Saturday, 7 May 2016

The All-Devouring

In The King Of Ys, Poul and Karen Anderson mention a Mithraic figure called "Lion-headed Time." Here, I compare this figure both to the Hindu man-lion incarnation and to CS Lewis' Aslan whom I accuse of swallowing universes whereas in fact, to be more precise:

"'I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and realms,' said the Lion."
-CS Lewis, The Silver Chair (London, 1988), p. 23.

Nevertheless, He is quite omnivorous. I suggest that, in His aspect as swallower of realms, Aslan functions not as the Biblical Lion of Judah but as cosmic Time, the All-Devouring. Gratillonius thinks of the Ultimate that is not prayed to, that is known of only by the highest ranks, and that is before and above all else forever as:

the One from Which Everything comes
the Source
the Fountainhead.

Below the One but above all Gods is Ahura-Mazda Who is also called:

the High
the Ever-Good.

Ahura-Mazda creates other Gods and His commander in the war against Ahriman is Mithras. Thus perhaps there is a sort of Trinity of Time, Ahura-Mazda and Mithras.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I sometimes think of God as the Infinitely Transcendent Other, but not that other "gods" exist as avatars or manifestations of the Ultimate. As a Catholic I insist that the One From Which Everything Comes takes a very personal interest in all of His creation, both on and off Earth. That this One chose the Jewish people to be the instrument thru whom He revealed Himself to mankind. A process culminating with the Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ. And that Christ founded the Catholic Church to be the instrument thru whiche He works for our salvation.

Given all that, I see no NEED for other "gods", even if only as "avatars" of the One.

Btw, it would be interesting to know what the Zoroastrians of the Sassanid Persia of Gratillonius' time thought of Mithraism. Being dualists who believed two gods exist (the good god Ahura Mazda and the evil god Ahriman) I seriously doubt they would have agreed with Gratillonius about Ahura Mazda creating other gods.


Anonymous said...

Kaor, Sean!

I have the impression -- just an impression, based, I must admit, on some historical fiction -- that the ancient Persians believed in lesser gods, or demigods, or angels, whatever you want to call them, as well as Ahura Mazda. I also have the impression (from something I recall in Gibbon's DECLINE AND FALL) that the first Sassanid summoned an assembly of Magi, and imposed or approved a religious reform. There's a great deal I don't know about all this, but it seems at least possible that a Zoroastrian of Gratillonius' time and one of Achaemenid times would have said different things about lesser gods.

Best Regards,
Nicholas D. Rosen

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Nicholas!

I think you are correct, and that there were times in Zoroastrianism that ideas about lesser "gods," demigods, or angels slipped into the religion. I get the vague recollection that Zoroaster himself was a reformer who preached against belief in lesser "gods" and that early Sassanian times saw another another polytheistic reaction against de facto polytheism.

I do recall G.K. Chesterton speaking approvingly of Zoroastrianism in THE EVERLASTING MAN. If my memory is correct, he called it the best religion, after Judaism/Christianity, mankind had.

Regards! Sean

Sean M. Brooks said...

Drat! In my first paragraph above I meant to write in the second sentence about how "...early Sassanian times saw another ANTI-polytheistic reaction against de facto polytheism."