The coding has been so successful that not only has the meaning of the individual carvings on the Pictish Symbol Stones been hidden but so also has their collective purpose. Identifying the shapes of the carvings in the context of a form of Mithraism practiced in Pictland over 1500 years ago has enabled the Pictish-Mithraism™ discovery.
Below are decodes in detail complete with historic background and Mithraic belief context, analyses and interpretations.
Nine key Symbols have been discovered that can be used to describe the principles of Mithraic beliefs.
- V-Rod & Crescent
- Z-Rod & Double Disc
- Pictish Beast + Associations between the Pictish Beast and Other Symbols
- Serpent / Snake
- Mirror Case
- Double Disc
- Triple Disc
A further three represent the structure and layout of temples used in Roman Mithraism.
One carving has design elements seen in other Symbols but has not yet been decoded.
A Persian Ring has been discovered that appears to have the elements of the Z-Rod & Double Disc.
Twelve of the objects discovered as having Mithraic interpretations have been drawn using modern methods. In fact the experience of re-creating them in PowerPoint gave an understanding of how the original carvers used lines, angles, circles, templates and free hand. They all have a meaning from the time when they were simply incised on Class 1 Stones right through to many being used on Class 2 Stones during the transition to Christianity. They comprise 387 of the carvings seen on the Symbol Stones. Some examples are indistinct but 281 have been drawn and are at Mithraic Symbols – Drawn Designs.
Survival rates for these drawn objects varies with the lowest being the Z-Rod & Double Disc design and the highest the Mirror Case followed closely by the Mirror and Triple Disc. Assuming a fairly even distribution of chips and breaks and material durability across the Stones, so no one design is worse affected than another, then perhaps the construction of the design is a key factor in its longevity. It is easier to incise simple circles than the “flame” components on Z-Rods which also tend to be more elaborate with intricate infill. Overall, for 6 of these 12 objects more than 80% of what has been carved has survived.
With the need when interpreting the Mysteries of Mithras to think of several levels – practical, instructional, devotional, spiritual – the same thought process has been given to decoding the Pictish Symbols when placed in the context of Mithraism. The potential for multiple meanings has also been considered.
Some comments on Symbol Groups & Stone Groups, Missing Items and Non-Mithraic Objects are made at the end of this web page.
Many of the carved objects do not appear to have a Mithraic context but, for completeness, are commented on in Non-Mithraic Objects – Identified & Recorded.