Mar 31, 2012

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.  

Mar 30, 2012

The Bogomils

When Christianity commenced to spread in the East and West, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, it intermingled in the East with the learning of Zoroaster, which reigned in the Persian Empire as the official religion of the state. By a mixture of both creeds, the Persian prophet Mani (216-276) fashioned a new teaching, known after his name as „Manichaeism“, and adopted the the principal ideas of Zoroaster, as for example, the old Aryan dualism, and rules for foodstuff. Thus when this new creed began to spread speedily through the Byzantine Empire, it was severely opposed by the powers of state which caused a dispersion of the religion and atomization into many sects. One form of persecution of the adherents of the new religion took the form of sending them to western confines of the Empire to be used as „cannot-fodder“ against invading Bulgars, who menaced the Empire from the 6th to 10th century. But the heretics, instead of waging war against the Bulgars, fled to them and spread amongst them the new creed. Thus, during the first half of the 10th century there appeared in Bulgaria a man named Jeremija, who found a new religion, based on Manichean teachings and old Slavic customs. Jeremija took the name of „Bogomil“ meaning „Dear to God“; it was he who named the new religion Bogomilism. It soon spread all over Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and finally reached Bosnia. Bogomils thus came to Bosnia directly from Bulgaria and established therein a powerful bulwark.

Mar 24, 2012

Ćuhum be quite Lehum fly

When a husband was aggressive and when he would abuse his wife, she would take a fist full of dust from a grave and while her husband was sleeping she would throw the dust on him. Besides this, women used to mix their menstrual blood with coffee or they would give their husbands a sugar cube that was previously wiped through her vagina. Even though the male's extra marital affairs were tolerated to a degree because of the traditional upbringing, Bosnian females didn't shy away from using magic to ward off their husbands from their lovers. Most wives were seeking help from local witches (Sihirbaza), which would heat a sowing needle in a secret ritual and then they would bend it in a way that the tip of the needle would go into the needle's eye while pronouncing magical words. The bent needle was then carried home by the wife, and a favorable moment for its use was anticipated. When an unfaithful husband would leave to meet his lover, the wife would throw the needle after him which would then activate the spell. According to the statements of some women, who wish to stay anonymous, the magic worked and the husband would return home quickly often ill tempered. Besides this, the cheated wife should wash her bra and underpants and dry them on a nacre bush (Ruta graveoles) a few days in a row. It is believed that in this way the husband will lose his passion for the lover and he will return to his wife.  

The spell with the needle aims at making the man impotent and to weaken his sexual power when he reaches his lover. To annul this negative effect the husband would often seek the help at a local witch or Imam. Some witches request the following from the impotent man: some water from three various springs, four leafed clover, nine different flowers from a meadow and a stickyweed (Galium aparine). All of the above mentioned ingredients are thrown into the water and the following words are uttered :"Ćuhum be quite Lehum fly....." and the verse El-Fatiha is uttered three times. After that the impotent male washes his face with that water and drinks some of it. And then on a starry night he washes first his left hand and right foot and then the right hand and left foot. It is interesting to note that the man creates a five-pointed star: head, left arm, right leg, right arm and left leg. The five-pointed star in Bosnian health rituals plays a major role since it is considered to be a symbol of health and protection therefore we find it in almost all descriptions of ritual washings of the sick.

Mar 19, 2012

How do charms work?

 When a sihirbaza  wants to create love magic that is to bring together two persons, she first needs to find out if this is possible by divination. After she has taken a large branch of hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha) she then splits it into three parts of equal length. Then she waits for the fire in the fire place to tone down and then she places one branch upright into the ember which she names as the person she wishes to put her spell upon. The next branch she places right next to the first one, on its left side, in the hot ember 5 inches apart and names it as the person for whom she is creating the spell, and the third branch she places on the right side of the first one with the same distance apart but she doesn't name it. Then she watches to see what will happen. If the branch, the one she named as the person for whom she is creating the magic, falls as it is burning in the middle (named as the person she wishes to put her spell upon) then she is certain that her magic will succeed. However, if it happens that the un-named branch falls in the middle then it is clear that the magic will have no effect.

Mar 10, 2012

Bosnian prophecy

During the last decade of the 20th century many astrologers were announcing the coming of the age of Aquarius which should bring peace and advancement to humanity and it should forever close the doors on the dark age of the Pisces which was full of wars and misfortunes. Entering the 21st century and the long awaited era of Aquarius nothing has changed, on the contrary the whole world entered an even bleaker and negative era. What do the old Bosnian prophecies say about all of this?

Announcement of war and crimes
All of the prophecies coming from the Bosnian people are of an oral character, they were recited traditionally as a warning from the elders to the younger generations. It is interesting that they are full of negative predictions which talk about accidents, wars, misfortunes. They never determine the time of any of the events, however it can be easily discovered by analysis. The most interesting predictions are those that deal with the Bosnian people. An old Imam from Velika Kladuša foretold during the 70's "the rule of a Woman Jinn which is more wicked than the Male Jinn"- "When the female Jinn starts ruling, said the old Imam, our people will disperse around the world, and we will long to see each other!"
Aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995) from Serbia and Montenegro which culminated with the genocide on the Bosniaks in Srebrenica forced millions of people to abandon their homes and try their luck in other countries. Another harbinger of the war is the sentence "When the world becomes red, horrible times will await Bosnia!" In this sentence the symbolic term "red" means when the roofs of the houses become red (red bricks). The economic boom in Bosnia which took place during the second half of the past decade enabled the building of better houses and it also changed and upgraded the way houses were built.
"Neighbours will start hating each others, brothers will hate each others, there will be no shame, children will be giving birth to children", foretold the great prophecies announcing the coming of a great hatred whose consequences could have been seen in the media that reported of the great atrocities that the Serbian army undertook throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The second part of the prophecy dealt with the moral debasement of the human race, the rise of juvenile delinquency, crime, no moral role models.
Judgement day or nuclear war?
Today the folk wisdom claims that the world is "cleansed" every 40 years, i.e. there is a big war or a disaster that sweeps away millions of human lives. And this will continue until judgment day. According to the predictions of the people, "40 years before the judgement day three heavenly gifts will disappear from the Earth- bees, sheep and wheat!" The description of the last day on Earth, or the world as we know it are summed up in the following dramatic sentences: "A multitude of hot stones will fall on the Earth and it will melt and scorch its surface." We can forebode that here we are dealing with a nuclear disaster or another disaster that will afflict the Earth because the Bosnian prophecy continues with the following words: "Not all people will perish, from this disaster new people will emerge, shorter and instead of two eyes they will only have one. Because the sun will beat down mercilessly these people will run underground where they will have some peace and quite." By interpreting these omens we can reach a conclusion that people could suffer some sort of radiation because of some sort of disaster and that their bodies could mutate or evolve into a different and deformed form. The prophecy also foretells our future that will take place in underground cities whose blueprints and plans are already among us.  

China- rulers of the world

According to the prophecies of the 20th century in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian people claimed that the "yellow ants" (Chinese) will rule in the 21st century. According to that prophecy in the 20th century the white race (white ants) was supposed to rule, which was reflected in the rule of USSR and USA. As we know USSR vanished begining 90's of the previous century. Judging by the claims of the elderly Bosniaks the time of American domination is at its end, and it is clearly shown in the last turbulent decade in which the USA led by two disastrous presidents, Bush and Obama, made a lot of bad judgments and actions, whose repercussions are being felt now.

Iran- military power

The USA, in the last 10 years, created an ideal environment that promoted Iran into a single military and nuclear power in the Middle East. Attacking Iraq, the USA weakened Iran's greatest adversary. Today Iraq is a country doomed to internal division and military and economic powerlessness. Attacking Afghanistan, a traditional ally of Iran, made things even worse and convinced the Afghan people that Taliban's are the best solution that they have at their disposal. The Taliban are objectively the only victors in this war. Current attempts of the USA and Europe to create a similar scenario in Syria weren't fruitful. With such an attempt the USA made another bad move and created an adversary from a former ally that will certainly seek to ally itself with Iran. All in all they created an ideal environment for the creation of a powerful Shia union that will return Iran on the throne of military power. A similar thing is happening with Egypt. With that, we come to the Islamic prophecy of Israel's final destruction whose end was announced. "Israel will exist for 70 years and then it will be destroyed by Allah's will", claims the old prophecy. With that the Middle East would be finally free of the culprit that created all the unrest in that part of the world.

Mar 6, 2012

Bosnian traditional music - sevdalinka

Sevdalinka is a traditional genre of folk music from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The actual composers of many sevdalinkas are unknown.
In musical sense, sevdalinka is characterized by a slow or moderate tempo and rich harmony, leaving a melancholic feeling with the listener. Sevdalinka songs are very elaborate, emotionally charged and are traditionally sung with passion and fervor. The combination of Oriental, European and Sephardic elements make this type of music stand out among other types of folk music from the Balkans. The singer will often impose the rhythm and tempo of the song, both of which can vary throughout the song. Traditionally, sevdalinkas are women's songs, most addressing the issue of love and longing, unfulfilled and unfortunate love, some touch on a woman's physical desire for her loved one, and some have comic elements. Currently they are often performed by men as well. Traditionally, they were played without any instruments, hence the elaborate harmony. Modern interpretations are followed by a small orchestra containing accordion (the most prominent), violin, nylon-string guitars and/or other string instruments (occasionally), flute or clarinet (occasionally), upright bass, snare drum. In between the verses, an accordion or violin solo can almost always be heard.
The most prominent performers (singers) of sevdalinka in the 20th century are Zaim Imamović, Asim Brkan, Beba Selimović, Hanka Paldum, Himzo Polovina, Meho Puzić, Safet Isović, Silvana Armenulić, Zehra Deović and Nada Mamula.