AION - ZURVAN AKARANA
the Zoroastrians, Zurvan (Zervan) means "Time"
and refers to the finite time of history. Beyond
that is Zurvan Akarana or "Boundless Time" which
represents eternity. According to the Avesta,
Zurvan Akarana (Zeroana Akerne) has always
existed, his glory is exalted, his light is
resplendent; he is beyond human intellect and
comprehension. Everything that has ever existed
emanated from Zurvan Akarana.
Another translation of Zurvan Akarana is "duration
in a circle." The circle symbolises that which
is without beginning or end, and the unknown.
Zurvan Akarana is thus equivalent to the
Qabalistic Ain Soph Aur.
Legend has it that Zurvan, who was a
hermaphroditic being, existed eternally, but
wanted a son. To make this happen, he sacrificed
for 1000 years with no result, and doubt crept
in. Out of that doubt was born the evil god
called Angra Mainyu (Ahriman). Zurvan's
sacrifices had actually been successful and the
good god called Ahuramazda (later Ormuzd) was
subsequently born. Zurvan gave dominion of the
world to his first-born son, Angra Mainyu. When
Zurvan realised his mistake, he then gave
dominion to Ahuramazda. The twin gods Ahuramazda
and Angra Mainyu are locked in an ongoing
struggle, a dualistic struggle of conflicting
principles. This struggle will endure throughout
finite time, which will last for 12,000 symbolic
years. At the end, Ahuramazda is fated to
destroy the evil creation of Angra Mainyu.
Zurvan Akarana developed into the Hellenistic
Aion, the Alexandrian god of Eternity, who was
at the head of the divine hierarchy in Mithraism.
Aion was an abstraction, deified Time, and he
regulated the revolutions of the stars and in
consequence was the absolute master of all
Aion was often depicted as a nude male figure
with a lion's head, with a serpent coiled 6
times around his body, the head of which rested
on his head. The figure had up-turned and down-turned
wings to symbolize the swiftness of time. He
carried a sceptre and lightning as sovereign god
and held in each hand a key as master of the
heavens. His body was covered with zodiacal
signs and the emblems of the seasons.
On a statue of Aion the inscription states:
"He who by his divine nature remains ever the
same in the same things. He who is and was and
shall be, without beginning, middle or end, free
from change, universal craftsman of the eternal
St Epiphanius stated that in Alexandria the
birth of Aion, was celebrated on the night
before 6 January with a festival before the
image of Kore. It ended with bringing forth from
beneath the earth the image of Aion, which was
carried seven times around the inner sanctuary
of Kore's temple. At the height of the ceremony
the announcement was made "Today at this hour
the virgin Kore has given birth to Aion."
In late antiquity, Aion became fused with
Mandulis (Merwel), who was a sun god of Lower (northern)
Nubia. Mandulis was usually depicted wearing a
crown of ram horns surmounted by high plumes,
sun disks and cobras.