Fravahar/Fravar, the Valkyries, and the Parsi Mukhtad Rites

The last ten-days at year’s end, are the “All Hallows or All Saints Festival” in the Zoroastrian calendar, dedicated to fravašis or fravars “Valkyrie-like beings” who are the “pristine prototypes of the creation.”

The festival shares many features with Celtic pagan Samhain festival, and in Parsi calendar as well as the Older Iranian Zoroastrian reckoning qadimi, it is celebrated toward the End of Summer.

The Avestan term fravaši or fravar is grammatically feminine. Although there is no concrete illustration of the fravašis, in Hymn/Yašt 13,verse 70, they are said to “descend down like an eagle,” and wings are popularly attributed to them among Zoroastrians.

To prepare for their arrival Zoroastrian families thoroughly clean the house, and light a sacred fire on rooftop, a bowl of pure spring water with sacred twigs of evergreens, fruits and nuts are placed next to the burning flame.

In Iran, the community makes merry around bonfires, and children go to neighbors to ask for sweets and sesame cakes.

Highly meritorious during this period is the planting of evergreen or fruit trees, pilgrimage to the eternal fires, and visiting the towers of silence & cemeteries. Candles lit in the honor of the spirits of the heroic dead shall never be extinguished but allowed to safely burn out.

The concept of fra.vaši or fra.var is ORIGINAL to Zoroastrianism. In the 10th song of the poetic gathas or Yasna 45, fra-vaḵš account for the “foremost words, first formulas of pristine knowledge.” These “foremost words” form “charms of making, the enchanting song themes of the Immortals” that prefigure the making of the worlds.

Fra.vašis or fra.vars are “the first will, wish, desire behind things, the original archetypes” that manifested in association with the first words/formulas fra-vaḵš. They CHOOSE FORTH the souls of the virtuous and excellent to fight along side Ahûrá Mazdá and his Immortals to bring about a splendid new age of eternal spring.

Bernfried Schlerath CORRECTLY derives their root from var “will, wish, desire, choose” with the prefix *fra meaning the “first, foremost, forward.”

Fra.var are the “first will, wish, desire, intent” behind the existence of things, and appear in the role of “valiant warriors” that pre-existed the material creation. They help in the struggle to defeat aŋra/angra the dark lord of “imperfections, blemishes and flaws.”

Their role is very similar to the valkyries “choosers of the fallen” in Norse Mythology. Valkyries are female helping spirit of the god Odin. Assisting Odin in transporting his favorites among those slain in battle to Valhalla, where they will fight by his side during Ragnarök the “final battle of Gods against monsters and all evil.”

In a beautiful Avestan passage we read: “The sunswept abodes of excellence/truth we yearn for/worship, in which dwell the souls ûrván of the dead, which are the fravašis of the excellent/virtuous.”

xan.vaitîš ašahæ vərəzö yaza.maidæ, yáhu iristinąm ûrvąnö šáyentæ yáv ašaônąm fravašayö, Hymn/Yašt. 16.7.

In the Prose Poetry of the Seven Chapters haptaŋ-háiti attributed to Prophet Zarathustra himself we read: the fravašis of the excellent/virtuous, that of valiant men and women we yearn for/worship Yasna 37.3.

 təm ašáuu.nąm fravašîš nar.ąm.čá náiri.nąm.čá yaza.maidæ

The original concept of the of the fravaši therefore appears to be the GREAT PROMISE of Man and other creatures, that at death only unites with the soul/spirit of the valiant and virtuous.

Among Iranian Zoroastrians the festival of fravašis is known as rozanæ farvardæ-gán “crack, split or break for the fra-vars.

Among the Parsis of India the term moktād or mukhtad “moving freely” of the (fravašis) is used. Mukhtad is derived from Sanskrit, and is a cognate of the Old Avestan môšü “to move speedily” and Latin mox “move as soon as.”

In the Avesta, the fravašis festival precedes the 10 days before the EQUINOX, or the sacred moment when the center/middle position maiδ.iia of the Sun, and the celestial points/paths paθ, are at the same hamaß or equal distance from each other, called Hamaß.paθ.maiδ.iia in the Avestan.

The Avestan new-year ALWAYS begins with the Vernal Equinox. The first month of the spring, the 19th day of each religious month, and the 4th watch (gáh) from sunset to midnight, is named in honor of fravašis or fravars who are invoked along the yazatas “hallowed god-beings.”

Yet, at present the Parsi new-year falls on August 17-18, and in the older reckoning of Iranian Zoroastrians known as qadimi new-year starts a month earlier during summer as well.

But WHY is it so? The Avestan calendar is seasonal and lunisolar. It comprises of 365 ¼ days. The additional ¼ time requires a leap day every four years called avar-daad, or an extra month every 120 years as prescribed in Holy Denkart (III.419.)

The older reckoning qadimi of the Iranian Zoroastrians, as well as Parsi calendar NEGLECTED to add a sixth day in leap years, or a 13th month each 120 years. As a result the new-year has moved to the middle and end of summer.

In conclusion, I shall add that the fravašis bestow the gift of sacred memory, and the deeper understanding of how higher self is linked to us through virtue and the eternal quest for excellence.


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Immortality, Tree symbolism in the Zoroastrian sacred lore, and the tree of the mythical falcon/eagle Simorgh

Trees specially evergreens and ancient trees are the symbol of Immortals in Zoroastrianism. The link between trees, “Immortality and deathlessness” ameretát is established in the poetic gathas, See Yasna 51.7.

The original gathic poetry reads as follows: apas-čá ûrvarávs-čá ameretátá haûrvátá. Here the word for “tree” is ûrvar, and the word for “immortality, deathlessness” is ameretát.

Avestan ûrvará “tree” is a cognate of Latin arbor “tree.” Other cognates are Latin arvus “ploughed field,” and Mycenaean Greek aroura “arable land.”

Trees also come in close connection with “prophetic vision and oracles” in the Avestan poetry. The süd-kar gathic commentary of Yasna 31.5 narrates the vision of an immense tree with four branches, of gold, silver, steel, and “mixed-up” iron, which symbolize the four future ages of this world.

The “mixed-up” iron symbolizes the present age of admixture that is the calamitous age of invasion/contamination by demons.

An Avestan passage in Yasht/hymn 12/17, praises the tree of the great mythical “falcon or eagle” saæna that stands in the middle of the “wide-shored ocean” vôúrú-kašahæ.

The eagle/falcon tree is a wondrous evergreen that keeps away decrepitude and death. It is called all healing with good and potent medicine. The seeds of all medicinal plants are deposited on it.

Saæna “falcon, eagle,” of the Avesta, is the mythical bird of Persian Mythology Sīmorḡ who is said to perch every year on this sacred tree located in the middle of wide-shored ocean, to mix its seeds with pure waters, which Tištar (Three-star, Sirius) then rains down on all the 7 climes of the earth, thus causing the growth of all kind of healing plants.

The Avestan saæna, Persian Sīmorḡ is a cognate of Sanskrit śyená. The Russian word for “falcon” sókol is a borrowing from the same word in ancient Iranian.

In the Avestan Yašt/hymn 14.41 Vərəθraγna, the god being of VICTORY, wraps xarnæ, “glory, good fortune,” round the house of the worshipper, in the same way that the great falcon/eagle Saæna, cover the great mountains like the clouds.

In Zoroastrian religious ceremonies, “small branches or twigs” of an evergreen (mostly cypress trees) or fruit tree (usually pomegranate) called barəsman, form an important part of the sacred ritual. Barəsman is derived from the root barəz “to grow high.” German berg “high” is a cognate.

Barəsman “sacred twigs” are one of the requisites of a “fire priest,” Āθravan (See Vendidad 14.8,) and constitute an essential ritual implement for various liturgical services such as yasná “yearning, longing” (Greek zelós is a cognate,) and afrîn prayers, literally “loving charms” that are Avestan benediction formulas.

The Persian word for tree is draxt also dár ó draxt. The word comes from the Avestan daûrû going back to the reconstructed Proto Indo European *dóru, and is a cognate of Russian дерево (dérevo); Polish drewno; Greek δόρ (dóru); Gothic triu; Old English trēow “tree,” (See Didier Calin, Encyclopedia of Indo European poetic and religious themes.)

Trees in Mazdyasna “Mazda worshipping religion/Zoroastrianism” are sacred, and embody immense and enduring life and deathlessness of consciousness.

Sarv-e Abar kuh, literally the Cypress tree of the über-mountain also called the “Zoroastrian tree,” is a cypress tree in Central Yazd province of Iran. The tree is estimated to be at least 4,000 years old and believed to have witnessed the dawn of ancient Iranian civilization.

Herodotus (7.31) reports that at Callatebus in Asia Minor, the Achaemenid Xerxes (486-65 B.C.E.) found a plane tree so beautiful that he decorated it with golden ornaments and put it under the care of one of his Immortals.

The sacred attitude toward venerable trees has continued in Iran to the present day, but with the transfer of devotion from Zoroastrian Immortals to Twelver Shiʿite Saints.

Often, the very pine and cypress trees that had flanked Zoroastrian fire temples in the Sassa­nid period continue to shade the tombs of emāmzādas and other shia saints today.

In general, however, Iran has suffered from continuous, great deforestation over the centuries after the arab invasion.

Sanctity of trees in Zoroastrianism meant legal sanctions against profaning or destroying them in the Mazdean Jurisprudence. Such legal protections for trees did sadly not continue into the Islamic age. Yet the folk belief that anybody felling a tree will be short-lived, and cuts on his/her good fortune goes back to the deep-rooted ancient religion of the Iranians.


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The language of the Immortals and the third &10th hymn of the Gathas

The third hymn of the poetic gathas/songs of Prophet Zarathustra start with the words at tá vaḵšiia išentö “In this day, of the words of power, I shall speak.”

 Vaḵšiia comes from the root vač/vaḵš “voice, word.” In the gathas, Godhood is “unleashing the marvelous powers of and evolution of consciousness/mind.” Vač/Vaḵš is the vehicle of the unbounded consciousness, the charm of making.

 The odyssey of consciousness through its vehicle vač “power of speech WORDS,” pushes us towards new meanings and limitless horizons.

It is the “melodious speech sound” vač/vaḵš that evokes the powers of spirit/evolution of mind. Through poetic imagery vač/vaḵšvoice, wordin the gathas is connected to vaxš power to grow, increase” (a cognate of German wachsen, English wax.)

 In the gathas, Reality is being continually formed out of the sea of sounds and melodies. The formula for creation and manifestation in all the worlds lies in the vibrations of consciousness/thoughts. Hence, sounds, words/sacred formulas as vibrations of mind energy, formulate and reshape reality.

The creative, brilliant thought of the Immortals, pulsate through vač/vaḵš “sound speech/formulas” that gives the sacred words/formulas their “power” išentö. The word for power/lordship išentö comes from the root “will to command/rule, power to make one’s own,”(German eigen is a cognate.)

This idea of “sacred speech as the cause of the universe, and vehicle of purest knowledge,” is especially true of the 10th hymn of the gathas starting with the phrase at fra-vaḵšiia “In this day, I shall speak forth of the foremost words.”

In the 10th song or gatha, vač/vaḵš is the “enchanting, pristine song themes of the Immortals that prefigure the making of the worlds.”

Avestan vač/vaḵš goes back to reconstructed Indo European *wṓkws, and is a cognate of Vedic ̒c, Tocharian A/B wak/wek, Greek óps, Latin uōx, Spanish voz, French voix, English VOICE, (See Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo-European Poetic and Religious Themes.)

Persian آوا âvâ /آواز âvâz “song,” váng/báng “cry out a word or words,” and vážae “word,” all go back to the ancient Avestan root vač/vaḵš, (See Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo-European Poetic and Religious Themes.)

In the Rig Veda, vāč is the goddess of sacred speech, the mother of the Vedas “the hymns of wisdom, knowledge.” It is the sacred sound that is the essence of reality in the ancient Vedic literature.

Like in Zoroastrianism, the ancient Druids were versatile in their use of melodies, charms and songs to induce changes in consciousness.

In fact, according to all major ancient Indo European traditions, the earth and universe were created and brought into form through sound, celestial melodies and songs.

We all know the power of poetry or of a book that can transport us into another world. Consciousness cannot be separated from “words.”

Words, songs, narratives create our lives/worlds, and are a window onto eternity. We must have words or expressions of unbounded meaning/spirit, in order to emerge out of the chaos.

The third gathic hymn starts with the “words of power” vaḵšiia išentö and ends with ûštá “fulfillment of wishes,” from the root vas “desire, wish.”

Through poetic imagery ûštá is linked to ûšá “dawn” (Reconstructed Proto Indo European ausōs,) because the fulfillment of wishes come through a breakthrough in consciousness, and an awakening of the renewed powers of spirit.

In the sacred Zoroastrian lore various abodes of paradise/heaven mentioned: are heaven of good thoughts, heaven of good words, heaven of good works, heaven of boundless lights, and the abode of songs or the house of music of the ahûrás as the supreme heaven.

I like to conclude by a poem from the great Ferdowsi, the author of Shahnamæ, the great epic saga of the ancient Iranian warrior kings, heroes and God-men. Ferdowsi’s name literally means the “man from paradise,” and Shahnamæ is the world’s longest epic poem created by this master poet.

Shahnamæ is three times the length of Homer’s Iliad, and more than twelve times the length of the German Nibelungenlied. This masterpiece is a loving tribute to ancient Zoroastrianism, and sehnsucht “longing” for the noble identity of our ancient people. It is a magnum opus of Indo European poetry.

Ferdowsi writes:

Much I have suffered in these thirty years//
I have revived the ancient noble spirit with my verse//
I am deathless, I am the eternal Lord//
For I have spread the seed of the Word//Splendid monuments will decay//By rain and blazing sun//Yet I have built an eternal edifice of songs//That no storm and calamity shall ever destroy.


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Ahura Mazda as the Giver of Gifts, Odin’s rune Gebo, and the virtue of responsible generosity and giving

In the ancient Germanic runic alphabet*geƀō “gift” represented “generosity and giving.” Geƀō was a rune of Odin as it expressed Odin’s role as the Gift-Giver.

 The exchange of gifts was a sacred tradition of the Indo Europeans. While the ancient Indo Europeans celebrated “giving and generosity,” yet they strongly believed in finding a right balance between giving and receiving. For a gift always calls for reciprocity. To give was a virtue only when it was measured and responsible giving.

Geƀō sanctifies the bond between mortals and the Immortal Gods, For the Gods are “Giver of all the Good things.”

Rune Geƀō is a cognate of Gothic giba, Old Norse gjǫf, Old English ġifu/ġiefu/ġyfu, Old High German geba and German Gabe, (See Didier Calin.)

And Old English rune poem says:
Gyfu gumena byþ gleng and herenys,
wraþu and wyrþscype and wræcna gehwam
ar and ætwist, ðe byþ oþra leas

“Generosity brings credit and honor, which support one’s dignity; / it furnishes help and subsistence / to all broken men who are devoid of aught else, (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

In Zoroastrianism, the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá is referred to as Dátár AhûrMazd or Ahûrá Mazdá the “Giver of Gifts.”

The epithet dátár comes from an ancient proto Indo European root *deh “give.” The root also supplies the base of *dehtér “Giver.”

Avestan dátár is a cognate of Old Church Slavonic dateljî and Greek dótor “giver, giving.” In the poetic gathas, Ahûrá Mazdá GIVES all the good things through spǝñtá mainyü, his “auspicious/splendid mind-force, Willpower.”

The gathic poetry in Yasna 44.7, 5th rhymed verse line declares that the Mindful Lord through his auspicious/splendid mind power/spirit is the Giver of all Good things, speñtá mainiiü vîspanãm dátárem.

Avestan spǝñtá is a cognate of Old Church Slavonic svętŭ and Lithuanian šventas, and means “auspicious, splendid with the life force, shining brightly, luminous and full of energy, Sacred.”üü comes from the root man and refers to “mind-force, power of intent, spirit, will.”

The ancient Baga commentary of Yasna 49.12 of the gathas states: the spirits/energies or powers of consciousness/mind mainüg respond to a much higher degree avîrtar to the invoker who yearns yashtár for them foremostly.

For each one of the spirits/mind forces mainüg there is a form of celebration/hallowing yazishn, as the spirit of generosity is (hallowed) through “watchful, selective giving” vichîdár dahišnî, the spirit of right rástî through healthy morals/virtues rástî, the spirit of friendship mitrö through healthy reciprocity hû mitröî, and the spirit of Godhood ḵûdáyî through becoming Godlike heartily ḵûdáyî.

Because what is desired with “vision and wisdom” dánágî from the Adorable Gods yazdán ḵûdáyán, for making one’s own self worthy arjánîg, becomes a lucky boon from the Adorable Gods yazdán ḵûdáyán.

I shall conclude by another commentary from holy Denkart that states: The knowledge of the Creator/Giver, is through creativity, giving and generosity in undertaking.”


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The rune Tyr, Avestan Tištar, three Star, Celestial Arrow, and MIDSUMMER

In the runic alphabet *Tīwaz or Týr is a warrior rune, and teaches that valor and a noble cause will ultimately triumph, and carry the day. *Tīwaz is “Day Sky god, the god of sacred struggle, and just cause.”

To the Norse people of Scandinavia and Iceland the rune was known as Týr while to the Saxons it was called Tiw.

*Tīwaz is a cognate of Old Norse Týr, Gothic Teiws, and Old English Tīw. It goes back to reconstructed Proto Indo European *Déiwos “Day Sky god.” From the same root are derived Vedic Dyaúṣ, Greek. Ζεύς Zeus, Latin Iuppiter/Diēspiter, Hittite Sīus, Lithuanian Dievas; and Latvian Dievs, (See Didier Calin.)

In the poetic gathas a cognate from the same root, diva refers to “celestial, heavenly lights,” (See Yasna 31.20, 1st rhymed verse line.)

Týr is related to Polaris or the North Star in the Anglo-Saxon rune poem. Ancient Norse seamen used Polaris as their main navigational aid in their long journeys. The symbol of Týr as an ARROW pointing upward is a reference to this.

The symbolic link with the astral theme of the “heavenly arrow” is strongly present in Avestan, Vedic and Norse accounts, particularly with respect to tištariia, the “triangle constellation of Canis Major.”

In Avetsa, Tištariia literally the “three-star” refers to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, known also as the “dog star.”

According to the Avestan hymn 8.6-7 and 37-38, Tištar-iia flies in the sky like the ARROW shot by the most valiant archer of the Aryans, the hero araḵš or ereḵšö.

Avestan ereḵšö Old Iranian araḵš, is cognate with Greek arktos, “BEAR,” and goes back to reconstructed Indo European *rtko. In the Avesta, araḵš, is the proto type of the VALIANT WARRIOR fighting for a just, noble cause. The tale of the champion archer araḵš is about sacred struggle, heroism and selfless sacrifice.

The Avestan hymn to tištariia teaches that when all hope has faded, the brightest star/light in the sky will carry the day, and celestial waters will pour down from heaven. The great feast of the three-star is celebrated during the MIDSUMMER in the Avestan calendar.

In Zoroastrianism, life is an epic battle, and man must choose the Gods, goodness and nobility throughout the ages of this world, not because of fear or in hope of favors, but for the sake of virtue and goodness alone.

The idea of selfless sacrifice comes also in association with Týr in rune poetry. Fenris or Fenrir is a monstrous wolf in Norse Mythology. The Gods through the “gift of foresight” foresaw great calamity from Fenris. Týr’s right hand was sacrificed to trick the wolf, Fenris, into being chained.

Thus, Týr is a one-handed god, einhendr áss. The word for god here áss, is the same as Vedic asú and Avestan ahü.

An Old Norse rune poem says:
Týr er einhendr áss//ok ulfs leifar//ok hofa hilmir.
Týr is the one-handed god// and leavings of the wolf //and prince of temples, (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

Another Norwegian rune poem says:
Týr er æinendr ása//opt værðr smiðr blása
Tyr is a one-handed god// often has the smith to blow, (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

In conclusion, I shall add that the most solidly reconstructed Indo European constellation is Ursa Major, which is designated as THE BEAR in Greek, Vedic and Avestan, (Compare Latin ursā “bear” with Avestan ereḵšö.)

Eric Hamp has suggested a second constellation, a Triangle inspired by Avestan Tištariia or the “three star” constellation involving Sirius, or Greek Seíros, “the dog star.” This second constellation embraces bright stars in Orion, Canis Major (Sirius,) and Canis Minor Procyon (Avestan paoûrvin “the Preceding Star, the Star in Front,” Persian Parvin.)

It is worthwhile to add that Tištariia, like the Norse Polaris, was the protector of, and the navigational guide of the travelers, (See the book shāyest na shāyest 22.3.)


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Rune Kenaz, sacredness of pine tree, and the image of lighting the torch in Zoroastrianism

Rune *kenaz/kaunan symbolizes the “light of knowledge.” The original meaning of *kenaz though is “PINE” or the TORCH of flammable pinewood.

*Kenaz, from the Old Norse kaun is a cognate of the Old English cēn. The Old Indo Iranian term for PINE is a cognate as well, where k is replaced with s. The Russian word for pine sosná comes from the same ancient root, (See Didier Calin.)

An Old English rune poem says: Cen byþ cwicera gehwam, cuþ on fyre blac ond beorhtlic, byrneþ oftust ðær hi æþelingas inne restaþ.

The torch is known to every living man / by its pale, bright flame; it always burns / where princes sit within (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

The Zoroastrian sacred lore uses the imagery of the torch, and lighting one flame from another, to indicate the immortal spark of the amešá/amertá spentás, the Auspicious or Brilliant Immortals of Ahûrá Mazdá.

The nature of the Immortal Gods is likened to the fire of the TORCH that takes many wondrous forms. The TORCH speaks in words of the eternal flame, the same message of “brilliant energy, inspiring creativity, and intense passion.”

The eternal flame is a long-standing tradition in ancient Zoroastrianism. The eternal flame in the Mazda worshipping religion of the ahuras, must be kept alive only by the burning of the sacred wood. Avesta talks of the ûrvázištá fire or fire that is hidden in ûrvar or trees, (Compare with Latin arbor “tree.”)

Cypress and Pine trees (káj in Persian) play a major role in the ancient Zoroastrian religion. For the evergreen trees represent eternal life, and pinecones specifically represent the continuity and renewal of vital energy and sacred knowledge.

Interestingly, the pine tree was the sacred tree of Roman Mithraism. Romans themselves called Mithraism as the Parsi or Persian Religion, and only knew it by the latter name. Mithraism became the most widespread religion in ancient, pre-Christian Rome. During the Roman holiday of winter solstice (Dec. 17-25th), the pine trees were decorated with shining ornaments according to the Mithraic rites.

Pine trees were also one of the symbols of the Germanic mid-winter festival of Yule.

In conclusion, I shall add that in ancient Druid rituals, pine was burned to commemorate the changing of seasons and to bring back the vitality/energy of the sun. This tradition is kept alive to this day in the Scottish countryside.


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Rune Uruz and Zarathustra’s Name

Rune *uruz literally means “auroch,” and symbolizes “virility, determination, primal raw energies associated with life force, and adventurous spirit.” In short, uruz is the “subconscious will power, passion of the untamed nature.”

Once aurochs ranged throughout much of Eurasia. They were the wild ancestors of the domestic cattle of our day. Aurochs were untamed, fascinating, and most powerful.

Ancient Indo Europeans believed in kinship with, and a mystical relationship between themselves and “strong, graceful, noble animals.” The second element in *Zaraδûštra’s name, Avestan ûštra is in fact a cognate of uruz.

Uruz “Auroch,” Old Norse úrr, Gothic urs, Old English úr, Old High English ūro/ ūrochso, Germanic ur, all go back to reconstructed Indo European*usrus or *usr (See Didier Calin.)

The cognate of uruz in Indo Iranian is Proto*ušra, Avestan ûštra, Pashto ūš, and may mean anything from the wild bovine aurochs to buffalo and/or Bactrian camel.

Another theory suggests that Avestan ûštra in Zarathustra’s name is related to Old High English ustrī “industry” and ustinōn “to function, be industrious, useful.”

The Bactrian camel is native to the steppes of Central Asia, and is the largest mammal in its native range. It is exceptionally adept at withstanding wide variations in temperature, ranging from freezing cold to blistering heat.

Bactrian camels have been the focus of artwork throughout history. For example, Indo Europeans from the Tarim Basin in northwestern China were depicted with their Bactrian camels in numerous ceramic figurines from the Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907).

In Diodorus 1.94.2 Zarathustra called Zathrāstēs, is the name of the “Aryan prophet, law-giver” (cf. Schmitt, 1996, p. 94; Gnoli, 2000, p. 100).

The first part of the name *Zaraδûštra or Zaraθûštra, is a cognate of Ossetian Zœrond, and means “grey/white haired, old, albino.”

The name of ZĀL, the legendary prince of Scythians, and father of folk hero Rostam in Šāh-nāma seem to be an exact match for the first part of the ancient seer/prophet’s name. Zāl literally means ALBINO.

Like poet/prophet Zarathustra, Zāl is an extraordinary wise and mystical personality. The legendary, albino prince of Scythians appears as an avid scholar and learner who surpass others in astronomy, religion, art of war, horsemanship, archery, and other military skills.

Zāl is a revered advisor under kávi kings (warrior priest kings,) and is regarded as the last bastion of hope. In Avesta, Zaraδûštra is the wise advisor to kávi Vištaspa.

In the Avestan lore Zaraδûštra is the ultimate ratü “one who has the knowledge of riddles. Zāl in Šāh-nāma is also known for his skillful explanation of riddles (Zaehner, pp. 242-44, 444-46.)


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