Astghik

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In the earliest prehistoric period Astghig, commonly referred to as Asya, Astghik,[1] or Astlik, (Armenian: Աստղիկ) had been worshipped as the Armenian pagan deity of fertility and love [1], later the skylight had been considered her personification, and she had been the wife or lover of Vahagn. In the later heathen period she became the goddess of love, maidenly beauty, and water sources and springs.

The Vartavar festival devoted to Astghik that had once been celebrated in mid July was transformed into the Christian holiday of the Transfiguration of Christ, and is still celebrated by the Armenians. As in pre-Christian times, on the day of this fest the people release doves and sprinkle water on each other with wishes of health and good luck.

With Aramazd, the father of all deities, the creator of heaven and earth, (the sun being worshiped as his personification) and Anahit that had been worshiped as Great Lady and Mother Deity (the moon being worshiped as her personification), she forms an astral trinity in the pantheon of Armenian heathen deities. In the period of Hellenistic influence, Astghik became similar to the Greek Aphrodite and the Mesopotamian Ishtar.

Her name is the diminutive of Armenian աստղ astġ, meaning "star", which through Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr is cognate to Sanskrit stṛ, Avestan star, Pahlavi star, Persian sitara´, Pashto storai, Latin and Italian stella and astro, French astre, Spanish astro, German stern, English star, etc.

Her principal seat was in Ashtishat (Taron), located to the North from Mush, where her chamber was dedicated to the name of Vahagn, the personification of a sun-god, her lover or husband according to popular tales, and had been named "Vahagn's bedroom".

Other temples and places of worship of Astghik had been located in various towns and villages, such as the mountain of Palaty (to the South-West from Lake Van), in Artamet (12 km from Van),[2] etc.

The unique monuments of prehistoric Armenia, "višap" vishaps (Arm. višap 'serpent, dragon') or "dragon stones", spread in many provinces of historical Armenia – Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Javakhk, Tayk, etc., and are another manifastation of her worship [2].

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Armenian Mythology from the Tour Armenia site". 
  2. ^ p. 107, "The Pantheon of Armenian Pagan Deities", Gagik Artsruni, Yerevan, 2003