Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gypsy Dreams

***First an apology, I had planned a piece of Hanging artwork, it is almost finished, but not. So, I went with MORE information and pictures on Gypsies. If you settle in, with a Favorite beverage for an interesting read, to give you knowledge on Gypsies or Romas. I will make it worth your while.***

Origins Of The Gypsy/Roma/Rom (I omitted the first 5 paragraphs--However the Gypsies seem to have started from India, and moved around mixing with other south east Asians, then moved north and started mixing with southeastern Europe)

While the origins remain sketchy, what most can agree on is that there were great migrations through Roma/Gypsy  history that had dispersed them throughout the world, beginning with the first wave when it was assumed they left India over a thousand years ago. The next great move, known as the Aresajipe, was from southwest Asia into Europe during the 14th cen­tury. The third great migra­tion was from Europe to the United States during the 19th century and early 20th cen­tury after the abolishment of Romani slavery in Europe.

In the second half of the 18th century, European scholars studying the Roma/Gypsy found that the Romani language shared basic words, including num­bers, action, family relation­ships, etc. with the Eastern Indian languages. So it appeared that its roots appear to be based on Sanskrit, the historical lan­guage of the Hindus of India.

While the “official” language of the Gypsies, Romani, has many dialects, it is a spoken-only language. There are, still, many common words used by each dialect. Thus, based on language alone the Roma/Gypsy are divided into three sub-groups (which like everything else about the Gypsies is surrounded by controversy): the Domari of the Middle East and Eastern Europe (the Dom), the Lomarvren of Central Europe (the Lom), and the Romani of Western Europe (the Rom). Among themselves the Roma speak their own language; otherwise they speak the language of the country they currently occupy.

The wheel represents a sixteen-spoked chakra, which is the Romani symbol. A chakra is a link back to the Gypsy/Roma’s Indian ancestry (India has the 24-spoked Ashok Chakra in the center of their flag) and repre­sents movement forward and Creation. The Romani flag is green and blue with a red chakra in the center. The Roma motto is “Opré Roma” (Roma Arise) and the song “Gelem, gelem,” also known as “Djelem, djelem” and “Opré Roma,” is the Romani anthem.

Today there are approximately more than twelve million Roma/Gypsies living across the world. It’s difficult to put a final tally on their numbers, as many Gypsies lie about their heritage due to economic, social and political reasons. Including numerous tribes in the US, but I am leaving that part out also. (just for reading and time restraints)
Source: The Mysterious & Magical Gypsy/Roma by Allie Theiss (paper for Middle Eastern Class - 2009) 
Gypsy/Rom Fortune Telling (Dukkerin')
It’s difficult to think of a Gypsy and not see the image of a crystal ball or tarot cards. Since their push into Persia, Gypsies/Roma has been simultaneously linked with fortunetelling.  From the Eastern, holistic and magical context to their Indian ori¬gins, Gypsies or Romas, are prized for their remark¬able psychic abilities and the gift to attract good fortune or destroy a life with a curse. All are born with such gifts, but what makes their powers so innate is their relationship with nature. Their bond with the spirits of the outdoors allows their gifts to evolve naturally.
Gypsies/Roma believes that within their own there are certain ones who posses’ great power through the ability to perform magic with their special range of knowledge. Such people known in the Gaje, or white man’s world, are usually called witches, warlocks or wizards but within the Roma/Gypsy society they are known as chovihanis.

Among the chovihani there are four favorites for fortune telling (or dukkerin`): palm reading, tea leaves, the crystal, and cards. These methods are of a “practical” nature and do not take anything complex or expensive to utilize.
Surprisingly, the Roma/Gypsy usually does not consult a chovihani or anyone else for past, present or future knowledge. Nor are the chovihanis held in high esteem because of their gifts; rather it is the money brought in by their gifts that gives them a place of honor within the society.
Palm Reading: Palmistry is the most common divina¬tion method. It requires no special equipment or props of any kind, can be practiced discreetly, and has traditionally been the first method taught to children by their mothers. Palmistry is combination of both chiromancy and chirol¬ogy, or a belief that is based on the idea that certain parts of the body have an indepen¬dent spirit.
The hands can be considered a simple chart of our lives. The left hand reveals the life we are born with while the right hand is what we make of that life. In a reading, the cho¬vihani uses the lines, mounts, divisions, and type of hand to tell of a person’s past, pres¬ent, and future.

Tea Leaves: Reading the tea leaves has always been a pop¬ular divination method, espe¬cially in the 1930s and 1940s when “Gypsy Tea Rooms” sprung up quite frequently, sometimes featuring less than authentic “Gypsies.”
The questioner begins by drinking Chinese tea or any large-leafed variety with a round cup, white or very pale, with a handle. He or she will drink the tea until only a spoon¬ful or less is left in the cup. With their left hand, the tea is swirled around anticlockwise, three times in the cup and then turned upside down to drain. The cup is then turned right-side up and passed to the chovihani to read the leaves. 

Crystal Ball: The image of a Gypsy, huddled over a crystal ball, is a familiar one, made popular by the movies and TV. In reality, the crystal ball is rarely used as it takes much preparation before and during the reading. It is difficult to be “on” all day to read the crystal ball. Normally if on call for the day, the chovihani will gaze at the ball but use their own intu¬ition for the reading.
However, utilizing the crys¬tal ball is an art that can be mastered with dedication and patience. For gazing, gather a crystal ball (or any reflective surface - bowl of water, mir¬ror, metal, etc.), a black cloth (to put the ball upon) a com¬fortable chair and a table. The trick here is to “gaze” into the ball and not stare. Meditate for as long as need to quiet your mind, gaze into the ball and interpret the symbolic images that appear.

Tarot Cards: The earliest known tarot deck came from India with the Gypsies introducing them to the world. Many chovi¬hanis are happy to use playing cards in place of tarot cards. Since playing cards are derived from tarot cards, it really makes no difference which one is used in the art of fortunetelling.
A deck of tarot cards consists of seventy-eight richly decorated cards marked with a number of antiquated symbols. The cards are divided into two groups: The Major Arcana, consisting of twenty-two ceremonial pictures of symbolic persons; and the Minor Arcana, fifty-eight cards that represent the four suits.
The methods to interpret the cards are various and plenti¬ful, with many books and web sites devoted to this topic alone. No matter how compli¬cated or simple the method of interpretation, tarot cards are used to gain insight into a person’s actions and how they relate to the past, present and future circumstances.

Among the Gypsies, the magi¬cal arts are almost always prac¬ticed by women. Evidence of the chovihani (female) in gypsy society far outweighs the cho¬vihano (male). The Gaje impres¬sion of a fortuneteller is also that of a woman and not a man. This view is no doubt based on the emotional, psy¬chological and spiritual makeup of women. However, in the Gypsy society more specific and tangible reasons can be found based on the sexual and social categorization of their culture.
Although the quest to place the factorial origin of the Roma/Gypsies in India is far from over, they will always have the image placed on them as the original “free spirits” of the world.  The Roma/Gypsy has lived a nomadic existence for thousands of years and has lived in har¬mony with nature longer than most because, this author feels, of their Eastern origins. With a kinship to mind, body and soul that most can only dream of, the Roma/Gypsy have much to teach the Western world, if people would only listen.
Source: The Mysterious & Magical Gypsy/Roma by Allie Theiss (paper for Middle Eastern Class - 2009) 
 Gypsies/Rom During The Holocaust...WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT in this section

Like Jews, the Rom Gypsies were chosen for total annihilation just because of their race. Even though Jews are defined by religion, Hitler saw the gypsies as a race that he believed needed to be completely annihilated. The Nazis believed that both the Jews and Gypsies were racially inferior and degenerate and therefore worthless.
On December 16, 1942, Heinrich Himmler had a "Final Solution" to the gypsy problem and issued an order to send all gypsies to the concentration camps, such as Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausenexcept to perish and become human guinea pigs. But the chosen gypsies, these "lucky" ones from Germany and Nazi-controlled Europe were sent to Auschwitz/Birkenau, where a special Gypsy Family Camp was erected.
At the hands of the so-called "doctors" at Auschwitz/Birkenau they would torture Gypsy children and adults by putting them into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death, and exposed to various other traumas. Some gypsy adults of child-bearing years were lured into voluntary sterilization on the false pretense that to do this would allow them to go free. The female volunteers were injected with chemical substances producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries and bleeding. If the subject lived through all of that, the damaged ovaries were then removed, without anesthesia, and sent to Berlin. Men and women were positioned repeatedly for several minutes between two x-ray machines aimed at their sexual organs. Their seared flesh was prime for infection, which many died from. Void of anesthesia, men had their testicles sliced off and sent to Breslau.
The man in charge of life and death at Auschwitz/Birkenau, Dr. Josef Mengele, oddly enough loved the gypsy children as much as he hated them. He had a soft spot for them and would give them treats of chocolate and candies. In turn, the children would call him "Uncle Pepe". This Uncle facade allowed Dr. Mengele to get close to the children and made it easier to take them to the children's barrack, nicknamed "The Zoo", in order to be primed for medical and scientific experiments.
In July 1944, the order was given from Berlin to close down the Gypsy Family Camp. Those strong enough to be moved were to be sent to work camps, while the others, mostly women and children, were to be liquidated in the gas chambers. At the end of July and early August 3,000 men were marched out to walk the long distance to the work camps with nothing for survival but the meager clothes on their backs..
"Night of the Gypsies", August 2/3, 1944, the SS rounded up the rest of the gypsies by luring them out of the barracks with the promise of water and bread. Since it was well known by the SS that the gypsies would not go quietly to their deaths, the SS was prepared. After the gypsies realized what was going on they fought back with their bare hands but they were no match for the clubs and guns of the SS. The gypsies were loaded onto the lorries and driven to the gas chambers. Dr. Mengele drove the children under his care to the gas chambers and led them straight to their death. The gypsies fought for their lives until their last breath.
Figures for the number of gypsies killed during the holocaust range from 200,000 to a conservative 500,000. As gypsies could not read or write, many were not registered at the camps and if they were registered, a simple 'Z" was placed where their name should be. Most gypsies were either killed in transit or where they were captured with no record of their deaths. A more realistic number of gypsy deaths is between 1.5 and 4 million, 80% of the European gypsies, slaughtered at the hands of the Nazis.
Dr. Josef Mengele escaped while in custody of the Allied forces and led a long life in South America until he died in 1979 in a drowning accident in Brazil.
The gypsies still await recognition for their suffering.
Excerpt from: Gypsy Magic for the Family's Soul © 2006 by Allie Theiss.  All rights reserved.

The Ancient Power Of Healing - Romani Gypsy Shamanism

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.

Link for info on the last of GYPSY ROYALTY:

Did you know President Bill Clinton is a direct descent of Gypsy Royalty?? true!

***The first 3 people to comment with the correct answers to these 3 questions, will win a hand made by me Gypsy Gothic Arch (posts will remain moderated until the contest is over)
Wed. 9/14/11--10pm est***
1. The "official" language of the gypsies is__________.
2. There are approximately_____________gypsies living throughout the world.
3. During the Holocaust, a letter was used to mark a record of a gypsy by the Nazi's,  what was the letter? (though certainly not all gypsies were recorded)

Gypsy Dreams Blog Party

Be sure to visit all the other blogs, after commenting, but clicking this button!

I wish you wonderful GYPSY DREAMS!!


Magaly Guerrero said...

Thanks so much for the history lesson! Here are my answers:

1. Romani
2. More than 12 Million
3. Z

Kim said...

This is some really wonderful information! You did a great job bringing awareness to the REAL gypsies. I've read about that Dr. Mengele and his "fondness" for gypsy children...sick, isn't he.

Here are the answers to the those question! Hope I am one of the 3!

1) Romani
2) More than 12 million
3) a simple "Z" letter

Many blessings to you!

Laura B said...

Very informative post, Susan. Thanks for sharing.:) I know the answer to the first and third question, but I'm not sure about the second one.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully detailed post! I am excited to see the hanging art as soon as it's finished. I did answer your three question quiz. I just hope I am the first! 1. The "official" language of the gypsies is Romani.
2. There are approximately more than twelve million gypsies living throughout the world.
3. During the Holocaust, a letter Z was used to mark a record of a gypsy by the Nazi's. (though certainly not all gypsies were recorded)
You've been bookmarked and I will be back!

Celia said...

Wow....what an interesting much information....I am learning so much from many of my Gypsy Dreams participants! Thank you so much for participating!!

Jorgelina said...

Happy gypsy dreams!

Elle said...

Romani, 12 million, Z

i am now following you as well! love this post! so much amazing information that i didn't know.. i love to learn! thank you for teaching me something today!

hugs and love

Jennifer said...

Hi Susan, Thank you for stopping by my blog! I throughly enjoyed your historical post on the Gypsies!

It is their kinship with nature and their nomadic lifestyle (whether forced or voluntarily) is what draws me since I feel more at home within nature than anywhere else and I, myself have lived quite a nomadic life until recently (and some of that was voluntarily and some not) but I'm quite happyily grounded now :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

Wow that was very informative!

Actually it was awesome!

Well I wanted to try and win your arch!

1. Romani!
2. Approximately 12 million living throughout the world.
3. "Z" was the letter used to mark a record of a gypsy by the Nazi's!

I love to learn! This was great! Thank you for visiting my blog and I so appreciated this information!


Patty Apple/Lula Pomme

AlphaBetsy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frosted Petunias said...

Wow Susan, that is a amazing wealth of information! Thank you for sharing and have a lovely weekend.


DK Spins said...

Susan, that was such an informative post! Romani, 12Million, Z answers to your questions. take care, Dianne

AlphaBetsy said...

Reposting by request. lol.

This is a beautiful and informative post, Susan. Thank you so much for sharing so much fantastic information.
My answers are 1)Romani, 2) more than 12 million and 3) Z.

Gypsy Dreams Blessings!!


Toriz said...

1. Romani.
2. Approximately more than twelve million.

Toriz said...

I'm descended from gypsies too... My great-Great-Grandmother on my Mother's side and Great-Grandmother on my Father's side were Rom.

Sara a.k.a. Eternal Princess Ryan said...

Wow Susan... I have learned so much from your write up on Gypsies! You have done a wonderful job of explaining the movements and their special powers that are all due to their closeness to nature. It's actually sickening to read all the horrible things that they went through, just to try to survive and live a life of freedom! Thank You so much for taking the time to do this research and share your knowledge with me! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend! I will be sure to checkout more of the other sites!

Okay here are my answers to your questions... (fingers crossed!!)

1. Dom, Rom, & Lom (if I remember correctly)
2. More than 12 million
3. The letter is "Z"

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Hi post..full of such wisdom, magic and all things gyspy-essence and spirit! Thanks for this amazing tribute and for such a wonderful post! So much info I'll have to reread again! Shine on..wishing you many happy to have found your magical blog!

baglady said...

Loved the information in your post today- really learned a lot. I know you have more than 3 answers but I know the answers too- I love quizzes! 1-Romani, 2-12 million (or more), 3-Z

Terri said...

What a fabulous post! Thank you so much for taking the time to educate us about the history of Gypsies. I did know a little, but now I know much more thanks to you.

Plumrose Lane said...

What an amazing post Susan ~ loved it! I always believe you can never have too much info!

Thank you so much for your sweet comments on my posting! I use a random number generator to select the winners in my giveaway (you did sign up for my other Monthly Giveaway, right??) ;-) So perhaps a few 'pieces of fate' will befall your comment ~ one can hope!
Off to send you and email...

Hettienne said...

Hi Susan, thank you for visiting my blog and leading me to yours. I loved your Gypsy post and it really touched me very very deeply. We are all free spirits at heart, but because of discrimination and rejection by the 'tribe' we all fear being 'seen' and 'noticed' for being different.
The answers to your questions are :

200 000 to 500 000

Have a look I am doing a tarot e-book give-away at I also write about my travels to India (if are interested) on


Dragonfly said...

Brilliantly informative post, I learned something new about the fortune telling arts.

You are so write to highlight the atrocities of the holocaust on the gypsy population, it's something that should never be forgotten.

The answers to your questions are,

1) Romani
2) Approximately twelve million
3) the letter 'Z'

frith and wishes
J x

Anonymous said...

Such great information. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a magical day.

Kim said...

Wonderful post Susan! You found so much information that I hadn't read before. Thank you! xo

Diana said...

Hi Susan--Thanks for visiting my blog post and commenting! I am happy to see all the history you posted for the Gypsy Dreams party.

I Don't Do Straignt said...

WOW Susan ..... what a fascinating post, very very interesting :)

I know I am too late to win the ATC, but I know the answers to the 3 questions :-

12 Million plus
the letter Z

See .....I was paying attention LOL

Fiona. x

Anonymous said...

Romani, 12 million, "z"

I would say you went above and beyond. This was a wonderful post.

I look forward to seeing more of your artwork and hope we party together again soon.

Alex said...

This is FASCINATING!!!! Thank you, thank you for all the information. I am amazed at how much you shared and at how much I learned!

Tamara said...

Hi Susan, great post on some really interesting gypsy history. So much I didn't know, especially the torture during the holocaust. Thank you and I enjoyed my visit. :) I think I'm the first person that is answering your questions! :) yay! so here are the answers I hope:

1. The "official" language of the gypsies is ROMANI.

2. There are approximately 12 MILLION gypsies living throughout the world.

3. During the Holocaust, a letter was used to mark a record of a gypsy by the Nazi's, what was the letter? (though certainly not all gypsies were recorded) THE LETTER IS "Z"

Alot of fun, thanks Susan. :)
Riding on a Broomstick -

Mina said...

What a wealth of information, Susan! I am going to give it a try...

1. Sanskrit
2. More than 12 million
3. z

Thanks so much for visiting my blog. It is a pleasure to meet you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan! This was very informative. I definitely learned a few things. I believe the answers are 1)Romani 2)over 12 million 3)Z.
Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my post. You asked a question about the tower. I actually left you a comment reply on my post comments. The tower is on the island of Nevis in the West Indies.

Wishing you magical gypsy dreams!

Wizardess said...

Wow, what great info. And some incredibly horrifying info. I am learning so much through this blog party. Thank you!

Linda Carole Bloom said...

Thank you for a fascinating post. I learned so much that I did not know about gypsies - some of it was not comfortable, but needed, Linda