Bosnian Fortune-telling (continued)

Divination with beans (falanje u grah)
The Bosniak women (fortune-teller or faladžinica) 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 fali”. 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 infront 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 acombination of 333, which represents happiness, marriage and the fulfilment of whish.

In Bosnia, a person dealing with the divination in the beans is called “faladžija” or “faladžinica” 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 thepatch she takes the beans into the right fist, places the fist close to her mouth and recites the prayer: “Rabbi yesir tu’asir, rabbi temmimbil-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.

The group of 41 beads of white beans the fortune teller arranges three times: The first arrangement is for the past and it symbolizes childhood and youth. The second arrangement symbolizes the clients present and the middle of his life. The third arrangement symbolizes the future, and is treated as the most important part of the complete fortune telling. It symbolizes the latter part of someone’s life.

The first row (A,B,C) is called “površina’ or “the surface”, and its characteristicis that it can only have an odd sum of numbers 5 or 9 beads, when compared to the second and third row. When there are five beads in the first row (212, 122, 221), and in the bottom that symbolizes time (or their) 5 groups each having four beads (or five hatmi) then that shows speed to the fortune teller, favourable progress of the situation, or as they like to say: “the beans go in yourfavour!”. The first row symbolizes intelligence, thinking patterns, thought processes,. and that’s why there is a “male” and “female” head inside and a “pillow”.

The second row (D,E,F) represents emotion and the house. It can be said that the second and third row are connected while the first row is separate and independent. The one thing that most people don’t know is that only in the second and third row there can be for example a combination of infidelity, loss, moving, tears but also travel, gain, etc. The third row (G,H,I) is a symbol of the things that are outside or in front of the door. It is a symbol of movement and action which is confirmed by the male and female foot prints (or legs) and the “threshold”. The more beads there are on the threshold the more guests in the house or if there is only one beadon the threshold-the news will arrive inside the house, two beads “open door” that is the one whose fortune is foretold will travel or the like.

Tehir or time symbolizes a specific period when a prophecy might come true, for example, if there are five groups that have four beads in the “time” row, that means that the foretold will come about soon, if there are four groups each having four beads then the client has to be patient because the prophecy will not come about soon, etc. Fortune telling of four groups each having four beads is called “hatma”. Besides this, each fortune teller with beans can foretell for three types of persons-girlfriend, wife, widow or boyfriend, husband, widower. For example, if a married person receives the “Hazrat Fatima fal” it is not interpreted as to the other groups. While to the other groups it foretells marriage, to the married ones it foretells divorce or the like.

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.


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