~Video Recordings from the 2023 online VGS are accessible for 30 days from purchase date~

LECTURE: Not Even Elijah Can Strike My Nettle-Crown!: Traditions of Herbal Magic with Saints in the Serbian Orthodox Folk Context

The Balkan Peninsula is home to a remarkably rich, diverse, and well-preserved lineage of folk magics, beliefs, and traditions. Arising out of myriad cultural and historical influences, including Hellenic, Roman, Thracian, Illyrian, Slavic, and Ottoman-Turkish, the traditions of witchcraft, sorcery, folk magic—and naturally, herbalism—throughout this mountainous region have continued to endure across the centuries, adapting to newer religious frameworks and symbolic worldviews while ever-retaining their original principles and forms.

This lecture will explore a sampling of some of these traditions, specifically those in the Serbian Orthodox folk context. Drawing on anthropological and ethnological scholarship never before translated in English, as well as intimate oral lore and knowledge gained through a lifelong study of Serbian folk magic and mentorship, the presentation will explore ways in which Eastern Orthodox saint veneration and practical herbal cunning come together: from rituals for protection, fortune, love, and good weather, to folk necromantic expressions of saintly intercession for the dying and dead. Where there are the beloved tears of the saints, there are the burgeoning seeds of their herbal allies. We will consider a number of saints in their folk magical applications, as well as the herbs they are most associated with, oral charms for their conjuration, folklore surrounding their supplication and careful, assiduous approach, and the cult of the divine trees that link Slavic gods,

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