The beginning of the Arabian Nights

I have always been fascinated by the stories of the Arabian Nights, by their magic, their mystery and their deep understanding of all aspects of human nature.

They are stories that were passed on orally for thousands of years before being written down in a form that we can access them today. I actually remember on my travels in Morocco coming across a story teller in a square in Marrakech, I could not understand a word he was staying but that didn’t matter as I saw for the first time in my life how people could be captivated by the magic of a story,  the way he spoke, his intonations, his pauses and the use of silence carried the audience on a journey.  My only references to this before this moment were from TV and to me this was a completely new experience and outside of anything I had seen before. My companion told me he was telling one of the stories of the Arabian nights..

I have since read all of the stories, of which there are hundreds – enough to last 1001 nights. To give you an overview of their magnificence and unequaled genius they begin with us being introduced to King Shahryer who is a wise and noble King who rules over great Kingdom. All is well until the King discovers his wife’s infidelities to a slave. Outraged he leaves and goes to see his brother who is also a  King with his own kingdom. When he arrives his brother is out hunting and so he goes to sleep in the guest quarters and waits for him. When he awakes he sees in the courtyard his brothers wife copulating with a slave, again outraged he despairs and when his brother returns they ride out together unsure of what to do. I will not go into now what happens on their journey but will jump straight to what happens after as this is crucial to the story and the creation of this image…

King Shahryer returns to his Kingdom outraged and with a cloud of doom hanging over him – anger pulsing through his veins. He has lost all trust of womankind and curses all women. Each day he marries a virgin bride, copulates with her and the next day slays her. This goes on for some time until there are very few women in his kingdom. The whole Kingdom is in despair and it seems this curse will never end..

Now the Kings Visier has two daughters who are safe from this curse because of their fathers position, the oldest of which is called Sharazade who is as beautiful as she is intelligent and a marvel of her age. Going behind her fathers back , and in a bid to change the fate of the Kingdom, she marries the King and awaits her fate. On the eve of her marriage her sister Dunzanade comes to her asks if, as it is her last night on the earth, she can tell her a story. Sharazade asks the kings permission and when he consents she recounts a magnificent tale, she is still telling the story when the sun rises and as she has not finished the King allows her to live another night so that she may finish and he may hear the conclusion to the tale. This is the beginning of the 1001 nights, as marvellous story follows marvellous story and Sharazade takes us on a journey of epic proportions, through the darkest places of the human soul, and slowly and piece by peace opening the Kings heart again and bringing light back into the Kingdom.

The metaphors and lessons contained in these stories are, in my humble opinion, equalled only by the stories from the Gospels and contain many riches waiting to be discovered.  They could not be more relevant to our times as our male dominated ego fueled world reaches bursting point and cannot go on for much longer. We look to the re acquaint ourselves with the sacred feminine qualities of the earth so that we may survive and continue our journey as a species hear on this beautiful Earth.

The 1001 Nights

This image is a part of a series to be published in a book bringing these beautiful stories to a new audience who need them now more than ever before.

Credits:

Costume @warpandweft
Make Up @alishahairmakeup
Models @shireen_dd@sanjayprabhakar1711⠀ @avonaviinot
Retoucher: @adamtannous
Assistants @hbuxtonphoto

 

In the name of God the beneficial and the Merciful

 

 

 

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