|Three kinds of Mithraism|
There are lots of possible ways to explain what Mithraism is about but one scheme is to talk about three kinds of Mithraism: |
1. Pagan Mithraism (also sometimes Ethnic or Heathen Mithraism)
2. Krestic Mithraism (Chrestian Mithraism)
3. Humanic Mithraism (Mithraic Humanism)
These are three approaches, which support each other, and not three separate religions. However there is some difference in beliefs between them - or at least a difference of emphasis - so that it is difficult to practice all three at exactly the same time.
Paganism is about living, about thinking what you need to do to have a good life. It splits the world into the world-out-there, the environment, which is mostly not under your control, and the Self, your individual self, your family, your community etc. The aim of Paganism is to make the best life you can for yourself, given the circumstances you are faced with. This means getting the things you need to survive, like food and materials and land, and developing yourself and your community, making yourself stronger and more capable.
Krestianism sees the world as the scene of a perpetual battle between Good and Evil. To be a Krestic Mithraist is to be a Knight of Mithras, a warrior on the side of Good, perpetually struggling to create the Good Order of existence - the Kingdom of Ashura, the Paradise on Earth.
Humanic Mithraism, perhaps also Gnostic Mithraism, is not about the Pagan struggle to survive in the world, nor the Krestian struggle to change the world, but the internal mental struggle to make sense of the world, and to align oneself mentally with it.
If Paganism is naturally polytheistic, and Krestianism is dualistic, then Humanic Mithraism is monistic. It emphasizes the view of the world as a single system, and character development is about being able to seeing the subtleties of the activities and processes of existence, and their interactions, and also to see the big patterns and to have an eye for what is beautiful and harmonious and wise.
Of course all three work together, because without Paganism, (i.e. without ever adopting the 'Pagan Attitude'), you would not survive or be strong enough to be a Krestian Knight. Also if you didn't ever adopt the Humanic/Gnostic Attitude and develop your mind, then as a Krestian Knight you wouldn't have the wisdom to know what was truly the Good Cause.
If on the contrary you exclusively developed your Humanic contemplative side, and not the militant Krestian one, then you would be impotent to actually change the world. And if you were exclusively a Pagan and never a Krestian, you risk getting stuck in fruitless zero-sum battles with the neighbouring tribe or people of other race or religion.
MZ, Feb 4018