It is the twenty-first of March
the spring equinox
the first day of the rest of the year.
The days of Muktad* are over.
Steeped in remembering and praying for
the fravashis of so many of her dear ones,
the souls of the departed,
she senses their spiritual presence,
and of her own farohar, her ever present guardian.
The darkness of winter
with its season of somnolence,
its sense of faithlessness
The sun, symbol of light and creation
glows with greater clarity.
Now is the time for creativity
the awakening of dormant seedlings
a renewal of the spirit
the very possibilities of life.
the hours of darkness
just as the light of wisdom and asha*
over death and despair.
Today is Navroz
the most joyous of celebrations
rich in symbolism.
This good Zoroastrian warrior*
has cleaned her home, the walls, the drapes, the floors
the hurt and the disappointments
the detritus of the past.
The perfume of hyacinths and tube roses
wafts through gleaming rooms
the mesmerizing smell of sandal wood
to ward off evil spirits and to honor
those of the dead,
burning in silver chalices.
Her family has bathed,
donned festive garments for a festive day.
“Have you said your prayers?” she admonishes
her young son, reminding him
is the essence of all believers.
She draws in a long, deep breath
with a sense of renewal.
Today begins a regeneration
of her own life,
leading, she hopes,
to a renovation of this present world.
She promises to herself
to be diligent,
to seek improvement daily
until it becomes an enduring part of her being,
for that is her mission.
It is a day of special kindness,
bundles of presents await eager fingers,
and nourishing food
to be distributed to those in need.
The Sofreh, the Navroz offerings
are spread across her white, linen covered table.
Seven dishes representing the creator and six
Zoroastrian abstract attributes or archangels
invite the partaker.
There is the Ajlis, seven dried fruit and nuts
pistachios, roasted chick peas, almonds, hazelnuts,
fine skinned figs, newly dried apricots and golden raisins.
Today she has added her favorites
dry walnuts, ruby red pomegranate seeds
and luscious purple mulberries plucked just yesterday
from her backyard tree.
In a prominent spot,
flames in a silver filigreed afargan,
a symbol of wisdom, goodness and purity
dance in the morning breeze.
In a little bowl is her specialty,
grain, sprouted carefully over five days.
There is wine, sugar, milk, syrup, honey,
candy and rice pudding.
As she lays the table she remembers that the
seven attributes of this temporal planet,
fire, air, water, earth
plants, animals and human beings,
are also to be revered and depicted in her offerings.
She has recited a confessional patet*.
This soldier examines her thoughts,
words and deeds.
Not only will each be weighed
on the scales
determining her afterlife,
but on her shoulders
the destiny of the world
*Muktad-the days before the new year in which prayers are said for the souls of the dead.
On the last day a gambhar or communal feast is held, with the souls of the dead invited to partake.
*Zoroastrian warrior- Zoroastrians are warriors engaged in a ceaseless cosmic struggle against evil and our own temptations. When our “good thoughts, words and deeds” outweigh their evil counterparts, a resurrection of the world will be brought about in the light of the creator Ahura Mazda’s wish.
*patet-prayers of repentance for past sins.
Deenaz P. Coachbuilder
March 21st. 2016
The silver crested moon paused along its journey
as a million stars in anticipation
polished their crystal points.
Even the volatile wind, diverted from its destination,
lingers quietly among Veh Daiti river’s rocks.
Grains of dry amber sand shift impatiently
along the garden’s edge.
A leaf from the flowering pomegranate tree
catches a current and floats through the window
to rest in anticipation beside the empty cradle.
For three days, a shining light bathes this little village.
Luminous beams shoot downwards.
They brighten Ahura Mazda’s khoreh* that since birth
surrounds the spiritual young Dogdo.
Lying beside protective Pourushasp Spitama her husband
she labors to birth
Hushed Creation awaits this magical moment.
Early in the morning on Roz Khordad, Mah Fravarden
we hear not an infant’s cry, but a baby’s delighted laugh
as Athravan* infant Zarathushtra
greets the world he is destined to transform.
All nature rejoices
the moon nods and begins once more to move along its arc
the wind sings a hushed lullaby
the leaf has found a safe haven ‘neath the hallowed cradle.
From his birth onwards, young Zoroaster is engulfed
by a gentle light
which comforts many, but threatens those who wish him harm.
The chieftain Dorasrun attempting to kill him, throws him into the fire,
but the flames are cooled by Adar Yazad, the Yazata*
who is the guardian of fire.
When he places the babe in the pathway of a herd of cattle,
a white cow straddles him in protection, and there
she takes her stand until all the animals have cantered by.
She has been placed by the divine Gosh Yazad.
Dorasun and others attempt again and again, over many years
to harm the divine child, but they are thwarted
by the forces of good.
From a very early age, the prophet is aware
of the forces of good and evil. He yearns
to understand his own life’s purpose,
why good friends and neighbors are afflicted
with pain and misfortune, why injustice prevails.
At the age of seven, he receives guidance and instruction
from the sage Burzin Kurush. An apt pupil, he quickly absorbs
the tenets and beliefs of the time.
But his continuing queries cannot be satisfactorily answered
by his guide.
He is recognized by all as an unusual child.
By the time the prophet is fifteen, his quest for answers
to humanity’s problems intensify.
He finds solace in prayer, in caring for those in need, for in all
he recognizes the presence of a spirit beyond his understanding.
Then, at the age of twenty, Zarathushtra leaves his home
his loved ones, all things familiar and comfortable,
to meditate in the bleak mountains of Ushidaren.
He leaves behind him his still young life, in a spiritual journey
to discover the highest truth, years of searching that will lead him
to commune with the creator Ahura Mazda, and receive
the revelations of the religion of the “good” life
followed to this day by his adherents
*Athravan-carrier of the fire of truth.
Deenaz P. Coachbuilder
June 21st. 2016
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