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Published on Feb 2, 2012
Annual pilgrimage to the tomb and mausoleum of Sidi LHadi Ben Aissa, "Cheikh Al Kamel". He lived in the early1700's in Meknés, Morocco, and was revered for his "baraka", or spiritual eminence. Also during this time lived a brutal Sultan (Moulay Ismail) who supposedly enjoyed posting chopped off heads on the walls of Meknes to welcome visitors. Whenever the sultan tried to banish Ben Aissa, the sultan would suffer from sickness. The society of followers, mediums, trance musicians and dancers, and supporters, are referred to as Aissawa, and to this day are a n important part of Moroccan culture. **The man with cactus and needles through his skin is from a community of countryside Aissawa who make the pilgrimage to the city. In trance they can climb around on and pierce themselves with with big cactus plants, among other supernatural acts. **The musicians in the video are Aissawa. The circle of dancers and their supporters provide a safe space to get out of your head for a while.