#384310

Anonymous

Folk Medicine

People in Bosnia and Herzegovina always believed that one’s stomach (gastritis) can get dislocated from its natural position, what further on causes health problems. Stomach in humans can be dislocated in any of the following situations: hunger during hard work or a heavy burden; jumping or falling from a tree or some highness; nightmare or general stress, which is most common cause. It is important to say that stomach never dislocates because of nutrition/diet. When a human’s stomach (gastritis) dislocates, people in Bosnia say: “strunuo se” or suffering from stomach (gastritis). From the shifted gastritis patient feels severe pain in stomach, vomiting, decreased appetite and often being tortured by insomnia. Although the very method of treating gastritis is not that complicated and does not require particular knowledge, though there are some conditions to pursue and one of them is that the person (stravarka) have warm hands. The people of Bosnia believe that there are nine forms of “struna” that differs in colour. Blue string (plava struna) is considered to be the easiest form of the disease that is easily treated. Red string (crvena struna) caused by the stress, worrying, emotional problems; its manifested by weight loss, pallor and nausea. Black string (crna struna); women often suffer after childbirth, and men from carrying heavy burdens; it is manifested by sudden weight gain, abdominal distension, pain in the stomach and intestines. Stravarka pays full attention to diagnosis to which direction stomach (gastritis) dislocated, as, according to their believes, stomach can move/dislocate all the way up to the spine or legs. This is why the most important part of their treatments is massage.

In order to find out whether the patient really suffers from that disease Stravarka touches patient’s skin located between thumb and forefinger. If, during such a diagnosis attempt she senses a small ball underneath her fingers/palms it is seen as a definite sign of the stomach (gastritis) disorder. Then, she starts massaging the patient up his/her arm all the way up to his/her shoulder until she “locates” stomach and bring it back to its place. There are several more methods of bringing gastritis back to its place using massage; stravarka puts a cup (in up-side-down position) onto a patient’s belly and massages patient from the hips to the navel. While she practices this routine she constantly chants the following magicwords: “Come Hazrat Fatima take your feather and remove from this patient all his/her pain, and return his/her gastritis in place!”. Then she, using a scarf or bigger piece of cloth, wraps up a cup around patient’s stomach and leaves the patient to lie down in that position for half an hour or until the patient gets well. After the treatment patient is recommended to follow a strict regime of diet for the next seven days; to eat only cooked food, fruits and vegetables and avoid meet, greasy meals, canned salads, fried eggsand so on.

Lead’s melting has been a very much spread practice of treating fear and other negative impact; in the past of BiH. The original method was brought by Turkish people who brought it over, amongst other magic beliefs, after they conquered Balkan countries. That ritual can be performed by man or woman, but women perform it more often, as they used to, traditionally, care about their family’s health. Woman who does that ritual in Bosnia is called “stravarka“, and she is usually an older lady who has been passed through menopause. Stravarka, in the process, uses a few props; metal spoon, bowl for water, 3 or 4 pieces of lead and red towel or scarf. Ritual follows the strict religious pattern and therefore Stravarka, before she starts performs abdest (muslim religious washing). Stravarka, over the lead and bowl filled with water, pronounces some individual Quranic prayers, with El-Fatiha first Quranic chapter and El-ihlas 112. chapter dominating. When treating a frightened child, Stravarka first put little pieces of led through the gun barrel and then puts them in a spoon and melt in the fire. However, when treating her adult patients she holds a larger or several small pieces of lead in her hand and rotates them 3 times clockwise round around the patients head saying: Euzubilahirrahmanir rahim. While the lead is melting in fire, Stravarka, over the bowl with water, quietly speaks prayers and basmas magic words that seek the salvation of God and the health for a patient.

Between the prayers she repeats the following words: “Dear HazartFatima, my dear mother tell your father Mohammed that the patient needs help day and night”. When she pronounces all the words and prayers due to which she normally experiences some harmless sensations like uncontrolled yawning or tearing eyes stravarka covers patient’s head with a cloth or red scarf (patient sits on a chair). Then, while holding the bowl of water in her left hand over the patient’s head she takes a right handed spoon with melted lead and quickly pours it into the water. On this occasion stravarka says; “lead to break and all evil to bounce from (name of patient)”. When pronouncing the magic words she looks out into a high mountain intending, in such a way, to positively affect the recovery of a patient. Namely, in BiH high landscapes such as mountains, are considered as symbols of happiness and good health; this is originating from the old Bosnian Sun-worshiping Cult. We, during this ritual, several times encounter the segments of those beliefs when stravarka 3 times moves in clockwise direction; following the path of the sun, when circling lead around the patients head or during her prayers’ chanting over the bowl of water that she, after every prayer, rotates in clockwise circle. After she throws dissolved lead in cold water, on which occasion leads form various shapes, Stravarka commences analyses of the obtained shapes what leads her to the cause of problem/disorder.

If lead forms in a shape of a needle or number of them, Stravarka is convinced that the patient was a victim of an enormous shock of fright. Lead formed in a circle is a sign of a direct patient’s contact with the spiritual world of Jinns, on which occasion spirits harmed the patient. After Stravarka performed the analyses of the obtained forms of lead, she collects all the lead by the spoon and brings it back to fire in order to re-melt it. Then, she repeats the same ritual that has already been described above, with a difference in lead being melted in water this time over the patient’s stomach not head. When stage two is completed the last time Stravarka melts lead over the patient’s feet, what is the final/ending stage of the ritual. The sign of successful treatment is sought in the lead itself. Namely, so-called heart appears in the very lead (shape of a tear), what is a sign of all the evil being neutralized in the patient. The patient washes his face 3 times with the water lead was melted in 3 times, 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.

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