While I am not a modern Nepagan, for decades I have had a strong interest in the various goddesses of the ancient Pagan traditions. Among these have been the goddesses of the classical Greek world, the goddesses of ancient Egypt and Near Eastern goddesses particularly Inanna. I also have had an interest in the quasi goddess-like divine figures of monotheistic religions. Among these have been the various divine beings of Gnosticism such as Barbela and Sophia, Hindu goddesses such as Durga, and the goddess-like Yazatas / Angels of the Zoroastrian Iranian traditions.
I am a monotheist in that I believe that the universe has its Center and creation in the Goddess / God who is the creative and loving center of that universe. However this fact in no ways implies that I believe that the many deities of the various Pagan religions and the other religions mentioned are either false or unreal. Instead I believe that the various goddesses and gods (Note. I have always had much less interest in the gods.) do represent powerful spiritual realities. For example, Athena, one of the great Goddesses of Greece, represented civilized values, practical wisdom,skills, and aggressive struggle, conflict and even war. Clearly for me she is a real goddess. She represents those aspects of Dea which support the human struggle for self affirmation, skillful work, and a civilized moral order of society. The fact that the ancient Greeks saw her from within the context of a very patriarchal society and thus saw her as a defender of that patriarchal society in no ways negates the deeper positive role of Athena.
As I stated in my previous article in general I have great admiration for the doctrine of the Janya, partially because for me theJanya in many way have similar roles to the goddesses of other traditions. The difference for me is that the doctrine of the Janya seems to be more philosophically thealogically developed. Thus It generally works better for me. However not always. There are goddesses and other divine figures from the Pagan and Monotheistic traditions which I relate to better than I do to some of the individual Janya of normative De’anism.
One of these comes from out of the Zoroastrian monotheistic tradition. The Zoroastrian religion was founded by the Central Asian Iranian prophet Zarathustra circa 1200 BCE. While Zoroastrianism believes in a singular Creator of the universe named Ahura Mazda / the Wise Lord , its monotheism is modified by the fact that he is surrounded be a group of six divine beings or principles who are collectively called the Spenta Amesha / the Bountiful Immortals. These divine beings both male and female represent such archetype forms as justice / order / truth, power / kingdom, the good mind / thought, holy devotion, wholeness/ health and, immortality. Other divine beings called Yazatas (those who should be worshiped) have also played an important role within Zoroastrianism. Among the most important of were Mithra and Anahita, the Goddess / Yazata of the waters.
Of these the one I wish to discuss here is Spenta Armaiti, Holy Devotion one of the six great Bountiful Immortals. Her name Armaiti in the oldest form of the Iranian language in which Zarathustra composed the Gathas means devotion or right mindedness. The word Spenta within that ancient language means Bountiful or Holy. Thus Armaiti a female being is the being who inspires human beings to devotion to God, Ahura Mazda. She thus is the being who inspires praise, worship and love of the God. In this way her role is very similar to the role of the Holy Spirit within the Christian New Testament, whom Paul states teaches Christians how to pray to God the Father. Holy Armaiti has other associations as well. She is associated closely to the physical earth itself and to the well being of women. Check out this link to read an excellent article regarding her. http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/armaiti
Now in regards to her relationship to the Janya of the Deanic tradition. The Deanic tradition has no exact equivalent to her. Sai Sucri or Sushuri the Janya of love is the closest. The primary difference between the two is that Sai Sushuri is the Janya of all forms of love while Armaiti is devotion to Dea herself. Thus one might perhaps think of Armaiti as being a Yazata who is a part of Sai Sushuri herself since she is the love of which Dea is the subject. I have to think on that more.
From a Deanic thealogical world view, the love of Dea and love of human beings and of nature all go together. They are not incompatible activities. On the other hand within the contemporary world the love of everything else accept God is generally viewed as being the supreme goal of life. [ It is of course when it does not conflict with the desire for material goods and self gratification] The simple love of God herself however is often viewed with deep suspicion. People who believe deeply in religious principles are often viewed as fanatics or as simply ignorant of reality. Of course many religious fundamentalists and groups such as ISEL have certainly helped by their actions and attitudes to reinforce the view of religion as being dangerous.
To get back on track. The love of Dea and of all else within Her creation are not incompatible. However functionally everything has its place and time. There are times in which one interacts directly with other human beings in conversation, work or play. There are times in which one interacts with the world through work. And there are times in which one must think upon contemplate and worship Dea herself least She be forgotten. I believe that Spenta Armaiti can be seen as the Janya of that direct relationship of worship and devotion to Dea. As such she is also the Lady who is involved in all those attitudes such as faith and hope that also make up the fullness of devotion. Note, without either faith in Dea or hope in ones life it is very difficult to see how any kind of love of Dea would be possible in life. One would tend to fall into despair, a temptation to which I am very prone.
Note the below are some short prayers addressed to Lady Aramati ( the Sanskrit as opposed to the ancient Iranian version of the word) which I have composed during the last two years. Recitation of them make up part of my daily religious practice.
Praise be to the leader of prayer
Praise be to Aset Aramati, the leader of prayer.
O Lady may our praise be as your praise,
May our adoration be as your adoration, support us in the love of the High, Holy Queen
Praise be to your Holy Name
Aramati, our faith, our hope
Our Lady Aramati, our faith, our hope, our devotion
be with me this day that I may recognize the signs and presence of Thea
May I remember Her Name always and not despair.
Praise be to your Holy Name
Aramati, Source of our devotion
Lady Aramati, Source of our devotion
lead us in the love of Thea.
Give us hope in her name and faith in her power to save.
Lead us to salvation in her Name and not to despair.
But if I despair, let me live by hope against hope even in the abyse.
Praise be to your Holy Name