Seven Ameshaspentas on Navrooze Table
By: Farzana Cooper
Zurvan : not really an Amshaspand, but the divinity of time. ‘Time’ where the whole universe thing is believed to have started. Ancient Zoroastrian texts say, the time has no start in Mazda Yasna, nor an end but sometime along the way, a divinity of Time comes into the picture to give a better explanation about eternal Good v/s Evil conflict and its impact on natural phenomena like two equinoxes. Today a clock is a good representative of time . In old times when they did not have a clock, they would place an egg on a mirror and watch it very carefully to see when it would move because they believed that the world was placed on one horn of a cosmic Bull that stood on the back of a cosmic turtle and that the turtle swims in a shoreless ocean of time. At each exact time of Novrooz, the Bull would get tired of keeping the earth on one horn and shift it from one horn to the other. This would cause the Spring and winter Equinox and that could be detected if you watched the egg on the mirror very carefully and registered its shaking! ( Good stuff to keep kids busy!)
The mirror reflects the time ( Zurvan) and infinite possibilities that in store for future. The egg is a representative of creative powers of Mother nature and of constant renewal. This is the principle why a Mirror and colorful Eggs decorate Novrooz tables.
Spenta Armaiti/ Spandārmad: A female Amshaspand. Reflects modesty. Represented by the Earth – Soil/Mud/ Stones on Novrooz table also by the decorated eggs. Symbolizes fertility of Earth and all living world, which is a mighty force and progress.
Color of this Ameshaspenta- Deep Blue.
Haurvatat /Khordad: A female Ameshaspenta. Reflects wellbeing and perfection. Represented by Water/ Wine on the Novrooz table. Symbolizes robust health, peace, harmony, and balance in life.
Color- Light Blue.
Ameretat/Amardad : A female Ameshaspenta. Reflects immortality. Represented by plants/ grass /fruits on the Navroze table. Symbolizes defiance to extinction by shedding their seeds and procreation. Also keeping alive good memories as a reflection of immortality.
Kshetra Vairyu / Shahrevar: A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects dominion/control over self. Represented by metal/coins on the Novrooz table, preferably gold coins because it resists rust most. Symbolizes Mind over matter. Dominion over one’s own mind and Self-reliance. Has the same attributes as ‘Khoddawand’ ie. Khod= Self, therefore Khoddawand is Self-realization. (This idea is dramatically different from that in the Abrahamic Faiths where nothing should come from the self and everything should come from Above.)
Vohu Manah/ Bahman: A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects good mind and compassion. Represents soul of the animal kingdom and on the Novrooz table, it’s again eggs/ live fish in water.
Spenta Mainyu / Ahura Mazda : Gender neutral Ameshaspenta. Reflects wisdom and knowledge. Represented by a book on the Novrooz table that has the ability to impart good knowledge. Many Zoroastrians display a book of Zend Avesta.
Asha Vahishta /Ordibehesht: A male Ameshaspenta. Reflects Justice, truth and Universal Order. Represents “The Best Asha” and on the Novrooz table it’s an oil lamp or candle lights.
All Ameshaspentas together make up all colours that reflect out of prism when white light passes through it… So Spenta Mainyu is the white light that breaks into various colours of Ameshaspentas because they are the attributes of Spenta Mainyu also called Ahura Mazda.
This is article is written and illustrated by Mrs. Farzana Cooper, an enthusiast Zarathusti. We thank her for contributing this article.