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#35314 - 02/09/10 11:23 AM Mithraism?
Woland Moderator Offline
Seasoned
active member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 763
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Hi Folks.

Currently wallowing in the origin of Old-Norse religion.
Came upon some references to Mithraism and googled around a bit.

Wondered if any of you guys had done any reading on the subject?
If so; is there any literature you would recommend.

And yes; I could hunt down the references given in the (somewhat repetitive) articles on the net.
To my defence; I am interested, but not that interested...

Thanx.
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Woland

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#35317 - 02/09/10 01:16 PM Re: Mithraism? [Re: Woland]
Caladrius Offline
member


Registered: 07/25/09
Posts: 318
Loc: SoCal
Hi Wo,

Just past by and saw your call of distress.

There is a book by D. Jason Cooper entitled "Mithras" subbtitled "Mystery and Initiation Rediscovered." Which I would highly recommend. The book is published by Samuel Weiser. ISBN: 0-87728-865-8

The book itself is only 164 pages of written material, but the author just goes right into the needed details of the Mystery School. I would try to stay away from most books on Mithraism - especially those published by Llywellyn - because a lot of stuff on Mithraism is based on 'conjecture' and reinterpretations or wishful thinking. This author does his homework and not only presents historic information along with archeological photos (which are great: especially the one where Mithras looks like the Statue of Liberty), but he explains what their beliefs and practices were in a way that a lay person (such as myself) can understand. I'll give you it's table of content so you'll get the gist of the book:

Chapter 1: The Nature of Mithras
Chapter 2: The Nature of the Cult
Chapter 3: The Mithraeum
Chapter 4: The Icon in the East
Chapter 5: The Degrees of Initiation
Chapter 6: The Rituals of Mithraism
Chapter 7: The Life and Myth of Mithras

Bibliography...

But this book deals mainly with how Mithraism came to be in the Roman Empire and afterwards. Unfortunately the author did not go into a lot of detail about Mithras' Eastern origins, which I find even more interesting.

AFAIK of the eastern origin of Mithras is the word "Mitra" in Sanskrit means "Companion," "Friend," or suggests the Vows made between two friends ( Source ). One other very interesting thing is that Mithras is associated or identified with Zoroaster or Iran. There is a Sanskrit word (see Source) "Sirastra" meaning a "Cap," or Helmet." And "S[a]rastr" meaning "Creator." One more thing is that the word "mitra" is still a very common word today which still means "companion." There is a dialectical variant: "Mit" which the Khmer Rouge use as a moniker to call each other meaning "Comrade." So I would assume - in an educated manner - that perhaps the English word "Mate" (meaning) a Friend is connected.

Anyways, after you read the book, you'll start to get the atmosphere of the times in which Mithraism evolved in Rome. You'll see that their 7~ish initiation degrees will definitely remind you of "Masonic" initiation degrees (although I would emphasize that the two are Objectively unrelated).

In very old days Mithraism used to be only open to militia of the Roman Empire, which was something very peculiar. You had to be a member of the Roman army to be initiated into their Mystery Cult. (I use the word "cult" in the same sense as the author uses it which has more to do with the Latin word Cultus). Later Mithraism was also open to nobles and men of status.

There was a time when the Roman Empire was very divided, meaning that the populous was in a state of unrest, and where the populous did not have a sense of common identity. This incoherency of identity in the Roman Populous, plus the fact that the Roman militia, and wealthy noblemen werre unified under this very organized Mystery Cult, meant that the Emperor's imperial power was in jeopardy.

So Constantine outlawed Mithraism - along with other similar Mystery Cults, and he put together a Mystery Cult for the commoners of the Empire (which is what you might call "Primitive Christianity").

You'll see from this book that the "Church Patriarchs" heavily borrowed from Mithraism. There are even references made by olden Church Patriarchs of initiation rites when they talk about their Christianity of their time and era.

One obvious aspect of Mithraism the Christian Patriarchs grafted into their plebeian cultus is the Holy Eucharist. In Mithraism, as you will see, their is this astrological based mythos of Mithras slaying Torus the Bull. And to commemorate that mythos, those olden day Mithrites had this sacred ceremony were they killed a bull, cut its uncooked flesh into circular pieces and cut a solar cross mark on the pieces, said their prayers to Mithras, and ate the meat.

The other similarity would be Mithras compared to Jesus. Mithras in his mythos is said to exoterically be the "Saviour of Humanity," who washes our sins away. It's hard to say if such beliefs they had of Mithras was symbolic or literal, because Mithraism has been long dead, and we'll just never really every know what their esoteric or inner teachings were.

In conclusion, I recommend the book. I would also like to know how Mithras ties in with Norse mythology or how you came across Mithras in old Norse Culture?? I didn't think the Roman Empire went that far up. Either this book said it, or something else I read said it, but I read that Mithraism kept on going in the British Isles up until circa 500 ad or so.

Oh, the book in one of it's chapters briefly mentions present day organizations the author says are similar in structure and organization to what Mithraism once was. So you'll briefly read about the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry.
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#35320 - 02/09/10 02:52 PM Re: Mithraism? [Re: Caladrius]
Woland Moderator Offline
Seasoned
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 763
Loc: Oslo, Norway
 Originally Posted By: Caladrius

In conclusion, I recommend the book. I would also like to know how Mithras ties in with Norse mythology or how you came across Mithras in old Norse Culture?? I didn't think the Roman Empire went that far up. Either this book said it, or something else I read said it, but I read that Mithraism kept on going in the British Isles up until circa 500 ad or so.


Thanx Caladrius. Much appreciated.

Currently reading a very interesting book by the Norwegian archaeologist and historian Mr. Oddgeir Hoftun.

It's title is "Norrøn tro og kult, i følge arkeologiske kilder".
Roughly translated: "Old-Norse beliefs and cult, according to archaeological findings".

Mr. Hoftun is the enfant terrible when it comes to academic research on the subject.
This because he vehemently insists that the historical writings through which we know Old-Norse religion is severely tainted by the Xian agenda of those who put them in writing, ( Snorri Sturlason and Codex Regius are examples of this).

His chosen task has been to compare the existing "approved" Old-Norse texts, up against the written observations made by fx. Adam of Bremen and Ahmad ibn Fadlan, as well as the well of archaeological findings the last 20-30 years.

Interesting stuff.
He especially points at the Xian transformation of Odin (or Wotan), moulding the godhood into an entity more suitable for their unholy needs.
Wotanists = Closet Xians...

That said; the hands of the aforementioned Xian "authors" was somewhat tied by the fact that the religious tradition was oral.
Mind control is harder when the religion exists within tradition and the spoken word only.
They did however benefit strongly from the fact that Old-Norse religion was syncretistic, always willing to assimilate new ideas.

As to how Mithraism links into Old-Norse religion?
Well, have to educate myself a bit further, reading the volume you recommended etc.

It was mentioned, (as a sub-clause), while the author was describing findings which suggests that one of the functions of Helheim was as a gateway between the world and the "anti-world" (kinda a reversed dimension, death equals life etc).


Mr. Hoftuns book is not translated into any other language.
However; I am thinking about doing a thread on some of his conclusions.


Edited by Woland (02/09/10 03:49 PM)
Edit Reason: Lousy grammar and syntax ;-)
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Woland

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#44186 - 11/18/10 07:49 AM Re: Mithraism? [Re: Woland]
mabon2010 Offline
member


Registered: 09/29/10
Posts: 259
Loc: The Commonwealth of Great Brit...
My encounters with Mithras is two fold:

1. I am aware Mithras is on the Celtic Gunderstrup Cauldron. which is a subject of a study.



2. There is a temple in my town dedicated to Mithras, which I feel should be opened up to the tourists. I will have to speak to some people on that.

Mithras was popular with Roman soldiers, and was a bit like a Freemasons lodge with its rituals, initiations and levels.


Edited by mabon2010 (11/18/10 07:49 AM)
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#44280 - 11/20/10 03:54 PM Re: Mithraism? [Re: Woland]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
stalker


Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2517
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
The Church of Satan Appendix 36: “Season’s Greetings”
- by Michael A. Aquino III°
The Cloven Hoof #III-12, December VI/1971

December is the month for Christmas, one of the world’s most popular holidays. It is a time of festivals and fellowship, and the quasi-Christian background of the occasion is no reason for the Satanist to deny himself the enjoyment of the season. For, like most other Christian holidays, “Christmas” is a plagiarism from a defeated rival - Mithraism.

Mithraism - or the Mithraic Mysteries - first appeared in Persia about 500 years before the birth of Christ. Based upon the worship of Mithra, a sun-god who had pledged to bring peace and plenty to the Earth, the religion took many of its mythological symbolisms from the old Chaldean astrology. Among these were the weekdays’ planetary names, a remnant of which we have today as Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The original concept of the “Christian” Hell, the Dæmonic Powers, and the Apocalypse are also Mithraic; they are not a part of pre-Christian Judaism.

Mithraism spread quickly throughout the known world, subsiding only after centuries of persecution by established Christianity. As a religion especially popular among the Roman military [Mithra was often known as the “soldier’s god”], Mithraism became familiar from Scotland to the Sahara. Ceremonies and rituals were held at night in “Mithræums” - temples located in caverns or in dark, wooded grottos [and thus the tribute to Mithraism by the Church of Satan in the naming of its own local groups].

It is possible that such extreme measures as human sacrifices were a part of the earliest Mithraic rituals, but the religion became less brutal and more sophisticated as it was adopted by the Roman nobility. One of Rome’s greatest military emperors, Julian Augustus, was a Mithraic initiate. Upon assuming the throne he waged a campaign against the Christian bishops who had gained control of the bureaucracy under Constantine. Julian’s valiant restoration of the Greek/Roman pantheon was ended by his death in Asia Minor in 363 CE. [For a well-written profile of the period, you might investigate Gore Vidal’s historical novel Julian.]

Mithraic initiates passed through seven grades or degrees: Raven, Occult, Soldier, Lion, Persian, Runner of the Sun, and Father. Each degree was identified by distinctive robes and masked headpieces. Sunday was considered sacred to Mithra, and his birthday - the “Birth of the Sun” - was celebrated on … December 25th!

Historical estimates of Christ’s actual birthdate range from October to March, and it is likely that the popular Christmas date was merely adopted from Mithraism to resolve the confusion. So much for “Christmas”!

Witchcraft traditionalists may bring up the point of an old British witchcraft fire festival called Candlemas. It should now be obvious that the “prehistoric” occasion championed by the Wiccans is simply a distortion of the Asian/Mediterranean holiday as it was introduced by merchants, soldiers, and explorers from Phoenicia and Rome several hundred years before the onset of Christianity.

And so our best wishes to you for a joyous holiday season! Let the trees be trimmed, the logs be lit, and the banquetts joined! For it is the time of Mithra, whom we of the Church of Satan honor as Lucifer, Lord of Light - the Prince of Darkness and ArchDæmon Satan!

 Originally Posted By: HPL, "Yule Horror"
There is death in the clouds,
There is fear in the night,
For the dead in their shrouds
Hail the Sun’s turning flight.
And chant wild in the woods as they dance
Round a Yule-altar fungous and white ...

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#103649 - 10/30/15 07:27 AM Mithraism and Catholic Symbolisms [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
prodigalsun Offline
pledge


Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 78
Loc: CA, USA
Recently I bought a plastic resin statue of AEON or a Lion headed naked Godman from the Roman era that has been interrelated to Mithras and the Darkness Persian God Ahriman. I have been studying entertainer comedian Ahrimanist of OK City, OK ADAM DANIELS and his writings, Youtube channel with enjoyment despite the aggrivation Daniels has made to more reserved left hand pathers with his antics.

Going to a Catholic Church isn't so agonizing now considering the Mithraic borrowings and liturgy that was sycretized since St. Peter's post mortem Gnostic days to the early synods. The matter of homosexuality and devotees, or allegations by Zoroastrians and Christians as well as some scholars, also made Mithras/Ahriman a welcome new addition to my pantheon of deities for rituals.


Edited by prodigalsun (10/30/15 07:30 AM)

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#103671 - 10/31/15 05:36 PM Re: Mithraism and Catholic Symbolisms [Re: prodigalsun]
Czereda Online
senior member


Registered: 03/14/11
Posts: 1760
Loc: Poland
Christianity didn't borrow only from Mithraism. Caladrius mentioned the meat of the bull was eaten during the Mithraic banquet but it was often just bread and wine or water. Also it seems that during the mysteries of Osiris the participants ate small cakes of wheat to celebrate the death and resurrection of their god.

It's not just the matter of Christianity borrowing some elements from the mystery cults. All these ancient mysteries were very similar to each other. They all revolved around the sacrifice, death and resurrection of fertility gods; Osiris, Dionysus, Mythra sacrificing the bull. Also the Eleusinian mysteries resemble the Passion of Christ, though in this case it's the Passion of Demeter who's searching for her lost Persephone. Just like Osiris and Christ, Persephone descending into the underworld is like a grain dying underground so that it can give birth to the crops and like a human being buried in his grave to resurrect later. Just like Christianity, the mysteries promised their initiates immortality.

All these discussions on the net whether Christianity borrowed things from Mithraism or not are ridiculous. The great secret of the ancient mysteries was one: ouroboros, the endless circle of death and rebirth we can observe in nature. These were the mysteries of Nature, which constantly regenerates itself, through changing of seasons, metamorphosis of insects, animals shedding old skin or fur, germination of seeds etc. The Passion of Christ and the Passion of ancient fertility gods are mythical depictions of the Passion of Nature.
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#103692 - 11/02/15 04:45 PM Re: Mithraism and Catholic Symbolisms [Re: Czereda]
Bette Doom Offline
member


Registered: 06/18/11
Posts: 134
Loc: Virginia, USA
I put it to you all, especially Dr. Aquino, that sincere devotion to Mithras (even in the metaphorical sense) will prompt an individual to serve the State, sacrificing their personal interest if necessary. While that's all well and good and noble in its own right, I can't see how that's appreciably different than any other sort of religious conservatism, especially that of Emperor Julian. If for no other reason than common decency and respect for the dead, let's not paint Julian as anything other than a religious conservative.

Individualism as a positive value is alien to the worldview which was espoused by the Mithraic cult. Truly, the traditions of Mithra more appropriately belong to the tradition which has absorbed them than to anything sinister or antinomian.
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A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.-Twain

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