Dec 31, 2011


Word which does not exist in any dictionary, and my Sarajevan informants did not understand it. They suggested it was supposed to be nagaziti (na sihir or jinns), which means to be bewitched, or alternatively nagrajisati, which mean to get into trouble or fare badly. It is believed that a person may be „bewitched“ by what most informants referred to as „something“, or more rarely as a „devilish brew“, which may attach itself to breadcrumbs, nails, blood, wood chips, or rubbish which has been left outdoors by humans. This stuff is believed to be used by sorcerers when making sihir. This devilish brew containing malevolent spirits may thus be transferred deliberately by sorcerers to people who are thereby „poisoned“. Again, a person is most vulnerable to such attacks at akšam (sunset). If going out after sunset he or she should always say bismillah as he or she may unknowingly step over rubbish of the type described, left by humans on the ground where „agents of the devil“ gather. The best protection, however, is to wear a zapis.

Dec 30, 2011

Bosnian healers

Among the most common problems healers are asked to remedy are chronic illness, marital difficulties, infertility, prolonged bachelorhood, and mental problems such as anxiety or depression. I knew of three people, two woman and a man, who practiced healing as described. They are usually called by their first names and the name of their village. All three lived in remote mountain villages. People came from all over central Bosnia and from Sarajevo to see them. One of the villagers' favorite stories about one of them was that during the Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo (1984) this „hodža“ had visitors from distant countries who took the trip all the way from Sarajevo to seek his help. The story was always told to establish this man's importance. However, the „real“ medresa-educated official hodžas dismissed these healers (and diviners) as „illiterate“ because they mixed Qur'anic knowledge with what the official hodžas considered to be non-Islamic folk beliefs.
The second category consists of bulas who do faith healing and divination and hodžas who write amulets. I will deal with both in turn. Female faith healers are typically middle-aged, and are bulas of the traditional rather than the medresa-educated kind. Generally, female healers use fewer written sources and concentrate on reciting Qur'anic verses, praying and divination. They are particularly sough after for salijevati strahu (to pour/cast horror) and the „praying of istihara“, traditional healing practices and divination accompanied by Bosniak prayers and teachings from the Qur'an.

Dec 29, 2011

The Writing of Amulets

The most common and popular form of help Bosniaks in the village sought in times of personal stress (particularly when was believed to have been caused by negative influences such as sihir) was an amulet, popularly called zapis (note), written by a hodža. A zapis may more rarely be referred to as mušema (the Arabic word which describes the wrapper around the note). Then more general term hamajlija (from the Arabic term for amulet) is also used. A zapis is a small piece of paper with a verse or phrase from the Qur'an written in Arabic and carried as a charm or amulet. Worn for protection against spells and indirectly therefore against illness, it can also be worn as an amulet to secure happiness and good fortune, or to ease anxiety and physical pain (such as headaches). Such problems are not untypically brought on by life-cycle changes, such a marrying and becoming a bride and new member of a household, the birth of a child, or the death or illness of a close family member. The paper is wrapped into a triangle in a small piece of red cloth which has been oiled or waxed to make it more resistant. (The Arabic word mušema means oilcloth). The zapis is attached by a safety pin as close to the person's body as possible, usually to the undershirt. Only a trained hodža is considered competent to write zapis, the few who actually do so are well known is rural areas, especially among Bosniaks. The hodžas who write amulets must know to write Qur'an verses in Arabic, and to able to choose verses appropriate to each case. They are often retired religious instructors with long experience and good psychological insight into local life. Some hodžas, however, think the practise is not in the spirit of Islam and is immoral (because of the money involved). The official Islamic Association was rigorously against it and would teach young medresa students to preach against it if posted to rural areas.
The verses written on the zapis are chosen according to the problem it is supposed to remedy. After the zapis has been written and wrapped there are several possible procedured: it may be worn immediately without any further measures being taken, or it may be put through various magical treatments. (It is important that the zapis not be worn or left in unclean places such as the lavatory if unprotected, that is, not oiled.) The magical treatment also varies with the nature of the problem the zapis is supposed to protect the person from.
One of the hodžas told me that fewer people asked him to write zapis for them today than in his younger days, since „today there are more doctors around, so fewer people come and ask us (hodžas) to write zapis. Besides, young people nowadays do not believe in praying“. Villagers and hodžas alike told me that in the late eighties fewer hodžas practiced forms of faith healing and divination such as the writing of zapis. This was clearly related to the younger hodžas' more formalized and more shari'at-oriented Islamic training, rendering them critical of such practices. Nevertheless, judging from the number of case histories I collected of people who had sought the help of a hodža and who had had a zapis written for them at least once, it was still a much used strategy for coping with misfortune. However, people tended to seek the help of one of the more prestigious sufi hodža, in contrast to the local ones, reported an increase in the number of people who had come to them with health or personal problems over the last few years.

Salijevanje strahe

The same was not, however, said about salijevati stravu or salijevati strahu which can also be performed by less religiously educated Bosniak women, as it requires less knowledge. The central item in the ritual is a lump of lead which is heated and then thrown into water, where it forms a pattern from which the supplicant's troubles are interpreted. Apart from the local bula there was one other woman in the village who performed this ritual. She had learned it from an old bula from the district, who decided to stop performing it because of pressure from her children who complained that it was primitive superstition. She taught the woman from Dolina how to perform it and gave her the lump of lead ( which should be handed down from one bula to another). I observed salijevati strahu on several occasions. It was always performed at the request of women who had either been bereaved by the death of a close relative, or had been upset by other events in the immediate family and were anxious and unable to sleep, though they did not know the reason why. The casting of the lead and the Qur'anic recitation were believed to help define the problem and thereby relieve the anxiety. The ritual could only be performed by devout women who could recite Qur'an verses. The pattern formed by the lump of lead was always interpreted as an indication that something had upset the patient, and suggestions were made as to what this might be and what the patient should do. She may be advised to say specific prayers regularly od perform other religious duties. The lead ritual might be repeated a couple of times over the next week or two, until she felt calmer and less worried.


Prayers of istihara are said specifically to predict the future. People, usually women, will come to the bula and ask if she can pray istihara on their behalf to find out whether a certain project will succeed, for example. Before going to sleep the bula will pray for a dream that will reveal whatever it was the person in question wanted to know about her future. The bula will then interpret the dream. The istihara is said to demand intense concentration and be mentally very tiring; not every bula can do it. While shari'at-oriented Islamic scholars consider much of the divination practiced by Bosniaks in Bosnia to be against the spirit of Islam, the bula I spoke to emphasized that the istihara is a practice referred to in the Qur'an.

Dec 27, 2011

Iblis, help me!

For a woman to become a sihirbazica (witch) and gain magical powers she needs to take the holly Qur'an and throw it on the ground and stomping it utter: Iblis, help me, I give you my soul, help me in my intentions (or wishes)".

In Bosnia it is believed that after this blasphemous act she becomes a witch: she can cast love spells, exert revenge on her enemies, become invisible...
In the past, according to ethnological writings, young women often became witches in order to become attractive with the help of magic, so that men would want them. Similarly, a woman would become a witch in order to bring her man back, who left her or to separate him from his beloved girlfriend, her rival.
In their practice the Bosnian witches used various ways to cast love spells on men, and the most famous one is the one with white beans. The ritual was performed as follows:
At night, when no one is around, the witch would take an axe and place it behind the entrance door along with nine white beans on which she urinated on. Then the witch goes to the fire place inside the house and places the beans in the ash near the fire. She would then utter: "the beans crackle, bah bahti, the axe behind the door and X in front of it. Die, burst until you come to me, with Gods power and my merit, veledalin amin".
She would then blow three times in the direction of the man and then she would swallow her spit. The witch stirs the beans in a circle with a metal spoon, takes the axe and brings it and places it next to her feet, and then she stirs the beans with the spoon one more time and brings the axe back behind the door. While doing this she utters:
"I am placing the axe behind the door; I am not placing the axe but the brain and wits of X behind the door. Die, burst until you come to me, with God's power and my merit.Veledalin amin".
After that she repeats the following words three times: "basmice, basmice sisters as ordained by God, bring me X there is the dark and the cloud, I am his shining sun and moon. Dark all around him and I am his only light, elzalif amin".
At the end she blows down her bosom three times, turns around and goes to bed.
It is believed that after this ritual the man who was the target of the ritual becomes plagued by an unexplainable longing and wish to see the woman as soon as he can. Because of the love magic the man cannot sleep nor concentrate on anything else. If he resists the urge to visit the witch strange blisters appear on his body and he suffers a high temperature for days. When he visits the woman, and as soon as he lays his eyes on her, all of the symptoms disappear immediately. 

Dec 22, 2011

Sedef or Sedefil

Another plant used specifically for protection against the evil eye was rue (Ruta graveolens) or Sedefil. Since newborn children were believed to be most susceptible to the evil eye, the Bosniaks used to put a branch of rue in the baby's clothes but and   associated it with birth as well as death (it was placed above the head of the deceased)

The most famous plant among the Bosniak people which is by tradition connected to the sacred and the mystic elements is rue (Ruta graveoles). The word rue (sadef) has its origin in the Arabic language and it is commonly called in Bosnia "sedefil", "sedefat" etc. It is commonly believed that this plant has strong apotropaic powers, the old Egyptians, Chinese, Romans and Celts were aware of this fact. In Arabia, Peganum Harmala is a plant that is credit for annulling negative effects, especially spellbound eyes, in Bosnia this role is performed by nacre. Its worth is perhaps best understood by the old adage of grandparents who say "one should cater for nacre more than its own child."
In alternative medicine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nacre was mostly used for heart diseases. Tea was usually made from this plant or a dry mixture of it would be combined with honey and eaten as such. Prophylactic characteristic of nacre should be sought in its original form, namely one leaf had five smaller leaves which associate us to five fingers or Khamsa (Hand of Fatima). Except the fact that the plant was placed under children's pillows to protect them against spellbound eyes, girls usually wore a bundle of the plant in their hair for the exact same purpose. Besides being able to protect one from spellbound eyes, the plant possessed a characteristic which enabled it to annul any and every magical or hostile effect and therefore it was usually found in front of a house, a bush planted near the entrance door or perhaps from both sides to prevent evil from entering the premises. These are the reasons why this plant gained popularity amongst the Bosnian people who see nacre as their national amulet.
Also the practice of using nacre is common in Bosnian spiritual healers, especially "stravarka" (ocakli kadin). One of them, "stravarka" by the name of Bilka, puts a bundle of the plant on the Qur'an and a piece of led over it to annul evil as soon as she begins the ritual. Bilka explains the usage of this plant: nacre is a heavenly plant which wards off any and every evil.Nacre is successfully used to annul black magic, this is one of many Bosnian recipes. It is necessary to take nine flowers, nine leaves and nine branches of nacre and place them inside a bottle which was beforehand filled with clear spring water. After that one must repeat the following nine prayers: El-Fatiha, Ikhlas, Falaq, Nass and Tebetyeda. After this is completed the bottle is closed and left closed overnight. The following day a person which has problems with negative energy has to first take a bath, and then when the body is clean it needs to wash himself with the water from the bottle taking care that every part of the body is washed with this water. One should not dry his body with a towel, but wait for it to be dried by itself and after that the parts of the plant need to be thrown out in a place where people don't trot.

Natural order: Rutaceae. Other names: Herb of Grace, Herb of Repentance. French name: Rue. German name: Raute. Italian names: Ruta, Ruga. Spanish name: Ruda trago-amargo. Turkish name: Sedef otu. Chinese name: Yiin-haiang- ts'ao. Bosnian name: sedefil, sedefčić, etc.

Amulet or Hamajlija

 In Bosnia and Herzegovina there is a long tradition of wearing amulets, which are called “hamajlija” (amulet). They are shorter or longer texts from the Quran written on a piece of paper where a picture of a magic square is present (wafq) and at the end of the text the name of the owner is written. Amulets were worn for various reasons such as the protection from sickness and as a cure but mostly because they provide immunity to the wearer.

When someone wants to get an amulet they go to a hodja (mullah) who uses the system of Arabic astrology and numerology, also known as “ebjad hisab”, and turns the name of that person along with the name of his mother into their numerical equivalents and divides it by the number 12. When he receives the final number he then writes the corresponding text.
Every amulet begins with the words: “Bismilahir rahmanir rahim” and continues with some prayer, usually it is the first verse of the Quran, El-Fatiha. The constituent part of any good amulet is the magical square or wafq whose content is made up of a sequence of numbers, Allah’s names or short quotations from the Quran.

In Velika Kladuša an amulet is written for nine days before the appearance of the new moon. When the whole text is completed the paper is folded into a shape of a triangle and sown in a red fabric. Beforehand a leaf of rue (Ruta graveoles) or a piece of  yew (Taxus bacuta) or three beans of coffee are placed inside the amulet. In the past the amulet was encased in metal and sown inside of a rabbits skin.It is interesting to mention that the amulet has a fascinating effect on the wearer. If the wearer is under the influence of black magic, soon after he has started wearing the amulet around his neck a harmful sensation will befall him, for example chest pain, nightmare, etc. That is a positive sign that evil has been neutralized. Also this is the crucial moment when the amulet and the wearer have bonded.

Amulets were mostly worn by children, according to the ethnological data collected during the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of Bosniak children wore an amulet sown on the top of their fez, shaped like a triangle and sown inside a red fabric, so that it can protect them from spellbound eyes o which children are most susceptible to. In such an amulet a standard prayer that was written in it was a prayer from the Quran called Ali’Imran, using an ink made out of rose water mixed with musk and saffron.

Amulets were also worn by pregnant women so that they can be protected from spellbound eyes and to prevent a possible loss of the offspring. Besides this a red sting was tied around children’s arms or a small shell was sown on their hats to annul every influence of spellbound eyes. A classical amulet was often worn in a triangular metal box which is called “Mahfaza” whose shape also had a symbolical meaning. Namely, each side of the triangle symbolized a verse from the Quran: “I am God", "There is no God but me”, “No one truly knows what I am.”  In Bosnia and Herzegovina since the old ages amulets connected to war are also known, they are called “En’am”, named after the same prayer in the Quran, these amulets were worn by soldiers going to war.

Besides written amulets in Bosnia we find various objects- amulets; a wolf’s tooth was worn by feeble and scared children, a figurine of a frog made out of silver were worn by women who wanted to be protected against gynecological issues or they wore a silver plate on which it was written “Mashalla”. Out of herbal amulets, garlic, leaf of rue or a piece of yew were used, and from the animal amulets, thorns from a hedgehog, a rabbits foot, a wing from a bat, etc. Besides the need to protect himself from evil, man also wanted to protect his animals.
For protection purposes a red fabric was tied to a tail of a cow, a wooden spoon was used for horses, or a small amulet was written and placed on the horns of the animal. Besides people and animals, material goods were also protected from evil. In the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina a lot of attention was given to the protection of the house from black magic and spellbound eyes, to keep peace and happiness inside the house. Along time ago the practice was to write Allah’s name “Ya Hafiz”, which means “God Protector”, on the house doors, especially in Sarajevo. The name was written in Arabic in golden letters on a dark background.

The amulet doesn’t only have the power to protect a human or a house from black magic, its scope of action is much larger and it can, among other things, protect its owner from negative propaganda and crooks. For that reason an owner would write the following on his house: “I said, and swore to Allah that I will do X.” After that he would take four pieces of paper and write on each one of them, one name of the four great Angels: Azrail, Jibrail, Israfil and Mikail and he would place these papers in four corners of the house.In Bosnia we encounter various beliefs about amulets, and these are the most popular ones;  it is believed that an amulet can lose its protective power if it is punctured by a sowing needle. In the same manner the amulet has no power of protection if its owner drinks or eats a spell in his drink or food, it protects man only from external influences, whether they be material or astral origin.

For attraction

This three basme (love magic words) repeat 3 times and blow in the direction from the person you love:

Elif elif etti
you to my meti
what I'm speaking
may you speak it too.

Evretna sabretna safretna
what I'm speaking
may you speak it too.

Bosnian love spells

When Bosniak girl see new moon then she whispers three times magic words:

Sarem sokli Sarajevo,
ibrishimli hirayevo,
hane bishi yaterishi,
of mine N. (name of lower) chifderishi,
anihi pyanihi you are drunk N.sichumihi.

(Sarem sokli Sarajevo, ibrišimli hirajevo, hane biši jeteriši, mome N.ćifderiši,
pijan si N.sićumihi.)

Nov 6, 2011


In the past in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 19th and half of the 20th century among the Bosniaks numerous strange cases of mysterious births were mentioned where pregnant women would give birth to strange creatures called by the people "Snijet" (Mola hydalidora). In the medical terminology we are talking about an abnormal product of conception in which the offspring doesn't develop, instead it only proliferates the placenta's embryonic tissue into a timorous formation which is called Mole by the medical profession. The belly of the pregnant woman would grow, imitating a normal pregnancy. Because the Mole is today regarded as a tumor it is natural that such a state is considered life threatening for the pregnant woman. Probably because of this most of Snijet were born during the first three months of the pregnancy.
Most ethological documents agree that the Snijet would leave the pregnant woman during the first three to four months of pregnancy, although some documents that are found in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina claim that the Snijet could be born after nine months of pregnancy. As soon as the pregnancy would prolong itself or get complicated in any way, the midwife would suspect a Snijet, because in such situations the woman would bleed much more than usual and it would take longer for her to recuperate. Even though it was considered a good deed to give birth to Snijet, it was usually killed with a broom and buried where horse manure was stored. According to the beliefs, a woman who would give birth to three Snijet's would immediately, after her death, go into heaven.
Midwife's described the Snijet as a living being that needed to be killed as soon as possible. It had red hue and it was horrible. In the past, under the guise of Snijet a lot of criminal activities (infanticide) were committed, when a woman would want to get rid of her child that she got out of wed lock.
In certain ethnological documents Snijet was often connected to dragons. Namely, in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was believed that dragons could make love to a woman that was sleeping and as a result of that children that were born had dragon origins. Besides women, the dragons impregnated cows. In both cases the dragon child would fly off as soon as it was born in fear of human retribution. However, it would return every night while the woman was sleeping, to feed itself with the milk of its mother. Such women would claim that their breasts were empty in the morning which further sparked the belief that there was a mysterious birth. According to written testimony of such women, they claim that their pregnancy was normal and had all the accompanying symbols of a pregnancy, until after nine months the woman would wake up one morning with an empty belly and her child missing. Such a case would automatically be considered a Snijet or worse a dragon birth and such a case would immediately become a taboo and people avoided talking about it. People thought this appropriate because they didn't want to incur the wrath of the dragons by talking about that event.
Bosnian people describe dragons as winged snakes that fly in the sky usually on days when rain fell during a sunny day. Among the Bosnian people the memory of dragons was relieved through one of its fiercest combatants for freedom and independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, captain Husein Gradaščević called Bosnian Dragon. Evidence that such beliefs are not only connected to the glorious past is the National soccer team which is nicknamed Dragons, because the dragon is a symbol of power, strength and freedom.

Aug 14, 2011

Melting the fear - salivanje strahe

Stravarka Aiša from Sarajevo practices a form of ethno-medicine characteristic for Middle East  and the Balkans, a method called salivanje strahe or salivanje zrna „melting the fear“ in Bosnia. This method consists of ritual behaviour and a special text known as a „basma“ (or bosnian magic poetry), used together with the aim of healing the patient.
Another part of the technique is the melting of lead (or 'melting the fear'), which consists of the ritual melting of a small piece of lead, by means of which stravarka Aiša ' sees' the cause of the illness. This piece of lead represents the condensed illness and its cause as well. The shape the melted metal assumes is interpreted by the conjurer (stravarka). At the end of the interpretation, the conjurer gives this piece of lead to the patient and he must liberate himself from it by throwing it ritually back over his shoulder without turning back his head, while pronouncing a charm.
That ritual can be performed by man or woman, but women perform it more often, as they used to, traditionally, care about their family's health. Women who does that ritual in Bosnia is called „stravarka“ or "stravaruša", and she is usually older lady who has been passed through menopause. The illness which stravarka Aiša heals and from which the term 'melting the fear' originates are defined in the folk speech as straha or strava - a terror, a fear, a spell, or evil eyes. These are different psychic crises, neurosis, states of stress and nervousness.
Stravarka, in the process, uses a few props; metal spoon, bowl for water, 3 or 4 pieces of lead and red towel or scarf. Ritual follows the strict religious pattern and therefore Stravarka, before she starts performs abdest (muslim religious washing). Stravarka, over the lead and bowl filled with water, pronounces some individual Quranic prayers, with El-Fatiha first Quranic chapter and Ikhlas 112. chapter dominating.
When treating a frightened child, Aiša first put little pieces of led through the gun barrel and then puts them in a spoon and melt in the fire. However, when treating her adult patients she holds a larger or several small pieces of lead in her hand and rotates them 3 times clockwise round around the patients head saying: „Euzubilahi mineš šejtanir radžim bismillahir rahmanir rahim“. While the lead is melting in fire, Stravarka, over the bowl with water, quietly speaks prayers and basma (magic words) that seek the salvation of God and the health for a patient.

Between the prayers she repeats the following words:"Dear Hazart Fatima, my dear mother, tell your father Mohammed that the patient needs help day and night" - "Draga moja hazreti Fatime, draga moja majko, reci svom ocu Muhamedu pejgamberu da bude u pomoći i u danu i u noći". When she pronounces all the words and prayers due to which she normally experiences some harmless sensations like uncontrolled yawning or tearing eyes stravarka covers patient’s head with a cloth or red scarf (patient sits on a chair). Then, while holding the bowl of water in her left hand over the patient’s head she takes a right handed spoon with melted lead and quickly pours it into the water. On this occasion stravarka says; “lead to break and all evil to bounce from (name of patient) Amen!, Amen!, Amen!” - "Olovo puca i sve zlo razbija sa N Amin! Amin! Amin!"  When pronouncing the magic words she looks out into a high mountain intending, in such a way, to positively affect the recovery of a patient.

Namely, in BIH high landscapes such as mountains, are considers as symbols of happiness and good health; this is originating from the old Bosnian Sun-worshiping Cult. During this ritual, several times encounter the segments of those beliefs when stravarka 3 times moves in clockwise direction; following the path of the sun, when circling lead around the patients head or during her prayers’ chanting over the bowl of water that she, after every prayer, rotates in clockwise circle.

After she throws dissolved lead in cold water, on which occasion leads form various shapes, Stravarka Aiša commences analyses of the obtained shapes what leads her to the cause of problem/disorder. If lead forms in a shape of a needle or number of them Stravarka is convinced that the patient was a victim of an enormous shock of fright. Lead formed in a circle is a sign of a direct patient’s contact with the spiritual world of Jinns, on which occasion spirits harmed the patient.

After Stravarka Aiša performed the analyses of the obtained forms of lead, she collects all the lead by the spoon and brings it back to fire in order to re-melt it. Then, she repeats the same ritual that has already been described above, with a difference in lead being melted in water this time over the patient’s stomach not head. When stage two is completed the last time Stravarka melts lead over the patient’s feet, what is the final/ending stage of the ritual.

srce or heart

The sign of successful treatment is sought in the lead itself. Namely, so-called heart (srce) appears in the very lead  (shape of tear), what is a sign of all the evil being neutralized in the patient. The patient washes his face 3 times with the water lead was melted in 3 times, drinks a bit of it too, washes his/her hands up to his/her elbows and washes his/her legs up to his/her knees. The rest of the water is spilled under bush of rose.

Heart or tears of lead is kept for a month time under the patient’s pillow and then thrown down the river stream.

Dâ'ira - circle of ghosts

In the past of Bosnia and Herzegovina there was an exorcist ritual named dâ'ira ; used for treating mentally ill persons by releasing them from ghost possession. Dâ'ira is the Arabic word, and it means circle. In this case, it is a magic circle which mullah (hodža) droves with knife around himself and a child before the ritual start.
In his book "Zapisi i Hamajlije" from 1940yr. Muhamed Garčević mentioned unusual manuscript from year 1303yr.written in Arabic language, in which the world of demons, number, places where they dwell and ways and modes of attacking human beings, is described. As a result of their attacks people get following symptoms/diseases; epilepsy, partial or complete paralysis, headache, nigh mares, hallucinations and so on…
In Bosnia, demon attack is called “ograma”. Hodja with amulets through the ritual of daira treats the patient.
Dâ'ira represents dangerous ritual that requires a vegetarian nutrition, great devotion, purity of the body and spirit, and a blue-eyed medium boy or girl, under 12 years of age. Ritual is performed in clean and isolated room. Hodja  draws circle on the floor with a knife around himself and medium, then burn frankincense, place a cup filled with black ink to what the child will gaze constantly during the ritual.

Then hodja begins with chanting prayers from the Quran’s selected citations. When the child reports seeing small figures/silhouettes of dwarfs appearing in a long line on the surface of the ink, that’s a sign of ritual on its way in right direction. The moment when a child sees the monarch of dwarfs’; usually demon that is dressed differently from other dwarfs, child will let hodja  know about that so that he could stand up and show respect to the king. When the monarch of the demons sits down, hodja sits down too. Then is the time for conversation to begin with hodja intending to convince the master of the demons to order his servants to leave the body of the victim/patient. If the ritual succeeds patient faints for a moment and wake up well and healthy. Dâ'ira is, as already mentioned, very dangerous ritual that can be performed only by spiritually strong individuals.
In some ethnological records, there are cases with no happy ending; when some mullas hodzas obsessed by the demon remaining paralyzed or mentally sick. Ethnological records say that during the ritual of daira strong winds used to blow, sometimes uprooting trees from the ground and blowing away roofs from the houses.

There are over 10 ways/techniques daira is performed, as follows; using cup of coffee, palm, mirror, water, nail, and other...

Bosnian divination with 41 grain of beans

The Bosniak women (fortune-teller) selects forty-one white grain beans, and divides them roughly into three heaps. She then takes four at a time from each heap, until only four or less remain in each. The remainder she also divides into three heaps, and again takes from each by fours. Three more heaps are thus made, so that at last there are three rows of three piles in each. What is left she divides by four, and sees whether the remainder be one, two, three or four. The varying numbers and positions of the grains of beans can be explained by an experienced fortune-teller to the intense satisfaction or to the disappointment of the one who consults him.

One of the most popular methods of fortune-telling in Bosnia and Herzegovina is certainly divination with beans. The origin of this technique comes from Turkey, where there is an equivalent method called “fasulya fali” or “kumalak”. Among the people there are stories that demised Hazrat Fatima secretly performed divination with beans, hiding it from her father Muhammad. On one occasion while Hazrat Fatima predicted the fate of her friend in the room suddenly entered Mohammed. Hazrat Fatima in shock and rush managed to hide under her dress only half of the beans, which were located in front her, therefore since then it is believed that in every divination lies half truth and half lie. It is interesting that one combination of divination is named after her name – “Hazrat Fatima fal”. It is a combination of 333, which represents happiness, marriage and the fulfillment of whish. 

In Bosnia, a person dealing with the divination in the beans is called “faladžija* or *faladžinica* (falajiya or falajinica) if it is a female person. For divination in the beans fortune teller needs the red patch on which he or she lines up 41 grains of white beans. Before she starts placing the beans on the patch she takes the beans into the right fist , places the fist close to her mouth and recites the prayer: “Rabbi yesir vela tu'asir, rabbi temmim bil-hayr” three times and then blows into her fist three times.

Then she divides the beans into three smaller piles and from each takes the four seeds making a figure of three rows with nine beans pile where each individual pile can have 1, 2, 3 or 4 seed. The left vertical line represents a female person and the right male person. The vertical line in the middle is called the house or heart. In addition, females and males lines are divided into three symbols: the head, arms, legs and the line in the middle is divided on: the cushion, fireplace and doors. The method of divination in the bean is extremely broad and requires much effort and space for an explanation, however there are several shorter versions of divination which people mostly use to get the answer to a specific question. 

In simpler form of divination 38 grains of white beans is used a piece of bread, one coffee grain and a metal coin. Before deviation can begin a grain of bean is highlighted in red paint which will represent the person who asks the questions in the process of the divination. Then the fortune teller takes all beans into her hand and person who has come for the fortune telling raises the question she would like to have answered. After that fortune teller blows into her fist and throws the beans on the floor. With this is the first part of the divination is completed. After that the analysis of the position taken by a grain marked in red starts. If the grain fell nearer to the piece of bread it represents a symbol of happiness - the wish will be fulfilled, in love ones will marry, work will progress and etc.

On the other hand if the red bean fell nearer to the coin, that person can expect the cash gains in near future. If the bean falls close to the grain of coffee it's a bad sign, which represents trouble, tears, or at least unfortunate event. This sign also represents a negative answer to asked question.

Folk medicine

People in Bosnia and Herzegovina always believed that one’s stomach (gastritis) can get dislocated from its natural position, what further on causes health problems.
Stomach in humans can be dislocated in any of the following situations: hunger during hard work or a heavy burden; jumping or falling from a tree or some highness; nightmare or general stress, which is most common cause. It is important to say that stomach never dislocates because of nutrition/diet.

When a human’s stomach (gastritis) dislocates people in Bosnia say: "strunuo se" or suffering from stomach (gastritis).From the shifted gastritis patient feels severe pain in stomach, vomiting, decreased appetite and often being tortured by insomnia. Although the very method of treating gastritis is not that complicated and does not require particular knowledge, though there are some conditions to pursue and one of them is that the person (stravarka) have warm hands.
The people of Bosnia believe that there are nine forms of “struna” that differs in color. Blue string (plava struna) is considered to be the easiest form of the disease that is easily treated. Red string (crvena struna) caused by the stress, worrying, emotional problems;  its manifested by weight loss, pallor and nausea.
Black string (crna struna); women often suffer after childbirth, and men from carrying heavy burden; it is manifested by sudden weight gain, abdominal distension, pain in the stomach and intestines.

Stravarka pays full attention to diagnosis to which direction stomach (gastritis) dislocated, as, according to their believes, stomach can move/dislocate all the way up to the spine or legs. This is why the most important part of their treatments is massage.
In order to find out whether the patient really suffers from that disease Stravarka touches patient’s skin located between thumb and forefinger. If, during such a diagnosis attempt she senses a small ball underneath her fingers/palms it is seen as a definite sign of the stomach (gastritis) disorder. Then, she starts massaging the patient up his/her arm all the way up to his/her shoulder until she “locates” stomach and bring it back to its place.
There are several more methods of bringing gastritis back to its place using massage; stravarka puts a cup (in up-side-down position) onto a patient’s belly and massages patient from the hips to the navel. While she practices this routine she constantly chants the following magic words: “Come Hazrat Fatima take your feather and remove from this patient all his/her pain, and return his/her gastritis in place!” Then she, using a scarf or bigger piece of cloth, wraps up a cup around patient’s stomach and leaves the patient to lie down in that position for half an hour or until the patient get well.
After the treatment patient is recommended to follow a strict regime of diet for the next seven days; to eat only cooked food, fruits and vegetables and avoid meet, greasy meals, canned salads, fried eggs and so on… 


In a long tradition of magic practice in Bosnia & Herzegovina, particularly the practice of love magic, we encounter various aspects of beliefs in the power of spirits, planets, herbs, as well as blood, human secretion, and so on. Alongside it all, an influence of Slavic and oriental beliefs based on animalism is evident, what tells us about the ancient connection between human beings, nature and its forces.
Only some persons used to practice magic throughout the centuries; those who were able of establishing contacts with the invisible entities. Sometimes, such communication was initiated by spiritual forces themselves and more often by human beings performing magic rituals. In Bosnia & Herzegovina, the most known ritual of establishing contact and alliance with the invisible forces is “sacrilege with the Koran”, in which man or woman denies their faith in God and accept devil as their master or partner.
Such power was often desired by women aiming to be successful in love magic practice. In order to acquire magical power and make an alliance with the world of demons (jinni), a girl involved in a dark ritual of initiation must get completely undressed/nude and step with both feet on Koran and say: “Iblis, I surrender to you my soul and I ask the following…” By such an act of sacrilege she gets in union with demons.
The benefits of such a pact for a woman are numerous; a girl (witch) has the power of invisibility, or power to revenge whoever she wants to, or to cast love spells. Various magic rituals aiming to get jinni (spirits/demons) across prove that. One of them is performed by a girl during the night; right before she gets in bed, she knocks the walls saying: “I knocked the wall and 3 jinn’s popped out…”
Traditionally, every witch performs her magic right at the sunset time, although the whole night is adequate for all magic practices, particularly a night before some important holiday when various fortune telling practices are performed too. In that way, a night before Bayram, girls get outside, take a look to the brightest star at the sky and, being very focused, repeat for nine times: “Tell me star, who loves me, tell me is it the one I love too?” Immediately after this they go directly to bed and if they happen to dream about men they love that night; it is a proof that their love is mutual.
The special attention in love magic Bosnian witches pay to a herb called milogled (asarum europaeum) for which they believe it possesses a power to stimulate erotic desires in a monotonic marriage and to fire up love in the heart of the wanted person. Milogled is picked up in the forest in ritual way at the sunset time, in a way that an herb is first encircled by a golden necklace and then pulled up from the soil, along with the root. Since this herb mainly has only two leaves, one is coated by honey and second with butter with magic words being chanted. After that one leaf is placed at one side of the entrance door of the house and second on the other side, in order to get loved person passing between them. The moment beloved person passes through the door; the leaves are to be immediately glued to each other and carried along for some period of time. If this magic is performed for the husband then the mentioned leaves are to be put in his pillow.
A great power to seduce the desired person, according to believes in Bosnia, are with the amulets made by a mullah (Islamic priest). Amulets made for this purpose are normally kept as talismans or burned in fire, beloved person is looked at through them or they are to be buried underneath the beloved person’s threshold. Sometimes, amulet is burned down and ash is to be poured in a drink or meal of a desired person. It is believed that this is very powerful magic. However, its effects often last for 40 days only after what the magic is to be repeated.
In love magic, human secretions (sperm, vaginal secretion) are often used. After sexual intercourse woman picks the sperm of her lower by a kerchief after what she wipes her vagina with it. Then she washes a kerchief in a glass of water and she puts that water in her lover’s coffee or soup with magical words being chanted.
Apart from sperm, menstrual blood is also very much in use in the whole of Bosnia. Woman gets menstrual blood fall on the sugar cube (normally 3 drops), and by chanting magic words she puts it in the coffee of the desired man. According to beliefs in Bosnia, woman have got two sorts of blood; one is menstrual blood that will make a desired man passionate and obsessed with her, and second; located in the fingers of a fist, which is used for practicing magic that will make beloved man obey her will and dominated by her.  

Bajanje - magical whisper

The word bajanje (incantation) comes from a verb in the Bosnian language and it means speak or relate. The term has its origin in the Azerbaijan language where it represents folk poetry bayati which is in fact incantation- a type of magical poetry intended for sickness, happiness, love, fertility, keeping evil at bay.
The skill of incantation or magical formulas is known from the pagan times when it was used as a replacement for today's prayers. In both instances the magical-religious speech that was expressed poetically was meant to serve as a contact between humans and the supernatural in order to procure a benefit. In the Old Testament it is written: "In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God". The same principle is found in the Qur'an where it says that the whole universe was created out of two letters "Kaf" and "Nun" which create the word "Kun" when combined, which means "Be!"
In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are two forms of magical poetry; the shorter form called basma and the longer one called bajalica (magical whisper).

Folklore claims that the whole world (Earth) is placed upon a basma and if one knew the content of that magical poem, one would then rule the whole world.
It is believed that a basma is powerful as long as a small number of people know its content (up to three) and as soon as a fourth person finds out its content, it loses its power. The structure of the basma has a so called triad- repeating the basma three or even nine times which can be justified as three times three. It is always whispered during a particular time of the day or night, on the moon light or next to water or fire.
Some Bosnian witches believe that the world stands on a basma and the black earth on a prayer Ikhlas and that's why these two elements are inseparable during the practice of curing or making spells. Before the witch utters a basma, she repeats the prayer Ihlas three or five times, because the 112. chapter in the Qur'an gives strength for uplifting the basma to a certain spiritual level.
Love basma are especially popular, and some girls still use them in Bosnia. It is believed that every basma works in the course of 7-40 days. When a woman wants to awaken love for her in a certain male, she needs to pee on nine white beans and she needs to throw them into the fire. As soon as the beans start crackling in the fire she utters the love basma. After she utters it three times she needs to take an axe and hit the threshold of the entrance door. It is believed that the male, on whom the spell is cast, must fall in love with the girl, or otherwise his body will be covered with itching and rashes. Besides that the male will suffer from high fever and a desire to see the woman that threw the spell.
Other basma that are popular are those against spell bound eyes, which are based on a ritual of extinguishing coal fire. The idea behind this ritual is that by extinguishing the fire one is symbolically extinguishing the negative effect of the spell bound eyes.   

Bajanje  aganist the evil eye:

The evil eye sits on the treshold,
his mate under the treshold.
The evil eye  has three eyes:
one eye is of water,
the second eye is of fire,
the third eye us charmed.
The water eye burst
and put out the fiery one
and took the charmed one
to the high mountains
to the broad plains.
The sea has no bridge,
nor a dog horns,
nor the palm (of the hand) hair
nor is here any spell on my -name-.