Posts Tagged ‘Goddess Nut’

‘The Zar Tales’, Chapter Three…..

September 8, 2014
"The Zar Tales", just published.....will be on very soon.

-“The Zar Tales”,  published….. on




Shakira looked around at the women on the floor. Some were smoking, most talking and the sound of clinking bottles were heard though the women tried to muffle it with their robes.

“Aliya, don’t be so stingy with that bottle. Pass it over here, woman.”

“You will guzzle it, and we will have to clean up the mess.” Laugher sounded throughout the room. Some of the women sipped from the hidden and forbidden bottles of their husbands. They were not the young ones.

Give them time, thought Shakira, the wine will flow as easy as their tongues and their laughter.

It was not often they could gather, and each yearned for a time where inhibitions would lessen and gossip, the welcome companion of women, was allowed.

“Jassa”, called Shakira, “come spread the cloth on the altar. We must do this properly if

we are to catch a Zar tonight.”

“Perhaps cousin we catch two Zars tonight. My Farah has been complaining of stomach troubles and maybe a Zar has gripped her middle.”

Shakira shook her head and laughed. “Farah eats too many dates and she is fat as a ewe. No Zar would have room to lodge in her stomach. Too much food in there. 

Dried fruit, stuffed dates, nuts and sweet breads were passed around on large trays. A large brass one was placed on the altar, made of a high stool in the middle of the room. This was for the spirits who happened to come wandering in during the drumming. No mortal would dare touch that offering.

A number of women had dumbeks, brought to the house smuggled under their voluminous robes. The tamboura , an ancient lyre-like instrument, was already in the hands of Leila, and she busy tuning it to suit the mood of the evening. Leila usually started with sad songs, and as the wine made the rounds, the tempo of the tamboura , followed by the dumbeks, would increase and the women would make little effort to confine their happiness.

Ah! Life could be good! It was just a matter of side- stepping the men. 

Tonight Shakira had an idea, something she had dreamed of for a while. The festival of the Goddess Nut was approaching, and though no longer celebrated openly Nut was the Goddess closest to the heart of women. Protector of the dead, Nut was also beloved by the living, for she spread her body over the Universe and fed and comforted them from her teats. There was always enough milk from generous Nut and she was beloved by mothers, and most of the women in the village were mothers.

So many babies now in the arms of Nut, resting like stars in her bosom! She had lost her only babe, along with her husband many years ago. So Ali was both to her and tonight she would dance in celebration. Allah was the men’s god, but Nut had the heart and devotion of women.

Leila started to play her tamboura, and slow, sad chords and plaints tumbled from her fingers. Women around the room hushed, listened with their ears and hearts, heads nodding. This was the music reaching up to their wombs and lifting the sorrows off their bosoms. Shakira could imagine the ghosts of children and husbands long gone floating like wisps of smoke in the center of the room. Perhaps they would eat from the sacred tray of sweets. Tonight they would join together, still part of the village though no longer in corporal form. The magic of Leila’s fingers drew forth tears along, perhaps, invisible spirits.

Her playing changed after these sad songs. Gone was the mourning of the women, to be replaced by joyful tunes. Voices were lifted in song and chant, shoulders swayed and hands clapped out a counter rhythm to the drums.

Shakira felt the trance take over her body, slip up her loins and envelop her mind. 


It was a warm embrace, and it wasn’t Ali! Warm enough to make her move with an internal rhythm apart from any conscious intentions.

She was possessed by the Zar trance. 

Shakira rose to her feet and discarded her outer garment. She shook out her arms and rolled her head around.   Her white cotton undergown was loose over her swelling breasts and haunches. She kicked off her sandals and her long black hair streamed down her back, unplaited, flowing like dark waves. She paced around the circle, her body picking up the rhythm of the drums and tamboura, her hips defining a pattern of movement, her arms held out from her body. She was dancing the age-old dance of women, for women, to greet the cares and concerns of their tribe. For, men aside, women were the heart beat of the village, they were the blood coursing through the alleys and up to the well. They were the waters of Life .

Shakira stalked the room, now a tigress, the drums following her, she commanding the rhythm. Shaking, bowing, swaying, each movement mirrored in the watching eyes of the women. She danced alone, but the movements were blood, flesh and muscle of every woman who sat before her. Heads nodded in time with the drums, hands clapped, some women pounded the floor in counter rhythms, swayed with their own bodies in imitation of Shakira’s dancing.   She moved around the room, hips shaking, belly rolling, shoulders thrown back and forth, hair cascading outward like the whirling skirts of the Dervishes of Turkey as she turned in circles, feet pivoting beneath her body, those feet beating out an tattoo that went straight into the earth. 


“Sheikha Shakira dances in the river of life! The Sheikha captures our hearts and lifts them to the Goddesses’ lips!”

“Ayaaa! We dance with you, Shakira!”

Voices were raised in chants, joined together in different harmonies, rising up to the ceiling, taking wing in the nighttime air. Shakira’s feet pounded out rhythms deep, deep into the soil of the floor. Her hands and flinging arms commanded the winds, and the women’s chants rose to the ears of heaven.


Sweat dripped on the face of Leila as she played the tamboura, her fingers flashing on the lyre-like instrument and the drums beat different cadences, creating multi-layered sounds. This drone of music underlay the vocals of the women singing in now- strange harmonies. Pagan magic filled the room and Shakira’s body radiated the energies of an older culture. Gone were the cities, the stuff of modern life, the mullahs, the chadors and berka that veiled the beauties of women and in their place was the teats of nourishing Goddess Nut, spreading her body over the universe, the stars coursing through her body, the planets, the moons, the comets, too. The sun crept up her holy woman’s place at night, to be born out of her mouth at dawn. The moon too, came forth from her body, and the passage of the hours were marked by her Houri, the original women of the night, dancing with lessening veils till they lay under her belly at daybreak, sleeping. 

Praise Nut! Goddess of women. Goddess of our own, time before time, Goddess before any God!


 Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2010-2014, The Zar Tales published by, 2010



“Goddess Nut”……poem based on Egyptian mythology.

May 22, 2014

This poem dedicated to CZBZ, a woman who inspires so many with her compassion and wisdom.

Lady Nyo






NUT (Choka)


I am the Temple

of the Universe at night,

I am Goddess Nut.

I spread my body over

the dark, silky sky

and the Sun is born from my

open mouth at dawn, each day.



Invisible moon

crawls into my bowels at dawn

as does brother Sun

at night when his glory dimmed

and I cradle both

within me their majestic

glory now dulled down

until the release of them

thrown high up into the sky.



I am the keeper.

All Celestial bodies

I, the nourisher

of life and death that passes

I, Nut, sleep at day,

my stars and I well hidden

by the birth of Sun

but courted by Geb, Earth God

who sucks the night dew

from my two breasts with sweet lips

reaching with his maleness

makes the Earth fertile with love,

and the universe fruitful.



I am the River

where planets and stars sail through

on their skyward journey,

the celestial travail.

My Houri marks time,

passage of cosmic travel

discarding their veils

til naked at dawn, retire

on the horizon.

They sleep once again under

My belly and gathered near.


I am the passage.

I am the Keeper of Souls.

I am the mystery.

My presence lends fear to man

I touch eyes with sleep.

I round out the universe

Dark, fulsome Night.

I am Nut.



Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014

Steve Isaak reviews “The Zar Tales”

April 24, 2010
Steve Isaak has reviewed “The Zar Tales” on his website: .
Steve is a writer in San Francisco who has just published his first book:  “Can’t Sleep”: Poems from 1987-2007, by As soon as I receive his ordered book, I will read and review. But knowing Steve’s writing… least the last 3 years of it….it’s going to be quite an adventure.  I  don’t always understand his poetry, but he certainly takes me places I would have never gone.  Someone asked me to describe him once….as a writer:  I saw a Hindu-God with machine guns/Temple bells/fireballs and other goodies.  And the musical stream of anything Joan Osbourne.
Reading Steve is like jumping feet first into an active volcano.  Intense.  Cleansing or die.—2007/

Lady Nyo

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Zar Tales, by Jane Kohut- Bartels

(pb; 2010: poem/story/novella anthology)

Overall review:

This anthology focuses on the concepts/forms of the Zar.

In her introduction to one of the stories, “A Turkish Tale,” the author writes:

“The Zar is a number of things in Middle Eastern and North African societies. It’s a ritual of extracting a Demon (a Zar) from the possessed, placating and then restoring them to the host body. A Sheikha gives it new marching orders. . . Hence, a Zar is also a Demon or Djinn. The Zar is a bonding or ritual dance among women, The Zar dance is also a form of Hyperarousal Trance, distinct from meditative trances.”

Kohut-Bartels has matured as a writer.

Her first anthology, A Seasoning Of Lust, is as masterful as a multi-cultural anthology can be. By telescoping her creative visions onto a specific culture/theme (in this case, the Zar), she’s taken her writing to a new level. (We, as artists and writers, can always get better, with time, work, the right subjects, and patience.)

Expect more great things from this author. Own this anthology.

Review, piece by piece:

1.) “Wrestling With The Zar” (poem): A woman, set to be possessed by a Zar, sends a message to her lover.

2.) “The Troupe” (poem): The power-dynamic between a restless Sea and its followers is addressed in (mock?)-sacrificial dance.

3.) “Goddess Nut” (poem): Sensual poem about the all-encompassing deity.

All of these poems written in a ritualistic-symbolic-formal tone; they, like the rest of the pieces in this anthology, are tightly-written, concept-centric, effective, wise, intriguing and educational. They transported this reader, in dusty whirlwind fashion, to alien locations and pasts, and their relatable characters.

4.) “Ali Baba And The Four Thieves” (story): A woman revels in her ancient, yet socially progressive role, amongst her desert brothers.

This story was originally published in A Seasoning Of Lust. Given its subject matter it’s a logical addition to this anthology.

5.) “Ahmed Is Dying Of Love” (story): A kind-hearted American belly dancer in Turkey gains a “much-younger” male admirer, a flute player (Ahmed). Sweet-natured, smile-inducing piece.

6.) “A Turkish Tale” (story): Ali, a Demon, sows seeds of unrest between a recent young bride (Aya) and her husband (Ahmed, presumably from “Ahmed Is Dying Of Love“).

A Sheikha (Wise Woman) named Shakira confronts the source of Aya and Ahmed’s discord, so that Ahmed and Aya may be rid of it.

Practical, tastefully erotic, excellent.

7.) “The Desert Zar” (story): Cinematic swoop-shot of a Zar possession ritual. This sensory-rich piece made this reader feel like he’d been immersed in this intense tableaux.

8.) “The Zar Tale” (novella): Southeastern Turkey, the 1980s. An Islamic mayor (Mazud Nageesh), threatened by the Zar possession rituals enacted by Shakira Arsan (from “A Turkish Tale“) and other village women, sends for three Mullahs (Islamic priest-judges), so that the Mullahs may end the outlaw/pagan meetings.

Shakira hears about Nageesh’s actions. She implores her lover-Zar (Ali, also from “A Turkish Tale“), a former “Berber chieftan of the Turaregs,” to head off this life- and sanity-threatening danger to her and the women.

Suspenseful, plot- and character-wending work that ends on a cliff-hanger-ish note. Can’t wait to see how it ends.

9.) “Explanation of Hyperarousal Experience” (essay): Subtitled “Hyperarousal Trance, Belly Dance, And General Creativity,” this brief essay is exactly what its title says — an explanation of hyperarousal experience, from various points of view (drum beat patterns, scientific, et cetera). Solid, fascinating stuff.

The Zar Tales can be purchased from

Posted by Steve at 12:57 AM

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