Spenta Armaiti, the divine feminine in Zoroastrianism, the guardian of the sacred earth and women


February 18-19 marks the festival of Speñtá Ármaiti, the Immortal or the genius of the “sacred meditation, right thinking, the divine feminine” in Zoroastrianism. She is the guardian of good earth and women.

It was to Her that Artaxerxes II prayed for the health of his wife Atoussá, whose name is rendered in Greek as Hera “the goddess of women.”

In the poetic gathas or songs of the seer/prophet Zarathustra, (Yasna 45.4,) CREATION comes about through the union of “sacred focus, right meditation” speñtá ármaiti with the supreme god mazdá ahûrá, the “lord of mind, inspiring creativity and wisdom.”

Ármaiti comes about 42 times in the gathas/sacred songs of Zarathustra. She comes in close association with daæná “power to see, vision, keen insight,” and is also equated with “silent, tacit or quiet meditation,” tüšná maitiš  (See Yasna 43.15, 3rd rhymed verse line.)

Ár-maiti is a compound word. The maiti part means “meditation, contemplation,” and the first part comes from the root ar “fitting rightly.” Thus, ármaiti or the “divine feminine in Zoroastrianism,” refers to “meditation, and focus of mind” that is evenly, and RIGHTLY undistracted, leading to “calm, serenity, creative visions and higher knowledge.”

The ancient commentaries translation of ármaiti to bündak manišni confirms the above understanding of the term in ancient Zoroastrian theology, verses the erroneous translation into humility/piety that started to appear in the early 19th century.

Ármaiti like other Immortals has the epithet Spǝñtá “the auspicious, endowed with the vibrant, splendid life force, the sacred.”

Avestan spǝñtá is a cognate Old Slavonic svętŭ, Lithuanian šventas, Russian svjatój, and Old Prussian swints.

The twelfth month in the Zoroastrian calendar, also called the “auspicious or sacred month” speñtá or Esfand in farsi, is named after this auspicious Immortal or the divine feminine.

Rue called the “sacred incense,” speñtá or Esfand in modern Persian, goes back to the same root.

Another epithet of ármaiti is vaηuhîm or vaηhû.yáv “good, superb, bounteous.” For the god-beings are “superb, brilliant and giver of good things.”

The festival of Speñtá Ármaiti called Spandārmað in middle Iranian, (February 18-19) is a special time to honor the scared earth, and women. The divine feminine is entreated for powers of procreation, serenity, and protection against evil. On this day, special charms are made and hung on doors.

I shall conclude by the following beautiful gathic sacred verse:

speñtãm vé ármaitîm vaηuhîm vare.maidî// há-né aηhat

 Spəntá Ármaiti, the bountiful, the good, we want, and desire//May she be ours.

ardeshir

 

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3 Responses to Spenta Armaiti, the divine feminine in Zoroastrianism, the guardian of the sacred earth and women

  1. Mike says:

    I’m glad you brought up the fact that ármaiti is falsely represented as humility/piety in modern writings. In the Rig Veda, Aramati is undeniably a personification of the Earth. Hope you are well!

    Oh yeah, I finally finished writing The Gathas out in Din Dabireh!

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