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ZarSpirit Possession, Music, and Healing Rituals in Egypt$
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Hager El Hadidi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166976

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166976.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CAIRO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cairo.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The American University in Cairo Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Localization of Bodies in Space: A Ritual Sampler

Localization of Bodies in Space: A Ritual Sampler

(p.111) 5 Localization of Bodies in Space: A Ritual Sampler

Hager El Hadidi

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter presents a sampler of zar sacrificial rites and rituals using a realist narration style, of the kind that is employed in fiction, based on transcriptions of actual recordings of real life. The opening sura of the Qur'an, the Fatiha, is the fundamental Muslim prayer. In zar rituals, the Fatiha is used as the central part of a special ritual formula performed at the beginning of any zar performance, called the Openings (al-fawatih). This chapter first describes the ritual use of incense in the Openings rite and its context before discussing the rite for sacrificial blood. It also considers the sacrificial procession dedicated to the Grand Lady, one of the most important zar spirits and leader of a spirit pantheon. Finally, it examines the mayanga (a Hausa word which means “cemetery”), a place where a zar devotee may harbor her possessing spirits and thus acquire direct access to them.

Keywords:   zar sacrificial rite, Fatiha, zar ritual, Openings, incense, sacrificial blood, Grand Lady, zar spirit, mayanga

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