01 Sep

Shade of Shahrivar

It’s Shahrivar again, month of honey-sweet grapes and golden melons. For a Middle-Easterner, it’s also a month of uncertain feelings and mellow breezes hesitant between heat and cold.

Shahrivar roughly equals 23 August to 23 September, matching summer’s lunacy with fall’s frenzy, departing from the joy of leisure for the pleasure of learning.

Shahrivar is the time of worries for school, anxieties of change, butterfly feelings of a new beginning. For the tech-phobic elderly, as for late Sohrab Sepehri,  it’s a journey in time to Pink-Floyd memories of school:

“School had scissored my dreams, broken my prayers. School had hurt my doll. I would never forget my first day there. They kidnapped me betwixt my games and plays and forced me to the nightmare of school… I found myself lonely there, like a stranger. And then it was Fear which went to school every time, instead of me.” (from I’m Still On Travel)

Shahrivar is the most abstract month in the Persian Calendar, owing its title to an Amshaspand (Zoroastrian Spirit whose name literally means Sovereign) that represented Divine Power, Glory and Dominion. In the celestial world he stood for the heavenly kingdom and upon the earth, he manifested an ideal kingdom in which God’s will manifested itself through conquest over evil forces and elevation and illumination of the destitute and the poor. He was the Guardian of Metals and would resurrect and assess the people and their deeds at the end of the world with molten metal. Ergo, he is known as the spirit of Rewards and Punishment in the after-world.

Shahrivar’s counterpoint, Sawrwa, is a demon representing chaos, misdeed, and bad government.

Shahrivar in the present world has also cradled one the greatest catastrophes: September 11 is not an incident but a turning point in our history and culture, whose aftershock is still felt and perceived all over the world, a time when Sawrwa won the battle with Shahrivar.

From a Manichean viewpoint, Shahrivar is a cauldron of myths and incidents, a battleground between Good and Evil. Demons may win a battle or two, but that won’t be be the last battle and as true Manicheanists by nature, let’s pray for the conquest of goodness once again and for all.

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Farzaneh Doosti

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