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 Bosnian Occult Dictionary

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PostSubject: Bosnian Occult Dictionary    Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:15 am

Basma (Magical whisper, formula): Basme are magical formulas or texts of a shorter or longer content which teem with rhyme and reference of a supernatural being such as a fairy in order to invoke fervour and passion in the desired person. For a Basma to work they need to be invoked in a state of bodily cleanliness, most often at night and always after repeating verse Ihlas three or five times, since according to belief the verse grants magical power.


Crvena krpa (Red rag): According to an established rule the beans were distributed on a red surface, usually a rag, because of the old Bosnian belief that this colour is the symbol of happiness and joy. In it we can glimpse the desire for favourable prophecy, hope for a better future but also overcoming current setbacks and problems. Traditionally red colour possessed prophylactic characteristics, protects against spells, exactly that supernatural influence for which it is believed that it can disrupt the normal flow of destiny. Spellbound children can easily get sock, spellbound girl or boy can become unhappy in love, lose their beauty, a pregnant woman can be struck by evil which can cause her to lose her child, etc. Reasons why red fabric was a protection symbol for Bosnian soothsayers who use beans could have its roots in the belief that exists on the territory of Cazin and Velika Kladuša. Namely, red rags or clothes were always worn by widows or divorcees as a sign that they are free for potential suitors and marriage. And usually they were the ones who frequented local faladžinice where they sought answers to questions of love, potential marriage and the like. But, be it as it may, in all of the above there are a lot of believable arguments to explain why red colour is inseparable from falanje.


Dâ'ira, or « djinns convocation » is bosnian exorcist ritual, used for treating mentally ill persons by releasing them from ghost possession. Dâ'ira is the Arabic word, and it means circle. There are over 10 ways/techniques daira is performed, as follows; using cup of coffee, palm, mirror, water, nail, and other. Also called „sazivanje daire“, „sastavljanje daire“, etc.


Falanje (divination): Bosnian word falanje (fortune telling) comes from the Persian word fal, to bode, or Arabic word tefaul which means positive fortune telling. Other expressions: gledanje, faletanje, falanje, proricanje, etc. Fortune teller or Faladžija say: "I tell the fortune by throwing beans! (Pogledaću ti u grah!)

Falanje u kahvu: fortune telling in the coffee cup.

Falanje u grah (favomancy): Traditionally, Bosniak women used beans for foretelling one’s future by “throwing beans” (bacanje graha). The method is to use 41 white beans.  They are placed on a grid with 9 squares depicting  parts of the body - head, hand and foot. The 41 beans are divided into three piles, one below each column.  Four beans are removed from each pile until there are left only one, two,three, or four beans in each pile.  These beans are placed in square one.  Repeat the same operation for each square until they all have beans in them.  The best combination is nine beans in first line  (333) or "Hazrat Fatima Fal". Other expressions: gledanje u grah, ogledanje u grah, etc. Faladžija, Faladžinica, Gledalica or Fortune teller.


Gašenje ugljena: "extinguishing a charcoal ". This curing ritual is performed somewhat similarly to salivanje strahe, but an bula or stravarka is not required. Should a member of a family become sick with a fever  that is believed to have been caused by the evil eye, any senior female member of the household can apply this remedy. She takes three hot pieces of charcoal from the brazier and drops them into a bowl of water held first over the feverish person's head, then his or her midsection, and lastly his feet. As she drops the coals into the water she says: Ćuhum ćuti, lehum leti, eyu beyu kulhuveyu ehad allah kulhuvallah". The patient washes his face 3 times with the water, 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.

Hamajlija (Amulet): The Bosnian word hamajlija comes from Arabic word hamail. Those who prepare Hamail are, in most cases, acquainted with astrology, astronomy and geomancy, with the aid of which they fix up the auspicious hour. In geomancy, dots and lines have their own significance. The time for writing an amulet is fixed. Mysterious signs and words are used as spells, while numbers and human and animal figures play an important role. Magic words, formulae, the different names of God, and of angels, sentences from the Quran, etc., engraved on square-sized metal (silver) plate, or on paper or on silk, and written over in saffron coloured or black ink, and sprinkled in certain cases with perfume or rose-water , form the staple of amulets and charms in use.  Other expressions: hodžino pismo, dilbagija, zaštita, etc.

Magija (Magic): Word magic comes from the Persian word Magi which was used to refer to the priests of the old Iranian religion.

Mašallah (universal word, means: „What Allah wishes“): a prophylactic formula against evil eyes.

Ograma:  In Bosnia, demon attack is called “ograma” and  which means to be obsessed, alternatively nagrajisati, or nagaziti (bewitched). See Dâ'ira.

"Ručica hazreti Fatime" or "Hand of hazreti Fatima" - (Anastatica hierochuntica) is a shrub that grows in the deserts of northern Africa and southwestern Asia. It is very hygroscopic and can live without water for a long time.When a piece of the shrub is put into water, it suddenly gets »alive« and spreads its twigs like the fingers on the hand. The hand of hazreti Fatima  was used in difficult childbirth, when it was put in water, because according the principles of imitative magic it was believed that at the same way the mother's womb will widen and the baby will be born more easily.

Salijevanje strahe (Lead pouring):  Bula or Stravarka (or Stravaruša, Stravar) performed the ritual called salijevati strahu, “to pour horrors”. It was performed at the request of women who had been bereaved by the death of their dear ones, or horrified by an unknown cause. The “ritual could only be by devout women who could recite Qur’an verses”. Other expressions: prelijevanje strave, salivanje olova, salivanje zrna, etc.


Urok, Zazor (Evil Eyes): When you observe a small child, especially a baby in the first 40 days after birth it is mandatory to utter the prophylactic formula "Mašallah!". Besides that, in order to protect the child from spellbound eyes one sows a button different from the others in size and colour, ties a black thread around its left arm, etc. Often the child's nose is pulled and "Mašallah!" is uttered when the guests leave the house so that the child can sleep peacefully.

Sihiri, čarolija, čarke (Magic):  Bosnian word čarati  or čarolija i.e.  practice magic or čarka also comes from the Persian word „čare“ i.e. „remedy, salvation, means“. For the one who practices magic it is said that he is "da manđija", "čara" while for the victim it is said "učinili mu sihr", "opsihrovan je", "obenđijan". In the north-western part of Bosnia the expression are as follows: "neko ti gradi čarke!", "neko ti je svario grah!", "napravito mu je!", "neko ti je zapreć'o grah!" or "neko ti je zapiš'o grah!" etc.


Zapisi: apotropaic scriptures, these are shorter quotations from the Qu'ran, written on pieces of the paper usually by Hodja, and given to members of the congregation for protection from particular diseases.

Ljubavni zapisi or Love talismans; girls as well as boys frequently address the local Imam who then crafts love inscriptions on their behalf, they hold various citations from the Qur'an, numbers and letters with an addition of a drawing of a triangle or a circle. The young people carry them with themselves or they place it under the threshold of the person they love. The first Friday after the new moon is reserved for love magic and inscriptions.
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