Spenta Armaiti

In Zoroastrianism, Spənta Ārmaiti (Avestan 𐬯𐬞𐬆𐬧𐬙𐬀 𐬁𐬭𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬙𐬌 for "creative Harmony" and later "holy devotion") is one of the Amesha Spentas, the six creative or divine manifestations of Wisdom and Ahura Mazda. Spenta suggests a creative and constructive quality or force while Armaiti means regulative thought originally alluding to the physical laws of nature (i.e. Physics). While older sources present the Amesha Spentas more as abstract entities in later sources, Spenta comes to denote holiness and sanctity and Spenta Armaiti is personified as a female divinity thus its association with the female virtue of devotion (to family, husband, and child).[1]

NameEdit

Spenta Armaiti is known in later Iranian languages as Spandarmad (in Middle Persian) and Isfandārmaḏ (in Modern Persian).[2]

Sometimes Armaiti is paired with other Zoroastrian deity, Zam ('earth'), another being associated with the Earth,[3] thus forming a compound Zam-Armaiti or Zam-Armatay.[4]

Cultic roleEdit

In Zoroastrian religion, Spenta Armaiti is seen as the wife or companion of major deity Ahura Mazda, who, in some accounts, is described as her creator or father.[5][6][7][8]

She is associated with earth[9][10] and sacred literature describes her role as a Mother Nature character. Thus, she is linked to fertility and to farmers.[11][a][b]

She is also associated with the dead.[14]

Religious legacyEdit

In the Zoroastrian calendar, she is associated with the twelfth month (Persian: سپندارمذSpendārmad) and the fifth day of the month. The fifth day of the twelfth month is hence her holy day, Sepandārmazgān. Sepandārmazgān is an ancient festival to celebrate eternal love. Iranian lovers give each other gifts on this day.[15]

ParallelsEdit

Scholarship states that Armaiti is equivalent to a RigVedic entity named Aramaiti.[16][17]

In Armenian mythology, her name appears as Sandaramet (Armenian: Սանդարամետ).[18][19]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ She is "the Old Iranian goddess of cultivated land, vegetation and fertility, having a link with the rite of inhumation (...)" and to whom "the material earth belongs".[12]
  2. ^ "In the realm of the material world, Spenta Armaiti is the guardian spirit of the earth (Vendidad 3.35), the symbol of bountifulness (...) as well as the protector of herdsmen and farmers. Frequently, however, she is spoken of as the earth itself rather than as the genius of the earth (Yasna 16.10; Yasht 24.50; Vendidad 2.10, 2.14, 2.18, 18.51, 18.64). ... in the physical realm she represents, and later becomes, the earth."[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Leeming, David. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 29. ISBN 0-19-515669-2
  2. ^ Safaee Y. (2020). "Scythian and Zoroastrian Earth Goddesses: A Comparative Study on Api and Ārmaiti". In: Niknami KA., Hozhabri A. (eds). Archaeology of Iran in the Historical Period. University of Tehran Science and Humanities Series. Springer, Cham. p. 65. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41776-5_6
  3. ^ de Jong, Albert F. Traditions of the Magi: Zoroastrianism in Greek and Latin Literature. Leiden; New York; Köln: Brill. 1997. p. 100. ISBN 90-04-10844-0
  4. ^ Coulter, Charles Russell; Turner, Patricia (2012). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. McFarland/Routledge. p. 520. ISBN 1-57958-270-2
  5. ^ Skjærvø, Prods Oktor. "The Avestan Yasna: Ritual and Myth". In: Religious Texts in Iranian Languages: Symposium held in Copenhagen May 2002. Edited by Fereydun Vahman & Claus V. Pedersen. København: Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. 2007. pp. 59-61. ISBN 978-87-7304-317-2
  6. ^ Safaee, Yazdan (2020). "Scythian and Zoroastrian Earth Goddesses: A Comparative Study on Api and Ārmaiti". In: Niknami KA., Hozhabri A. (eds). Archaeology of Iran in the Historical Period. University of Tehran Science and Humanities Series. Springer, Cham. p. 70. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41776-5_6
  7. ^ Johnston, Sarah Iles. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2004. p. 99. ISBN 0-674-01517-7
  8. ^ Okada Akinori. "The Great Goddesses of Zoroastrianism - Armaiti, Aši and Anahita". In: Bulletin of the Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan (1996) Volume 39, Issue 1, pp. 85, 94-97. ISSN 0030-5219. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5356/jorient.39.85 (in Japanese)
  9. ^ Skjærvø, Prods Oktor. "Ahura Mazdā and Ārmaiti, Heaven and Earth, in the Old Avesta". In: Journal of the American Oriental Society 122, no. 2 (2002): 404-409. doi:10.2307/3087636.
  10. ^ Safaee, Yazdan (2020). "Scythian and Zoroastrian Earth Goddesses: A Comparative Study on Api and Ārmaiti". In: Niknami KA., Hozhabri A. (eds). Archaeology of Iran in the Historical Period. University of Tehran Science and Humanities Series. Springer, Cham. pp. 65-66. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41776-5_6
  11. ^ "[Armaiti] was the cornucopia of the fruits of the land (...) the personification of the land itself, and the earth was, thus, her proper realm (...) [She was also] responsible for its growth". Dexter, Miriam Robbins. Whence the goddesses: a source book. The Athene Series. New York and London: Teachers College Press, Teachers College, Columbia University. 1990. p. 72. ISBN 0-8077-6234-2.
  12. ^ Asatrian, Garnik S.; Arakelova, Victoria. The Religion of the Peacock Angel: The Yezidis and Their Spirit World. Routledge. 2014. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-84465-761-2
  13. ^ Nigosian, Solomon Alexander. The Zoroastrian Faith: Tradition and Modern Research. Montreal & Kingston; London; Buffalo: McGill-Queen's University Press. 1993. p. 79. ISBN 0-7735-1133-4
  14. ^ Boyce, Mary. A History of Zoroastrianism. Volume One: The Early Period. Third impression with corrections. Leiden, New York, Köln: E. J. Brill. 1996. p. 206. ISBN 90-04-10474-7.
  15. ^ Taheri, Sadreddin (2014). Goddesses in Iranian Culture and Mythology. Tehran: Roshangaran va Motale’at-e Zanan Publications. ISBN 9789641940821.
  16. ^ Safaee, Yazdan (2020). "Scythian and Zoroastrian Earth Goddesses: A Comparative Study on Api and Ārmaiti". In: Niknami KA., Hozhabri A. (eds). Archaeology of Iran in the Historical Period. University of Tehran Science and Humanities Series. Springer, Cham. p. 66. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-41776-5_6
  17. ^ Pinault, Georges-Jean. "La langue des Scythes et le nom des Arimaspes". In: Comptes rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 152e année, N. 1, 2008. pp. 133-134. [DOI: https://doi.org/10.3406/crai.2008.92104]; www.persee.fr/doc/crai_0065-0536_2008_num_152_1_92104
  18. ^ Hastings, James, ed. (1908). Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 795.
  19. ^ Kurkjian, Vahan M. (2008). A History of Armenia. Los Angeles, California: Indo-European Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 9781604440126.

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