Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – XII / 2012


The corpus of the study is represented by 119 magic scenarios consisting of one or several formula (F) and/or procedure (P) components. The model of a scenario is F1P1F2P2 … FnPn or P1F1P2F2 … PnFn, where n goes up to 9 for the formulas and up to 10 for the procedures. Each of the F1, F2 … Fn, P1, P2 … Pn types represents a distinct textual field. The scenarios were published in the volume Desire Machines: A Romanian Love Charms Database. The database contains 283 textual fields (155 formula and 128 procedure positional types) regrouped in ten types of structural scenarios.

The author distinguishes between the occurrence of plant names in the versified texts of the formulas and in the prose descriptions of the procedures as well as between the occurrences appearing in position 1, 2 … n among the various formulas/procedure components of a scenario. Taking into account the textual fields of their components elliptic scenarios can thus be „completed”.

A typology of magic plants is developed and brought into correspondence with the pragmatic typology of love charms. Thus positive (basil, wheat, blooming cherry or apple tree, peony, marjoram, hyssop), ambiguous (blooming pear tree, wormwood, mandrake, hemp) and negative (thistle, nettle, garlic) magic plants respectively characterize love charms that have a positive (charms for love, beauty and honor; charms against hate), ambiguous (charms for bringing one’s fated partner, for ensuring reciprocal submission in the couple, or for limiting sexual desire to the members of the couple), or negative (charms for casting hate upon a rival) magic function.