Modern mithraic

ritual tools













Ancient Mithraeum temple sites have yielded a variety of items that were used in rituals, ceremonies, and sacred feasts. Modern Mithraism practiced by a single individual may involve a few basic ritual items such as:

Candle or lamp- To provide sacred Light in honor of Mithras. In the ancient world ritual lighting was done with an oil lamp made of clay or metal that was lit during the rites in honor of deity. There are companies which make reproductions of ancient Roman oil lamps, but one can use a small modern oil lamp just as well. It is the flame that's important, not the container. Even more easily, a white votive or taper candle in a holder may be used... the tallow candle was invented by Romans and certainly was used in ancient times.

Patera- (Pa-TER-ah) The patera was a shallow dish used to offer food or drink to the Gods in Roman times. In ancient religion (and Mithraism) it was thought important to share the sustinance of life with deity. The Patera was used in Mithraism to offer food to the God during the Sacred Meal. A modern patera may be made from any shallow dish such as a saucer or curved plate. It does not need to be large, and can be of any size to fit any particular altar setup.

Obviously, the Patera is an easy tool to use. A small bit of food from the sacred meal, a substance such as honey, or wine may be placed into it in offering to Mithras. Items placed on the patera need only be placed on the altar for an hour or two. The Patera should be kept spotless when not in use.

Incense burner - this is a simple non-burnable container, (clay, stone or metal), and fill it with some sort of non-burnable substance for the coals to rest on so that they won't make the incense burner too hot to hold or scorch the surface of an altar. A simple pottery bowl filled with an insulating substance such as sand (so that the coals won't overheat and crack the bowl) will work fine. as can a metal or stoneware vessel. The incense burner may be decorated or plain. Incense burners are of course commercially available in religious shops, etc.

In the ancient world, the coals for the incense burners were wood charcoal. Today it is easy enough to buy special "incense burner charcoal." This is available at many different stores including church supply stores, religious shops, new age shops, and of course online. Outdoor "charcoal briquettes" for your backyard grill should NOT be used indoors, as those give off poison gasses that can be very dangerous if used inside.

The material for the inside of the incense burner should be both non-burnable, and also something that doesn't conduct heat. Sand is perfect. Clay based granular "kitty litter" will work as well. Dug up earth won't work well unless it is very, very dry, as anything organic in it tends to be burned by the charcoal and give off a smell. Again, feel free to email the us if you're having trouble finding something suitable.

Knife - Since the knife was a sacred object used by Mithras to slay the Bull, a symbolic knife may be kept at the altar if desired. Knives have been found in Mithraea, but it is unknown whether they had a direct ritual purpose, or were merely items common to the Roman Legions. A knife used as a sacred object should be in ancient style if possible. Ancient Roman daggers may be purchased at

Sacred Dishes - As has been said, a sacred meal of communion between the worshippers and Mithras was a part of at least some Mithraic rituals. These were most often simple ceramic cups, plates, and bowls of Roman style. Often they were decorated with Mithraic art, but not always if a group (particularly a new group) could not afford it. Obviously, a solitary Mithraist would need only dishes for one, for a sacred ritual meal to be eaten before the altar during a part of personal rites. Plain dishes or items with an ancient pattern will work fine.

Other items may be kept for ritual according to personal need. Accessory items might include a small box or dish to keep incense in, sacred amulets or jewelry, items dedicated to Mithras, (such as a Roman sword) or whatever else might evoke religious feeling on behalf of the practitioner.