Portraits and ponderings from the writing desk of Jill Foote-Hutton.

Global Monster Vocabulary Series, Part I

Dybbuk vs. Ibbur, and Golems

Whistlepig Guardian Monsters are more Ibbur than Dybbuk, but not exactly. It is important to recognize the power we can possess when we are able to manifest the visage of a dybbuk, drawing it out into the light to cast it away. Often by naming our fears, naming the mountains we have to climb, makes them surmountable. The concept of ibbur, as a guiding force is very much in line with the concept of Guardian Monsters, but as you’ll see below an ibbur is a multi-layered entity.  Please also note in the definitions though, that even a dybbuk, while named malicious, is often just lost, scared, and frustrated, and will go away quietly once it has resolution.

BUT, in the end, the Guardian Monsters are probably most like a golem, ”…highly mutable metaphor with seemingly limitless symbolism. It can be victim or villain, Jew or non-Jew, man or woman—or sometimes both. Over the centuries it has been used to connote war, community, isolation, hope and despair."

Dybbuk: In Jewish mythology, a dybbuk is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. It supposedly leaves the host body once it has accomplished its goal, sometimes after being helped.

Ibbur: the most positive form of possession, and the most complicated. It happens when a righteous soul decides to occupy a living person's body for a time, and joins, or spiritually "impregnates" the existing soul. Ibbur is always temporary, and the living person may or may not know that it has taken place. Often the living person has graciously given consent for the Ibbur. The reason for Ibbur is always benevolent—the departed soul wishes to complete an important task, to fulfil a promise, or to perform a mitzvah (a religious duty) that can only be accomplished in the flesh.

Golem:  is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (specifically clay or mud).