Angels in Zoroastrianism

In Zoroastrianism there are different angel-like figures. For example, each person has one guardian angel, called Fravashi. They patronize human beings and other creatures, and also manifest God’s energy. The Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, although there is no direct reference to them conveying messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda (“Wise Lord”, God); they initially appeared in an abstract fashion and then later became personalized, associated with diverse aspects of the divine creation.

Zoroastrianism recognizes various classes of spiritual beings besides the Supreme Being (Ahura Mazda): The Amesha Spentas, Yazatas, and Fravashis. In practice (cf. Sad Dar, chapter 26), Zoroastrians pick a patron angel for their protection, and throughout their lives are careful to observe prayers dedicated to that angel. 

Anahita Vessel, 300-500 AD, Sasanian, Iran, silver and gilt – Cleveland Museum of Art

Amesha Spentas (Phl. Amahraspandan) (“Archangels”)

Literally, “Beneficent Immortals”, these are the highest spiritual beings created by Ahura Mazda. Their names are:

  • Vohu Mano (Phl. Vohuman): lit. Good Mind. Presides over cattle.
  • Asha Vahishta (Phl. Ardwahisht): lit. Highest Asha, the Amahraspand presiding over Asha and fire.
  • Khshathra Vairya (Phl. Shahrewar): lit. ‘Desirable Dominion’, the Amahraspand presiding over metals.
  • Spenta Armaiti (Phl. Spandarmad): lit. ‘Holy Devotion’, the Amahraspand presiding over the earth
  • Haurvatat (Phl. Hordad): lit. ‘Perfection or Health’. Presides over water.
  • Ameretat (Phl. Amurdad): lit. ‘Immortality’, the Amahraspand presiding over the Earth.

Fravashis (Phl. Farohars) (“Guardian Angels”):

Also known as Arda Fravash (“Holy Guardian Angels”). Each person is accompanied by a guardian angel (Y26.4, 55.1), which acts as a guide throughout life. They originally patrolled the boundaries of the ramparts of heaven (Bd6.3, Zs5.2), but volunteer to descend to earth to stand by individuals to the end of their days. Ahura Mazda advises Zarathushtra to invoke them for help whenever he finds himself in danger (Yt13.19-20). If not for their guardianship, animals and people could not have continued to exist, because the wicked Druj would have destroyed them all (Yt13.12-13).

The Fravashi also serves as an ideal which the soul has to strive for and emulate, and ultimately becomes one with after death (Y16.7, 26.7, 26.11, 71.23, Yt22.39) (See Dhalla, History of Zoroastrianismpg 232-243375-378).

They manifest the energy of God, and preserve order in the creation. They are said to fly like winged birds, and are represented by a winged disk, often with a person superimposed (as in the above representation).

Yazatas (Phl. Yazads) (“Angels”):

Lit ‘adorable ones’, a created spiritual being, worthy of being honored or praised. Like the Amesha Spentas they personify abstract ideas and virtues, or concrete objects of nature. The Yazatas are ever trying to help people, and protect us from evil (cf. Dk3, ch. 66). See below for some specifics of the more important Yazatas.

Borrowed From http://www.avesta.org/angels.html

Leave a Reply

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: