Dec 18, 2009

Mithras

In my research of yesterday's post, I found many mentions of Mithra (or Mithras) and it seemed that every article I read about Saturnalia, the mention of Mithra(s) was not very far behind so today I'm going to explore just what Mithra(s) is really about. I'm not familiar with this concept but I vaguely remember it mentioned in catechism classes at the catholic high school my mother sent me to. So, with no further ado, let us learn together....



 Mitra, Mithra, Mithras



Mithras is the Roman name for the Indo-Iranian god Mitra, or Mithra, as he was called by the Persians.  Mithra is the god of the airy light between heaven and earth but he is also associated with the light of the sun and with contracts and mediation. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.


This is where it gets interesting....


All this may surprise modern Christians but it was very familiar to the Church Fathers who filled their "Apologies"with dubious rationales as to how Mithraism had anticipated the whole nine yards of Christianity centuries before the supposed arrival of Jesus – "diabolic mimicry by a prescient Satan" being the standard explanation. Pagan critics were not slow to point to the truth: Christianity had simply copied the popular motifs of a competitive faith.



 It appears that the Vatican was built upon the grounds previously devoted to the worship of Mithra (600 B.C.). The Orthodox Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version. Virtually all of the elements of Orthodox Christian rituals, from miter, wafer, water baptism, alter, and doxology, were adopted from the Mithra and earlier pagan mystery religions. The religion of Mithra preceded Christianity by roughly six hundred years. 



Mithraic worship at one time covered a large portion of the ancient world. It flourished as late as the second century. The Messianic idea originated in ancient Persia and this is where the Jewish and Christian concepts of a Savior came from. Mithra, as the sun god of ancient Persia, had the following karmic similarities with Jesus:


* Mithra was born on December 25th as an offspring of the Sun. Next to the gods Ormuzd and Ahrimanes, Mithra held the highest rank among the gods of ancient Persia. He was represented as a beautiful youth and a Mediator


* He was considered a great traveling teacher and master. He had twelve companions as Jesus had twelve disciples. Mithras also performed miracles.


* Mithra was called "the good shepherd"..."the way, the truth and the light"..."redeemer"..."Messiah" and was identified with both the lion and the lamb.


* He was buried in a tomb and after three days he rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year.


I ran this blog by my good friend (and wise old soul) Fire Lyte and he was able to bring some of this into perspective for me. At first, I became convinced that the christians were trying to pull the wool over people's eyes but after thinking about what Fire Lyte had to say, I began to realize that it isn't about who took who's ideas...down through the ages there have been many cultural myths that have involved similar beliefs and religions that have taken bits and pieces of older deities and beliefs and assimilated them into their practices and thinking. Like Ecclesiastes states so eloquently "What has been is, what will be and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun."(1 : 2–11)
























4 comments:

Celia (Head Witch of the Hollow) said...

There truly is nothing new under the sun...

My husband studied this...he loves to quote it to Christians...he likes to see them squirm...!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Those Christians were such friggin' copycats!

Sadie said...

Great Post. I studied Mithraism years ago when I first stepped my big toe on the Pagan path, well, all I can say is that after that read I had both feet on the Pagan path and was moving forward.

I would certainly suggest the study of Mithra to anyone who is feeling even slightly guilty over leaving their Christian faith. It helped me.

stay blessed

Annette said...

Well written. It is easier to assimilate a people when the new religion is close to what is already worshiped.

makes me sick.