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Monday, April 11, 2011

Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling


Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling
Charles Godfrey Leland
Nabu Press 2/16/1923

This review serves as a double review for not only am I evaluating a book but I am also evaluating the device I read it on. I downloaded this book off the internet in PDF form onto a Kobo reading application put out by Borders. Sometimes PDF's can be rather difficult but I have read book on Ibook and Kindles. So far Kindle and I books are great. Ibooks did a better job handling PDF'sthen did Kobo. Kobo often times changed pages with being instructed to do so. Turning pages was also difficult with the device. That being said stick with the Kindle.

Not too much has been published with regards to gypsy lore and spellcraft. This is one of the few books available on the subject. Mr. Leland travelled to Europe and lived with the Gysies for a good length of time. While living with the Gypsies he was able to learn their history and their lore. I would say that although the book is dated having been first published in 1923, that it is an over all good book opn Gypsy lore.

Dated material often times does have some drawbacks. There have been a couple facts trghat encountered that are rather questionable especially with regards to the Jewish religion. But more on that later.

The Gypsies originated from India and ventured Westward into Europe. They are a wandering people that often live close to nature and apart from mainstream civilization in general. They are very knowledgeable about herbs and natural cures and how to read signs given by nature. Their spirituality or magick bears great closeness to the Hindu religion back in India from whwence they originate. A Hindyu sorcerer can request the aid of spirits to curse or help an individal much like a gyspy can. European witch craft and magick was most likely bborn from Gypsy practices.

Man always has a fear of evil spirits even in a darkened room the imagination will take over and create a sort of bogy man that must be placated. Many an early religion were centered on placating an evil bogy with gifts so they people would avoid coming into harm.

Gypsy magic has spells to cure headaches and other sicknesses. Often times these are transferred into a plant or a tree by spitting into and saying a magical incanation. There bare also spells for love and finding stolen objects in fact too many to be listed. Eggshells can used for divinations and to makle boats for witches that would enable them to sail across the sea. Gypsies even have faerie lore. Faeries of air tend to be very unfriendly towards mankind while those of water are ok with man so long as they are near land. Once water faeries get near water they can become dangerous. Land faeries are the ones who will help mankind.

To these Indo Europeans everything has a spirit. The hazelnut houses the spririt of the witch. In fact a necklace of Hazelnuts is used to ward off bad luck. Much like British witch craft the toad is a very important animal. They can be trained like other animals and can give their owners magical powers. Toad are often used in fortune telling. Some beliee that toads are human sould trapped in an animal body only to be set free when the purpose is accomplished . Such purposes could include a pilgrimage to a holy spot.

Gypsy magic is replete with simple rhymes that even children will learn. I have deduced a formula that going from 1-10 would make something larger. This could be used for luck or fortune. While counting backwards from 10 to 1 would make something decrease. That would be something negative.

Gypsies have a neutral view towards witches. Witches are gifted individuals in magic, what is importatnt is how they use this gift. The view towards Gypsies, witches and Jews in Europe has been one of hostility. Gypsies are oft persecuted and witches have been burned alive based on a mere accusation. Gypsies believe that many objects likes swords, rabbit feet and stone can have a conciousness and life force if attached to a person for a long enough time. A sword that has killed enough will aquire a spirit. Sea Shell sem to mean alot to gypsies as they are used to ward off eil. In fact they believe that they can hear supernatuiral; voices if they put the shell up to their ear.

The view seems to shared by others. Now we get to a point where I diverge from one of his statements. He seems to believe that Jewish kabbalists believe they could hear the voice of God in a shell. Good fine and well. But he then goes on to say that they had a ritual where they ritually prepared a child's head and skillfully manipulated the childs ear canals to hear a sound. I am not sure if he meant that tehy took the head of a child who had already been dead, killed a child or if the child was still alive. From my knowledge of Judaism I have never heard of this practice. It seems rather far fetched. The author does elucidate that Christians also sacrificed children and maids by building them into walls to make sure the building did not fall. They Europeans also burned many people alive.

I give the book 4/5 stars. Excellent material on Gypsy spellcraft. The work is dated and many points may have been refuted. There are some errors about other groups that I have noticed and there may be others that nhave slipped my attention.

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Baba-Sali
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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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