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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > The Mysteries of Mithras Search

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Book Review:
The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief That Shaped the Christian World

Author: Payam Nabarz
Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: Inner Traditions
Publication date: 2005
List: US$14.95, C$21.95
ISBN: 1594770271
Price & More Info: Click Here


This book benefits from several things. First, and most obvious, is the number of illustrations scattered throughout it. Although illustrations aren't necessary for understanding the concepts laid out, they help to give a sense of the permanence of this religion. Second, the appendices contain actual texts from the time when Mithraism was a dominant force in the world. Third, the author has provided meditations and initiations for the seven grades of worship of Mithras. Finally, and most importantly, this text has been produced by an author who grew up in the Persian culture and thus approaches the subject from the inside, unlike many authors who approach religions from the outside. He brings to the mix an unusual cross-fertilization. He is Persian-born; a Sufi and a practicing Dervish; a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids; a member of the Golden Dawn Occult Society, and revivalist of the Temple of Mithras. Add to that a Ph.D. from Oxford and post-doctoral research on genetics and cancer. It is easy to see how he is capable of approaching this topic from a multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural perspective. He produces references which show familiarity with sources far outside the standard parameters of academia (e.g., the rites of Wicca).

The meditations and initiations contained in this work were, admittedly, created by the author. They had to be, as the worship of Mitra (or Mithras in its Romanized form) was a mystery religion. Details were not committed to writing. There were no handbooks available to say "this is how to do this," or "this represents that". It was, and is, an experiential religion. Mr. Nabarz has drawn together hints from writers of the past, ideas which resonate from current religious practices, and a feel for what would achieve the desired goals and creates a framework about which is built a thoroughly workable belief system. It is not a system which can be rushed. Each stage must be experienced fully. The meditations cannot be done once and put aside. Reading this book offers and idea what it is all about. But to know what it is all about requires that you work through it and experience it. That will not be done in a week, or a month, or even a year. Take the time necessary to gain from the experience and you will be more than amply rewarded.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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