Thursday, March 08, 2007

The final post on the Yezid

Throughout the world there are blended religions. Missionaries come to a region and sometimes try to reach common ground with the converts. The results are a mix of the old religion with elements of the new religion ala Santaria. Santaria is a mix of mostly Voodoo and some elements of Christianity.

I have read a tiny book on the Yezidi and there may be some truth to the claim that the Yezidi religion contained the preKurdish religion before Islam was imposed on most. The majority of Yezidi seem to support this line. Others notably from Sinjar stand by their own identity as Yezidi neither Kurd nor Arab.

The Yezidi seem to have blended many elements from other religions. The only thing I see that seems close to Judaism is calling the new year head of the year. Jews do a memorial service for the dead at the same time like the Yezidi. However, the Jewish service takes place in a house of worship and not a cemetary. Moreover only women perform this ritual in the Yezidi culture. As for Christianity they paint eggs in the spring.

What appears to have happened is a Sufi mystic Sheik Adi preached some form of Islam
to the Yezidi. This version of Islam was blended into the Yezidi faith. The Yezidi have their version of Ramadan that lasts three days. The legend has it Mohammed hear the number wrong. The Yeazidi even have their own version of the Haj. The belive this mystic transported the sites where Ishmael and Hagar went to Northern Iraq. Like Muslims they believe Ishmael was the intended sacrafice not Isaac.

The religion contained the legend of peacock angel. The Yezidi to be the children of a union of the peacock angel and Adam. The Yezidi also venerate black snakes. The source of this is that there was a hole in the Ark and a black snake plugged the hole.

The Yezidi lived in remote regions to escape persecution and lived apart from people of other religions. Their scripture and stories were remembered by a select few and until recently not placed on paper. The religion is mostly kept by designated people and lay people don't do much except join in festivals, parades and abide by some odd taboos that involve items that sound like the local word for Satan.

The author has an amusing view that TV is destroying the Yezidi culture. The Yezidi
like most would rather watch TV than listen to people that sing ancient Yezidi balads. I guess if we lived long enough we might defang Muslim extreemists by jamming their TV's with all the Michael Landon shows. I can see it now, Farouk I blow myself up later after I watch Bonanza.

The Yezidi society has rigid castes and who marries whom is controlled by Caste. A Yezidi historically never marries an outsider or accross his Caste. There was a story of a mixed caste marriage where the couple fled to Mosul and was killed. The Yezidi religion seems far less oppressive on women in general than Islam. There is song and dance so it is less austere than Islam.

There are also shrines for every ailmentr with a guardian. A Yezidiwith some sort of problem is supposed to go to the shrine make an offering (cash) and the problem is supposed to be alieviated. Perhaps there is a shrine to cure the mental impairment of Communists or general stupidity for Uptown Steve.

The author sees outside influences TV and democracy changing the culture. However, it seems abundantly clear that this culture has been influenced by the adjacent cultures. However, there are a wide range of views on who the Yezidis are and we may never have an answer.

Beamish in 08, Ducky to North Korea and John Brown to be relabotomized by Cuban health care.


Mr. Ducky said...

One of your better postings Beak. It is informative.

"What appears to have happened is a Sufi mystic Sheik Adi preached some form of Islam to the Yezidi."

So it wasn't spread by the sword?

I would also like to point out that music and dance are ubiquitous in the muslim world outside of Saudi and a few wahabi strongholds. Oum Khatoum was the best known singer in the world for good reason.

beakerkin said...

Wrong again Ducky

The Yezidis entire history has been one that is loaded with persecution from Muslims. The reason the remain in seperate villages is due to genuine persecution from Muslims.

Do note Yezidis revere the Sufi mystic but do not consider themselves Muslim. They also may live in villages with some Christians, but never with Muslims.

Yezidis are a blended religion and Muslimstend to be brutal on any deviation from the current strain
Bhai, Druze, Alawite, Ahmadi, Sikhs and many others have been persecuted by Muslims for their deviations.

Once again as a Commie dope you get it all wrong again. The Sufi mystic was known to wear a big conical cap that you are familiar with. Communists should be required to wear dunce caps in order to remain in the USA.

Mr. Ducky said...

Now, here I complement you on an interesting post and you lapse into rabies radio mode.
You should be ashamed, Beak.

American Crusader said...

Maybe I'm missing something but I didn't understand the following paragraph:
"The only thing I see that seems close to Judaism is calling the new year head of the year. Jews do a memorial service for the dead at the same time like the Yezidi. However, the Jewish service takes place in a house of worship and not a cemetary. Moreover only women perform this ritual in the Yezidi culture. As for Christianity they paint eggs in the spring."

Although Christian people do paint eggs, it is not a distinctly Christian activity, nor does it have any significant Christian meaning. Long before the birth of Christianity, many pagan groups saw the egg as a symbol of rebirth. It was a relatively common practice among many groups such as the Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians to give one another dyed eggs each Spring as symbols of the rebirth of the earth after a long winter.

American Crusader said...

Interesting people, the Yezidi, but what brought you to study them?
Personal interest(?)or some other reason?
The caste system seems more Hindu than any other religious influence.

American Crusader said...

I went through your archives and found your previous post on the Yezidi.
Do you think their religion is the ancestral religion of present-day Kurds?
ducky is right...very informative.

beakerkin said...


There may be strains of the ansecteral Kurd religion. However, the Yezidi religion in its current form is a blended religion.

We can see similar blended religions in Africa. There is a religious therory that the names of the demons were the names of rival people's Gods. I am having a hard time with some of the terms on the Yezidi because they are close to Hebrew and should not be as Kurdish is an unrelated language. This makes the possibility they may have predated the Kurds arival and were known under another name.

The Yezidi are interesting on many levels as every person looks at them and defines them with their own biases. Kurds see them as proto-Kurds. Muslims see them as a form of apostasy. I still see their religigon as a mix of Monotheism with stong Muslim blends and pagan rituals. Perhaps the Caste system came from Iran via India and was more wide spread.

I am glad you pointed out the painted egg bit is not Christian.
This was the authors opinion but it
seems to be incorporated from elsewhere.


The Yezidi fear and loathe Muslims for very good reason. Right now they are safest in Armenia as there is a legend of Yezidi saving Christians in the genocide of 1918. I have looked all over for confirmation of the legend and found none. This does not infer that the legend is false. The Barzani clan is believed to be descended from Yezidi's and has protected them in the Kurdish region. The Yezidi have had to postpone festivals as large crowds attract fanatical bomb throwing terrorists.

What we see in the Yezidi may be more of a reflection of us than them.

beakerkin said...


I am at a loss as to where the overtones of Christianity are that this author and others have claimed. I see almost nothing that resembles modern Judaism.

beakerkin said...


My study of the Yezidi is an odd derivative of the book Indigenous people under the rule of Islam. The question of who are these other indigenous people and how did they live is interesting.

There are a group of Jews known as conversos who practiced their faith in secret. Over time this practice disappears. It is logical to deduce that there were Jews and others who lived as Muslim conversos. 1400 years should have eliminated those tendencies but it would be amazing if there were a sect of Christian, Jewish or even pagan Conversos.

At some point I will have to do in depth reading on the Druze and Alawites who may be blends of another stripe. Sikhism is considered a blend of Hinduism and Islam.

It is amazing reading but takes time.

American Crusader said...

"1400 years should have eliminated those tendencies but it would be amazing if there were a sect of Christian, Jewish or even pagan Conversos."

I'm not sure which would be harder...keeping the secrecy for 1400 years or succeeding in passing along ancient beliefs to future generations
for such a long time period...even if secrecy wasn't needed.

beakerkin said...

This subject turns out to be far more complicated. There are similar groups in Turkey called Alevi. They are not to be confused with Alawites in Syria. There is a group called Yarsani in Iran that is similar to the Yezidi.

I need to examine the Druze and Alawites more closely.

This may be some form of conversoism.

Anonymous said...

Think these different sects might just be tribal/kinship adaptations, and a means of maintaining social homogenity & prevent assimilation?

FLORIAN said...

What's the name of the religious group in Iraq that follows a bizarre religion that includes Adam & Eve, Noah and John the Baptist? They're being persecuted to extinction by the jihadi's also.

beakerkin said...


While doing this suposed final post on the Yezidi I again get more unsolved questions.

There are a number of similar groups in Turkey ,Iran and Syria.
There is a very similar group to the Yezidi in Iran. The author mentions pligrims from Tabriz were ancient memories. Allegely there were 7 peacock statues and only 4 are known about today.

In Iran today are a little studied people called the Yarsani. Their beliefs are similar to the Yezidi.
I can find very little informatin on them.

There is a third group of mystery Kurds called the Alevis that also has a mysterious religion. If one was a pagan and wanted to retain their belief without the sword of Islam severing their head a fused religion may have been the ticket.

Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians could buy their freedom. This option was not available to pagans who worshiped a Peacock angel.

More questions than answers.

beakerkin said...


That is probably a garbled account of the Yezidi. The Yezidi do baptise people and ritual purification is part of their culture as it is in Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths. Many of their shrines involve the use of fire. This seems lifted from Zoroastrianism.

The Yezidis beleve that they are the product of a union between the Peacock angel and Adam. They also have a whole set of legends related to Noah.

The persecuted Assyrian and Jacobite Chrisians are nearby.

FLORIAN said...

It's a shame that the muzzie's had to wipe out the pacifist Zoroastrians--we wouldn't have a problem with a nuclear Iran right now--in fact we'd probably be glad to supply them with the technology if there were.

kuhnkat said...

Here are some more articles about Yezidi. The first one specifically mentions the Yezidi protecting Armenians.

z said...

Interesting about protecting Armenians. Germans are slammed for having been part of the genocide of Armenians, too, but my grandmother, who walked the desert, starving, as Beak describes, said she always loved Germans after that because so many civil and other types of German engineers in her area, Marash (in E. Turkey), gave their uniforms to Armenian men so they could escape. So much of history is never discussed.

beakerkin said...


I want to thank Kuhnkat for his excellent link. Apparently the legends of Yezidi rescuing Armenians in the Armenian Genocide is true.

Russet Shadows said...

That's some wild stuff! Television does destroy indigenous culture because it functions as a low-level narcotic. I'm not kidding. Studies have been done on the physical state people enter upon watching TV (lowered awareness, lowered metabolic rate), and the effects of ceasing television watching (irritability).

beakerkin said...


I remember shaking my head while reading the book at work. My coworkers seem to agree with the author and you.

There is an ironic twist in that the Yezidi survived persecution, genocide but are being eliminated by TV. The only thing that may perserve the culture is the persecution by Muslim fanatics. If left alone the influences of popular culture will do what warfare and genocide could not.

Maybe this says something about us but we haven't figured it out yet.