(continued from last post)
In the Zoroastrian pantheon these opposing forces are referred to
as Ormuzd and Ahriman, who derive ultimately from Ahura Mazda, the
divine principle. Known as the Holy Immortals, or Amesha Spentas, they
correspond to the levels of creation, clearly foreshadowing the
teaching of later mystery schools such as those of Orpheus and
Mithra. Against the Spentas are arrayed the Devas, the companions of
the Evil One, who are seen as ruling over the earth. "Deva" means
"shining one" or god in Sanskrit. There may be an interesting
connection here between Zoroastrianism and orthodox Hinduism, namely
that Zoroastrianism was created as a direct competitor against
Hinduism, which also has its origins among the Arya people of Persia.
In Zoroastrian teaching, a savior or saoshyant was to be born, who
would combat evil and bring the struggle to an end once and for all,
thus betokening the Frasokereti, the making perfect at the end of time.
In this we see an echo of Horus in the Egyptian mysteries, and a
prefiguring of all other eschatologies. It also prefigures the appear-
ance of a third figure in the great mythic struggle between Good and
Evil...the savior known to Judaism and Christianity as the Messiah, to
Buddhism as The Buddha Maitreya, to Islam as the Mahdi or Hidden Imam,
and to Hinduism as The Tenth Avatar of Vishnu, Kalki. To the
Zoroastrians, this savior-figure was known as Mithra.
Mithra's birth was witnessed by shepherd and Magi, who brought
gifts to his sacred birth-cave of the Rock. Mithra performed the usual
assortment of miracles - raising the dead, healing the sick, making
the blind to see and the lame to walk, casting out devils.
As a 'Peter', son of petra, he carried the keys of the kingdom of
heaven. His triumph and ascension to heaven were celebrated at the
spring equinox, when the sun rises toward its apogee. Before returning
to heaven, Mithra celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples, who
represented the signs of the zodiac. In memory of this, his
worshippers partook of a sacramental bread marked with a cross. This
was one of the seven Mithraic sacraments. It was called mizd. In
Latin, mizd became missa, which later found its way into the English
language as the word mass, referring to the sacramental drama of the
Mithra's image was buried in a rock tomb, the same sacred cave that
represented his Mothers' womb. His image was later withdrawn from the
cave and was said to live again.
What began in water would end in fire, according to Mithraic
beliefs. The great battle between the forces of light and darkness
in the Last Days would destroy the earth with its upheavals and
burnings. Virtuous ones who followed the teachings of the Mithraic
priesthood would join the spirits of light and be saved. Sinful ones
who followed other teachings would be cast into hell with Ahriman and
the fallen angels.
Mithra's cave-temple on the Vatican Hill was seized by the Christians
in 376 CE. Christian Bishops of Rome pre-empted the Mithraic high
priest's title of Pater Patrum, which became Papa, or Pope when fused
with the old Roman Imperial title of Pontifex Maximus.
(continued next post)