becomes separate when acknowledging the inner self. How comfortable is this?
And if one is born into a culture that does not allow individual religious expression, then often there is a need to leave that culture, if possible. Forrest talks about the natural cycle of Uranus when we are 14 and 21 and have the need to define ourselves and leave home. Most parents dislike this age in children because enculturation is being challenged.
Separation – freedom – can be critical for discovering the inner self.
Uranus in Taurus
Uranus has been transiting Taurus since 2019 (with a short dip in 2018). Taurus rules the body and physical reality so you may have noticed lots of concerns in these areas from how much sovereignty we have over our bodies to supply chain disruptions that have enlightened us as to how and where our products are created.
The primary Taurus concern that has occurred with this transit is the desire to wipe out a virulent strain of illness through new technologies. The fear of dying – Mithras at our backs – is a strong and convincing motivation.
The illness involves breathing and circulation – the snake that bites the chest. This is air (Aquarius) which is represented by Saturn’s transit of Aquarius which is soon to pass. However, when Uranus leaves Taurus it will move into Gemini which is the air sign ruling the lungs. And Pluto (evolution) is soon to move into Aquarius. The energy is turning toward air so I’m expecting some leftover lung issues from all that’s occurred during this Taurus transit. Lung issues are also spiritually connected to communication and while we have many more channels of communication than any time in history, it also allows us all to talk (or shout) at once so no one is really heard.
The four fixed signs in the tauroctony are essential for life in the body. If one fixed sign is affected, the others are as well so it will be interesting to understand the effects on the genitals, heart and body structure of all that’s occurring today.
The Roman cult of Mithras saw the slaying of the bull as leading to new life. Maybe it was the “afterlife” that they were truly seeking although they didn’t realize it – a life free of the body. Life in the body has always had the challenge of illness and decay as the body does not last forever.
Mithras is at our backs with the contract for life, the body and the release from the body.