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Yezidism and
Proto-Indo-Iranian Religion

The aim of this article is to propose development of analysis of ancient traits in
Yezidism from a perspective that would encompass both classic theories from his-
tory of religions and modern Kurdish studies. This work provides an overview of
article are devoted to presenting notions of Proto-Indo-Europeans and Proto-In-
through a discussion on the theories of Max Müllers and Georges Dumézil. After
introducing the concept of Proto-Indo-Iranian culture and its archaeological evi-
dence presented that possibly refer to ancient traits in Yezidism, supplemented by
an overview of contemporary attempts in Kurdish Studies of comparisons between
Yezidi, pre-Zoroastrian and pre-Vedic religions.


ciated development of language and development of culture. In his comparison
of Vedas and Greco-Roman mythologies he found many linguistic and structural
similarities. In the late 19th century Vedic culture was perceived as earlier than
Greek as the language of Vedas was perceived as older than the language of Greek
mythology. Owing to the discovery of Indo-European language group by gram-
marians (see Müller 1907: 8), linguists like Muller presumed that Sanskrit was the
ancestor of all Indo-European languages (see Müller 1907: 284-293). In support


Despite earlier efforts in grouping European languages it is Sir William Jones who is wide- ly attributed with discovering Indo-Europeans. claiming that this group of languages had been originated by Japhet – third son of Noe. at that time. Italic and Slavonic languages. Greek Zeus Pater. Parsons relied on the Bible. Celtic. In the beginning of the 19th century Rasmus Rask pointed out that enumerating VLPLODULWLHVDUHQRWHQRXJKIRUVFLHQWL¿FDOO\SURYLQJWKHLGHDRIDQFHVWUDOODQJXDJH of Europe. Hellenic. Having shown the same linguistic DI¿QLW\DV6FDOLQJHUDQG3DUVRQVLQ-RQHVSURSRVHGWKHH[LVWHQFHRIVRPH common ancient language from which all those contemporary languages devel- oped (see Mallory 1989: 10-15). The most profound argument for the striking resemblance between religious vocabulary in all Indo-European languages lies in the words depicting the notion of god in a most basic form – deiwós derived from dyeu meaning sky and day. This linguistic comparison led him to a conclusion that Europeans. Anglo-Saxon. Latin Jupiter (Mallory & Adams 2006: 408-409). Scalinger’s and Parsons’s attempts proved the similar- LW\EHWZHHQ(XURSHDQDQG+LQGXODQJXDJHVEXWIDLOHGWRREWDLQVFLHQWL¿FDFFODLP partially due to lack of consistency in the explanation of this phenomena. Sanskrit Dyaus Pita.In 1767 James Parsons had shown similitude between a great deal of European languages. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. Main uranic deities in many Indo-European pantheons are called „sky father” – Indo-European dyeus phater. India and Iran. To achieve systematical comparison he and many other linguists (among others Franz Bopp – Müller’s teacher ) focused on grammatical FRITILLARIA KURDICA. Scandinavian. Indic (Bengali) and Persian. 7KH¿UVWDWWHPSWWRJURXS(XURSHDQODQJXDJHVFDQEHWUDFHGDVHDUO\DVWKHEH- ginning of the 17th century. historical or archaeological data. 3-4/2014 107 . Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609) divided the languages of the continent into groups based on similarities in the word for God (see Mallory 1989: 9-10). Hindus and Iranians had to have the same an- cestor in the past. He also noted many survivals of pagan gods in contem- SRUDU\ODQJXDJHV7KHPRVWNQRZQH[DPSOHRIVXFKDQLQÀXHQFHLVFRQQHFWHGZLWK the Norse god – Thor.of such an assumption Müller has enumerated parallelisms between names and functions of deities in Vedic. Müller suggested the origin of the Icelandic name Thorr in Anglo-Saxon Thunor – which means thunder and it’s connection with the name of day – thursday (see Müller 1907: 288). Lacking.

Throughout the 19th century Indo-European studies blossomed and advanced producing elaborate models of linguistic evolution.QGR(XURSHDQ´ZDVXVHGIRUWKH¿UVWWLPHE\7KRPDV<RXQJLQ 1813.VWXGLHV7KHWHUPÄ. Barnard . Works of 6FKOHLFKHUDQG6FKPLGWZHUHKLJKO\LQÀXHQWLDOLQWKHVHQHZ¿HOGVEXWLWZDV0D[ Müller who made the greatest impact on the anthropology of religion. In the meantime disciplines such as comparative mythology and cultural anthro- pology were developing both in continental Europe and Great Britain. severely criticizing the then dominant unilinear evolutionism (see Müller 1977. most notably August Schleich- er’s tree and Johannes Schmidt’s wave model (see Mallory 1989: 18-23).

and worship LVDUHÀHFWLRQRIDZDUHQHVVRIWKHLQ¿QLWH V\PEROL]HGHJLQWKHVNLHVVXQHWF.7KH¿UVWDQWKURSRORJLVWVVXFKDV(GZDUG%7\ORU-RKQ/XEERFN Louis Henry Morgan. Müller proposed natural religion – character- istic for Vedic Indian society as the earliest type of religious beliefs. William Robertson-Smith and James Frazer. became inter- ested in the evolution of religious beliefs and proposed numerous sequences of re- ligious stages that mankind has gone through. According to Müller such a religion is based on a sense of communion with nature and is con- nected with worship of its forces and idea that the world corresponds to the body of a supernatural being. One of the most vibrant discussions LQWKLV¿HOGWKURXJKRXWWKHODWHth and early 20thFHQWXULHVZDVGHYRWHGWR¿QGLQJ the most primitive form of religion. The linguist also claimed that the names of gods were used primarily for describing abstract phenomenon associated with nature.

Having expressed serious doubts about the existence of a sole sequence of religious evolution Müller inspired anthropologists to a diffusion- ist approach which explained religious innovations rather through inter-cultural FRQWDFWWKDQLQWHUQDOHYROXWLRQ0RUHRYHULQÀXHQFHGE\0D[0OOHU¶VZRUNRQH might be inclined to form the diffusionist idea that there should have existed the Proto-Indo-European religion which was the root for all Indo-European mytholo- gies. These three func- FRITILLARIA KURDICA. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. What further popularized this idea was Georges Dumézil’s trifunctional theory in which he proposed a tool for comparison between all Indo-European mythol- ogies. 3-4/2014 108 . According to this approach comparative philologists and historians of reli- JLRQVVKRXOGEHJLQWKHLUVFLHQWL¿FLQTXLU\ZLWK¿QGLQJWKUHHIXQFWLRQVWKDWZRXOG correspond to parts of society and the Gods attributed to them. 1907). (see Müller 1856.

Moreover. Dumézil shift- HGLQWHUHVWRIVFKRODUVIURPOLQJXLVWLFDQDORJLHVWRIXQFWLRQDODI¿QLWLHV In order to demonstrate the trifunctional pattern one can compare three castes in India. PDUWLDO DQG HFRQRPLF DWWULEXWHG WR FRUUHVSRQGLQJ VRFLDO VWUDWL¿FDWLRQ RI SULHVWV warriors and herd-cultivators. Mallory & Adams 2006: 430). can be considered from the viewpoint of tri- functional analysis as an addition to primal three-partial division. Having pro- claimed this new method in comparative mythology and philology. 2ௗ 'HSLFWLQJ 2GLQ DV JRG WR ZKRP OLEDWLRQ ZDV SRXUHG GXULQJ ZDU LQ$GDP IURP %UHPHQ V chronicle can be interpreted that there was reversal from the original order due too perceived closeness to Thor and distance to the almighty Odin. 3-4/2014 109 . Thor or Frey in the circumstances would want to stop or prevent. FRITILLARIA KURDICA. 6LPLODUVWUDWL¿FDWLRQRISDQWKHRQFDQEHREVHUYHGLQ1RUVHP\WKRORJ\$GDP of Bremen a medieval German chronicler wrote about the custom to pour libation on Odin. myths and mythological elements in medieval Scandinavian art. Thor – who blessed warriors and Freya who was as- sociated with fertility and marriages2 (Leiren 1999. It can be also an ex- DPSOHRIKRZPDQ\FRQWUDGLFWLRQVDQGGLI¿FXOWLHVDUHHQFRXQWHUHGZKLOHHQWHUWDLQLQJWULSDUWLWH theory (see Eliade 1978. Since the 1930’s Dumézil published several highly acclaimed papers (among them Flamen-Brahman and Mythe et épopée) in which he proposed the theory and illustrated it with substantial examples. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. 9DLĞ\D – agricul- turalists and cattle herders. Mallory 1989:131-132.úDWUL\D – warriors and kings. Mitra and Varuna (sometimes depicted as one god) are protectors of law and cult. . 7ULIXQFWLRQDOK\SRWKHVLVKDYHLQVSLUHGPDQ\VFKRODUVLQ¿HOGVRISKLORORJ\UHOL- gious studies and anthropology. Such a reversal can be explained as deus otiosusLQ(OLDGH VVHQVHRUDWUDQVLWLRQIURPRQHJRGWRPDQ\IRUPHGIURPKLVK\SRVWDVHV ZKLFK was noted as common development in many religions by Geo Widengren). Such a hypothesis is postulated DOVRE\JHQHWLFUHVHDUFKHUVZKRIRXQGJUHDWHUDI¿QLW\RI+LQGXSHRSOHWR(XURSHDQVDPRQJKLJK- er classes in India (see Bamshad. Kivisild. Indra is the Hindu god of war and the di- vine twins Nasatya are associated with the lower castes (Dumézil 1948). Leiren 1999). outer-caste in Varna order. patron of magic and priests.tions that organized the Indo-European world view would be: sacral or sovereign. Varna traditional division of Hindu society contains1: Brahman – scholars and priests. Gonda 1974). one can assume the existence of a Viking Trinity consisting of Odin – All-Father. Based on chronicles. Widengren 1969:93-129. Watkins et al. 2001). Especially scholars of functionalist and structural- LVWDSSURDFKHVZHUHKHDYLO\LQÀXHQFHGE\'XPp]LO¶VLGHDV$VWKHWULSDUWLWHWKHRU\ 1ௗ ùXGUD – the fourth. and three divine patrons in Norse mythology (see Dumézil 1958.

In spite of widespread acknowledgement of the theory and its contribution to comparative studies. 7KH¿UVWREMHFWLRQ RIWHQUDLVHGE\'XPp]LO¶VRSSRQHQWV.QGR(XURSHDQVRFLHWLHV VHH'XPp]LO 1987). two major controversies were raised by scholars in the second half of 20th century.ZDVGHYHORSHGDQGUH¿QHGERWKE\WKHDXWKRUDQGKLVIROORZHUVWKUHHIXQFWLRQV were perceived more as ideal concepts organizing the cosmos or means of analyz- LQJLWUDWKHUWKDQWKHDFWXDOVWUDWL¿FDWLRQRI.

VWDWHGWKDWVHDUFKLQJ for elements of three functions in various mythologies and constructing compar- DWLYH WDEOHV RI VXFK GLYLVLRQV FDQ OHDG WR D PHUH VLPSOL¿FDWLRQ RI FRPSOH[ DQG sometimes incomparable religious ideas. In the second part of the 20th century the idea of unifying all Indo-European mythologies by reconstruction of one archaic religious complex was widely rejected among historians of religions and linguists. Furthermore. The second problem with the hypothesis of Proto-Indo-European religion is that as the archaeology of Proto-Indo-European peoples was developing in 20th century LWEHFDPHKLJKO\SUREOHPDWLFWR¿QGDOLQNEHWZHHQDOLQJXLVWLFFRQVWUXFWRI3UR- to-Indo-Europeans and exact. Bryant 2001: 135-136). particular archaeological culture that would provide artifacts proving the existence of such an archaic religion. FRITILLARIA KURDICA. Dumézil argued that the Mitanni treaty is evidence of ancient tripartite theology. Interestingly. Christianity). BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. as a result only a few scholars pursued this topic. authors of one of the most recent textbooks on Proto-Indo-European.g. They enumerate major obstacles in the sole reconstruction of the names of Proto-Indo-European deities: susceptibility of these names for attrition and in- QRYDWLRQ DWWDFKPHQW RI YDULRXV HSLWKHWV DQG DEVHQFH RI GDWD QRW LQÀXHQFHG E\ subsequent cultures (e. contemporary archeology would associate this culture with Proto-Indo-Iranians than Proto-Indo Europeans (see Mallory & Adams 2006: 430. throughout the years linguists were much more successful in reconstructing Proto-Indo-European vocabulary concerning many other aspects of life than religion (Mallory & Adams 2006: 423). some critiques argue that HYHQLIWULSDUWLWHFODVVL¿FDWLRQZDVWKRURXJKO\H[DPLQHGDQGSURYHQLWZRXOGVWLOO not provide enough explanation of the lifestyles and social customs of Indo-Euro- peans (see Gonda 1974). however. 3-4/2014 110 . James Patrick Mallory and Douglas Quentin Adams (2006: 423-427). are highly scepti- cal about the possibility of a complete reconstruction of archaic Indo-European beliefs.

Yasna and especially ¿YH*DWKDVIURPLWVKRZDI¿QLW\WR9HGLF6DQVNULWWRVXFKDQH[WHQWWKDWWKHUHZDV a period when philologists treated Avestan as dialect of Vedic (Mallory & Adams FRITILLARIA KURDICA. 000 years ago. rather homogenous civilization (or group of inter- connected societies). The oldest parts of Avesta. 2013). Lazaridis et al. Since the 1960’s the dominant archaeological explanation of the migration of Indo-Europeans is the Kurgan hypothesis by Lithuanian-American archaeologist Marija Gimbautas (1965). their functions and same mythemes among all Indo-European mythologies is undoubted and widely accepted by schol- ars of religious studies around the world. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. cultural and topical analogies between Avesta and Rig-Veda can hardly be assigned to pure coincidence. One of the most recent studies of ancient European genomes revealed that early inhabitants of the continent were a mixture of three groups: hunter-gatherers that migrated to Europe from Africa no sooner than 40. On the other hand there are certain DUWLIDFWVDQGVLJQL¿FDQWFXVWRPVWKDWVXSSRUWWKHK\SRWKHVLVRIXQLW\EHWZHHQUHOL- gion of ancient Iran and pre-Vedic or even Vedic religion. 3-4/2014 111 . Despite as- tounding similarities in names and functions of gods between all Indo-European mythologies. Linguistic. Moreover. it is important to stress that the presented notion is a theoretical construct of linguists. philologists and historians of religion (see Mallory 1989:8) . PROTO-INDO-IRANIANS Having presented the history of the idea of Proto-Indo-European religion and after underlining disputes and hardships concerning its reconstruction. The theory states that Indo-Iranians separated from In- do-Europeans in 2000 B. it appears impossible to discern a date or in which Proto-Indo-Euro- peans would constitute a single. the existance of substantial similarities in: names of Gods. Proto-Indo-Iranians as predecessors of inhabitants of Iran and India spoke a language that spawned the Indo-Iranian group among Indo-European languages. agriculturalists from Middle East who came with subsequent migration and a third mysterious group from northern Europe and Central Asia (see Callaway 2014.C. and it is very unlikely that Indo-Iranians migrated to Western Europe (which would support the radical diffusionist idea).

QGR$U\DQV3 on the Kingdom of Mitanni in northern Syria. Varuna. As previously mentioned trade documents between Htitties and Mittanis enlisted Proto-Indo-Iranian gods: Mitra. Proto-Indo-Iranians are usually associated with Sintashta-Petrovka (dated cir- ca 2100–1800 BCE) and Andronovo (1800-1400 BCE) cultures of the Eurasian steppe between the Ural River on the west and the Tian Shan mountains on the East. Mallory & Adams 2006: 32-35.UDQLDQVRU. Indra and Nasatya VHH0DOORU\0DOORU\ $GDPV. although its the majority of its inhab- itants speak Hurrani. One of the arguments for such a categorization is the presence of New Years LQLWLDWLRQVDQGVDFUL¿FLDOULWXDOVVKRZLQJDQDQDORJ\WRVXFKULWXDOVPHQWLRQHGLQ Rig-Veda (Anthony 2007: 409-411).76-77. Widengren 1969: 58-92).2006: 76). Owing to cultural and geographical proximity enhanced by closeness LQHFRQRP\EDVHGRQFDWWOHKHUGLQJLWLVMXVWL¿HGWRWUHDWDQFHVWUDOUHOLJLRXVLGHDV both to Rig-Veda and Mazdaism as one religious system that can be called Pro- to-Indo-Iranian (see Bryant 2001: 130-135.QGR. 7KHUHZDVDOVRDVLJQL¿FDQWLQÀXHQFHRI3URWR.

3-4/2014 112 . Proto-Indo-Iranian would be characteristic for both ancient Iranian beliefs and pre-Vedic religion. abstract and only postulated by scholars Proto-Indo-European religion strongly based on artifacts and written documents. however linguistic divisions do not necessarily lead to instant differences in religious cosmogonies and cosmographies. After presenting the notion of Proto-Indo-Iranians I would like to propose a the- oretical and analytical continuum from most archaic. It is vital to note that Ahura Mazda is also connected with true divine law – Avestan aša. Despite dif- ferences between these three notions it is important to bear in mind that it is impos- sible to point to exact borderlines between the presented religions.7KH¿UVWWKUHHJRGVZHUH members of Adityas (see Rig-Veda Hymn XXVII) – protector gods supporting motion in the world. FRITILLARIA KURDICA. attributed (especially Varuna) with roles of keeping sacred order – Sanskrit rta. The treaty of Mitanni is often posed as evidence of distinct Indo-Aryan language (see Mallory & Adams 2006: 102). BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. In Rig-Veda Varuna is twinned with Mitra as the god of oaths and with Indra in re-establishing of order during the New Year (Mallory & Adams 2006: 432). the relatively younger Vedic religion. Furthermore. 3ௗ Archaeologists hypothesize that Indo-Aryans separated from Iranians around the second mil- lennium before the common era.

All Indo-European mythologies in- volve gods (often called by similar names) associated with aspects of nature and cult depending on a function (e. sea god. thunder god. is highly debatable. pastoral god) . MAJOR THEMES OF PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN AND PROTO-INDO-IRANIAN RELIGIONS. sky father. god of wind. Common cosmogonies are connected with primal VDFUL¿FHWKDWDOORZHGOLIHWRHPHUJHRQHDUWKDQGEDWWOHZLWKDGUDJRQRUVHUSHQW RIWHQ DWWULEXWHG WR VRPH DVSHFW RI WULSOLFLW\. I would like to enter into the most general and most basic mythemes among them. After describing the main characteristics of Proto-Indo-European notions and Pro- to-Indo-Iranian cultures .g.existence of major discrepancies between pre-Zarathustrian Mazdaism. and one can argue that cosmogony presented in Rig-Veda is the closest to Proto-Indo-Iranian (if not identical). river goddess. They are not necessarily characteristic of Indo-European beliefs but also other religions of cultivators.

UDQLDQV7KH PRVWVLJQL¿FDQWDQGDSSDUHQWRQHVZRXOGEHULWXDOVFRQQHFWHGZLWK¿UHDQGIRXU other elements and the importance of ritual purity and orthopraxy in contrast with relatively much lesser emphasis on orthodoxy (see Widengren 1968. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. &HUWDLQUHOLJLRXVWUDLWVFDQEHDWWULEXWHGVSHFL¿FDOO\WR3URWR.QGR. FRITILLARIA KURDICA. POSSIBLE PROTO-INDO-IRANIAN HERITAGE IN YEZIDI RELIGION Having touched on the most general features of Proto-Indo-European religion I now propose some analogies between Yezidi and Proto-Indo-Iranian cosmology and cosmography. 3-4/2014 113 . Boyce 1979). 7KHVH IRUPV RI VDFUL¿FH DUH DOVR often extended by beliefs about the cyclical sustaining of world by some kind of VDFUL¿FHHQDEOLQJDVHTXHQFHRIVHDVRQV VHH0DOORU\DQG$GDPV Widengren 1969: 150-187).

six divine beings – Amesha Spen- tas are not only creations but also parts of God and have their equivalents for hu- man souls. Qewls depict the sun and the moon as the two eyes of God making the association between the world and the Divine Body apparent (Kreyenbroek & Rashow 2005: 20-21). from smooth to showing waves. 6SLUDOVHQVHRIWLPHDQGVSHFL¿FDSRFDO\SWLFRUHVFKDWRORJ\DVVRFLDWHGZLWKLW is a distinct Proto-Indo-Iranian trait present in Yezidism (see Omarkhali & Reza- FRITILLARIA KURDICA. Hinduism and Yezidism – supreme beings. Furthermore. with its White 6SULQJLWKHOSHGIRUPWKHZRUOGDQGDOORZHGÀRZHUVWRÀRXULVK$GDP¶VERG\ZDV created from four elements that came to life no sooner than Def and Shibab the sacred instruments had come to earth from the heavens. when it become a material place. Brahman is a Great Cosmic Spirit in which all personal souls – Atman. Yezidi Khirque – „patched frock”. 3-4/2014 114 . antropomorphic beings. One of the Yezidi sacred poems. in Rig-Veda there are seven Adityas who arguably have similar functions of keeping the divine order as Ame- sha Spentas and the Seven Mysteries. In Yezidi cos- mogony there are ideas that God came from the Pearl. Another common theme that can be associated with Proto-Indo-Iranian reli- gion is transition from pre-eternal celestial existence to a material form – as from Zarathustrian menog to getig. holy beings. „mystery”. although they are more sons of God than holy beings or angels (see Rig-Veda Hymn XXVII). sym- bolizing authority of Sheikh Adi is said to existed at the beginning of time only in a spiritual form. The Seven Mysteries also existed in spiritual form before they drank from the Cup and became embodied (Kreyenbroek & Rashow 2005: 23-29). Creation of the Seven Divine Beings and mediation powers in the beginning of time leads also to establishment of the hierarchy of supernatural beings. Sunet – tradition and Sunetkhane – House of Tradition existed at ¿UVWRQO\DVLPPDWHULDOP\VWHULHVWKDWFDPHWROLIHRZLQJWR6KHLNK$GL$FFRUG- ing to Qewls. existed in pre-eternity. the Pearl turned from white to multicolored. Lalish – a Yezidi sacred mountain valley in which Sheikh Adi was buried. in Hinduism. Yezidi also believe that at the be- ginning of creation God had created Seven Angels (Heft Sur) or Seven Mysteries (Kreyenbroek & Rashow 2005: 21-26). BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. Proto-Indo-Iranian and other Indo-European cosmogonies stress an idea that unity underlies diversity – as in Zoroastrianism. which is almost identical in Zoroastri- anism. should be integrated (see Widengren 1969: 93-110).

ending with the ultimate defeat of this imperfection preceded by a sequence of cycles in which divine mediators offered people a kind of redemption. getig.nia 2009). Summary and estimation of the most common themes of this concept of history would include: beginning with pre-eternity. gezumishn (era of contamination of good. when only positive spiritual IRUPVH[LVWHGLQXQLW\RFFXUUHQFHRIVDFUL¿FHWKDWFDXVHGGLIIHUHQWLDWLRQDQGHP- bodiment in an imperfect material world. This sequence is illustrated in Zarathustrianism with concepts of menog. mixed with HYLO.

the last era Kali-Yuga is characterized by immorality and disgrace but at the end comes the raider on a white horse – Kalki ZKR GHVWUR\V DOO ¿OWK and restores Satya Yuga (see Wilkins 2003: 245.DQG¿QDOUHQRYDWLRQfrashokereti. ending with the defeat of evil. In Yezidism materiality is introduced through drinking from the Cup. and there are periods Bedil of history. Hindu historiography depicts four eras – yugasWKH¿UVWRQHLVSatya Yuga when virtue is prevalent and the world is gov- erned by gods. Mediators that are present in every era are also common in these religions There are avatar’s of Vishnu in every yuga (KalkiEHLQJWKH¿QDOLQFDUQDWLRQRI9LVKQX. Widengren 1969: 456-479).

3-4/2014 115 . In Yezidism. Zoroastrian saoshyant appears in every era and. The main features of such an attitude would be: transition from monic-panteistic to dualistic nature of the world. previously streng- thend byprophet Zarathustra. Sheikh $GLLVDOVREHOLHYHGWREHERWKDVSLULWXDOIRUPLQSUHHWHUQLW\KLVWRULFDO¿JXUHDQG the sun (Kreyenbroek & Rashow 2005: 30-34). Widengren came to such a conclusion by comparing Vohu Manah and Manvahmed Vazurg in Manicheism (see Widengren 1945). Sultan Ezid – the son of Mu’awiya and in the same time the incarnation of the Supreme Mystery and „founder of faith” is believed to be present in every era. contrast between exoteric and esoteric realities (parallel in FRITILLARIA KURDICA. According to Scandinavian phenomenologist of religion – Geo Widengren (who was in a way a follower of Dumézil). at the end he will summon Shefredin and lead the battle against evil. Proto-Indo-Iranian religion is the source of a Gnostic Attitude. eventually brings frashokereti. Though he himself had written that Mani had radicalised the duality of the universe. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. Another hypothesized trait of Proto-Indo-Iranian religion is the emphasis of contrast between esoteric and exoteric realities. its source lies in a more ancient religion. probably more apparent in Ahle- Haqq (see van Bruinessen 1995) but still present in Yezidi religion.

the sole debate can be perceived as very enriching for Iranian and religious studies. Kreyenbroek associates Spenta Mainyu with Mithra (and Mitra). 'H¿QLWHFDWHJRUL]DWLRQRIHYHU\P\WKHPHWRHLWKHU3URWR. %XWDIWHUHQJDJLQJLQVLJQL¿FDQWDI¿QLWLHVEHWZHHQ<H]LGLVPDQG3URWR. Though it may appear as a very challenging task there have been some attempts to do this. return pristine at the end of the world. Philip Kreyenbroek (1993) in his article On Spenta Mainyu’s Role in the Zoro- astrian Cosmogony has argued that Yezidi.UD- nian religion the still most vital question is which of these traits are Proto-Indo-Ira- nian and not just simply Zoroastrian features? It requires that one should carefully DQDO\]HWKHVHP\WKHPHVDQG¿QGWKRVHZKLFK=RURDVWULDQUHOLJLRQLVGHYRLGRIDQG WKRVHZKLFKDUHQRWSURGXFWVRIDVXEVHTXHQWDGGLWLRQIURP6X¿VP*QRVWLFLVPRU Islam but are ancient. In a similar way the de- bate about nature of Zurvanism is inconclusive. Vendidad and Manichaean texts).QGR. Though most of these aspects are present in Yezidism – differentiation. proving that only in Pahlavi Books. existence of the seven mysteries as elements and parts of the world.UDQLDQWUDLWRUDVSHFL¿F addition to ancient religion made by Zarathustra (see Kreyenbroek 1993) and rad- LFDOL]HGE\0DQL:LGHQJUHQFRXOGWKHUHIRUHEHFULWLFL]HGIRURYHUVLPSOL¿FDWLRQ and wrong interpretation of pre-Zoroastrian and Vedic cosmogonies.Upanishads. These myths are in contrast with Zarathustrian negative cosmogony of contamination of the world by the evil Ahreman. Based on these assumptions Kreyenbroek (2013) notes that Yezidi FRVPRJRQ\±DVDSRVLWLYHGLIIHUHQWLDWLRQ±UHÀHFWV3URWR0LWKUDLVPDQGK\SRWK- FRITILLARIA KURDICA.QGR. Ahle-Haq and Vedic cosmogenies con- WDLQP\WKHPHVRIDSRVLWLYHSULPDOVDFUL¿FHWKDWFKDQJHGDVWDWLFRUVWRQHOLNHXQL- verse into an active one. Below is a short overview of these attempts.QGR. the second stage of creation became negative and worse than the previous state.UDQLDQFRPSOH[ or non-Proto-Indo-Iranian is not possible in every case. and salvation is achieved by redemption of both material beings and the savior himself are said traits of a Gnostic attitude as proposed by Widengren. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. The idea that the whole world is divided into parts and then added to one of the parts. Comparing Vedic cosmogony to ones described in the Young Avestan passages and Bundahishn. it can be debatable if VROHHPSKDVLVRQHVRWHULFH[RWHULFGXDOLW\LVD3URWR. 3-4/2014 116 . does its main components reveal a preserved folk religion or is it an addition or heresy to Zoroastrian reform of Masdaism (see Boyce 1957)? However.

esizes that Tawusi Melek could be associated with (presumably negative) side of Mit(h)ra. Elements of celebrating the Yezidi New Year (Seresal) in early spring.the souls of the dead are walking on Earth (Kreyenbroek & Rashow 2005: 16-17). Kreyenbroek and Khalil Jindy Rashow point to a possible resemblance between Zoroastrian Autumn festival devoted to Mithra (Mehragan) and the Yezidi Feast of the Assembly (Jema’iye) which also takes place in Autumn. the colour dark blue is IRUELGGHQZKLOHLQ. during initiation wear a sa- cred cord – yajnopavita. reveal a closeness to Zoroastrian belief that in early spring (end of the year ). Boys from the upper three varnas in India.QGLDDQG6X¿VPLWLVDFRORURIPRXUQLQJ<H]LGLDGKHUHQWV wear Toka Ezid – a white undershirt with a round collar. Analogue signs of initiations are present in Zoroastrianism – white undershirts stakhr paysankha and protective belts kusti. In Yezidism. Both Omarkhali. Khanna Omarkhali (2004) had elucidated on connections between Yezidi and pre-Zoroastrian initiation rites and festivals. 5LFDUGR*XVWDYR(VSHMD . supplemented by a wo- ven wool cord as distinct signs of their initiation.

ancestral to Iranian and Indo-Aryan. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. CONCLUSION Although the concept of Proto-Indo-European religion may only be a theoretical construct and impossible to prove by archaeological evidence. His hypothesis is that endogamy was widespread among Kurds before the Islamization. 3-4/2014 117 . comparative methods FRITILLARIA KURDICA. there are however. VXEVWDQWLDOHYLGHQWDI¿QLWLHVEHWZHHQDOO. Proto-Indo-Iranian culture. Critiques of Georges Dumézil stress that VHDUFKLQJ RQO\ IRU DQDORJLHV EHWZHHQ UHOLJLRQV PD\ OHDG WR RYHUVLPSOL¿FDWLRQV of complex and multilayered religious ideas. Nevertheless.DUJXHVWKDW<H]LGLHQGRJDP\LVUHÀHFWHGDPRQJ the castes in Hinduism. on the other KDQGDSSHDUDVDPRUHDFWXDODQGYHUL¿DEOHK\SRWKHVLV:KHWKHUPDMRUUHOLJLRXV themes spread among Indo-Europeans through diffusion or appeared owing to cultural innovation remains debatable. as Islam promotes the idea of umma rather than family code.QGR(XURSHDQODQJXDJHVDQGP\WKROR- gies.

There are strong similarities betwen Yezidi. FRITILLARIA KURDICA. Yezidism. one should remember that in a presented general analysis the distinction between new additions and more ancient themes may remain problematic. which are supported with a small amount of widely-known artifacts. Philip Kreyenbroek postu- lated connections between Yezidi and Ahle-Haqq cosmogonies and Indo-Iranian EDVHGRQDI¿QLW\ZLWKSRVLWLYHFKDUDFWHURISULPDOVDFUL¿FHDSSDUHQWLQ9HGDEXW contrasting with Zoroastrian myths. Arguably reconstructing Proto-Indo-Iranian religion through com- parison of ancient traits in Zarathustrianism. Ahl-e Haqq and other belief systems of cultural and geographical proximity. Khanna Omarkhali suggested analogies be- tween Yezidi and ancient Iranian Rites. Hinduism. can be treated as evidence that searching for ancient mythemes not only helps reconstruct pre-Zoroastrian and pre-Vedic religion but it may also provide a deeper comprehension of Yezidi themes. 3-4/2014 118 . Hindu and Zoroastrian: cosmogo- nies. can also lead to a better understanding of these religions and history of their development. apocaliptics and cosmographies. Ricardo Gustavo Espeja pointed to Yezidi endogamy as a trait distinct from Zoroastrianism and owing to the closeness with +LQGXHQGRJDP\SURYLQJDQFLHQWLQÀXHQFH Attempts at comparison between Proto-Indo-Iranian and Yezidi religions. such methods can be equally deceptive or promising. In cases of relatively less studied belief systems. Bearing in mind the potential of such studies. cov- ered in this article.may shed light on those composite matters and provide scholars of religious stud- ies with new explanations and interpretations of mythologies and cultures connect- ed with them. BULLETIN OF KURDISH STUDIES | NO. eschatologies.

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