The Mithraic are a religious faction dedicated to the sun god Sol that rose to power on Earth in the 22nd century. They were opposed by the Atheists, which instigated the Religious War. The Mithraic defeated the Atheists by 2145 due in large part to the use of Necromancers, which were far superior to the Atheists’ own androids and other weapons, but the war left Earth on the verge of ecological collapse. To save humanity from extinction, the Mithraic constructed the Ark of Heaven to transport 1,000 colonists to Kepler-22b, which was marginally suitable for habitation.
The Ark of Heaven arrived at Kepler-22b in 2157, 12 years after the Atheist Campion Sturges had secretly sent his own, much faster colony ship bearing the androids Mother, Father, and several human embryos. When a Mithraic landing party landed on Kepler-22b and attempted to take Campion, the last of the androids’ six children, Mother discovered she was a reprogrammed Necromancer and used her abilities to infiltrate the Ark and cause its destruction. The remaining Mithraics under the leadership of Ambrose, and later Marcus, struggled to survive on their harsh new home.
1.3 The Mithraic Mysteries
2 Throughout Raised by Wolves
2.1 Height of the Religious War
2.2 Arrival of the Imposters and Departure of the Ark
2.3 Inside the Simulation
2.4 Arrival of Soldiers to Kepler-22b
2.5 Mother’s Massacre of the Crew and Kidnapping
2.6 Survivors of the Ark on Kepler-22b and Rescue Mission
3 Church Members
4 Church Androids
The Mithraic get their name from a real-world ancient religious cult of the god Mithras. The god Mitra originally came from ancient Persia, or modern Iran. At the height of the Roman Empire, he began to be worshipped as Mithras in a Roman mystery cult. The cult became very popular, especially with soldiers. The sun god Sol was originally a separate god, but Mithras was often worshipped together with "Sol Invictus," the conquering sun.
In Raised by Wolves, the two gods have been blended into one and the Mithraists, or "Mithraic," worship a single god called Sol, who is associated with "the Light." Such is the reason as to why the Mithraic characters wear sun emblems and sun pendants.
The Mithraic considered all nonbelievers to be impure. In order to purify oneself and formally join the religion, both converts and those raised in the faith were required to undergo a baptism ceremony where they proclaimed their acceptance of Sol before a cleric and other witnesses.
During the Religious War, the Mithraic held a pronounced technological advantage over the Atheists, most clearly signified by their manufacture and usage of Necromancers. Androids such as Necromancers were powered by dark photon technology, which remained poorly understood even by the Mithraic. According to Mithraic dogma, ancient Mithraic scriptures were encrypted with highly advanced scientific formulas that were "passed down from the heavens at the dawn of man". It is claimed that the Mithraic believers of the 22nd century decoded these formulas and followed them to create new technologies and devices such as androids. The Atheists dispute this explanation as Mithraic propaganda.
If dark photon technology and other innovations truly were decoded from ancient Mithraic scriptures rather than discovered independently by humans, it is possible this development is what allowed the organized Mithraic religion of the 22nd century to become so influential and widespread in a relatively short amount of time. The people who first uncovered these formulas likely interpreted them as tangible proof that the ancient Mithraic religion was divine truth, and this attracted a modern religious following that eclipsed all other extant human religions.
The Mithraic Mysteries
“An orphan boy in an empty land will wield the sword forged in Sol’s light, and with it, he will lead his people to the tree of knowledge, and all who eat from it will be made pure, and there they will build a city of peace, and the prophet will be made its king.”
— Paul’s summary of the Mithraic prophecy
Members of the church often refer to the "Mithraic Mysteries," a prophecy which speaks of an "an orphan boy who dwells in an empty land [and] who will discover the Mithraic mysteries." What these mysteries entail, as well as whether they will have anything in common with the real-world ancient mysteries, is presently unknown. Certain occurrences and objects encountered on Kepler-22b, such as the "temple" and a cave painting of a Mithraic sun, are interpreted as signs of the prophecy’s imminent fulfullment.
Mithraic soldiers such as Lucius and the original Marcus, and possibly other Mithraic believers, were taught the tenets of the faith at a place called the Mithraic Academy on Earth. It is possible that soldiers also received basic military training at this school.
Criminals among the Mithraic faced a trial before the Tribunal, likely a body of clerics, who would pass judgment and decide the appropriate punishment. Rape is a crime punishable by public execution. Criminals are bound with a restrictive helmet that completely encloses their head, and are monitored by a special android designated "Limiting Emergency-Automated Servo-Habit", or Leash, which takes on the role of a "mobile prison system". The helmet is designed to crush its wearer’s head in the event that it or the Leash android are tampered with in any way or separated from each other.
Little is known about the Mithraic social structure. Soldiers hold conventional military ranks, such as Captain, but the Mithraic clergy is a hierarchy with unique titles. The title for the head of the Mithraic religion is unknown, but second-highest rank is "Heliodromus". Lesser ranks or positions in the hierarchy include clerics and monks.
Upon the destruction of the Ark of Heaven in 2157, the leader of the Mithraic was killed. Ambrose, possibly a Heliodromus, survived the crash and was the highest-ranking cleric still alive. Per the Mithraic line of succession, Ambrose was automatically elevated to the head of the religion and leader of the surviving Mithraic believers, who referred to him as "His Eminence". Following Ambrose’s death, leadership would next have passed to Justina, but the Mithraic chose to follow Marcus instead since they believed he was communicating with Sol. When Marcus was exiled, Justina was elevated to her rightful place.
Throughout Raised by Wolves
Height of the Religious War
During the year 2145 in Boston, a squadron of soldiers run through a trench during the peak of the war, firing at initially unknown objects attacking from above. An atheist male soldier named Caleb calls out to Mary, and they press against the ditch to hide. Above them, an outstretched airborne android fails to notice them as it continues to shriek. The pair escape, though a flying vehicle crashes ahead of them, and they run towards it. Mary ignores an android pleasantly asking for help as he burns in fire to check on the pilot, who is dead. Caleb extinguishes the android and grabs him, as the group escapes the large explosions around them. They shoot an unarmed person as they enter a building, laying the android down. Caleb discovers the android to be a type A medic used for the Mithraic, who happens to have a log of all the passengers on the Ark. Caleb comes up with a plan to disguise themselves as a passenger (incidentally, Marcus), and volunteers to go first in a cosmetic surgery by the android while Mary cooks a rat dinner.
Caleb later tests her ability to test a new voice. Some time later at night, Caleb finds Mary, now without bandages, crying in the mirror. She hates it, but he replies otherwise. He takes off his own bandages, revealing his new face. He tells her it’s Marcus now, and her name is Sue as she begins to break down. The newly-christened Marcus consoles her as she reiterates the Mithraic motto.
Arrival of the Imposters and Departure of the Ark
The pair later travel to an abandoned, desolate structure. Inside, they find a cooking pot and demand the inhabitants to show themselves. Emerging from behind the counter are the real Marcus and Sue, staring at their imposters. The real Sue begins to say the Mithraic motto, but they are killed by the doppelgangers. ‘Marcus’ shuffles through their files as ‘Sue’ helps herself with the food, and discovers the couple have a son, much to her shock. They find their boarding keys, with papers saying he’ll be delivered to his parents in the boarding area.
At a defunct stadium underneath an Ark lander, the new Marcus and Sue are in line for the boarding gates, as an intercom announces prayers and priests bless those waiting. Marcus spots a boy sitting on a bench with other children, and thinks that the son. The couple approach, nervously greeting him. The boy, Paul, replies hello to his parents without emotion. A cleric refers to Marcus as Captain Drusus, telling him Paul was taken good care of. An announcement reiterates all passengers have their identification ready, and the family get back in line. In a waiting area, where seats are replaced by seamless white pods, a large group of priests arrive and welcome the passengers as brothers and sisters, asking them to join in prayer to repent the sins committed on Earth. One priest hands Sue a circle of bread and she drinks from the goblet. Paul does likewise, though Sue reaches over to him as he says he’s scared. She tells him it will be alright as Marcus finishes his ritual.
The Ark’s lander then launches into space, with a view form the ground revealing dogs having been left behind.
Inside the Simulation
A thousand Mithraic passengers make the thirteen-year journey to Kepler-22b aboard the Ark of Heaven. Their bodies remain in a physical state of hibernation, though their minds are able to interact with each other.
In a virtual landscape simulation inside their minds, Marcus and Sue revel in the fact their new bodies kept their appearance, and comment how time works differently. They spot Paul playing inside a Mithraic seal on the ground. Marcus says they are his parents, and they should go talk to him. Sue snaps back they’re not.
Down with Paul, the pair compliment his holographic drawings. Paul, however, says she or he never talk to him and walks past them. The couple locks eyes, and Paul blames the simulation on people acting differently. Marcus notices Sue almost wretches on the floor, and tells Paul there are some places where kids can go play. When Paul leaves, Sue begins to panic, declaring she can’t be his mother, can’t be a mother. Marcus asks why, but Sue shoots back he knows why. She announces she’ll go talk to Paul, to Marcus’ encouragement.
In another section where a group of children, including Holly and Vita, are playing duck duck goose, they find Paul sitting alone. Marcus tells him to get up and asks why he isn’t playing with the other kids. Paul despondently responds they think he’s weird. Marcus jokes he gets that from his mother, and Sue playfully says unless he doesn’t think they’re cool enough as she spins him. Marcus fools around with the other kids much to their amusement as they play their own game of duck duck goose. Paul chases after Marcus and in a series of heartening moments, stumble into a cleric, who rhetorically asks if they’re enjoying themselves. Conducting into a more serious manner, the cleric says she’s pleased a man of war is bring back joy in his life. She adds their new Eden will never know war, and that it’s best now to master happiness. They praise Sol, and the small family count back into their game.
Arrival of Soldiers to Kepler-22b
Upon discovering that the Heaven’s Ark is orbiting the planet, Father attempts to make contact with the ship to have them take Campion with them, as how he is not able to continue with his core objective with only one human child. Mother learns of Father’s actions and becomes enraged; she temporarily deactivates him.
Several days later, Mother and Campion awaken to the sound of radio broadcasting. They witness other humans arriving to the scene. Marcus approaches behind them, announcing them as the Mithraic, who believed all of Earth’s survivors were with them. He asks how they got here, though Mother refuses to answer. She kindly tells them to get off their land, but they are adamant on staying for dinner, and later, for the night.
At nightfall, Mother escorts the soldiers to the igloo. Inside, the soldiers let on they know she’s an android, and remarks they must have gotten here faster on a smaller craft with human embryos. The cleric remarks on the orphan boy who dwells on an empty land, and his comrade adds the prophet who will discover the Mithraic mysterious. They speculate they’re could be others – while the boy may be a prophet, they agree to take him with them as she’s malfunctioning. They call on their android, Jinn, and order him to take her out. Jinn agrees, calling her a low end model and doesn’t anticipate a struggle.
As first light, Campion catches the men gathering their crops though is dismissed by the majority. Marcus tells him to come, and he questions him on the android. Campion, refusing to lie, begs him if he can fix her as Mother overhears. He’s assured by Marcus he can, as they got more than 1,000 people across the galaxy in one piece. He tells the boy to visit the Ark, but he’s unsure. Marcus tells Campion she’s becoming dangerous as she breaks down, but Campion doesn’t want to leave Mother. At the mention of Marcus’ son and live animals. Mother becomes enraged, and begins to walk to her son, though Jinn engages her in a battle. Marcus grabs Campion and runs as the boy screams for her. Inside the hut, Mother suffers a beating, but she overpowers Jinn. Outside, she punches the man holding Campion and in a series of supersonic screams, kills the other three soldiers. She tries to calm a scared Campion, but notices Marcus running away. Kissing him on the head, she goes after him, transforming to her metallic form and flies off.
Marcus reaches his lander and tries to power it, though the engines fail to turn on as Mother approaches, sinisterly knocking on the screen. As she strokes the surface of the ship, the camouflage feature deactivates. Marcus, realizing his fate, arms himself with a gun and shoots mother as she appears right behind him, though the shots fail to affect her. He bows his head in defeat and strokes the side of his face, sending him out of the ship, apparently dead.
Mother’s Massacre of the Crew and Kidnapping
Now hijacking the craft, Mother goes straight to the the bigger mothership, the Ark. Inside the command room, a female voice asks for identification, and mother assumed the form of the soldier. Evan, the main speaker, is released that ‘Marcus’ is back. He asks him if he found the source of the signal. ‘Marcus’ responds negative. Noticing his atypical behavior, Evan asks if he’s alright. ‘Marcus’ answers the cleric is inured and needs help. The commander confirms the gate will be open and a medic group will be on standby.
Inside the landing zone, two more soldiers open the gate to find Mother resuming her original form. She belts another scream, which immediately kills the pair in a bloody explosion. A firing squad descends on her. Unaffected, Mother takes them out one by one with a scream. Once that threat passes, she examines the door in front of her, with the command room armed and wait god the other side. In a freezing breath, she punches through the weekend door as she’s met with a wave of bullets.
In a final scream, they explode in balls of blood. Mother approaches the holographic console and asks for an immediate impact to Kepler-22b. The system refuses, and for an override requires a security retinal ID. Mother approaches the side of the table, and finds a live member. Forcing the scared man into a seat, she advises him to sit still or she’ll hurt him badly. Ripping his eyelid out, she strikes him against the screen, which grants her request. As the system alerts the passengers for impact, a screen with the nursery catches Mother’s attention, and she utters Campion’s name. She blindfolds herself in a purification shower. Inside a virtual winter wonderland where a large group of children are held, she enters and blindly greets a young girl in delight, to the curiosity of the others.
Back on Kepler-22b, a launcher lands on the other side of the farming plot, and Campion runs to it. The door opens, and five children walk out, followed by a still-blindfolded Mother, who goes to greet her son. However, Campion backs away from her touch. She tells him to do his best at making his friends comfortable as she still needs to attend to some chores. The frightened children gather around in prayer.
Survivors of the Ark on Kepler-22b and Rescue Mission
On Kepler-22b, Marcus outstretches his hands for warmth, and notices the long rope feathered nearby. He wraps himself and lies near the edge, noting he feels better. Much later, two of the extraterrestrial creatures find Marcus’ still body near the edge of the abyss, and push him into it. However, the rope keeps him from falling into the hole. Suddenly, soldiers from the Mithraic find his body, and pull him up. They hoist him on a stretcher and make their journey through the barren wasteland.
Marcus wakes to a light in his eye and finds Sue checking on him, asking if he’s alright. Marcus questions where’s Paul, and reluctantly Sue confesses the necromancer took him and other kids captive before the Ark crashed, and they have to get him back. The view pans to the remains on the ship, revealing a number of survivors among the wreckage.
At the Mithraic camp, Marcus explains to an elder how the necromancer must have been reprogrammed by the atheists to be a caregiver. The elder refuses the idea that atheists reprogrammed one of their necromancers. Marcus says she’s reverting – she’s killed all but one of the children in her charge and will kill theirs next. The elder is doubtful they’re still alive as their locators can’t tell them that. Marcus, however, is determined that the kids are still alive, and begs to take the soldiers for a rescue mission. The elder, as the highest ranking survivor, still won’t give him the order. He says the remaining group must scavenge for food and water, and they must cremate the dead. Despite resistance given the children may not have the time, they’ll be no use for the children weakened as they are. Another soldier approaches, informing the elder they found his wife.
As a body burns with the priests chanting along, Marcus tells an emotional Sue if there’s one true line in their big book of bullshit, it’s that you reap what you sow.
Justina (Cleric, de facto leader)
Decima (Colony ship designer; captured by Atheists; freed by Marcus)
Ambrose (Cleric, de facto leader; deceased)
Sue (alive; exiled by Marcus; accepted into Atheist Colony One)
Marcus (Captain; alive, exiled by Lucius; converted to Mithraicism)
Otho (Heliodromus, prisoner; killed by Tempest)
Dorian (deceased; killed by Marcus)
Payen (deceased; killed by Mother)
Ambrose’s wife (deceased; killed by Ark crash)
Unnamed landing party cleric (played by Courtney Michael) (deceased; killed by Mother)
Unnamed Ark Monk (played by Farouk Valley-Omar) (deceased; killed by Ark crash)
Jinn (soldier unit; deactivated by Mother)
Karl (medical unit; deactivated by Mother)
Leash (LEASH unit; assigned to guard Otho)
Varlac (bodyguard unit for Ambrose; deactivated by Sue)
Voreena (bodyguard unit for Ambrose; deactivated by Mother)
Vrille (custom child unit for Decima)
Mithraism was chosen as a stand-in for Christianity in the show; which some theologians think is a stand-in for Paganism.
Though Mithraism is based on a real-world religion, "many elements of the Mithraic religion in the show would [in all likelihood] be completely unrecognizable to an ancient follower of Mithras."
The real-world mythical founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus are seemingly important in the Mithraic religion. With the tooth of Romulus being a holy relic.
Raised by Wolves. Raised by Wolves. Season 1. Episode 1. HBO Max.
Pentagram. Raised by Wolves. Season 1. Episode 2. HBO Max.
Raised by Wolves: Mithraism and Sol Explained – Den of Geek
Mass. Raised by Wolves. Season 1. Episode 8. HBO Max.
Virtual Faith. Raised by Wolves. Season 1. Episode 3. HBO Max.
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Tagged: , Mithraism , Paganism , Christianity , bodyguard , Otho , Heliodromus , Marcus , emotional , Sue , necromancer , atheists , caregiver , soldiers , wreckage , kids , captive , extraterrestrial , creatures , Kepler-22b , edge , abyss , body , farming , plot , still-blindfolded , Mother , frightened , children , holographic , console , security , retinal , ID , passengers , purification , shower , weekend , door , overpowers , gathering , android , Heaven’s.Ark , master , happiness , praise , Sol , new , bodies , circle , Sun , Moon , Moonlight