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liz hand
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 04:44 am:   

Does anyone out there know anything about Moroccan Magic and/or folklore? I'm trying to research it online, but haven't really found much. Is there an ur-text somewhere that I'm missing? I'm be very grateful for any tips ...
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 05:03 am:   

It might be worth reading Brion Gysin's novel THE PROCESS (if you haven't already read it) because it's about an outsider being inducted into the world of Moroccan Magic. Because Gysin lived in Morocco I assume it's probably pretty accurate, though it doesn't go into too many details. But the creation of atmosphere is fabulous.
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liz
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 05:31 am:   

Hi, Rhys. Many thanks for the recommendation. Oddly enough (or maybe not) I was re-reading about Brion Gysin yesterday -- he's one of the points of entry for what I'm working on. But I haven't read THE PROCESS, so will do.

My partner, John Clute, has been reading your work and singing your praises to me of late. I'm finally caught up with some overdue deadlines and amvery much looking forward to reading you for myself!

I was first intrigued by all that circle of folks in Morocco back in 1970 or '71, when I read about Brian Jones' fascination with The Pipes of Pan in Jojouka. I'm surprised there's not more material out there, but again, maybe I'm just not looking in the right place. I have all of Bowles and the Bowles' bios etc., but I was hoping for something along the lines of an ethnography.
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Rhys
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 05:48 am:   

Moroccan music is still a mystery to me. Brion Gysin's book seems part of that Rolling Stones thing, if it was a thing...

I've been listening to Algerian Rai for about 10 years and it's one of my favourite styles of music. Apparently there is now also a Moroccan version of Rai which is less secular and more mystical, though I've yet to hear any tracks by any artists, but surely there MUST be some scholarly material on the links between magic and music in Morocco? Don't know where, though.

You could e-mail the Cultural Attache of the Moroccan Embassy, I guess. Some embassies can be really helpful. Others aren't...

I had no idea John Clute was your partner!
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liz
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 06:31 am:   

Interesting thought about contacting the Moroccan Embassy about magic. Of course, in the current political climate the US government would probably tag me as a security risk. But I may chance it.

I listened to the Jojoukan musicians about twenty years ago but not since. There's a radio program here that plays Rai; I have it on as background music but have never followed up on getting any of the albums. Is there's anyone you'd recommend? (I think Lucius Shepard is into Rai as well.)

I just ordered THE PROCESS: the miracle of Amazon. It certainly makes living in rural Maine easier, from the research standpoint.

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iotar
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 06:32 am:   

Only thing I know about Moroccan music/magic is the Master Musicians of Jajouka. Actually I think there are two sets of Master Musicians and one of them played in London a few years back. Oh yes, and there's gnawa music too, seems to be some sort of Sufi healing thing. Saw some of that performed in Greenwich a few years back.

But as for texts? I've got a friend who went out to explore the music - I'll probably see him tonight so I'll see if he has any ideas.
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 08:24 am:   

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have some info for you. When I was in Morocco in the late 60s, early 70s, when Moroccans spoke of magic they often associated it with three groups, the Berbers of southern Morocco, particularly those living in the Atlas mountains; the Sufis; and the Jews. Of special note were a class of Berber scholars known as tolbas, who did a lot of chanting of religious texts and were reputed to be magicians. The High Atlas encloses some pretty strange venues, and Moroccans tended to look upon the area with a certain amount of awe and mystification. All Berber and Sufi magic seems to have close ties with gnawa music, with the mind/body stuff associated with the music. Some years back I was thinking of doing some pieces on Morocco and I recall contacting the Jewish Theological Seminary in America and they were quite helpful in pointing me toward material that reflected upon Jewish occultism in Morocco and certain Sufi occult texts. Unfortunately for your purposes, that was a while ago and I no longe have my notes. In addition, there's a lot of Christian screed relating to the rise of Freemasonry in 8th Century Morocco that might be suitable for fictionalizing. Also, Richard Burton, I believe, was a Sufi -- I haven't read him since forever, but as he was an dabbler in the occult, his work might prove to be a source.

As to THE PROCESS, I agree with Rhys Hughes that it is atmospheric --however, I felt, in light of my own experiences during that time, that the atmosphere was somewhat laid on. I guess it all depends upon what drugs you're taking. I was eating a lot of marjoun, sort of a hashish gingerbread occasionally laced with flecks of white opium. I'm not sure what Mr. Gysin was on.
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liz
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 11:53 am:   

Lucius, that's great stuff -- thank you. I'll probably call you at some point and pick your brain at more length; or save it for this summer if you'll be in Seattle.

Zali, if your friend knows of anything that would be great, too. And Rhys, thank you again. This is ALL great! (I probably sound like I'm eating majoun.)

I feel like I have the drug aspect down, from my own experience; haven't eaten authentic majoun IN Morocco but certainly consumed enough ersatz stuff, avec opium and god knows what other additives. And I have a good book on Coptic ritual magic which may be useful. I hope to go there sometime early next year, which would be ideal.

The High Atlas sounds like a good lead, and Burton too -- I did quite a bit of research on him for ML, none of which made the final cut, but the material is there.

(Caveat to Lucius: if I'm writing about it, the atmosphere is likely to be laid on with a trowel as well!)
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 02:52 pm:   

Liz, better remind me of your dates in Seattle. The way the summer is shaping up, I may or may not be able to get there. I'm canceling out of worldcon. Going to armadillocon instead. But I will be in DC.

I was imprecise, perhaps, when I said "laid on." What I meant was Gysin's atmospheres seemed slanted, done for an effect that I felt created an inaccurate picture.
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liz
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 05:11 pm:   

Seattle's from July 5 (saturday) through the following Friday, which is, what? July 11th, I think. Don't sweat it if you can't make it down -- summer is crazy.

I do hope to be in DC for WFC, though perhaps not for the entire weekend -- I probably will arrive Saturday morning (Friday night is Halloween, still a big night for my kids.) SO we can get together there. Or you can always come to Maine! I've spent the last few weeks working on Tooley Cottage. It really looks great: for the first time in 13 years, what I dreamed of it becoming.

Gysin sounds a bit of a psychic flimflam man, so your description sounds accurate to me. I'll read the book and see what I can get out of it.

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iotar
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 04:33 am:   

Liz: I was intending to ask my mate Tim about Morocco the other night but ended up drinking too much and trying to persuade him to buy another friend's boat.

I'll try to catch him on the subject of Moroccan music and magic some other time.

He didn't buy the boat either.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

Maybe there's a magical spell to stop people finding out anything about Moroccan Magic?
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Sarah
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 05:45 am:   

I am reserching sufism in morocco in preparation for a trip there in mid december... i would love to speak to anyone who has good contacts there i might be able to meet with... am particularly interested in magic/mysticism etc.

thank you in advance!
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Sarah Thornton
Posted on Friday, December 02, 2005 - 05:46 am:   

oh by the way - prob best to email me

sarah.thornton@remedyproductions.tv

tks

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