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The Witches Garden - Oman

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.



The Witches Garden - Fasligan

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.



The Witches Garden - Neven

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.



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).


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.


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.




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.


Holly herbs of Bosnian paganism


Visibaba (Galanthus) since ancient times among the Bosnian folk this herb is named Baba or Grandma which alluded to dedication of this spring herb to the old deity Baba or old lady, ancient mother goddess. In the preserved writings of Bosnian ritual witchcraft this herb was used to remove sleepiness and spring fatigue from men, especially children. A stem of snowdrop (visibaba) would be circled three times around a person's head, clockwise, uttering " Snowdrop is sleeping and you're not, snowdrop is sad and you're happy!".



Baba or Grandma (Galanthus)



Heavenly husband and Baba's retainer is Did or old man, ancient sun god, to whom a plant has been dedicated in the south-western part of Bosnia by the name of Did or Silymarin. The plant was tabooed and holly which proves the folk belief that it shouldn't be trampled. The one who does so, will befall an accident.    



Did (Silymarin)




Bosnian folk calendar

The Bosnian national (agricultural) calendar spans back to the old Illyrian era. The maker of the calendar is unknown. It is known that it was created and used by a ancient farmer. Some dates from the Julian calendar, which was created 45 years BCE, can be recognised in the Bosnian calendar. After Christianity came, some of these dates received names of saints. With the arrival of the Slavs, pagans, people known for agriculture, the dates had different names, but they always remained the same. The folk calendar was used continuously, it was used during the time
of the Bogumil's, it was also used during the Ottoman period, and it even serves a purpose today. Besides this, in Bosnia the Hijri calendar was also strictly observed. It was done by the Imam's and other religious scholars, in order to be aware of the important religious dates (Ramadan, Bayram, New year, etc.). The Hijri calendar was impractical when it came to agriculture, since it moved forward ten days every solar year, however it was practical when it came to fasting during the month of Ramadan since it moved through all the seasons. We need to mention that the Hijri calendar was the official calendar in Bosnia during the Ottoman period, until the Austro-Hungarian period when they brought the Gregorian calendar.

The Bosnian folk calendar begins on December 21st, the folk belief holds that on that date, the day extends as much as a rooster can jump from a doorstep. From this date on comes the Zehmeriya (Turkish: Zehmeri) the coldest part of winter that lasts for 40 days. While Zehmeriya lasts people avoid drinking cold water in fear of catching a cold.

January: the folk call January the longest moth in the year. From January 17th the counting of the weeks until Hidirlez begins (May 6th), 17 weeks total. This is what determines the sowing.
The period from January 31st until March 20th is called Hamsin and it represents the second part of winter.

February- from February 14th until March 14th is Veljača, the folk belief is that if snow falls in the beginning of the Veljača that the year will be fertile, and that wheat will have a good yield.

Djemre (Turkish: Cemreler), the meaning of this word is "burning charcoal", it is believed that
Djemre is the sun's heat which starts to have an intense impact on the land and it start awakening the nature.
-The first Djemra appears on February 20th and heats the air. That's when the Southern wind starts blowing and it becomes milder.
-The second Djemra appears on February 27th heats up the water and raises its level. The water in the river doesn't freeze from this point on.
-The third Djemra appears on March 6th and heats up the land. The snow melts fast and the first grass starts sprouting.
(Right after the first Djemra the people have a custom to notch the roots of the birch and put a glass bottle so that the juices of the birch flow in it. The bottle stays in that position until the third Djemra. The collected juices are used for medicinal purposes, especially kidney diseases)

March: the agricultural works begin during this month, the potatoes, onions and salads are sown. After the third Djemra the fruit trees are notched and inoculated.

Grandma (Baba)- from March 15th until March 21st is the period of the grandma, the unstable period when a couple of weather phenomena change in one day.

Grandpa (Did,Djed) - from March 21st until March 28th is the period of the grandpa, the folk beliefs are that it is more merciful and people start sowing potatoes during this period.

(“Did” or Grandpa is a name (title) of each Bogumil priest in Bosnia and “Baba” (Grandma) is the name of his wife who helped her husband and the community by healing with herbs, assisting in births, or foretelling fortunes. Since the Bosnian people were Bogumils before Islam came, it is then no mystery why they kept some of the memories of their old religion. Among the folk there are numerous stories, mostly comical, about Did and Baba and their adventures. By them, we can discern that they commanded great respect among the Bosnian people.)

Kablići- March 29th until March 31st

Stablići- April 1st until April 3rd

Štapići- April 4th until April 7th

(All three names are connected to the past of Bosnia when the winters were very long and they
usually lasted until the middle of April. During that period the cattle used to die because of lack of food)

Mučenjaci- period from April 8th until July, this is the period when people suffered (hence the name) until the sowing of the wheat.

April: during April the corn is sown. The old Bosniaks would wait for the frogs to start making noise, which would be a sign that the climate is optimal for sowing. The people also followed other signs of the nature, and therefore it is believed that when the beech tree starts sprouting leaves that one can begin sowing grain without fearing frost. During the middle of April the
grapevine was notched and a bottle was placed underneath it for the juices to drip in it until Hidirlez. This juice was used by women to smear on their hair so it would be healthy and grow quicker.

May: in the first quarter of May the sowing of beans begins. Hidirlez or Jurjevo (May 6th)- according to the national calendar from this day forward, the summer begins and the swimming
in lakes and ponds can begin. In the period from May 6th until May 13th the first swarms of bees are let loose.

June: the first seven days of June are called "bijela nedjelja” or “white week" because the white mushrooms (Cantharellus cibarius) are picked in the forests at that time. In the beginning of June, pumpkins, turnips and radishes are sown.

August: it is believed that this month gives diarrhea to children and the elderly. To prevent this from happening, the mothers would take some clothes of their children and throw it under the wheel of carriages that carry wheat bundles. In the first days of August the onion and garlic are picked.
Aliđun- August 2nd: the folk belief is that from this day on, the summer loses its heat and slowly turns into autumn, the water in the rivers begins to cool down and there can be no more swimming.

September: during this month the potato is reaped, the corn as well and the grapes start ripening. If some strawberries sprout in September, then it is believed that the autumn will be long and mild.

October: in the first and second week of October wheat is sown.

Kasum - November 8th: from this day onward, winter starts. On this day, all loans are settled, and
leases of land end. Kasum is Turkish the name of November. The Arabic word kasim means 'something that divides“.

Pagan background of the folk calendar

As Christianity took over most of the pagan holidays and customs creating a cult of saints, in this analysis of ancient Bosnian calendar we won't waste space and time by discovering which saint took over which role of a pagan deity, instead we will focus on more important, original segments which are in its basis key principles for punctual description of the folk calendar whose content follows the creative cycle of nature. The only thing that is worth mentioning is that Christianity changed moved some dates a few days earlier or later from the original date of the pagan holidays in order to give it a Christian meaning and diminish the ancient, pagan one.

Researchers of ancient Bosnia came across archaeological evidence which point out that there was mixing between the Celtic religious cults with those of the Illyrians, especially with the Japodi, a tribe that inhabited the north-western part of Bosnia. By analysing the folk calendar of that part of Bosnia, which was transferred orally from one generation to the other, we can discover the traces of Celtic religion, the cult of fertility to be more exact, which is a staple part of what we know today as European witchcraft.

By describing particular calendar dates and beliefs connected to them we can relatively successfully reconstruct the ancient cult of triple goddess Brigid which is also considered the Grand Mother. Wheat was dedicated to her out of whom prophylactic symbols were created with intent to keep the family safe from evil. Herodotus in one of his descriptions of the Illyrians mentions that Illyrian women bring wheat as a sacrifice to one of their goddesses. This undoubtedly confirms the similar belief of the Celt and the Illyrians.

In the folk calendar dualism is emphasized, the permeation of the negative and the positive period during which nature begins and ends its circle of fertility, which is under the protection of the goddess mother and god sun. Modelled after the antique folk calendar, the Bosnian is divided on only two seasons i.e. summer and winter because it is in its essence agricultural and follows the natural cycles. According to the belief of the Bosnian folk summer begins in May and ends in November (Beltane-Samhain), and then comes the winter, when would the manifestation of the goddess mother, in her three forms, commence together with the winter solstice.

Zehmerija, Veljača and Baba we will analyse in more detail, besides female names and characteristics, they symbolise three life stages which are undoubtedly reminiscent of the pagan cult of the goddess mother, which was celebrated as triple goddess - girl, mother and old woman. The name Zehmerija, unlike the other two names, doesn't originate from Bosnia, it is a part of the Turkish folk tradition which was accepted by our people and merged into the tradition. But, while Zehmerija actually Zehmeri or Zehmerir in Turkish alludes to males, in Bosnia Zehmerija was always considered to be a female name. This is supported by "Crna Zehmerija" (Black Zehemerija), which represents the coldest winter days. During that period in the past people tended to get frozen fingers or toes, in case of very low temperatures.


Witches holiday Yule which is exactly on 21st December and more than ideally it corresponds to the calendar date of the beginning of Zehmerija. From the winter solstice the day starts to get longer by the amount that the rooster can jump from the house doorstep. In this folk belief there is a clear allusion to the sun cult, whose symbol is a rooster, because in paganism after 21st of December the sun is "born" and announces a gradual arrival of warmer days.

The goddess gave birth to a son, god, which will eventually become her lover and father of the
child in the next cycle. She is tired and exhausted and that's why she's resting and recuperating. That's why it's cold and snowy in nature. The goddess like the Bosnian woman rests for 40 days (četeresnica) after birth, which is also how long the Zehmerija is, and during that time the folk tradition records various taboos which clearly allude to birth. Apparently, while the Zehmerija lasts the people would avoid travelling by night, in order not to cross places where the demon celebrate and dine which also has the greatest influence during that part of year. From such encounters between people and the Jinn, humans can fall ill both physically and mentally. A similar prohibition pertains to a woman who gave birth; she was prohibited from going out at night from fear of a demon attack, since she has no immunity to them during the first 40 days after birth.


Calendar wise Veljača is different from Zehmerija because it doesn't coincide with the other pagan holiday called Imbolc which is celebrated from dusk of 31st January until 2nd February which means that it comes at the end of Zehmerija, and we shouldn't disregard this information.
Imbolc is the event when the Celtic triple goddess Brigid first appeared as a girl and made love with the young sun god, who was born on the shortest day in the year.

The difference of 12 days is perhaps due to the events i.e. mistakes in oral transfer of the tradition from one generation to the other. But, we shouldn't ignore the fact that Zehemerija, which lasts for 40 days, begins on December 21st and ends 1st of February. The name Veljača probable comes from Velja, Vela or Velika which alludes to the fact that the girl became a mother, and that's why she obtained the title grand/big, the one that brings forth life. Her symbol is the full moon. The goddess recovered from birth. God has strengthened and his warmth slowl permeates the earth and that's how the first signs of spring come about. His power grows continually, the light pierces darkness and the days become longer. The nature is slowly coming to life, which
is reflected by the Bosnian calendar in the form of a fight between southern and northern wind. The goddess shows her blessings, the folk tradition claims that if the beginning of Veljača i.e. 14th, 15th and 16th of February is marked by precipitation of snow the year will be fruitful especially for wheat, usually a symbol of the goddess.

Baba or Grandma

Baba, as the name suggests, symbolises an old lady. In the same way, the pagan holiday Ostare
falls on the vernal equinox on the last day of a seven day cycle which is ruled by the Baba. With that we could claim that the last day symbolises the end of the life cycle. In this period the goddess mother conceived a child i.e. son who will be born on December 21st. Baba can be easily seen as a pregnant woman since the Bosnian term zbabna refers to a pregnant woman and the word babine refers to the traditional visit to the woman who gave birth. The folk description of Baba's character clearly alludes to classic symptoms that a woman has during childbirth - she is wilful, fickle, prone to frequent changes of mood... Due to such circumstances the goddess mother can sometimes steal fertility from humans and cause a dry year or a year marked by frequent storms.

During this period the goddess covers the earth with fertility, awakens it from its slumber, and the god grows and slowly reaches maturity. The hours of the day and night are equal, and light slowly triumphs over darkness. Farming activities start. The sun is in its northernmost point.

The end of Baba begins with a seven day period during which Did rules, the male principle, or
better to say god whose mother is the goddess, he has now reached maturity and shares grace to the people, which is described in the folk tradition: "Did is merciful because during it one can start planting potatoes". The seed is placed in the earth which needs to supply the crop, fertility. The dominant influence of god is seen in the following months.

Jurjevo (Hidirlez)

In the pagan tradition Beltane symbolises the beginning of the light half of the year i.e. the arrival of summer. For the Celts that is the holiday dedicated to the god of light (sun) who has fire as its symbol. That's why each year during Jurjevo or Hidirlez in Bosnia early in the morning, before sun rise, a fire is lit in the yard as a sign of welcome to the sun which will appear in the east.
Because of the strong monotheistic influence that ritual was interpreted as a defence from snakes, which allowed it to be hidden and freely practiced throughout the ages.


Lughnassan which lasts from 31st July until 2nd of August is the ancient holiday of harvest. In Bosnia during that period comes the Aliđun which is considered by the people to stand for the
height of summer during which there is prosperity of fruits and grain. In the past the Bosnia people visited cult places in nature, known as dovišta, and those were the places where god was worshiped and celebrations were held followed with entertainment and food. With that the old pagan tradition was followed of praising the holiday of harvest and thankfulness for the yields of
nature. Dovište Lastavica was until the middle of the twentieth century a cult place where Bosnian people would gather for 2nd of August to practice the ritual of slaughtering sheep, which is a tradition from the Illyrian times as many ethnologists claim, and it symbolised "sacrificing a virgin to the devil" i.e. a specific deity from whom one sought mercy and blessing in order to ensure


Samhain (31.10-02.11), symbolises the end of the summer and the light part of the year after which winter and darkness arrive. Among the folk it is called Kasum, Turkish name for November. The name Kasum stems from Arabic which means "something which is shared". The end of the warm period and the beginning of winter is best supported by the folk saying: "Jurjevo brings a green leaf and Kasum white snow!" That is where the Bosnian folk calendar ends.



While the moon symbolised a goddess, the sun symbolised a god i.e. the male principle without which life could also not be possible. According to the description of some folk beliefs and customs about the sun we can assume that he was called god Trzan, Trzance or Tir.

Every large or small place in Bosnia and Herzegovina practiced a cult ritual dedicated to the sun. On the eastern side of a certain place there was always a holly place where people would gather to celebrate the solar deity. There they practiced the rituals dedicated to sun and also ritual games, which imitated the trajectory of the sun, competition and general fun. Such a place was usually called Igrište (a playground) or Trzan. One would always come to the holly place barefoot and one would also travel on foot which corresponded to the ritual reverence of the holly place. What is especially characteristic for the cult of the sun is playing rounds. Rounds is a game where everyone holds hands and makes a circle which symbolises the sun, its eternal cycle but also vivacity and cheerfulness. There are data that claim that until the middle of the last century, the Bosnians went to a place called Vrbanja in central Bosnia to practice Trzan and to organise various games and festivities.

We shouldn't disregard an interesting analysis of folk belief according to which the sun deity had a dualistic nature. We need to enumerate a few examples to make it a bit clearer. For starters we need to mention the belief from north-western part of Bosnia where women would cover the bowl that contained cow milk when they would carry it from one house to the other. They did it out of precaution so that the milk "doesn't see" the sun since it can harm the milk with its spellbound eyes, i.e. the cow that gives milk would lose its capability to produce milk. Milk is a classical woman's symbol of fertility and food which is a characteristic of the goddess. Is there a small part of a larger myth in this belief, a myth that speaks of the possessive nature of a god towards a goddess or is there a small dose of ancient patriarchy, it's hard to conclude.

Besides that people still believe that the sun is malicious and poisonous until 6th of May passes (Hidirlez) and that's why people don't recommend being exposed to the sun for long periods. A similar taboo is connected with the earth for which it is believed that it's not good to sit on it until a certain date passes or better yet the cold part of the year. So we come to a conclusion that everything in nature is harmful to humans until May because after that the danger recedes. Hidirlez or Jurjevo is also called among the folk Mijena, which literally means change, since it symbolised a change of seasons - the end of winter and the cold part of the year and the arrival of summer and the fruitful part of the year. In the past the calendar in Bosnia was divided into two seasons and not four. Therefore it is easy to assume that the cult of the sun god could be celebrated only in the second part of the year which perfectly corresponds to the old pagan division of the calendar year to the light and the dark part. It is necessary to mention that 6th of May is not the original holiday of the sun god that is depicted as returning strength and fertility to nature with his warmth, but the beginning of the month of May. However because of the strong influence of Christianity, which in fact couldn't fully ban the old pagan rituals, the holiday was moved from the 1st May to the 6th and was thus transformed into the holiday of Jurja who slays a dragon. A Dragon or a snake was always the symbols of paganism for the Christian clergy and therefore the symbolic slaying of the dragon should represent the destruction of the old religion. But, this Christian myth was also taken from a much older myth from the Iranian religion and myth about god Mithras who according to legend slays a bull out of whose dead body nature sprouts, especially grain which is necessary for the human race. However, for this text it is more important that Mithras was the sun god. The continuity of sun worship according to some available data never lost its basics but was only supplemented with new beliefs which came along with the Slavs but also with the members of the Persian religion. How strong was their influence is best depicted by the shrine of Mithras in Jajce which was built in 3rd century AD.

Of the other folk belief about the sun we need to mention those that can be classified as imitative magic based on the invocation and pleas for help and blessings from the sun. Today also Stravarke in Bosnia turn their hands clockwise while doing the melting of lead ritual, it is said that they are "following the sun". Also when they need to throw three embers into the bowl with water the Stravarka does it by first encircling the ember three times also in a clockwise direction. The above mentioned rule clearly shows the folk belief about the beneficial power of the sun when it comes to healing and annulling negative influences. However this isn't only practiced during the lead ritual, every time when one wants to do a magical step which needs to have a positive outcome or some benefit like giving to the poor, turning the beans when fortunetelling, kneading bread, etc. the rule of making three circles clockwise is always adhered.

In the past every wedding procession followed this holy rule which was understood as being beneficial for the wedded couple. That's why the wedding procession always went from the bride's house towards the groom's following the "sun route".


Vještičiji kult u Bosni

Vještice i njihova religija prirode, obožavanje Boga i Boginje kroz Sunce i Mjesec, duboko su ukorjenjeni u vjerovanja mnogih naroda na prostoru Balkana ali i cijele Europe. Danas analizirajuci etnološke podatke ali i tradicionalna vjerovanja iz Bosne može se otkriti na desetine krajnje interesantnih pojedinosti koje navode na pomisao da se stara religija prirode uspjela oduprijeti kako vremenu tako i pojavi monoteizma. Naravno, da bi se priča o vještičarstvu uspješno i u cjelosti prezentirala potrebno je napisati mnoge stranice i priložiti mnoštvo informacija. No, kako svaki put počinje prvim malim korakom tako ćemo i priču o vještičarstvu započeti sa ovim tekstom a završiti negdje u budućnosti.

Vrijeme rituala

U Bosni se najmoćnijim ali i najopasnijim danima u godini smatra period između 30.aprila i 13.maja u kojem slučajno ili ne nastupa vještičiji praznik Beltane (1.maj). U ovom vremenu obnavljanje prirode je na vrhuncu, kao i poljoprivredni radovi. U središtu ovog perioda nalazi se Jurjevo ili Hidirllez (6.maj) kršćansko-muslimanski praznik paganskog porijekla koji se tradicionalno vezuje za prirodu i vodu koja je pod uticajem Mjeseca. Obožavanje vode kao jedne od manifestacija Boginje odslikava se u jasno u dva običaja  koji se praktikuju i danas u nekim dijelovima Bosne. Riječ je o slavljenju prvog utorka koji prethodi Hidirllezu pod nazivom Boni utorak posvećenom u cjelosti liječenju vodom. Na Boni utorak posjećuju se ljekoviti izvori u prirodi, vodom se bolesnici kupaju i piju je. Prvi utorak nakon 6.maja naziva se Dovni utorak i u njemu se moli za zaštitu i blagostanje kako pojedinca tako i cijele zajednice. Jasnije prikazano vjernici su se nekad molili ili bolje rečeno zahvaljivali vladarici vode (Mjesecu) na pomoći i težili da obezbjede njezinu zaštitu i u nastavku godine. Naravno, pojavom islama sve ono što je upućivalo na stari kult moralo je biti potisnuto i asimilirano u novu vjeru. Boginja je zamjenjena molitvom Allahu. No već na prvi pogled jasno je da izvorno ovi rituali nemaju nikakvi dodirni tačaka sa islamom.

Svjetlost i tama

I danas u 21.vijeku bosanske vještice slijede drevne odrednice u svojoj magijskoj praksi. Period dana kada zalazi Sunce i počinje noć, „između akšama i jacije“ i dalje se smatra najpogodnijim vremenom za magijski rad, posebno za ljubavne čarolije. Detaljnije analizirajući informaciju zašto je upravo vrijeme zalaska Sunca i početak noći bosanskim vješticama  najvažniji period za praktikovanje rituala treba tražiti u korijenima europskog vještičarstva. Dva najveća praznika Beltane i Samhain označavaju početak svjetle odnosno tamne polovine godine. Oba praznika su vrijeme kada se održavaju najveća slavlja i najmoćniji rituali povezani sa božanstvima prirode. Slično tome kraj dana i početak noći predstavlja minijaturni prikaz stalnog izmjenjivanja svjetlosti i tame, Beltana i Samhaina. Prema bosanskom vjerovanju odmah nakon zalaska Sunca džini dobijaju snagu, bude se i postaju aktivni što se podudara sa vjerovanjem kako se u noćima Beltana i Samhaina otvaraju vrata spiritualnog svijeta iz kojeg dolaze u svijet ljudi razni duhovi i demoni.

Kult Mjeseca

Iako postoji mali broj etnoloških podataka o magijskoj baštini Bosne i Hercegovine iz onog što oni otkrivaju vrlo jasno se može konstatovati kako je u prošlosti egzistiralo nekoliko vrsta kultova među kojima su dominirali kult Sunca i kult Mjeseca.

Kada ugledaju mladi Mjesec još i danas poneke stare Bošnjakinje  izvode ritual u kojem se prepliću uticaji Islama i starog kulta Mjeseca. Koncentrisano gledajući u mladi Mjesec žena podignuvši ruke u visini grudi, dlanovima okrenutim ka nebu, izgovara se pet kratkih kur'anskih molitvi a na kraju molitve dlanovima se potare lice. U nastavku  dolazi ritual iz kulta Mjeseca kada žena uperi kažiprst desne ruke u pravcu Mjeseca i govori: „Kao što ti rasteš i obnavljaš se Mjeseče tako podstakni i obnovi moje obličje“.  Osim ovog rituala među bosanskim ženama egzistira još desetine rituala koji se generacijski prenose i njeguju među ženskim spolom. U drugom ritualu žena nakon molitve mladom Mjesecu moli ga da podari zdravlje djeci u čemu se na direktan način aludira na boginju Mjeseca, zaštitnicu plodnosti i djece. Još jedno zanimljivo vjerovanje aludira na staru ideju o božanskom svojstvu Mjeseca, naime, vjeruje se da kada se prvi puta ugleda novi Mjesec treba reći formulu "Mašallah, vidi mladog mjeseca!", jer ga u protivnom može pogoditi uticaj urokljivih očiju. U tradicionalnom bosanskom vjerovanju mala djeca su najviše podložna negativnom utjecaju urokljivih očiju što dovodi na pomisao kako se u prošlosti novi Mjesec smatrao obličjem božanskog djeteta, tek rođenje Boginje, koju njeni sljedbenici trebaju štititi dok je u fazi kada nema dovoljno snage i moći.


WITCHCRAFT IN BOSNIA - the Goddess of the Moon

In accordance with the Old Bosnian believes the Moon Goddess manifested in two forms. The first form was celestial and the second one was a tellurian. In her celestial form the Goddess had the power of magic and healing whilst in its tellurian form she was the goddess of fertility and well being. The text of the old Bosnian Love Chant alludes on her tellurian form, noticeable already in the beginning of the formula “Black Earth Mother, please help me, nor is this charm related to you neither to me, but to my dear…” When Christianity came into Bosnia and after that the Islam, the old cult of Mother Goddess was preserved, thanks to Bogumils, but with time the people forgot the meaning of most of the rituals and customs.


The belief in fairies is the best preserved part of the cult of Mother Goddess, which was kept in the mind of people. It is obvious that the cult could continue to exist only by loosing its religious significance and get a mark of local legends and superstitions. As such, it did not present any threat to monotheism but could have been forwarded from generation to generation. Based upon it, even the titles of Moon Goddess and Mother Earth had been changed into Zlatna  (Golden Fairy) and Gorska vila (Forrest Fairy). Both of them have been mentioned in the mythology of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The title Zlatna comes from the word gold which reminds of shinning, gloss or better to say the moonlight. The Gorska vila is the same as the Forrest Fairy and the late title also refers to earth.


Chant Bosnian witch


What happened to Hasiba B. from a small Northwest village of Bosnia, few years after the World War II, shows the best that the connection between the people and old goddesses never severed. According to her story, once while she was shepherding at the meadow something unusual happened. While walking around she suffered a huge shock for no apparent reason which mostly reassembled the epileptic seizure. She lost the consciousness, her body was completely rigid and she was foaming out of the mouth. The family members found her in such condition and brought her home. Hasiba was lying for three days without consciousness like being in coma. When she woke up on the fourth day, she was completely sound and healthy. That most fascinating thing was that she woke up with the gift of foreboding and healing. Namely, while in coma she was visited by fairies who taught her how to foretell the future by watching into the water, how to perform divination with beans and how to heal the people by ritual of salivanje strahe. The fairies also taught her the various bajalicama (oral charms) that she was supposed to pronounce in the healing rituals. One of the most interesting charms is the one related to the magical healing of the Moon.   


If analyzing quite a long text of three oral charms which make a whole, one could write a lot. However for this occasion it is enough to list few interesting ones. The oral charms brings up several times numbers 3 and 9 (3x9=27, which corresponds to the lunar circle), few times word silver, the metal dominated by Moon in astrology, while water as the Moon element is being mentioned 52 times. For better understanding of this text, maybe is good to specify that a year has 52 weeks.   


The fight against the evil embodied in physical and psychological diseases starts by activating of two elements: earth and water and after that the fire. It is important to remember that the forth element of air is present constantly through the breath i.e. the speech of a person who chants. As described in the chant, during the battle between the earth and water from one side against the evil, the “doors of the earth” are being open whilst the valleys and hills collide. That creates the power which neutralizes the evil. The appearance of the full moon is quoted at the end of the fist chant.


The second oral charm starts with full moon coming that manifests by the psychical calmness of patient. The full moon waning, the moon phase coming and this change results by Moon giving the water and strength to the patient.  It follows by the next: “the patient was born in the night of the full moon and therefore he eliminated any decease during nine days”, “the night comes to the patient as so the help from the water; as the down comes the following day so the sun will arrive to the patient.” The last verse points out that by arrival of the sun the patient will be relieved of physical issues, such as fear, insomnia and anxiety. After, as the sun goes down in the west so the peace and calmness comes to the patient. On the next night the full moon brings the water as the gift to the patient that heals him for the next nine days. The evil withdraws and disappears as the days pass by. At the very end are mentioned the following: the full moon as well as the moon phase that brings the new moon which makes patient resting and neutralize the negative affects.


At the very beginning of the third and last oral charms it is described the arrival of full moon that brings the health i.e. strength to the patient. The most interesting part in this chant is speeding up the moon phases: full moon – moon phase – full moon, whilst element of water is in all verses that follow the moon change. Once again the reborn of the patient is emphasized but this time he is born for the first time during the night of the moon phase and the second time during the full moon. In both cases the moon “gifts” the patient but this time the gifts are three waters and nine days. These gifts have the profound curing effect as described in the following verses: “regenerate its own body; open the eyes; calm the psych; heal the bones and body; the full moon is coming…” In the last 15 sentences it describes exclusively the fight between fire and water, their interaction that bring definite victory over negative influences which caused psychological and physical problems to the patient.  




On an egg whose shell

Is brown or pink

Sign these signs

In grass-green ink.

Bury it deep

In an earth-filled pot.

Let this stand

Where the sun is hor:

Sow on its surface

Seeds of grass,

Water them well

While nine weeks pass;

Gather the crop,

Bind it with thread,

Let it hang always

Above your bed.

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