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King Solomon, Djinns, Genies, and Ancient Spirits

To: alt.pagan,alt.magick,alt.mythology,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.wicca,alt.islam.sufism,alt.sufi,alt.magick.folk,talk.religion.misc,alt.divination
From: tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com (nagasiva)
Subject: Re: King Solomon, Djinns, Genies, and Ancient Spirits
Date: 11 Jun 1997 03:33:42 -0700

49970611 aa2  Hail Satan!  (compare: faeries, ghosts, gods, demons)

sargon@telusplanet.net:
>>I'm looking for books, documents, or anything which addresses the above.

try _(Tales of) 1001 Arabian Nights_ for some lovely accounts.  'djinn' is 
the plural of 'djinni' which translates as English 'genie'.  'ancient spirits' 
as compared to 'modern spirits' are roughly the same, though the breadth of
association with the term 'spirit' has grown considerably to incorporate
anything from liquor to god to angel.  _The Key of Solomon the King_ is
supposed to directly address a manner of summoning and directing the
activities of said djinn/spirits.  Muslims treat the djinn as a sub-class
of nonmaterial being betwixt angels and human, along with a few other 
kinds of magical beings like the houri or ifrit.

the story goes that Solomon used his magical system to capture and
enslave the world's djinn and had them build "Solomon's Temple", then
he packed them up in a special brass container, sealed it with his
magick ring, and threw it into the ocean.  someone fished it out, a
veritable Pandora, and (accidentally?) released the djinn unto the
world once more since the time of Solomon.  I don't know the whole
story and I'm sure there are many variations.
 

>>remarks about the actual existance of these beings. Is it all 
>>mythology/legend or is there a basis in fact? Please let me know.

larryc@teleport.com (Larry Caldwell):
>Genies are from the same root as the Latin "genius."  The ancients
>believed that some people had a familiar spirit, or genius, that
>prompted them to creative acts and exceptional behavior.  Our modern
>usage is that the person "is a genius," while the ancient usage was
>th person "has a genius."

correct, also called an 'augoeides', one of which Socrates is supposed
to have had.  it was kind of like the modern 'guardian angel' except
that it wasn't necessarily tied into the Christian cosmology and was
at times related to the condition of one's 'soul' or cosmic maturity
(perception of and communication with these beings was considered a
mark of development and acute perception).  they would provide advice
on the nature of the cosmos and one's actions within it, being able to
procure large amounts of data in their quick travels and nonmaterial
references.  this advice would sometimes be moral as well as practical
and would apparently be heard as if spoken aloud but only by the person
whose guardian it was assigned or had chosen.

djinns are not always considered reliable by Muslims or middle-easterners
at large.  they are subject to being 'enslaved' by magical objects such
as lamps and rings and bottles which are constructed or enhanced to
contain them, and their temperament can be inimical to humans, aligned
to certain types of human beings, or generally beneficent (compare with
humans in terms of variety).  they are presumed by the monotheists to
have less power and authority than the God's 'angels' ('messengers' of
the divine) and are in similar need of salvation.


>The classic Greeks had a similar belief, but I can't remember the term
>for it.  Daemonis?  Help me out here, somebody familiar with ancient
>Greek.  

you are probably speaking of the 'daemon' or 'daemonium', the latter at
times cited by Christians and others as malevolent forms of the daemons,
later categorized together as 'demons'.  to the Greeks the daemons (or
daemondim? Jewish?) were not necessarily of any particular temperament, 
akin to the djinn above.  they could be helpful as well as harmful to 
their cohorts.


>Anyway, the nine Muses acted as genii, and when a creative
>person hit a dry spell, their Muse had deserted them.  Nowdays we keep
>the results of Muse/human collaboration in a "museum."

I'm not sure that these were always conflated, however.  the Muses were
Greek assignments to particular cultural knowledge-bases.  typically I
don't think that djinn or daemons are so delegated such responsibilities,
though at times the God may utilize the services of the djinn to achieve
Hir ends.


>King Solomon is generally believed to have existed.  He was a king in
>Canaan about the 10th century bce.  There is a lot of Jewish and Islamic
>mythology that credits him with the ability to command spirits, but it
>all dates from after the conquest of Alexander, when Hellenistic philosophy
>met eastern mysticism.  Much of it is later than 1st century ce., and 
>originated in the eastern Roman empire and adjacent territory.  Thus the
>genii-genius terminology.  Genii is the Latin plural of genius.

I leave in all this text for archival purposes.  lovely, my favorite 
Mockingbird.


>The Islamic conquest in the 6th century ce. moved through a lot of animist
>territory, where almost everything had its attendant spirit.  There was
>a spirit of the well, a spirit of the wind, a spirit of the river, on and
>on.  Islam failed to displace quite a bit of animist religion, and there
>is still a strong animist streak running through Islamic practice.  That's
>where you get djinn (Arabic pronunciation of genius), ifrit (wind spirits)
>and such.  Alchemy is an Arabic word, invented by Muslims, who assigned
>spirits to the alchemical elements of earth, air, fire and water.

al khemi ('black art' or 'egyptian art' -- on account of the black soil of
Egyptian lands).  so genius (Latin) came first, then djinn?  I'd heard it 
the other way 'round.

djinn are real beings to me.  they are more often than not associated
with air elementals or holy guardian angels.  several Muslims have said
that Kali, my favored, is a djinn, and the way I relate to her is very
much like the augoeides or holy guardian angel, rather than some cosmic
deity, even though I perceive Her in all these ways.  I have known what
I have understood to be 'earth spirits', and called them 'dragons'. same 
for 'water elemental' or 'sprite'.  these were individual encounters
that did not persistently repeat.  

in general I presume spirits/daemons/djinn to be elemental energies
given form and substance through the interaction of our consciousness
with the world.  whether this makes them 'real' or 'imaginary' I have
never decided, and I leave that to the absolutists to resolve.  it is
enough for me that I can encounter them as *if* they exist. ;>

tyagi@houseofkaos.abyss.com
nagasiva
-- 
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