Some Yezidi mythology has been translated into English and other languages. So far there are two parts roughly translated — The Revelation and The Black Book. The Revelation mainly consists of God speaking to the Yezidi about who he is and who they are in relation to him.
However, The Black Book contains more of the creation and history stories of Yezidism. It is primarily from The Black Book that we will explore some of the mythology. As a disclaimer let me say that this is by no means all-encompassing. As has been said elsewhere, this is where we move from the realm of hard fact into speculation and mystery. Don’t expect it to answer all your questions. Do remember that these are the beliefs of real people!
Creation of the World
Yezidis believe that God created the world, in the form of a pearl. He placed in on the back of a bird and left it there for several thousand years. He may have also lived in the pearl. One day he came angry and kicked the pearl. The kick caused mountains and hills to be created. He also created the seven angels, chief among them Tawesi Malek. He told these angels that he had created the world and now they must make something of it. Tawesi Malek created the land and the seas, as well as Gabriel. The second angel created the sun. The third the moon. The fourth and fifth created the heavens and the morning star respectively, while the sixth created paradise. The seventh angel created not only hell, but also Adam and Eve.
Wheat of good and evil?
God allowed Adam and Eve to make a home of all of the earth, however, he forbade them to eat wheat. Tawesi Malek petitioned God to allow for the consumption of wheat. He said that Adam would not be able to have children if he was not able to eat wheat. God allow Tawesi Malek to permit man to eat whatever he liked. Adam ate, and his belly swelled. The Peacock Angel then created a bird to peck a hole in Adam’s rear so that the excrement could come out.
And here’s where the story really changes.
Adam and Eve got into an argument about which one of them was really necessary for children to be born. Having observed the animals around them, each thought they were the most important person in the course of procreation. They decided to settle the argument by each placing their “seed” in a jar. At the end of the month, whoever’s jar had produced children would be the winner. When the jars were opened, Adam’s jar contained both a boy and a girl child, while Eve’s had only worms and maggots. Tawesi Malek then gave Adam nipples so that he could nurse the two infants. From those two children came all of the Yezidi people. All of the offspring from both Adam and Eve are corrupted. This is where the rest of the Earth’s population comes from. Only the Yezidi maintain the pure Adamic line.
Two floods and the black snake that saved them…
The Yezidi also believe in two floods. One destroyed only the Jews, Christians, and Muslims because they had mocked God and the Yezidi people. The second flood only affected the Yezidi, who were saved by a boat. However, the boat ran into a rock which created a large hole. A black snake curled itself into a ball, stopping the hole and saving the Yezidi people from drowning. After this, snakes were allowed to multiply until they started biting men. Then one was killed and burned. Its ashes turned into fleas.
Most of the rest of The Black Book deals with some of the traditions we have covered elsewhere, such as marriage, baptism, and taboos.
Read the introduction to this series on mystery religions here!
Then Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!
Help support those displaced from their homes in Northern Iraq, many of whom are Yezidi.
“The Yezidis: The History of a community, culture, and religion” By Birgul Acikyildiz
“Heir of the Forgotten Kingdom” by Gerard Russell
“The Yezidis” By Eszter Spat