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Do the Yazidis Really Worship Satan?
Why I decided to learn about the Yazidis
I kept seeing the Yazidis appear in the news, so I decided to do some research and find out some more in-depth information about Yazidi culture. What I learned while assembling this article really helped me make sense of what is going on in that region of the Middle East.
Violence against Yazidis
Islamic State terrorists will kill or persecute any "infidels" who don't believe in Islam (they have been known to impale the severed heads of their enemies on poles for example) but they have a special hatred for Yazidis. Recently, IS soldiers threw hundreds of Yazidi men, women and children into mass graves and buried them alive.
The US media is prone to exaggeration, so at first I didn't believe what I was reading. After I did some research, though, I found out that what the Islamic State is up to in the Middle East is truly horrific.
Particularly enlightening is the embedded documentary series from Vice News about the Islamic State that I have included below. What I like about this documentary series is that the emphasis is on the footage. There is no political agenda expressed and almost no narration. Vice just lets the Islamic State barbarians speak for themselves.
The Islamic State's Yazidi extermination project
It is likely that the violence will continue in the Middle East as long as the Islamic State is around. Islamic jihadists have vowed to annihilate the 4000 year old Yazidi culture. If the rule of law keeps deteriorating in the region they might have their way. In recent months the radical Islamic terrorists have captured millions of dollars of US military equipment, seized control of both Mosul and Sinjar and chased over 10,000 Yazidis up Sinjar Mountain. For a while it looked like all the Yazidis trapped on the mountain were all going to die.
Thanks to action from the U.S. and Syria, the Yazidis are safe, at least for now.
The Yazidis are not strangers to genocide. The Mongols and the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Yazidis. In the 18th and 19th centuries alone, the Yazidis endured a whopping 72 genocidal massacres.
According to my sources, the primary reason for Yazidi persecution is their ancient, strange and highly imaginative creation story.
All mythological stories are weird, but each creation myth speaks to a metaphorical truth about human nature and the world. From a storytelling perspective, I personally like the Yazidi's version of creation better than both the Christian and Muslim versions.
A mythological mash-up
The Yazidi religion is considered to be a syncretic system of belief; in other words it is a blend of religious ideas imported from Zoroastrianism, Sufism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and paganism.
The Yazidi people refer to God by the name Yasdan. Unlike Yaweh, who likes to tinker with the world directly, Yasdan prefers to kick back and relax while his squad of seven angels does most of the heavy lifting and world-creating.
The relationship between Yasdan and his angels is interesting. They don't always communicate well, and there are disagreements and misunderstandings that occur.
The chief angel in Yasdan's crew is known as Melek Taus (aka Tawsi Melek), the Peacock Angel. According to Yazidi myth, the Peacock Angel created the world after Yasdan brought it into being.
The first known gluten allergy
During the early history of the universe, Yasdan lets his favorite angel Melek Taus do most of the work. Yasdan stands back while Melek Taus creates the world, makes a man named Adam and places him in a paradise called Eden.
After all the creating is complete, Yasdan chimes in to make a rule. Adam can do whatever he wants to do in Eden except for one thing: eat wheat.
After 100 years, the "no wheat allowed" diet starts to bother the Peacock Angel Melek Taus. Noticing that Adam wasn't reproducing, Melek Taus blames Adam's lack of procreation on his gluten-free diet.
When the Peacock Angel comes to Yasdan and asks how Adam is supposed to go forth and multiply without grain, Yasdan says cryptically: "I have put the whole matter into thy hands."
The Peacock Angel flies back down to Eden and suggests to Adam that he should just forget the stupid ban on wheat and go ahead and have himself a baguette. Adam initially refuses, but after more encouragement from Melek Taus he goes ahead and eats of the grain.
Immediately after eating the wheat, Adam's stomach inflates. Apparently freaked out and scared that he may have messed up one of his own creations by choosing to disobey Yasdan, the Peacock Angel drives Adam out of the garden and flies away.
Why the ban on grain?
I personally think that the reference to grain refers to the dawn of agriculture. The human race didn't really start to grow and take off until after the invention of farms. The Yazidi myth seems to be trying to explain the shift from a nomadic lifestyle to an agricultural way of life.
After farming was invented, humans started settling down in one area and forming large communities. Prior to agriculture, humans had to keep moving and keep looking for food. The nomadic lifestyle has a built-in population control mechanism because it's not practical to have more kids than you can carry with you.
Adam receives two gifts from Yasdan: an anus and a girlfriend
In Christian mythology, Eve takes the blame for violating God's warning to not eat the apple, but in the Yazidi version Yasdan doesn't blame Adam for violating the "no wheat" diet plan. He blames Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel.
Instead of letting Adam remain bloated, Yasdan is nice enough to send a bird to peck a hole in Adam's rear end. Thus we have the origin of the butt.
Upstairs in heaven, Melek Taus and Yasdan quarrel for 100 years. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Adam gets depressed. The warring angels upstairs are preoccupied and Adam is lonely.
So, Yasdan intervenes again and creates Eve.
Who's pitching, who's catching?
At first, Adam and Eve didn't get along very well. Each of the wanted to be the sole begetter of the human race. So, Adam and Eve agreed to have a contest. Adam and Eve would both "cast a seed" into two different jars.
Adam and Eve both can a seed. Nine months pass. Then they open the jars. Adam's seed, as it turns out, produced a baby male and a female. Eve's weaker seed, though, had produced nothing but worms and a foul odor.
An answer to the question: why do men have nipples?
As a reward to Adam for successfully reproducing, Yasdan gives Adam a handsome pair of nipples so that he can feed his new babies.
Yazidis trace their lineage back to Adam's first two jar babies. The rest of the world's people, they say, are descendants of both Adam and Eve.
What's the deal with Yazidi honor killings?
The Yazidis place a strict taboo on intercultural marriages. Yazidis think of non-Yazidis as being sort of genetically defective, which is why Yazidi women are not allowed to marry foreigners.
The consequences for breaking the taboo can be severe. Honor killings occur, but they are rare. There is a community of about 35,000 Yazidis living in Oldenburg, Germany and according to everything I read they get along with everyone pretty well. In 2012, though, an 18 year old Yazidi girl living in Germany was killed by her brothers after she fell in love with a 23 year old German.
The other honor killing case that I found out about happened in April of 2007, when a woman named Du'a Khalil Aswad was killed in Northern Iraqi town of Bashiqa. In the documentary "People of the Sun," a Yazidi expert suggests that the public murder may have been set up by the Islamic State for propaganda purposes.
Right after a cellphone video of the Du'a Khalil Aswad killing went public, Islamic State terrorists bombed the Yazidi towns Kahtaniya and Jazeera. Over 800 civilians died.
Considering the fact that the Islamic State has recently announced their plan to exterminate the Yazidis, it seems possible that Islamic State terrorists might have used operatives to set up and film what seemed to be the honor killing of Du'a Khalil Aswad back in 2007. A video of Yazidis stoning one of their own would have been useful in motivating moderate Muslims to believe that all Yazidis are evil devil worshipers and should be destroyed.
Is the Peacock Angel the devil?
After the Peacock Angel Melek Taus went against Yasdan's warning about wheat, a heavenly war ensued. Melek Taus lost, and was thrown to the earth. When he hit the ground, he took the shape of a peacock. According to legend the Yazidis took care of Melek Taus and nursed him back to health, which is why the Yazidi people have a special relationship with the Peacock Angel.
After crying and feeling sorry about his transgression against Yasdan for 7,000 years, the creator finally forgave the Peacock Angel. According to one Yazidi legend, the Peacock Angel's tears extinguished the flames of hell.
The Yazidis revere Melek Taus the Peacock Angel because he is the only angel with free will. Like humans, Melek Taus doesn't always choose to do the right thing. The Peacock Angel isn't perfect. He messes things up sometimes and human beings just have to deal with his occasional screw-ups.
Radical Muslims and some Christians believe that Melek Taus is Lucifer, since both Lucifer and the Peacock Angel disobeyed the creator and were kicked out of heaven. The Peacock Angel's personality, however, is totally different than Lucifer's. You can read the entire Yazidi Black Book (MASHAF REŠ) here.
The Yazidi creation myth is an interesting read. Since the Yazidi religion is much older than Christianity and Islam, it is entirely possible that the Islamic and Christian creation myths were both influenced by Yazidi lore.
Check out "Children of the Sun" for more info about the Yazidis
If you'd like to find out more about Yazidi culture, I recommend watching "Children of the Sun." The entire documentary is available on YouTube and I have embedded the videos below.
Spread the word about the Yazidis
If you liked this hub, please share it on your social network pages so that more people can learn the truth about the Yezidis and their fascinating, misunderstood ancient culture.
Children of the Sun part 1
Children of the Sun part 2
© 2014 Alex Munkachy