I agree with you.
The problem is that when you throw 3,700 years of rituals and sacraments out the window and try to replace them with something else, whatever you come up with is likely to be bland, boringm one-dimensional and merely politically correct. The Zarathushtrian Assembly tried this and it never really caught on. People still prefer the historical rituals and I believe an extension of these is much better than a cleansing and recreation attempt.
Again, what makes us different from Abrahamic faiths is that we do not believe in sin. So there is no sin in performing a politically incorrect ritual if it actually is creatively encouraging for us.
So haoma should be fine with us. Let's imaginative rather than limited in scope!
Ushta Alexander, Rory,
Yes, I got into a big ol' online shouting match with Ronald Delavega about this. I was pro-sacrament, he was vehemently opposed to anything that remotely looked like Haoma, or a communion, or anything of the sort whatever. He's not here to defend himself so I won't get into all the personal-sounding attacks, I will only say that his deeply Protestant background and Jafarey's Islamic background work well together to reduce the sacramental aspects of traditional Zoroastrianism. None of them claim to want to rid Mazdayasna of all ceremony, ritual and sacrament, and though I believe them, I also cannot accept the two of them as the ultimate arbiters of what stays and what goes from the traditional practices.
I accept the fact that my Z. practice will always be deeply influenced by the formative religion in my life, which is a High Anglicanism of the Anglo-Catholic sort. Other influences will be my studies in early Christianity, Judaism, and Indo-European religion. Buddhism is not to be left out either, for a Buddhist-adopted Mazdayasna in the form of Pure Land (a direct result of Zism meeting early Mahayana in what is now Afghanistan) should be a major source of inspiration and research as we seek to learn more about Zoroastrianism as taken up by other religions and mythologies.
I write all this basically to say that the spread of Zoroastrianism in a reformed and open version will involve fighting these fights, in all likelihood resulting in more than one form of the Good Religion. I can live with the Gathas-only crowd, but I can guaran-damn-tee you, they won't be able to live with the more expansive revivalists like ourselves for very long, esp when we enjoy a broad selection of ancient practices but refuse to impose theological litmus tests upon our fellow religionists.
So what of Haoma? I would say that, in truth, we don't really know what it was, but it might be useful to approach Haoma as the "spirit" of Medicine and the medicinal and beneficial properties of plants beyond their nutritional and environmental properties. If such was a worthy pantheistic object of worship for early Zoroastrians, I can't really say that's a bad thing, for we give thanks for the sun, moon and stars, and the good earth, etc. every day.
You know, we all need healing of some sort, we all need a lift from time to time. The reformation of the Haoma rite might be useful with this truth in mind. A refreshing tea of some sort for a public rite, or a spiced mead or cider, or even seasonal variations might be appropriate to use. As a healing sacrament, one might perform a Haoma especially for a sick person, perhaps involving a medicinally or spiritually beneficial brew, tea or other drink, possibly even made for that person's ailment (not in conflict with their medicine, of course!). What an interesting concept, Haoma as "Medicine of Life, for the healing of our souls and bodies". Take "soul" as literally or metaphorically as you wish.
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard
> I agree with you, Rory!
> And I disagree with Jafarey's sentiments. The fact that Zarathushtra does
> not mention something in The Gathas (which is after all not a sacred bookbut
> just a loose collection of fragments of Zarathushtra's poetry) does not mean
> that it is forbidden to us as Mazdayasna if it helps us dig deeper into the
> spiritual life.