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    The Witches Garden

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    The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:17 am

    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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:17 am

    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 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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:18 am

    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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:18 am

    Neven (Calendula officinalis) is a plant that is often mentioned in folk songs where a girl uses love magic in order to conquer or 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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:19 am

    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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:20 am

    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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:21 am

    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 Ajla 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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:21 am

    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.

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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:22 am

    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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:22 am

    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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:23 am

    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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:23 am

    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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:24 am

    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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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:24 am

    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."
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:25 am

    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.

    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.
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    Re: The Witches Garden

    Post by Admin on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:25 am

    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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