Nov 8, 2016

Examples of curing fear

Fight against fear is not simple and often requires a lot of patience. This is best evidenced by stravarke whose work experience is full of various cases. Stravarka Emina Hadžihasanović told the following story to a journalist of a Sarajevo magazine:

-I was melting lead to a man, he was imprisoned by četniks (name for Serbian paramilitary army which committed the most war crimes in BiH), he was imprisoned in a concentration camp and was tortured, also a grenade exploded in his building. He was ready to die. He couldn’t walk normally any more. He wasn’t able to go alone anywhere, so he took his child with him everywhere he went. He couldn’t even go to the toilet without the child taking him there. He was a butcher by trade, a good man. He asked doctors for help but they couldn’t help him, his medical results were good but he couldn’t walk straight. I have molten 77 lead pieces for him and he recovered. He is now working in a butcher shop on Ilidža.

Obviously the issue of great fear in a man requires great effort, which is evidenced by another case from the practice of this stravarka:

-There was once a woman. And an ox wanted to kill her, but he didn’t. And due to such a shock she fell into a coma. From that day she always slept a little and fell into a coma a little. It happened that no matter where she was, she would feel a bit weak, she would then fall to the floor. She would fall unconscious. Here, there are 79 leads that I molten for her until now and now the condition has gotten better, she only feels like this maybe once a week. While I melt a couple more she will recover completely. There is only cure in melting lead. Doctors are oblivious. They’re looking – all is good, all is nice and a person cannot function normally. Fear resurrects in the body and all is negative. It strikes the legs and arms and the head, everywhere. You melt three lead pieces – and it feels as if you took it with your hand and threw it away, everything disappears. From the old days the lead melting ritual was practiced, it is a part of our Bosnian tradition for ages.

Illyrian inheritance

For the lead melting ritual, which is familiar in numerous Balkan countries, but also Middle East such as Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iranian anthropologists believe that it stems from the Illyrian warriors, which spread it across the Roman empire while serving its armies, to all corners that the powerful, ancient Empire covered. That is why the Turks, Arabs, Persians and the Jews took it over, which confirms that we are dealing with an effective and efficient ritual for annulling fear, spellbound eyes but also magic.

Curiosity which is among the folk usually connected with the gift of divination and lead melting is that both techniques are often a gift of supernatural forces to an individual. Namely, knowledge about lead melting, according to a stravarka, it often comes “in a dream”, i.e. the stravarka to be dreams it. One of such examples was the already mentioned Emina Hadžihasanović:

-I dreamt that I will die. And my house in the dream is placed on a high hill. I was looking for someone to say the prayer Yasin for me, and I couldn’t find anyone. I then placed a blanket next to this bed and I lay down to die. I started uttering Yasin and three mubina (chapters) of Yasin I finish, and I die. When I woke up in the morning, I remembered the dream and what had happened, I then went to an Imam on Vratnik to tell him what had transpired.

He said: It is good for you that you dreamt it if you are going to melt lead. I never did, I said, but I can start. From there I came here, there was a woman there – she went from one doctor to the other. She was struck by it, she couldn’t move. She said: I dreamt last night that you will melt lead for me. I smiled and said: I have never molten lead for anyone. She said that I shall to her, now. I said when this is the case then I shall. She entered the house through the stairs on her knees. She couldn’t bend her leg. There I took a spoon and I started melting lead. When I have finished melting lead for her for the third time, she suddenly rose up and started walking. She lived for another three-four years and died. And from that day on I melt lead.

Doctors cannot cure fear

Stravarka Hadžinca from Potur in Travnik is another one of the rare people which haven’t received much attention from internet portals and media in general. During an interview with a journalist, Hadžinica revealed some of the secrets of this ancient technique.

-This is no divination, it is useful, but there are people which think otherwise, and I wouldn’t like if you would reveal my identity. I wouldn’t like it because of my family either, you know how it is, she explained. She says that people come from all over the place, from central Bosnia, Zenica and even Sarajevo. Everyone comes with his own story and his own troubles. From workers, up to doctors, politicians and singers. It is a tradition to charge for lead melting. Someone gives some money, someone a present, but for everything to be complete, a reward must be given. That’s why lead cannot be molten by closer relatives which live in the same house. Although it is popular belief that this ancient exorcist skill is solely practiced by women, lead can be molten by men, but they say that it is not appropriate for a man to melt lead for a woman, because of the conservative society.

The ritual with lead without a doubt stems from shamanism which is based on animism. Probably because of its somewhat mysterious power of transformation, to change from solid into the liquid state and reverse, the lead spurred ancient Illyrian shamans to try and change the state of the diseased with the help of lead, through a magical ritual. Besides, stravarke, but also some Imam’s, which practice this method, agree that lead has a lethal power towards humans but also demons. Namely, as a rifle bullet can kill a man so too can lead in a shamanistic ritual kill i.e. more precisely trap energy of a spirit and so remove it from the diseased person.

In three consecutive lead melting rituals, the figure of lead does actually come out in a form similar to the thing that caused the fear.

-Women come to me and they don’t know that they’re afraid of their husband. I reveal this immediately and I tell her – you are afraid of your husband! Of course, sometimes I find a figurine which shows that the husband is afraid of his wife. To remove the fear it is important to find the cause.

She helps only to those that need such a help

When talking to other stravarke with which I had the opportunity and pleasure to talk to, I came across an identical opinion. Each of the categorically claim that everything that is shown in the lead can no longer hurt the diseased person.

-Lead melting will always help to the one who is a case for it, i.e. who is full of fear or some other negative energy, and if his problem cannot be solved by the ritual then he will have no use from it, said Mevlida O. from Velika Kladuša, one of the stravarka which inherited her knowledge from her mother in law.

-No one knows how old this custom is. I feel sad because it is dying out, there are no young women which would like to learn it, and there are few of them that could – says Hadžinica and she explains the stern predispositions: the one which is experienced in lead melting, gives to the student izun, i.e. permission. The woman needs to be pious, with a covered body and it would be good if she is educated, especially in an Islamic spirit. She doesn’t have to go to Hajj, but as Hadžinica says, it won’t hurt.

Continuing the discussion stravarka Hadžinica said that they brought her a singer which sang in a nearby restaurant.

-He says, I don’t know what is wrong with me, I just want to quarrel?! I thought tha someone must have frightened him. I melt lead for him, and each time a figure of a man shows. I ask – who scared you? He then told me everything, that he accepted a friend in his house so he can spend the night there, but in actuality the man was a crook and he wanted to rob him. The singer kept quiet about this event and kept the fear to himself, but when the problem escalated he came to seek help.