|Blog Home||Mithraism is Neoplatonic - R.P.|
Since some people are telling what they think mithraism is, I decided to share my opinion about this religion, too.
I focus on the mithraic mystery-religion of the roman empire. While many recent mithraists think, that this movement was only a continuation of the persian zoroastrianism, I reject this outdated idea. Since the two international congresses of mithraic studies in the 1970s the scholar world mostly agrees that the european mithraism was a whole new thing in the age of the roman empire and late antiquity, and that it indeed had some elements inspired by persian paganism and zoroastrianism - but not more than elements inspired by egyptian, greek, roman and local paganism, stoic and platonic philosophy and western occultism.
I strongly connect mithraism with neoplatonic philosophy. The neoplatonic world view, as it was teached by Plotinus and Iamblichus for example, tells about a hierarchy of existence: The eternal transcendent realm of the Monad (which eludes from any logical description), the eternal spirit that emerges from the Monad and the eternal soul that emerges from the spirit - and, more below, the imperfect world of transience, changing and separation we live in, which is made out of the eternal cosmic soul by the eternal cosmic spirit.
It is the greatest aim for the neoplatonic, that he reaches henosis - the state of becoming one with the Monad again - through the four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, modesty and justice, and through faithful religious piety and theurgy.
For me, Lord Mithras is the representative of the eternal realm in our world and the way to rise and reach henosis through the seven grades of mithraic initation. He is the eternity that lies within the circle of life and nature, and that manifests in the light of the sun and fire. This eternity, the eternity that comes from the transcendent realms, is the only thing in our cosmos that isn't affected by transience and change, that is invincible and indestructible, and that is the true proof of the divine's existence.
By following the described neoplatonic methods we follow the light, we follow Lord Mithras, and can reach enlightenment: Henosis. That, in my opinion, is the message of western mithraism.
R.P. (with minor amendments)