What elements of Zoroastrianism exist today?


Temples and rites

Fire Temple of Yazd - Wikipedia
Fire Temple of Yazd

Zoroastrian temples are commonly called the “Fire Temples”. Fire and the concept of its divine origin stand in the center of the whole doctrine. The same concept has been adopted by many other beliefs – both mono and polytheistic. Zoroastrian temples always have an altar with the eternal fire on it. It is being carefully supported and must never be extinguished. Originally Zoroastrian legends speak of three sacred temples. The fire that burnt on their altar was granted directly by Ahura Mazda. However, there is no encrypted mentioning with clues of where those temples might have been located. Most archeologists even agree on the fact that the “Great Temples” might have a purely symbolic meaning and have never existed at all.

The main Zoroastrian symbol – Faravahar – is a pure representation of the divine origin and power of fire. It is a Sun disk with wings and a figure of a regal man emerging from the disk. This symbol dates back to the most ancient cultured. It has been adopted by famous civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and throughout its history, it has been symbolizing the divine origin and protection of regal power. Under the influence of various eastern beliefs, mainly Hinduism, Faravahar has obtained a more common meaning of guidance and protection for those who preach the righteous and truthful doctrine. 

Zoroastrianism in Western culture

European intellectuals have been introduced to Zoroastrianism in the XIX century through the book of progressive yet controversial German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. The book depicts the paths and perches of Zarathustra in a quite ironic manner. This style of representation is quite understandable as Nietzsche was a committed atheist.

However, the European public was fascinated by the possibility to get in touch with ancient religion and numerous scholars started their researches, which have to lead to the general impression of Zoroastrianism that we have nowadays. 

Although most modern representatives of Western culture are not familiar with the concept of Zoroastrianism, it has found numerous embodiments in our everyday life.

Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddy Mercury might be the most famous Zoroastrians in the modern world. The leader of the legendary rock band “Queen” was a Parci decedent and a devoted worshiper of Zoroastrianism. When he died in 1991, a Zoroastrian priest performed his funeral.

Ahura Mazda – the chief deity of Zoroastrianism has become a part of our everyday life thanks to the Japanese corporation Mazda Motor Corporation, which sells and manufactures its vehicles all over the world. The company chiefs officially admit that they have borrowed the name of Ahura Mazda for their company. They claim that the bright and empowered image of the “God of Light” forms an overall positive image of the company and energy around it.

The legend Azor Ahai that is familiar to millions of fans of the book “A Song of Ice and Fire”, adapted for television as the legendary series “Games of Thrones” was based on the Zoroastrianism doctrine.

Another quite common image of Zoroastrianism – Faravahar – an entity with spread wings, was widely adopted by heraldry all over the world. The widespread eagle is used on flags and crests of numerous countries all over the world both in Eastern and Western Cultures.

The claim of Zoroastrian to be the first monotheistic religion might remain quite controversial, but there is much evidence that proves that has greatly influenced many cultures and beliefs all over the world including those that are claimed to be the fundamental world religions nowadays. Once a powerful doctrine with thousands of worshipers, it still has not slipped into oblivion finding its reflections in ancient legends, hearts of existing worshipers, and even modern pop-culture. 

Links:

https://zorostudies.weebly.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Zoroastrianism

https://www.ancient.eu/zoroastrianism/

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