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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