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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 hot.

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

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ave Mithras Sol Invictus! Hey, they're still trying to figure out stuff about Mithraism. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Deeper Names

The great god of the Northern Bronze Age was the Sun, and His sign was the Wheel.

Happy were they who saw His sign standing in the sky.

Today, in the winter skies of the North, we see it there still.

“Parahelia,” they say, or “Sun dogs.”

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The Three Births of Yule

Now these are the Three Births of Yule.

The First Birth of Yule is the Primal Birth.

Long ago, in ages of ages, the fires of the Sun first kindled, since when He has royally burned in self-giving, sacrificial light.

The Second Birth of Yule is the Eternal Birth.

This is the annual birth of the Sun, Who daily and yearly goes down in darkness and rises up again: and unto ages of ages.

The Third Birth of Yule is the Earthly Birth.

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Sun Worship

On Equinox morning, the light of the rising Sun streams in a golden torrent down the hall.

I stand in worship, bathed in light.

Before such savage beauty, I bow and kiss the ground.

I rise and kiss my hand, adoring.

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A Sun Is Born

Did you know that a new Sun was born this year?

Astronomers estimate that, here in our Milky Way galaxy, there's a New Sun born at a frequency of about one a year.

One a year.

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Solstice Treasure

On the Thirteenth Day of Yule in the year 1153, Earl Harald Maddarðarson of Orkney was travelling from Stromness to Firth when he was caught in a blizzard. He and his companions took shelter from the storm in the famed Neolithic burial mound Maeshowe, where, interestingly, two of his party went mad. This delayed the travelers for so long, reports the Orkneyinga Saga, that they didn't reach Firth until well after dark.

Dating from around 2500 BCE, Maeshowe was well known to the Vikings, who ruled the Orkneys for more than 300 years. Carved into the stones of the mound's central chamber is one of the largest known collections of runic inscriptions in Europe. According to the longest,

Crusaders broke into Maeshowe. Líf Earl's-Cook carved these runes. To the northwest is a great treasure hidden. It was long ago that a great treasure was hidden here. Happy is he that might find that great treasure. Hákon alone bore treasure from this mound.

Maeshowe is famed for its orientation to the Winter Solstice sunset. For the last few years, on the morning of Midwinter's Eve, I've tuned in to the live on-site webcam to watch. What I saw there amazed me.

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Keeping the Sol in Solstice

The last words of British painter J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) are reported to have been: The Sun is god.

And him not even a pagan.

Our Sun, our star. Our star, our god. We are sunlight and soil, literally, Earth and Sun our undeniable parents. In this Divine Family that we call the solar system, They are our Mother and our Father.

And what does one take more for granted than one's parents?

When did you last actually think about the Sun? Really see the Sun? Praise the Sun? Offer gratitude to the mighty Being without Whom we would not exist? Say thank you for the incomparable gift of light?

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  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Here's one: http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/paganistan/lunisol.html
  • Chris Moore
    Chris Moore says #
    Steven, what is the song you sing to the rising Sun?

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