Tuesday, 31 January 2012

31.01.2012 bis

The Demon Lover: `Aisha Qandisha

One sort of love-possession seen in Morocco is of a less poetic sort than experienced by Majnun, but its sufferers are described with the same epithet--"majnun," possessed by jnun. Experience of the jnun, invisible beings with whom humans share the earth, is pervasive in Morocco. Crapanzano, whose work on the ethnopsychiatry of possession in Morocco is the best in English, has presented several examples of possession by the most distinctive of these beings, the jinniya (singular female of jnun) `Aisha Qandisha (Crapanzano 1973, 1975, 1977). Capable of appearing in visible human form, she is the most commonly named of the jnun, who are most often referred to generically. Males are the usual victims of Lalla (Lady) `Aisha, as she will often be called to avoid the risk of explicitly naming her. She dwells near wells and water-courses and may appear either as a seductive and attractive woman or as a hideous hag. If the victim does not notice her cow or goat feet and plunge an iron knife into the ground, he will be struck (mdrub) and inhabited by her (mskun). He is then likely to become impotent or to lose interest in human women, and he may suffer a variety of physical or psychological effects unless and until his possession is brought under control by the intervention of one of the popular Moroccan curing groups. 

Source: Possessed by Love: Gender and Romance in Morocco, Douglas A. Davis and Susan Schaefer Davis, 1995,  at www.haverford.edu/psych/ddavis/romance.html

Walking with:

20.12.2011 bis



Glaisticglaistigglaisnigglaislig, a water-imp, from 'glas,' water, 'stic,' imp. The 'glaistic' is a vicious creature, half woman, half goat, frequenting lonely lakes and rivers. She is much
dreaded, and many stories are told of her evil deeds. 'MacUalrig Mor,' Big Kennedy of Lianachan, Lochaber, was coming home at night when he saw the 'glaistic.' He seized her and put her on the saddle before him with his sword-belt round her waist, and when he got home he locked her in the 'cul-taigh,' back-house. In the morning Big Kennedy heated the coulter of his plough and requested the 'glaistic' to swear on the iron that she would never again molest man or woman in the place, and never more be seen in Lochaber while the sun shone by day or the moon by night. When the 'glaistic' stretched out her lovely little hand and placed it on the coulter to give the required assurance, her hand was burnt to the bone. With a shriek of agony she flew out at the window and through the mist of the morning to the hillside beyond, and there she put out three bursts of the blood of her heart, which are still visible in the discoloured russet vegetation of the spot, and with each burst of blood the 'glaistig' uttered a curse on Big Kennedy and on his seed for ever:--
'Fas mar an roinneach daibh,
Crion mar an luachair daibh,
’S diombuan mar cheo nam beann.'
Growth like the fern to them,
Wasting like the rushes to them,
And unlasting as the mist of the hill.
The descendants of Big Kennedy of Lianachan say that the curse is still upon them.

Source: Carmina Gadelica, Hymns and Incantations -Ortha Nan Gaidheal, Volume II, by Alexander Carmichael, [1900] at www.sacred-texts.com

Monday, 23 January 2012


A common superstition in the Middle Ages was that goats whispered lewd sentences in the ears of the saints.