Changes in Beliefs – Stone Usage, Timelines & Transitions
With the era and original geography of the Symbol Stones as a pivot point, one can look backwards in time to consider previous religious beliefs but also forwards to identify any prospective influence that Pictish-Mithraism might have had.
Some of the Symbol Stones most likely started life as stones within a circle, many have been re-used in building construction, others have lain under churches, a few are most likely in their original locations but none are currently used for their original intent. For a Stone carved in 250 CE and still in the same place it will have been seen by around 70 generations; if it was used before in a circle built in the middle/late Bronze Age, then around double that number of generations will have seen the Stone. What is amazing is that so many have survived.
Whilst physically the re-used stones have had uses in different religious beliefs there does not appear to be any forward transfer of iconography. This again reinforces the uniqueness and intrigue of the Pictish Symbol Stones.
Over the same period there have been many changes in religious beliefs in the geography we are considering. From Stone, Bronze and Iron ages via so-called pagan, to Christian and many others. Many of the “believers” would recognise the relatively recent "I to the hills will lift mine eyes".
In the same manner that Roman Mithraism has not just influenced but has been the direct predecessor to Pictish-Mithraism, perhaps Pictish-Mithraism has had a similar impact directly or indirectly to a successor set of beliefs.
Maybe one of those beliefs is what we know as Freemasonry.
Investigations and comments are at the adjacent links:-
Ø Towards Pictish-Mithraism then Transition to Christianity
Ø Original Locations of Symbol Stones
Ø Non-Mithraic Objects – Identified & Recorded