Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a Mythtery! A study of Mythical Creatures and Legends: Genie/Djinni

photo from

A Study of Mythological Creatures and Legends

Welcome to another new segment of my blog. I've currently been doing a truck load of research on genies for my current WIP, so I thought it would be fun to share what I know, as well as research other mythical creatures throughout the year. I hate to horde all this genie knowledge and keep it to myself. There's plenty to go around for everyone! Who knows, if it works out well I may keep it as a staple here at Christy's Creative Space. We'll see how it goes. Let me know what you think. Are there any Mythical creatures or Characters that you would like to see researched in the future?

1)Modern day thoughts regarding Genies (truth is stranger than fiction)
2)Writers Toolbox; Association and symbolism
4)Six different levels or tribes of Djinni
7)Major Legends
8)Books about or containing djinn

Modern day thoughts regarding Genies: (truth is stranger than fiction)
While the majority don't believe in the existence of Genies, there are some who still believe they can be contacted and summoned. Below are some modern day examples:

1) People sell Djinn on e-bay. Most of them come as residents in jewelry and other trinkets.

2) There are You-tube video's claiming to have recorded genies.

3) A Saudi Lawyer wanted to have a Djinn testify in court.

4) A college student has a scare when a friend conjures up a Djinn

5)In 1998, Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood proposed in a Wall Street Journal interview that jinn could be tapped to solve the energy crisis. "I think that if we develop our souls, we can develop communication with them. ... Every new idea has its opponents, but there is no reason for this controversy over Islam and science because there is no conflict between Islam and science." (Wikipedia)

6) When a Djinn dies, its soul infuses the area of its death. If this can be somehow harvested, it can be used to create magic of great curative properties. It is said that such magic can raise the dead, greatly extend life, and bestow great powers. (

7) There are web-sites that sell the secrets to summoning an rituals so that you can have your very own Genie who can give you winning lottery numbers, dig treasure, and aid you in teleportation and grant any wish in the blink of an eye. (for a price, of course) Since I don't personally endorse rituals such as this I'm not going to provide any links. But, as a writer, I find this fact fascinating for its fictional possibilities so I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Writers toolbox: Association/Symbolism
-animals (especially birds, dogs, camels, worms, porpoise, horse)
-cyclones/dust clouds

-use of intelligence and cunning in order to escape bondage
-Anger (loathes anyone who enslaves them)
-killer (will destroy master if he finds a way to escape from his bond)
-treasure finder
-wish granter
-pain (being summoned is painful)

-grants masters bidding
-ability to travel to different realms as well as anywhere in the universe
-has free will (ability to choose good or evil)
-Can be summoned and bonded by use of the djinn's giving name along with a summoning spell.

Let's take a look at Genie history:
Djinn, Djinni, Jinn, Genii, Jinniyah. Jinn is the female singular form; Djinni being the male plural and Jinniyah, or Jineeyah, being the female plural form.

Origin: These supernatural beings have been a fundamental element of the magical and popular magnitude of the Islamic religion. Pre-Islamic society thought them to be nature spirits who could drive a man to insanity. Jinniyah that take the shape of a beautiful woman and seduces men are called succubi (sincular: succubus) , especially monks and men of religious stature, and usually kills the men at a later time. The male counterpart to the succubi is the incubus.

-The root of the original root of jinn is said to come from the Semitic root "JNN" which refers to hidden or concealed. The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, which meant guardian spirit.

-Super-human beings made of fire and flames, capable of taking on a variety of forms.
-They are considered to be spirits, but lower in form than an angel.
-They can be good or evil.
-Believed to be made of smokeless fire by The Creator himself.
-Sometimes able to take control of a persons body.
-When the Djinn are not walking the deserts looking for those they can prey on, they are thought to live in mythical mountains that are believed to encircle the earth. In Islam this mythical range is known as the Kaf and here they stay along with other mystical supernatural demons and beings.
-Possesses free will
-Can fly
-Generally despise masters who bind them into slavery and are eager to destroy that master at the first slip up that will release them from their bonds or will seek to use their Master's words against them if possible.
-Sly and cunning
-some said that if a person refused to believe in Islam that they would become a demon or a Djinn.

Different Levels of Djinni: There are believed to be 4-6 different tribes/types of Djinn:
1)the True Djinn: mostly stayed neutral; is the largest, and therefore most influential tribe out of all six of them. They are closely related to the Efreeti tribe. Most of the True Djinn have now taken up sides of the Great War among the tribes, but the neutral ones are feral; attacking everything in sight, and people assume that they are evil. Within the True Djinn tribe, there are Aku Djinn, who were fierce and flesh hungry; Emberwilde Djinn, who ruled the fire plane; Ernham Djinn, the hunters that use their powers to make more of a chase for themselves in the forested areas; Juzam Djinn, the second most powerful Djinn, often rebelling against their masters (Sahirs), making it difficult to own or control one; Kookus Djinn, which the goblins of Jamuraan Mountains took it upon themselves to contain them and give them the unfortunate name that is pronounced "cook-us"; Ravnican Djinn, which were considered too dangerous to exist by the Guildpact, and the ones that were still alive at the decamillenium were forced into labor in the polar regions; and lastly there's the Serendib Djinn, extremely powerful, smart and strong, with the ability to grant wishes.
2)Djann: followed the path of truth, the second most common and second most dangerous of Djinn tribes. Known mostly as Fire Djinn, they embrace light more than any other tribe, but they are not constant friends with man. They normally defend those they find pure. Constant enemies of the Efretis, Nekrataals, and Ghuls. They normally hide in the desert in oasis's, and because of this, they were the first Djinn to make contact with humans. Caravan travelers tend to respect these Djinn since they may reveal or hide an oasis to the ones they deem worthy or unworthy. They often appear as white camels or soldiers, and usually disappear into sand cyclones. Because of their desert dwelling habits and avoiding cities, this puts them into contact with the Ghul Djinn tribe.
3)Efreet (Ifrit): chose to declare war on light. was mainly in charge. inherently evil and declared war on the Djann. Known mostly as Fire Djinn, they have been evil since ancient days and war against the Light tribes. Some of the Djinn in the Efreet tribe are Ifh-biff Efreeti, capricious and not quite as strong as their fellow Efreeti, can still unleash a vicious windstorm on an opponent; Junn Efreeti, the worst of their kind - they incite madness in their victims or control the weak by locking eyes with them; Serendib Efreeti, profane, cunning, and enjoying suffering; and the Wildfire Efreeti, main servants to the Emberwilde Djinn.
4)Nekrataal: chose to declare war on light. The longest living Djinn tribe. Mainly live in marshy regions and bring plague and despair to everything they touch. They are more known to appear as beautiful men and women, although they have been told to show as black camels. As they are the weakest of all Djinn, they resort to manipulation and trickery to reach their goals. Later on, in stories told in books, they became referred to as "human assassin", with a bug on their shoulder being the manifestation of the Nekrataal.
5)Marid: chose to declare war on light. the oldest, wisest, and most powerful tribe were allowed to choose as they saw fit; most of them tended to side with the Djann on their path of truth. The most respected Djinn tribe Perhaps because of their age, they are like ancients compared to the rest. Their numbers are few and scattered, but they are the most powerful of all the Djinn. They master weather, wind, and water, and because of this they tend to live near the coasts and appear in great waterspouts. Many Marids have ascended the mortal plane, choosing not to get involved with the Great War between the Djinn. Marids usually appear in the form of an old man, porpoise, or horse, to lead travelers to safer courses.
6) Ghul: chose to declare war on light. inherently evil and declared war on the Djann.
(three of these types can be found in the book The Arabian Nights). Within in the six tribes, they battle good and evil among themselves, much like humans do. The lowest order of the tribes falls to the Ghuls, who feed off of power from the dead. Despite being intelligent, they follow their feral instincts and act like animals when looking for food. They will commonly disguise themselves as pilgrims, and will attack random people if not shown proper hospitality. It's said that if you offer a Ghul salt, it will refuse to harm the giver and his household. Ghuls will fight each other for food, and it's not unheard of if they dig up a grave to desecrate the dead if food is scarce. Powerful Ghuls can take the form of vultures and follow lesser Ghuls into battlefields with dying and wounded soldiers. To pass through the desert with no trouble from Ghuls, it is suggested that you carry iron with you.

Their strengths:
-Can become invisible or take on the form of any animal or human.
-Some can travel between the human realm and the realm where angels reside.
-Can fly
-Can be invisible to humans

Their weaknesses:
-Sensitive to silver which can burn their flesh and possibly cause death.
-Can be tricked or coerced into having their powers weakened or preventing them from doing harm to a human.
-Can be bound into slavery by humans.
-Some are sensitive to iron.
-Their given birth name allows them to be summoned and

Major legends and Mythys:
1) It is told that King Solomon controlled many Djinn with a special ring. With the power of his ring he used the Djinn to build the Temple of Jerusalem as well as other splendid buildings and gardens.

2) The Djinn's powers were consistently fading away due to the constant warring between the tribes; King Suleiman decided to put an end to it. He took this chance to bind the spirits to his command. As he rose through the ranks of power, it is said he used a serpent staff, a cauldron, and a ring to capture seventy Djinn. The most powerful of all the ones enslaved was the True Djinn Shamir, who eventually took the form of a
meager worm.

3) Aladdin. Need I say more?

Books about or containing genies:
The Bartimaus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud
The Genie Scheme by Kimberly K. Jones
The Arabian Nights
Delcare by Tim Powers is a spy story mixed with a djinn twist
The Sandman Collection: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman (often refers to djinn)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman has an ifrit taxi driver
The Complete Encyclopedia of Mythology


If any genie loving experts out there are reading this blog and you feel like I'm missing info or have something that needs to be corrected, please send me a message and let me know. I don't presume this to be a perfect document. I'm happy to update.


Kelly Hashway said...

Wow! You've done your research. I almost wish I were writing a book about genies now!

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks Kelly! If you decide to write a genie book, you know where to go. :0)

Solvang Sherrie said...

You've done a ton of research on this! Very cool!

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks Sherrie! :0)

Bish Denham said...

Excellent Christy! I'm definitely looking forward to what you find out about other magical beings. Here are a few I'd like to know more about.
Fairies (a huge catagory all by itself.)

C.R. Evers said...

thnx bish and double thnx for the list to work off of! :0)

Anonymous said...

Christy - *shiver!* That djinn story (with the college student) gave me the heebie jeebies. I couldn't even make myself go to the next page. EEEP!

I don't trust the stories with "fun, sweet" genies. I mean, really, wouldn't you have pent up aggression/anger if you had been stuck in a bottle for hundreds of years?

BTW - my computer is being weird and not letting me post to your page. BUT, if this does happen to go through 4 times, just delete three of them!

C.R. Evers said...

Hi Donna! That story creeped me out too. But the one about Genies selling on e-bay and the lawyer who wanted a genie to testify in court made me giggle a little. :0)

euclid said...

Hi Christy,

I suppose you must be aware of Philip Kerr's children's books, which, I believe are all about djinns. (I haven't read them)

Children of the Lamp is one.

Oh, and thanks for reading my blog and your kind comment.

Her highness, Samantha VĂ©rant said...

Wow! That's a whole lot of genie going on! Tonight, I may dream of Genie...LOL

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

That's an impressive amount of research! Wow! And really interesting. I am genie clueless--or, I was. I bet your WIP is awesome!

Tracey Neithercott said...

Wow, this is awesome! It almost makes me want to write a genie into my next book. That, or read a book with a genie.

adrienne said...

I just learned that I knew almost nothing about genies! Very interesting stuff.

C.R. Evers said...

Thanks euclid! I'll have to add those books to my list.

Thnx for stopping by Samantha!

Thnx for your encouraging words. I was pretty genie clueless too. It was fun doing the research.

Tracy and Adrienne, those are exactly the responses I was hoping to get! Thanks!