The Persian ‘Mar Nameh’: The Zoroastrian Book of the Snake Omens and Calendar and The Old Iranian Calendar
by Payam Nabarz and S H Taqizadeh
published by Twin Serpents Limited
PB, 130pp, £12.95
reviewed by David Rankine for the Esoteric Book Review
I wasn’t sure what I would make of ths book with such a long title when it was offered to me. However omens and calendars are two areas of great interest to me, so I was intrigued to see what the authors had to say. In fact this is more like two works in one, the first part being the contemporary work of Payam Nabarz on the Mar Nameh and the second part being a reprint of the 1917 essay on The Old Iranian Calendar by S H Taqizadeh. Both have their fascinations, though for me the life really flows through Nabarz’s work in the first half of the book.
So what can you expect and why should you buy this book? Well anyone interested in divination, magick, religion or calendars will find valuable material in this book, which is a pretty big range of people! Nabarz provides the original Persian text, along with both literal and poetic translations of the text. The text itself gives the divinatory meaning for seeing a snake on each day of the month. As the author lucidly demonstrates in his introduction, the serpent has a long connection with time, and so this combination is a logical one, as he convincingly argues. He also discusses the Zoroastrian spirits associated with the days, an area worthy of study by itself, especially in light of their planetary nature and possible role as antecedents to much of the later spiritual hierarchies found in magickal systems.
The essay on The Old Iranian Calendar is somewhat dry in comparison to the passionate flow of Nabarz’s style, but interesting nevertheless. In tracing the development of the Iranian calendar, from ancient Egypt through reforms and intercalations, the importance of time and its measurement is impressed in the mind of the reader. The juxtaposition of this essay with the Book of the Snake makes for a unique and interesting sourcework that I thoroughly encourage you to buy and read.