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Persian Gods and Goddesses

Persian mythology is a rich and complex system of beliefs that has evolved over thousands of years. At its core are a pantheon of gods and goddesses, each with their own unique attributes and characteristics. These deities were worshipped by the ancient Persians and played an important role in their daily lives.

One of the most important gods in Persian mythology is Ahura Mazda, the king of the gods. He is the creator of the world and is associated with purity, redemption, and truth. Another significant deity is Angra Mainyu, the principle of evil. He is often depicted as a serpent or dragon and is responsible for all the darkness and chaos in the world.

Other important gods and goddesses in Persian mythology include Mithra, the god of the rising sun, Rashnu, the god of justice, and Tishtrya, the god of rain. Each of these deities played a vital role in the lives of the ancient Persians, and their stories continue to captivate and inspire people today.

Pantheon Overview

Major Deities

The Persian pantheon is made up of powerful gods and goddesses, each with their own unique abilities and personalities. At the top of the pantheon is Ahura Mazda, the king of the gods and the creator of the universe. Ahura Mazda is often depicted as a wise and just ruler who is associated with light, truth, and goodness.

Another major deity in the Persian pantheon is Angra Mainyu, the principle of evil, chaos, and discord. Angra Mainyu is often seen as the opposite of Ahura Mazda and is associated with darkness, lies, and destruction.

Mithra is another important deity in the Persian pantheon. He is the god of the rising sun, covenants, contracts, and kingship. Mithra is often depicted as a warrior with a sword and shield, and he is associated with courage, loyalty, and honor.

Lesser Deities

In addition to the major deities, the Persian pantheon also includes several lesser deities who play important roles in the mythology. One such deity is Ardvi Sura Anahita, the goddess of fertility, health, water, wisdom, and war. Ardvi Sura Anahita is often depicted as a beautiful woman who rides a chariot pulled by four horses.

Another lesser deity is Hvar Ksata, the god of the full sun. Hvar Ksata is associated with warmth, light, and life-giving energy, and he is often depicted as a radiant figure with a halo of light around his head.

Overall, the Persian pantheon is a rich and complex system of gods and goddesses that reflects the values and beliefs of the ancient Iranian people. From the powerful rulers of the universe to the lesser deities who embody specific aspects of life and nature, each deity in the pantheon has a unique role to play in the mythology and culture of ancient Persia.

Creation Myths


The creation myth of Persian mythology is centered around the god of light, Ahura Mazda. According to the myth, Ahura Mazda created the world in six days, with each day representing a different aspect of creation. On the first day, Ahura Mazda created the sky and the earth. On the second day, he created the waters and the plants. On the third day, he created the animals and the humans. On the fourth day, he created the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the fifth day, he created the birds and the fish. On the sixth day, he rested.

Primordial Beings

In Persian mythology, there are two primordial beings that are said to have existed before the creation of the world. The first is Ahura Mazda, the god of light and creator of the world. The second is Angra Mainyu, the god of darkness and chaos. According to the myth, Angra Mainyu was jealous of Ahura Mazda’s power and sought to destroy the world. He created a host of evil spirits to aid him in his quest, but Ahura Mazda was able to defeat him and banish him to the underworld. However, Angra Mainyu continues to try and disrupt the order of the world and cause chaos and destruction.


Anahita is an ancient Persian goddess associated with fertility, water, health, healing, and wisdom. The goddess was also linked to warfare as soldiers would pray to her for their survival before battle.


Anahita was widely worshipped in ancient Persia, and her cult was particularly popular during the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. Temples dedicated to Anahita were built throughout the Persian Empire, and the goddess was also venerated in Armenia and other regions of the Near East.


Anahita was often depicted as a beautiful woman wearing a crown or headdress, and holding a water vessel in one hand and a bundle of flowers or ears of corn in the other. The water vessel symbolized the goddess’s association with water and fertility, while the flowers or corn represented her role as a provider of food and nourishment.

Anahita’s symbolism also extended to her association with the planet Venus, which was known as “Anahita’s Star” in ancient Persia. The goddess was believed to be the source of the planet’s light and beauty, and her influence was thought to bring good fortune and prosperity.

In conclusion, Anahita was a revered goddess in ancient Persian culture, associated with fertility, water, health, healing, and wisdom. Her symbolism was complex and multifaceted, encompassing themes of nourishment, beauty, and prosperity.


Mithra is an ancient Iranian deity, commonly known as Mehr or Mithras among Romans. He is the god of covenants, light, oath, justice, the sun, contracts, and friendship. Mithra was one of the earliest deities of Iran and was a popular and important god. He was worshipped as the god of the rising sun, of love, friendship, covenants, honesty, and much more.

Cult of Mithra

The worship of Mithra, known as Mithraism, was prevalent in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. Mithraism spread from India in the east to as far west as Spain, Great Britain, and Germany. During the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE, Mithras was honored as the patron of loyalty to the emperor in the Roman Empire.


Mithra is often depicted in Persian art as a young man with a Phrygian cap, wearing a cloak and trousers, and carrying a dagger and a torch. He is also depicted slaying a bull, which is a common theme in Mithraic iconography. The killing of the bull represents the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

Overall, Mithra is an important figure in Persian mythology and was worshipped for his association with light, justice, and friendship. The cult of Mithra spread far and wide, and his iconography has left a lasting impact on Persian art and culture.

Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda, also known as Ohrmazd, is the creator deity and god of the sky in Zoroastrianism. He is the main god of the ancient Iranians and Zoroastrians, and a symbol of purity, redemption, and wisdom. Ahura Mazda is the highest of the Zoroastrian gods and is often referred to as the “Wise Lord.”


Ahura Mazda is often depicted as a bearded man with wings, surrounded by a halo of fire. He is associated with light, truth, and goodness, and is said to be the source of all that is good in the world. Ahura Mazda is also associated with the sun and is sometimes referred to as the “Sun of Righteousness.”


Ahura Mazda’s influence can be seen in many aspects of Zoroastrianism. He is the creator of the world and brought all things into existence. It is Ahura Mazda who decides who goes to heaven or hell based on their deeds on earth. Zoroastrians believe that Ahura Mazda is constantly at war with his evil counterpart, Angra Mainyu, who represents darkness, deceit, and death.

Ahura Mazda’s influence extends beyond Zoroastrianism and has had an impact on other religions and cultures. The concept of a single, all-powerful god who created the universe and is the source of all that is good can be found in many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.



Ahriman, also known as Angra Mainyu, is the principle of evil, chaos, and discord in Persian mythology. In the Avesta, the ancient sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is not yet a proper name. Instead, the term “angra mainyu” appears to have been an original conception of Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism.

In the early polytheistic Persian religion, Ahura Mazda was the king of the gods and creator of the world, while Ahriman was his opponent, the lord of the legions of demons. Ahriman is often depicted as a serpent or dragon, representing his deceptive and cunning nature.


Ahriman is the embodiment of all that is evil and destructive. He is associated with darkness, death, and decay, and is often depicted as the enemy of all that is good and pure. Despite his malevolent nature, Ahriman is an important figure in Persian mythology, representing the forces of chaos and disorder that must be constantly opposed and overcome.

In Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is viewed as a powerful but ultimately defeated foe. According to this belief system, the struggle between Ahura Mazda and Ahriman will continue until the end of time, when Ahura Mazda will ultimately triumph over his adversary and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.

Festivals and Worship


Nowruz is the most important festival in Persian culture, celebrated on the first day of spring. It is a time for new beginnings and is marked by various rituals and traditions. One of the most important of these is the setting up of a haft-sin table, which includes seven items starting with the Persian letter “sin”. These items represent different aspects of life, such as health, wealth, and happiness. Another tradition is the practice of jumping over bonfires, which is believed to ward off evil spirits.


Sadeh is another important festival in Persian culture, celebrated on January 30th. It is a celebration of fire and light and is believed to have originated as a Zoroastrian festival. The festival is marked by the lighting of fires and the gathering of family and friends. One of the most important traditions of Sadeh is the preparation of a special dish called “dizi”, which is a stew made with lamb, chickpeas, and potatoes. The stew is cooked over an open fire and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

Mythological Creatures

The Persian mythology is full of fascinating creatures, ranging from benevolent to malevolent. In this section, we will explore two of the most prominent creatures in Persian mythology: Simurgh and Divs.


Simurgh is a legendary bird in Persian mythology that is said to have the power to grant wishes and heal the sick. It is often depicted as a large bird with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. According to legend, Simurgh lived on top of a mountain and guarded the Tree of Life. The bird was considered to be a symbol of purity, and it was believed that it could live for a thousand years.


Divs are malevolent spirits in Persian mythology that are often associated with chaos and destruction. They are said to be the children of Ahriman, the god of darkness and evil. Divs are often depicted as large, hairy creatures with long teeth and claws. They are known for their ability to shape-shift, and they are said to be able to take on the form of animals, humans, or even inanimate objects.

In Persian mythology, Divs are often portrayed as enemies of the gods and humans. They are known for their cunning and their ability to cause harm to those who cross their path. Despite their malevolent nature, Divs are also seen as powerful beings that can be invoked for protection or for revenge.

Overall, the mythological creatures of Persian mythology are a fascinating and complex part of the culture’s folklore. Whether they are benevolent or malevolent, these creatures offer a glimpse into the beliefs and values of the ancient Persians.

Cultural Impact


Persian mythology has had a significant impact on literature throughout history. Many famous Persian poets, such as Rumi and Hafez, have incorporated elements of Persian mythology into their works. For example, Rumi often references the Persian epic poem, the Shahnameh, in his poetry. The Shahnameh is a collection of stories about Persian kings and heroes, and it includes many tales of gods and goddesses.

In addition to poetry, Persian mythology has also influenced the genre of Persian literature known as the “romance.” These stories often feature a hero on a quest, and they incorporate elements of Persian mythology such as magical creatures and divine intervention. One famous example of a Persian romance is the story of Amir Arsalan, which includes a journey to the underworld and encounters with supernatural beings.


Persian mythology has also had a significant impact on art. One of the most famous examples is the Persepolis reliefs, which depict scenes from Persian mythology and history. These reliefs were created during the Achaemenid Empire, which ruled over Persia from 550-330 BCE. The reliefs include depictions of gods and goddesses such as Ahura Mazda, Anahita, and Mithra.

In addition to reliefs, Persian mythology has also been depicted in other forms of art such as miniature paintings and ceramics. These artworks often feature scenes from Persian mythology such as battles between heroes and monsters or depictions of gods and goddesses.

Overall, Persian mythology has had a significant cultural impact on literature and art throughout history. Its influence can be seen in the works of many famous poets and artists, and it continues to inspire new generations of creators today.