Sorcery in North-Eastern Serbia Cover Image

Врачање у североисточној Cрбији
Sorcery in North-Eastern Serbia

Author(s): Zorica Divac
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: sorcerers; magic; sexual helplessness; bonding; incantation;
Summary/Abstract: The region of north-eastern Serbia is known for a vivid magic activity of its population. Every village has sorceresses using the so called white or black magic. The most attractive example of magic practice is a wide-spread ceremony of casting spells in order to “tie” someone. Magic tying is a way in which wives punish their unfaithful husbands and lovers, causing their partial or complete sexual impotence. It is not hard to imagine why this magic activity has survived until today. It is clear that, alongside its therapeutic significance (e.g.autosuggestion), this practice has a conclusive social significance too. Charms are, in a certain sense, also means of pointing out that impotence is a social phenomenon. It is implied that the impotence of a man is not an expression of his physical or mental disability, but that it comes as a result of the magic activity of women. In this way man does not lose any of his supposed strength, masculinity and authority otherwise attributable to the patriarchal male person. The order in which the male is domineering over the female remains preserved. On the other hand, it seems that the “tying” and the efficiency of spells amount to some kind of a relief for women who are unsuccessful in social terms, for women that are abandoned or are about to be abandoned by their husbands or lovers. For both of these categories of women, the casting of spells always leaves hope that their apparently insoluble situation will be resolved.

  • Page Range: 111-121
  • Page Count: 11
  • Publication Year: 2003
  • Language: Serbian