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  • Miguel A. Fernandez

Untamed Power: The Spanish Fighting Bull

By Miguel A. Fernandez


A very insightful case of a breeding that aspires to keep up the highest type of an animal beyond human influence is the raising of the Spanish fighting bull, which requires the animal to live in relatively high altitudes and grasslands where nature has the chance of evolving spontaneously with very little interference deriving from human intervention. The natural ties that the animal can potentially establish with the most diverse elements that are present in such territories, in combination with its reluctance to relate to other habitats and its intolerance to industrialized fodder and pharmaceutical treatment are all essential signs that the animal is in an optimal health condition, that is, that it is extremely close to the archetype of the species. In other words, both wilderness and the type of spontaneous nutrition on the part of the animal provide the framework for measuring its health; health not conceived as physical well-being and longevity but conceived as the greater or lesser closeness of a living being to its highest type and to the congenial territory associated with such type. This type of health does not imply absence of pain and disease, but a substantially different relation to pain and disease which indicates that the animal lives beyond a survival mode of existence and that it aspires to be an embodiment of the powerful wilderness from which it derived.

Therefore the great value of the Spanish fighting bull resides in the fact that it incarnates the untamed traits of nature, that it embodies the chaos that constantly menaces all those who can´t couple and “dance” with the selfsame dynamics of the cosmos. Such trait of the Spanish fighting bull is mythically expressed in the Mithraic mysteries, where the bull is not only depicted as fighting during tauroctony ritual but also fights to keep up the highest resemblance to its most noble archetype, both in body and in spirit. And contrarily to many other domesticated animals, the Spanish fighting bull has no utilitarian use; it only serves for fighting, but it is precisely this crucial aspect what renders this animal into an extraordinary reservoir of the unbridled power of the cosmos, as if the entire universe finds its means of expression in such animal. By extension, any being that has also kept up such degree of health and closeness to the highest type as the Spanish “toro bravo” or “toro de lidia” can´t but choose to offer to the gods a good fight, to sacrifice life for the highest divinities; a fighting pursuit expressed in the bull-slaying by the god Mithras. Mithraism is also extremely linked to an idea of death that has very little to do with the concept of death embraced by modern medical practice, and refers to the “initiatory” type of death… This type of death implies that a human being has eventually succeeded in taming all the egotistic tendencies that civilization and culture constantly impose upon the human condition as a means for spiritual domestication, and eventually by succeeding in this destructive pain, such human being reaches a state of being that is undomesticated, rebellious; a powerful and heroic state of being that is connected to a greater cosmos. Very little does modern medical practice realize that archaic and traditional medicine aimed, above all, to facilitate the individual survive this type of death which does not necessarily pursue living longer, but about living higher; to experience a transcendental view of life where every single organ and function of the body gain a special coordination and synergy, as if responding to an “orchestra director” that makes use of the entire body as its instrument.

Excerpt from Operative Traditions

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Painting: Toro al Amanecer, By Juan Monreal Roures


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