The Zoroastrian idea of the SACRED is synonymous with brilliance, flourishing success and with being splendid/auspicious and is called spǝñtá in the Avestan.
In Zoroastrian religiosity Sacred does NOT mean “off limits, taboo or restricted.” Avestan Spǝñtá (Sacred) is instead “auspiciousness, being splendid with the life force, shining brightly with success/prosperity and boundless good fortune.”
Avestan Spǝñtá, Old Slavonic svętŭ, Lithuanian šventas, Lettish svēts, Russian svjatój, Old Prussian swints, signify “sanctus, the sacred, the auspicious, the bringer of abundance and success.”
(Latvian svēts is actually most probably borrowed from Slavic or else it would be **svîts or **sviets See Didier Calin.)
Like spǝñtá, the original idea behind the Old Slavonic svętŭ, Lithuanian šventas, Lettish svēts was charged with notions of natural religion and pagan ideas. In popular songs impregnated with prehistoric folklore svętŭ and šventas refer to words or beings “endowed with vibrant, radiant life force.”
The ancient Avestan commentaries translate spǝñtá with afzünîk “abundance, prosperity, increase and growth.”
The gathic Váršt-mánßar commentary of Yasna 50 equates speñtá with “shining brightly, light and energy.”
Spǝñtá– is a verbal adjective in –tá-, made from spǝñ. The root is sü savá, “to swell, to grow,” implying “power, strength, prosperity”; hence sürá– “strong, brave, courageous, appearing as an epithet of the gods.”
Thus the idea of the sacred is a notion of an auspicious force energizing, bringing abundance, prosperity and growth.
The being or object that is spǝñtá is SWOLLEN with ever increasing power, SPLENDENT with Life Force and Vibrant Energy.
The adjective spǝñtá “auspicious, brilliant, increasing” comes with amertá and/or amešá “immortal,” and constitutes the title amešá spǝñtá and/or amertá spǝñtá, “the sacred, auspicious, splendid immortals.”
These immortals or ahûrás of mazdá, are representatives of superb virtues, spiritual archetypes and splendid ideals. Ahûrás are the same as the Teutonic Gods, the Aesir (cf. Oslo, Osnabruck, in High German: Ansen, cf. Anshelm, Ansbach.)
Mazdá is the god-force of mind-power, imagination, inspiring creativity related to Muses as guiding genius and source of inspiration. Mazdá is the essence of godhood!
Each of the immortals (amertá and/or amešá) is both the symbol of a virtue/concept and the god being of an element of the material world, incarnated each in an element: water, earth, plants, metals, etc.
They are grouped round the supreme god, Ahûrá-Mazdá and they are constantly invoked in the hymns/songs called the Gāthās, (Lithunian giedoti to sing) which contain the teaching of prophet Zarathûštrá, as well as in the mythological and epic collection of the Yašts of the Avesta.
As far as the nature religiosity of Zoroastrianism is concerned, it does NOT spring from a commandment of “Thou shalt not!” Instead Zoroastrian devotion is the intuitive feeling of identity with the universe, a pantheism or nature mysticism of Gods-nature.
Apart from the immortals, spǝñtá is associated with mánthrá “formula for musing, inspiration, thinking;” with mainyü “instinctive knowing, imagination, mind power/force, spirit;” with xratu/ ḵratü “unmatched creativity, power of the spirit to manifest/create;” with gāθā “sacred verse/song;” with ár.maiti “flow of ideas/thoughts, serene meditation/focus.”
Spǝñtá is the epithet of the virile nar, the epithet of the living gaô and the epithet of knowledge, teaching, sacred lore sásnayá
Another term corresponding to SACRED is the Avestan haûrvatát from haûrva, the root har compatible with Runic hailag, Gothic hails, German heilig “holy,” which expresses the idea of “curative powers, well-being, health, physical and corporal integrity, hail, wholeness.”
In Zoroastrianism good health, spiritual and physical wholeness has a profound religious value. The one who is possessed of “health,” that is who is whole/healthy, is also capable of conferring this holy state on to others. “To be whole” is the good fortune one wishes for. Health, wholeness, spiritual and physical integrity are regarded with a sacred significance.
By their very nature God beings possess “wholeness, health, integrity, curative powers, well-being and good fortune.” And bestow this gift on mortal men in the form of physical and spiritual health and by omens of good fortune.
We discern again the same idea of the SACRED as that of an energizing force, full of brilliance, energy and swollen with abundance, well being and growth. A healing force which protects the object or being from all diminution, decay and makes it whole, prosperous and triumphant/successful.
SACRED in Zoroastrianism is what is imbued with “abundance, life energy, and healing power” and NOT with what is forbidden.
I shall conclude with the following beautiful sacred verse from the poetic gathas:
dáidî-möi ýé gám tašö//apas-čá ûrvar.ávs.čá
ameretátá haûrvátá//spéništá mainyü mazdá
tevîšî utayüitî//man.ang.há vôhü séñg.hæ.
Give Me Sculptor of life// (Fashioner) of waters, trees and plants
Immortality and Healing Power//Auspicious, Energizing Mind-force/Power, O Mazda, God of Inspiring Creativity Genius
Thriving, Eternal Youth, Vitality//(through) the teachings of good imagination/mind-will power!