For a woman to become a sihirbazica (witch) and gain magical powers she needs to take the holly Qur’an and throw it on the ground and stomping it utter: Iblis, help me, I give you my soul, help me in my intentions (or wishes)”.

In Bosnia it is believed that after this blasphemous act she becomes awitch: she can cast love spells, exert revenge on her enemies, become invisible, etc. In the past, according to ethnological writings, young women often became witches in order to become attractive with the help of magic, so that men would want them. Similarly, a woman would become a witch in order to bring her man back, who left her or to separate him from his beloved girlfriend, her rival. In their practice the Bosnian witches used various ways to cast love spells on men, and the most famous one is the one with white beans. The ritual was performed as follows: At night, when no one is around, the witch would take an axe and place it behind the entrance door along with nine white beans on which she urinated on. Then the witch goes to the fire place inside the house and places the beans in the ash near the fire. She would then utter: “the beans crackle, bah bahti, the axe behind the door and X infront of it. Die, burst until you come to me, with Gods power and mymerit, veledalin amin”. She would then blow three times in the direction of the man and then she would swallow her spit. The witch stirs the beans in a circle with a metal spoon, takes the axe and brings it and places it next to her feet, and then she stirs the beans with the spoon one more time and brings the axe back behind the door. While doing this she utters: “I am placing the axe behind the door; I am not placing the axe butthe brain and wits of X behind the door. Die, burst until you come tome, with God’s power and my merit. Veledalin amin”.

After that she repeats the following words three times: “basmice, basmice sisters as ordained by God, bring me X there is the dark and the cloud, I am his shining sun and moon. Dark all around him and I am his only light, elzalif amin”. At the end she blows down her bosom three times, turns around and goes to bed. It is believed that after this ritual the man who was the target of the ritual becomes plagued by an unexplainable longing and wish to see the woman as soon as he can. Because of the love magic the man cannot sleep nor concentrate on anything else. If he resists the urge to visit the witch strange blisters appear on his body and he suffers a high temperature for days. When he visits the woman, and as soon a she lays his eyes on her, all of the symptoms disappear immediately.

How do charms work?
When a sihirbaza wants to create love magic that is to bring together two people, she first needs to find out if this is possible by divination. After she has taken a large branch of hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha) she then splits it into three parts of equal length. Then she waits for the fire in the fire place to tone down and then she places one branch upright into the ember which she names as the person she wishes to put her spell upon. The next branch she places right next to the first one, on its left side, in the hot ember 5 inches apart and names it as the person for whom she is creating the spell, and the third branch she places on the right side of the first one with the same distance apart but she doesn’t name it. Then she watches to see what will happen. If the branch, the one she named as the person for whom she is creating the magic, falls as it is burning in the middle (named as the person she wishes to put her spell upon) then she is certain that her magic will succeed. However, if it happens that the unnamed branch falls in the middle then it is clear that the magic will have no effect.

Marital Magic
When a husband was aggressive and when he would abuse his wife, she would take a fist full of dust from a grave and while her husband was sleeping she would throw the dust on him. Even though the male’s extra maritalaffairs were tolerated to a degree because of the traditional upbringing, Bosnian females didn’t shy away from using magic to ward off their husbands from their lovers. Most wives were seeking help from local witches (Sihirbaza), which would heat a sowing needle in a secret ritual and then they would bend it in a way that the tip of the needle would go into the needle’s eye while pronouncing magical words. The bent needle was then carried home by the wife, and a favourable moment for its use was anticipated. When an unfaithful husband would leave to meet his lover, the wife would throw the needle after him which would then activate the spell. According to the statements of some women, who wish to stay anonymous, the magic worked and the husband would return home quickly often ill tempered. Besides this, the cheated wife should wash her bra and underpants and dry them on a nacre bush (Ruta graveoles) a few days in a row. It is believed that in this way the husband will lose his passion for the lover and he will return to his wife.

The spell with the needle aims at making the man impotent and to weaken his sexual power when he reaches his lover. To annul this negative effect the husband would often seek the help at a local witch or Hodža. Some witches request the following from the impotent man: some water from three various springs, four leafed clover, nine different flowers from a meadow and a sticky weed (Galium aparine). All of the above mentioned ingredients are thrown into the water and the following words are uttered: “Ćuhum be quite Lehum fly….” and the verse El-Fatiha is uttered three times. After that the impotent male washes his face with that water and drinks some of it. And the non a starry night he washes first his left hand and right foot and then the right hand and left foot. It is interesting to note that the man creates a five-pointed star: head, left arm, right leg, right arm and left leg. The five-pointed star in Bosnian health rituals plays a major role since it is considered to be a symbol of health and protection therefore we find it in almost all descriptions of ritual washings of the sick.


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