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Much like British witch craft the toad is a very important animal. They can be trained like other animals and can give their owners magical powers. Toad are often used in fortune telling. Some beliee that toads are human sould trapped in an animal body only to be set free when the purpose is accomplished. Such purposes could include a pilgrimage to a holy spot.

Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling

Gypsy magic is replete with simple rhymes that even children will learn. I have deduced a formula that going from would make something larger. This could be used for luck or fortune. While counting backwards from 10 to 1 would make something decrease. That would be something negative. Gypsies have a neutral view towards witches. Witches are gifted individuals in magic, what is importatnt is how they use this gift.

The view towards Gypsies, witches and Jews in Europe has been one of hostility. Gypsies are oft persecuted and witches have been burned alive based on a mere accusation. Gypsies believe that many objects likes swords, rabbit feet and stone can have a conciousness and life force if attached to a person for a long enough time.

A sword that has killed enough will aquire a spirit. Sea Shell sem to mean alot to gypsies as they are used to ward off eil. In fact they believe that they can hear supernatuiral; voices if they put the shell up to their ear. The view seems to shared by others. Now we get to a point where I diverge from one of his statements. He seems to believe that Jewish kabbalists believe they could hear the voice of God in a shell. Good fine and well. But he then goes on to say that they had a ritual where they ritually prepared a child's head and skillfully manipulated the childs ear canals to hear a sound.

I am not sure if he meant that tehy took the head of a child who had already been dead, killed a child or if the child was still alive.

Gypsy Fortune Tellers

From my knowledge of Judaism I have never heard of this practice. It seems rather far fetched. The author does elucidate that Christians also sacrificed children and maids by building them into walls to make sure the building did not fall. They Europeans also burned many people alive. Excellent material on Gypsy spellcraft. The work is dated and many points may have been refuted.


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There are some errors about other groups that I have noticed and there may be others that nhave slipped my attention. Jun 16, Anna Portman rated it it was amazing. A truly great book! I have actually seen a free website that implements some of the methods described. I think it's a great resource with many oracles and card readings. It is continually guiding me in my quest to help others and become a higher spiritual being. A thoroughly interesting and at times dark view into beliefs, black and white magic and superstitions of various indigenous peoples of Europe and beyond.


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  8. The main emphasis still centers in the gypsies of Transylvania and Hungary, but a vast array of other ethnicities are referenced in brief glimpses as comparison. As this is one of Mr Leland's final works prior to his passing, the text brings forth clearly the long years of research and travel in very elaborate and enjoyable manner - taken that t A thoroughly interesting and at times dark view into beliefs, black and white magic and superstitions of various indigenous peoples of Europe and beyond. As this is one of Mr Leland's final works prior to his passing, the text brings forth clearly the long years of research and travel in very elaborate and enjoyable manner - taken that the modern reader is able to regard the racial and ethnic views of the author in the context of his time.

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    Definitely a product of its time, racist and misogynist but also touching in its absolute belief in human potential, in the wonder of nature, and in the value of folklore. A source of intriguing legends and spells, but especially interesting for the access it offer to "progressive" views of the late 19th century.


    • Barefoot in the Head.
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    Sometimes I was irritated and sometimes I loved it. Apr 26, rachel rated it did not like it Shelves: Cheryl Jones kneubuhl rated it it was amazing Jul 07, Stephanie rated it really liked it Jan 31, Ernest Crowder rated it liked it May 13, Jeremy rated it liked it Mar 26, Dieuwertje rated it it was amazing Sep 01, Alyssa C Flores rated it it was amazing Feb 12, Louise Carlson Stowell rated it really liked it Aug 26, Namjoon Hyung rated it it was amazing Aug 21, Holly rated it it was amazing Apr 24, Lora rated it really liked it Oct 14, Ethan rated it liked it Jan 27, Elizabeth Hellmann rated it liked it Jul 20, Becky rated it liked it Mar 07, Duirin rated it it was amazing Nov 10, Rochelle Spada rated it it was amazing Apr 18, Kamy rated it it was amazing Oct 07, Jack Fish rated it really liked it Jan 02, Paula Burgess rated it it was ok Apr 23, Neo Yogin rated it really liked it Aug 02, Corbin rated it did not like it Nov 14, It is this latter topic which provides some of the most interesting and instructional reading.

    Leland gives some generalized methods of fortune-telling which any prospective psychic would do well to study; as well as the details of the 'Great Secret', a magic trick in which all of your money disappears Gypsy life has a romantic appeal, and Leland, who popularized Gypsy lore in this and other books played no small part in this image-making. However, Leland makes it abudantly clear that life on the road was hard. The Rom people are to be admired for their survival skills in a hostile world, and for the longevity and persistance of their culture.