Washing Rituals from Bulgaria
AUTHOR: Georgi Mishev, PhD
PUBLISHER: Avalonia Books
Washing Rituals from Bulgaria by Georgi Mishev explores the power of water and magical plants in traditional washing rituals used in Bulgaria. Traditional healers in Bulgaria still use these rituals today, combining the waters gathered from powerful natural sources with the magical properties of herbs (and some other objects) attested as bringing healing and relief to their clients’ ailments. Ailments treated by such healers with washing rituals are varied but include known and unknown diseases, such as fever, infertility, epilepsy and childhood illnesses. Rituals are also used to deal with fear, calm a child, break magic and avertthe evil eye. Some illnesses are attributed to the zmey and samodivas, nature spirits who were once venerated in the region but whose importance has now mostly been diminished to folklore and songs, and washing rituals are employed by healers to address these illnesses too.
Inspired by stories his grandmother told him as a child of these rituals, author and anthropologist Georgi Mishev set about investigating these fascinating rituals in Bulgaria today. This small volume brings together his personal observations and transcripts of conversations with magicians and healers in the Balkans (focusing on Bulgaria) and related ethnographical records.
Essential reading if you are interested in Bulgarian or Balkan folkloric practices, healing traditions and/or traditional magic and witchcraft in Europe.