Of Tea and Henna : A Nice Welcome

Of Tea and Henna : A Nice Welcome

For the first time whilst visiting shrines in the Chiadme region I had come across stalls selling items either as souvenirs or for consumption at the shrine as part of a ritual.  The shrine was in a small village called Sidi Abdeljalil some 3 kilometres from Talmest where the bus had dropped me.  I then travelled to Sidi Abdeljalil by calèche,  where the driver of the horse drawn cart allowed me to take the reins whilst he smoked a pipe of kiff.

The road was bumpy and twisty and the horse had a mind of its own.  The minimal instructions I had received were woefully inadequate and I was relieved to pass the reins back following his smoke.

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Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

Pilgrimage : Moulay Brahim and the Gnaoua

“You will fly over the ocean,” he continued, “by the power of baraka, the blessing of Sidi Moulay Brahim,  tair lajbal, indicating the spirit bird that flies over the Atlas Mountains”

Memoir of a Berber by Hassan Ouakrim

The young girl got up from the cushion and stood beside the figure in colourful, flowing robes already dancing directly in front of the line of musicians. The low monotone of the hajhuj and the rhythmic clacking of the qraqebs crackled through the cold November air.  She imbibed heavily from a white cloud of burning incense and a cloth of colour was placed over her head. Blind, her own dance joined that of the dancing figure beside her.

The girl was endeavouring to cure or treat a ‘malady’ of some description,  either by invoking or pleasing benevolent spirits or by propitiating malicious ones.  She was entering trance,  a dissociative state which permits the fording of dimensions between this world and the world of the troublesome, mischievous jinn.

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