Deep in the Romanian forest, at the darkest time of night, a Chovihano (Gypsy Shaman) squats over a wooden floor as he engages in an ancient healing ritual. The ones that gather for healing do not see what the Chovihano is doing for he is bathed in the blackness of the night. All they can hear is his low conversations with the Trees and with the Spirits of the Sun, Moon, Air, Earth, Wind and Fire asking for their aid. With his Bakterismasko (magic wand) he drums up the energy around him which by now is starting to flow freely, but powerfully around him.

The Chovihano jingles the Bakterismasko’s bells to ward off any lower unsavory spirits from joining in on the healing ritual. He mummers commands in the Romani tongue as he sprinkles salt for protection around those who have come for healing. He can feel the spirits have gathered to join him in his healing quest and he is in complete control of the Otherworld’s activity.

The Chovihano smiles and talks to all the spirits. It would appear to an outsider that he is talking to himself, but the gypsies that gather know that their Chovihano is in deep conversation with his Guardian Spirits. The gypsies watch him, as they are gathered around a fire with the clan’s Patrinyengri (an herbalist and usually the Chovihano’s wife), as she burns the sacred herbs of rosemary and mugwort for protection and for visions, while she too utters sacred words in the Romani language.

Now it is time for the healing to begin. The Chovihano walks about and jingles, as he is ladened with charms, amulets, talismans, coins and bells for protection. The Chovihano, with the aid of his tambourine, lucky charms and Spirit Guardians, rocks back and forth, moans and makes odd noises as he works himself into a healing trance. He is making contact with his Spirit Guides who will help keep everyone safe during the ritual.

His goal in this healing ritual is to be able to stand in the shoes of those in the group who are sick and/or troubled or bothered by a malevolent spirit so that the problems can pass through him and he can place those problems into one of the three levels of the Otherworld where they belong. If need be he can also travel to the three levels of the Otherworld for soul retrieval, which occurs when someone loses a part of their soul in a past or present life.

To be a Chovihano one is normally the son of the current Chovihano and begins his training in childhood. If no son is born to the Chovihano, then he hand picks his successor - with the help of his Spirit Guides - from the young males. The current Chovihano stays the Chovihano until he dies or is too sick to help. This is when the new Chovihano takes his place in the gypsy hierarchy.

The lifelong commitment of the Chovihano is an honor given to the chosen few, but his influence is felt by all the gypsies and throughout the generations.

Excerpt from: Gypsy Magic for the Dreamer's Soul © 2007 by Allie Theiss.  All rights reserved.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.