E-BOOK

Raif Esmerović

The Little Witch Book

BOSNIAN WITCHCRAFT

The Little Witch Book

RAIF ESMEROVIĆ

T

hanks to Bogumils who at one period of the BiH history used to be dominant religion and, in the same time, worshipers of Nature, the old cults managed to survive. By their credit we can, today, follow the leads of old days witchcraft performance, which, after so many centuries still exist through various beliefs and practical performance. Witches and their religion of Nature; worshiping of God and Goddess through the Sun and the Moon, have their deep roots in the beliefs of many nations across the Balkans and the rest of the Europe. These days, analysing ethnological data, as well as traditional beliefs from Bosnia; dozens of extremely interesting details can be disclosed showing us that old religion of Nature managed to survive both time and monotheism. However, in order to present data on witches’ performance it is necessary to write so many pages with so many data enclosed. Since, every single journey begins with a single step we’ll commence the story on witchcraft along with this very text and end it sometimes/somewhere in the future.

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Time of the ritual In Bosnia, the most powerful and the most dangerous days are considered to be those between 30th of April and the 13th of May in which, accidentally or not, the witches holiday Beltane (1st of May) happens to be. In this very period the regeneration of Nature is at its peak, as well as farming works. In the middle of this period there is a Hidirllez (6th of May) Christian-Moslem holiday of Pagan origin that is traditionally put in the context of Nature and water which is under the influence of the Moon. The worshiping of water as one of the manifestation of the Goddess is well reflected in two customs that are practised even these days in some parts of Bosnia. This is about the celebration of the first Tuesday that precedes Hidirllez Holiday called Boni Tuesday (Boni utorak) entirely devoted to the water treatment (of the sick). During Boni Tuesday, healing springs in the Nature are being visited; the sick drink the water and wash their bodies with it. The first Tuesday after the 6th of May is called Dovni Tuesday (Dovni utorak) and on this day prayers are to be chanted for the wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole. Clearly speaking; the believers used to pray or, better to say, thank to the ruler of the water (the Moon) for its support, aiming to get its protection throughout the year. Of course, by the appearance of Islam all that referring to the old Cult had to be suppressed and assimilated into the new religion. The Goddess had been changed to the prayer to Allah, although it is clear at the very first glance that those rituals have nothing to do with the Islam.

Light and the darkness

Even today in the 21st century the Bosnian witches follow the ancient guidelines in their magic performance. The part of the day when the Sun is setting and the night falls down between Aksham and Jaci ( „između akšama i jacije“ ) is still considered to be the best period for the magic performance, especially for the love magic. Analysing in detail the information why the sunset period is the most important period of the day to the Bosnian witches for performance of the magic ritual, is to be sought in the very roots of European witchcraft history. Two of the most important holidays Beltane and Samhain celebrates the beginning of the shiny & dark part of the year. Both holidays are the moments of the most celebrated celebrations and most powerful rituals related to the divinity of the Nature. Similar to that, the end of the day and the 3

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beginning of the night represents the miniature alteration of light and the darkness, Beltan and Samhain. According to Bosnian believes , immediately after the sunset Jinny get the power, they wake up and go active, what is coincided with the belief that in the night of Beltan and Samhain the door of the spiritual world open from which various spirits and demons come to he world of human beings.

The Moon Cult
Although small number of ethnological data on magic inheritance of Bosnia & Herzegovina can be found today, from what such data disclose it can be clearly found that in the past existed several types of cults among which the Sun and the Moon cults dominated. Even these days, when they see a New Moon, some Bosniak women perform the ritual in which the influence of Islam and the old days Moon cult interlace with each-other. While gazing to the moon, a woman, lifts her arms to the chest level, with her palms pointing the sky, chants 5 Qu'ran-s prayers, after what she wipes her face with the palms. In the continuation, a Moon Cult ritual follows; a woman points her right forefinger to the Moon saying: “The way you Moon grove and transform so renew my form (existence)”. Apart from this ritual there were dozens of similar rituals amongst Bosniak women that were passed from one female generation to another. In another ritual woman prays to the New Moon for a good health of her children, in which case she directly alludes to the Goddess of the Moon; the protector of fertility and children. Another interesting belief alludes to the old times idea on divine characteristic of the Moon, namely; it is believed that when the New Moon is seen for the first time the formula:“ I see New Moon, Mashallah!“ should be chanted, as in contrary a bad magic of “evil eyes” can strike the person. In traditional Bosnian beliefs small kids are most vulnerable to the influence of the evil eyes what leads to the idea that in the old days the New Moon has been considered as a divine child,i.e. freshly (re)born Goddess, which her followers need to protect; in the faze when she has no enough strength and power.

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Cult of the mother goddess in Bosnia

The existence of the cult of the large mother is found in the Stone Age. She was considered to be the mother of humans and gods and her cult spread along the Mediterranean belt, which once contained the Illyrian kingdom and today, among other countries, the modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cult of the large mother stems from Syria, according to the available data, from which it spread to other countries and we can find it in Egypt (Izida), Babylon (Ishtar), Asia Minor (Kibela), Greece (Demetra), etc. The Syrian name Taschter or Tir, from which the name Astharte is derived, is present in Bosnia by the name of Tur, Tir or in the female form Tirinica. Astharte was a goddess of the moon, fertility and motherhood but also of war, described as a horned deity, with a head of a bull. This data is key to linking her with the Illyrians and the myth about the bull Garonja who is only familiar to the Bosnians, the Serbs and Croats don't mention him in their mythology. 5

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According to all of the archeological data the ox or bull belonged to the cult of the moon among the Illyrian tribes. It is important to note that the bull is a common symbol of the cult of the mother among all of the ancient peoples, the myth about Mithras also existed among the Persians; he killed the godlike bull and created entire nature out of his blood, especially wheat. In Donja Dolina (Sanski Most) during the excavation of an Illyrian village, a skull of a pre-bull was found (Bos primigenius), which is - as Ć. Truhelka speculates, attached to the façade of the house and served as a bucranium. It is known that a head of a bull was hung on the walls of temples in Greece once it has been sacrificed to the gods, and that's where the tradition originated from also this is the reason for all of the bucranium carvings on temples and various other structures. Numerous depictions of oxen are from an earlier time, they didn't always carry an explicit message, but they surely weren't only decorative in nature. It is interesting that the findings are only limited to the north, and to a lesser extent to central areas where the Illyrians lived, even though it is fairly certain that in other areas there was also a religious system in which the ox, as a lunar symbol, was connected to the cult of the large mother. Here we're referring to the area occupied by the Liburn people, then people from the region Dalmatia and partially tribes in the southern and central parts of the Illyrian tribes. Also in this case, as with many other symbols, lack of illustrations should be sought in the sphere of esthetic comprehension of the former men, not only in the religious differences, i.e. the lack of the cult of the bull in specific Illyrian regions. Ritual slaughter of the bull as a sign of fertility and its connection with the cult of the large mother was very old in these regions, and was preserved unchanged to this day in the Balkans and elsewhere.

Bosnian myth about the bull Turu

In publications "Supplements for oriental philology: Revue de philology orientale" from 1980 the following content is mentioned on page 311: "In 1933 from a poor old woman, Puhalovka Alijaginica, who lived in Čerbedžije in Sarajevo, literally recorded the following: "On Wednesdays when you pray afternoon prayer and bow: Ognju and Ognjevom Piru, Turu, Hadži Dedi, Hadži Kasapi, Sitoj Nefisi, Vejsil Karaniji, their parents and brother Mevelan". Checking whether this 6

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tradition is still prevalent in other places, I found out from Mahmud Traljić (born in Sarajevo in 1918)that he listened to the enumeration of these names from a Bosniak woman from Sarajevo Fatima Hajrić, which died in 1961 or 1962 in her 102nd year. As Oganj, Ognjev Pir and Tur or Tir don't belong among the names of Islamic saints it is evident that these names are actually folk names for Illyrian deities. In my opinion we're dealing with two deities i.e. sun god Oganj (fire) or Ognjev Pir (emperor of fire) and goddess of the moon Tur or Tir. In other words, this means that among the Bosniaks there were people who unknowingly, before WWII, prayed to the ancient gods. Confirmation of this fact can easily be found in the fact that these deities were presented in one context. That Tur-Tir is a female deity is confirmed by a statement from Seid Traljić who mentions a female cult name Tirinica, whose godlike characteristics were annulled by Islam, but her name was kept in prayers until WWII, since it was considered holly. The Bosnian folk believed from old times that the Earth resting on the back of a large bull called in some places Garonja. According to belief when he moves his ears there will be an earthquake and when he shakes his entire body it is believed that it will be the end of the world. Ethnologist Gržeti ć stated succinctly the belief which perhaps best depicts who is behind the character of Garonja, namely: "the people in Bosnia still to this day believe that the earth is supported by Turu, and once he shakes, there will be an earthquake". Meaning, the original name of the bull is Tur and not Garonja as is mentioned in south-western part of Bosnia. According to everything that is written it is easy to conclude that the ancient mother goddess is behind the character of Tur or Tir (Tirinica), which was also depicted with the head of a bull. She is the mother of fertility, i.e. earth, and it is logical that he is depicted supporting the earth. It is quite probable that the Latin word for bull - Taurus stems from the name Tur.

On the prevalence of the cult of the mother goddess in Bosnia and Herzegovina the following place names testify, such as: Turovo (beneath Jahorina), Turić (Gradačac), Turići (Vlahovići near Travnik, Lugovi near Fojnica, Banovići, Visoko), Turija (Bihać, Konjic, Tuzla, Visoko, Srebrenica), Turjak (Bosanska Gradiška, Dobrun kod Višegrada) and Turjačani (Bosanska Gradiška). 7

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In the footsteps of the Bosnian sun god
The human species inhabited the Balkan area a million years ago, at that age the remnants of humans found in the caves of Šandalj next to Pula in Croatia were estimated. Throughout all that time our ancestors carried inside of them a feeling of security that the cave offered. That feeling became a part of the human gene. Numerous caves in BIH are known for having ritual and religious significance in various periods of this area. The oldest holly caves are in Badanj in the canyon Bregava next to Stoca and the cave "Pod lipom" not far from Kada's village next to Sokoc whose cult significance is depicted by drawings on the walls. The drawings can also be seen on the entrance of Ledenjača cave next to Miljevina, on the cliff "Pod pismom" next to Višegrad in Robovići next to Foča, in the Djevojačka (maiden) cave next to Kladanj and also at the entrance to Vjetrenica. We could say that the presence of these drawings in the caves separates BIH from the other countries of south-western Balkans. Out of ten drawings, seven were found in BIH, and the other three are located more to the south in Montenegro and Albania, countries which constituted major parts of the ancient Illyrian kingdom. The mere arithmetic fact gives Bosnia a unique cultural and historical significance. The drawings in the Bosnian caves are situated from the early Palaeolithic period, around 14 thousand years BCE, until the Middle Ages. This shows the multiplicity of religious beliefs where the medium of pictures is only a symbolic means of expression. Without knowledge of this language it is impossible to have a clear insight into the holly Bosnian underground. Places which simply flourish with deep meaning for the Bosnian spiritual history is the space around the royal city of Bobovac in central Bosnia. Here too the spiritual tradition is long which confirms the numerous cemetery tombstones. On the cliffs above the monastery in Kraljeva Sutjeska there are twelve caves. They are smaller in size which can house one or two people. Previous research has shown their ritualistic significance. Cave Ljuba has an artificially carved semi-circle bench stipadium, famous from when 8

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the Christians used to pray sitting in circle. From that bench there is a carved path which leads to two resting places or two praying places. When it comes to the morphology of the cave there is no need for this path since the sides of the cave are not steep. It is obvious that even walking along that path had ritualistic significance. The path ends in front of an altar, artificial window which is oriented towards the east. Who were these people that directed their prayers to the rising sun? It is difficult to answer this question fully because we can only follow history satisfactorily to a certain period until ancient Bosnia (Bassania), but deeper into history things haven't been researched as far. However, undoubtedly the undisputable fact is that the cult of the sun god (Oganj, Ognjev Pir, Zvizdan) has its genesis in the Bosnian region. Its traces are interspersed throughout the religious practice of the Greeks, Celts and the Romans, i.e. people who came into direct contact with the Illyrians. We can't disregard nor forget the influence of ancient Persia through temples of the god Mithra which are also placed inside caves, and the one which is best preserved in Bosnia is located in Jajce and dates back to third century AD. The sun cult didn't even disappear when the Slavs arrived and mixed with the Illyrian tribes, only the name changed into Svetovid, although this name wasn't the sole name of the sun god, since we come across a very widespread name which is derived from the word star (zvijezda, zvizda), Zvizdan. However, all religious practice of this cult still remained unchanged and under strong antique influence, especially Roman and Celtic. The best proof of this is the practice of keeping various rituals and competitions which is undoubtedly of Roman origin. From ritual competitions stems the toponim playground on the Hotijelj hill on mount Ratiš, as well as toponim playground on Trebava. In ancient and medieval Bosnia all hilltops were dedicated to the sun god, and that's the reason why all rituals took place up high. That's why many mountain tops have the name Zvijezda (Zvizdan) in their root, which is also a folk name for sun today, like the hill Zvijezda above Malešić, terrain Podzvizd on the slopes of Monja, locality Zvijezda in Sladna where the cult area Rahimin tomb is located. Above the village Priluk there is a hill called Sunčevo (Sun's) hill. We shouldn't forget the medieval city Podzvizd in Velika Kladuša which was built on top of a hill, etc.

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FAIRY MAGIC
Faeries are in a nutshell ancient ghosts of nature or personifications of their strengths. They were known to the old Illyrians, Romans, Greeks... The belief in faeries is found along the entire Europe but also of Middle East. In Iran and Turkey the faeries are called periler and have identical functions and descriptions like the ones in the European tradition. They are described as eternally young girls of stunning beauty, with long red and golden hair. A large number of faeries has wings. According to Bosnian mythology the faeries are born out of dew which falls on the leaves of the great tree which grows on a mysterious, unknown hill. It has magical powers which can be used for good and bad which is witnessed by numerous events sung in folk songs where it is described that faeries became to certain heroes, such as Alija Đerzelez, Mujo Hrnjica or Halil, mothers, sisters or lovers. If a faery took on a motherly role towards the hero, she would grant him enormous strength and intelligence, but if the relationship was that of siblings, they would heal all wounds that the hero received during battles with herbs and magic or the faery would tell him all about the enemy's plans. If the faery falls in love with the hero then she would become his lover and the mother of his future child which she would leave with the father after birth and she would go back to her faeries in the nature. It is this belief about the abandoned faery children resulted with the birth of a humane practice of taking care of orphans which saved thousands of children abandoned at an early age, from a certain death. Namely, the Bosnian folk believed that abandoned children after birth were children from a faery and that's why it was gladly taken in and raised as their own. It was believed that those children brought good fortune and bliss to the family which was from then on protected by the faery. In the past BIH didn't have an orphanage or another government institution which would take care of abandoned children, this belief largely helped in taking care of countless orphans which were abandoned in forests or streets by irresponsible parents. As we already mentioned the faeries took great interest in Bosnian heroes, they helped them in combat, healed their wounds, grieved for them, became their lovers and mothers of their children and sometimes sisters. However, from the preceding text we can see that faeries didn't only help folk heroes but also common people, especially children. Their help was particularly valued by the people which can be seen by numerous epic poems like the one from Jablanica called "Halil searching for Mujo's horse Đogat" in which out of 347 verses, 41 of them were dedicated to the faeries participation as a helper. Their specialty, besides magic is healing with the help of herbs. It

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is considered that most of the knowledge about medicinal properties of plants the humans gained thanks to the intervention of these beings. In one poem how the mother of Omer Hrnjica following the advice of a faery finds the plant kunica (Achillea millefolium L.) and drains its juices above her son's wound and covers it with cloth. In folk songs the wounded Mujo Hrnjica is being healed by faeries which live in forests and mountains. Besides such a way the faeries, wanting to help the greatest hero of Bosnia, perform various spells such as the one that gave his horse Đogat wings and helped him win every race. The faeries usually live on mountains and large forests near lakes. They spend most of their time flying from tree to tree, bathing, combing hair and dancing in circles. The hair which contains all of the faeries power was often depicted in folk stories as a great danger to the faery itself since it could get tangled in a bush and she became an easy prey to passers-by. Apparently, whosoever helped a faery untangle her hair from a bush could ask the faery to help him with something or to even become his wife. She couldn't reject any wish. Faeries, especially the ones living in mountains or forests, easily fall in love. There are dozens of stories in which a faery fell in love with a man and then kidnapped him and lived for several years in a cave or forest with him.

Evil faeries
Unlike them, the water faeries are hostile towards humans. They reside next to sources of rivers, streams or seas. They spend almost all of their time bathing and they have fun by enchanting with their song the one that they want to drown. That's why people carried ember with them when they would approach a river or creek during the night in order to protect themselves from the faeries. In a few folk tales about Mujo Hrnjica and Alija Đerzelez, they are depicted as brothers even though in real life they weren't brothers. We hypothesise that the idea about them being brothers was created based on the information that both of these Bosnian heroes were fed by the milk of the same faery, they are considered "foster brothers". According to Bosnian belief if a mother loses her milk and another woman breastfeeds her child that woman is considered to be his other mother or "foster mother" and it's forbidden for that child and children of that woman to get married. In a folk song about Mujo and Alija it is mentioned how they went hunting birds from the family of ducks known as utve zlatokrile (Tadoma ferriginea) which are, as mythology claims, the form in which faeries like to transform into. After they finished with the hunt they sat down next to the lake to rest and they eventually fell asleep. During that time they were observed by three white faeries which were angry since they killed a few of their favourite birds. The oldest one of them offered to the others hundred ducats if they manage to alienate the two of them. The youngest faery appeared next to Mujo and started to cry. Her cry woke up Mujo who saw a beautiful young girl next to him. He immediately woke up his brother Alija saw instead of one, two beautiful girls and he answered angrily that it's not fair that he has two beautiful girls and he has none. They got into a fight and Mujo pulled out a knife and stabbed his brother. Then he placed the girl on the

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brother's horse and he mounted his horse and they rode home. Along the way Mujo saw a black crow without her right wing and he asked her how she lived without her right wing to which the crow replied that she lives like a brother that has no brother. Those words saddened Mujo and he felt sorry for wounding his brother and the faery told him to hurry back since she used to heal the sik and she would heal his brother. However, when they returned his brother was already dead and Mujo punished himself with death. However water faeries are not untouchable and their constant need for bathing can lead them into dangerous situations. Namely, if a man spots them bathing he can sneak and steal their clothes. According to belief the faery whose clothes is stolen by a man she needs to marry him. In ethnographic books there are records that faeries often met with elf's in a village Seoce near Visoko. Apparently some young men managed to steal their clothes and some faeries married them. Since they are immortal after the death they became free and they would return into nature. All of the faeries powers are located in her hair which they nurture until perfection. While they are combing their hair the faeries sing and during that they utter mysterious verses which are full of wisdom. The hair that falls off during combing is wrapped around fern (Pteridophyta). They especially like to visit horses that have a lush mane and they like to knit tiny braids which are hard to undo. Such horses are considered to be special because they have been touched by faeries.

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Fairies of Bosnian mythology
If some faeries take particular care of a human, that then means that he carries a deeper connection to their world. Such persons shall stand out in life with enlightened wisdom. To be the favourite of the faeries, that is if he is noble and the faeries like him, means that one has the ability to hear their song or even distinguish their mysterious verses heard through the wind. Such a man will appreciate the truth since most faeries are guardians of truth and they drive away lies. However, if an encounter of a faery and a bad person takes place, that person is then risking mental illness. Bosnian mythology enumerates many names for faeries, the most famous ones are: Bosnian faery, faery queen Golden, Red faery, Forest faery, faery of the mountains (mountain faery), etc. Certain faeries have characteristic names such as Gope, Gospa, Srebra, Bilka, etc.

Red faery: she usually appears around sunset. They usually sit in an alley or next to a road combing her long red hair. The one who meets her can be harmed when she swings her hair in his direction and hits him with it. A man becomes sick from that blow and sometimes they can fall into a coma. Her symbol is the colour red.

Bosnian faery: she is a girl with golden hair and luscious bosom. She wears a long white gown whose edges are sown through with a golden thread. In her hair there is a flower of lily. Her body is adorned with large wings which she uses, according to legend, to fly through the air and fly over Bosnia in all directions. Bosnian faery has a mellifluous voice and she sings often. By nature she falls within the benevolent kind. She can often be found in the company of other faeries which are of a lower rank than her. Her symbol is the flower lily (Lilium bosniacum).

Faery queen Golden: she is the mistress of all Bosnian faeries. She lives in large thick forests and always moves in the company of her subjects. At night, especially during a full moon, she exits the forests and bathes in a river or pond. She has golden wings and a crown on her head. After her bath she sings and plays with the other faeries on some mound until the first rooster sounds at dawn. Her symbol is a full moon.

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Forest faery: she is among the oldest faeries and she is often called the mother of faeries. It is considered that Golden faery is her daughter which inherited her. Forest faery is the one which is most remembered among the Bosnian folk because she was the reason that Mujo Hrnjica became the biggest hero of Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is meek and wise by nature and she has a mellifluous voice. The Bosnian witches (stravarka) call them for aid during healing rituals addressing them with words "mother, sister". Her symbol is a golden apple. Mountain faery: she is a faery that has a garland of flowers in her hair. She wears a long dress and sometimes she holds a walking stick in her hand. She has the ability to transform and she often transforms into a goat for easier passage along the steep hillside. She is familiar with all of the secrets of the plants and healing. Herdsmen often encounter her, and she helps them if there is a need for it. Her symbol is a white goat.

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Faeries and magic
It's not impossible to see faeries. Sometimes meeting them can be a spontaneous and sudden event caused by a magical ritual. There are two reasons that can cause to be accidentally visible to humans. The first one is that nature ghosts, in certain circumstances, thicken their fluid form in such a way that it becomes visible to those humans who are sensible enough. As a second possibility comes the one by which man, due to his accessibility or particular psychological state, caused by occult techniques or spontaneity, becomes sensitive to various vibrations. If you would like to see or hear sky faeries I recommend that you try it somewhere in nature, early in the morning, because according to mythology that is the time when "faeries born during the red dawn" appear, whose appearance is usually the most fascinating. All you need to do is to be open and focused. To help you see the faery in the sky, you can repeat the magical formula "Paralada" which enables you to see them. You will recognize them by the white and golden dresses and long hair in which all of their power is contained, according to mythology. Sky faeries

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can also be seen in a forest, especially near an old oak tree, or on the back of a deer or some other animal. Water faeries, which often serve as muses to humans, can be seen near lakes, rivers or creeks. To call forth their forms you should repeat the formula "Nixa" out loud which stimulates clairvoyance in terms of the water element. The belief in faeries is not only a part of the Bosnian folklore but also of the magical tradition. As the stories about faeries are the best kept part of the ancient occult of the Grand-mother in which fertility, motherhood, love and magic intertwine, i.e. the entire concept of ancient witchcraft was preserved in the practice of many rituals and beliefs. Some of them were practiced until the middle of the past century among the Bosnian women, especially the elderly women. If child was struck by a negative influence of spellbound eyes and as a result cries often without any visible cause, it has a fever, is sleepless or loses appetite the mother will, at dusk, when the faeries gather around to dance, take the child in her hands and rock it in the direction of west and repeat: The faeries are calling me to a wedding, I'm not going nor am I sending my child, but I'm sending my son's (or daughter's) tears. Sometimes faeries can attack people and during it they throw vilenine on him, a disease which is manifested in mental issues, fear, unrest, insomnia, headache, etc. To cure himself from such an unnatural disease, the diseased must sit on the floor and one of the members of the household holds a metal dish above his head which holds fire created out of spruce branches. Seven grains of salt are thrown in the fire twenty one times. It is believed that the crackling of the salt in the fire and the smoke of spruce branches will annul the effect of vilenina.

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Invocation the famous Bosnian Fairy
This is a witch's ritual of invocation of the Bosnian fairy. During any night that has a full moon she undresses completely. She draws a protective circle in front of herself in which she will stand during the invocation. Once you enter, finish encircling closing it completely while you are inside. Then turn your face towards the east. Close your eyes and listen for the vibration of the circle in which you are. Let your breath follow the vibration of the circle. Once you succeed in doing this let out a voice from the depth of your chest and utter the ritual chant: "Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos"allow the last letter to echo out of your mouth even when the invocation is finished. Place both of your palms on your stomach and breathe in with your entire lungs. Once your lungs are full, exhale, help yourself with your palms by pressing on your stomach. Do this a couple of times in order to cleanse your spirit and then slowly spread your arms in a swimming motion. Once they are spread, utter the following: "Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos". You will repeat the palm action on the stomach and breathe again, repeat the spreading of the arms and once done utter for the third time: "Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos". You will then slowly spread your legs but you will not raise the feet from the ground. The feet need to slide on the ground. You will light a blue candle which shall be turned towards the east, then a black one turned towards north, a green one facing west and in the end a red one facing south. When you do this, you will utter a new oath, fully concentrated:" Ordao Alim". You will turn your body towards the east, spread your arms and utter:" In the name and power of the ghosts I'm calling you, my sisters from the east". You will pause shortly, then utter: "Vau". You will then turn towards the north and call the spiritual powers from the north. Then the invocation of the powers from the west follow, then the ones from the south, in the same manner. Once you do all of that you will be standing in the centre of the circle, close your eyes, cross your arms on your chest and utter: "Yod". This is repeated three times in a row, each time with a deeper and deeper concentration. Then, the moment when a Bosnian fairy appears in front of you outside the protective circle will come. She will be wearing a see through dress which will accentuate all of her curves. Unbridled golden hair will descend to her shoulders. She will be holding a book in her hand. She will ask you what is it that you want from her. You have to tell her in a loud voice what is it that you want to know, she will open her book, leaf through it and find the answer to your question. You 18

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mustn't record what she tells you, you need to remember it. And there is no secret that she cannot give you. And there is no problem that she cannot solve. And there is no future which she cannot see into. Thanking the power which appeared in the form of a Bosnian fairy, she will give you all you want. When the time for conversation is up she will tell you she needs to go. She will disappear. You mustn't leave the protective circle since the invoked power is too strong for the human body and you could die if you do it. Wait for the Bosnian fairy to disappear, then perform the ritual of dismissal but this time in a reverse order. Only when you have done that, you can delete a part of the circle with your hands, exit it, and then delete it completely. After that wash your entire body with cold water, rinse your mouth with which you asked questions, ears that heard the answers and hands that lit the candles and participated in the ritual. The things that you wash don't wipe rather wait for the drops to dry by themselves. What you found out you mustn't tell to others, not even to the other witches, because if they want an answer from the fairy they will perform the ritual themselves. The answers will be given only to you and only you can use them in your witchcraft. Only after the invocation, if you are uncertain that you will remember what has been said to you and only after the water has dried from your skin, you can record the revelations in your witch's book which you will destroy before you die, leaving the human form.

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The Witches Garden
The unbreakable bond of man and nature is best explained with one Bogomil legend. Sine God created man out of earth, he left him to dry in the sun and went to get the soul which will breathe life into the earthen body. Seeing the earthen creature, the devil used the moment of gods absence to poke 41 holes in the body and escaping. When god returned and blew the soul through the nostrils it went out through the holes that the devil poked. At that moment realising what kind of prank the devil played, he healed all the holes with the help of herbs, except one hole. This hole was determined for the soul's exit after death. Giving life to the human, god explained which herbs he placed inside his body, and in that sense revealing to him which herb heals which part of the body. That's why in folk medicine in BIH this number was always taken to set how long a certain tea needs to be consumed, how long to apply an ointment or something similar.

How much the Bogomil tradition was influential in traditional medicine is confirmed by the following recipe for various diseases. One would pick 40 types of herbs and store them in an earthen pot which would be filled with clean spring water. The pot would be sealed shut and buried to stay there for 40 days. After that the water from the pot would have to be drunk during 40 days since it was considered to be a panacea or medicine for all afflictions. According to traditional instructions, each morning on an empty stomach one would drink an amount of mixture that could fit in a small fildžan (traditional coffee cup).

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Holly herbs of Bosnian paganism
Visibaba (Galanthus) since ancient times among the Bosnian folk this herb is named Baba or Grandma which alluded to dedication of this spring herb to the old deity Baba or old lady, ancient mother goddess. In the preserved writings of Bosnian ritual witchcraft this herb was used to remove sleepiness and spring fatigue from men, especially children. A stem of snowdrop (visibaba) would be circled three times around a person's head, clockwise, uttering " Snowdrop is sleeping and you're not, snowdrop is sad and you're happy!".

Heavenly husband and Baba's retainer is Did or old man, ancient sun god, to whom a plant has been dedicated in the south-western part of Bosnia by the name of Did or Silymarin. The plant was tabooed and holly which proves the folk belief that it shouldn't be trampled. The one who does so, will befall an accident.

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Sedef, sedefet, sedefil or merđanđus (Ruta graveoles) has a dominant place in the mystic botany of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among the folk Sedef is considered to be a holly plant with miraculous power which came directly from heaven and is connected with God's prophet himself, Muhammad. In the chapter of Mawlid "Birth of the Prophet" in the first verse it is said: "Amina, the mother of Mohammed - the prophet, she gave birth to Sedef..." Because of its popularity it is present in folk medicine but also the spiritual tradition. It is also inevitable in the cult of the dead: a stalk of sedef is placed above the deceased's head in order to protect him from a demon attack and to ensure a safe transition to the afterlife. It is traditionally planted in graveyards so that it can spread with its fragrance peace and tranquillity and to chase away the sorrow and melancholy. In folk medicine it is considered that this plant has a beneficial effect on the heart, therefore it is mentioned in one recipe: "The plant sedefil is plucked, is used fresh or dried, ground and mixed with honey when one experiences pain around the heart." In another recipe the following is mentioned:" For heart diseases one should boil and drink sedefil, especially its leaves." Besides finding a place among the Bosnian folk as a medicinal herb for curing diseases of the organs, this plant is also useful when it comes to protection and neutralisation of all supernatural effect which can harm a human. Sedefil has exceptional apostrophic power against the effects of spellbound eyes, and the flower from this plant was often times found in the hair of girls in the past, especially during large gatherings. If it was considered that a child was under negative influence of spellbound eyes he had to smell a stalk of fresh sedefil.

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Sedefil was used to cure fear which can manifest in two ways according to folk belief - through the nerves and the bowels. The first type is often found in children and is manifested through a feeling of droopiness, shaky legs, nightmares as well as the appearance of a dark ring around the eyes. If the fear affected the bowels then it is manifested through a chronic diarrhoea, which saps the energy from the diseased.

In treatment of the first type the ritual with lead is used, and in the second, when the fear affects the bowels, before sunrise a few branches of sedefil are plucked which are then crushed and then mixed with some water. That mixture is then filtrated, a small spoon of honey is added to the mixture as well as some sugar and is left on fresh air and direct sunlight for 24 hours. That cure is then given to the child for two or three days at dawn, before sunrise. If it is an adult then the medicine is taken for seven days.

Cikorija (Ciciborium intybus): besides nacre this is the second favourite plant among Bosnian stravarke which is used as a necessary prop when it comes to healing skin rashes for which it is believed that had originated from a person stepping over a place where dirty water, blood, urine or something else which attracts the Jinn has been spilt. After crossing over the tabooed place the person will start to feel a slight tingle in the feet, depression and suffocation. These symptoms point to the fact that an attack from a spiritual being has taken place on the human and that's why the ritual of melting lead needs to take place. After the ritual has been performed a stem of Cikorija is submerged in water and then the part of body that has the rash is sprinkled with it.

Oman (Inula helenium): this plant has a special place in Bosnian witchcraft because of its magical potential. Still today some Bosnian women try and dig up a root of Oman before the first sounding of the cuckoo bird in spring since at that time it has the strongest prophylactic powers, according to folk belief. After it is washed and cleaned from the rest of the dirt the root is cut with a knife into smaller pieces and then a needle is threaded through in order to hang them on a wall much easier. With a few dry pieces placed on burning coal the house is covered in 23

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its smoke, especially the bathroom. -In a house that has more female members the bathroom is a favourite gathering place of the devils and Jinn's, because they love to watch them take baths and comb their hair. That's why the bathroom should be covered in Oman's smoke each month to chase them away and to avoid inconveniences that they can cause to humans, Alija Ćerimović a stravarka from Velika Kladuša explained. Leaves of Oman often replace paper when it comes to amulet manufacture which is intended to cure effect of black magic. The smaller leaves are used for children and the big ones for adults. After certain prayers are scribbled on it or symbols the paper is placed inside a pillow which the person will use until healed.

Fasligan (Ocimum basilicum): because of its pleasant and nice smell this plant has prophylactic powers in Bosnian witchcraft and is dedicated to the moon. The plant was brought to the Balkans by the Ottomans using its plants to wrap pieces of meat so it can retain its freshness for longer so it can be consumed. Fasligan has properties to chase away negative energy with its smell, such as spellbound eyes, and that's why it was traditionally harvested in autumn and stored in bouquets which were hung on house walls. If someone suspected that their children, livestock or bees were affected by spellbound eyes the plant would be set on fire and its smoke would be used to cover the person or animal. It was also used for home purification and a dry twig of Fasligan was crushed and spread across a stove in order for its smell to gradually spread across the house. The folk belief is that a stem of Fasligan which is a year old has the power to heal sugreb. One would add a spoon of honey into a vessel filled with water and stir well, and then a stem of Fasligan would be dipped in water. A person suffering sugreb stands on a doorstep of a bathroom and sprinkles a part of its body affected by sugreb with Faslinga. Still to this day it is believed that Fasligan planted amongst vegetables keeps the yield from spellbound eyes and defends it against snakes. Fasligan in Islamic tradition is connected to Hasan and Husein, two sons of Hazrat Fatima.

Neven (Calendula officinalis) is a plant that is often mentioned in folk songs where a girl uses love magic in order to conquer or 24

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punish a man because of unrequited love:

"It wasn't me Meho I swear on your life! I only circled out your footprint in the ground and there planted Neven. As Neven can't grow without Earth so you too will not be able to live without me"

In the past in Cazin it was forbidden to plant Neven in the house where there were adolescent females since it ruined their chance to get married. But, Neven didn't get a reputation of an unwonted plant because of this isolated case but quite the opposite. Because of its yellow colour in Bosnian witchcraft Neven was dedicated to the sun and that's why it carries the power of attraction for money and business luck and it was always planted in pots and kept on the window of a house or business office.

Verem (Calamintha officinalis) - this Bosnian name for this plant comes from a Turkish word for sorrow and is traditionally used for treating the disease behind which lies depression. Verem was used to make tea which was drunk by people who felt sorrow or melancholy. Especially susceptible to depression in the past were women of various age to whom it was suggested to drink tea from Verem and to go to a creek or river every day and dragging a cloth across the surface of the water to utter: "O dear water if you only knew how I felt" she would confide to the water and listen to the calming sound which would psychologically calm and relax them.

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Stravna trava (Glechoma hederacea) in the ritual of fear elimination or another type of shock which appeared after a traumatic experience this plant was used. Stravarke, traditional Bosnian healers, boiled it in a vessel with water sometimes adding pieces of bread. When the water started to boil stravarka would, holding an empty pan, pour the boiling water above the head of the diseased into this pan along with the plant and she would flip that vessel upside down to create a vacuum in order for the fluids to return into the vessel. After the water cooled the diseased person would use it to wash his face and to drink it and the rest was thrown outside usually on the road or a cross road. For curing all forms of fear a stravna herb is used whose leaves are submerged into water and is left overnight and is taken the next day as an elixir. The leaves of this plant are also given to pregnant women as a prophylactic agent, to women after birth and children which carry the leaves on their chest, to protect them against the fear and panic. Still today most Bosnian herb healers are familiar with the effects of Stravna herb which in combination with time yields amazing results in depression treatment, treating anxiety and stress. According to the recipe of Alja Jusupović from Foča a pinch of Verem and Strava herb is used and poured over with hot water. The vessel is covered and left to stand there for half an hour until it cools. The tea should be drunk three times a day, sweetened with honey.

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Okoločep (Mandragora officinalis): this plant whose root reminds us of a human body is in use since the ancient times. The plant contains poisonous ingredients to whom large magical powers were given. Bosnian witches used okoločep for various spells and the most famous one was when the root of the plant was submerged in water for some time, then a hole is punctured inside of it and a wife would look at her husband through it. This would eliminate any interest he had for other women.

Odoljen (Valeriana officinalis) according to a legend in Bosnia and Herzegovina there were no men in the country until odoljen sprung up from the ground. Allegedly, before this miraculous plant appeared all male children would die after 24 hours. Odoljen is also called a plant of the faeries since they mentioned it often in their songs advising people to use it for medicinal purposes: "If a mother knew what odoljen is, she would never burry her son", etc. In Bosnian witchcraft the root of this plant is used to stimulate peace and harmony inside a household. When it is plucked out of the ground the root is cleaned and dried, then crushed into powder which is placed inside food and drinks in small quantities which is consumed by all members of the family. That's why odoljen is often called among the folk pomiruša. If a husband and wife get into a fight and don't communicate for a longer period, then the powder of the plant is mixed with the powder of miloduh (Hyssopus officinalis). Both powders are mixed with a spoon of honey and discretely offered to the husband and wife saying:"as the milodih mixed with odoljen and merged so shall N. and N. will merge and reconcile.

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Lindik (Gentiana cruciata): this is an old plant of Bosnian witchcraft. It was used to cure insomnia and love problems, since the old days, by putting it inside a pillow.

Šipak (Rosa Canina): according to folk belief in the fruit of šipak one could find a small white worm. Whether the worm is alive or dead it can be used to foretell how many children a woman will have in her marriage. The woman threads it through a sleeve of her clothes and places it inside a glass of water that she offers to her husband without telling him what she did. When the husband drinks the water the woman looks to see what has happened to the worm: if it stayed on the bottom of the glass then she will have only one baby with her husband, but if he drinks it with the water they will have more children. If a small child cries often during the night and is not sick, it is considered that it is a victim of spellbound eyes, that's why as medicine a flower of rose hip plucked with one's eyes closed is placed next to the child's head.

The hand of Hazrat Fatima (Anastatica hierochuntica) is a plant which grows in the lands of the Middle East and which was often brought to Bosnia by the man and women on the pilgrimage to those lands. It was brought with the intent to help during childbirth. Namely, according to belief, if the labour prolonged, this plant would be submerged inside a vessel with water and the plant would swell after soaking up a part of the water. This was interpreted that the "hand" opened and that's why the pregnant woman was sprinkled with the water hinting at the fact that she too will "open" after that i.e. give birth.

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Trava od sastave (Geum urbanum) is a traditional medicine for all afflictions which appear under the ribs. People believe that those are the symptoms of gastric diseases, according to belief the gizzard can be moved from its place because of a shock or bad eating habits and cause a lot of pain. The root of this plant is used for the preparation of this cure, it is washed and ground then mixed with crushed garlic. The powder is then mixed with honey and a small amount is taken each morning on an empty stomach until the pain recedes.

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LOVE MAGIC
Bosnian love magic is based on a belief of magical power of love oaths and formulas and the power of various herbs, animals and bodily fluids. The magic formulas were mostly done after sunset until midnight, Monday evening and first Friday after the new moon. Old Bosnian women which are familiar with love magic suggest that love potions should be given to the target person in the morning, before she/he washes up, because the effect of the potions are the strongest first thing in the morning. The time of the new moon and full moon are the most convenient for all forms of love magic. In order for love magic to be successful it shouldn't be discussed since that weakens its effect and it dissipates.

To win over a young man a girl takes two leaves of a plant Bal (Papaver somniferum). She spreads honey on one leaf and butter on the other one and places those two leaves on two sides of the entrance door of the house. When the man she fancies enters the house the girl connects the two leaves and buries them under the roof, to the place where rain falls from the roof onto the ground, all the while uttering: "As the rain drops need a hole in the ground so too NN needs me."

When the sun sets the girl takes a few stems of thorn apple (Datura stramonium) and throws it into the fire uttering: Thorn apple divides thorn apple, šendeli bendeli, ni šendeli ni bendeli, NN will go crazy after me" then she turns the palms of her hands towards the fire and utters: Fire, by God a sister, this spell hasn't been tied either to me nor you but to my loved NN and his 77 veins and 88 joints. After that the girl goes to bed.

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When a girl or a wife wants to make a love potion for her lover or husband she takes a glass of water and an empty bowl in which she will perform ritual washing of the body. This ritual is done after the woman has taken a shower, since according to folk belief love oaths (basme) have power only when they are uttered by a person with a clean body. Before she commences ritual cleansing the woman repeats the verse Ikhlas five times. N. me elif, you elif, you were muti whatever I'm doing you are doing look with my eyes (wash eye lids three times) hear with my ears (wash ears three times) speak with my mouth (wash mouth three times) operate with my hands (wash hands three times) walk with my feet (wash feet three times) veledalin amin from God amin. The water which was used to wash the mentioned body parts is stored in a small bottle and is kept until a suitable moment when it can be poured in the lovers/husbands coffee or juice. When she completes this she then blows three times in the direction of the juice or coffee and swallows the spit in her mouth.

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To make a man come visit her, a woman would perform a ritual with a frog. The woman places a live frog inside the ash where there is a fire burning and covers the frog with a metal dish uttering: "As the frog is croaking my N is crying. If he doesn't come to me while the frog is alive he should die with his next step."

When a girl wants love from a certain young man she pours a bit of water in her mouth, but doesn't swallow it, and in her mind she utters the verse Ikhlas and then she utters:"Dear Lord connect me with NN and fulfil my will". After that she pours the water from her mouth into a juice or coffee which she will give to the young man to drink.

When she gets her period the girl puts a few drops on an old rag, wraps it and buries it under the threshold over which the man she is in love with will walk over.

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In the past the women used to give advice to one another about using sugar cubes for love magic, in order to awaken love and lost passion within their husbands. As advised by elderly women a woman would rub a sugar cube on her vagina and place it into her husband's coffee. While placing the sugar cube inside the coffee she would utter the following words three times: "However sweet this coffee might be to you, I will be even sweater to you veledalin amin". She would then blow three times towards the coffee and swallow her spit.

When a woman sees that her husband is angry she places her hands on her face and looks at him through her fingers without him noticing and utters three times:"Here comes my NN, his mouth are a twig and my vagina his tongue, from God amin veledalin". Some women which practice this spell believe that it can soothe and calm even a man that found his wife in bed with another man. For a man and a woman to quarrel continuously one takes two small rags, a few blood drops and pieces of hair from a dog are placed into one and into the other a few drops of blood from a cat along with some cat hair. Both rags are tied into a knot and the following is uttered: "The quarrel of a dog and a cat shall afflict NN and NN". Those rags are buried on two sides of the entrance door to the house or yard of that specific married couple. When a mistress wants a man to leave his wife for her, after intercourse she wears his underwear for seven days. If a woman wants her man to look at her with loving eyes all the time, she regularly, every month, cuts her pubic hair and burns them in a fire.

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FOLK CALENDAR
The Bosnian national (agricultural) calendar spans back to the Illyrian old era. The maker of the calendar is unknown. It is known that it was created and used by a farmer. Some dates from the Julian calendar, which was created 45 years BCE, can be recognised in the Bosnian calendar. After Christianity came, some of these dates received names of saints. With the arrival of the Slavs, pagans, people known for agriculture, the dates had different names, but they always remained the same. The folk calendar was used continuously, it was used during the time of the Bogumil's, it was also used during the Ottoman period, and it even serves a purpose today. Besides this, in Bosnia the Hijri calendar was also strictly observed. It was done by the Imam's and other religious scholars, in order to be aware of the important religious dates (Ramadan, Bayram, New year, etc.). The Hijri calendar was impractical when it came to agriculture, since it moved forward ten days every solar year, however it was practical when it came to fasting during the month of Ramadan since it moved through all the seasons. We need to mention that the Hijri calendar was the official calendar in Bosnia during the Ottoman period, until the Austro-Hungarian period when they brought the Gregorian calendar. The Bosnian folk calendar begins on December 21st, the folk belief holds that on that date, the day extends as much as a rooster can jump from a doorstep. From this date on comes the Zehmeriya (Turkish: Zehmeri) the coldest part of winter that lasts for 40 days. While Zehmeriya lasts people avoid drinking cold water in fear of catching a cold. January: the folk call January the longest moth in the year. From January 17th the counting of the weeks until Hidirlez begins (May 6th), 17 weeks total. This is what determines the sowing. The period from January 31st until March 20th is called Hamsin and it represents the second part of winter. February- from February 14th until March 14th is Veljača, the folk belief is that if snow falls in the beginning of the Veljača that the year will be fertile, and that wheat will have a good yield. Djemre (Turkish: Cemreler), the meaning of this word is "burning 34

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charcoal", it is believed that Djemre is the sun's heat which starts to have an intense impact on the land and it starts awakening the nature. -The first Djemra appears on February 20th and heats the air. That's when the Southern wind starts blowing and it becomes milder. -The second Djemra appears on February 27th heats up the water and raises its level. The water in the river doesn't freeze from this point on. -The third Djemra appears on March 6th and heats up the land. The snow melts fast and the first grass starts sprouting. (Right after the first Djemra the people have a custom to notch the roots of the birch and put a glass bottle so that the juices of the birch flow in it. The bottle stays in that position until the third Djemra. The collected juices are used for medicinal purposes, especially kidney diseases) March: the agricultural works begin during this month, the potatoes, onions and salads are sown. After the third Djemra the fruit trees are notched and inoculated. Grandma (Baba)- from March 15th until March 21st is the period of the grandma, the unstable period when a couple of weather phenomena change in one day. Grandpa (Did,Djed)- from March 21st until March 28th is the period of the grandpa, the folk beliefs are that it is more merciful and people start sowing potatoes during this period. (“Did” or Grandpa is a name (title) of each Bogumil priest in Bosnia and “Baba” (grandma) is the name of his wife who helped her husband and the community by healing with herbs, assisting in births, or foretelling fortunes. Since the Bosnian people were Bogumils before Islam came, it is then no mystery why they kept some of the memories of their old religion. Among the folk there are numerous stories, mostly comical, about Did and Baba and their adventures. By them, we can discern that they commanded great respect among the Bosnian people.) Kablići- March 29th until March 31st Stablići- April 1st until April 3rd Štapići- April 4th until April 7th (All three names are connected to the past of Bosnia when the winters were very long and they usually lasted until the middle of April. During that period the cattle used to die because of lack of 35

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food) Mučenjaci- period from April 8th until July, this is the period when people suffered (hence the name) until the sowing of the wheat. April: during April the corn is sown. The old Bosniaks would wait for the frogs to start making noise, which would be a sign that the climate is optimal for sowing. The people also followed other signs of the nature, and therefore it is believed that when the beech tree starts sprouting leaves that one can begin sowing grain without fearing frost. During the middle of April the grapevine was notched and a bottle was placed underneath it for the juices to drip in it until Hidirlez. This juice was used by women to smear on their hair so it would be healthy and grow quicker. May: in the first quarter of May the sowing of beans begins. Hidirlez or Jurjevo (May 6th)- according to the national calendar from this day forward, the summer begins and the swimming in lakes and ponds can begin. In the period from May 6th until May 13th the first swarms of bees are let loose. June: the first seven days of June are called "bijela nedjelja” or “white week" because the white mushrooms (Cantharellus cibarius) are picked in the forests at that time. In the beginning of June , pumpkins, turnips and radishes are sown. August: it is believed that this month gives diarrhea to children and the elderly. To prevent this from happening, the mothers would take some clothes of their children and throw it under the wheel of carriages that carry wheat bundles. In the first days of August the onion and garlic are picked. Aliđun- August 2nd: the folk belief is that from this day on, the summer loses its heat and slowly turns into autumn, the water in the rivers begins to cool down and there can be no more swimming. September: during this month the potato is reaped, the corn as well and the grapes start ripening. If some strawberries sprout in September, then it is believed that the autumn will be long and mild. October: in the first and second week of October wheat is sown. Kasum - November 8th: from this day onward, winter starts. On this 36

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day, all loans are settled, and leases of land end. Kasum is Turkish the name of November. The Arabic word kasim means 'something that divides“.

Pagan background of the folk calendar
As Christianity took over most of the pagan holidays and customs creating a cult of saints, in this analysis of ancient Bosnian calendar we won't waste space and time by discovering which saint took over which role of a pagan deity, instead we will focus on more important, original segments which are in its basis key principles for punctual description of the folk calendar whose content follows the creative cycle of nature. The only thing that is worth mentioning is that Christianity changed moved some dates a few days earlier or later from the original date of the pagan holidays in order to give it a Christian meaning and diminish the ancient, pagan one. Researchers of ancient Bosnia came across archaeological evidence which point out that there was mixing between the Celtic religious cults with those of the Illyrians, especially with the Japodi, a tribe that inhabited the north-western part of Bosnia. By analysing the folk calendar of that part of Bosnia, which was transferred orally from one generation to the other, we can discover the traces of Celtic religion, the cult of fertility to be more exact, which is a staple part of what we know today as European witchcraft. By describing particular calendar dates and beliefs connected to them we can relatively successfully reconstruct the ancient cult of triple goddess Brigid which is also considered the Grand Mother. Wheat was dedicated to her out of whom prophylactic symbols were created with intent to keep the family safe from evil. Herodotus in one of his descriptions of the Illyrians mentions that Illyrian women bring wheat as a sacrifice to one of their goddesses. This undoubtedly confirms the similar belief of the Celt and the Illyrians. In the folk calendar dualism is emphasized, the permeation of the negative and the positive period during which nature begins and ends its circle of fertility, which is under the protection of the goddess mother and god sun. Modelled after the antique folk 37

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calendar, the Bosnian is divided on only two seasons i.e. summer and winter because it is in its essence agricultural and follows the natural cycles. According to the belief of the Bosnian folk summer begins in May and ends in November (Beltane-Samhain), and then comes the winter, when would the manifestation of the goddess mother, in her three forms, commence together with the winter solstice. Zehmerija, Veljača and Baba we will analyse in more detail, besides female names and characteristics, they symbolise three life stages which are undoubtedly reminiscent of the pagan cult of the goddess mother, which was celebrated as triple goddess - girl, mother and old woman. The name Zehmerija, unlike the other two names, doesn't originate from Bosnia, it is a part of the Turkish folk tradition which was accepted by our people and merged into the tradition. But, while Zehmerija actually Zehmeri or Zehmerir in Turkish alludes to males, in Bosnia Zehmerija was always considered to be a female name. This is supported by "Crna Zehmerija" (Black Zehemerija), which represents the coldest winter days. During that period in the past people tended to get frozen fingers or toes, in case of very low temperatures.

Zehmerija Witches holiday Yule which is exactly on 21st December and more than ideally it corresponds to the calendar date of the beginning of Zehmerija. From the winter solstice the day starts to get longer by the amount that the rooster can jump from the house doorstep. In this folk belief there is a clear allusion to the sun cult, whose symbol is a rooster, because in paganism after 21st of December the sun is "born" and announces a gradual arrival of warmer days. The goddess gave birth to a son, god, which will eventually become her lover and father of the child in the next cycle. She is tired and exhausted and that's why she's resting and recuperating. That's why it's cold and snowy in nature. The goddess like the Bosnian woman rests for 40 days (četeresnica) after birth, which is also how long the Zehmerija is, and during that time the folk tradition records various taboos which clearly allude to birth. Apparently, while the Zehmerija lasts the people would avoid travelling by night, in order not to cross places where the demons celebrate and dine which also has the greatest influence during that part of year. From such encounters between people and the Jinn, humans can fall ill both physically and mentally. A similar prohibition pertains to a woman who gave birth; she was prohibited from going out at night

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from fear of a demon attack, since she has no immunity to them during the first 40 days after birth.

Veljača Calendar wise Veljača is different from Zehmerija because it doesn't coincide with the other pagan holiday called Imbolc which is celebrated from dusk of 31st January until 2nd February which means that it comes at the end of Zehmerija, and we shouldn't disregard this information. Imbolc is the event when the Celtic triple goddess Brigid first appeared as a girl and made love with the young sun god, who was born on the shortest day in the year. The difference of 12 days is perhaps due to the events i.e. mistakes in oral transfer of the tradition from one generation to the other. But, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Zehemerija, which lasts for 40 days, begins on December 21st and ends 1st of February. The name Veljača probable comes from Velja, Vela or Velika which alludes to the fact that the girl became a mother, and that's why she obtained the title grand/big, the one that brings forth life. Her symbol is the full moon. The goddess recovered from birth. God has strengthened and his warmth slowly permeates the earth and that's how the first signs of spring come about. His power grows continually, the light pierces darkness and the days become longer. The nature is slowly coming to life, which is reflected by the Bosnian calendar in the form of a fight between southern and northern wind. The goddess shows her blessings, the folk tradition claims that if the beginning of Veljača i.e. 14th, 15th and 16th of February is marked by precipitation of snow the year will be fruitful, especially for wheat, usually a symbol of the goddess.

Baba or Grandma

Baba, as the name suggests, symbolises an old lady. In the same way, the pagan holiday Ostare falls on the vernal equinox on the last day of a seven day cycle which is ruled by the Baba. With that we could claim that the last day symbolises the end of the life cycle. In this period the goddess mother conceived a child i.e. son who will be born on December 21st. Baba can be easily seen as a pregnant woman since the Bosnian term zbabna refers to a pregnant woman and the word babine refers to the traditional visit to the woman who 39

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gave birth. The folk description of Baba's character clearly alludes to classic symptoms that a woman has during childbirth - she is wilful, fickle, prone to frequent changes of mood... Due to such circumstances the goddess mother can sometimes steal fertility from humans and cause a dry year or a year marked by frequent storms. During this period the goddess covers the earth with fertility, awakens it from its slumber, and the god grows and slowly reaches maturity. The hours of the day and night are equal, and light slowly triumphs over darkness. Farming activities start. The sun is in its northernmost point. The end of Baba begins with a seven day period during which Did rules, the male principle, or better to say god whose mother is the goddess, he has now reached maturity and shares grace to the people, which is described in the folk tradition: "Did is merciful because during it one can start planting potatoes". The seed is placed in the earth which needs to supply the crop, fertility. The dominant influence of god is seen in the following months.

Jurjevo (Hidirlez) In the pagan tradition Beltane symbolises the beginning of the light half of the year i.e. the arrival of summer. For the Celts that is the holiday dedicated to the god of light (sun) who has fire as its symbol. That's why each year during Jurjevo or Hidirlez in Bosnia early in the morning, before sun rise, a fire is lit in the yard as a sign of welcome to the sun which will appear in the east. Because of the strong monotheistic influence that ritual was interpreted as a defence from snakes, which allowed it to be hidden and freely practiced throughout the ages.

Ajvatovica - ancient cult of sun Ajvatovica according to all the available data is an Illyrian tradition of the sun cult which announced the renewal of nature, its fertility through water and the forest. The days of Ajvatovica last from 15th to the 25th of June which coincides with the summer solstice (June 21st). In Celtic religion during the summer solstice a large ritual takes place, holly unity of the mature sun god and mother earth. On this day the sun god's might is at its peak. 40

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40 days and nights is the time that Ajvaz Dedo prayed for the water to start flowing perfectly coincides with the period of June 21st to July 31st i.e. the beginning of the second pagan holiday which is celebrated for three days of Lugha or Lughnassan.

Aliđun Lughnassan which lasts from 31st July until 2nd of August is the ancient holiday of harvest. In Bosnia during that period comes the Aliđun which is considered by the people to stand for the height of summer during which there is prosperity of fruits and grain. In the past the Bosnian people visited cult places in nature, known as dovišta, and those were the places where god was worshiped and celebrations were held followed with entertainment and food. With that the old pagan tradition was followed of praising the holiday of harvest and thankfulness for the yields of nature. Dovište Lastavica was until the middle of the twentieth century a cult place where Bosnian people would gather for 2nd of August to practice the ritual of slaughtering sheep, which is a tradition from the Illyrian times as many ethnologists claim, and it symbolised "sacrificing a virgin to the devil" i.e. a specific deity from whom one sought mercy and blessing in order to ensure fertility.

Kasum Samhain (31.10-02.11), symbolises the end of the summer and the light part of the year after which winter and darkness arrive. Among the folk it is called Kasum, Turkish name for November. The name Kasum stems from Arabic which means "something which is shared". The end of the warm period and the beginning of winter is best supported by the folk saying: "Jurjevo brings a green leaf and Kasum white snow!" That is where the Bosnian folk calendar ends.

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The Little Witch Book

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Bosnian lily (Lilium bosniacum) is a flower of Bosnia and Bosnian people. Extraordinarily beautiful flower, dignified, all in golden-yellow color it proudly keeps its loftiness and regal posture while its red stamen symbolize blood of the Bosnian man, which was often shed because of the enemies of this country. The Bosnian lily became a symbol for the suffering of Bosnian people during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. In a tragic song it is mentioned that a lily each year on July 11th changes its fragrance and that day it smells like sorrow and pain. That day from the lily the blood drips on the sacred Bosnian land on which the dead bodies of murdered men, women and children of Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Žepa, Zvornik, Bijeljina, Foča, Višegrad, Prijedor, etc. lay.

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