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Author Topic: Balkan Traditional Witchcraft  (Read 21784 times) Average Rating: 5
RandallS
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« Topic Start: March 23, 2010, 04:39:10 pm »

Title: Balkan Traditional Witchcraft
Author(s): Radomir Ristic, Michael C. Carter (Translator)
Publisher: Pendraig Publishing
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
ISBN: 0979616859
ISBN-13: 978-0979616853
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

Description:
Published in English for the first time, this groundbreaking book by Radomir Ristic is a compilation of historical data, anthropological studies, and the authors own experiences and interviews with the Witches of the Balkans. Covering both theory and practice, the book gives a complete system of Balkan Traditional Witchcraft.

Balkan Traditional Witchcraft is an ancient system from humanity's dawn that has survived into modern times due to the unique history of the region, and its practice can be applied to any culture, state or region in the world.

Translated into English by Michael C. Carter, Jr., this book - a bestseller in its native Serbia - is an incredible look into the world of the Balkan Witch, covering ritual trance, tools, rites for healing, love, divination, defense and for making charms. It also explores the supernatural beings that Balkan Witches share their world with, deities, fairies and other spirits. There has never been such a deep exploration of the magic of this region available in English before.

Special Notes:
none

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from Amazon.com and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.



Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.
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« Reply #1: April 15, 2010, 04:14:55 pm »



This is one for the "traditional witchcraft" practitioners here. This is the true European folk magic and far removed from the fluffy Llewellyn stuff.    

I found this a fascinating book. The author covers the history of Balkan traditional witchcraft and describes workings and rituals in such detail that this is also a "how to" book. There is an extensive list of traditional Balkan herbs and their  uses as well as the significance of numbers and sacred animals. There are traditional divination methods and some useful tips on flying for the beginner.

As it has been translated into English from the original Serbian the style is a little awkward at times. Some of it was rather  uncomfortable reading for me  and I truly hope no one is inspired to create an amulet in the traditional way. They will certainly have the animal welfare charities after them Undecided  . It does emphasis that there is a price to be paid for magic and that the price can be heavy.

I have only skimmed the surface of it so far but there are workings and rituals here that I will certainly be adapting into my own trad practices.
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« Reply #2: April 15, 2010, 11:28:42 pm »

I have only skimmed the surface of it so far but there are workings and rituals here that I will certainly be adapting into my own trad practices.

I'm curious to know if there are substantive differences between this and things Wiccish.

Brina
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« Reply #3: April 16, 2010, 08:20:09 am »


Oh yes! Thant is wonderful stuff!
I am from Serbia, I know very well how dangerous and strange Balkan traditional witchcraft is...
That book is very good, provides many informations about differences between modern day craft, and unknown folk magic from Balkan.
I am sad because in my country almost no one reveals secrets of folk magic...
Very interesting rituals are those with melting the lead in fire and then putting it into the water.
It is form of divination and banishing evil forces. Awesome stuffs!
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« Reply #4: April 16, 2010, 01:36:01 pm »



This looks interesting. Thanks for the suggestion.
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« Reply #5: April 16, 2010, 02:33:19 pm »

I'm curious to know if there are substantive differences between this and things Wiccish.

Brina

Depends on what you mean by Wiccish! If you mean the light fluffy brigade then yes it is substantially different. I  am not able to say if this is also true for the initiated Gardnerian/Alexandrian Wiccans. However Balkan Traditional Witchcraft seems to be a mainly solitary activity rather than coven based. 

Balkan Traditional Witchcraft and UK Traditional Witchcraft  however seem to share much although there are obvious cultural differences.
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« Reply #6: April 16, 2010, 02:37:21 pm »


That book is very good, provides many informations about differences between modern day craft, and unknown folk magic from Balkan.
I am sad because in my country almost no one reveals secrets of folk magic...


I was surprised at how much first hand material the author came up with. Even photographs of the witches. It is wonderful that it has been preserved as an oral tradition for so long.

May I ask if you have practised this  yourself?
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« Reply #7: April 16, 2010, 02:53:06 pm »

I was surprised at how much first hand material the author came up with. Even photographs of the witches. It is wonderful that it has been preserved as an oral tradition for so long.

May I ask if you have practised this  yourself?

No, I haven't.
I had very bad experience with black witchcraft when I was 7, I almost died, so I avoided anything connected to traditional craft...
People in Balkan abuse magickal knowledge.
Many families in every city have hell of life because someone casted spells upon them...
It is just unimaginable how those witcheries are able to ruin people's lives!
Many many marriages are not committed in name of love, instead, woman do special rites to bound man, so he will be forever hers.
People loose all heritage, have accidents, can't have children, live terrible life, have poor health, dies, divorce etc.
Rituals are horrific... Often, dirt from fresh grave is taken, or bones from dead body, etc...
Traditional craft in Balkan is very malicious.
Just few people dedicate themselves to white magick, healing, and breaking dark spells.
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« Reply #8: April 16, 2010, 07:39:24 pm »

Depends on what you mean by Wiccish! If you mean the light fluffy brigade then yes it is substantially different. I  am not able to say if this is also true for the initiated Gardnerian/Alexandrian Wiccans. However Balkan Traditional Witchcraft seems to be a mainly solitary activity rather than coven based. 

Balkan Traditional Witchcraft and UK Traditional Witchcraft  however seem to share much although there are obvious cultural differences.

If it claims to be older than 50-odd years and is anything like Wicca, I'm going to be curious about its provenance.

Brina
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« Reply #9: April 17, 2010, 06:23:28 am »

If it claims to be older than 50-odd years and is anything like Wicca, I'm going to be curious about its provenance.

Brina

Folk witchcraft predates Wicca by centuries. In Britain there are dateable artefacts of the Craft from 1500 and before. Here is one site you might find interesting  http://www.apotropaios.co.uk/index.html

TW is nothing like the Wicca that is published by the popular titles  and from my limited knowledge of Gardnerain/Alexandriain Wicca I would expect it also to be very different but as I said  I am not in a position to confirm that personally.

If you are interested in the history of folk magic then  Ralph Merrifield's, The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic, 1987, is very good

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« Reply #10: April 17, 2010, 06:35:01 am »


This is another good site  http://www.museumofwitchcraft.com/index.php
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« Reply #11: April 17, 2010, 08:14:56 am »

Folk witchcraft predates Wicca by centuries.

I'm aware of that.  I'm also aware of the fact that while Wicca has some similarities to folk magic traditions, the basic framework is completely different.  Any mention of Wicca-specific practices/beliefs would make me suspect the antiquity of Balkan witchcraft (as it may or may not have been presented in this book).  I'm also (so far) unconvinced that what gets passed off as "traditional witchcraft" these predates Gardner.

As I said, I haven't read the book.  That's why I'd be curious to know.

Brina
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« Reply #12: April 17, 2010, 08:18:39 am »


And here's an excellent book.

Brina
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« Reply #13: April 17, 2010, 06:15:24 pm »

I'm aware of that.  I'm also aware of the fact that while Wicca has some similarities to folk magic traditions, the basic framework is completely different.  Any mention of Wicca-specific practices/beliefs would make me suspect the antiquity of Balkan witchcraft (as it may or may not have been presented in this book).  I'm also (so far) unconvinced that what gets passed off as "traditional witchcraft" these predates Gardner.

As I said, I haven't read the book.  That's why I'd be curious to know.

Brina

I think I'm missing something here - my original post never mentioned Wicca or Wiccanish practices.  I've already said that the practices do not resemble popular Wicca ( for the want of a better term). I am not Wiccan nor ever have been but I  do practice traditional witchcraft and they are very different.

I'm wondering if we are meaning different things by traditional witchcraft? 
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« Reply #14: April 17, 2010, 09:58:10 pm »

I think I'm missing something here - my original post never mentioned Wicca or Wiccanish practices.  I've already said that the practices do not resemble popular Wicca ( for the want of a better term). I am not Wiccan nor ever have been but I  do practice traditional witchcraft and they are very different.

I'm wondering if we are meaning different things by traditional witchcraft? 

Unless you're using the term to mean something radically different from anything I've heard before, I think we're on the same page as far as terminology.  And as to how TW differs from Wicca, I'm less concerned with the differences than the overlap, and whether or not these commonalities were ever historically practiced.  This is the portion that fails to convince me of antiquity.  I'm not trying to debate or debase your beliefs.  I'm just saying I've never seen any proof that a cohesive belief system resembling what people generally call "Traditional Witchcraft" existed pre-Gardner.  And as you haven't presented anything academic on the subject, I remain unconvinced.

Have you read Hutton at all?

Brina
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