Kumalak, “gledanje u pasulj”, “falanje u grah”—from Kazakhstan to Bosnia, divination by forty-one beans (or pebbles, corn, coffee, and so on) remains one of the more popular forms of fortune-telling. A remarkably flexible geomantic oracle, it has adopted the local folklore and beliefs of each region, with stories of its origins and uses drawing on Bogomil heresies, Muslim folk tales, and Slavic polytheist magic. While generally, each reading will physically resemble the next—being comprised of a three-by-three grid with one to four beans in each square—the meaning behind the numbers of the beans and each individual quadrant varies entirely depending on method of interpretation, chart style, figures generated, and the advice that comes through in mediumship and spiritual consultation.This class will go over the procedures behind this popular yet elusive form of divination, the oral charms spoken over the beans; the myths and origins behind their use; a handful of chart styles and their accompanying generated figures; ways to read for love, money, magical success, diagnosing curses, and delivering messages from spirits; and the sorcery that can be done with the beans themselves after a reading has been completed. The aim is to not only present a comprehensive introduction into the history and practice of favomancy, but also to lay the groundwork for anyone to begin to “gaze into” the beans themselves.About the Presenter:Katarina Pejović is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto. Her SSHRC-funded research examines the legends and grimoires of the sorcerer saint Cyprian of Antioch. In addition to her work on St. Cyprian, she writes on various topics including grimoire history, folk Christianity, Western occultism, and traditions of divination, witchcraft, and magic in Eastern Europe. She has presented at numerous international academic and occult conferences, including at the International Association for Comparative Mythology, Viridis Genii Symposium, and the Magickal Women Conference, and has published with peer-reviewed academic journals and occult publishing houses alike. Her lifelong passion for the unique folklore, sorcery, and spirits of the Balkans forms the roots of her personal praxis; watered by ancestral veneration, enflamed by Quimbanda and dragon-fire, and nourished with an endless curiosity of mystery.
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