West Midlands Faiths Forum

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Zoroastrianism

zoroastrianZoroastrianism is a religion of Iranian origin, founded on the teachings of the prophet Zarathustra some three thousand years ago. Zoroaster is the Greek form of his name.  In the UK there are about 4,000 of his followers, both Iranians and Indians; the latter are also called Parsis. Only small numbers live in the West Midlands and there is no temple, the only one in Europe being at the Zoroastrian Centre in Harrow.

Zoroastrians accept the principles taught by Zarathustra, particularly the supremacy, power, perfection and wisdom of the eternal and ever-present Creator, Ahura Mazda, and the reality of both a Holy Spirit (Spenta Mainyu) and a Destructive Spirit (Angra Mainyu). Key virtues – such as Good Mind, Best Order, Wholeness and Immortality – are personified by the Bounteous Immortals (Amesha Spentas). Everyday life provides repeated opportunities to choose between the forces of good and evil, with the over-riding principle being truth or righteousness. Initiation – the investiture of sacred garments for protection against evil – takes place for children before puberty. Prayer, the iconic significance of fire, and rituals to ward off the pollution of death, are also important, as are the end of season festivals (Gahanbars), New Year, and occasions commemorating the birth and death of Zoroaster.The Zoroastrian symbol, known as the Faravahar, is a winged disc representing a guardian angel. It is said to symbolise the progress of the soul towards union with the divine.

More information on the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/zoroastrian/