I was planning on writing up an article on Mithras, for a fiction project I want to start writing. Unfortunately, I’m going through Bran Fart Syndrome, or Writer’s Block, so unless I get sudden inspiration to keep the project going, I’ll probably set this on the back burner for a while.
Mithraism was not and never was intended for the common man. It was from the beginning an elite esoteric cult. It was also never in competition with Christianity, since only the intellectually advanced men joined this exclusive club and Christianity was more to absorb as many folks as possible. – RezBabe
YT description: Documentary looking at the mysteries of Mithras. Ancient Roman religion, or the basis for all Christian religion?
Title: Mithras – Lord of the Cosmos (YT link) Uploaded by Rover Films.
Mithras, Lord Of The Cosmos (4 stars)
Run time: 32 minutes. Here are my notes from this documentary. I am jotting all this info down in preparation for a future article on the cult of Mithras.
The Cult of Mithras can be traced back to the 1st Century CE. The cult lasted for about two hundred years, when it was eclipsed by the dawn of Christianity. Very little information remains for this cult. This cult was a syncretism from Persian and Indian sources, and was adopted by Rome to include rituals and astrological references. Much of what we know about Mithraism today comes from what rival Christians wrote about it.
Originally, Mitra was the name given to an Indo-European deity. Mitra dates back to 2000 BCE in Persia and India. The Indian name is Mitra Varuna. In Zoroastrianism he was known as Mitra. This deity is associated with the Mitras of the later Greeks. The original Persian attributes of this god were modified by Greek and Roman culture in the same way the Egyptian Isis and Osiris were.
The Roman cult may have first emerged in Anatolia (Turkey), where a large religious center to Mithras has been excavated. Raised benches for worshipers to sit on were found in Mithraic temples, which was very unusual for the 1st Century. Temples were partly built into the ground to create a subterranean feel. Temple sizes were 10 to 20 meters long and 5 meters wide. The temples were referred to as ‘caves.’
Despite the speculation, there are no written records showing what went on inside the temples. Animal remains have been found, suggesting feasting. Carvings show people in the temples reclining on couches and eating from low tables. The food servers were new members called ‘ravens.’ The new members must have known about the religion, as only initiates could enter the temple. One carving shows an archer shooting an arrow at another man, and at the rock behind him. Another carving shows a procession. It is assumed these carvings show what took place within the temple. Frescoes show swords, blindfolds and initiates lying down on the ground. All of these inferences point to Masonic ritual. It is possible that lights and sounds were used to create effects for the people in the temple.
The image of Mithras killing the bull is comparable to the Christian Cross, as far as religious importance goes. Below the image of Mithras and the bull are the following: a dog, a crater or mixing bowl, a serpent, a crab and a scorpion. Some artifacts show Mithras killing the bull inside a rocky cave. According to Plato, the cave represents the world. Around the cave image is a band showing all the signs of the zodiac. Other symbolism includes a figure holding a torch up on one end, while opposite shows a similar figure holding a torch down. (As above, so below; Masonic.) Also shown are a solar chariot and a lunar chariot. (Also Masonic.) Note that the same sort of symbolism can be found on a Ouija Board.
Deciphering the symbolism from the image. The dog represents Canis Major. The crater apparently also signified a former constellation. The entire image appears to show the entrance and exit of the sun into this world. The sun’s path also relates to the precession of the equinox, spaced out to 1800 years, from Taurus (pre-Rome), to Aries (Roman Age) to Aquarius (today). Mithras killing the bull could theoretically show the end of the age of Taurus. Note that many ancient religions from all over the world saw the connection between astronomical science and religion.
Another important aspect is the idea of the soul. If the soul is virtuous, it will rise up towards the moon after the body dies. Note that alternative researchers such as David Icke and Santos Bonacci have also made reference to the moon as a place where souls go to after death.
Similarities to Jesus and Christianity
Mithras was born to a virgin on the 25th of December.
He was attended to by 12 figures.
By worshiping Mithras, man could achieve salvation.
Holy Communion / Holy Sacrament
Holy Meal / Last Supper
Differences from Jesus and Christianity
Mithraism was male dominated (compare to Judaism, Masonry)
Christianity was aimed at a wider community, including women
Christians aided widows, orphans and the poor
Mithraism accepted other gods; Christians did not
Some images apparently show Mithras born from an egg
Let me add that I see Mithraism as a Mystery School religion. In that light, the cult had no aspirations to be spread out over the entire world, the way Christianity did after the Council of Nicea was meant to influence all of Rome.
Here is a part that I disagree with. One speaker states that the original Christians met in synagogues and were later thrown out by Jews, causing the outcasts to establish their own Judaic-based religion. From my studies in Gnosticism, I think it more likely that the first Christians were Gnostic, meaning they met in public places or private homes, and away from Judaism altogether. Because the Christians were meeting away from Roman or Judaic temples, Rome could not keep an eye on them and that is why Constantine and the emperors that came before him worked so hard to unify all of Rome under one religious banner. Constantine was not the first emperor to try to bring the various faiths together.
In trying to debunk the connections, one speaker says that the number 12 doesn’t hold up connecting Mithraism to Christianity. This is nonsense. The 12 tribes of Israel are not 12 by accident. The number 12 appears in numerous religions before and after the 1st Century, such as in Romulus and his 12 followers (Rome), Hercules and his 12 labors (Greek) before that era. After the 1st Century, we have Robin Goodfellow and his band of 12 men and King Arthur and his 12 knights of the Round Table. Not to mention the witch’s coven of one warlock and 12 witches. This number always represents the 12 months of the year, so the debunker and his nonsense argument are debunked. By incorporating rituals, key dates and numbers, Christianity as a pure religion that sprung out of a sort of holy vacuum is debunked.
I also don’t agree that the 2nd Century rise of Christianity caused the demise of the pagan religions. We still had festivals to Isis and Saturnalia going on, didn’t we? The Romans didn’t like their Jesus without a female counterpart like Ishtar or Isis, so they complained until they got the Virgin Mary. What this documentary is trying to show us is that Christianity did not evolve from Mithraism. I agree with that. Christianity came from all sorts of other religions as well, including Canaanite, Egyptian, Indian, Judaism, Roman and probably even Druidism. If you toss in the origins of the Gnostic Jesus, then you’ve got a whole bunch of other influences, most importantly including Buddhism, the Mushroom Cult of the Essenes and the Archon / Evil Yahweh sect that believed this world was hell, and that by coming here we were sinners that had to redeem our souls by living virtuous lives. Yeah, sheep, that’s where the part of us having to ‘save’ our souls came from, from the Gnostics.