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Zoroastrianism: An Essay

There is one distinct religious traditions that spans further into the past then Judaism, Islam and Christianity. This religion also greatly influenced the practices, rituals, and beliefs these three religions and many others beyond comprehension as a result. That religious tradition is – Zoroastrianism. What is Zoroastrianism? Where did it originate from? Why did Zoroastrianism “stick” with people and how has it survived this long?

The Zoroastrian religious faith is known by many names: Zarathustraism, Mazdaism and Magianism. It is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions, based in Greater Iran. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Greater Iran from 600 BCE to 650 CE, including the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sasanian Empires. In English, an adherent of the faith is commonly called a Zoroastrian or a Zarathustrian. An older expression still used today is Behdin, meaning “follower of Daena”, for which “Good Religion” is one translation. However, now those who know of the faith refer to the followers of the faith, fondly, as the “people of the flames”.

The main characteristics of the Zoroastrian faith are messianism, the Golden Rule,that a heaven and hell exist along with our world, and that all of creation was created with free will. It is here that we find these characteristics influenced other religious systems, including Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam. In Zoroastrianism, the main purpose of life is to “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you” or rather, “to only practice goodness”. Some of the keys “mantras” within the religious faith include: “good thoughts, good words, good deeds”, “there is only one path and that is the path of truth”, as well as “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, then all beneficial rewards will come to you”. Living a good, moral life and to be a good influence onto the world and future generations are strong points which many followers of the faith try to observe within their day to day lives.

 

Zoroastrianism could be considered an indigenous religion in that its practitioners do not collectively gather within an institutional “home” such as a church but rather Zoroastrian practitioners do tend to gather in groups around a large fire in order to pray to their god. However this is not something that is mandated or common within the religious faith. It’s a solo practitioner wanted to pray in private then they would be more than welcome to do so. One singular common trait all practitioners of Zoroastrianism share is that in order to pray or worship their god they must do so with fire lit somewhere within their vicinity. It is because of this fire that their entire religion exists. In their native homeland of Iran there is still a 2000-year-old flame that burns from the original Sparks that the founder of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster, reflected and prayed upon.

Not unlike Judaism and Christianity, Zoroastrianism has roots within the same mother land surrounding the geographical location of the garden of Eden which lays theoretically within the land of Iran between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which are believed to have been present within Iran at one point in time. For now, however, that theory it is almost unknown. Similar to indigenous religions, Zoroastrianism does not have any published collections of written works in which its followers consider holy. The only important text of the Zoroastrian religion are those of the Avesta which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as a Gathas. The Gathas are a new dramatic poems that define the religions ideals and the “Yasna” which would be considered the Scriptures of the Zoroastian religious faith. Although these are written works by the founder of the religion, they’re not necessarily considered works that are holy or ethereal in nature. The people who practice this religious faith – although very spiritual and very passionate are also very practical when practicing their faith. Even though they try to learn from the past, they take hope and pride in and that of their children. This is how any written works of the religious faith do not rise higher than that of the religious rituals, practices, and beliefs; to the Zoroastrians or “people of the flames”, a text is an object to learn from not to worship.

 

Unfortunately Zoroastrianism was a gradually marginalized or otherwise almost completely absorbed by Islam from the seventh century onwards with the decline in the Sasanian Empire. It is with this realistic decline in Zoroastrianism that we see many Islamic practices almost assimilated into the Zoroastrian faith; Islam practices such as the Sharia Law. However the Islamic opinion that “there is only one God and Mohammed is his prophet” is exclusively something that only practitioners of Islam hold finally on a religious level. Followers of this OS sure he and religious faith still, after 2000 years, hold that their god, Ahura Mazda, is the only true God.

We can also find another unique religious key element within the Zoroastrian religious faith in that a philosopher founded the religion. This philosopher was known, as previously mentioned, as Zoroaster, who lives in the barren wilderness of Iran at the conception of religion. He then divided early Iranian gods by creating a religion of his own; one that revolves around fire. In Christianity fire can be seen as something that provides light as well as something that also symbolizes hell. However, in Zoroasrianism, fire is seen as something good, bright, life- sustaining and mysterious. Even in Islam, a religion that gathered many believes from that Zoroastrianism, views fire as that which is a vessel in which angels from Heaven are born into our world. Why than does Christianity have such a negative Image attached to that of a flame? Perhaps it is because early Christians viewed anyone who was not like themselves or did not believe in early Christian principles to be evil.

 

There is not much known about the emergence of Zoroastrianism or why it needed to be created. Many scholars believe the People of Iran and the ancient land practice religions that included worshiping many gods at once. This would’ve made the Zoroastrian faith a singular religious innovation. Prior to practice, within religion, many people worship multiple gods with each god symbolizing certain human traits or natural events. After the emergence of Zoroastrianism, we can then begin to see the emergence of other monotheistic religions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Not unlike these three religions, the Zoroastrian religious faith encourages it’s participants to actively participate in religious rituals, practices and beliefs. The religion states that active participation in life through good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay. This participation is a central element Zoroaster’s concept that creatures were made to have free will.

Further still, Zoroastianism believes that good will always prevail over evil. The religion even believes that there will come a point when the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. During this final renovation of all creation, even the soles of the dead that were initially banished “to the darkness” or what we commonly known as hell we’ll be reunited with Ahura Mazda (God) in return to life in an undead form. This belief that the world will end, is a common belief that many Christians hold to be Armageddon. How is it that these two religions, from so far away from each other within history, have such similar views on coming of the end of the world? The answer is simple. This shared belief as well as many others shared beliefs within the Abrahamic religion’s our simply because all three religious traditions our from relatively the same geographical location. It is here that we find knowledge is easy to spread when people are seeking to do business with other people in faraway lands.

 

Zoroastrianism has been far overshadowed by religious practices of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. There is, however surprisingly, almost 2.6 million followers of the religion still in modern times. In modern Zoroastrian tradition, people practice in what is known as a “fire temple” which could be anything from a cave to a campfire within a village. In Zoe Street in tradition Life is a temporary state in which a mortal is expected to actively participate in the continuing battle between truth and falsehood. Prior to being born the soul of an individual is still united with its guardian spirit which has existed since God created the universe. During life the guardian spirit accident guardian and protector of the person (what we know to be a Guardian angel in a Christian society). On the fourth day after death the soul is reunited with its guardian spirit in which the experiences of life in a material world are collected for the continuing battle in the spiritual world. For the most part, Zoroastrianism does not believe in reincarnation, at least not in the sense that Buddhism believes in reincarnation. Also just the same as an indigenous religion, Zoroastrian theology includes a duty to protect nature. Many scholars claim that this religious faith is the worlds first ecological religion. Opposing scholars have argued that since the protections are part of ritual they stem from theology rather than ecology

Zoroastrianism a religion of positivity which supports the enlightenment of an individual, Community, as well as the community within nature. Why were people drawn to practice this religious faith? It is simply because the religious faith supports and encourages them as well as provides them hope but they Will one day be reunited with their god. It also encourages people to think about the future of their family in the future of the community by encouraging good thoughts good actions and good outwardly practices which would affect others.

 

Works Cited

Boyce, Mary (2007), Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, London: Routledge,

Foltz, Richard (2008),“Is Zoroastrianism an Ecological Religion?”, Concordia University Malandra, William W. (2005), “Zoroastrianism: Historical Review”, Encyclopaedia Iranica, New

York: iranicaonline.org

Moulton, James Hope (1917), The Treasure of the Magi: A Study of Modern Zoroastrianism, London: (repr. 1997)

Time

Well, it looks like I never followed up about whether or not I liked using BetterHelp for counseling or not. And the short answer is “No, I do not like it”. Although, I think that the concept is good, I did not personally enjoy my session with my counselor. It seemed way too informal to me which I like in the sense that it makes your counselor seem more like a “friend” but, at the same time, I don’t need another friend – I need a counselor.

My counselor was still in her house shoes and was playing with her dog on my video chat with her. Could you imagine going to an appointment like that in person where the counselor seems more focused on her own life than your issues…? That part I did not like. We got into talking about her sick mother and for a few seconds it seemed more like I was the counselor than her. Only, I just paid almost $200.00 to act like a “friend” to a complete stranger.  If I’m going to pay a ridiculous amount of money for time and location convenience than I better be getting my full money’s worth. I could wait months to get into a counselor locally and only pay my $50.00 co-pay and get way better service at a cheaper cost to myself. So, needless to say, I am not doing BetterHelp again. It just left a bitter taste in my mouth as the “first impression”.

On a positive note, it is Friday and I have a 3 day weekend because of Memorial Day. Today’s work day seems to be pretty chill so far which is much needed after the chaos of earlier this weekend. I mean, going into a full fledged anxiety attack at work on a Monday is not my ideal way to start my work week.

Awful, I started my work week thinking that I was going to be fired because they had someone come over from a different department to “train” me and it turned out that, according to her, she had received negative feedback about me and was there to reteach. Because I am apparently a failure at life. So the first half of the day was spent rooming patients and internally freaking out because I’m thinking I’m like a step away from being fired. Then, after lunch, she changed her entire story and acted like I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that I was the one that was wronged because I only got 1 day of training. Which is true, I did only get 1 day of training – then there was only about 3 hours of actual training and the rest of the 5 hours was spent being “on my own” with someone watching me. Obviously, not enough time to really learn the job with guidance.

So, next week, after my much needed little “mini-vaca” we are going to have a pretty hectic week for the extent of it. Next Friday we have 15 patients and counting which makes absolutely no sense since Thursday, we only have 2 patients. It goes like 8, 9, 2, 15. I mean, are you kidding me? Why not schedule some of the patients for Thursday instead of clumping them all together on Friday? That would make sense to me but it apparently does not make sense to whoever is scheduling our patients.

Anyway, I am excited about the 3 day weekend. I’m totally going to stay up late to get the maximum amount of time out of my short break. See you on the flip side!

New(ish) beginnings

Something exciting is going to be happening with this blog! I am adding a content writer who will offer another perspective on the world. She will be posting whatever she feel like which could range from reviews, rants, raves, stories, poetry, general journal entries. She is a friend from middle school! I met her in 7th grade and we’ve been friends ever since then.

I thought it would kind of a cool idea to have another person blogging with me, almost like a shared journal. Did you ever have one of those in school? Where you get a composition book and you pass it around to each friend and they each take their turn writing journal entries in it until all of the pages are filled. We passed around a couple composition books back in my day! Most of the pages were full of doodles though and we inevitably got a kink in the hose where one friend didn’t give it back. So, when she accepts the invitation to be an editor, we will officially have 2 content writers!

With that said, the title of the blog may change from “Gypsy Soul : Born to Wander” to “Soul Sisters : Blogging with Friends” or something along those lines. I think we have agreed that the “new” blog will be call “Soul Sisters” on some level. I’m pretty excited because I am going to be rolling out a little mini-shop as well where you can make purchases of some of our items. I’m thinking of making my book of poetry, a coffee cup, and a tote bag some of the first items that I’m going to post for sale in the shop. So it will be a “baby” shop at first. Maybe even make a donate button available for donations of coffee for 2 poor thirsty and tired writers.

Anyway, more posts to follow including an introductory post from my friend in the near future!

 

 

Hard Day

So I have my first appointment with a mental health counselor this afternoon. I am trying mental health services over the internet for right now because the field of mental health, at least in my area, sucks ass. Appointments are very far into the future (months out) and they’re only during business hours. Which I can’t do because I have to work full-time like a normal member of society. So, I am trying a website called BetterHelp that costs a lot of money to be a part of but also has an endless mix of different types of certified/credentialed counselors available. And the schedules for when they are available to talk to are endless as well. For example, they have appointments in the evenings and on the weekends so no need to interfere with me working. Plus, if you are in a mini-crisis or whatever, you can always send a direct message to your counselor and they’ll respond to you fairly quickly. Anyway, I’m going to try it tonight and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out or I don’t like it, then I will seek out help within the community that I live in and just have to deal with an appointment that isn’t for months.

Something is new with the blog and it’s a cool and modern layout to better express my individually when it comes to writing and blogging. I wanted a blog that was just as unique as me and with the alternating of images as the “header” I think I get to have that. Plus, its fun to see what image is going to pop up when I login to write on my blog. I’m still tinkering with it, it’s supposed to be a lot cooler than what it is now but I haven’t figured a lot of the stuff out yet (because it’s too technological for me). One down side to this theme, is that my “pages” are now gone. So, for example, my biography is gone. I also had some pages titled “Where I Would Like To Visit” and “Where I Have Visited” to make this more of a travel blog and those pages are now gone off of the main page. They’re still around somewhere, but again, the layout is too technological for me so I just haven’t figured out how to show them yet.

Also, I’m going to start posting some of my creative writing and poetry on this blog as well just to give it a good mix of content. Surely someone out there finds my life fascinating. Surely. I’ve already got one short story out there but I put it under “History with Saire” because its more history related than anything. It’s like Historical Fiction but in just a short story. What I’m saying is that, there will be more content that fits more into the “creative writing” category coming soon.

Did you know that Benedryl can show up on a drug test as a benzo? Oh yeah, I learned that today. Not because I had to take a drug test or anything. Remember I said I work in healthcare? I actually work for two different doctors – one as a personal assistant and the other as a medical assistant – so I find out a lot of interesting information all the time. It’s funny too because when the doctors are talking to me they make it seem like the information they just shared is common knowledge but I am so surprised by some of it that you would never know I’d never heard of it. It’s like I just discovered how to boil water with how excited I get to learn new information. Anyway, they get all excited that they taught a simpleton something new and it’s kind of cute to see the smile on their face when they find out that I didn’t know something. In a lot of ways, I’m like a dog. A good dog. Imma good dog.

So be sure to be on the lookout for new and exciting featured coming to this blog whenever I figure out how to use the dang thing!

History

Well I posted some of my historical essays so there are a few things now under “H!story with Sa!re” which is just a category that I set up to make things easier to find. I believe, for now, there are 3 things under History and a few more to come. You may have noticed that some of them are dated from 2009 and 2010; essentially, way back in the past. I chose to do that because that is when the articles were originally written and I really wanted to capture that on the blog instead of just posting multiple entries on the same day. Then there is another one that is scheduled to be published in a week.

On another subject, I have been waking up and getting out of bed only to be greeted with painful feet. Like, so painful, that its almost hard to walk around. It only ever happens in the morning. I Googled the issues I was having and something came up as “Planter Fastitias” (I don’t know how to spell that word). I didn’t inquire any further but what I understand is that there is something wrong with the tendons in my foots which could explain why I have been having pain when I stand for too long. You have to wear special in soles and everything when you have the “disorder” with your feet otherwise it would make it extremely painful to walk. Which is where I’m at right now. I can walk but it is painful. Not terrible, but noticeably different. And when I walk or stand for too long, the pain shoots into my thighs. I thought, maybe, that it was varicose veins starting in my legs but with the pain in my feet upon waking; I’m starting to think that it may be something else.

Adulting

Do you ever get so tired of cleaning up after someone else that you want to smack them in the face, hard? Because as much as I have asked my husband to help out around the house, he still doesn’t do it unless I ask. Or yell. I just dont understand what goes through someones head when they know that someone else is doing the brunt of the work and hates doing it. In fact, it makes them extremely angry and irritable and makes the day or night suck. Someone you love. Someone you say that you would do anything for.

Expect, you know, your half of the household work. That’s how it is in my household. We share the duties… At least, that’s how its supposed to go. I don’t have any time to do any of the stuff that I enjoy doing because I am too busy cleaning the damn house all the time. Mind you, my house is not perfect, and like Ive previously mentioned I purposely stop cleaning the house half way through because – really – cleaning the house upsets me. And that’s just it, after I walk around the house picking everything up and putting it back, I quickly realize that I am picking up after another adult because they are too busy to do it themselves.

They’d rather watch 4 seasons of a television show on Netflix and take a nap while I am walking around the house angrily cleaning. I cannot keep doing everything for him. Short of dealing with most issues with bills or whatever, I clean the house and do the laundry. And he mows the grass outside. And he’s supposed to take out the trash (even though we’ve missed taking the trash to the curb the last 2 weeks). He’s also supposed to do half the other duties like dishes, sweeping, dusting, laundry (his half), cleaning up after the cats and dogs. But those “other” duties don’t ever get done. So I do them.

And it’s only going to get worse once graduate school starts for me because I will have even less time and more shit to do. I’d like to sit down and read 3 full chapters of my book but I can’t. I’d like to sit here for 4 hours and work on my blog, but I can’t. I don’t get it. Yes, this is a rant.

Being a kind person, I just could NOT sit around while someone is doing house work around me. I could never be a guest in someone else’s house without pitching in to help them with the household duties or make dinner, or get a few things grocery wise. That’s why I cannot understand what goes through my husbands head when he sees me doing all that I do. I just do not get it.

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The City of the Ladies: An Essay

Women of the Renaissance helped to refine the soul of the Baroque period by adding sensitivity, empathy and passion to the world of arts and letters through their highly detailed contributions during the Renaissance within the realm of educational reform, the establishment of feminism, changes in Fashion & Design as well as the creation of the Anglican church and by evolving the image of women within the imagination.

In order to understand the ladies of the Renaissance, we must first discover the depths of uncertainty that their families came out of which worked as a spark to motivate them into seeking better opportunities for themselves. Prior to the great European Renaissance was a “dark” and depressing period, from the 5th century to the 14th century (Years 400-1300 C.E.)1, known as the Middle Ages which had few “high points” for civilization. There were many occurrences of “bad luck” that could have possibly helped make the bad situation, of these times, worse. Agriculture was often lacking; the food output from farming was often subpar when it came time to harvest as droughts and bad soil played a key role in dampening agricultural resources for much of Europe. Secondly, disease was rampant across Europe; many people were considered lucky to make it past their infancy during this time but, more astonishingly, living into an “old age” consisted of reaching the ripe age of thirty-five years old2. Finally, wide spread warfare, looting, and pillaging seemed to be one of the only ways in which “good people” could do something to lift their own families out of the oppression of the Middle Ages.

It was because of these practices of warfare, disease, and poor food production that people began to seek their resources elsewhere and, thus, trade slowly began to occur throughout much of Europe; making the families involved in this business wealthy at a fairly rapid pace. This, in turn, led to a need for people to be well-rounded when it came to linguistics and education. As a result of the “supply and demand” that was occurring within the mercantile business, business began to quickly expand to further areas of the world. People, then, began to seek some basic education in order to better their careers as worldly merchants and expand their horizons as individuals as well as built strong relationships with their business partners in foreign reaches of the world. Resultantly, Europe discovered themselves on the brink of a “New Dawn” that we now know as The European Renaissance!

To read more please click the link to bring up the essay in it’s entirety. It was too long to reasonably post over this blog. It takes approximately 66 minutes to read. Please click here to read more: FINAL GRADUATION PAPER