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  • Author or Editor: Smiljana Đorđević Belić x
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Abstract

This study analyses the distinctive features of stories of magical healing – thematic (meeting of the natural and supernatural as the core of the narrative), structural (stability of motifs, incorporation of other folklore genres – curses, blessings; didactic statements, cumulativity), and ideological (being based on a system of beliefs). In the genre system of folklore, stories of magical healing occupy a liminal space, right at the crossroads of two semantic fields, the demonologically coded and the secular(ised), as the connection with the supernatural is sometimes only latently present. On the one hand, they introduce mythologicaldemonological elements into the everyday, and on the other, they make abstract demonic content concrete by linking it to the plane of experience. Stories told by cunning folk about successful magical healing are an important factor in their social positioning and the verification of magical practice. The circulation of such stories within a community facilitates the creation of a picture of specific practitioners, the domain of their competences, and the effectiveness of the ritual acts. Viewed more broadly, it also creates ideas about the natural and the supernatural, the worldly and the otherworldly, eschatology, morality, and codes of conduct in the broadest sense, even when tradition is rationalised, subjected to doubt, or disagreed with.

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