Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Are You Washed in the Blood of the Bull? A Mithraic Anthem

Hey, every little pagan gayboy harbors a Mithraic fantasy or two, and I was no different from the rest.

As gods go, Mithras is as cute as they get, not to mention that he gets to ascend to heaven and handfast the Sun, who's not only cute, but hangs out butt-naked all the time. What's not to like? In the end, they even share a couch. (Go ahead, check out the vignettes if you don't believe me.) Plus, it's an all-male cult. That's pretty cool.

I wrote these lyrics back in the 80s as a send-up of the classic American hymn Are You Washed in the Blood (of the Lamb)? They do not faithfully portray actual Mithraic practice. The taurobolium (blood baptism) characterized the cultus of the Magna Mater, not that of Mithras. (No sane person would ever try to bring a live bull into the intimately close confines of your average Mithraeum, much less sacrifice one there.) Likewise, surviving iconography makes it quite clear that Mithras ≠ Sun.

So what follows is best regarded as a lark, not a serious addition to contemporary pagan hymnody.

Still, I like to think that it successfully captures something of the fraternal joy that must have characterized ancient (and, no doubt, modern) Mithraism. Does anybody seriously believe that, after the wine had gone around once or twice, the Brothers did not sing a good, rousing anthem or two together?

 

Do you shine for the Sun,

and does he shine for you?

 

Are You Washed in the Blood of the Bull?

A Mithraic Anthem

 

Are you washed in the blood,

in the life-giving blood of the Bull?

Do you walk with Mithras,

brother, hand-in-hand?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

 

Have you gone down to darkness

with our lord the Sun,

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

and been raised

in his holy Taurobolium?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

 

Are you washed in the blood,

in the life-giving blood of the Bull?

Do you walk with Mithras,

brother, hand-in-hand?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

 

Do you walk with Mithras,

are you brave and true?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

Do you shine for the Sun,

and does he shine for you?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

 

Are you washed in the blood,

in the life-giving blood of the Bull?

Do you walk with Mithras,

brother, hand-in-hand?

Are you washed in the blood of the Bull?

 

Tune: Are You Washed in the Blood (of the Lamb)?

 

 

 

 

 

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.

Comments

  • Jamie
    Jamie Thursday, 11 April 2019

    Ave Mithras Sol Invictus!

    Hey, they're still trying to figure out stuff about Mithraism. Thanks for sharing.

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