Monday, April 11, 2016

Anima Sola (Lonely Soul) Ritual to See Your Future Spouse, from The Petit Albert and Vodu y Magia en Santo Domingo

Carlos Esteban Deive is a respected writer and intellectual in the Dominican Republic. His book Vodu y Magia en Santo Domingo is a great resource for information about Latin American magical practices.

He talks at one point of love spells and of rituals involving the Anima Sola. As I'm reading along, with my rather poor Spanish, I become excited to see him describe a Guatamalan prayer to the Anima Sola which he says involves a "sacrificio de un animal." This is new! I want to see this unusual ritual, as it might shed some fresh light on the Anima Sola's history and behaviors in the region.

I keep reading, in Spanish: 

En esta oración, la mujer que desea conocer el hombre que habrá de ser su esposo atará dos pequeñas ramas de álamo blanco a sus medias con una cinta de hilo del mismo color. Colocará después la medias debajo de la almohada al momento de acostarse y frotándose la sangre con el animal sacrificado, un abullide(?), recitará el siguiente texto.... 

"In this oration, the woman who wishes to know the man  who will be her husband will attach two small branches of white poplar to their stockings with a ribbon of the same color. She then places the stockings underneath the pillow at bedtime and rubs herself with the blood of the sacrificial animal, an abullide(?) [sic -- Deive doesn't seem to know the word] reciting the following text..."

Now, this was immediately familiar to me, but not as a working with the Anima Sola. This is actually a ritual from The Petit Albert. My own translation from the French went: "FOR CAUSING GIRLS OR WIDOWS TO SEE, DURING THE NIGHT, THE HUSBAND TO WHICH THEY WILL BE WED. It requires that they should take a small branch from a tree of the type called poplar, which they should bind in a ribbon of white thread with their stockings; and after having laid them under the mattress of the bed where they will be going to spend the night, they rub their temples with a bit of blood from the bird that one calls the lapwing, and will say while tucking herself in the oration which follows for the purpose of that which they would like to know."

Deive interpreted the dead bird as a sacrificial animal, but in fact it's not that. In medieval magic/medicine, the lapwing's blood was thought to provoke psychic and intellectual ability, the same way we might nowadays use ginko biloba for memory. It's a medicinal use, not a sacrifice -- at least not in the original form. The ritual seems to be somewhat corrupted in the Guatemalan version, as evidenced by the oration spoken, which Deive transcribes:

Klivos clementissime qui abraham servustune debite vile signun indicaste reacen, usoten indica mihi ansile tue quemsemi nap ture servum per ministerium bulideth anisiabe ahamalithi. Amen.

The Latin is almost indecipherable from the original form in the Albert: 

Kyrios clementissime qui Abraham servo tuo dedisti uxorem Saram, et filio ejus obedientissimo, per admirabile signum indicasti Rebeccam uxorem. Indica mihi ancillae tuae quem sim neptura virum, per ministerium tuorum spirituum, Balideth, Assaibi, Abumalith. Amen.

I know from working on the Albert that it's very possible the copy of the book which made it to Guatemala to inspire the ritual was already defective in the Latin (I had to use, I think, four different copies of the Albert to make my translation, because every version I found would have some kind of error or missing text in part of the book -- and the Albert went through a lot of different editions, not all of them "legit.") 

Deive doesn't actually explain how the Anima Sola comes into this (the original French/Latin version makes clear Balideth, Assaibi and Abumalith are the spirits being petitioned) but presumably one looks upon her picture the following morning, or something like that. It might just be that it's considered an "Anima Sola" spell because of the wicked overtones of the "sacrifice" and "magic words" that suggest its user could wind up in Hell, like her.



1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to comment on Anima Sola. With Dominican Vudo, sacrifice plays an integral part of our practices. It is not a symbol sacrifice, but a literal one. The spirits we work with must be "fed" to do certain types of work. Although, I am a bit confused when reading his description also and must commend you for tracing this back to medieval grimoires. I have several of those myself. :-)

    But in order for our spirits to work effectively and quickly, especially with works of domination (as Anima Sola is most used), then blood must be offered to give ashe (life force) to the working.

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