The basic doctrine of Mithraism, as far as can be told, is that Mithras was a god who was born from a rock and destined to secure the salvation of the world; to do this he was commanded by the god Apollo (through the intermediary agent of a raven) to slay the Bull from the region of the Moon, which was said to represent the fullness of life. Mithras was reluctant to do this but acquiesced in deference to the divine will; in the ensuing struggle between god and bull, other animals joined in – the dog, and scorpion and the snake. After Mithras was successful a quarrel broke out between Mithras and Apollo, but they were reconciled and celebrated a banquet.
– Peter Clark, Zoroastrianism, An Introduction to an Ancient Faith
Colorado Springs is a strange town. It’s a center of military activity – with Cheyenne Mountain, NORAD, and Lowry Air Force Base all in or around the city — it boasts one of the largest Wicca covens in the country, and it is home to an elite Liberal Arts college, The Colorado College.
The Colorado College is at the base of Pikes Peak, just outside The Garden of the Gods. And I called it home for four years.
The first person I met when I got to college was a remarkable young woman named Arwyn. She was my girlfriend for awhile, but that didn’t last long. We remained friends the whole time, and also worked together on a few creative collaborations.
Early during our first term, on a lovely Saturday afternoon, Arwyn and I walked downtown, and went to a metaphysical book fair and information conference. There were a number of different vendors there, selling tarot cards, gems and crystals, books, and magic(k) implements of all kinds. There were also practitioners there doing tarot readings and other such things.
We had a great time, browsing through it all. I bought two books, The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall, and The Book of Lies by Alistair Crowley.
The more interesting of the two was The Secret Teachings of All Ages. The book was a history/encyclopedia of arcane teachings and practices. It looked a broad range of underground metaphysical movements, beginning with cults devoted to Osiris and Mithras, and moving up to The Golden Dawn and Madame Blavastky.
I read the book eagerly. I wanted to know it all, about the Rosicrucians, the Freemasons, and the Cult of Mithras. This book triggered a longer study; repeatedly I supplemented my college studies with my own study of the occult. I read anything I could get my hands on (and in city like Colorado Springs, there was a lot of information to be found), and even attended some Wiccan rituals.
After spending the afternoon at the fair, Arwyn and I walked back to campus. We watched the sunset behind Pikes Peak and The Garden of the Gods.