lunedž, novembre 20, 2017 13:18

The Romanian Folk Witchcraft 3 – The Mana

” Mana is an abstruse term that in traditional folklore designates everything that a soul-be it animal,bird and even harvest can give to complete the circle of the nature. For example the apple trees will give apples, the cows will give milk and fields corn (for example).Even humans have their own mana and that resides in their fortune, their children and their family. If the circle is broken, due to evil eye or witch then it is said that the animal (for example) doesn’t has mana anymore, or that it the mana was stolen and the animal (usually cow) doesn’t gives milk, or the milk is watery, doesn’t has fat, smells bad and in most of the cases the animal dies (because a soul that doesn’t interacts with the nature as a part of the great circle, will soon die-again we talk about a mystical level of the problem not scientific one). Most of the times, though, people don’t even pronounce the name mana in order not to spoil their own fortune but instead they say that ”milk was stolen”, because usually this happens only to the milk of a cow. The milk is a sacred feed in Romania, symbolizing not only wealth of the peasant but also his life-the cow being used¬† for the labor of the fields not only for food, and milk is the basic aliment in all the villages, so if the cow dies or doesn’t gives milk and is ill then the peasant could be in the right to say that he has been cursed.

Who has the power to steal the mana?

In essence there is a witch trained in the Dark Arts that has the power to steal the mana of everything¬† from cows milk to wealth of people. Any witch though can steal the mana of a cow(and give it to her cow) if she wants to, this being like a basic operation in the traditional folklore. Stealing the mana, though, is a capital sin, and not from a Christian perspective-because the Orthodox Church denies the existence of magick and doesn’t even accepts all the pagan practices but had to include them into it’s baggage or switch one holiday with a Christian one- but from a magickal point of view, Romanians being strongly involved into the Nature’s cycle and anything that disturbs it in such a harsh way it’s considered a sin.

There are also the deities of the forests or waters, mostly those that are against humans or any human involvment into their theritories-such as Muma Padurii and Rusaliile. That can easily steal the mana of anything.

The mana can be also lost by the stupidity of the owner if she/he doesn’t respects some basic tradition practices: for example never to give the first milk from the cow to a stranger or never give the milk of the cow to a stranger without putting a bit of salt in it, the cow must be protected with strong incantations before it goes on the fields with the others,never ever stick the knife into the milk because the cow will die etc. To the Romanians, the family is sacred and so are the animals and any stranger¬† even from the same village that was entering the yard and the house was treated with hospitality, but that hospitality had its strange boundaries.

There are three elements that can be used to steal the mana of anything:
a)water-is the easiest way to steal the milk, and this can be done even from a river,or with the help of a fish
b)fire -is mostly used to curse the cow of one man to dry it’s milk
c) metal- metal diseases the milk and the cow

How can one defend himself against stealing his mana?

In any village you go, you will always find at least one peasant claiming that his cow’s milk wast stolen at least once, but there are also some that claim they know good protection incantations and rituals and every single time the one that does them is the wife of the house not the man.
Romanian tradition talks about purity of any act or institution be it cooking,getting married or milking the cow, everything has to be done in a right way in order to be defended against impurity, or something not to get from pure to spoiled and rotten. This is why first time¬† has a huge importance in Romanian tradition, the bride must be virgin in order for the house to be prosperous,the husband and the wife must never cheat on each other not even once, or the mana gets spoiled, and the same ”first time” rule applies to the animals of the house, birds,harvests etc. When the cow first gives birth, there is an entire ritual that must be followed and same when the cow is first milked, when the field is first reaped by the new family, the woman walks in circles around it (because to the common Romanian, that fertile clay is his woman and the woman is the clay).There are some very deep connotations that are hard to be comprehended for an individual living in the West-and I must admit, nowadays are hard to comprehend even for many of the Romanians that have lost their roots and live in the modern cities.

There are many methods to defend a cow or any animal that has milk, all depending on the region of the country. Most used are the ritual of the nine circles and the ritual of the three circles and those go for the entire life of the animal, even if many do a daily incantation or a periodical ritual too.

The ritual of the nine circles:

The woman takes the afterbirth from the cow and puts it in a small box, then the box in a bigger box, then the bigger box in a bucket, the bucket in a piece of cotton and so on until she puts it in nine containers. After that she takes the pack that has the placenta  and walks around the cow for nine times backwards saying certain words that I cannot reproduce here and thinking that none will be able to break her circles.

The ritual of the three circles:

The woman strips off her clothes and takes the placenta of the cow into her mouth surrounding the cow thinking of the fact that just she cannot walk like that on the road in the same way none should be able to steal the mana.

In case that one’s cow doesn’t has mana anymore there is one good method known in almost all the areas but consists in sacrificing one of the most revered fishes-the trout. One has to fish a trout but not kill it but keep it in a bucket filled with water and for three days has to milk it like would milk a cow on it’s entire body,-when the fish is dead the cow has milk again and the other cow dies too.
There are also incantations to the elder tree, to the river, to the moon and the stars. One good ritual that I know is to go to an elder tree that grows next to a water and put in a piece of cotton some polenta, salt, wheat and corn and let it there during the night for the stars to bless it, then the next morning before the sun rises you go back, pick it and give it to the cow before she ate anything.

How does one take the mana exactly?
One used method is to take the dust trail of the cows with a copper knife or a hazel stick then the witch says some incantations. These are supposed to be very strong dark magick incantations that only the witch and(maybe) her daughter knows and she is forbidden by oath to say it to any stranger, because as I said before the incantations are believed to lose their powers if they are told away.
Another method is to go to someone’s house and take some hot charcoal or some bread and think like you don’t take the bread but the milk of the cows. This is one of the reasons why some Romanians are reluctant in welcoming strangers into their home.

Article by Kirke

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