When only half of the head hurts
People are of the opinion that the head hurts least because of an internal issue, instead it occurs due to a specific supernatural cause such as a curse, ograma, worry or fear i.e. shock. If someone has frequent headaches around noon or sunset, that night it was suspected that there was a supernatural cause to it. Even today we come across a belief that someone can have a headache if someone from the family curses them. The best way to remove such issues was to give alms. Village women are particularly prone to this, they have a custom of passing the alms around their head “circling as the sun”, with a prayer, with the hope that it will cure their headache or insomnia.
Human being in and of itself and its structure is prone to effects of various occurrences and energies. In Bosnian occultism our body is divided into four elements based on all of these ideas: feet and legs, but also arms, belong to the element of earth, the middle of the body from the neck to the stomach, and backside and back are elements where fire and water intertwine, while the head is dominated by air. All four elements together unified together represent the fifth element – soul i.e. life. As everything else in the universe the elements themselves are of a dualistic nature and as such they can affect humans in a positive or negative way. Winds, whether faery or Jinn winds, belong to the element of air and are known to be completely disastrous to the human head, causing headaches, neck stiffness, pain in the eyes, etc. Also, for curses we can conclude that they belong to the negative manifestation of air since they come from the head i.e. eyes and mouth (tongue).
Common opinion of Imam’s which perform curing as well as of stravarke is that the best results are achieved by treating the headache using exorcist formulas, whether magical words, oral magic, or transfer of magical words onto paper – talisman science.
Dobarac is the name for a specific type of headache which can be recognised by having only one half of the head hurt. It is cured by exorcist formulas, throwing hot coal or molten lead into water as well as amulets. It is believed that in curing dobarac the best results are achieved by stravarke in comparison to Imam-healers or official doctors. It is good to undertake the ritual of healing 24 hours from the appearance of the headache, taking care that one tries to visit the stravarka in the afternoon, behind prayers, when the sun is heading west, so that the ailments can follow. Stravarka for the needs of the ritual uses four stones and this formula:
I'm not calling you,
but wind and dobarac behind you.
Let it exit the fat into the bones,
from the bones into the flesh,
from the flesh into the skin,
from the skin into the hair,
from the hair into hali mountain;
where the rooster doesn't crow,
where the call to prayer is not heard,
where the cow doesn't give birth,
where the mare doesn't foal,
where the sheep doesn't give birth.
Come, this trouble, around the world,
as a bee on the flower and world!
Kozalac - dobarac, ijed - med!
If the headache occurred due to curses then the person will feel sleepy, apathy and loss of appetite. As individual exorcist formulas (basme) depicted that curses are a disease of nine customs or manifestations out of which one is the headache.
From nine curses and diseases
on N (name) eight,
from eight seven,
from seven six,
from six five,
from five four,
from four three,
from three two,
from two one and from one none!
What is left
will be carried away by a fly into dark
and desolate areas;
where the crow doesn’t crow,
cat doesn’t meow,
where a feast is served to the demons.
There, this disease should await judgement day,
with my formula and god’s will!
Stravarka repeats the basma three times above water and each time she extinguishes three embers. The diseased washes his face with that water, drinks it from three different sides of the vessel, always turning the vessel towards the trajectory of the sun, and the rest is spilled under a sapling. Embers are collected from the bottom of the vessel and is taken outside, when she goes for a walk, so that she can put them in nine holes or cracks in the earth which she accidentally comes across while walking.
The diseased could on his own perform a less demanding ritual for neutralising headaches such as the one with the most favourite plant among the Bosnian people – rue. The procedure is magical i.e. exorcist and is based on the fact that the person which suffers from headaches inside the vessel throws three stems of rue (Ruta graveolens) and repeats this exorcist formula three times and blows into the water:
Holly rue, my head hurts,
I admit to you everything you know about me
but please, all curses from me
pain and ograme, remove from me
with god’s will and my formula.
Diseased uses the water to wash his face, it can be used for several days.
Bosnian Imam’s write various forms of amulets for headaches, among the most interesting ones is the one on the leaf of Oman (Inula helenium) on which seven sawakita are written, letters which are not in the first prayer in the Qur’an, that leaf is placed in the pillow on which the diseased sleeps. Besides, often the Imam places the first parts of the prayer from the 19th and 26th chapter of the Qur’an. If the man has headaches he goes to see an Imam which writes and gives him an inscription with the directions that he should carry it sown inside a hat. In certain parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina headaches are cured by taking from the mosque (minaret) spider hairs and sow them inside a hat.