Bosnian magic

Mystical Bosnia and Herzegovina


16.07.2016.

Plant against disease and evil

Sedefil is from the family Rutaceae, it is rich in silicic acid, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenol and numerous other substances which are used in pharmacy. With all of these benefits, sedefil is used when one gets poisoned by henbane, it is also a great remedy for bad breath. In natural healing sedefil is used to help the kidneys, bladder, intestines and inside of the ear. It can also be used for eye infections, constipation, sciatica, asthma, headaches, dermatitis and stroke. However, one needs to be careful when using rue and use it in appropriate doses, since if one overdoses a completely opposite effect is achieved. Pregnant women and those women which want to get pregnant should avoid consuming any part of this plant.

Besides its healing properties, rue possesses amazing power against evil, mostly because of its fragrance but also unusual appearance of the leaves which remind us of a human hand, i.e. five fingers. It was reason enough for it to receive a reputation as a plant against evil along the entire Mediterranean coast. That’s why in BiH rue is traditionally grown alongside a house, close to the entrance door, because of the old belief that in such a way, with its vicinity, it protects the home from spells, spirits and magic. A few leaves of this plant were usually placed under the pillow of children as a protection against spellbound eyes. Still today old women before autumn would gather the hard seed of rue and make so called “tespih” (beads) out of 33 beads, by using a needle and a string, they would tie it and place on a wall of a house, so that the beads would bring good luck into the house.

A faery fell asleep on a leaf of rue

In Bosnian mythology rue is a plant dedicated to good faeries. According to folk belief faeries love to sleep on the leaf of this plant because of its specific fragrance. It is probably corroborated by certain women’s love formulas, which are uttered while holding a stem of rue. In one of them, a girl which wants to be noticed wherever she shows up and with that have more suitors, would first bathe in order to wash away all the dirt from herself and then naked and wet, with her hair down, she takes a pre prepared stem of rue and a dish with warm water. First she pours some water in her mouth and holding it in her mouth, in her mind, she repeats the prayer Ihlas nine times. After that she spits the water out of her mouth back into the dish with warm water. Then she places the stem of rue and utters this magical formula:

On the leaf of a rue a fairy fell asleep,

from her it spilt over onto me

gold, silver and silk.

Gold, gilded me,

silver cleansed me

silk wrapped and a fairy blessed me;

to be healthy and happy,

to everyone in the world the best and prettiest,

veledalin amin from God amin!

Bosnian:

Na listu sedefila zaspala vila,

sa nje se na me prosulo

zlato, srebro i svila.

Zlato me pozlatilo,

srebro očistilo,

svila obavila a vila blagosila;

da budem zdrava i čila,

najbolja i najljepša svakom ja bila!

Veledalin amin od Boga amin!

After repeating this formula three times the girl blows into the water and washes herself from head to toe with it and lets the water pour down her. With that the ritual would be completed. From the bottom of the bathtub she picks up the stem of rue and after she is dressed she throws it out, somewhere where no human foot goes. Stravarke claim that with this spell cleanses the girl from spellbound eyes, hate and envy, and her kismet or fortune can open up, if it was closed. If she is completely unlucky in love, then it is believed that her “kismet is closed”, and then this ritual must be repeated three Tuesdays in a row and her luck will be opened any time soon and she will find her future husband.

Rue doesn’t just help girls to find luck in love but also to married women, especially ones whose husbands are unfaithful. From the old days in the north-western part of Bosnia there was a custom that a wife whose husband is unfaithful, whenever she washes her bra or panties, she would dry them on a rue bush, and then she would wear them. Allegedly, the plant will put a spell on the underwear with its fragrance which will make the woman attractive and desirable to her husband and he will be dedicated only to her.

Bosnian magic
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