Author Archives: cebi

Lead Melting

The following story is collected from my friend. She lived in Turkey for the most part of her life. She talks about a Turkish tradition in this collection. This interview is done on phone. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

A:”What is “Lead Melting”

B: “It is a practice we do in Turkey in order to send bad spirit away from us.”

A: “Do you have any personal experience with this tradition?”

B: “Yes. I was feeling bad and wanted to do this practice. My mom was not believing in “lead melting” so I could not do it at first. One time I went to my aunt and talked about this subject. She told me she believes in this practice and do it once in a while if she feels negative energy on herself. She told me if your life is not heading in the right direction and you are not sure how to solve it, you can try it. She told me her neighbour in the apartment actually do this practice for those who want. So we went to her home. She started to melt the lead and covered my head with a towel. With one held she holds a pot filled with water and on the other hand, she holds a spoon full of melted lead. She poured the melted lead to the water while she was praying. As the lead quickly turns solid, she says “Nazarini aldim” (“Nazar” vaguely refers to “bad energy” and people use various methods to prevent it, such as wearing an amulet. Phrase can be translated as “Taking away Nazar”, which means bad energy is thrown out of the body). Then the lady looked at the solid lead, shaped in an abstract and random way, to tell my fortune and problems. She says how people’s “eyes” affected me. And I really felt relieved and better. I paid her and left.”

A: “Did she say anything real?”

B: “She told me I was having problems in my career. It was true, I lost my job a few months ago.”

A: “Would you say this practice is common in Turkey?”

B: “Yes. Many Turkish people believe it is true and many people practice this.”

A: “Do you believe it really works?”

B: “I believe there is an energy in the universe, sometimes good, sometimes bad. I feel like, if a person emotionally feels good after doing this, for whatever reason, the practice is a success.”

 

Tie tree

The following story is collected from my friend. He lived in Turkey for the most part of his life. He talks about a Turkish tradition in this collection. This interview is done on phone. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

A: “Do you know any interesting traditions in Turkey?”

 

B: “There was a tree near my grandmother’s home which was placed in a cemetery. People, who could not have kids, used to go there and tie a rope around the tree. They assume it will help them with having kids. Then if you happen to have a kid in the future, you go back to tree and offer free food to people around as an act of kindness.  “

 

A:” Do you have a personal experience?”

 

B: “I wanted to go to university and was stressed because of the coming exams. I went to “Aya Yorgi” Church in Buyuk Ada (An island close to Istanbul). The date was 23 of April, because that is the day it is believed to work best. I went to the top of the island and found the tree everyone believes to have magic powers. I was told, I have to walk all the way to top without getting help from anyone or anything. When I was in the top, I tied a rope to the tree, which is connected to a spool. Then I walked all the way to the sea, while holding the spool. There were a lot of people doing the same thing.”

 

A: “Did you get in the university you wanted?”

 

B: “Yes”

 

A: “Do you believe, you got in to university because of this?”

 

B: “I don’t know. I just wanted to give a try.”

 

B: “Is it a religious activity since tree is located in a church.”

 

A: “It is a tradition in Turkey. It is not connected to religion, people from any religion can go there. You can see Muslim, Christian and Jewish people there.”  

 

Peganum Harmala

The following story is collected from my friend. He is from U.S.A. This interview is done face-to-face. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

A:” Do you know any Iranian tradition?”

B: “Yes, Peganum Harmala. So it is essentially this plant, that is used in persian culture to bless someone in your family or someone for an important event. You get this plant, and burn it. It is very smelly and scent covers the whole place. You get the burned plant and put it on the person’s head. You wait until their body absorbs the smell. According to the myth, this keeps you safe and protected from people, who don’t like you. Smell is believed to protect you from the bad energy, other people sent to you.”

 

A:” Do you practice it?”

 

B: “Everytime I go back to visit my family, they do this to me. Especially if I achieved something important, we will do this since other people can be jealous of me and sent bad energy to me.”

Black magic spell

The following story is collected from my friend. She lived in Turkey for the most part of her life. She talks about a Turkish tradition in this collection. This interview is done on phone. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

 

A: “Did you experience anything that can be described as supernatural?”

 

B: “At one point in my life, I was feeling down and could not sleep at night. I was in depression. I was talking to my aunt about my problem and she told me I can be under magic. She told me I should get help from someone. She referred me to a woman who practices “istihareye yatmak” ( there is no literal translation for the Turkish word “istihare”. The word refers to someone sleeping and trying to dream in order to see fortune. “Yatmak” literally means sleeping). I talked to the woman and she told me she will help me. The woman who practices this prays before going to sleep. Then she tells to herself something like “Why this person is feeling bad”. After this, she goes to sleep. Her purpose is to find the reasons for my problems in life in her dream. I think colors are important, each have a different meaning. Like, seeing blue is different then seeing red. At first night, she told me she did not see anything. But on the second night, she did. She told me that a tall, brunette man made a spell on me to not leave him and marry him. She also told me this spell was given to by a food. There was really a man like that in my life back then. She told me there are ways to block the magic but I did not try to block it since it is against my belief. I believe magic should not be practiced and for me to block to magic, I knew an opposite magic should have been done.”

 

B: “What people in Turkey, generally, think about magic?”

 

A: “There are people who believe in it. Even if you don’t fully believe in it, you can still want to avoid it.There are people, that I know, who carry magic with. This magic is written in a small paper and carried like an accessory. Magic can applied with different methods. Few years ago, around my summer home, people found locks buried under ground. Like many different locks. They broke each of them and threw it to sea in order to stop the effect of magic. It is scary to imagine that someone bury locks under your home. My friend found a small written magic hidden in her closet. I heard people cover the paper with pig fat. I think, people with low incomes, are the ones who most believe in magic.”

 

binding the devil

The following story is collected from my friend. He lived in Turkey for the most part of his life, then lived in Australia for some time. He talks about a family tradition in this collection. This interview is done on phone. “A” refers to me, the collector. And “B” refers to the participant.

A: “Any tradition that is special to your family?”

B: “I remember that when I was a kid, every time my dad lost something he would always call my grandmother. In order to find the lost items, she would do something, which she called as; “binding the devil”. How this practice worked is very interesting. My grandmother would bind her scarf, while singing some songs in order to find the lost items. And every single time my dad was able to find the lost items he lost.”

A: “Can you tell me more about this?”

B: “She gets a scarf, which is a normal scarf, nothing special about it. She would bind the scarf few times. And while she was doing this, she would sing. She sings religious songs, which are called, “Ilahi”. It is kind of like praying.”

A: “Do you believe in this practice?”

B: “When I lost my stuff, I remember doing it and finding my lost items but I don’t believe hundred percent in it. But it is interesting because, one time, before “binding the devil”, my dad was searching for his passport everywhere and could not find it, but as soons, as the devil was bound, he was able to find it. 99% of the time it was successful. When I witnessed this, I thought about how it can work, because it can not be explained with science.”

A: “Do Turkish people usually have this kind of superficial beliefs?”

B: “Most of the older people, especially older women, have this beliefs or traditions. I think it comes from puberty since when you do not have money, you seek comfort from leaving some problems to unexplainable things.”