The Zoroastrian mid-summer (maiðyö-sham) holiday starts on June the 29th and culminates on July the 3rd. This holiday is closely associated with “Tishtýr,” the brightest and luckiest star in the sky. Tish-týr seem to mean the “three arrows.” The astral theme of the heavenly “arrow” particularly with respect to the most brilliant star is present in Avesta, the Vedas and the ancient Norse accounts. A close connection exists between Tishtýr “celestial arrow, luckiest star” and Týgrá “center of a target, hitting the mark.” The farsi týr/tir meaning arrow, is derived from Old Iranian týgrá.
Avestan Tishtýr also shares a lot in common with the Vedic Tishyá. Tishyá is the celestial archer in the Vedas, represented by shiva “the auspicious one.” Tishyá appears in Rig Veda, Book 5.54.13 and Book 10.64.8. Tishtýr and Tishyá are both the most brilliant and the luckiest of all stars/constellations. Furthermore, Tishyá is associated with “Brahaspati,” the High Scholar/Priest of divine wisdom. In Avesta, verse 44 of the hymn dedicated to Tishtýr ; Tishtýr is called the most learned counsel of all stars (ratüm víspaäshám stár-ám.)
We read about arakhsh/pers. árash, the most heroic Aryan archer; in the hymn dedicated to Tishtýr . Old Iranian arakhsh, Avestan erekhshö is the same as ursus, Greek arktos “a bear.” “Arctic” means literally the clime of the bears. The constellations of Ursa major and minor were named as a “bear” due to their shape that resembles a bear. Names such as Ursula come from the same root. I should add that in Norse Mythology “Týr” is associated with the north-star. Ancient Viking seamen used Polaris/ Týr as a celestial compass in their long journeys, and the symbol of an arrow pointing upward is made in reference to this. It might be interesting to add that according to the “sháyäst na sháyäst” 22.3, the Avestan Tishtýr; is also the protector of travelers.
According to the Avestan Tishtýr hymn verses 6-7; the most heroic Aryan archer erekhshö “bear,” shot an arrow from airyö khshúthat the “glorious Aryan climes” to mount khanvañt or “shining mountains.” The arrow was energized by waters, plants and mithra, the lord of the wide living spaces.
The Zoroastrian tradition maintains that the landing place of the lucky arrow determined the boundary between the kingdoms of Aryans and Turanians. Turanians were the forefathers of the Slavic nations. However, in the late Sassanid times, they were identified with various Turkic peoples pouring out of Mongolia.
The auspicious, victorious event is remembered as Tir-gan/Týr-gan; and celebrated on July 1st during the mid-summer festival. It is a happy occasion celebrated outdoors by a river or lake; and is marked by sprinkling celebrants with water and/or rose water. Another mark of this festival is the wearing of a colorful bracelet/ribbon made out of seven colorful threads for almost 2 weeks.
I should emphasize that this is a holiday that celebrates combat, strength, heroism and victory. Tishtýr hymn verses 8 and 13-34, lays great emphasis on this strengthening of the will and triumph of the spirit against all the odds. Triumph over the “stárö keremá,” worm stars, the shooting galactic showers or bad omens, dúžh.yáir/difficult year, and ap.aósh/drought, literally the demise of the waters.
Tishtýr hymn teaches us 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 the spirit, of formative conscious energy which can and will overcome all obstacles and evil omens.