Who Are the Yezidis?
The Yezidis or Yazidis are a Kurdish speaking people who live principally in northern Iraq. They number approximately 800,000. They are mostly a poor and oppressed people, but they have a rich spiritual tradition that they contend is the world’s oldest. They refer to themselves as the People of the Peacock Angel, a deity who came to Earth in extremely ancient times to help create our planet and all the life forms upon it. Eventually this deity specially created the Yezidis before any other race of people. This was during the fabled Garden of Eden, which the Yezidis claim is a large area centered in what is now known as Lalish in Iraq. A vestige of the Yezidis’ Garden of Eden era is reputed to be Gobekli Tepe, a recently discovered archeological excavation in southern Turkey that has been dated to approximately 12,000 BCE. During and after a great flood around 4000 BCE, the Yezidis dispersed to many countries in Africa and Asia, including India, Afghanistan, Armenia, and Morocco. Returning from their adoptive countries around 2000 BCE the Yezidis played an important role in the development of the Assyrian, Babylonian and Jewish civilizations of the Middle East. Ultimately, the Yezidis amalgamated elements of all these civilizations into Yezidism, including certain features of the Zoroastrian religion. In the 11th century reformer and Sufi Master, Sheik Adi made some notable reforms in the religion of Yezidis.
The Yezidis claim to have the oldest religion in the world, contending that the truth of this is reflected in the antiquity of their calendar.
Since their founding many thousands of years ago in India, these people have always been known as the Yezidis or Yazidis. According to Eszter Spat in The Yezidis, the name is derived from ez Xwede dam, meaning “I was created by God.” Some Yezidis maintain that it translates as “Followers of the true path.” The term Yezidi or Yazidi is also very close to the Persion/Zoroastrian word Yazdan, meaning “God“, and Yazata, meaning “divine” or “angelic being“.