And the first thing that I heard was “52 Goddesses” – my foggy, sleepy brain thought – “what do you do with 52 Goddesses?” And their answer was “Pick One!”. So, I did. And I will continue every week so welcome to the new divinely introduced feature for the blog – 52 Goddesses!
I used Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood by Merlin Stone to facilitate the first Goddess – a bit of bibliomancy with breakfast and Goddesses that were associated with water and horses came to the forefront and then Anahita … the Persian Goddess … The Lady of the Waters and the Lady who has a chariot that is pulled by four horses named wind, rain, clouds and sleet.
My interpretation – she is FREEDOM – freedom for all Women across the world – she is the All Mother Goddess who we call out to in the night that soothes our fears and she is the warrior that we channel to survive.
Aredevi Sura Anahita- “life increasing, herd increasing, fold increasing who makes prosperity for all countries” – I was struck by the similarity in her name to the Hindu Devi (Shakti!). As well, her name Harahvati bears a resemblance to Parvati and Saraswati.
Anahita is a Water Goddess, a Fertility Goddess, and a Protector of Women. Later, she is syncretized with Ishtar and becomes associated with the planet Venus and war. Anahita is often seen as a young woman in a golden mantle with a crown surmounted by eight rays and one hundred stars. She carries a water pot and a pomegranate blossom.
‘as great in bigness as all these waters which flow forth upon the earth’
Prayer to Anahita
Mighty Anahita with splendor will shine, Incarnated as a youthful divine. Full of charm her beauty she will display, Her hip with charming belt she will array. Straight-figured, she is as noble bride, Freeborn, herself in puckered dress will hide. Her cloak is all decorated with gold, With precious dress Anahita we shall behold.
-Original poem based on Kashani’s Persian folk songs, from an Avestan invocation to Anahita.
She is sometimes depicted as riding a tiger (like Durga!) or lion. In the plate below, she is depicted sitting on a lion and holding the sun in her hand. “In ancient Iranian religion of Mithraism, lion was connected to the sun and to fire and was perceived as a moral cleansing and purifying force, and it was the Sun God Mithra’s “totem” animal. It is difficult to get precise historical data, but the oldest surviving Lion and Sun emblem in early form, date back to the reign of King Artaxerxes II (436-358 BCE). The Achaemenid seal depicting king Artaxerxes (a Mithraist), honouring Goddess Anahita who is riding on a lion and sun is rising from the lion’s back.” (source CAIS).
Reading Merlin Stone is always a revelation and she cuts to the chase – the last paragraph on Anahita in Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood reads:
… the eternal flame burned within Her shrine, and the words beneath Her image read:
I AM THE CONSCIENCE OF THINE OWN SELF.
More on Anahita From Genius Mothers:
Anahita was one of the ruling deities of the Persian Empire. She is one of the forms of the Great Goddess. She is a Mother Goddess.
Her worship originated in Babylon and spread to Ancient Egypt (where she was depicted as an armed and mounted Goddess), then to Armenia, Persia and various parts of western Asia.
The worship of this goddess began to be very popular during the reign of the Persian king Artaxerxes. He had many temples built to honor her. They were constructed in a number of cities, including Susa, Ecbatana, and Babylon. After Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, the worship of Anahita spread to the west. Some Greeks worshipped her. The cult of Anahita spread to Rome.
The Greeks associated Anahita with either Athena or Aphrodite. In the Middle East she was associated with Anat. Babylonians and Phoenicians called her Ishtar or Astarte. Possibly, Anahita is an Iranian version of that goddess. Anahita was also called Nahid (in modern Persian, the name Nahid literally means Venus).
Zoroaster was specifically commanded by his male god to honor her and she was acknowledged as a divine figure of Zoroastrianism.
Anahita is also known as Lady of the Lions or Lady of the Beasts. She is associated with rivers and lakes, the waters of birth. She is a patroness of women. Anahita was viewed as the “Golden Mother” and as a warrior maiden. Her name means “the immaculate one”.
Anahita sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra, an acient Persian god of light, contracts and friendship.
Anahita was often shown wearing a golden kerchief, square gold earrings, and a jeweled diadem. She was sometimes depicted as driving a chariot drawn by four white horses, representing wind, rain, clouds, and hail. Anahita was honored with offerings of green branches and white heifers.
Her sacred birds are dove and peacock.
More information can be found on Anahita – The Lady of Persia
Goddess Bless. Goddess Bless. Goddess Bless.