this way, and now, my spirit relations have seen it, they want to come and obsess all the ladies of the court. But you have come and interfered. You came and asked me what I wish. For you, Zara, only for you will I leave thebody of this princess, provided you hold a night-feast in my honour.’‘We will be glad to do so’, said Zara, ‘what sort of feast do you want?’The spirit-sultan replied: ‘set up a table for the sacrifice. Light candles for me. Slaughter animals, chant, playon drums in this style (‘wedawâ-wedeh; wâdéh wâdéh; wadaiya; ayaway wâiyéh’), and I will leave the princess.She will return to better health than before.’
The remedy is are often sacrificial gifts for the spirits, or talismanic jewellery for the patient,or simply blood.
The cult’s oral tradition records Egyptian origins. A ‘priestess’ in this tradition is called a ‘Shecha’ a wordderived from Coptic Secherou and Egyptian ‘Akhw. The word Zâr possibly comes from the Kushitic Bilinlanguage of the Nile valley south of Egypt, from ‘Gâr’ meaning ‘heaven’ and ‘god’. Most authors state that theZar are not djinns, but come from another class of spirits. . . . some of the Zar are Muslim, Jewish, Christian (thedecedents of Cain) or Pagan . . . The Zar spirits can be of either sex. . . A woman obsessed by a male spirit will be addressed and treated like a man, and a man obsessed by a female Zar will be dressed up and treated as a woman. . . Zar devotees are referred to as ‘yazâr faras’ which means ‘horse of the Zar’.