|Traditional Iranian Gods
Traditional Iranian Gods (adapted from Hammer and Vajra)
Called Yazata in Zoroastrian scripture from Yaz “to worship, to honor, to venerate” and the “ta” meaning a deity that is “worthy of worship”. In Middle Persian this is often written as Yazad.
The Yazata included Zoroaster's Amesha Spentas but also the following traditional deities:
Atar: A fire deity who may be a cognate with the Vedic Agni. Both associated with fire worship, sacrificial fires and holiness of offerings. Kushan king Huvishka depicted him on his coin as Atsho.
Airyaman: His name means “member of the tribe or community” and is directly connected to the word Aryan / Arya Vedic Aryaman in the Pan Indo-European context. The protector of the “Aryan” peoples and is invoked during weddings, disputes between country men, and as a god of the Tribe.
Apam Napat: Progeny of the Waters. He is a force of creation associated with the element of the waters. It is thought he could be an epithet to Varuna. This would thereby make him close to the supreme creator Ahura Mazda via the water element that is reflective of the Sky Father element. He performs the same role within the Rig Veda. This water connection could also be seen in the Sumerian God Abzu (Apsu). Abzu was the primordial water associated creator whose child is the Sky Father Anu in the Sky Father succession we see reflected in many faiths. In this way Apam Napat’s role was directly absorbed into Ahura Mazda.
Mithra: The most commonly worshipped and the one mentioned by Zarathustra of being as worthy of worship as Ahura Mazda. His relationship to Ahura Mazda is very similar to that of his Vedic counter part with Varuna. Mitra-Varuna and Mithra-Ahura. He is a God of Balance, sacrifice, salvation, and keeping of Order. Though he also maybe the God of Esoteric knowledge and ritual. He is most known in the west as his cult of Mithraism spread into and throughout the Roman Empire. Many theorize that he is Roman Cult as well as connections to Zoroastrianism was fully absorbed into Christianity building on the Persian influence that Judaism already had absorbed. One of the Judges of the fallen. The keeper of treaties and is invoked in international diplomacy.
(Marcus Zartianus: It is worth emphasizing that Mithra was a god of contract - the god before whom you made an oath to stick to an agreement, and who would come and strike you down if you broke it. He thus became the god of brotherhoods and war-bands because if members believed in the power of Mithra to punish oath-breakers then they would remain loyal to each other.)
Anahita: The primary Goddess of the Zoroastrian religion. Her name is also listed as Aredvi Sura Anahita. She is the Goddess of the associated with the waters, healing, and wisdom. In Armenian she is called Anahit. Her Indic equivalent is thought to be Sarasvati, whose name means “she who possesses water “and she is a Goddess of Healing and Wisdom and a part of the Tridevi of consorts to the Trimurti of primary Godhead. In the Persian context Ahura Mazda isn’t reflective of a trinity but has become as singular Godhead in himself absorbing other forms of the Sky Father (Varuna, Rudra, Vishnu, Brahma, Dyaus). Ahura Mazda doesn’t have an explicit consort or Earth Mother to his Sky / Ocean Father aspects so Anahita is often depicted as the Mother or consort of Mithras but esoterically accepted as the Goddess of Heaven. In the same way as Ahura Mazda, she isn’t listed as trinity but has absorbed many other Goddess aspects into one.
Rashnu: Meaning the Righteous, is one of the three Judges of the Fallen. He is one who judges the actions of humanity’s deeds against Asha (Truth) and governs their rewards or punishments.
Sraosha: Also called Surush, is one of the Judges of the fallen but also is the voice of Conciousness. He is the teacher of Daena (the teaching of Good, religion and the Path. This word can be seen as Dharma). He is the Guardian of the Chinvat Bridge that links the world of the living to the world of the dead. This bridge may be similar to the Islamic As-Sirat (though who influenced who is up for debate). He has two 4 eyed’ dogs at his command who protect this bridge, similar to that of Kerberos.
Judges Guardians of the Chinvat: Sraosha (Conscience), Mithra (Covenant) and Rashnu (Justice).
Verethraghna: A epithet of the Thunderer / Striker. He has less of a role within the Persian faith than he does within other Indo-European faiths. However, his Armenian counterpart Vahagn was a rather prominent figure in Armenian Faith. In Kushan / Bactrian he was called Orlagno. He was depicted on the coins of Kushan ruler Kanishka I and often is seen as Areas, Heracles, and or Krishna. He was turned to for healing, military might, as well as strength against one’s enemies. Though he might be connected to Sexual prowess and healthy virility as well.
Hvare-khshaeta: The Radiant Sun. HE is the Persian equivalent of the Vedic sun God Surya. In the Roman Mithraism he is the Sol that Mithras looks up to and serves. It thought that the Slavic God Khors / Hors and the Ossetian Xor are related directly to this Persian God. The Persian / Iranian flag / royal symbol of the Lion with the Sun depicts this God via the Sun. He is the divinity of the covenant between the divine and man.
Vayu-Vata: This God is directly the God of the Wind Vayu meaning the word Wind in both Avestan and in Vedic Sanskrit. He is worshipped as the element of the Wind and the controller of space or sometimes time. Kanishka I had coins commissioned with Vayu listed as Oado.
Haoma: Haoma is the personification of the psychotropic drink / sacrifice called Haoma. This is the same as the God Soma in the Vedic context.
Adapted from Hammer and Vajra, Written by Zachary Gill April 16, 2022