The Fravashi

The Fravashi

In Zoroastrian 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 (urvan) of an individual is still united with its fravashi, of which there are very many, and which have existed since Mazda created the universe. During life, the fravashi acts as a guardian and protector. On the fourth day after death, the soul is reunited with its fravashi, in which the experiences of life in the material world are collected for the continuing battle in the spiritual world  (Wikipedia article on Zoroastrianism).

Continuing with the idea of the Celestial Twin, another example is found in Zoroastrianism: the Fravashi. This is a guardian spirit who guides and protects each person. In Zoroastrianism, Soul is called urvan. The urvan is sent out into the world to battle against evil, defeating it with good. Four days after death, the urvan reunites with its Twin, the Fravashi, and its experiences are gathered together and evaluated.

The image above is of what is called a Faravaha. It is a carving from Perspolis in Iran. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (First Persian Empire).  A Faravahar is commonly regarded as a depiction of a Fravashi.

The philosophy of the Fravashi seems to have much correlation with what I’ve been discussing recently about the Celestial Twin. This is also the same idea as Socrates’ Daimon, which I’ve spent considerable time researching and writing about. 

The Fravashi, or Daimon, is distinct from the human Soul. It is its higher potential, already fully individuated and complete. Its purpose is to guide us in our quest for ascension up the spiraling coil of higher and higher consciousness.

Saint John Climacus wrote of the scala paradisi, or ladder of divine ascent. This idea is very popular in both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. He used Jacob’s Ladder as inspiration for this work, which is a spiritual ascent through asceticism.

Such an ascent seems overly linear to me. There doesn’t seem to be any idea of cyclical movement here. I see spiritual progress as more of a twisting and coiling, eventually snaking its way upward, but, more often than not, falling downward and then upward again. The Soul and its Fravarshi are behind this. We are guided and nudged (not against our will) through life so that we may gain the necessary experience that will assist us after this mortal body turns to dust. After we die, we are reunited with this Guardian.

I leave you with this wonderful bit of information from a most interesting article:

What exactly is a fravashi? The origin of the word, as has been said here, relates either to divine protection or to one’s moral choice of Good or Evil, and one’s choice of the Good Religion. But there is much more to it than that. The concept of the fravashi as guardian spirit does not occur in the Gathas of Zarathushtra. But in later Zoroastrianism, it becomes a most important idea. The Fravashi is the part of the human soul that is divine, unpolluted, and uncorrupt. It is not only our divine guardian but our guide; its perfection is always within us, as an ideal towards which we can reach. Every human being has a fravashi; even the divine spirits have them. Once a human being has finished life on earth, the fravashi, the higher individuality of that person, returns to Heaven. The fravashi may be the inspiration for the Jewish and Christian belief in the “guardian Angel,” which always beholds the face of God (Matthew Gospel, 18:10) (Faravahar).

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One thought on “The Fravashi

  1. In Mazdayasna the Fravashi is not there to “guide us in our quest for ascension up the spiraling coil of higher and higher consciousness.”

    I wonder where such an idea even comes from? The Fravashi projects its urvan (its human individuality) into physical reality in order that the process of creation and perfection becomes complete. To the friend of Ahura Mazda, human life is about overcoming evil and darkness. The idea of “higher states of consciousness” where we must ascend up the ladder is thoroughly modern, it is also quite self-centered.

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