An International Journal on Charms, Charmers and Charming
Issue 5, 2017
Editor: Mare Kõiva
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The fifth issue of the journal Incantatio continues the publication of research articles on the broad scope of
charms and charmers. This time the painstaking peer-review process selected five articles from the dozen submitted.
The issue include analyses of written charming tradition and investigates chromatic beliefs and the colour system of
charms. The topography of investigations covers Baltic, Balto-Finnic, Finno-Ugric and Slavic traditions.
"Red Growth, Yellow Growth, White Growth...": Chromatic Beliefs in Udmurt
Folk Medicine and Healing Charms
Traditional culture is one of the key factors influencing our colour perception. The present article aims to analyse the colour concepts and symbolism of Udmurt folk medicine, in particular, healing rituals and charms. Consideration is given not only to the most widespread hues and their specific meanings within magic folk poetry, but also to the combination of colours, which fulfils an important role in emphasizing the efficacy of verbal means of magic. Additionally, the study demonstrates the folk classification of medical conditions based on colour characteristics. It is concluded that colour semantics entirely depends on the pragmatic objectives of healing rituals and charms.
Keywords: Udmurts, Udmurt folklore, folk medicine, healing rituals, verbal charms, colour symbolism
Salome on Ice: A Case of a Rare Latvian Fever Charm
Published in 1881, a Latvian fever charm featuring maidens dancing on ice serves as a source for research into three directions of verbal charm scholarship. It marks the north-western border of transmission of certain motifs found in the charm, which date back to the first half of the first millennia A.D. It also allows the transformation of these motifs to be tracked adapting to religious and magic traditions en route from Syria through Byzantines and Western Slavonic regions. Last of all, it illustrates mechanical dissemination of a charm text, related to institutional practices of the discipline during the interwar period.
Keywords: transmission, migration, demons, fever, healing
Poetics of Mari Incantations
This article sets forth the stylistic characteristics of Mari incantations, which constitute an integral part of
Mari spiritual culture. The texts of charms represent a rare phenomenon due to the long history of their existence and
their peculiar language features. At the same time, the tradition of magical texts can still be observed today. A sample
of approximately 500 incantations from different sources allowed them to be divided into six groups. They differ in
compositional structure, temporal characteristics, and expressive and stylistic devices. The latter is the object of
study here. The research shows that among various expressive means and stylistic devices, the incantations are rich in
syntactic stylistic means and folklore tropes. This choice of means can be explained by the "laws" of oral presentation
of magical texts and their pragmatic aims.
Keywords: expressive means, folklore tropes, incantations, informational content, pragmatic aim, stylistic devices, syntactic stylistic means
Charms against Worms in Wounds: The Text and the Ritual
The article traces the origin of the Eastern and Western Slavic spells against worms in wounds as a result of intersection of the believes, folk motives, magical acts, and the dialectal words.
Keywords: spells, Slavs, folklore, ritual, diseases of livestock, dialectal speech
Serpent Symbolism in Vepsian Incantations
Incantations are a little known and virtually unstudied genre of Vepsian folklore. About 35 incantations devoted to snakes were derived from published sources, as well as from archival and field materials. These texts formed the basis for the present study.
An inherent feature of most Vepsian incantations is the listing of the kinds of snakes differing in coloration.
During the study, 23 texts where snake colours are mentioned were found. Their analysis indicates that all texts mention,
usually in the first place, the black colour - 23 occurrences, the second and third positions occupied by the motley (22) or grey (17) coloration.
Keywords: colour, incantation, snake, Vepsian incantation
Vinokurova, Irina Iur'evna. Mifologiia vepsov. Entsiklopediia.
[Encyclopaedia of Vepsian Mythology].
Petrozavodsk: Izdatel’stvo PetrGU, 2015. 524 pp.
зб. навук. прац.
[Belarusian Folklore: Materials and Research].
T. B. Bалодзiна.
Bып. 1-4. Miнск:
(Tacciana Valodzina/Tatiana Volodina)
Charms, Charmers and Charming. International
Conference (Pécs, May 15-17, 2015)
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