Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – XVIII / 2018


Eugen D. Neculau shows that the villager’s philosophy and science are typical, folk-like, born out of his vision of world and life. The villager has an intense intellectual experience, as rationality is, in his opinion, given by God. The villager thinks that human mind is incapable of striking through the ocean of unknown, as only God has total and immediate knowledge of all that existed, exists and will exist. As a natural result of this conception, Orthodox Christian metaphysics is ingrained in folk philosophy. The villager’s knowledge was acquired mainly at the school of  ld people. Folk books had heir part as well: Zodiacul (‘The Zodiac’), Trepetnicul, Gromovnicul and Explicarea viselor (‘Interpretation of Dreams’). The starred sky had always been an open ‘book’, and is seen as an extension of the village. The land is a huge creature that awakes in spring and rests once the winter comes. The villager is both witness and agent in this never-ending performance of nature’s life and death, as he is involved in this divine orderliness, especially in land working. The big warrantor remains God, to whom we owe universe’s faultless harmony. The villager possesses a lot of knowledge of plants and animals, but also of human and animal empiric medicine. According to Neculau, there are two aspects in magical mentality: an explicative one (superstitions, beliefs) and a practical, active one (charms, spells). There are presented a lot of purely imaginary superstitions or fictive magical beliefs, as well as beliefs with empirical implications, rendered by magical expressions. The foundation of most superstitions rest in analogies, as each superstition includes a sanction and the entire superstition is wrapped in mystery. It is shown the great importance of rain and dryness signs, as well as of those related to dreams. Some beliefs represent advice, precept, behaviour rules, while others are uncannonical beliefs. This is the context in which several spirits are presented: ‘strigoi’, ‘moroi’ and ‘draci’; the last ones are related to several unclean places located in those areas. The practical side of magical mentality implies that each thing includes a power that is transmitted to surrounding things. Objects’ magical power can be oriented to certain directions by initiated persons performing a particular rite. Therefore, the author comes to enlarge upon spells and charms, pointing out the fact that the spell is much more offensive, while the charm is rather defensive, a genuine method of defense. There are spells that can be performed only by initiated persons (such as ‘solomonari’). We find out that enchantment is a special spell performed in love cases, while charm is a spell with a more concise technique and a lot of charms are presented. The magical ritual is mainly old women’s responsibility. Some old women are simple charm performers and use clean things;  thers are witches, they use devil help and unclean things in their performance. Notes are made also on simple magical practices such as fortune telling (by coffee grounds, playing cards, cowries and beans). In the past charm tellers and witches had their benefic part. For the villager, science remains with its meanings, and belief with its power. Eugen D. Neculau concludes that the genuine countryman has an intellectual life, and the villager’s typical feature is intelligence: the child is smart, the adult is skillful, the old man is wise. Above all, God is the last reason to whom he turns to.

Keywords: folk philosophy, folk science, intelligence, God, orderliness, empiric medicine, magical mentality, superstitions, beliefs, charms, spells, spirits.

Cuvinte-cheie: filozofie populară, ştiinţă populară, inteligenţa, Dumnezeu, rânduiala, medicina empirică, mentalitate magică, superstiţii, credinţe, descântece, vrăji, duhuri.