An overview of Mithraism, the ancient Roman mystery religion popular in the Roman Legions
• Provides a comprehensive history of Mithraism, including its influence on Christianity and Islam
• Includes rituals, meditations, and teaching tales for readers who wish to follow the Mithraic path
• Studies the evolution and divergence of the Eastern (Persian) and Western (Roman) forms of Mithraism
The Mysteries of Mithras presents a revival of the magical practices and initiatory system of Mithraism, the ancient Roman mystery religion that was immensely popular in the Roman Legions from the late second century B.C. until A.D. 400 and was taken to every corner of the Roman Empire. As the last pagan state religion in Europe, it was the most important competitor to early Christianity and heavily influenced Christian doctrine and symbolism. The parallels between Christianity and ancient Mithraism are striking--for example, the god Mithra was born of a virgin in a cave on December 25.
Payam Nabarz reveals the history, origins, and spiritual and philosophical tenets of Mithraism and its connections to Christianity, Islam, and Freemasonry. He also describes the modern neo-pagan practice of Mithraism in evidence today and for readers who wish to adopt the Mithraic path, he includes seven of its initiatory rituals and meditations, as well as orations and teaching tales, that open the door to the seven Mithraic grades of passage.
From page one, Nabarz showers the reader with dense historical information about the origins of Mithras, an ancient Persian protector god whose worship can be traced as far back as the second millennium B.C.E. The Mithras cult is said to pre-date even Zoroastrianism, and made its way west into the pagan traditions of the Roman Empire. Nabarz, a Mithras revivalist, Sufi and practicing dervish, offers a book that is part history-primer, part practical guide "designed to help the spiritual seeker develop a deeper understanding of the Mithraic mysteries," and perform initiation rites and Mirthraic liturgy. Readers unfamiliar with Persian history, Eastern religions, and Roman paganism may find it difficult to wade beyond the background information packed into the first half of the book. Filled with interesting history, solid research and a range of Mithraic myths from around the world, the initial chapters are slow going. For those interested in the contemporary practice of Mithraism, Nabarz's exploration of this tradition picks up when he tells the Mithraic fairytale of Simorgh, which explains the nature of Mithras's partner, the goddess Anahita, and takes the reader step by step through a series of meditations and initiation rites. Luckily, Payam's chapters are organized so that the reader can choose between practical guidance and Mithraic history.