Sacredness in healing and magical rituals of the folk healers (the szeptucha) from Podlasie


Słowa kluczowe:

Folk healer (szeptucha, whisperer), sacredness, prayer, magic, healing, verbal healing (incantations), folk tradition


The activity of people that are involved in magical-healing and curse laying is as old as human existence. However, especially in its folk, rural tradition it became the topic of academic interest and debate relatively recently. Not so long ago, such research was considered shameful, and the very activity of people dealing with traditional treatment as superstition. Only recently has it been rediscovered that magical practices are deeply rooted on many levels in the culture, religion, and society. In my research on magic in antiquity, I rely solely on historical material; this research also opened the horizon of a direct encounter with the researched matter, and above all with people – the folk healers, whisperers, who have been practicing the process for centuries. After thoroughly grounding myself in the literature on the matter, in September and October 2021, I decided to conduct field research in Podlasie. Its objective was to determine whether folk healers’ treatment still exists, what magical components it contains and how it is related to the traditional sanctity of the current religious world of eastern Poland.