Lapti as a talisman

Lapti (bast shoes) were used in magical practice as a talisman. The Russians hung out old bast shoes near the barnyard, in front of the house, or at the gate. This was done in order to protect the house and livestock from the evil eye: anyone who came will first look at the pile of bast shoes and “break his eyes” at them, therefore, will lose the opportunity to inflict damage. These rituals can also be viewed as a sacrifice of shoes to deceased ancestors, who, according to Slavic beliefs, periodically visit their native places and need shoes for their travels.

Leaky bast shoes could serve as the amulet called the “Chicken God” (see our previous posts). Old and leaky bast shoes also served as a talisman in family rituals. To prevent the baby from crying at night, a bast shoe was placed at the head of the crib with the words: “Let the child be silent as this bast shoe”.

Lapti were also used in fertility stimulating rituals. For example, when planting cabbage, old bast shoes were buried at the end of each row so that the cabbage heads were large and dense. And in the Vologda region, a calving cow was fumigated from the owner’s right bast shoe.

What do you think they did with the remaining bast shoe from the owner’s left foot? 😉

To be continued…