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Mystery Religions........ What's the mystery?

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posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 07:26 PM

A mystery religion is any religion with an arcanum, or body of secret wisdom. In a mystery religion, an inner core of beliefs, practices, and the religion's true nature, are revealed only to those who have been initiated into its secrets.

These secrets are not to be profaned (pro + fanum "beyond the fane, or religious precinct"). By their very nature mysteries are ineffable, beyond what can be expressed in words, or esoteric. As in Gnosticism, gnosis, "knowledge", is conveyed experientially, thus mysteries and mystery religions do not produce a body of scripture that is claimed to be "revealed" by the prophet of a deity.


I'm very interested in religion, especially the origins of Christianity, from a purely spectator point of view, i.e. I'm not religious.

If you read about early Christians, you'll come across Gnosticism, which is classed as a Mystery Religion.

I've often wondered - "what's the mystery?" That is, what is the secret knowledge that must not be profaned? It seems to me that this is just another way for the elite to keep the masses in the dark. The esoteric information must be important, or it wouldn't be so highly guarded.

I'm going to take a stab at guessing what this secret knowledge is......

Firstly, since the information is bound up in a religious context, it stands to reason that the information, at least partly, pertains to spiritual affairs. If it's being kept secret, then it means the 'outside' of the religion is not telling people the entire truth about it's subject matter.

Beyond this, I also think the information has a definate purpose - that is, it's not just some information about the religion that is being withheld, but the information has a practical use.

For example - Let's take a popular theory like Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene, and baring a child with her, I imagine most of us are familiar with this, after the da Vinci code and such.

Now, completely hypothetically, let's say that this is information only initiates of the Mystery religion would be privy to - What is the reason for holding back this information?

Would it be because telling all Christians this would make Jesus seem less 'Godly', that it would taint his divinity to know that he had a wife, children, and thus had sex and had sexual desires? OR is there another reason to hold back this information, something more important than another chapter in the story?

I'm willing to bet on the latter. Mystery Religions sound very much like what is often proposed of Freemasonry, in that the lower initiates know nothing of the real purpose of their rituals and customs, only those higher up are privy to real information.

Examples of mystery religions no longer practised
The Eleusinian Mysteries
The Cult of Orpheus
The Cult of Isis
The Cult of Attis
The Cult of Tammuz
Gnostic Christianity


Most of the above have parallels with Christianity:

  1. Isis - The Egyptian Goddess, mother of Horus, with parallels to the Virgin Mary.
  2. Tammuz - The Babylonian deity, the inspiration for the Syrian/Greek deity, Adonis, also parrallels aspects of the Jesus story.
  3. Mithras - The Persian/Greek deity, also parallels Jesus' life.
  4. Orpheus - From Greek mythology, believed in monotheism and has many parallels to Dionysus, the Greek/Roman deity, himself having parallels with Jesus.
  5. Attis - A Greek life/death/rebirth deity (parallels Jesus' resurrection).
  6. The Eleusinian Mysteries - Greek/Roman cult revolving around the seasonal/agricultural tale of Persephone's death and rebirth (she was kidnapped by Hades, God of death and the underworld).

It seems that all these Mystery Religions have a common thread in their use of deities that all parallel each other in some respects. The odd one out from the list seems to be Pythagoreanism.

The Pythagoreans were a Hellenic organization of astronomers, musicians, mathematicians, and philosophers who believed that all things are, essentially, numeric. The group strove to keep the discovery of irrational numbers a secret, and legends tell of a member being drowned for breaching this secrecy (see Hippasus).

The pentagram (five-pointed star) was an important religious symbol used by the Pythagoreans. It was called "health".


Pythagoras and his students believed that everything was related to mathematics, and thought that everything could be predicted and measured in rhythmic patterns or cycles.


It's my belief that all these mystery religions are in fact the same teaching being shared to initiates at different times and places. It doesn't matter what the religion is, who the characters are, what the larger story revolves around, as long as certain important points are kept in tact, then the allegorical information is there to be taught to the initiated, and the un-initiated are left to take the allegory at face-value.

This allows an initiate of the Mysteries to worship any of Gods or idols in any of the outer religions, since they know that it is simply an allegory - it wouldn't matter if they were Christian or a follower of Mithrasism for example.

Pythagoreanism is the odd one out in that it is concerned largely with mathematics and cosmology. To me, Pythagoreanism seems like it has dispensed with the allegory, and just keeps the information that was wrapped up in the allegory, a secret.

The secular aspect of Pythagoreanism possibly ties it with secret societies that have esoteric teachings, such as Freemasonry, the Illuminati, the Prior of Scion, Rosicrucianism - all of which are connected in one way or another.

Rosicrucians claimed heritage to the Knights Templar - which of course brings us full circle to the theory of Jesus being married and having children with Mary Magdalene.

Now, I wouldn't want to turn this thread into a discussion of whether Jesus existed or not - But I'm of the belief that he did not, at least as documented in the Bible.
As shown above, there are a plethora of deities that pre-date Jesus who share uncanny parallels with his life story, too close to pass off as coincidence. And the examples listed above are just the tip of the iceberg, there are many books explaining these similarities (this is the one that sparked my interest in the matter).

I think the Jesus story in the New Testament is a continuation of this allegory, and encoded in it is the esoteric information available to the initiates of the Mystery Religion.

There are theories that the Jesus story is an astrological allegory - Jesus is the Sun (Son), and the New Testament story of his life charts the Sun's movement throughout the sky in a year. Here is a site that explains this theory very well, explaining the journey of the Sun through the constellations in the sky, paralleled with the events of Jesus' life:

On Christmas day, December 25, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. December 22 was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, when the Sun was at its lowest.

Three days later, on December 25, the sun rises 1/10 of it's width farther north — just barely detectable by carefully observing the shadows cast at sunrise. Our savior, the Sun, has been reborn, to begin the cycle of the year and the cycle of life again.

In the Gospel story of Jesus, after his resurrection the story ends. People have always asked what did he do after that? Why does the story end here? Why isn't the rest of his life chronicled? — The reason is, if you want to read the continuation of the story, turn back to page one. The story is circular. Three days after Jesus dies and is placed in the cave he is born again, and the story begins anew.

If this is true, then it's possible that the 'treasures' the Knights Templar allegedly came across in the Temple of Solomon pertained to this esoteric information, and it is this that has been passed down through the various secret socities and orders, just as it was in religions in ancient times.

So, have I answered my own question? The Mystery Religion's inner knowledge is that of astrology, astronomy and mathematics - Basically scientific information. Knowledge is power, and being initiated into the religion makes the initiates privy to this powerful information - again we see an example of the powerful wishing to keep that power for themselves and capitalise on it.

Is there more to it than this? I know I've written a lot there about my thoughts on the matter, but I'm still not satisfied that that is all it is, I think the mysteries hold something else, something bigger, I just can't put my finger on it. Any takers?...............

[edit on 29-11-2005 by VelvetSplash]

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 01:02 AM
First of all its considered a sin in the Torah I believe to learn such things.
As far as the Kabbalah goes it is said a teacher comes and teaches when and if that one is ready and it can take a life time to learn rightfully so. They use to onlt teach people when they were at a minimum age of 40 in Israsel.

If you break everything down with a science or math what are you left with? This is the problem. Sure you can use numeric values and get close to figuring out God and see his love and wrath all at once. However like I said it is a sin to do so and want to. Why? As the thought of Satan wanting to sit in God's seat.

The thought of uncovering God while human can kill you. Like doing a crossword puzzle and walking into the sun.

Make sense? Its better to by in the mystery than in the know sometimes.

Just trust and have faith in the system that is here even if you don't go by a specific doctrine.

One bit people got confused about when learning is they think they can hold all the keys and think there is no God but only us souls and the first to uncover it wins. This doesn not work this way. Sure as souls we are all connected and I suppose on death or the end we return to God but it is there that we return to and it was there before us. Make sense?

[edit on 30-11-2005 by japike]

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 07:10 AM

Originally posted by japikeMake sense?

Not entirely, no.

Originally posted by japikeFirst of all its considered a sin in the Torah I believe to learn such things.

Well it would be wouldn't it. Information passed down through the Mystery Religions is to be kept a secret from the wider audience, what better way to keep it a secret than to tell people they'll be eternally damned to Hell if they try and take a peek behind the curtain?

Classic scare-tactics used by religions. I think this can also be said about the occult and so-called 'Black' magic, which I wouldn't be surprised shared some of the practices of the Mystery religions, hence the Churches damnation of practitioners of pagan rituals and the occult.

Originally posted by japike
If you break everything down with a science or math what are you left with? This is the problem. Sure you can use numeric values and get close to figuring out God and see his love and wrath all at once. However like I said it is a sin to do so and want to. Why? As the thought of Satan wanting to sit in God's seat.

That's all down to personal belief - I don't believe in the Christian/Jewish God and Devil ideas - Although I do believe in "God"/Oneness/A Higher Consciousness.

The thing is, I don't think the information kept secret in the Mystery Religions is purely spiritural or religious, I think it's also practical.

I don't mean to be purposefully iconoclastic, but I'm interested in the truth of things, and if that means burning a few sacred cows, so be it.

posted on Nov, 30 2005 @ 07:34 AM
So many people view it in two manners one god or all our souls=god in a metaphysical sense right. However before I, there was god. I don't follow a sect either but if God was before me and he gave me this life so I could live almost a sacrafice to himself if I uncover God I am not sure what happens. I guess it is this the first person who uncovered god and passed as secret(templar/mason/skullbones) started a snowball effect. yes using black magic beyond most people can believe if I explained it to them. Now this is satan so to speak as this uncovered power of demonic force does nothing but snowball as in a cycle. As written end of days it was known and maybe Jesus causes the antichrist just by the words being written. Or he just knew someone would uncover evil to cause this. However Jesus exsisting caused an end. I always wonder if there is no way around it.

It is hard to know what happens to you if you uncover God unless you are of pure heart and soul and only would use it to warn people as a prophet...or Jesus himself but its intresting to note that before Christ is an Anti Christ and before prophets are false prophets. Why is everything a contridiction?

Than what does this say must you belive in the devil to have the christ? And the same with prophets. Maybe its all in our belief and if this is true why did Christ not have faith in us to not allow an antichrist?Or as it seems it is just natural the unfolding of everything.

Or maybe the end of days is needed in a cycle for you to choose what happens next you are face with two sides to take one good the other evil. Apon choosing you than suceed to the next phase whatever that maybe. The most difficult question in life you are face with evil that promises you to live yet if you choose you deny God. If you choose God you die in the human form.

Life the mockery of God as with two brothers or best friends they have many disagreements and times and there is usually that one day they fight it out but it does nothing but bring them closer in the end. A transitition if you will. Why I guess to have anything there is duality and it is just part of the cycle or just natural to fight once in a while but under worst conditions we are here for eachother. We are here for God as he is for us. He hides in dark places for good reason he like a magnet we are attracted to him yet if you get two magnets together they push eachother away. Like that old cartoon with the big dog and the lil dog spike, spike loves the little dog but he knows if he hugs him he may harm him so he gives his love from a distance in a mystery,

[edit on 30-11-2005 by japike]

posted on Apr, 24 2012 @ 06:16 PM
reply to post by VelvetSplash

My thoughts are more toward VelvetSplash than japike as I believe japike's comments are mostly mumbo-jumbo (that's no offense to japike; I'm atheist, so religious searching and religious evidence are irrelevant to me).

Anyhow, the OP is questioning religion's big reveal, in essence. My tendency is to say there isn't one. I mean, c'mon, we all know this, really. Some us choose to obstruct it more than others and to distract ourselves with religion or fear, two aspects of the same thing.

However, I don't believe this is religion's fault like I typically do for most things wrong in our world. I actually think the process of building up stuff into a big deal under the pretense that there is some pay-off is actually just a scam system for consolidating power and I think both the creation of the mechanism and the following of the expectations are human nature.

For example, I believe most fraternities and sororities or any kind of elitist club does the same thing. I know my fraternity did. And though the big reveal had a modicum of relevance to me, at that time and in that situation, in reality, it was inconsequential information that would provide no knowledge or relevance to anybody that might ever read this post I'm am currently writing. Nevertheless, the promise of that information, along with the threat of not being qualified to receive it, really did a number on us pledges back in the day.

In summary, I think the promise of a big mystery in any sort of human system is just a power play, a device for manipulation.

Interestingly enough, not too long ago, I posted a thread about an ancient religious/mystery tradition in Greece and Rome that also promised a big pay-off and, allegedly, had one. One member, responding in the comments section, wondered what the big reveal could have been. That's the main thing that's always interested me about these occult/secret traditions ... and I like to think it could be. But the rational, intellectual side of my brain recognizes it's unlikely so. All the people involved in the Eleusinian Mysteries, Freemasonry, Catholicism, what have you - no one's ever really divulged the big reveal. That's gotta be because there ain't one. In the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries, it's likely they grew out of favor because this was so obvious ... as the Age of Enlightening was dawning, it wasn't so incredibly easy to just so obviously pull the wool over people's eyes (despite how it seems easier today than ever before as we sometimes seem to be dumbing back down).

Very interesting post.

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