Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Mithraic Ritual

A Mithraic Ritual Cover

Book: A Mithraic Ritual by George Robert Stowe Mead

The last little volume gave the reader a brief outline of what is known of the cult of Mithra and the spread of the Mithriac Mysteries in the Western world. We have now to deal with a Mithriac Ritual of the most instructive and intensely interesting character, which introduces us to the innermost rite of the carefully guarded secrets of the Mithriaca.

This Ritual is all the more precious in that our knowledge of the Liturgies of the ancient Pagan cults of the West is of the scantiest nature. A few fragments only remain, mostly in the form of hymns; whereas the Ritual before us is complete, and the only complete one so far discovered. Dieterich calls it a {9} Liturgy; but a Liturgy is a service in which several take part, whereas it is plain that our Ritual was a secret and solemn inner rite for one person only.
The credit of unearthing it from the obscurity in which it was buried, and of conclusively demonstrating its parent-age, is due to Dieterich; for though Cumont in his great work quotes several passages from the unrevised text, he does so only to reject it as a genuine Mithriac document.

We will now give a Translation of the Ritual and then proceed to comment on it. The prayers and utterances are printed in italics, and the rubrics or Instructions in Roman type.

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