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19.10.2009.

Bosnian divination with forty-one beans

  The Bosniak women (fortune-teller) selects forty-one white grain beans, and divides them roughly into three heaps. She then takes four at a time from each heap, until only four or less remain in each. The remainder she also divides into three heaps, and again takes from each by fours. Three more heaps are thus made, so that at last there are three rows of three piles in each. What is left she divides by four, and sees whether the remainder be one, two, three or four. The varying numbers and positions of the grains of beans can be explained by an experienced fortune-teller to the intense satisfaction or to the disappointment of the one who consults him.





One of the most popular methods of fortune-telling in Bosnia and Herzegovina is certainly divination with beans. The origin of this technique comes from Turkey, where there is an equivalent method called “fasulya fali” or “kumalak”. Among the people there are stories that demised Hazrat Fatima secretly performed divination with beans, hiding it from her father Muhammad. On one occasion while Hazrat Fatima predicted the fate of her friend in the room suddenly entered Mohammed. Hazrat Fatima in shock and rush managed to hide under her dress only half of the beans, which were located in front her, therefore since then it is believed that in every divination lies half truth and half lie. It is interesting that one combination of divination is named after her name – “Hazrat Fatima fal”. It is a combination of 333, which represents happiness, marriage and the fulfillment of whish. 


In Bosnia, a person dealing with the divination in the beans is called “faladžija* or *faladžinica* (falajiya or falajinica) if it is a female person. For divination in the beans fortune teller needs the red patch on which he or she lines up 41 grains of white beans. Before she starts placing the beans on the patch she takes the beans into the right fist , places the fist close to her mouth and recites the prayer: “Rabbi yesir vela tu'asir, rabbi temmim bil-hayr” three times and then blows into her fist three times.

Then she divides the beans into three smaller piles and from each takes the four seeds making a figure of three rows with nine beans pile where each individual pile can have 1, 2, 3 or 4 seed. The left vertical line represents a female person and the right male person. The vertical line in the middle is called the house or heart. In addition, females and males lines are divided into three symbols: the head, arms, legs and the line in the middle is divided on: the cushion, fireplace and doors. The method of divination in the bean is extremely broad and requires much effort and space for an explanation, however there are several shorter versions of divination which people mostly use to get the answer to a specific question. 

In simpler form of divination 38 grains of white beans is used a piece of bread, one coffee grain and a metal coin. Before deviation can begin a grain of bean is highlighted in red paint which will represent the person who asks the questions in the process of the divination. Then the fortune teller takes all beans into her hand and person who has come for the fortune telling raises the question she would like to have answered. After that fortune teller blows into her fist and throws the beans on the floor. With this is the first part of the divination is completed. After that the analysis of the position taken by a grain marked in red starts. If the grain fell nearer to the piece of bread it represents a symbol of happiness - the wish will be fulfilled, in love ones will marry, work will progress and etc.

On the other hand if the red bean fell nearer to the coin, that person can expect the cash gains in near future. If the bean falls close to the grain of coffee it's a bad sign, which represents trouble, tears, or at least unfortunate event. This sign also represents a negative answer to asked question.

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