Rapithwin, loftiest of all lights, and the Celtic goddess Brigit


In the Avestan calendar, the 3rd day after the vernal equinox is associated with aša vahišta or artha vahišta “truth, cosmic order, excellence, the very best,” and rapithwin “high noon,” when the sun is at the zenith of its radiance.

High noon is a powerful symbol in Zoroastrianism. It is a time of highest radiance, when there are no shadows, when everything is seen in the clear light, and when there is no obscurity/hiding.

In the Zoroastrian sacred lore, Öhrmazd performed the Yazišn “intense desire, zeal, yearning” with his brilliant Immortals, in the Rapithwin watch, and in that Yazišn he supplied every formula for overcoming blemish and all imperfections. Öhrmazd deliberated with baôd the “awakening force,” and fravaši “the primeval spirits.”

The duel between good and evil began at high noon, and it will be on high noon that the evil spirit will perish, and the worlds will become splendid and immortal.

Rapithwin appears in the form of arem pithwá in the poetic gathas. The term refers to the “highest point of the sun, and the southerly direction.”

This is confirmed by the Avestan prayer formula of Yasna 36.6 recited at high noon: imá raôč.áv//bareziš.tem barezi.ma.nãm, avat ýát//hvaré a.váčî

This light raôč.áv (German licht,) highest of the high bareziš.tem barezi.ma.nãm, yonder sun hvaré (Greek hélios.) is called a.váčî (voiced, expressed in words.)

The epithet bareziš.tem barezi.ma.nãm “highest of the high, the most lofty” comes from the Avestan root barez “high, lofty.” The word is connected to German berg “height, hill, mountain,” and Old Irish goddess Brigit “high, lofty one.”

Brigit in Celtic mythology is a continuation of the Indo-European dawn goddess, and associated with the spring season, fertility, healing, and poetry.

Saint Brigid shares many of the ancient goddess’s attributes and her feast day was originally a pagan festival (Imbolc) marking the beginning of spring.

High noon also marks the moment of truth, excelling and judgment in the Iliad poetry of ancient Greeks. The momentum of the fighting between the Achaeans and Trojans is hanging in the balance—until high noon arrives, at which point Zeus decides to get out his golden talanta ‘scales’, I.08.69, as he readies to weigh who will win and who will lose.

Then Zeus thunders from on high on top of Mount Ida, and he sends a flaming thunderbolt toward the Achaeans (I.08.076.) The word for the thunderbolt is selas, meaning literally a ‘flash of light’. This “flash of light” signals the Will of Zeus.

Bartholeme’s etymology of Rapithwin and suggested connection to Lithuanian pietūs appears to be wholly wrong.

High Noon is a time of highest radiance. The high radiance/light of noon symbolizes the judgment of the immortals, will to excel, powers of growth and the promise of an eternal spring.


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