Rake in Slavic tradition – part 2

Sometimes, a rake was an omen of trouble: it predicted a quarrel if thrown on the field with the teeth up, as the Slovenes believed, or a difficult childbirth if a pregnant woman stepped over it.

But most often rake brought good luck. In order for the sheep to have a lot of milk, the Serbs would leave the rake in the barn for a “sleepover”. During the flax sowing, Poles would put a rake in the field for a good harvest. In Bosnia, an owner who wanted to sell a cow, would scrub its back with a rake for good luck and to ensure that the animal will not be “returning home”.

In Serbia, childless spouses went to the mill, and the husband “gathered” water with a rake, while the wife drank it to get pregnant. The rake also helped young Serbian girls to attract young men: on the eve of St. George’s Day, they sat astride a rake, drove around the house and said: «Како грабуље грабе, тако се и младићи грабили за мене» (As the rake drags, so let the guys “drag” after me).

How did your grandparents (or yourself) use the rake? Only for their intended purpose or also in magical rituals? 😉

Source: “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Rake in Slavic tradition – part 1

It would seem that everyone knows the purpose of the rake, but the ancient Slavs used them not only to collect hay and leaves, but also in protective rituals.

Slovenes used them as defense against thunderstorms: they threw a rake under the roof with the teeth upward in order to “cut” the cloud. Serbs performed interesting rituals with a rake to defend livestock from snakes and witches – women rowed near cattle barns and said: “I rake in my own, not someone else’s”.

To protect cattle from evil curses, Slavs would put hot charcoal on the ground, cover it with an iron baking sheet and then “row” over it with a rake. In the process, they would say three times: “As this coal cracks, so let her (a witch), who is going to curse the cattle at night, to crack from torment; as I row on this baking sheet, so let the devils torture her in hell. ” Then the coal was taken out, mixed with ashes or flour, and scattered around the barn with the words: “After she has collected all the ashes, only then she will harm my cattle.” However, witches also had their own “counter-rituals” to resist such “measures” – for example, by drawing a magic circle around the cattle with a rake…

To be continued…