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.

ardeshir

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Nowruz “New Dawn/Day” and the Goddess of Spring/Dawn Ôstara


Nowruz or more accurately NAUV ROOZ is the most sacred and happy festival of Zoroastrianism. The “new dawn/light” after equinox is called Nauv rooz. This fresh “new dawn/day” is a reminder of the fresh “New Dawn/light” which will bring the future age of the Immortals, and the coming of everlasting spring, the faršö kereiti, when the worlds entire will be made “splendid, glorious and brilliant” for all eternity.

Our “limited time” will be succeeded by the “Time of Long Ages or the Age of the Gods” daregö xva-dhátahæ. The worlds will be made “pristine and pure,” as it was first in the luminous thought of Ahûrá Mazd­­á.

The ancient Avestan texts talk of celebrating the sacred moment when the center/middle position maiδ.iia of the Sun and the celestial points/paths paθ are at the same hamaß, or equal distance from each other called Hamaß.paθ.maiδ.iia or EQUINOX in the Avestan. Nauv rooz is the first “new dawn/light” after the spring equinox.

Nauv means “new” Rooz “light” comes from Avestan raôča, Vedic rociṣ-/ruci, Tocharian B lyuke Old Norse ljós, Old English lēoht, German licht, Latin. lūx, AstLeon. lluz; Spanish luz, all going back to reconstructed Proto Indo European *lóuks/léukos– “light.” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)

In Zoroastrianism, the “brilliant dawn” or uš bám prayer formula is a must read for every devout Zoroastrian in early morning hours.

In the gathic poetry, the glory of fresh dawn ûšá and “fulfillment of wishes” ûštá from the root vas ”wish, heart’s desire” are closely connected phonetically and through poetic imagery.

Likewise in the Vedas there is talk of “seers having found the hidden light and regenerating dawn” (Rig Veda 7.76.4.)

In Germanic Polytheism Ēostre, Old English: Ēastre, Old High German Ôstara is the glorious goddess of spring and dawn. Ôstara derives from Proto-Germanic *austrōn meaning “dawn,” a descendent of the Proto-Indo-European root *aus-, “to shine” (modern English EAST also derives from this root.)

Like the Avestan account the emphasis in Germanic Paganism is on the “regeneration of god-powers and a new age of Immortals.”

In Yasna 44.5 of the poetic gathas we read:

ké ýá ûšáv arém-piθwâ šapá.čá

 ýáv man.aôθrîš čaž.döηh.vañtem areθ.ahiiá

From whom (is) dawn, high noon and night? That makes the discerning, wise, mindful of the accomplishments/triumph (in the future age of the gods.)

Per the ancient commentary areθ “accomplishment, fulfillment, success” refers to the coming saôšiiánt and the future age of the victorious Immortals in an eternal spring.

Avestan Spring Celebrations start with bonfires few nights before the equinox. Bonfires are in honor of the departed souls. People dress in costumes, and go door to door for treats while wearing masks. This ritual is very similar to Halloween.

Nauvrooz table is adorned with sprouted lentils, colored eggs, hyacinth flower, apples, mirror, fire, sacred rue (incense,) wine, milk, bread, coins and sweets.

The table shall symbolically reflect the physical creation of the 7 foremost brilliant Immortals, called speñtá “auspicious, sacred, bright” in the Avestan. Hence, each symbolic item on the nauv rooz table item must start with the letter S.

I shall conclude by stating that the Roman Pagan New Year also started in spring season. The name of the months October, November, December respectively meaning 8th, 9th and 10th months point to a new year starting in march or in spring.

ardeshir

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Eire, Ireland and Iran “land of the noble ones”


In Indo-European Poetry and Myths page 142, M.L. West points out that the both the name Iran (Airan) and Irish Eire coming from Aire “a noble lord,” developed from the same root as the Zoroastrian Airyaman or literally “Aryan-ness,” the divine principal of “honor, goodness, virtue, and nobility.”

West mentions other cognates with the Zoroastrian Airyaman in other Indo-European languages including the other name/title of Odin Iormunr, the Irish Eremon, and the Old English Eormencyn “noble, mighty race.”

The poetic gathas of prophet Zarathustra start with the “will to become godlike” ahü vairyö and concludes with airyemá išyö “the noble lordship or higher ideal.”

The xarənah or farnah “fiery splendor/fortune” that created the worlds in the Avesta, is coupled with airyanąm xarənö “fiery glory of the Aryans,” and the luminous vision daæná of the Zoroastrian religion that will again make the creations frašö “splendid, new, excellent” in an eternal spring.

In the Avestan lore Airya is an ethnic epithet and contrasts with other ethnic groups such as Tüirya, Sairima, Dāha, Sāinu, and with the outer world of the AnAirya “non-Aryans.”

Old Persian ariya– occurs in the phrase of Darius the Great: ariyaariyaciça, “Arya, of Aryan origin,” and of Xerxes: pārsa:pārsahyāpuçaariyaariyaciça, “a Persian, son of a Persian, Arya, of Aryan origin.”

The phrase with ciça, “descent, ancestry, and roots” assures that the term arya is an ethnic designation wider in meaning than parsá, and not a simple adjectival epithet.

The ancient native Elamites have preserved the gloss to the name of the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá in DB 4.89 Behistun 62: u-ra-mas-da na-ap har-ri-ia-na-um, “Ahûrá Mazdá, god of the Aryans.

Kava Hû-sravö of “good glory” is called arša airyanąm “the bull/champion (aršan– “male”) of the Aryas, in Yašt. 15.32, of the Avesta.

The all noble/Aryan forest called vīspe.aire.razuraya  (Yt. 15.32) was where Hû-sravö of “good repute” slew the evil, lower wind.

Avestan erešö or araš “bear man” is the archer of the Aryans in the Avesta. The Tri-star hymn states that like the mind-swift arrow which the archer erešö shot, swift-arrowed, most swift-arrowed of the Aryas, from Mount Airyö-xšuθa to Mount Xvanvant.” yaθa tiγriš mainya-asǡ yim aŋhaṱ ərəxšō xšviwi.išuš xšviwi.išvatəmō airyanąm airyō.xsuθaṱ hača garōiṱ x anvantəm avi gairīm

The airyanąm dahyunąm “lands of the Aryans” in the Avesta contrasts with anairya– “non-Arya lands” anairyǡ diŋhāvō. This dichotomy is continued later in Persian Zoroastrian tradition. Airyö.šayana– “dwelling of the Aryans” is also another recurring term in the Avesta.

airyanəm vaēǰō “cradle of the Aryans” is the first/most pristine of all the beautiful lands created by Ahûrá Mazdá (Vidēvdāt 1.3) and is the birth place of Prophet Zarathustra, the term is frequented in Zoroastrian apocalyptic literature, and in connection with the coming eternal spring.

The holy Denkart, the great encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism associates arya– “honorable, Aryan” with good, healthy lineage/birth among mortals” hû-töhmaktom ēr martöm. This phrase in holy Denkart compares with ariya-čiça in the Old Persian Inscriptions.

Similarly ērīh ut dahyupatīh “honor and lordship,” contrasts with arg ut bār hač škōhišn, “labor and burdens from poverty” in holy Denkart.

I shall conclude by stating that both Ireland and Iran refer to the “land of the Noble Ones” and harken back to the ancient Indo European forgotten past. To an age when the land was sacred, and a mighty noble people endeavored to re-create Asgard here on earth through “goodness, honor and virtue.”

ardeshir

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Divine kingship and Philosopher kings of the ancient Aryans


Kayánid in the ancient Iranian sacred tradition were a dynasty of “visionary leaders” who governed and ruled over the Aryans before their entry into the world stage as the greatest Empire of the ancient world.

Kayánid is the plural of Kay, and comes from the Avestan kavá “priest ruler” or “philosopher king.” Kaváis were great rulers/kings renowned for their gift of foresight/vision. They were the great leaders/kings of men in the Avestan lore.

Avestan kavá goes back to proto Indo European speech, and is rooted in the reconstructed Indo European *keuh “to perceive.” It comes in the same sense of “perceive, having visions of ” in the poetic gathas, See Yasna 33.6, 1st rhymed verse line.

Kavá is a cognate of Vedic kaví Lydian kawe “visionary poet/priest,” Latin cavaeō “take heed” Old Church Slavonic čujo “note,” čudo “wonder,” Old English hāwian “look at.”

Avestan kavá– has a perfect identical cognate in Lydian kawe-, making it not only Indo-European, but Proto-Indo-European, (See Didier Calin.)

In the Rig Veda, the term kaví refers to poets and priests, and is also a term applied to the gods, gift of foresight and visions. The kavís compose their poetry by the power of their thoughts mati and send their “poetic visions” dhī into the divine world.

In the Avesta, the kaváis were entrusted with the guardianship of xarənah or farnah. Farnah means “fiery splendor, divine luminosity, god energy.” Farnah represents a link between the energy of light/blazing fire in connection with kingship and the life force.

Farnah or xarənah comes from a Scytho-Sarmatian and Alan background, and is a cognate of Ossetic farnä and farn “a magic force or power of fiery nature.”

The Avestan Yashts talk of the fiery splendor of kaváis (kavaæm xarənö), of the fiery splendor of the Aryans (airyanəm or airyanąm xarənö) and farnah the fiery splendor of daæná, the “luminous vision” of the Immortals or the Zoroastrian religion.

In the Avestan lore and the poetic gathas, most of the kaváis have forsaken their gift of foresight, their wondrous, superior wisdom/craft ḵratü, and have gone over to the realm of darkness, greed and corrupted power.

However, FEW have stayed faithful/true to the farnah or xarənah of the noble ones and the luminous vision of Immortals such as Kavá Vištáspö, who was the great patron of the Aryan Prophet Zarathûštrá, and whose name comes in connection with the Magian fellowship and dominion/kingship in the gathas, See Yasna 51.16, 1st rhymed verse line.

 In the beautiful Yašt 19 of the Avesta, the farnah or xarənah of the kaváis is closely associated with cosmic order, new dawn/day and the fresh creation of the worlds, faršö kereitî.

This fiery energy that belonged/belongs to Ahûrá Mazdá, his Auspicious, brilliant Immortals, and the yazatás or “adoreable god-beings” in both worlds when they established the creations, shall make the existence fraša splendid/new again (Yašt 19.10-24.)

According to the sacred Zoroastrian lore, Kavá Siāwaxš built the Kang castle (Kangdæž) by the fiery splendor of kaváis (kavaæm xarənö.) From the stronghold of this castle the rule of the Aryans, the victory of daæna Zoroastrian religion or “luminous vision” of the Immortals will be commanded at the end of times, before the setting in of an eternal spring, and the fresh, new age of the god-men.

ardeshir

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Avestan xšnu, Greek xenos and extending goodness toward disguised divinity


In the poetic gathas of the ancient Aryan prophet, and the Avestan sacred lore a recurring term is xšnû or ḵšnû “ to delight, be congenial, well disposed, be good natured.”

Avestan xšnû is about “reciprocating, and corresponding to the brilliant and well disposed nature” of the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá, his brilliant, wise immortals, and the soul of the primordial cow géuš ûrvá, as the personification of all life in the universe. The term also appears in relation to ties of reciprocity/generosity between mortals.

Many Avestan Prayers and formulas start with the phrase xšnaôthra ahûrahæ mazdáv “May we delight, mirror your good, brilliant disposition Ahura Mazda.

Avestan xšnû is a cognate of Greek xénos “extending hospitality to guest/strangers.” The Greek theme Theo-xenia or Theo-xeny however is closest to the Avestan original. The concept is that of extending “goodness, virtue, hospitality” towards a stranger/guest xénos, who turns out to be a disguised deity theos.

Xenía “guest-friendship” is centralized around the divine and both the disguised divinity as xénos “guest” and the host are bound by the ties of reciprocity. Gods, taking the likeness of strangers from elsewhere and assuming every kind of aspect, go from one community to another, monitoring men’s vile or virtuous conduct’ (Od. 17. 485–7.)

Several Greek and Roman myths tell how a god, or two or three gods together, travelled about and received hospitality from someone who did not know what they were and who impressed them with his goodness and virtue, or his/her lack of it. Animals such as dogs are better than humans at sensing the presence of gods and spirits. But a human being may be temporarily granted the special kind of vision that enables him to see the gods in their true form and know them for what they are.

In Nordic mythology Odin goes about similarly, accompanied by Loki and Hœnir.

The Trojan War described in the Iliad of Homer actually resulted from a violation of xenia. Paris, from the house of Priam of Troy, was a guest of Menelaus, king of Mycenaean Sparta, but seriously transgressed the bounds of xenia by abducting his host’s wife, Helen.

Avestan xšnû has remarkably survived almost intact in modern Persian in the form of xšnud “happy, delighted.”

The implication of the term xšnû in Zoroastrianism is to celebrate the world as an inherent potential for becoming divine.

Godhood in Zoroastrianism is not about a supremely powerful anthropomorphic being, but about “the eternal quest for excellence” manifested in the wonderful order and ingenuity of all that exists.

Godhood is the odyssey of consciousness and the evolution of Mind Power Mazdá. The Immortals personify the “overcoming of limitations” and the “discovery of new horizons.”

The way to adore the Gods in Zoroastrianism is to emulate/reciprocate their brilliant nature, good disposition and their virtues.

 

ardeshir

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Frya or love in the gathas, Old Norse Freya and Frigg


 

In the poetic gathas, fryá is the personification of “love.” Intense feeling of passion/love appears as fryá, fryái and fryö in the sacred poetry of the gathas. Fryán “lovely, free” appears as a personal name in Yasna 46.12, 2nd rhymed verse line of the gathic songs.

Avestan fryá “lovely, dear and free” is cognate with the reconstructed Proto Germanic friyō “Lovely,” Old Norse frī “beloved,” and Old Norse Frigg, “the wife of Odin/Woden,” and Vedic priyá.

Modern Persian áfrin “blessing, divine favor” is derived from the same ancient root. The English weekday Friday is named after Norse goddess Frigg, and Old High German Frîja, who was the northern equivalent of Venus. In Rig Veda 1.46.1, the beautiful Dawn goddess is called priyá.

 Freya’s Tears by Gustav Klimt, the most prominent Austrian symbolist painter, has best expressed the immortal beauty and love of Freyja in art.

In Norse Mythology frigg is the goddess of love. Frigg bore Baldur the personification of light whose death will initiate a series of apocalyptic events leading to Ragnarök or twilight of the Gods.

The relationship of the divine to mortals is expressed in the term fryá or friiá “love” in the gathas. The divine epithet Fryá “love, intense passion” comes in close connection with the supreme god of “Inspiration, Creativity, Imagination, Mind Power Mazdá and the brilliance of the cosmic order ašá/arthá in the gathas.

In Zoroastrianism, the god force is “loveliness fryái, wisdom vaæd, ability to enchant/own isvá and power to give of oneself daidît,” hiiat ná fryái vaædamnö isvá daidît, See Yasna 43.14, 1st rhymed verse line.

The essential thing about the Immortal ahûrás is their “brilliance, loving essence, virtue and wisdom that give them the wondrous skill to enchant and own, the power to be lords isvá.”

Avestan isæ “lordship, ability to enchant/own” is cognate with Tocharian aik “own” Old Norse eiga Old English āgan “own, possess” all going back to the reconstructed Indo European *heik.

The good and virtuous man is above all a friend of Ahûrá Mazdá, and his brilliant Immortals. The belief in the Immortal Gods as “loving wise powers and friends” corresponds to the idea of kinship between the good-minded and brilliant mortals, and the Wise Ahûrás. This kinship rests above all on the view that the Wise Ahûrás and mortal men are bound through “truth, loving virtues and wisdom.”

Zoroastrianism teaches that mortal man could and should share in the “Good, the Lovely and the Beautiful” as partners of the Immortals.

In Zoroastrianism, the worship of “Inspiring Creativity” Mazdá means the loving adoration of godly virtues/powers, and cultivation of all the goodness and loveliness of the Immortals in oneself. This idea is expressed in the term frînái, frînáiti “befriend” in the poetic gathas. See Yasna 29.5, 1st rhymed verse line and Yasna 49.12, 3rd rhymed verse line.

Avestan frînáiti is a cognate of Old Norse frjá “love,” and frændi “beloved, friend.”

Interesting is the connection between “love and freedom” in the Avestan speech. In Mazdyasna, the Love of the Gods is manifested in giving mortals freedom from imperfections, and the wondrous wisdom to overcome their limitations.”

The submissive and slavish relation of man to Gods is NOT characteristic of Zoroastrianism. Mortals in Zoroastrianism are not slaves before an omnipotent God whose nature is intimidation and terror.

Interestingly, The Ifrits a class of infernal Jinn (demons) noted for their enchanting powers in the Islamic lore, seem to have been derived from fryá. (although the etymology is uncertain.)

As with other jinn (demons,) an ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever. The Ifrits are greatly skilled in crafts, and in building amazing objects or structures. King Solomon is said to have compelled the jinn into his service

The ‘ifrit is cited only once in the Qur’an, in reference to a good demon, with enchanting powers, who fetched the throne of the Queen of Sheba at the command of King Solomon.

An Ifrit from the jinn said: ‘I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.'” 

Qur’an, Sura An-Naml:39. (27:39) 

ardeshir

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Zoroastrian influence upon other faiths and the example of Ashmedai


Aæšm in the poetic gathas and the Avesta is the arch-demon of “wrath, ruin and devastation.” Aæšm comes from the root aēš or aæš “to set into frenzied motion, chaos.” In the Zoroastrian sacred lore aæšm is the opposite of sraôš “melodies/songs of the gods, divine music, inspiration.” In the poetic gathas “the diabolic powers daævás rush into aæšm “frenzied mania” to sicken/corrupt all that is ahuric/godly in mortal’s existence, (Yasna 30.6, 3rd rhymed verse line.)

The Old Norse eisa “go about recklessly, be rowdy” is a cognate. Lithuanian aistrā “violent passion, rage,” coming from the root *heis is a synonym. Eris the personification of “discord, strife” who supposedly initiated the Trojan wars in Greek mythology can be compared with aæšm. In Greek mythology Eris is the opposite of Harmonia, and seems to share many collective attributes with demon aæšm in the Avesta.

Interestingly the Zoroastrian arch-demon aæšm takes a whole new identity in Jewish mystic literature. Hebrew Ashmedai was borrowed from the Persian/Zoroastrian arch demon aæšm. But, the (Hebrew: אשמדאי‎ Ashmedai) is no longer the dreaded arch-fiend of Zoroastrianism; but the king of the Jewish demons (Pes. 110 a.)

An aggadic narrative describes Ashmedai as the king of all the demons (Pesachim109b–112a). In the Zohar, Ashmedai is represented as the teacher of Solomon, to whom he gave a book of extraordinary knowledge (Zohar Lev. pp. 19a, 43a; ib. Num. 199b, ed.) Ashmedai is also mentioned in Talmudic legends, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon.

According to Zohar; many Jewish demons study Torah, and will not harm a human Torah scholar. Ashmedai himself is said to ascend to Heaven to study the Torah.

While there is NO doubt that Zoroastrianism has exerted a great influence on other faiths in areas of apocalyptic literature, and the ultimate battle between good and evil. Yet, it is also irrefutable that so many original gathic and Avestan concepts often took a WHOLE and entirely DIFFERENT identity/meaning in their new Judeo-Christian context.

ardeshir

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