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When the storm crests upon the horizon, the caul-born shaman will fall  to the ground. Entering a deep, lifeless trance, lying still in the  fields or, if lucky, in his own bed where his wife protects his empty  body from intruders and possession—the sorcerer will remain away from  his flesh until the enemy spirit, demon, manifestation of ill-weather,  witch, or even his own rival in another village is vanquished. The  clashes are nothing short of violent, the claps of thunder being the  gouging of eyes, the howling of wind being the tearing of flesh, and the  flashes of lightning the piercing of their magical tools: implements  ranging from staves of sacred wood to household kitchenware used in  sorcery. When the dust at last settles, the triumphant warrior returns  to his body and sleeps for three nights, licking the wounds mirrored on  his flesh that he sustained in spirit, while the defeated flee or even  never return to flesh at all, perishing in the cold.   
This phenomenon, first encountered by many Anglophone occultists in  Carlo Ginzburg’s The Night Battles, an elucidation of the Italian  caul-born benandanti, is exceedingly well-documented in the Balkans. The  stories of these sorcerers are as varied as the names used for them,  with documentation of their tools, methods, origins, and even  guilds—army-like platoons of allied village shamans who fly out at the  same time to the same mountains in order to clash with their rivals from  other countries. This lecture will present a thorough examination of  the Balkan folklore, legends, and magic of the caul-born weather  sorcerers across their myriad instantiations, and include  newly-translated historical examples, rituals, and practical techniques  for weather manipulation, spiritual combat and violence, and pacts with  the armies of St. Elijah the Thunderer’s legions.
This is a 120 minute foundational level lecture.
About the Presenter:
Katarina Pejović is a doctoral graduate student 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. 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.

Warriors of St. Elijah: Weather Sorcerers & Spirit Combat in Balkan Folk Magic

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