Turkish people have Shamanic roots. I would love to share some Turkish folk believes which are still alive in Turkey and in other Turkish countries.
- To 'cut' nightmares, place a pair of scissors or a knife under your bed.
- If you see a nightmare, don't talk about it. Tell it to a running water. We believe that water will take it away far from us.
- 'Sefa' and 'Cefa': Sefa means pleasure, happiness. Cefa means rigor, sadness. If you wish to learn how your life will be like, plant two same length leeks into one pot. Name one of them sefa, the other one cefa. Mark them with different color ribbons to discriminate them. Which one grows longer, your life will be full of it.
- Kurşun Dökmek (Pouring Lead): It's a well-known tradition in Turkey to protect a person from evil eyes. Person who will be protected sits on the ground. Two people hold a sheet over him/her. A piece of (about 200 grams) lead is melted on an oven. It is replaced to another vessel including water, over the sheet. It's done. Some people also read lead's shape and divine. Some pour this water (after it got cold) on a dog. If the dog shakes itself and gets rid of water that means the ritual was succeed.
- Tespih: It means prayer beads. Tespih is so important to Turkish people. They have come in our life with Islam. But there are a lot of usages of them. In Islam they are used for dhikir (mantra) workings. On the other hand Turkish people also use them as pendulums. They use them to find the direction of kiblah (Mecca). Besides they are used to learn the sex of unborn babies, to get answers of yes/no questions etc.
- Knocking on Wood: While we are talking about unwanted possibilities, we knock on wood. We aim to make a sound and prevent evil spirits to hear us.
- Wish-fullfilling Trees: Before Islam, our ancestors used to believe in Gök Tengri (Sky God). Trees are the connections between earth and sky. We still make a wish and tie a piece of cloth to a branch of a tree to send our wishes to sky.
- Kırk Uçurma: There was a myth about Alkarısı. Alkarısı is a creature who can cause a lot damage (such as postpartum depression) to newborn babies and their mothers. After a childbirth the first 40 days are critical. The mother and her baby stay at home during these 40 days. If they can get over it, they can go out. But before a special rite should be done. A wise woman (generally the eldest woman of the family) goes to the mother's house. She collects 40 stones and 40 seasonal flowers on her way. She puts them into baby's bath water and washes the baby. There are some varieties about it. Some also adds a gold or different things into this water. After this ritual mother and baby visit houses and accept gifts like sugar, flour, wheat, milk, eggs.
There are numerous believes like these. I just tried to give some examples as my English skills allow me. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
I wrote this article long time ago. I wanted to share it and see similarities with your local traditions. Some of them are well-known in Turkey, some of them I just heard from my family members. I hope I posted it in a right place.
Edited by Jezebel, 10 January 2020 - 11:22 AM.