Basme – Magical Whisper

The skill of incantation or magical formulas is known from the pagan times when it was used as a replacement for today’s prayers. In both instances the magical-religious speech that was expressed poetically was meant to serve as a contact between humans and the supernatural in order to procure a benefit. In the Old Testament it is written: “In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God”. The same principle is found in the Qur’an where it says that the whole universe was created out of two letters “Kaf” and “Nun” which create the word “Kun” when combined, whichmeans “Be!”. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are two forms of magical poetry; the shorter form called basma and the longer one called bajalica (magical whisper). Folklore claims that the whole world (Earth) is placed upon a basma and if one knew the content of that magical poem, one would then rule the whole world. It is believed that a basma is powerful as long as a small number of people know its content (up to three) and as soon as a fourth person finds out its content, it loses its power. The structure of the basma has a so called triad-repeating the basma three or even nine times which can be justified as three times three. It is always whispered during a particular time of the day or night, on the moon light or nextto water or fire.

Some Bosnian witches believe that the world stands on a basma and the black earth on a prayer Ikhlas and that’s why these two elements are inseparable during the practice of curing or making spells. Before the witch utters a basma, she repeats the prayer Ikhlas three or five times, because the 112. chapter in the Qur’an gives strength for uplifting the basma to a certain spiritual level. Love basma are especially popular, and some girls still use them in Bosnia. It is believed that every basma works in the course of 7-40 days. When a woman wants to awaken love for her in a certain male, she needs to pee on nine white beans and she needs to throw them into the fire. As soon as the beans start crackling in the fire she utters the love basma. After she utters it three times she needs to take an axe and hit the threshold of the entrance door. It is believed that the male, on whom the spell is cast, must fall in love with the girl, or otherwise his body will be covered with itching and rashes. Besides that the male will suffer from high fever and a desire to see the woman that threw the spell. Other basma that are popular are those against spell bound eyes, which are based on a ritual of extinguishing coal fire. The idea behind this ritual is that by extinguishing the fire one is symbolically extinguishing the negative effect of the spell bound eyes.

When Bosniak girl see new moon then she whispers three times magic words:

Sarem sokli Sarajevo,
ibrishimli hirayevo,
hane bishi yaterishi,
of mine N. (name of lower) chifderishi,
anihi pyanihi you are drunk N.sichumihi.

Sarem sokli Sarajevo, ibrišimli hirajevo, hane biši jeteriši, mome N.ćifderiši, pijan si N.sićumihi.)

This three basme (love magic words) repeat 3 times and blow in the direction  from the person you love:

Elif elif etti
you to my meti
what I’m speaking
may you speak it too.

Ehum vehum chulli lehum
chulli salli sallellahu

Evretna sabretna safretna
what I’m speaking
may you speak it too.


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