kolmapäev, september 12, 2007

Nõid

Toomas is a middle-aged Estonian man who lives in an apartment in Annelinn, a section of apartment blocks in Tartu. I don't know much about his past, other than that he has several children and he is originally from the Tartu area. In fact, since most conversations have taken place in Estonian, and he is mostly a listener, I am not quite sure what to make of him. But he has had some influence in our lives, for he is a 'witch' in loose terms, and when my wife is stuck on a question, once in awhile she will pick up the phone for his expert opinion.

I have gone to Toomas' place several times. I have to say that I am a cynic and have limited belief in witchcraft, sorcery, God, et cetera. But during one occasion Toomas 'fixed' my energy levels. Basically after niceties and downing some free alcohol, I was told to close my eyes while he went to work. I had had a rough patch before this visit, and sure enough the pendulum went swinging wildly when it went into my 'energy field.'

'What happened to you?' he asked astonished. Apparently the pendulum doesn't do that that often. But after some time getting the energy levels readjusted I have to say I felt better. And I have felt better ever since. In fact, I haven't really gone through a serious bout of depression (knock on wood) since. Is that all his doing? I don't know. Maybe the guy is magic.

A more typical conversation happened this year concerning real estate. We told him where we were looking, and mentioned Supilinn, a neighborhood of wooden homes and unpaved roads along the river in Tartu. "Don't go to Supilinn" he strongly advised, pointing out that the energy was extremely bad in this place. And you've got to agree that a patch of Tartu that *still* doesn't have paved roads -- either by choice or not -- is perhaps under some wicked spell. I curse the place every time I have to drive through it, that's for sure. Well, we didn't move to Supilinn.

We are not the only people Toomas has contact with. His schedule is often booked with ladies bringing him their ethereal troubles. He even has a sense of humor. Apparently some women conspire to have their energy levels made stronger than their husbands, so that they can have the upper hand in household decision making.

This reliance on witches seems peculiar when given the fact that Estonians allegedly never truly Christianized. In fact, the only time I have visited churches in Estonia has been out of historical curiosity. Some place blame on the Soviet dark ages for wiping out spirituality. But this is not the case. A great deal of Russian-Estonian homes I have entered have various Orthodox icons on display. They endured the Soviet era as well, yet they still conspicuously show their religious adherence. Not so with the Estonians.

I have been told that witches or soothsayers still play a role in Estonian spiritual life and have even seen a program on TV about it. There are also monuments in Estonia to older witches, like the Äksi nõid, Hermine Jürgens (1892-1976), which spell out that witchcraft in Estonian social life may have deeper roots, perhaps going back to the pre-German period.

Whatever the case, my experiences with Toomas are just scratching the surface. I am sure there is much more to be learned about Estonians and witchcraft.

14 kommentaari:

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

It plays a role. A family had to fix the bad energy from the water stream underneath their apartment in Voru back in the 90s. One middle aged women in Tallinn, partly witch, demonstrated me her skills. Unfornuatly something went wrong and she burned herself a bit, but not servere. The next try was better.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Google for "Magnetnaine" and you will know who it was.

taavet ütles ...

Hmmm...
Just dont take this witchcraft-stuff too seriously :)
I bet that 90% from all witches/healers are just hoax.
I really liked Sean&Teller "Bullshit" series. Suggesting warmly.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I am not in to it. I've just noticed it like the young Estonian visiting Nothern Germany, who found a good place on a huge stone of a megalithic grave and did the energy flewing through a metal coin into him.
Some do this kind of stuff.

Mait ütles ...

Soviet times did away with the reliance on organized religion, not the 'spirituality' aspect of it.

I doubt there's much connection with pre-german times. Afaik last 'old believers' died out by 19th century - together with the old-school witches; and the new 'maausk' is a wholly artificial reconstruction.

Current witches/shamans are same as elsewhere in the world, most are frauds, some are capable of using psychology & placebo effect for a discernible result.

Frank ütles ...

You do not have to go to Estonia to find such practices - in rural North-Eastern Germany (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) especially among the old folks the attraction lately has been growing to visit "healers" instead of doctors. Health Care is no longer "for free", so the search for alternatives makes sense to those less well off. I bet you will find aequivalents also in the Italian Petrone homelands, where they have been practiced for ages, side by side with the spiritual rule of the Catholic Church. Within Europe Estonia is abundant in spiritual energies, if you ask me, both more or less pagan as well as christian, and I guess this has to do with the lingering of pre-modern rural rhythms and habits that may be more in accordance with the conditio humana and the range of human antennae than big-city life. An Estonian friend of mine once pointed out to me a room in the Dominican Cloister (Vene, Vana Tallinn) near Kloostri Ait where you can feel the spiritual energy (If you can find and feel it, raise your glass to Juune). Myself an adamant Lutheran I have found places in the Lääne-Virumaa countryside that do the trick for me. It also happens in churches that have been built on sites of pre-christian worship.

Blogaddict ütles ...

Nice story. I think energy fields are a given. It's is with fortune tellers that I have a problem with. They are definately a hoax. But energy fields? Hey, pick up you crying child and you yourself are a scorcerer extraordinaire as the kid quiets down. If she does not, you got it wrong and you've got to fix yourself first. Everybody can affect energy fields and levels all the time. We all do it. It's just rather strange that we do not pay much attention to it in our everyday lives, becuase after all, being able to affect other people is a basic communication skill. It comes before speaking. Looks like you had a pleasant experience. Now learn to do it on your own and you'll prevent a lot of health problems.

Giustino ütles ...

Hey, pick up you crying child and you yourself are a scorcerer extraordinaire as the kid quiets down. If she does not, you got it wrong and you've got to fix yourself first.

Very true. If I am zonked and ready for bed, chances are the baby will also quiet down.

Agu-Enrik Ubailves ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Kristopher ütles ...

There are surprisingly many such folks, though my experience in Estonia is more with homegrown prophets and cultists. Maybe that is a little different from the brand of Wicca you write about here, I dont know. Luckily none of them seems particularly dangerous. I was once invited to a vabastav hingamine (liberating breathing) session given by a guy outside Haapsalu. Unassuming guy, but there were all these young women littered over the floor in front of him, deep in trance. He had believers.

Mait ütles ...

Well, whatever strange cult/religion/philosophy you can think of, it's certain that you'll find some estonians practicing it;)

Always been that way, we're very receptive of new ideas but usually sensible enough to not overdo it.

Puu ütles ...

Estonia is supposed to have one of the world's top five energy centers in addition to Sedona. Hanja Kurgustik.

There is also a guy living in a Pyramid outside orf Tallinn. If you are seriously bored it can be fun to look for these things.

BTW: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070912/wl_nm/russia_bomb_dc;_ylt=Ai._17BJX8dQm1f4EwYw7m_jOrgF

Speaking of magnetic fields or sonic fields. Jeez. Hope Estonia never gets accussed of "global terrorism".

Giustino ütles ...

Well, whatever strange cult/religion/philosophy you can think of, it's certain that you'll find some estonians practicing it;)

You mean like the Tallinn krishnas?
I have seen a few wallets open up at cash registers in Tallinn to reveal a photo of Sai Baba as well.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Krishnas, Satanists, Wiccans - you name it, you got it. Even the Raphaelites' website is translated to Estonian.