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IRANO-ROMAN POLYTHEISM

Following on from my earlier post on Western Mithraic Religion I will make some initial suggestions for a popular polytheistic form of Western Mithraism.

In our religious imagination we consider ourselves as Romans by nationality, and derive our immediate identity as members of a cosmopolitan neo-Roman civilization. So the Roman historical experience and Latin language are part of our heritage. By ancestry however we consider ourselves as Roman (or European) on our mother's side, but Iranian (or Aryan) on our father's side. Thus we have a binary identity as Irano-Romans.

This reflects itself in our religion which grows out of our mother religion of traditional Roman polytheism, but is dramatically re-shaped by our father's Iranian culture.

THE PANTHEON

At the foundation is ZURVAN the substrate of Time and Space in which everything happens.

We then explain the complexity of the unfolding of the world, by means of deities or supernatural beings, arranged into different classes.

CLASSES OF GODS

At the moment I suggest these four classes, but there may well be a better scheme.

1. The GIANTS are the blind processes of the World - including the movement of the heavens, the progression of weather, of the biosphere and ecology. They also include those human happenings which are undirected by any conscious plan, but develop out of the interaction of many people with different conceptions and goals and their physical environment.

2. The POWERS are the productive ways of thinking and doing that derive initially from conscious thought and are solidified as wisdom.

In this class would most likely be put the major gods of the paleo-roman religion such as Jupiter, Juno, Mars etc and the similar Olympian gods of the Greeks.

3. The ARKONs (or Archons) are the ruling powers or sources of influence on worldly activity. For each domain of life, there is one arkon that controls absolutely the developing activity whether for good or bad.

4. The GENII are the generating spirits. For any phenomenon there is a genius behind it which brings it into being.


THE MAJOR GODS

At the moment I suggest a basic scheme of four major gods (i.e. a four-fold division of the 'powers' that derive from Wisdom)

These gods are meant to replace the well-known major gods of paleo-Roman and Greek polytheism which we don't worship.

The four are currently named as VIRTAS, ANHITA, TIRUM and MITHRA.

The first three form a gendered triad. VIRTAS is male, ANHITA is female and TIRUM is neuter.

VIRTAS (pronounced VEER-tass) represents the characteristically masculine powers. Most fundamentally these are the actual typical ideal characteristics of male human beings. By extension other more natural powers that are seen as sharing to some degree the human maleness may also be ascribed to Virtas.

ANHITA - 'The Lady' - stands for characteristically female powers.

TIRUM stands for ungendered powers. These might include the powers behind human institutions for instance.

MITHRA is the fourth god and stands primarily for the pursuit of the GOOD. It is considered that for a Good Existence to be achieved Mithra should be Lord over the other three gods, bringing their different powers into productive co-operation.

All these gods may be qualified by epithets to distinguish their different aspects.

Some possibilities:

TIRUM MAZDA - the all-creative Wise One - considered as genderless and abstract. Tirum Mazda is never pictured anthropomorphically , but can be represented by fire.

VIRTAS VICTOR - the victorious god who pushes through resistance to make his designs into reality.


ANHITA SOPHIA - the all-creative Wise One - considered as female.

ANHITA FLUMINA - The goddess of pure flowing water.

ANHITA CHRESTA - the female parallel to Mithra Chrestus.


MITHRA CHRESTUS - Mithra the Good. The male god whose very nature is to be useful to the living being.

MITHRA SOCIALIS (?) - the name might change, but this stands for Mithra's powers to bring people together in fruitful alliance.


THE ARCHONS

It may be that the archons will be more a feature of gnostic Mithraism than of the popular religion, but we could have:

ARKUS - the overall ruling power that controls everything. The Demiurge.

PLUTARKUS - the ruling power over money - how it is generated and distributed.


GIANTS

ENTUS - the One Being
GAETA - the Living Being

Beyond this there is plenty of scope for borrowing from the historical Romans:

e.g. BELLONA - the goddess/giant of war


Marcus Zartianus
March 4019 ME