Rapithwin, the lord of brightness, and radiance

Rapithwin is the the “lord of brightness and radiance,” the source of sustenance, strength and abundance.”  In traditional Zoroastrian terminology, Rapithwin is an idyllic time when the invincible sun is at the zenith of her power, the time of highest radiance from noon till 3 o’clock.                                                  

It was at Rapithwin that Ahûrá Mazdá first manifested the material creation from the realm of ideas/thoughts through a “heartfelt desire,” and it will again be Rapithwin when another Yasna, “yearning, burning desire” will set in the splendid, fresh, new creation of the worlds, Farshökart. 

It is “true, heartfelt desire,” Yasna, that purifies, hallows, and brings about manifestation. The root of the word Yasna is reconstructed Indo-European Hieh2g-nô. 

Rapithwin comes from ancient Indo-European peitu-/pitu, and is a cognate of Lithuanian pietis. The word means “food, sustenance, energy,” and referred originally to “midday or afternoon meal.” In the sacred Avestan lore, the connection between “brightness/light” and “sustenance“ is evident in the Avestan formula/blessing for food in Yasna 37.1.                                                       

During the Ayāθrima thanksgiving festival in mid October when the cattle are beautifully decorated, and brought back home to their shelters, the warmth and radiance of Rapithwin is believed to go underground to give energy to the roots of plants and waters during cold winter months. It is with coming of vernal equinox/spring that Rapithwin symbolically returns. At every “Victorious Fire,” Ātaš Vahrama yasna is solemnized in honor of asha, “excellence, genius composition, ahüric art, truth” at high noon or time of Rapithwin, on the day of Vernal Equinox, and Yasna Celebrations are continued at midday for the next two days.

The ultimate goal of rapithwin yasna celebration is to unleash the miraculous force of menög, “the invisible realm of mind power, spirit, imagination, ideas,” and thereby transmute the imperfect reality into wondrous and ever better. 

The sacred Avestan verses of Yasna are most significant for their mąθric power, for they not only unleash the “mind energy, genius essence, spirit” of the god powers from the subconscious dimension but also reveal the pristine creative, will/wisdom, that will set in motion the splendid renewal, remaking of the worlds. It is their mąθric power that blesses and imparts the brilliance of the Immortals on the patron of the Yasna ceremony, his/her wider community, and the departed souls.


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