Zar

Caroline_afifi

New member
This isn't true. It is practiced by both Muslims and Christians. Most people dismiss it as superstition because they don't belong to that world, so they don't know about it. and those of us who do follow this way of life just get too tired trying to explain, so we just tend to keep it quiet and keep to ourselves, or we tell people what we think they can understand or what they want to hear. Like I keep saying, there is more to it than JUST A RITUAL Just as a mass and communion are only very small parts of a much larger spiritual philosophy in Catholicism, so too is the Zar only a small part of a much wider world view and spiritual perspective. To just focus on Zar without really knowing the world view and philosophy behind it is to take it out context.
Hi Tarik, which bit isnt true?

I did say that most cultures practice this kind of ritual and each is unique.
In Egypt, I know that the Christains have a different version of the Zar.
Zar for me has become a bit like the word Belly dance.

I can see by this thread that the term is being described very loosley and perhaps it is, but this is the reason this thread is bouncing around as we all have a slightly different view of what Zar means.
I am no expert in this matter but I do know a bit in relation to some practices of this nature.

We had a high profile case in the UK a few years back which led to lots of changes within childrens services.
The Child (an 8 year old girl) died as a result of constant torturing because her aunt (who was a christian) thought she was possesed. Her aunt claimed she was performing an ancient cultural ritual (described like the ZAR)

This is not a ZAR and was never refferred to as such. We have lots of practices still like this in the UK. It stops being spititual for me when kids are starved and tortured to death because of this.

My husband also worked on cases within Egypt were people died as a result (mainly young people). This was not the ZAR either. this was to do with magic and spells which are still practiced and believed in in certain areas of Egypt. Some are just seen as harmless shawazza like making the man you love impotent to any other women, but some cases have led to death.

There is a flip side to everything and not everything considered spiritual leads to divine things.

Sorry to offend anyone.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
I have not participated in nor seen a Zar ritual (though I have seen Zar music performed). Here is what I read in an Egypt Today article from March 2005:

- - - - - - - -

In its original form, Zar is a ritual where a small circle of people gather to communicate with unseen entities or spirits. It’s one of the few healing ceremonies performed mainly by women for women in an attempt to pacify the spirits and win some measure of inner harmony.

Traditional Zar music originated in the Sudan. Poly-rhythmic, rich and complex in melody, it is distinctively different from other Egyptian musical traditions. The underground culture was not originally intended to be a performance art and is shunned by the religious establishment, the state and the orthodox cultural elite.

The result: In recent decades, practice of the ritual has died out and ancient songs have been forgotten, helped along by the popular misconception that Zar is all about exorcisms.

For participants, it is most often a cathartic experience often leading to an altered state of consciousness, or in some cases, trance.

- - - - - - - - - -

I am not sure that only Muslims practice Zar, but I think Sudan is mostly Muslim. I would say that most or all cultures have rituals for achieving altered states of consciousness or trance. Maybe it's partly a class-based thing. Here in the US there are certainly rituals such as speaking in tongues or snake handling that those who do not practice, look down upon.

What about self-cutting. That's a practice that appears to be growing among girls especially in the West, that I imagine has the effect of relieving tortured feelings. I don't think it's religion based.

I think I once saw a video of people in the Middle East involved in some kind of ritual that ended with sticking metal skewer-type things right through their cheeks. We might think "eeeyuuuw" but what about the early Christians walking on fiery coals etc.

There are differences between religion and tradition, though they can also be related, or at least appear to be from the outside.

Cathy
Thanks for the info Cathy.

Culture and customs often become intertwined with religion despite not being directly related to the religion. Circumcision is an example of cultural and religious practice.

This why different religions have their own cultural practices.
I think the exact meaning of the cultural term of ZAR is clear on this thread. I am quite confused by it really.

Do you have any more infpo about what ZAR is and the mis-conceptions? that would be really useful.

As for self harming, do all young women from different religions do this?
I only know young women in my field of work who happen to be Christian. Whilst is is not exclusive or related to the Christian religion in any way, other religions and cultures may find this even more unacceptable so the practice is less obvious. I really dont know. It is an act of self control and release.
 

masrawy

New member
the bar is too high !!

Hey Tarik,
the bar has been set too high now that I will have two beautiful ladies when we meet. Lydia and Caroline your choice London, Paris, New York or perhaps Cairo I know great places to have good food in all of them except London.
Mahmoud
 

Aniseteph

New member
There is a level of existence and reality beyond that of our 5 sense. Just consider the phenomenon that when groups of women spend long periods together their menstrual cycles all change to the same time. How does this happen? Why does this happen? Our bodies and its cells have a consciousness that is independent of our conscious minds.
Aha! you forgot a question - does this happen? Very important thing to ask before explanations get mystical, IMO. If it does happen, the bottom line will be biochemistry and evolution.

But I agree we have unconscious things going on in our bodies all the time (probably directing our conscious minds far more than we like to think), and people have always found ways to influence some of them. And when we don't understand the mechanism yet it doesn't mean it's magic or mystical powers.

I'd make a really rubbish witch. :rolleyes:
 

nightdancer

New member
Antisteph,

Actually, you'd make a wonderful witch. As a witch, I can say that the world of paganism, of all forms, could use a little less bunnies and a few more brain cells. It's one thing to be open-minded, its quite another to let your brain fall out. Shame you aren't drawn to it. Sure I cant change your mind? :D
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Hi Tarik, which bit isnt true?

I did say that most cultures practice this kind of ritual and each is unique.
In Egypt, I know that the Christains have a different version of the Zar.
Zar for me has become a bit like the word Belly dance.

I can see by this thread that the term is being described very loosley and perhaps it is, but this is the reason this thread is bouncing around as we all have a slightly different view of what Zar means.
I am no expert in this matter but I do know a bit in relation to some practices of this nature.

We had a high profile case in the UK a few years back which led to lots of changes within childrens services.
The Child (an 8 year old girl) died as a result of constant torturing because her aunt (who was a christian) thought she was possesed. Her aunt claimed she was performing an ancient cultural ritual (described like the ZAR)

This is not a ZAR and was never refferred to as such. We have lots of practices still like this in the UK. It stops being spititual for me when kids are starved and tortured to death because of this.

My husband also worked on cases within Egypt were people died as a result (mainly young people). This was not the ZAR either. this was to do with magic and spells which are still practiced and believed in in certain areas of Egypt. Some are just seen as harmless shawazza like making the man you love impotent to any other women, but some cases have led to death.

There is a flip side to everything and not everything considered spiritual leads to divine things.

Sorry to offend anyone.
Oh. Christians also participate in Zar ceremonies. Remember, it is only a small part of a much larger ideology/way of life. Earth religions like this are pre Islamic/Judaism/Christian. They are basically monotheistic as they believe in one supreme creator. The thing is though that we don't have a concept of being the one and only true faith. We don't evangelize nor do we feel the need to make converts, basically because we don't see ourselves necessarily as being separate from other faiths. The way we see it, there is only one god but everyone has a different way of worshiping. For this reason, we don't see a contradiction with incorporating aspects of other religions we come in contact with. So yes, you will find both Christians and Muslims following this way of life. And if a person feels like they no longer wants to follow our way, they are free to leave without fear of penalty. Nor do we discriminate against anyone needing our help. If someone has a problem and we can help, we help. We don't need them to give up their faith to do so, nor even see us ever again.

Now the scary stuff has nothing to with us at all. However, we are often wrongly associated with these crack pots. The heart of our way of life is to honor all live and live in harmony with god, nature, ourselves and our fellow humans. The most violent thing a person would have to endure is a cleansing with with ice water. Physical abuse has nothing to do with anything and any such advise is a clue that you should run as fast as you can to the nearest exit.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Hey Tarik,
the bar has been set too high now that I will have two beautiful ladies when we meet. Lydia and Caroline your choice London, Paris, New York or perhaps Cairo I know great places to have good food in all of them except London.
Mahmoud
Hey, if you're buying the ticket I'm open to go anywhere!:lol:
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Aha! you forgot a question - does this happen? Very important thing to ask before explanations get mystical, IMO. If it does happen, the bottom line will be biochemistry and evolution.

But I agree we have unconscious things going on in our bodies all the time (probably directing our conscious minds far more than we like to think), and people have always found ways to influence some of them. And when we don't understand the mechanism yet it doesn't mean it's magic or mystical powers.

I'd make a really rubbish witch. :rolleyes:
The supernatural is only aspects of the natural that technology hasn't caught up to yet.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Antisteph,

Actually, you'd make a wonderful witch. As a witch, I can say that the world of paganism, of all forms, could use a little less bunnies and a few more brain cells. It's one thing to be open-minded, its quite another to let your brain fall out. Shame you aren't drawn to it. Sure I cant change your mind? :D
So you know exactly what I'm talking about and why I got my knickers in a twist. Aren't you tired of having to explain that you don't worship the devil or eat babies by the light of the full moon? I't only recently that I've started talking about this because of peoples knee jerk reactions. And yes, there are a lot of goof balls out there who just make us all look bad. I guess this is why I'm putting so much time in this because I want people to understand that there is a big difference between the bullshit and the real shit.
 

Caroline_afifi

New member
Oh. Christians also participate in Zar ceremonies. Remember, it is only a small part of a much larger ideology/way of life. Earth religions like this are pre Islamic/Judaism/Christian. They are basically monotheistic as they believe in one supreme creator. The thing is though that we don't have a concept of being the one and only true faith. We don't evangelize nor do we feel the need to make converts, basically because we don't see ourselves necessarily as being separate from other faiths. The way we see it, there is only one god but everyone has a different way of worshiping. For this reason, we don't see a contradiction with incorporating aspects of other religions we come in contact with. So yes, you will find both Christians and Muslims following this way of life. And if a person feels like they no longer wants to follow our way, they are free to leave without fear of penalty. Nor do we discriminate against anyone needing our help. If someone has a problem and we can help, we help. We don't need them to give up their faith to do so, nor even see us ever again.

Now the scary stuff has nothing to with us at all. However, we are often wrongly associated with these crack pots. The heart of our way of life is to honor all live and live in harmony with god, nature, ourselves and our fellow humans. The most violent thing a person would have to endure is a cleansing with with ice water. Physical abuse has nothing to do with anything and any such advise is a clue that you should run as fast as you can to the nearest exit.
OK, well I am not an expert like I said. I have always been led to believe that Christians have their own pratices which is different from a zar. Are we using the term zar in a very broad sense here?

As for the other stuff I was talking about, some of it is very bad but some is related to genuine acts of tradition. In Egypt, young ones and older people have died because of the constant shaking of the head. Clots and bleeding in the brain etc.

On the whole I think the intensions are harmless but it is not clear where the line is drawn in these matters.
I dont think it is something which should be taught in a class either as potentially the same thing could happen to someone.
There is some very silly woman in my region who has zar parties and it is a disaster waiting to happen. They pay her of course, spirituality for $20... what a con.
 

Mya

New member
There is some very silly woman in my region who has zar parties and it is a disaster waiting to happen. They pay her of course, spirituality for $20... what a con.
I hate that! Buy your spirituality here folks, 5 ounces left! I mean really - how do people do this and sleep at night. It reminds me of a pastor here in Trinidad who has the HUGEST house that looks like a bloody amusement park (literally) all built on parishoners money.
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Please delete,
thread was acting weird so I had to post to read it.
 
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Sita

New member
Antisteph,

Actually, you'd make a wonderful witch. As a witch, I can say that the world of paganism, of all forms, could use a little less bunnies and a few more brain cells. It's one thing to be open-minded, its quite another to let your brain fall out. Shame you aren't drawn to it. Sure I cant change your mind? :D
Hiya,
Do you practise a particular form of paganism?, I only ask because their are quite a few, same of course as any other religion. I have a wiccan friend and others that are followers of Reconstructionist Paganism one practises Norse paganism (Child of Thor I think was the term) and others are celtic druids - they have been very helpful to me in times of need as well as educating me on their beliefs but sadly they have also had to deal with quite bit of prejudice, some of it incredibly shocking. Luckily though they have carried on trying to educate people and even have a Pagan Day at the local Museum where they introduce people to the different beliefs, cultures etc. It's was also very intersting from a historic point of view because they teach runes and Ogham and other such elements :) The day is also good because it allows me to support and participate in their community without having to particpate in the rituals and religious cermonies I'm unable too because of my own religion.

Also in regards to the Christian version of the Zar I wondered if like in my own Rite it or any form of exorcism/sacrement of the sick can only be performed by a priest or by anyone?
Sita
 

Sita

New member
There is some very silly woman in my region who has zar parties and it is a disaster waiting to happen. They pay her of course, spirituality for $20... what a con.
Not just a con seriously dangerous, for me she should be very worried with what she choses to use to make money off of - whether it is spirits/jinn or just a self induced sensation no one knows enough to abuse it in that manner without something going wrong...

besides 20 quid/dollars.. does she split it with the jinn - they deserve their share... after all they do all the work ;)

Sita
 

Aisha Azar

New member
Hiya,

Also in regards to the Christian version of the Zar I wondered if like in my own Rite it or any form of exorcism/sacrement of the sick can only be performed by a priest or by anyone?
Sita


Dear Sita,
In talking about Zar, my Coptic friend said that her uncle the Coptic priest does perform Zar ceremonies for Christians, and that she witnessed one in which he was doing an exorcism, and that one sign of possession seems to be talking in a man's voice. I am also getting the impression that many here think this ritual is performed only in Africa, though I have heard my friends from other parts of the Middle East say that the ritual is performed in their part of the world as well. Many are reticent to discuss their belief in such things because they think it makes them look ignorant, but once they trust you, it is amazing what you can learn. I know for sure friends from Saudi and Jordan have told me about it from their point of view. The "talking in a man's voice" thing is pretty interesting to me since it seems to be a common element in women who are said to have a djinn in the Middle East.
Most wealthy and educated people from the Middle East do not seem to immediately be willing to admit that they believe in the ritual or djinn, but I recall several conversations with different people over the years who can tell you some pretty strange things. Last night I was at a friend's house and we were watching an Arab station. Right now there is a very popular Kuwaiti soap opera where the main story line is that a wealthy young man has been bewitched by a woman who has made him leave his wife, mother, family, and marry her daughter. They treat him like a slave and keep him locked up and in general treat him very badly, kidnap his mom, etc.... all due to the power of an evil spell cast on him. We watched an episode last night and both my friend and her husband really like the soap opera. For many people, this is a very believable story line. I have had conversations with guys who go out to stay in the desert at night and see VERY weird things. Many of the people that I know from the Middle East and North Africa have a strong belief in the power of metaphysical activity for good or evil. Please keep in mind that I am not saying what I think or feel about all of this. I am only reporting what I have been told.
Regards,
A'isha
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
OK, well I am not an expert like I said. I have always been led to believe that Christians have their own pratices which is different from a zar. Are we using the term zar in a very broad sense here?
I'm putting Zar in a context. There is no such thing as the Zar Religion, just as there is no such thing as the Mass Religion, or the Shabbat Religion, or the Haj Religion. Do you understand? To understand Zar you have to realize that its not a dance.
As I keep saying a Zar ceremony in only one small part of a much larger belief system. Its like a Mass is only one small part of the Catholic faith. Zar is a part of an ancient monotheistic earth religion practiced in many parts of Africa. but this belief system is not limited to any one particular religion so you will find Christian as well as Muslim practitioners.

I would say that in Egypt and Sudan the majority of the practitioners are Muslim though. It just reflects the population. People who practice this tradition may be Christian or Muslim, but the actual philosophy is neither muslim or christian do you understand? Its a case where people continued to practice their traditional beliefs AFTER they converted to Islam or Christianity. Or in the case of Egypt, that people who were Muslims or Christians became part of these communities after coming in contact with believers who came up from Ethiopia or Sudan. But because its not a belief system based on a concept of being the one and only religion, no one is required to CONVERT in order to be part of the community. So you can practice this way of life, go to the different ceremonies, of which they are many, and go to the mosque or church later in the day.

Also realize that even in Egypt, the only one who can really tell you about this way of life is an actual practitioner who trusts you enough to be honest with you. They are very secretive for fear of being misunderstood for practicing black magic, or worse, being mistaken as polytheists, so they tend to keep quiet. Because communication with elemental beings is central to the practice, they seek the validation of Islam and the Koran which states that there are in fact such beings, and there is a supernatural world, and that further more, many of these beings are in fact in service to Allah. They will quote the passages of the Koran which state that Solomon did many things with their help and that many of them converted to Islam when they heard the prophet's message. However, outsiders only see the externals. They hear the drums and music of a ceremony and they come and watch. They are welcome as we have no reason to turn them away, but because they are not a part of it, they don't really understand the significance of what is going on and only focus on the externals, music, a chicken or some other animal was sacrificed a bunch of people flopping around and they think oh, that's it. Another thing, we don't tell people what's going on unless we know they can understand and also to protect the privacy of the person involved, so they may tell people, she's possessed, etc. That would be easier to understand than she's being initiated into the tradition so she can work better with her spiritual guardian. Another thing, not all the people flopping around are in trance. You have to know what is going on to know what is going on. Some people may be in commune with either an elemental force, some may be in commune with ancestral entities, some are just in a groove some just be faking the funk. we know which is which through experience.

As for the other stuff I was talking about, some of it is very bad but some is related to genuine acts of tradition. In Egypt, young ones and older people have died because of the constant shaking of the head. Clots and bleeding in the brain etc.
There are many different traditions in Egypt. Just because it is a folk tradition outside of Islam doesn't mean that it is related to Zar in any way shape or form. Some are traditions that have survived from pharonic times. Some are things that were just made up. I can't say what the people who got brain clots were doing. I'd have to know more details. Like I said Zar is not a dance. Even when a person is in commune with a spiritual entity, it doesn't necessarily mean that they start thrashing around. It can be very disorienting when the consciousness of the person is merged with another force. They may stumble, they may fall over. Or their eyes may just glaze over. If people are just shaking their heads....???? I don't know what that is.

On the whole I think the intensions are harmless but it is not clear where the line is drawn in these matters.
Exactly. Which is why if you are an outsider to these traditions you should treat them with caution and respect and not jump into things you don't understand. You can attend a ceremony and observe, but don't go jumping up and flopping around. It would be like going to a mosque and start bowing down all over the place just because you've seen muslims bowing down. Unless you are a muslim or have studies something of the religion you don't know why they bow, when they bow, how often, which direction, what they do before, what they do after. What you should do during what not to do before during or after etc. This is the same problem with Zar. People focus on the external activities because they look exciting and dramatic, but they really don't know the significance of what is happening at all. If they had respect for these people, they wouldn't just see them as quaint colorful natives doing interesting things. They would treat them with respect and try to understand what they were doing and why and realize that they actually have a world view and philosophy behind what they are doing.

I dont think it is something which should be taught in a class either as potentially the same thing could happen to someone.
There is some very silly woman in my region who has zar parties and it is a disaster waiting to happen. They pay her of course, spirituality for $20... what a con.
You are exactly right. I heard of an Egyptian dance teacher now living somewhere here in the US that gave a seminar on Zar. Now, I know this guy. I know he is from an Upper Class Egyptian family and he was a modern dancer in Egypt who had nothing to do with Oriental or Egyptian dance at all. He's never even been to West Il BAlad in his entire life and never anywhere in Upper Egypt, yet he was trying to tell me, who has, what Saidis do and don't do when they dance. And what local Egyptians do and don't do.

So anyway, he has this workshop where he tells the people that Zar is an exorcism and that when the daemons are leaving the body the last place they try to hold on to is the hair and that is why the women fling their hair. HE kept telling the women to fling their heads around faster and harder to "get it right". Of course I don't have to tell you my friend who went to this cluster f*** had a sore neck and headaches for the entire week. So this numb nuts just made up this whole thing. HE doesn't know his ass from his elbow, but because he's "Egyptian", everyone assumes he's an authority because after all its his culture. Well I'm sorry, but this is NOT his culture and those are not his people. The belief system that Zar belongs to is not his culture because he is not a part of it. Just because he's Egyptian doesn't mean squat. Just like someone being English doesn't make a person a member of Parliament or the Royal Family, being an Egyptian doesn't mean that a person knows anything about this belief system.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
Also in regards to the Christian version of the Zar I wondered if like in my own Rite it or any form of exorcism/sacrement of the sick can only be performed by a priest or by anyone?
Sita
The belief system that ZAr belongs to is found in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa where it was brought in by people from Sun Saharan Africa. Therefore you will find it in the Persian gulf countries and you will also find it in parts of Jordan and Palestine. Its a bit like Christianity and European paganism. There are variations. It depends on the circumstances that the practitioners found themselves in when they ended up in the various regions of the Middle East. In each case they have to make changes and adaptations because the circumstances and environments are different. this is a nature based belief system after all. What you can do in a tropical or subtropical environment may not be possible in an arid desert environment.

In addition to the beliefs that came in from Africa, there are also remnants of folk ways that per-date Islam in those societies. This is why I keep saying you have to know exactly what is going on to know what is going on. you can't call everything a Zar. There is a tradition called Zikr in many Muslim countries where people repeat the name of God over and over again while swaying back and forth. Quite often they enter altered states of consciousness and become ecstatic and out of control till they collapse. This is NOT Zar. There are many mystic orders called Sufis who have ceremonies where people enter altered states and do things like stabbing themselves in the head with knives, shoving ice picks up their noses into their brains, handling fire and eating live coals, these are not Zar.

What all these practices including Zar have in common, is that the external activities, (although extreme and exciting to witness), is not the goal of the activity. It is a by product and the actual goal is far more profound. In all of these cases this is not something that anyone can just jump up and do. These ceremonies are all lead by people well trained in what they are doing and they have to pass through several stages on initiation and instruction to get to the level where they are a person of authority in the order who can lead it. So to answer your question, NO, not any old person can lead an exorcism, healing ceremony or a Zikr, there is an actual system of protocol being followed. For example, I am a practitioner, but I am not initiated. I'm considered less than a baby in my experience and knowledge. If I ever become initiated, i will then be a priest, but I will be subordinate to my god parents and all the other priests in the community. This has nothing to do with biological age but years of experience. Therefore, I'm 41, but if I've only been a priest for 1 year, I am subordinate to someone who is 20, who has been a priest for 10yrs. Its all about experience. Therefore, even when I am a priest, I will not be able to conduct ceremonies without the instruction of my God parents. I will be an apprentice for quite a few years until I have demonstrated enough proficiency in these various areas and have the permission to do so. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the casual observers are not aware of.
 

Tarik Sultan

New member
I hate that! Buy your spirituality here folks, 5 ounces left! I mean really - how do people do this and sleep at night. It reminds me of a pastor here in Trinidad who has the HUGEST house that looks like a bloody amusement park (literally) all built on parishoners money.
Now imagine if people started trying to say that this guy is a representation of what Christianity is all about? Same thing here. There are a lot of dishonest and amoral people out there who take advantage and exploit people, then all of us get painted with the same brush!:protest:
 

Pirika Repun

New member
I have been reading this thread and I learn a lot about Zar. However, I’m from the other side of the world, and I grow up very unique religious situation. In my country, we have two religion co-exist side by side peacefully and they are more like part of our daily life than religion. Both of them are not like Christianity, Moslem, or Judaism, we do not have one superior creature god, but anything have gods and goddess. Also the Buddhism is the same way. Buddha is not god. He was neither creature nor god. Anyway, when we pray, we say “Oh God(s) and Buddha” to pray for some help or health or anything. Yeah, I know it’s really sounds strange for other part of the world who strongly believes one superior god and religion. Like you pray for both Jesus and Allah at the same time, however, it works for us. We do not go to temple or shrine every Sunday or study religion, but occasionally for religious ceremonies. I assume that our religion totally become part of our daily live and we feel them without knowing it. So, many times I have difficult time to understand Western religions even I studied bible when I was in HS, but it’s long time ago, and translated from Hebrew, so many words didn’t make sense to me back then. You know some times translation is all strange. :confused:

I strongly believe gods in nature, but I do not practice any particular religion right now. I have many strange experiences related with some may call ghost or spirit, so I strongly believe spiritual world. I just can’t explain what were they, but sometimes I feel them. So, when I attend or observe any religious related activities I always pay extra caution. I also always pay respect for any religious or traditional places or activities, and their culture. I always try to understand culture behind the activities. I guess that is my anthropologist nature. :cool:

Keep read this thread and learn more about Zar… Thanks for educating me all! ;)
 

Sita

New member
Dear A'isha and Tarik Sultan,
This is exactly what I wanted to know Thank you. I have only just recently been introduced to Zar through the bellydancing community although I was aware of Zikr and other Sufi practices like those of the Mevlevi Order. However my ignorance did not assosiate them together but now I see that just as one would not consider the Whirling Dervishes a dance but a spiritual practise the same would apply to Zar; a meduim in which to correspond or connect with the higher metaphysical realms. So thank you both for the re-education :)

A'isha: I appreciate and respect the fact you presented information unbiased of your own belief - it is something I always struggle with. Also I understand people being uncomfortable about taking about such matters - I have found the same instances in my own rite where the metaphysical and mysticism play a large part but very few people discuss or mention it almost like it is a shameful element such as with the practise of exorcism. I think for us it is almost like protecting the belief system from being attacked by others as superstitious even miracles that are now commonly accepted in the faith were at one time treated with severe hostilty and played down.

Tarik your statement 'There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the casual observers are not aware of.' I think this is very true and this is one of the reasons I think this thread has become so vitual to understanding this subject - people do need to be aware of the happenings 'behind the scenes' to even begin to understand this or any subject matter.
Also may I wish you blessings and all the best on your spiritual path; a priest/teacher of any belief is a wonderful and beautiful gift from God to the world. :pray:

Sita
 
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