Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Grandmother's Djinn Tale

Gezende Gorge
So wishing I was still at Hogwarts. If you haven't been yet, you should go...

I'd like to say thanks for all your help last week with the parallel world/dimension dilemma. I was always leaning toward a "shadow world", but I just had that moment of self-doubt. You know - the one that knaws at you for a week until you work it out. Maybe I should re-definine "moment" in the context of self-doubt? ;)

Alesa mentioned Barzakh, so I thought I'd toss that idea around and compare the eschatology (death sequence) of the east and the west. They are actually very similar. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

1) You die and your soul separates from your body.
2) You examine your life. Probably some atonement here, or what is the point of examination. Yes?
3) Your soul enters a sleep state that lasts until the judgement day.

I suppose Barzakh is another word for Purgatory. Since this is a sort of soulful hang-out spot for the ages, the idea that djinn might exist in Barzakh makes some kind of sense, if you believe them to be purely spirit. Jonathan Stroud uses something like Barzakh for his djinn dimension. (I say dimension because it's not a fully developed world. TY Holly Ruggiero. :) ) From what lore I've heard though, the djinn don't exist in a half-state of being at all - and that is the root of my djinn world.

I'll just tell you a short story I heard:

In the middle of the night (of course) a strange woman comes banging at the village midwife's door, asking for help. The midwife rouses her daughter to let her know she'll be gone for a while and the obliges the waiting woman. They follow a path up into the hillside, going through ever more treacherous and narrow passageways of the rocky gorge (imagine the one in the picture - sans the kayak), until they reach a yurt where a woman is in labor. After a long night of wailing and misery, the child is born and the midwife is compensated for her excellent work with a bag of gold. Then she's led back to her home. In the morning, the midwife wakes and when she opens the bag of gold, she discovers onions instead.

This story was told to me by the daughter, who was herself a grandmother when she told it. She believed every word she said, or at least she convinced me that she did. She also told me that the djinn use your things when you're not. For example, (her example, actually) if you wash and fold your sheets and they're soiled when you open them up the next time, a djinn has used them in your stead.

So I came away with the idea that, in eastern lore, djinn are not just floating around in their own dimension. They are in fact sharing ours. Sometimes even drawing us into theirs. Also, whenever we interact with the djinn, there are glamours involved so that what we see isn't what we think. I'm not sure if it's done intentionally as a trick, if djinn sensibility is skewed based on their reality, or if we just can't bring gold from their world back into ours. The grandmother seemed to think it was a trick, even though she didn't blame the dinn. It's just the way they are.

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Sarah said...

That picture is really cool. This is interesting, thinking about djinn morality and such. I love thinking about these parallel dimensions/worlds. Have you read The Marbury Lens? It's a very different kind of book, but explores this idea in detail.

Old Kitty said...

You know the first I thought was
"how ungrateful" to trick a poor midwife with gold when they are actually onions - esp after all her hard work!! Then you mention that maybe it wasn't a deliberate trick - it's just their world translates all wrong in ours. Now that's got me all thinking about how truly complex our worlds are and how there are many shades of grey really and nothing is quite as they seem or should be. Who thought djinns could be so mind boggling!!!

Just an aside, my bestest friend refuses to believe in purgatory - thinks it;s such a cruel catholic invention! I kind of like the idea of being in limbo and having the chance of working your way out or not! LOL!
p.s You're a fab story teller btw!! Take care

Carolyn V said...

Aw, the poor midwife! The djinn world sounds interesting. =)

Creepy Query Girl said...

I love old wives like this. It kinda reminds me of the modern day leprechaun tales we tell kids on st. patricks day- how tricky they can be. As for the djin- it reminds me of a mix of legends and ghost stories. Really neat

Southpaw said...

I love those old tales.

Isn't it fascinating what we put ourselves through for our stories. LOL

LTM said...

wait... so she helped a djinn woman have a baby? Or the djinn took her gold and left her onions? Durn djinn! :D

but I love stories like that--esp the one about the used sheets. Good one~ :o) <3 said...

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