cover image The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief That Shaped the Christian World

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

. Inner Traditions International, $16.95 (230pp) ISBN 978-1-59477-027-2

From page one, Nabarz showers the reader with dense historical information about the origins of Mithras, an ancient Persian protector god whose worship can be traced as far back as the second millennium B.C.E. The Mithras cult is said to pre-date even Zoroastrianism, and made its way west into the pagan traditions of the Roman Empire. Nabarz, a Mithras revivalist, Sufi and practicing dervish, offers a book that is part history-primer, part practical guide ""designed to help the spiritual seeker develop a deeper understanding of the Mithraic mysteries,"" and perform initiation rites and Mirthraic liturgy. Readers unfamiliar with Persian history, Eastern religions, and Roman paganism may find it difficult to wade beyond the background information packed into the first half of the book. Filled with interesting history, solid research and a range of Mithraic myths from around the world, the initial chapters are slow going. For those interested in the contemporary practice of Mithraism, Nabarz's exploration of this tradition picks up when he tells the Mithraic fairytale of Simorgh, which explains the nature of Mithras's partner, the goddess Anahita, and takes the reader step by step through a series of meditations and initiation rites. Luckily, Payam's chapters are organized so that the reader can choose between practical guidance and Mithraic history.