Z is for Zurvan Akarana

Published May 1, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros


Zurvan Akarana existed before there was existence.

He was female, and she was male, and she got himself pregnant with twins.

These twins were no ordinary twins, and the time of their pregnancy seemed eternal, even to a being as infinite as Zurvan Akarana.

As they began to be aware that they were carrying twins, Zurvan Akarana began to wonder which twin would be more powerful, which would be preeminent over the other.  For to single beings such as their children, one must be above another.  (Zurvan Akarana themselves, of course, being two-in-one, did not feel such a desire to excel over others.  After all, they were the center and the core of the beginning of time and existence.  When they began — if they began — there were no others for them to compete with.)

“Which shall be the greater?” they wondered aloud, then shook their head.  “The first born — ” they started, but the words had no sooner passed their lips than one of the twins began to rip his way out of the womb, desperate to be the first born and the most powerful.  ” — for a thousand times a thousand years,” Zurvan Akarana added, with hasty concern, on seeing the nature of the first born twin, “but then he shall be destroyed.”

The first born, Ahriman, neither cared for nor believed the addition to his mother-father’s prophecy, and decided that he must destroy his brother before his brother could destroy him.  After all, he would preeminent for thousands upon thousands of years!

His brother, Ahura Mazda, shook his head sadly, knowing that his would be a long battle to keep the light from being swallowed by Ahriman’s darkness.

I was all the way up to “His brother, Ahura Mazda,” before I thought to check the Shin Megami Tensei wiki to make sure that Zurvan hadn’t been included in any of the MegaTen games.  I don’t think it was unreasonable of me to assume it hadn’t been:  it’s the hermaphroditic, primordial being from which the dual gods of Zoroastrianism were born, and how do you put that in a video game?  Well, they found a way; it was a boss in one part of Shin Megami Tensei:  if…, which is more noteworthy as the forerunner of the Persona sub-series (to the extent of introducing Tamaki, AKA Tammy, a character in the first Persona and both Persona 2 games) than it is for its own merits as a game.

For a minute, I was just like “screw it, I’m posting this anyway!”  But then I told myself that since I made up my own extra rules, I had to follow them.  Especially if I was going to reward myself with a new doll for getting through these last few days where my enthusiasm had entirely vanished.

Aaaaaaanyway, I was primarily going to make the rather inept comparison of Ahriman’s rushed birth to rule over Ahura Mazda to Hera’s act of delaying Heracles’ birth so that Eurystheus could be born first and rule over his more powerful cousin, so…maybe it’s better that I had to put this off.

Regarding the way I told the story, I have no idea how actual Zoroastrian texts handle talking about Zurvan Akarana, but I thought that rather than use “it” to describe Zurvan, I’d use the plural.  Seemed appropriate, given the dualistic nature of Zoroastrianism.

Speaking of Zoroaster, or rather of the 19th century misunderstanding of his name as Zarathustra, the weirdest thing happened.  I was watching Season 2 of Daredevil, and a character quoted Nietzsche — not that he said who he was quoting, and quite frankly given who he was, I don’t know if he even knew where the quote came from — and I was immediately struck with a sense of deja vu.  As soon as the episode was over, I picked up Also Sprach Zarathustra (which was the assigned reading that week for class) and began leafing through it.  And, sure enough, I had read that passage the day before.  How freaky a coincidence is that?  And stuff like that happens all the time.  (Maybe that means this is really the matrix?)

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