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Haoma


Haoma, Sanskrit, soma; Avestan, haoma, a name meaning "that which is pressed," was the juice obtained from pounding the stem of a plant with another which is combined with milk and the leaves of another plant constituting the ritual offering to the waters at the end of the yasna. The identity of the original plant used is uncertain, but it may have been species of the ephedra, as is the "hom" currently used by Zoroastrians. The process produces an intoxicating juice,the elixir of immortality, and its consumption and libration is a sacrificial act. Drinking the mixture could, as described, exhilarate men and heighten their powers. Warriors would quickly be filled with battle fury, poets would be inspired, and priests became more opened to divine promptings. The pounding of the plant in a stone mortar, and the preparation of it to be offered to the waters, forms a large part of the yasna ritual; and a concept developed from the ritual of the "green-eyed" god Haoma, who corresponds to the Indian god Soma, the divine priest, who was invoked also as a healer, one who protected cattle, give strength to fighting men, and ward off drought and feminine. As divine priest, Haoma received the ritual share of each sacrifice, namely the tongue and left jaw-bone, which were consecrated to him. The consecrated meat, after the service, was shared between the priests and worshippers. It is believed in historic times it is thought that no domestic animals were sacrificed; and the hunter was required to say a brief prayer of consecration the moment he took the animal's life.

At the end of the Mixture era, after the demise of Angra Mainya, Ahura Mazda and the six Amesha Spentas will solemnize a last spiritual yasna, by offering the final sacrifice, this was the eschatological to complete the worldly transformation, and make a preparation of a mystical "white haoma," which will confer immortality on the resurrected bodies of those who partake of it. Thereafter, men will be like the Immortals themselves living peacefully in the kingdom of God on earth. A.G.H.


Sources:

Boyce, Mary, Zoroastrians: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, New York, Routledge, 2002, pp. 5-6, 28
Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 193