Avesta: the Daena of the Waters

From Yasht 5 of the Khorda Avesta, the Hymn to the Waters

“Honorable waters… To whom Pourus Vafra Navaza sacrificed when Thraetona the victorious and strong called out to him [or flung him up into the air] in the form of a kahkaça [possibly vulture] bird. Vifra Navaza traveled for three days and three nights toward his home; he did not arrive, he did not reach it. The third night passed and he reached the dawn, the first rays of the bright dawn. And at dawn, he invoked the waters: “Anahita* of the waters, hasten to my aid; bring me help right now. I will offer you one hundred Zaothras accompanied by Haoma and myazda, purified and consecrated. I will offer them to you on the banks of the Ranha, if I live to reach the land created by Ahura Mazda, if I arrive at my own home.

The waters ran to him in the form of a young maiden, beautiful, strong, majestic, with a large belt, an upright and slender physique, and a noble and bright face, wearing low shoes and a shining diadem of gold. She took him by the hands. Right away, quickly, he moved toward the land created by Ahura Mazda and reached his home healthy and safe, as he had been before.”

“The honorable waters… who sits upon her throne, speaking, teaching, in the form of a young maiden, beautiful, strong, majestic, with a large belt, holding high her brilliant face, adorned with a most beautiful mantle, covered with gold adornments, with baresma (a wand-like bundle of holy sticks) in hand, in accordance with the rule, and four-sided golden earrings, hanging and swaying. She wears an emerald on her beautiful necklace. Anahita* of the waters! Nobly adorned, she girds her waist tightly to give her breasts a graceful and charming form. On her head she wears a diadem with a golden luster and one hundred stars with eight rays; it is charming, adorned with fillets, bright, round, made with artistry. She wears a beaver-skin garment made from a beaver chosen from three hundred beavers, born among four (ie. in good conditions), the most beautiful and well-colored of all the beavers that live under the water, shining in lustrous gold and silver like beaver skin worked at the right time.”

Bonus: Ashivanuhi (“Good Reward”) as Daena in Yasht 13: “…in whose [Karasna’s] dwelling the beautiful and bright Ashivanuhi comes in the form of a beautiful young maiden, very strong, majestic, with a large belt, holding high her brilliant face, noble.”

*The etymological meaning of Anahita seems to be ‘pure, immaculate’. Further reading.

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