(This is another of the several Goddesses that Patricia Telesco makes a second entry on in her book. You can view my previous entry on Anahita here.)
“Anahita’s themes are honor, love, fertility, pleasure and cleansing. Her symbols are water, lunar objects and colors and green branches. Anahita is the Zoroastrian moon Goddess who shines upon the darkness in our lives, replacing loneliness with true love, barrenness with fertility and impotence with pleasurable unions. She is the Lady of Heaven, the flowing force of the cosmos, whose name means ‘Pure’. A traditional offering for Anahita is green branches, which represent Her life-giving power.
Today marks the birthday of Zoroaster, the founder of a religious sect that influenced the Magi of the Bible. Amidst Zoroaster’s pantheon we find this Goddess, radiating with the beautiful things of life, but only after a good ‘house cleansing’. Honor Her by washing your floors with pine-scented cleanser (i.e. green branches so her energies can purify the sacred space of home.) Afterward, light a white candle to represent Anahita’s presence therein. Add a simple invocation like this one:
‘Lady of Purity, Lady of Light, be welcome in my home and my heart.’
Purify yourself, too, so that Anahita’s passion can flow unhindered. Take a ritual bath, adding any woodsy aromatic to the water. As you wash up, say,
‘Anahita, carry the darkness away,
so my body and spirit may revel in your pleasures,
giving and receiving them equally.’
Then spend time with your loved one, letting nature take its course.”
(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)
Patricia Monaghan tells us that Anahita was called the “‘Immaculate one’, also called Ardvi Sura Anahita (‘humid, strong, immaculate one’), She was one of the ruling deities of the Persian Empire. Anahita embodied the physical and metaphoric qualities of water, the fertilizing force that flowed from Her supernatural fountain in the stars. By extension She ruled semen – which flows forth and fertilizes – and thus human generation as well as all other forms of earthly propagation.
She originated in Babylonia, whence She traveled to Egypt to appear as an armed and mounted Goddess. Her worship spread east as well; She became the most popular Persian deity, worshiped, it is said, even by the great god Ahura Mazda himself. Nevertheless, Zoroaster did his best to ignore Anahita, although later writings reveal that the sage was specifically commanded by his male god to honor Her.
In this tall and powerful maiden, Her people saw the image of both the mother and the warrior; She was a protective mother to Her people, generously nurturing them while fiercely defending them from enemies. In statuary, Anahita was the ‘golden mother’, arrayed in golden kerchief, square gold earrings, and a jeweled diadem, wrapped in a gold embroidered cloak adorned with thirty otter skins. She was also described as driving through our world in a chariot drawn by four white horses that signify wind, rain, clouds, and hail.
‘Great Lady Anahita, glory and life-giver of our nation, mother of sobriety and benefactor of mankind,’ the Armenians called out to their beloved Goddess. They honored Her with offerings of green branches and white heifers brought to Her sanctuaries. They may have offered themselves as well; the traveler Strabo said that sacramental promiscuity was part of the honor due this rule of reproduction who ‘purifies the seed of males and the womb and milk of females.’
Healer, mother, and protector of Her people, She was worshipped throughout the Persian Empire for many centuries. To the west She was said to be identical to Anat; the Greeks contended She was Aphrodite, when they did not claim She was Athena” (p. 45).
Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Anahita”.
Avesta — Zoroastrian Archives, “Angels in Zoroastrianism“.
Enkidu, Leah. Shrine, “Return of the Holy Prostitute“.
Iranpoliticsclub.net, “Persian Mythology, Gods and Goddesses“.
Langdon, S. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, January 1924, Vol. 56, Issue 01, “The Babylonian and Persian Sacaea1“
Lindemans, Micha F. Encyclopedia Mythica, “Anahita“.
Milo. TeenWitch.com, “Anaitis Anahita“.
Nabarz, Payam. Iranian.com, “Anahita – Lady of Persia“.
Skakti156. Shaktiwomyn.com, “52 Goddesses – Week 1 – The Goddess Anahita“.