Hadandowa Beja [of Kassala province in Sudan]

pp. 32-34 personal secrecy

p.

secrecy

32

"They will never give away the actual number of their animals ... . ... In addition a Beja will avoid mentioning the actual number of his children and their names."

33

"The names of females are never mentioned in public. ... To mention the name of one’s mother people would say is ‘like making her a prostitute.’ "

"And, their habit of keeping names of females secret is not shared by neighboring Rashaida pastoralists and nomads.

The Beja habit of keeping the number of children and animals secret clearly has to do with their belief in the power of the ‘evil eye,’ ... ." {Howbeit, other tribes which believe in the ‘evil eye’ are not keepers of such number-secrets! Could this, rather, be connected with Hadandowa interest in talking-during-sleep by animals and by children (as, in p. 74, n. 4:11)? Cf., perhaps, the European practice of ‘counting sheep’ while falling asleep.}

pp. 54-57 physical ailments

p.

sect.

ailment

description

54

4.0.2.i

kosu`lt

"fever"

55

 

hemine`it

"headache"

   

gu`rda

"fever" with "chills"

56

4.0.2.ii

ta`flam

"dystentaria"

   

wata`b

"tiredness"

   

hera`r

[jaundice]

   

haf

"abdominal swelling"

57

 

a`fram

"knots" on the body

pp. 57-62 4.0.2.iii mystical afflictions

p.

affliction

aetiology

57

sirr

"person X saw another person Y having a meal which X would like to share, but for reasons of politeness ... X did not accept an invitation from Y. The food will then harm Y".

58

tese`rimt

"If the mother eats meat, butter oil or milk from foreign animals ..., the child may get the sickness ... through mother’s milk."

 

t’ha`asimt

"from bites of the spirit spider."

59

mirqay

" ‘fright’ ... a childhood sickness resulting from ... seeing a spirit in sleep or while awake".

 

mingay

" ‘left alone,’ ... a child suffers from ‘left alone-ness.’ "

 

s`agiga

"intense headache affecting only one side of the head. ... intolerance of daylight ... migraine headache."

 

toordi`p

"epilepsy, sara<a in Arabic; literally it means ‘falling down.’ "

60

kelay t’a`at

‘a bird struck’ (/kelay/ ‘bird’ + /t’a`at/ ‘struck’) "half-side facial paralysis. The sickness is thought to be caused by a spirit bird slapping the face of its victim with one of its wings." "the actual cases ... all concerned adolescent girls of ten to fifteen years of age approaching the marriageable age."

 

ha`ale

‘madness’ : "speaking strangely, displaying strange behavior like walking out naked or dressing in a strange way, seeing things not experienced by others ... . People behaving in this manner are perceived to be possessed by spirits, not merely afflicted by them. ...

61

 

In some cases, a ‘mad’ person is believed to be especially benevolent and ... is thought to bestow blessings on people meeting him or her on the street. This is a common Northern Sudanese theme ... . Some women will even supply them with gifts of money".

 

waswa`s

"paranoia, performing excessive ritual of cleanliness, ... or, not the least, isolating oneself from other people.

... zar spirits ... may often involve symptoms of waswa`s."

pp. 65-66 4.1.2 female diviners

p.

diviner

65

"The profession of predicting people’s destiny or condition from throwing cowrie-shells is an entirely female profession. ... Seven shells, whose convex side have been cut off, are thrown on the ground and analyzed from their positions as well as on which side they land."

66

[autobiographical account by cowrie-shell woman] "I had a dream. In that dream I saw a bird ... . This bird then advised me to be a cowrie-shell woman."

p. 67 4.1.3 treatment by means of verses written on paper

was.l – "inscription is made on a piece of paper, which is then burned. The ash is mixed with water, which is given to the patient to drink."

mihaya – "verses (often seven) are written in ink on a piece of paper or wood. The inscription is washed away with water afterward. This water is carefully collected and the patient is given the water to drink."

hejab – "A piece of paper with ... inscription is wrapped inside an amulet as protection against attacks from evil spirits."

readings aloud by the fagir – "The fagir sometimes makes the readings more effective ... by spitting directly in the face of the patient."

{all these methods, including eating ashes of writing and drinking ink of writing and spitting in face of person being blessed, are Daoist}

pp. 71-72, 216-245 zar parties

p.

sect.

party

71

4.1.5.1

"The jalluka ceremony, where the name jalluka (A) refers to the drum used. ... The patient is referred to as the bride, married to her zar spirit. ... The further development of the ceremony ... is characterized by drumming, singing and violent trance-like dancing where the identity of the spirit is sought as well as its wishes."

 

4.1.5.2

"The t.ayyab is a smaller party conducted without drum rhythms."

238

8.1.4.17.c

"In zar events the women typically dress in male clothes, perform male behaviors like ... leading prayers, and move around with rough, male movements. Typically, this reflects the gender of the spirit. The zar leader addresses the spirit directly rather than its female host. In zar parties ..., female patients are continuously addressed with masculine grammatical forms. ... In zar possession, ... the marriage bond between the spirit and its host is always pronounced".

239

8.1.4.17.l

"[A woman]’s zar spirit is a male spirit demanding male clothes ... . This is typical in zar stories, where the sex of the spirit is usually different from the sex of the host. Female hosts then typically act out very masculine behavior, like rough movements in the ritual dances, ... and ... leading an imitated Muslim prayer."

p. 74, n. 4:11 talking during sleep

"Some people say that the word tese`rimt is a Beja word for a special voice made by animals when sleeping.

Others say that tese`rimt is a special voice from sleeping children".

p. 125 cure of ailments by odors

sect.

odor of __

treateth __

6.3.2.2—XXX.b.1

kamun aswad (cumin spice)

s`agiga

6.3.2.2—XXX.b.2

uhu`k [a tree in Sinkat]

headache

6.3.2.2—XXX.b.3

hallig a`llim [a bush in Sinkat]

mi`rqay

6.3.2.2—XXX.b.5

burning sarro`b (tu`ndup = Capparis decidua)

ua`y (mouth blisters)

6.3.2.2—XXX.d.2

butter oil

sari`it (lumbar backache)

pp. 144-156 zar spirits

p.

sect.

spirits

144

6.7.2--J.1

"All living things have their counterpart in the spirit world."

145

6.7.2--XLIX.b.1

"They can make themselves visible or invisible by their own will."

 

6.7.2--XLIX.b.2

"They can move much faster than humans."

 

6.7.2--XLIX.b.3

"They can move through physical hindrances like walls".

146

6.7.2--L.a

"Zar spirit humans stay permanently in humans in a lifelong marriage with them."

147

6.7.2--L.d.1

"If a person has been possessed by ... a zar sheikh, the spirit may help him with getting spirits in other possessed persons to tell their wishes."

 

6.7.2--L.d.2

"In zar ceremonies, when several zar spirits are present, individual zar spirits are led to identify themselves and their wishes."

149

6.7.2—LV.a

"Incense of luban [Commiphora pedunculata] and kamun aswad [Caminum cyminum] keeps evil spirits away."

150

6.7.2—LV.g.1

"Ota`m on the roof prevents the spirit guk [a bird] from breast-feeding and hence harming an infant." {cf. Putana who would teat-feed and thereby harm infants}

p. 153 6.7.3.1 among the Fan of Kamerun, ghosts of the dead "are invisible, ... can easily go through physical obstacles and usually move extremely fast."

Frode F. Jacobsen : Theories of Sickness and Misfortune among the Hadandowa Beja of the Sudan. Kegan Paul, London, 1998.