Avestan Tishtryá, Vedic Tishyá, Norse Tyr, Constellations and stars

July the 1st marks the feast of rain and the great celebration of “Tishtryá;” the brightest star associated with rain in the Zoroastrian calendar. Also, on July the 3rd, the “maid-yö-sham” or “mid-summer” thanksgiving festival is celebrated in the seasonal Zoroastrian calendar.

In the Mazdean/Zoroastrian reckoning; the 4th month of the year (first month of summer,) and the 13 day of each month is dedicated to “Tishtryá,” the brightest star in the sky, the forerunner of rain, abundance and plenty.

The occasion is a happy festival, celebrated outdoors by a stream, waterfall, river or lake; and is marked by sprinkling each other with water. Another feature of this festival is wearing of a colorful bracelet/ribbon made out of seven threads for almost 2 weeks.

But what is exactly “Tishtryá???” Many of the reverences in the Zoroastrian prayers in the Yasna and Yashts are made to cosmological energies of the various constellations. And the most brilliant and auspicious of those in firmament is “Tishtryá.” The eighth hymn in the Yashts of the Avesta are dedicated to Tishtryá. Plutrach identifies it with SIRIUS. However, Avestan Tishtryá seem to be the same as the Vedic Tishyá and ancient Norse Tyr.

It should be added that Avestan Astronomy/Astrology is very similar to the Rig Veda. Vedic Tishyá appears in the 5th and 10th book of the Rig Veda in the following passages RV Book 5.54.13 and Book 10.64.8. Just as the Avestan Tishtryá is the most brilliant and the luckiest of all stars/constellations, so is the Vedic Tishyá considered to be the most auspicious of the twenty seven constellations. Just as Tishtryá according to verse 44 of the hymn dedicated to him is the most learned counsel of the stars; so is Tishyá associated with “Brahaspati,” the High Scholar/Priest of the Gods.

Tishyá is the Celestial Archer in the Rig Veda. The symbolic link with the astral theme of the heavenly “arrow” is strongly present in Avestan, Vedic and Nordic accounts, particularly with respect to the most brilliant star in firmament, which in Vedic India was shot by the archers Tishyá or Rudra, but which in Ancient Iran corresponds to Tishtryá himself. In fact, according to Avestan Ysht. 8.6-7 and 37-38, Tishtryá flies in the sky as the arrow shot by the most valiant archer of the Aryans, the hero erekhsh or iranian árash.

It is worthwhile to add that in later times Tishtryá was called Tir or arrow in farsi. The farsi Tir meaning arrow, is derived from Old Iranian Tigrá, but a close connection nevertheless exists between Tishtryá and celestial arrow.

This close connection could be structurally and functionally compared with that of Vedic Indra Vṛtrahā´n; the parallel passages in Avestan Tishtar Yasht 8.56-61 and Avestan Vahrám Yasht 14.48-53 have been discussed in this Indo-Iranian framework by Benveniste.

In Norse Mythology “Tyr” is related to the north star around which the fixed stars in the night sky appear to rotate. Ancient viking seamen used Polaris/Tyr as their main navigational aid in their long journeys, and the symbol as an arrow pointing upward is perhaps made in reference to this. It might be interesting to add that the Avestan Tishtryā according to the “shāyest na shāyest” 22.3, is also the protector of travelers (Kotwal, 1969, p. 91).

Tyr symbolizes the celestial compass. The belief that courage and a right cause carries the day is governed by divine Tyr. Tyr is all about the common justice of the people rather than the use of law by tyrants (a word that uses Tyr as a root.) The same exact parallel is found in the Avestan hymn to Tishtryá, concerning the most valiant archer of the Aryans, the hero “erekhsh” or iranain árash whose tale is all about the common justice of the people rather than the law of the tyrants.

An insight we can draw from Tishtryá or Tyr is that we must target our energies for the benefit/justice of the common people and the fertility of the land.

The other great insight we can draw from stanzas 13-34 of the Avestan hymn to Tishtryá, where Tishtryá’s battles Duž.yāiryā/difficult year and Ap.aósh/drought or literally the ruin/demise of the waters; and stanza 8 in which the divine star combats the “stárö keremá,” the worm stars or shooting galactic showers is: that all life-possibilities are indicated like a hieroglyph in the graph of the stars. But, the stars and constellations are only INDICATORS. There is a higher power of spiritual energy, of Consciousness and Will which can override the material fate of which the stars are indicators of several possibilities.


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2 Responses to Avestan Tishtryá, Vedic Tishyá, Norse Tyr, Constellations and stars

  1. zaneta says:

    i enjoyed reading this nice article; i think it is fascinating when Tishtyra appears as a white horse in the Tishtyra Yasht and defeats the black horse of Drought-interesting you mention the Heroic Norse God Tyr-the names are indeed releated-he had one hand as the other one was bitten off by the evil bound-up Fenris Wolf.Thanks again for a very good article

  2. Eric Krueger says:

    Your intuition is correct to link Tir with Norse Tyr.
    The passage about Erash the archer is a strong clue. There are some layers of confusion but that can be explained. In modern religions “if the book” it is assumed that things are to be taken literally. However; the ancient Avestan, Vedic and Norse religions were orally transmitted and initiatory. The mysteries of Tir were the exclusive property of the aristocratic warrior class, the rulers. In the Tir Yast they are “the men of deep understanding”. Tir knowledge gave military superiority and vigilance to preserve the rule of law and the security of the nation and its borders. These are things that make a nation strong and things not to be shared with enemies. Praise to “Bright and Glorious” Tir.

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