Cercetător ştiinţific III, dr., Institutul de Cercetări Socio-Umane „C.S. Nicolăescu-Plopşor” din Craiova, al Academiei Române;
This study aims to identify certain criteria for typifying diseases in medical folklore, certain traditional names of diseases, and some traditional terms for certain parts of the body, a certain imaginary body, and to establish the presence of certain fantastic beings as the origin of certain diseases. Also, certain healing practices will be identified through enchantments.
The symbolic representations of diseases in the archaic mentality have various sources: bad spirits, the evil eye, mythological beings etc.
The symbolic imaginary of the body, as it appears in enchantments, depends on the description of the disease, on the origin of the disease, on the way in which the disease appears symbolically represented. A lot of symbols appear woven here.
The symbolism of the human body structure is observed in the manifestation of the disease as described in enchantments, in the description of the healing process, in the presentation of healing agents, in the enchanter’s props (for example, specific gestures and herbs, magic formulas, objects used to enchant etc.).
The manifestation of the disease always has a symbolic component that comes either from the origin of the disease – a demon or a supernatural being (Ielele, Pentecost, Samca, Muma-Pădurii, Zburătorul etc.); from God, if you violated any prohibition, you worked on a holiday, a saint’s day etc. or non-compliance with hygiene rules transmitted orally from one generation to another. It is difficult for the villager to understand how a disease works.
Healing means cleansing the whole body, from head to toe, the enchantress mentions every part of the body. These images of the human body affected by the disease, easily describe the way people once perceived the human body and its functioning. There is a vertical orientation of the human body, as well as its enchanting healing.
A typology of diseases can be achieved based on the terminology specific to the pathologies of different parts of the body.
enchantment, medical folklore, typology of diseases, healing practices, symbolic imaginary of the body