28 November, 2007

Who is Aicha Qandisha?

Because some people think it's my real name, I offer this:

"Aisha Qandisha or Aisha Qadisha or Ghediseh is one of the most popular and fearsome Jinniya (female one) in Moroccan folklore; beliefs and rituals for Aisha have been continued to the 21st century. She is both a hunter and a healer, sometimes appearing as a beautiful (irresistibly seductive) woman and sometimes as a Hag. When she possesses a man, she does not take over the new host but she opens the man to the storm of incoming Jnun and Jinns, demons, and sorcerous particles of all kind; making the man a traffic zone of cosmodromic data. This is why she is feared. And she never leaves, she always resides in the man to guarantee his total openness which is not always pleasant. According to Moroccans, the only way to feel comfortable with Aisha (the new partner / lover) is participating with her especially through passionate and wild music rites. Those who remember the end credits of Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, may remember the acknowledgment to the master musicians of Jajouka who perform music rites for men possessed (opened) by Aisha (also see Aisha and the role of music in the Hamadsha)."

-From Vincent Crapanzano's research on possession in Moroccan culture. This is far more interesting than what I was told....

-Adapted from my first post on the blog, the way she was explained to me:

"Aicha Qandisha, a spirit (djinn) in the form of a woman, marries men in Morocco and causes them to go quite mad. Mad in the crazy-making way, not in the sexy female way. Her "husbands" number in the many thousands at this point. I've only married one Moroccan. In comparison, I am either slacking off or simply unable to multi-task as well as she. The men wander about endlessly, especially in dry riverbeds she supposedly prefers, searching for her and hoping she'll return in the flesh. When they catch site of her they, well, engage in conjugal relations on the spot regardless of where they are or who is there. My ex-husband called me Aicha Qandisha as a sort of "pet name". If you ask him, he will be quick to tell you that he certainly was never the same once he married me."

Also, Taromeet is the Amazigh/Ashelhei word for foreigner in the feminine form. The root supposedly comes from the word for Roman, the original tourists to N. Africa, if you will. I love that the concept of "out-of-towner" in the language goes back that far. Yes, I'm a huge word geek.

Salaam, y'all.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Taromeet is INDEED amazigh for "Aromee". And as you probably know, words in tamazight are gender specific. With male words starting with "A" or "E" or "O", while female words start with "T" or/and end with "T".
Taromeet is simply the masculine version of "Aromee". Aromee in turn is nothing more than a corruption, or amzighization, if I can all it that, of the arabic word "Arroomee", which obvisouly comes from the latin word "Roman". It does not denote romans only by any means, it is the arabic word for christian, or more precisely "European".
Your version of Aisha Qandisha is slightly off what is commonly understood in Moroccan lore, but I guess you just wanted to embellish an interesting story.
Please note that "Qandisha" is a Moroccan corruption of "Contessa", which stands for "Countess". There is a very interesting story behind Qandisha.

Aicha Qandisha said...

Thanks for your comments, whoever you are. I think you mean Taromeet is the female (I hate typos) and yes, thought I addressed that in the post. Yes, I still speak a wee bit of Tamazight. However, Aromee/Taromeet meaning Roman and foreigner was related to me by several Moroccans, family and friends (Tashelheit & Tamazight), while I lived there. So, I'm going to take them at their word. Yes, it does mean European, but they told me it dated back to the days that Europe was Roman turf. If it's not accurate, that's fine, too. Always happy to learn something new. Likewise, what I know of Aicha Qandisha was related by family and friends in Morocco while I lived there and then some simple sleuthing online. Nothing profound. The blog started simple and the nom de plume came from my Moroccan husband (now ex). Not really trying to embellish anything, that's just what I know. If you have different/better source material, please do share it. I would really love to see it.

Laura Sadki said...

Since I lived in Morocco ihave been fascinated by the "Aicha Qandisha" legend. My late husband, who was Moroccan, related the story to me and the main point he made what that if men had any interaction with is terrible djinniya then they became "majnun" or "Love-crazed" or "crazy" and obsessed with sex. However, I found it interesting that the tale he told me was cautionary only in the sense that men made love to by a djinniya would often not be able to have normal sexual relations with a woman, and often these men "became" homosexual. In a culture where being gay/lesbian is quite taboo (also in some places very pronounced) it may be a way to explain away aberration, in the Islamic sense. My husband was not a Berber as far as I am aware, and was a city dweller (Casablanca)so never called this spirit anything but Aicha Qandisha. I only know a few words of Amizerigh from visiting a dewar in the Souss, but in my understanding of Moroccan dialect, which is fair, Christians are called mesihi/mesihiya (being that I am not muslim I caught that one quickly). As far as I know mesihi is not a general word for foreigner. I have heard the word "Aroubi" thrown about, and it seems to mean "Hill-billy" when used by city-dwellers, but a Berber friend of mine claims that is it an "Amizerighization" of the word "Arabiy" referring to Arabs as non Berebers. Taromeet sounds similar to the Egyptian word "Ifreet" meaning "demon" or "evil spirit" but I have no idea is indeed they are linguistically related. I enjoyed reading this blog.