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Actes du 6
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Proceedings of the 6th LASR | IAHR Special Conference

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Bucharest, 20-23 September 2006

General Lditor: L. CIUR1IN



Volume 3

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Volume publie avec le concours de
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National National National National (AFCN), Bucarest, et de
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F FF Francophonie rancophonie rancophonie rancophonie (AUF) Bureau de
l`Europe centrale et orientale, Bucarest.


BUCHAREST BUCHAREST BUCHAREST BUCHAREST 2010 2010 2010 2010




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ROMANIAN ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS
FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS ROMANIAN ACADEMY, BUCHAREST
www.rahr.ro www.ihr-acad.ro

ARCHVS
tvae. a`i.toire ae. Reigiov. |tvaie. iv tbe i.tor, of Reigiov.

T TT TOME OME OME OME X XX XI II IV VV V (20 (20 (20 (2010 10 10 10) )) )

SOMMAIRE / SUMMARY SOMMAIRE / SUMMARY SOMMAIRE / SUMMARY SOMMAIRE / SUMMARY

CONSPECTVS SIGLORVM CONSPECTVS SIGLORVM CONSPECTVS SIGLORVM CONSPECTVS SIGLORVM ;

FOREWORD FOREWORD FOREWORD FOREWORD q


1be egac, of Mircea iaae


Norman GIRARDOT Norman GIRARDOT Norman GIRARDOT Norman GIRARDOT
ebigb |virer.it,
MY ELIADE: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON THE SPLENDOR MY ELIADE: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON THE SPLENDOR MY ELIADE: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON THE SPLENDOR MY ELIADE: PERSONAL REFLECTIONS ON THE SPLENDOR
OF THE STRANGE, THE SACRED AND THE SUBLIME OF THE STRANGE, THE SACRED AND THE SUBLIME OF THE STRANGE, THE SACRED AND THE SUBLIME OF THE STRANGE, THE SACRED AND THE SUBLIME 11

Mac Linscott RICKETTS Mac Linscott RICKETTS Mac Linscott RICKETTS Mac Linscott RICKETTS
ovi.bvrg Coege
GLIMPSES INTO ELIADE`S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS GLIMPSES INTO ELIADE`S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS GLIMPSES INTO ELIADE`S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS GLIMPSES INTO ELIADE`S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS z;

Horst Horst Horst Horst JUNGINGER JUNGINGER JUNGINGER JUNGINGER
|virer.it, of 1ibivgev
HARMLESS OR DANGEROU HARMLESS OR DANGEROU HARMLESS OR DANGEROU HARMLESS OR DANGEROUS? THE ERANOS CONFER S? THE ERANOS CONFER S? THE ERANOS CONFER S? THE ERANOS CONFERENCES ENCES ENCES ENCES
IN THE 1930S FROM TH IN THE 1930S FROM TH IN THE 1930S FROM TH IN THE 1930S FROM THE PERSPECTIVE E PERSPECTIVE E PERSPECTIVE E PERSPECTIVE
OF NATIONAL SOCIALIS OF NATIONAL SOCIALIS OF NATIONAL SOCIALIS OF NATIONAL SOCIALIST GERMANY T GERMANY T GERMANY T GERMANY q1

Radu Harald DINU Radu Harald DINU Radu Harald DINU Radu Harald DINU
Ma !eber Cevter for .aravcea Cvtvra ava ocia tvaie., |virer.it, of rfvrt
SACRIFICE SACRIFICE SACRIFICE SACRIFICE DEATH DEATH DEATH DEATH SALVATION. SALVATION. SALVATION. SALVATION.
SOME REMARKS ON MIRCEA ELIADE`S SOME REMARKS ON MIRCEA ELIADE`S SOME REMARKS ON MIRCEA ELIADE`S SOME REMARKS ON MIRCEA ELIADE`S
EARLY RELIGIOUS THOUGHT EARLY RELIGIOUS THOUGHT EARLY RELIGIOUS THOUGHT EARLY RELIGIOUS THOUGHT ;

Ionu Ionu Ionu Ionu| || | Daniel BANCILA Daniel BANCILA Daniel BANCILA Daniel BANCILA
evivar fir Kircbevge.cbicbte, vvboat |virer.itat, eriv
UGO BIANCHIS RELIGIONSGESCHICHTLICHE ,GNOSIS' UGO BIANCHIS RELIGIONSGESCHICHTLICHE ,GNOSIS' UGO BIANCHIS RELIGIONSGESCHICHTLICHE ,GNOSIS' UGO BIANCHIS RELIGIONSGESCHICHTLICHE ,GNOSIS'
UND DIE UND DIE UND DIE UND DIE GNOSISDEFINITION DER MESSINAKONFERENZ (1966) GNOSISDEFINITION DER MESSINAKONFERENZ (1966) GNOSISDEFINITION DER MESSINAKONFERENZ (1966) GNOSISDEFINITION DER MESSINAKONFERENZ (1966) 6q

Daniela DUMBRAVA Daniela DUMBRAVA Daniela DUMBRAVA Daniela DUMBRAVA
Povtifica Orievta v.titvte, Rove - |virer.ita ... Cva, a.i
THE UNPUBLISHED CORRESPONDENCE THE UNPUBLISHED CORRESPONDENCE THE UNPUBLISHED CORRESPONDENCE THE UNPUBLISHED CORRESPONDENCE
BETWEEN BETWEEN BETWEEN BETWEEN UGO BIANCHI UGO BIANCHI UGO BIANCHI UGO BIANCHI AND AND AND AND IOAN PETRU CULIANU IOAN PETRU CULIANU IOAN PETRU CULIANU IOAN PETRU CULIANU q

4
Andrei OISTEANU Andrei OISTEANU Andrei OISTEANU Andrei OISTEANU
v.titvte for tbe i.tor, of Reigiov., Rovaviav .caaev,, vcbare.t
MIRCEA ELIADE AND IOAN PETRU CULIANU MIRCEA ELIADE AND IOAN PETRU CULIANU MIRCEA ELIADE AND IOAN PETRU CULIANU MIRCEA ELIADE AND IOAN PETRU CULIANU
ON NARCOTICS AND RELIGION ON NARCOTICS AND RELIGION ON NARCOTICS AND RELIGION ON NARCOTICS AND RELIGION 1z1

E. CIURTIN E. CIURTIN E. CIURTIN E. CIURTIN
v.titvte for tbe i.tor, of Reigiov., Rovaviav .caaev,, vcbare.t
EDI|IA CRITICA COMPL EDI|IA CRITICA COMPL EDI|IA CRITICA COMPL EDI|IA CRITICA COMPLETA ELIADE ETA ELIADE ETA ELIADE ETA ELIADE? ?? ? 1q1


Reigiov. c Moaervit, | ervetic Cvrrevt. c .oterici.v


Ovidiu Victor OLAR Ovidiu Victor OLAR Ovidiu Victor OLAR Ovidiu Victor OLAR
v.titvt a`i.toire ^. orga, vcare.t , , Pari.
PAROLES DE PIERRE. KYRILLOS LOUKARIS PAROLES DE PIERRE. KYRILLOS LOUKARIS PAROLES DE PIERRE. KYRILLOS LOUKARIS PAROLES DE PIERRE. KYRILLOS LOUKARIS
ET LES DEBATS RELIGIEUX DU XVII ET LES DEBATS RELIGIEUX DU XVII ET LES DEBATS RELIGIEUX DU XVII ET LES DEBATS RELIGIEUX DU XVII
e ee e
SIECLE SIECLE SIECLE SIECLE 16

Ileana BENGA, Bogdan NEAGOTA Ileana BENGA, Bogdan NEAGOTA Ileana BENGA, Bogdan NEAGOTA Ileana BENGA, Bogdan NEAGOTA
oore .rcbire of tbe Rovaviav .caaev,abe,o,ai |virer.it,, Cv;^apoca
CLUS CLUS CLUS CLUS AND AND AND AND CLUSARI. CLUSARI. CLUSARI. CLUSARI.
CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE MORPHOLOGY CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE MORPHOLOGY CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE MORPHOLOGY CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE MORPHOLOGY
IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS CLUS CLUS CLUS 1q;

Francesco Francesco Francesco Francesco BARONI BARONI BARONI BARONI
coe pratiqve ae. avte. tvae., Pari.orevce
LE LE LE LE LIJRE CHRETIEN DES MORTS LIJRE CHRETIEN DES MORTS LIJRE CHRETIEN DES MORTS LIJRE CHRETIEN DES MORTS DE TOMMASO PALAMIDESSI DE TOMMASO PALAMIDESSI DE TOMMASO PALAMIDESSI DE TOMMASO PALAMIDESSI : : : :
UN UN UN UN ARS MORIENDI ARS MORIENDI ARS MORIENDI ARS MORIENDI ESOTERIQUE DU XX ESOTERIQUE DU XX ESOTERIQUE DU XX ESOTERIQUE DU XX
E E E E
SIECLE SIECLE SIECLE SIECLE zzq

Ezio ALBRILE Ezio ALBRILE Ezio ALBRILE Ezio ALBRILE
1orivo
HERMETICA ITALICA HERMETICA ITALICA HERMETICA ITALICA HERMETICA ITALICA zq


MISCELLANEA MISCELLANEA MISCELLANEA MISCELLANEA
Mac Lin Mac Lin Mac Lin Mac Linscott RICKETTS scott RICKETTS scott RICKETTS scott RICKETTS
ovi.bvrg Coege
POLITICS, ETCETERA POLITICS, ETCETERA POLITICS, ETCETERA POLITICS, ETCETERA. . . . Review article: Hermeneutics, Politics, and the History
of Religions. The Contested Legacies of Joachim Wach and Mircea Eliade, ed. by
Christian WEDEMEYER and Wendy DONIGER, OxIord University Press, 2010 z6

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS SCIENTIFIC REPORTS SCIENTIFIC REPORTS SCIENTIFIC REPORTS INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS, INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS, INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS, INSTITUTE FOR THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS,
ROMANIAN ACADEMY, JANUARY ROMANIAN ACADEMY, JANUARY ROMANIAN ACADEMY, JANUARY ROMANIAN ACADEMY, JANUARY- -- -DECEMBER 2010 DECEMBER 2010 DECEMBER 2010 DECEMBER 2010
Andrei Plesu, Dan Berindei, E. Ciurtin, Andrei Oisteanu, Bogdan Ttaru Andrei Plesu, Dan Berindei, E. Ciurtin, Andrei Oisteanu, Bogdan Ttaru Andrei Plesu, Dan Berindei, E. Ciurtin, Andrei Oisteanu, Bogdan Ttaru Andrei Plesu, Dan Berindei, E. Ciurtin, Andrei Oisteanu, Bogdan Ttaru- -- -Cazaban, Mihaela Cazaban, Mihaela Cazaban, Mihaela Cazaban, Mihaela
Timus, Mirel Bnic, and the Postdoctoral Timus, Mirel Bnic, and the Postdoctoral Timus, Mirel Bnic, and the Postdoctoral Timus, Mirel Bnic, and the Postdoctoral Iellows oI the In Iellows oI the In Iellows oI the In Iellows oI the Institute. stitute. stitute. stitute. o





5
BIBLIOGRAPHICA BIBLIOGRAPHICA BIBLIOGRAPHICA BIBLIOGRAPHICA 1

Giovanni F Giovanni F Giovanni F Giovanni FILORAMO ILORAMO ILORAMO ILORAMO (coord.), Istoria religiilor, vol. IV: Religiile Indiei si ale
Orientului indeprtat, Iasi, Polirom, 2010 (E. Ciurtin); Jrgen T Jrgen T Jrgen T Jrgen TUBACH UBACH UBACH UBACH, Armenuhi , Armenuhi , Armenuhi , Armenuhi
D DD DROST ROST ROST ROST- -- -A AA ABGARJAN BGARJAN BGARJAN BGARJAN, , , , Sophi Sophi Sophi Sophia V a V a V a VASHALOMIDZE ASHALOMIDZE ASHALOMIDZE ASHALOMIDZE (Hrsg.), Sehnsucht nach dem
Paradies. Paradiesvorstellungen in Judentum, Christentum, Manichismus und
Islam. Beitrge des Leucorea-Kolloquiums :u Ehren Walther Belt: (),
Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 2010 (Ionut Daniel Bncil); Hugh T Hugh T Hugh T Hugh TREVOR REVOR REVOR REVOR- -- -R RR ROP OP OP OPER ER ER ER,
History and the Enlightenment, New Haven-London: Yale University Press, 2010
(Ovidiu Jictor Olar); Iuliana C Iuliana C Iuliana C Iuliana CONOVICI ONOVICI ONOVICI ONOVICI, Ortodoxia in Romania postcomunist.
Reconstructia unei identitti publice, preIa|a de Radu Carp, postIa|a de Daniel
Barbu, Cluj-Napoca, Eikon, vol. I-II, 2009-2010 Lavinia S Lavinia S Lavinia S Lavinia STAN TAN TAN TAN, Lucian , Lucian , Lucian , Lucian
T TT TURCESCU URCESCU URCESCU URCESCU, Religie si politic in Romania postcomunist, Bucarest, Curtea Veche,
2010 (Marina Elena Ttram); H. S. VERSNEL, Fluch und Gebet. magische
Manipulation versus religises Flehen? Religionsgeschichtliche und
hermeneutische Betrachtungen ber antike Fluchtafeln, Berlin-New York, Walter
de Gruyter, 2009 (Ionut Daniel Bncil); Eugen M Eugen M Eugen M Eugen MUNTEANU UNTEANU UNTEANU UNTEANU, Lexicologie biblic
romaneasc, Bucuresti, Humanitas, 2008 (Ionut Daniel Bncil); Constantin Constantin Constantin Constantin
O OO OANCEA ANCEA ANCEA ANCEA, Naraiunile profetice din Cartea 1Regi, Cluj-Napoca, Presa Universitar
Clujean, 2008 (Ionut Daniel Bncil); Jorge Luis B Jorge Luis B Jorge Luis B Jorge Luis BORGES ORGES ORGES ORGES, Texte captive, Iasi,
Polirom, 2010 (E. Ciurtin).





























STVDIA STVDIA STVDIA STVDIA ARCHVS ARCHVS ARCHVS ARCHVS XIV (2010), p. 1q;-zz;
Romanian Association Ior the History oI Religions Institute Ior the History oI Religions
EASR c IAHR member Romanian Academy, Bucharest
www.rahr.ro www.ihr-acad.ro



C CC C LU LU LU LUS SS S AND AND AND AND C CC C LU LU LU LUS SS SARI. ARI. ARI. ARI.
CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR
OF THE ROMANIAN OF THE ROMANIAN OF THE ROMANIAN OF THE ROMANIAN C CC C LU LU LU LUS SS S

Ileana Ileana Ileana Ileana B BB BENGA ENGA ENGA ENGA c Bogdan N Bogdan N Bogdan N Bogdan NEAGOTA EAGOTA EAGOTA EAGOTA
1be oore .rcbire of tbe Rovaviav .caaev, - abe,o,ai |virer.it,,
Cv;^apoca



Bringing Iorth the Romanian Clus in a context oI sacred and
magical medicine can pass Ior a two-bladed sword: on the one hand, it
asserts the existence oI a speciIic aIIliction, oI meta-mundane etiology;
while on the other hand, it states that there is a ritual institution
responsible Ior the cure. As we shall demonstrate in the pages below, this
equation is but a dimension to the multiIarious phenomenon the Clus is.
Whether or not it is a vital dimension, testiIying about ceremoniality
within Iolkloric European societies, as answer to institutionalized
disruptions over internal rhythms, this stays one oI our core theoretical
preoccupations. Always at the core, we hold the articulation oI narrativity
and ceremoniality oI a same ritual/mythical/religious complex, in the
course oI its trans- and inter-generational transmission. We endeavor here
to address these questions, as applied to Clus, on several explanatory
levels, as Iollows: the narrative threshold oI approaching the Clus, and
its availibility Ior the ethnologist; the mythical-Iictional nature oI Iield
narratives, about the speciIic ailment and healing contained within this
tradition; the incidence oI the dramatized ceremonial within the year
cycle, and Iinally, the cure the Clus engenders: descriptively,
analogically, diIIerentially.


1. Preliminary assumptions

On the historical-religious layer oI comprehension, the
hypothesis underlying our study, originated in a classical text by Mircea



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA 1q8
Eliade
1
, is putting Iorward a stratigraphy oI the magical-religious and
mythical-Iictional complex oI the Clus, with at least two clear diIIerent
strata:
The Mnnerbund-type structure oI the Clusari Iellowship,
present within Romanian rurality, as characterized by a number oI archaic
initiatory elements, speciIic to male initiations (Iorest reclusion, secrecy
over initiation, caballine symbolism
2
, ritual usage oI clubs and swords),
enlists this Iolkloric Iact within the larger morphologic series oI initiatory
dance associations with swords/clubs, oI antique, medieval and pre-
modern rural Europe
3
. DeIinitely, there is much context-dependent
research to be carried out Ior the social-cultural insertion oI every such
Iellowship; the mere recognition oI isomorphycisms, and the
identiIication oI certain common ceremonial constants, are insuIIicient Ior
a valid historical-religious diagnosis. The propitiatory and the therapeutic
Iinalities are not ubiquitous traits to every perIormance, not even Ior a
same association; thereIore, the Clus stays saliently hard to categorize,
with its multiple epistemic inclusions.
The second stratum consists oI an archaic magical-religious
ideology, marked by ecstatic episodes, trance and musical-choreutical
therapies, which Irame the Clus within another distinctive morphological
class, together with the Fall of the Rusalii (Cderea Rusaliilor) (M.
Eliade 1980: 200-204; O. Hedesan 2006), the Fall amidst the
Merciful/Saints Ones (Cderea Intre Milostive/Sfinti)
4
, the Tarantism (E.
De Martino 1994
2
: 187-283; G. Pizza 1998: 49-81), European local
shamanisms, simulated possessions (C. Grottanelli 1998: 39-59) etc.
Understanding the dynamics oI the two strata within the Clus
requires combining speciIic ethnological and historical-religious
methodologies, each with their approach to the synchronicity and

1
We reIer to the keynote reading proposed by Mircea Eliade in Notes on the
Clusari (M. ELIADE 1973: 115-122) and ampliIied in his later studies (M. ELIADE
1997: 100-105; M. ELIADE 1991: 51-55; M. ELIADE 1988: 236-240)
2
CI. Vuia 1975
2
: 110-140; V.-I. SEMUC 2009: 107-127.
3
See, inter alia, Vuia 1975
2
: 110-140; V.-I. SEMUC 2009: 128-151, and a website
dedicated to masculine dance associations, Men`s group dances
(http://www.eliznik.org.uk/EastEurope/Dance/ritualgroup.htm) (L. MELLISH and
N. GREEN); see also the map oI the European men`s ritual group dances
(http://www.eliznik.org.uk/ EastEurope/Dance/ritualgroup-emap.htm).
4
This is an ecstatic phenomenon we Iound in Mountainous Banat region, called
by the villagers themselves Cderea intre Milostive; it comprises Iurther
repetition oI a trance, on occasion oI the big spring celebrations, and the
subsequent acquirement oI extra-sensorial qualities, like talking to the dead and
predicting the Iuture (Iield inIormation Irom the Mountainous Banat, 18-19
February, 2010, interview by B. Neagota).


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
1qq
diachronicity oI the Iolkloric Iact. Based on our Iield researches oI 2006-
2009, comprising the interval around Whitsuntide on each oI those years,
in a number oI villages oI the Oltenia region in Romania, we assess a
working model oI the Clus, in which the backbone are the military-
choreutical initiation rites, on which, in time, elements oI a magical-
religious ecstatic ideology come engraIted, as well as a series oI
calendrical ceremonials (agrarian, Christian etc.); everything, in the
adjoining logic oI all oral culture. These complex relationships are not to
be reduced to historical anteriority (in Propp-ian terminology), or to
genetic descent. We can state, within the bounds oI a generic chronology,
the cognitive simultaneity (which translates into a historical
contemporaneity, as well) oI specialized initiation rites (M. Eliade 1995:
87-103), with ecstatic-shamanic ideologies (C. Ginzburg 1996: 137-138,
249-250). The stratigraphy is thereIore comprised either oI the mere
juxtaposition oI socio-cultural levels, thus resulting heterogeneous, or oI a
sui generis hermeneutics, in which historical, ethnic and societal mingling
results in inter-textual relations, between: masculine initiation rites,
ecstatic magical-religious complexes, and calendrical ceremonial
practices; they are all conIerring the Clus, as narrative and ceremonial
local tradition, the aspect oI 'diachronic inter-textuality (G. P. Caprettini
1992: 22). Diachrony, in this meaning, cannot be abolished, only
integrated, as 'obligatory dimension oI the world (I. P. Culianu 1998: 9),
appropriated un-historicist-ly throughout an integrative morpho-dynamics
(I. P. Culianu 1998: 8-9, 22-28), which, may we add, mean nothing until
complemented with contextual dimensions
5
.
Last, but not least, we aim to approach Clus as living
phenomenon by means oI a double cognitive insertion: exploring both the
mythical-Iictional background underlying the whole rituality involved,
and the actual ceremonial dimension
6
. On both situations, we privilege the
experiential bottom-line, oI both researchers and perIormers, whether the
latter active, halI-passive or passive. We revisit here Mircea Eliade`s
argument in Folklore as means of knowledge (Folclorul ca instrument de
cunoastere) (1937), that is, deep into his experientialist age, on the
concrete experiential Ioundation oI a great deal oI Iolkloric belieIs and

5
We diIIer here Irom Culianu`s cognitive model oI cultural transmission (I. P.
CULIANU 1994: 34-43): yes, we agree to deIine cultural tradition as a palimpsest
oI temporalities, but only as long as we account Ior the overlapping oI 'texts,
inter-texts and contexts, within transmission.
6
For a Iirst distinction between the narrative and the ceremonial level oI a same
Iolkloric Iact, and respectively, between narrative transmission and custom
transmission in the wider context oI 'traditional oral transmission, as well as on
the relationship between the ritual and ceremonial practice, and the ideological
mechanism enabling it, see I. BENGA 2005: 184-187.



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zoo
narratives; also, on the mythical-Iictional treatment over this body oI
personal experiences
7
. Now, whether we acknowledge Eliade`s
hermeneutics oI concrete experience oI reality, or a cognitivist semiology,
oI the type oI Culianu`s 'mind game, our proposition in Iavor oI
experientialism stays Iirm (B. Neagota 2006: 101-120, I. Benga 2006: 79-
100), and sustained by consistent Iieldwork (especially within the last
decade).
This modality oI approaching the ceremonial complex oI the
Clus aims at delineating the morphology and morpho-dynamics, while
accounting Ior the human-bound temporality, as limitation, Ior both
physiological memory plus age quantum oI Iolklore bearers, and Ior the
'toolkit oI researchers. Research can only study archives, and older
ethnographic descriptions, beside doing Iieldwork; and then operate some
kind oI regressive ethnology, and methodic ethnological and historical-
religious comparativism. These latter technologies can be claimed
operational, because oI the relatively slow rhythm oI change oI traditional
societies oI Eastern/South-Eastern Europe, along the last two millennia
(eventually disrupted). Regarding the historical-religious perspective over
the narrative material at hand, we Iace a same challenge: the textual
nature oI our ethnographic documents limits drastically the potential oI
doing anything other than morphology, over the mythical-Iictional system
oI Clus.
ThereIore, we structure our analysis on a Iew levels oI approach,
devoid oI exhaustive pretensions. Results are Iar Irom deIinitive, and
methods combine ethnology (better we use, Ior this stage, 'morphologic
description, than 'ethnographic description) and history oI religions
(the mythical-ritual archaeology, underlying Iictionalized narratives oI the
Clus, along with the de-composition oI its narrativized ceremoniality, by
means oI a set oI invariants, or narrative-cognitive rules). We hope to be
able soon to account IruitIully Ior the multiIarious temporalities oI the
Clus, integrating synchrony and diachrony in a uniIying morpho-
dynamics.
As magical-religious complex, narrative and ceremonial, with
multiple on-going social-cultural strata, the Clus reveals itselI
poliphonically, requiring Irom the researcher prudence, critical sense, and
even cognitive humility. It is, at once, historical phenomenon (can be
converted into historiographic discourse), sociologic process
(ceremoniality as 'social Iact in Durkheimian terms), cultural Iact (in the
anthropologic acceptance), choreutics (is analyzable as a Iolk dance),
psychological ground (the magical ailment oI Luatul din Clus (Taking by

7
For Eliade, this concrete experiential basis gives Iolkloric Iacts the quality oI
real documents, and inmost credibility, right within the neo-positivist epistema.


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zo1
the Clus), as well as the musical-choreutical therapy oI the Clusari are
to be rendered intelligible in psychological terms, and even in terms oI
cultural psychiatry), ideological instrument (it has been integrated and re-
semanticized by the diIIerent ideological national constructions, along the
last two centuries), but it cannot be reduced to any oI these explanatory
levels
8
. It is them all, and yet, it bears a cognitive irreducible core,
irreducible to anything other than itselI. We aim not at a
phenomenological description oI the Clus, on the trail oI the Marburg
School, and thereIore, we shall avoid the concepts oI RudolI Otto. Yet,
we cannot Iail to seize the irreducibility oI magic ailments, aIIlictions and
diseases, such as Luatul din Clus (Taking by the Clus) and Pocitul din
Iele (Mutilation by the Fairies), as well as oI the therapeutic ritual oI the
Clusari. It is this the inherent cognitive threshold, which he have Iailed
to cross previously, when approaching Iield and theory on the body oI
magic practices. We stop here, beIore the threshold, nowadays, too, and
Iocus on what is possible to be carried out: observation, analysis, on
multiple epistemic levels, and a methodical approach to the limit: a
'peratology oI the narrative layer
9
, and provisory grounds Ior it.


2. The narrative threshold of Clus. means to approach it

What is to the historian oI religions a multi-layered polysemy, is
to the ethnographer a laconic, Iragmented 'ethnographic description: that
is, the narrative, mythical-Iictional Ioreground, grounding the whole
ceremoniality oI Clus. Its relevance escapes hackneyed categories, like
that oI 'remnants oI an archaic magical-religious complex, engraIted
with invariants oI diverse origin (local/regional 'shamanism, east or
south-east European, ecstatic experiences, trance, possession, dance
therapy, specialized initiation rites). Beside them, there exists, or
survives, or continues to be generated, a vivid magical religiosity,
prolonging into contemporaneity speciIic cultural reactions, Ior a number
oI rural areas oI nowadays Romania. This atmosphere, which the
contemporary Iield is still breathing, comprises a body oI belieIs (a set oI

8
We subscribe entirely to the Eliade-ian assertion oI the multiple, and irreducible,
character oI every magical-religious phenomenon (M. ELIADE 1994: 39-49). On
the integrative hermeneutics Iostered by Eliade, and on his attempt to overcome
the polarity historicism anti-historicism, through re-deIining, non-
historicistically, the historicity oI the religious phenomenon, see, inter alia, B.
NEAGOTA 2007/7: 32-55.
9
We use the term peratology (Irom Gr. peras and logos), in the meaning given by
Gabriel Liiceanu, oI a theory oI the internal limits oI the human condition, which
belong to the human Iield oI experience (G. LIICEANU 2004
2
: 72).



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zoz
'cognitive rules, would say Ioan Petru Culianu), which come circulated,
more or less creatively embodied, by every generation oI 'senders and
'addressees, who are, in ceremonial jargon, the clusari and their hosts
(ga:de) (who are welcoming, or denying them the entrance in their
households).
Our Iield experience oI the Clus led us to interact with many
types oI 'inIormants (S. Golopen|ia 2001: 9-34), who, addressed with
questions on what is being told oI the magical diseases Irom Whitsunday
(Rusalii), and on the taumaturgical powers oI the dance oI the clusari,
came to tell as well what they were actually believing, Ior real, or only Ior
the camera/tape recorder. So we are endowed with a large variety oI
etiological and explanatory discourses, ranging Irom magic-inIused
narrative explanations over the binomial luat din Clus (taken by the
Clus) versus scos din Clus (taken off the Clus), up to the science-
diIIused solutions (a kind oI epilepsy, neurosis, selI-suggestion etc.), all
oI them Iolklorically, orally, imaginatively distorted. BelieI and Iear, trust
in the uncontrollable power oI all these Iacts, up to the disbelieI, in what
is mockingly seen as 'speech oI old grannies (vorbe bbesti), or to a
slight showing-oII type oI detachment, produced ad hoc in order to
examine the ethnographer`s reaction, that is, to Iathom his position beIore
expressing one oI one`s own.
On the whole, we are witnessing a religiosity which, even though
congealed in diIIerent manners active, middle-passive and passive
keeps Ieeding Cluss mythical-Iictional substratum, delaying the
completion oI its secularization
10
. The latter, as a process, began two
hundred years ago, in Transylvania and Banat, culminating with the
identitary patrimonialization oI the Cluser by the Transylvanian
intelligentsia oI around mid-19
th
century; it then continued with the south-
Carpathian Clus, shyly in the interwar period, and intensely during
Ceausescu`s time. It thus has been used as identitary argument in various
ideological discourses: pan-Romanic Latinizing nationalism, both
illuminist and romanticist; autochtonist Dacianizing or Thracianizing
nationalism, Irom the romantic writers, to ethnicist interwar mystiques,
and to Dacian and 'voivodal national-communism oI the 'golden era,
prolonged, then, with sects in the 1990s, very much visible on the internet
(B. Neagota 2000-2002: 117-132). But the Clus reacted to them all with

10
We reIer to the most recent hegemonic policies, which regard the reconstruction
oI the Clus by means oI: festivali:ation, during the 7th and 8th decades oI the
20
th
century; patrimoniali:ation, and its ceremoniali:ation, in the context oI
global cultural policies; and museification, and the mourning oI it, as 'intangible
heritage with identitarian value (the Clus trademarked by UNESCO as
'Romanian brand). It is still possible to patrimoniali:e a social-cultural
organism, luckily, while still alive; aged means other than dead.


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zo
the patience oI an old peasant: genuine porosity to genetic explanations
coming Irom the written culture, and surprising vitality, adapting to all
kind oI societies and economies it has encountered along. Local village
ceremoniality (even though syncopated by economic migration and
dissolution oI rural communities) has continued to be re-invested with the
whole body oI personal/inter-personal motivations, reducible, by the end
oI the day, to the narrative experience oI Clus: an experience structures
as 'diachronic inter-textuality (G. P. Caprettini 1992: 22-23) and 'inter-
memory (S. Golopen|ia 2001: 47-51).
Like we said, it is hardly the archaeological 'reconstruction we
aim here, given the heterogeneity oI existing sources. The problem with
the 18
th
-19
th
century mentions oI Clus is not only scarcity, and little
temporal representativity, but also, their geographic dispersion and, most
oI all, their generic character
11
. And just as in the case oI other customs,
calendrical or Iamilial, these sui generis ethnologists, instead oI giving
detailed ethnographic descriptions oI the Clus-es they might have
witnessed, they delve in the exploration oI the historic origins (Roman,

11
Dimitrie Cantemir`s (1673-1723) deposition covers a time span ranging Irom
the end oI the 17th century, to the beginning oI the 18
th
, that is, the while the
prince spent eIIectively in Moldavia (1685-1686, 1710-1711). As Ior a
geographical delimitation, he gives no clue at all, about where do the Clusari
perIorm their custom (The Upper Country, north oI the Bacu-Chisinu axis, or
The Lower Country). Our guess goes with the central part, since the princely court
was, at that time, in Iasi (capital oI Moldavia between 1564-1862). As Ior the
lapidary mention oI Anton Maria del Chiaro, secretary oI Constantin Brncoveanu
(1688-1714), his description does not even tell the town-Iair`s name (Trgoviste,
or Bucharest?). Franz Joseph Sulzer (d. 1791) gives a generic description, again
without the location, oI Transylvanian Clus, which he might have seen during his
military service (he served the Austrian army between 1759-1773). Damaschin
Bojinc (1792-1869) reIers only vaguely to the Clus oI Banat (D. BOJNCA
1832); iI his description comes Irom what he witnessed in person, we may
suppose he wrote about the custom as done in Mountainous Banat (he was born in
the village Grliste, near the axis Resi|a-Grdinari-Oravi|a, went to primary
school in Oravi|a, and, later, in Vrse|). The list oI sporadic attestations continues
in the same line oI brevity (Ion Heliade Rdulescu, etc.) until the more consistent
descriptions oI T. Frncu and G. Candrea in 1888 (Ior the Clusari Irom the
Mures Valley, with the mention oI a number oI localities) and oI SoIronie Liuba,
in 1898 (Clucenii Irom Maidan, Caras-Severin), Emilian Novacoviciu, in 1902
(Clucenii oI Rcsdia, Caras-Severin), D. Popescu-Sngeriu, in 1898 (Clusarii
Irom Muntenia/Vallachia?), C. Rdulescu-Codin and D. Mihalache in 1909
(Clusarii Irom Muscel), St.Tu|escu and P. Danilescu in 1908 (Clusarii Irom
Ctanele, Dolj), Fl. Cristescu in 1910 (Clusarii Irom Upper Segarcea,
Teleorman), and the list is Iar Irom exhaustive (Ior the inventory oI all Clus
attestation, along the 18th and 19th centuries, see S. V. CRISTEA 2008: 13-28).



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zoq
Dacian, Greek etc.) oI the custom. That their questions diIIer Irom ours,
this is embedded in the social-cultural context oI the epoch (when
ethnographic arguments were being used Ior identitary demonstrations,
aiming the construction oI a Romanian modern nation). It stays
nonetheless relevant, to this day, to state the distinction between the
origin of a phenomenon, placed in the human mind structures, and the
chronologic beginning of a phenomenon (B. Neagota 2001: 326), hard to
reduce to a single loop in the chain oI diachrony, given the multiple
provenience oI Iolkloric customs (cI. M. Pop 1999: 39-40).
The narrative net weaved beyond Clus`s ceremoniality has Ior
long been selI-regenerating in the worn-out niches, so long as the
mechanisms oI cultural transmission were Iunctional. When the village
ceases being autarchic in his history production, this Iaculty oI mythical-
Iictional stitching dwindles, and cultural amnesia is installed, Ior good.
However termed by local anthropologists, out oI optimism or epistemic
conIormism, we do not credit the theories oI perennial cultural systems,
and the subsequent idea oI mandatory transIormation, once social-
economic and mentality changes are irreversible. We are sure to assist to
the impoverishment oI rural inter-memory, due to evident social and
demographic ageing tendency oI whole regions; it is obviously not the
guilty Iolkloristic passeism what makes this loss regretIul. As a
consequence, people in the village start telling, more or less proIiciently,
according to their personal narrative talent, their own liIe story, while
ceasing to interpret it according to the cognitive rules oI local inter-
memory
12
.
Our Iield survey comprised being there, Iollowing the Clus
groups, exactly Ior those couple oI weeks, around Whitsunday, oI
ceremonial 'hardcore: in 2006, with the group Irom Cezieni, Olt; in
2007, with the Clus oI Brsti, Olt; in 2008, with those Irom Crlogani
and Olari, Olt; and in 2009, with the groups Irom Predesti, Dolj, and
Dozesti, Vlcea. Following the travels oI the groups Irom village to town
(Craiova, Bals, Slatina, Caracal) has produced more encounters with more
groups oI Clusari, present there like the group we were accompanying.

12
The less aged oI the village generate thus autobiographic narratives in which the
village`s community is almost obliterated, both on the level oI events and on that
oI story-telling. Part oI this is due to the minimum two or three decades oI
seasonal labor migration during Romania`s communist industrialization, Ior much
oI our interviewees, who are now less than 70 years old. Naturally, the Iolklorist
has to adapt to reality. Surely, the peasant worker culture inIerence, during
communism, or oI late, with working-cultures oI other linguistic horizons, or even
the interIerence oI hegemonic ideology oI beIore 1989 with the rural community
culture, they all aIIected the perIormance scenic, taumaturgic, communitarian
oI the Clus.


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zo
All the more reason to Ieel the inadequacy oI exclusive, saliently
ceremonial, Iield expeditions: we keep striving to do, as well, ulterior, out
oI ceremonial acceleration, researches, the only ones which will give us
better a scale on how narratives on the Fairies (Ielele, Rusaliile) and the
ailments they inIlict, are being articulated within concrete biographies oI
Iolklore bearers be they actors or witnesses, in ceremonial Clus.
Interviews, biographical or mythical-Iictional, led outside the ceremonial
season, would surely shed a diIIerent light on the narrative net underlying
the perIorming custom.


3. Iele, Soimane/Fairies and Clusari

Addressing this crucial question, on the relationship between Iele
and Clusari, has less to interpret in terms oI ceremonial grounds, and
more in terms oI narrative bridges. Causes do not limit to precarious
ethnographic description, during times oI magical-religious density like
the late medieval Romanian village but comprise as well the
(etymologically) esoteric nature oI the ceremonial
13
. The modern Iield
researcher has to learn to respect this rule, seizing sensibly the moment oI
shiIt between ceremoniality as seen, and ceremoniality as told, that is,
then when it can only be heard and credited, as personal experience oI
both clusari and their patients.
To endeavor approaching the above-mentioned relationship, one
needs to be clear about the terms who are making the relationship. We are
going to devote a section to the ceremonial, its actors, its dramaturgy and
roles within, and there we shall speak oI the real, Iully-Iledged, Clusari,

13
Whenever the Clus is being credited and assumed by its perIormers
(clusarii), the corpus oI interdictions and the initiatic secrecy are being
drastically observed, even at present. It is the case oI the clusari Irom Giurgi|a
(Dolj), a group with an average oI 50 years (Iield inIormation, May 2007, and
June 2009) and oI that Irom Olari (Olt), where the average is oI 22 years; but the
rite oI the Ilag burial is kept equally surrounded by mystery, because the secret is
sacred (Iield inIo Irom May 2007, June 2008, 2009). The Clusari Irom Olari
have warned us on the danger oI witnessing the Iinal Ilag burial, on both
themselves, members oI the group, and us researchers; they were dreading this
breaking oI secrecy. The old Jtaf (leader) oI the clusari Irom Giurgi|a, during a
discussion we had during the Festival in Caracal (2007), became elusive when
asked about the cioc/beak. it is clear that, to us researchers, the access to the
making and unmaking oI the cioc is strictly narrative, secrecy enabling magical-
religious eIIiciency. The cioc can thus only be seen in action, during the
perIormance oI the ceremonial, its symbolism being held tightly closed, via small
narratives and signiIicant silences.



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zo6
whom we met. Now we must move a bit closer to the imaginary beings,
who are said to be in some sort oI control, or at least in causal-eIIect
terms, with the aIIliction preoccupying the Clus as custom/ceremonial:
the Fairies, Ielele ('Them). The majority oI our interviews, aiming to
uncover the pathogenic agents responsible Ior the magic-daimonic
speciIic ailments, Iound a diIIerentiation between the symptoms,
modalities oI inIliction, and therapeutic cure and procedures, oI the two
which were held responsible: luatul din clus (being taken by the clus),
and pocitul din iele (maiming by fairies)
14
. In the villages we surveyed
(Brsti, Morunesti, Brane|, Olari, Butoi, Flcoiu, Greci, Mrgheni,
Rosieni, Oporelu, Crlogani) in the Olt county, we interviewed people
Irom diIIerent generations
15
, and drew a clear dissociation between the
two diseases, both magical and Iictional, as Iollows:

Luatul din c Luatul din c Luatul din c Luatul din c lu lu lu lus ss s / // /
taking by the c taking by the c taking by the c taking by the c lu lu lu lus ss s
Pocitul de iele Pocitul de iele Pocitul de iele Pocitul de iele / // /
maiming by Iairies maiming by Iairies maiming by Iairies maiming by Iairies
Pathogenic Pathogenic Pathogenic Pathogenic
Agents Agents Agents Agents
Clusul, Rusaliile Milostivele, Ielele, Soimanele
Critical Time Critical Time Critical Time Critical Time Sptmna Rusaliilor /
Whitsuntide, SIredelul Rusaliilor
the middle oI the 50 days between
Easter and Pentecost
Spring and summer, anytime
(unprecised calendric
emergence)
Pacients Pacients Pacients Pacients Women (especially) and men Men (especially) and women
Symptoms Symptoms Symptoms Symptoms Neuro-psychologic / psychiatric
malady; Possession with choreutic
symptoms (the ill person is
humming in the way the clusari
utter their dance group-call:
hpie.
Neurologic malady
Benumbment oI a limb (hand,
Ioot) hemiparesis, temporary
bedumbment
Treatment Treatment Treatment Treatment The sick person is danced
by the clusari.
The sick person is being
submitted to either a priestly, or
a magical (witchcraIted)
treatment.
Curing Curing Curing Curing
Agents Agents Agents Agents
Clusarii The witch, the charmer
The priest

14
An exception we encountered in the answer oI the old leader (vtaf) Irom Greci,
who, upon our prudent asking, made, all alone, the isomorphic connection
between Rusalii and Milostive (Iele), and asserted their certain responsibility Ior
the inIliction luatul din clus (taking by the clus). His answers seemed to us
remarkably congruent with older bibliography, thereIore should be
contextualized: he had been Ior long an ethnologic interviewee (well knowing
Mihai Pop and Gail Kligman), and we believe it was this the reason Ior the
outstanding proIiciency oI his answers, with no Ilaw or hesitation. AIter a series
oI previous tormented interviews, we Iound this one, unplanned, unexpected, at
the house oI the vtaf, suspiciously congruent and successIul.
15
The persons we interviewed have ages between 17 (clusari), and 84 (old
vtafi, women).


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zo;
Older ethnologic documents do assert an overlapping
isomorphicism oI the two ailing agents; but it would be risky to borrow
indistinctively such a statement oI identity, as long as we only possess
loose ends Ior sources, collected in diIIerent periods and Iar apart places.
They must not be treated Ior elements oI a puzzle, Ior they are not, since
they come Irom local contexts, diIIering village by village. Once we
would have done interviews in those villages where archival materials
have been collected Irom, in the thirties and the Iourties, we could launch
the useIul analysis oI isomorphicisms oI the two types oI magical
maladies, irrespectively oI the diIIerentiation in time span between the
two. Identity was evident Ior the generations between the two wars and
soon aIter the second world war; but Ior the last 20 years, it seems, it
dwindled, so as the elders, only, would still talk about pocit (maiming,
mutilation), whereas luatul din clus (taking by the clus) is receiving
signiIicantly more credit Irom the youth, too.
Or, what has been preserved, on the level oI community inter-
memory, is but symptomatology to luatul din clus (taking by the clus),
periodically re-iterated, by immediate reality, as oI course narratively
mediated. But without the whole body oI mythical-Iictional narratives,
circulating even apart Irom the memorate, what stays consistent oI the
ceremonial`s background could pass Ior a miracle, in terms oI
transmission oI tradition. We shall discuss in the next chapter our latest
Iindings on this complicated issue. For now, as we explained, we are to
debate Iield and archival data, very limiting in other than only asserting a
continuum in the imaginary behind the yearly re-iteration oI the
ceremonial. Perhaps our 'privilege is to be able to witness this particular
time sequence, where older narrative strata are being obliterate, large
parts oI proIound local mythical-Iictional tradition are being lost, with
every generation, but punctual representations are kept because oI the
Ieed-back Irom experience to tradition, oI the kind: A. worked on
Whitsunday, trespassing interdictions re this Ieast, and Iell ill, with all
symptoms oI luatul din clus (taking by the clus); and thereIore, s/he
must have been taken by the clus; and Iamily appeals then to the
clusari to heal the sick. It is not by any chance that each group oI
clusari has its own narrative repertory on the healings they have done,
made oI justiIying tales oI illnesses and clus healings, a kind oI
hagiography with etiologic Iunction.
So we should see, perhaps, the loss oI the narratives on
Iele/Soimane/Milostive (Fairies), meaning that they stopped circulating
because oI the lack oI personal experiences about them, to reinvest the
community inter-memory: postwar Romanian villages, ground by a
violently acculturating and obliterating history, were inhabited by people
whose encounters with the Iele (Fairies) were most unlikely. In whatever



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zo8
customary community, what is not periodically Ied-back by experience
erodes and disappears. But inter-community oblivion is not installed on
the spot, it takes place gradually, like in a schwei:er in which holes grow
upon the ever more thin substance. It could pass Ior a collective amnesia,
aIIecting the knots oI the community network (customary, social,
economic, etc) and end by sickening the respective community, pushing it
towards a gradual loss oI identity; the new emerging one would be based
on the newer justiIying tales
16
.
How do the illness stories and the healing stories transmit? -
Through personal, concrete experiences, narratively translated by their
main actor or by those around him, using the local code oI cognitive rules.
In other words, a new experience is hermeneutically rendered explicit,
narrativized, poured to old expressive moulds. Little matters that the
ailment maniIested during Whitsuntide has the classical symptoms oI
luatul din clus (taking by the clus), what matters is its translation in
magic terminology, and its assembling the pathologic morphology in a
magical narrative-hermeneutical syntax, the cluseresc diagnosis
17
,
consecrated by community tradition.
We may Iorget about the Fairies, iI we stop experiencing their
proximity, but we can hardly Iorget about the illness: which requires
proper explanation and treatment. So, it is this, we believe, the last magic-
ritual state oI the Clus: those groups oI clusari who do not get to
perIorm healings scoateri din clus (takings out of clus) have all
chance to disappear, selI-dissolve, or grow Iestivalized, converting the
choreutic ritual into a spectacle. Magic Clus, and its ritual, needs the
repetition oI the clusereasc disease, needs its periodic redundancy, or
else it loses its prime Iunction and disappears. And, perhaps most oI all, it
needs the conIidence oI people (in the villages and towns where groups
perIorm) in the Clus`s augural and preventing eIIiciency, beyond the
cure.






16
These are a Iew oI the new emerging oral narratives: liIe stories oI seasonal
agricultural workers in Spain, tales oI workers in constructions, tales oI peasant
women turned to housekeepers, once they work in Italy, etc. the so-called
immigrant tales.
17
The role oI the vtaf (leader) or oI the afutorul de vtaf (leaders lieutenant) is
essential in diagnosing the malady. It is them who decide upon the patient`s
examination and through diIIerential diagnosis, iI it takes on the clusaris or the
doctor`s competence.


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zoq
4. Anniversary Dramaturgy knotting and re-knotting
with tradition. A model of transmission

First oI all, we need to deIine our meaning oI a dramaturgy: it
goes beyond its relevance Ior Iolkloric acts, namely, in the cognitive
Iormat oI our daily liIe. This statement should be observed when selecting
the liIe-slice which we later convert into a Iield site. Because oI the
perIect correspondence: anyone`s liIe Iield-oI-research, the incidence oI
the anniversary dramaturgy applies to many cultural strata, among which
the determined Iield-site oI Iolk-lore. The main trait oI this dramaturgy is
in its epic Iormat, a narrative matrix used to deliver its content, and a
constant oI every transmission.
The researches we have been undertaking Ior the last six years
18
,
which have duplicated the study oI orally transmitted tradition narratives,
with a survey on the transmission oI Iolk ceremonial
19
, conclude
nowadays that there are not two, but ultimately one only, converging
channel oI transmission oI them both: namely, the epic weaving
underlying them both. Surely circumstances oI transmission diIIer,
between ceremonial and pure tale, with this latter`s multiple levels oI
distancing Irom immediate reality (I. Benga 2006: 79-100); but the net
weaved below, having produced them both, stays essential to the idea oI
transmission. Hence, they both do participate to dramaturgically designed
scenarios, which must be attentively observed and reproduced in their
context oI origin, in warrant oI the incidence oI transmission.
Problems begin to complicate, once we try to reach the core oI
transmission. As we only aim to get closer to applying the model to the
history oI the Clus, we are not going to attempt a Iull scale description oI
the working model we have oI transmission. But a number oI
observations are required: among them, the basic one regards the
problematic relationship between Iully-Iledged experience, the one
narrated by Iolklore, and its tale the conversion to the post-experiential
narrative Iormat. Once more, we dwell on real liIe parallels, to assert the
extreme diIIiculty oI transmitting tale-quale our personal experiences.
The helplessness in sharing cognitive experience with our Iellow people
is growing with the growth oI the multitude oI dimensions oI experience.
But Iailure oI sharing attracts Iailure oI transmission, more, it ensures the
Iailure. We can consider that the ultimate multi-dimensionality belongs to

18
It was in 2003, with the Ieast oI the adorned ox, that the two oI us began
extensive Iieldwork on popular ceremonials; we then broadened our team with the
participation oI young people Irom what was to become Orma Sodalitas.
19
Field researches on Iolk narration and magical-mythical narratives, conducted
on team I. Benga and B. Neagota, preceded with Iive years those on ceremonials,
beIore arriving to double them.



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA z1o
the mystical experience; hence, the logic impossibility oI communicating,
oI sharing it. Thus, it would result that any sensible model oI transmission
would go round the mystical experience, since the negation it proIesses;
so that nothing crucial about transmission depended on it. And yet, even
the mystical experience does come transmitted. Or better, something
about it does transmit: something making it possible to reciprocally
reproduce, structures oI depth with structures oI surIace. Something
which is bearing small packages oI reproductive code - a kind oI cultural
genome. We speak oI such Iolded encoded units oI transmission also
because, in order to enact transmission, they are to unpack the code
syntax under appropriate conditions oI expression: and there Irom, to
draw on the new syntax oI maniIestation. That is, to express tradition, into
a new generation oI oIIsprung Iolkloric Iacts. These mean everything,
Irom orally passed on Iolk tales, to popular ceremonials, and generally all
anniversary encompassed in Iolk community liIe. We aIIirm that the code
Iormat means precisely the epic core oI the narrative: to which dramatic
enactment is the maniIestation, much in the like a wonderIul Iairytale is
being told loud voice, observing characters` distinctiveness, evening by
evening, to childlike audiences. Dramatic enactment supposes a group oI
perIormers design a narrative structure in Iront oI a group oI spectators,
thereIore, the community context is crucial in the process, as the one who
validates both actors and characters.
Such diIIicult an ailment as the one the Clus may prevent, or
help stop to inIlict, on given sensitive persons, does arise the problem oI
the veridical nature oI the inIliction Irom other-worldly pathogenic
agents; not in the sense oI scientiIically proving such a path stands, but in
the nature oI the experience the person is claiming, as well as in its
narrative Iormat. A continuation to the statement above, on the diIIiculty
oI sharing the ultimate Iorm oI individual experience which is the
mystical experience, is that, beginning with such an extreme case on the
scale oI transmission, the experience oI telling about such Iully Iledged,
bodily and spiritually, personal experiences, can be just as well an
original phenomenon: the original verbalization. Deciding whether the nut
at the core oI transmission is a Iact, or its narration, is ultimately, Ior the
Iolkloric cultures that we may directly access through Iieldwork and
archive work, operating a Iake distinction: because what the main actor
may tell s/he had to go through is validated only iI (and generally it does
validate) it shows consensus with the local traditions oI the place. No one
claims experiential cloning, and surely, transmission is much more
relevant, Ior the inter-generation trajectory oI Iolkloric Iacts. Narratives
adjust to the local body oI traditions, be they narratives oI trance or out-
oI-body experiences, or oI encounters with other-worldly terrible beings;
they would never be blatant to the imaginary oI the local community, or


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
z11
to the cultural contacts to which this one might have exposed itselI. We
have elaborated previously a scheme comprising the stages oI
Iictionalization
20
, to prove how a same continuum oI cognitive imaginary
re-invests, throughout circulation, the cycles oI tales and narrated acts.
ThereIore, we may aIIirm that the experiential level and the
narrative level oI the Iolkloric Iact are ultimately linked to one another,
bound to a common, shared Iate. As Ior temporalities oI Iolk-lore, as
diIIering Irom the myth`s, whose ultimate and Iounding landmark is illud
tempus, we may state a Iolkloric temporal suspension oI Iacts, in between
a terminus post quem and a terminus ante quem. As in archaeology, as in
history, Iolklore does belong to chronology. But it would nonetheless be
wrong to strive to attain the 'genetic origin oI every component in it, be
it ceremonial or tale or belieI, because, above all, the irreducibility oI the
smallest unit is very hard to achieve at least with present-day
methodology. But it would be equally wrong to Iail to see that the syntax
oI Iolk-lore, the given association oI morphologic units, is very Iertile a
view, and hence a Iramework.
The syntax oI the Iolkloric Iact operates with small dramatic
projects, whose Iolding encodes epic-narrative structures. Along
transmission, during Iunctioning, these little projects develop rhythmic
incidence strategies. Rhythm emerges Irom this controlled periodic
algorithm oI incidence. What makes the cycle turn cyclic, though, is not
(yet quantiIiable as) the mathematic symbolism, but the metaphor, the
dramaturgic scenario, Iull oI actors and embodied characters, just as a
Iairytale`s nutshell. Folkloric transmission 'understands that the
narrative Iormula is the best carrier oI them all; and also, that preserving
one or another oI the Iormulations is only secondary to the absolute
priority oI passing on something: that is, the ability to communicate, to
selI-disclose on the level oI the group, to reproduce, in cultural terms. It is
the neat advantage oI the group over the person, because the syntactic
urge within human communities arranges individuals in such
communicational instances, oI the type oI the dramatic project (very
broadly understood: no only such instances oI display as ceremonials etc.,
but structures like kindred, or hierarchy, or age dependencies, too), that
the purest and most genuine sense oI belonging is being produced, and
pronounced, loud and clear, Ior every participant to sociality.
We Iolklorists all know that ceremonials emerge, most oIten, on
a yearly basis; other Iolkloric 'items show more or less diIIerential
incidences. But a sense oI rhythmicity is being kept, all over, and all

20
It has been elaborated by us two in 2000; then individually but symbiotically
perIected, in 2003, and Iinally published, as such, with 2006 (I. BENGA 2006: 79-
100 and B. NEAGOTA 2006: 101-120).



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA z1z
along our documented span oI time. Addressing solely the Clus under
Iocus here, we could gain Irom comparing our Iield data to archival
material, as Iound in the Ion Muslea corpus in the Folklore Archive oI
Romanian Academy in Cluj. Proportion considerations allow no more
than exempliIying here, with a couple oI answers on the question oI
Clus, as risen in the second questionnaire oI Muslea`s. We are trying to
Iollow here one salient recurrence in all documents, re the maiming other-
worldly beings may inIlict, as result oI transgressing an interdiction.
These other-worldly beings we reIer to here are all oI a same morphologic
Iamily: be they called Miestre, Jantoase, Rusale, Rusalii, Iele, they are
all kind oI fairies (:ine).
The Iirst document we quote is AFC 222, p.14: collected and
written by a schoolmaster, Aurel Peicu, in Vistea de Sus, Fgras shire,
around August 1931. He writes about Miestre, saying that the elders tell
how they wander and sing, mainly at night, and how one better never
moved a Iinger, until they are gone, otherwise risking mutilation;
mutilation is being explicated as paralyzing oI a limb. Then the register is
turned to doing and un-doing the aIIliction they inIlict: as the document
continues, it says these Iairies then maim one, iI he is not stiII and silent
upon encounter, or iI one sees them dancing; and that one cannot ever
cure anymore until the Iairies, miestrele, pass by once again, through
that very place, to heal or kill. And that the elders could tell many stories
to illustrate this pattern oI behaviour. They also tell that these Iairies were
once princesses, enchanted themselves, who now ramble upon earth,
singing and dancing marvelously; so that the one who might lie in wait to
see them Iurtively intentionally or un-intentionally, as described above
risks being maimed, in punishment. Folklore documents all suggest that
lying in wait risks punishment, but this is the general rule oI what we
could call the manner oI encounter between signiIicantly diIIerent
ontological regimes oI the known world; this must be the reason Ior the
strict prescriptions around the lying in wait/panda, abundant in Iolk-lore.
The recipe Ior healing is one and only: same place, same time,
periodically re-iterated as 'same by instances oI tradition, that is, the
anniversary incidence oI the passage through a same spot/role/condition,
as critically crossroad-al, one year later precisely.
The second document comes always Irom the Muslea corpus:
AFC 186, pp. 6-10, collected by high-school pupil Condriuc Dumitru, in
Noul-Caragaci, Cetatea Alba shire, Irom 95 year old aunt Elena Tatarciuc.
It comprises both plain description and memorate, or belieI-tale. The Iirst
describes the Iairies rusalii: three women, dressed in white, wandering by
in the Iields and in the village, once time enters their sacred week
(Whitsuntide); should they meet anyone working in their sacred week,
maiming is the punishment: a limb or even speech is being 'taken, that


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
z1
is, made unusable. However, wearing mugwort/pelin by waist bears the
ultimate protection against the rusalii. The memorate goes another 80
years back Irom the early thirties oI the document, to the youth oI
E.Tatarciuc, where it spends a whole event to explain how these Iairies
operate: lying this time themselves in wait, Ior transgressions oI people,
in this case, adolescent girls waiting to prove worthy oI entering the next
age`s establishment (that is, a sort oI initiation). So, the girl is leIt by
parents alone, weaving, on a day when work should have stopped by
noon; she is oblivious and continues, and thereIore, the white-dressed
stranger woman comes and punishes 'mildly, according to her own
words: as punishment Ior Iirst transgression oI work interdiction, and
upon condition that transgression may never be crossed again, the
inIliction-aIIliction is 'taking the girl`s leIt hand, Ior a stint oI three
round years. So it accomplished. And aIter the utterance, the stranger
woman leaves in Iorm oI whirlwind, Ietching a goose along with her.
OI course, the selection we have been making throughout
archival material, and the conclusions drawn on it, are to be 'taken Ior
granted, to a Ioreign audience, only Ior there exists our word Ior them. In
this spirit, we are however calling attention on the ailment produced by
the Whitsuntide Iairies, as being one only: maiming (pocire); it is
inIlicted as result oI crossing an interdiction; this interdiction is the lying
in wait, when Iairies the wondrous singers and dancers conquer the realm
oI the living, during their privileged time - or it is the mundane working,
in times oI Ieast in their honour, during the same while. As Ior the
narrative threshold which is not crossed in these archival documents,
healing the ailment is strangely linked to only the interdiction, that is, it
only prescribes a time Ior the absolution oI the wrong oI the
transgression. No technology can help what only a cyclic anniversary
may: solution and absolution Irom the wrong oI transgression comes with
the accomplishment oI one, two, three etc. years oI punishment oI
enduring mutilation.
As Ior the rest oI the archival material oI AFC, meaning, the
answers to the second questionnaire, on summer Ieasts, where the
problem oI the existence oI the ceremonial Clus is being asked, along
with questions on the imaginary background Ior it, we can state that,
within a same community, as the archive notebooks bear witness,
inIormation on Clus and inIormation on Iairies rarely come along. For
example, iI there is inIormation on the ceremonial group and the healing
it brings to the ailment luatul din clus (taking by the clus) or luatul din
iele (taking by the fairies), we have surprisingly minimal inIormation on
modalities oI aIIliction and on its symptoms, oI beIore the encounter with
the clusari group, as compared to the complexity oI the description oI
the healing. We seem to notice a real reciprocal exclusion, within these



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA z1q
written sources, oI the two 'traditional categories: who tells detail-Iully
about the mythical-Iictional stratum, says nothing at all on the clusari
and their taumaturgic dance, the only therapy mentioned being prevention
or the yearly appropriation oI the dramatic role oI victim; whereas who
has Clus, says close to nothing on the mythical complex oI beyond the
ceremonial. Perhaps this situation is all due to collection Ilaws, or even
errors oI selection oI material, on the side oI the more or less duly
prepared Iolklore gatherers. At any rate, good inIormation on both
narrative and ceremonial material on this disease is absolutely required,
Ior the whole cultural and temporal territory oI these phenomena, prior to
drawing a conclusion on their alternative versus complementary
occurrence, in the narrative or the ceremonial layer oI activation.
Even so, it could hardly be clearer that the two sets oI Iolkloric
Ieats are, to some extent, related genetically. Semantically they are. A
'deIault portrait would Ieature the Fairies as those
Rusalii/Iele/Jantoase/Miestre, in one word, Zine, wonderIul and
harshIul, whose encounter leaves no one unchanged (unless the encounter
is simply avoided, by means oI the preventive code-bearer which is the
wormwood, or mugwort). They abduct the mortal with them on height,
Iorcing him ('him above all) to dance and sing with their tunes; they
maim or benumb, and turn mute, or steal articulated speech; they giIt with
Ioresight, or marvelous chant, or never-ending Ilour, or satiety and crop;
this is the status oI the aIIlicted by the Iairies, in the genuine narrative
genre. While the patient oI the Clus and the Clusari, as described by
our interviews, appears to be driven mad, through excellence in dancing,
Iar beyond exhaustion, and thereIore proIoundly ill. For the narrative-
mythical situation, healing means prevention or anniversary enactment oI
the aIIliction steps; Ior the concrete real-scaled disease, healing means
undergoing the cluseresc ritual.
Can we view these two hypostases as diIIerent Iolkloric levels?
Or as sibling survivals oI diIIerent age, within Romanian popular
mentality? Or perhaps the ceremonial practice does turn to narrative,
adjusts to all narration syntax, creating thus mythology? Or, perhaps, the
two Iolkloric Iacts do conceal two sets oI 'cultural residues oI a same
original complex? But do we necessarily have to suppose the presence at
any point oI a coherent Romanian mythology, underlying the whole net oI
practices and belieIs we encounter today in the Iolk-lore stage oI
nowadays? Perhaps all these questions lead nowhere. Perhaps we should
hang on to the relational activation oI Iolkloric strata: ritual practice is
more saliently imminent, than mythical narrative. II this is paradoxical,
then it is not the only paradox here: we, who have been stating Ior long
that narratives and ceremonials seem to Iollow diIIerent paths oI
transmission, have also seemingly concluded that the enactment oI a


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
z1
given ceremonial seems to douse sooner than the accompanying mythical-
magical tale. But, to this moment, both these statements seem superIicial;
beyond all Iolkloric activation, oI the narrative or oI the dramatic type,
there stays a same cognitive consistency, whose epic maniIestations are
like tops oI icebergs. It uses both individual representations like the
narration and public representations, like the dramaturgic enactment.
BeIore analyzing Iinally the cyclic rhythmiIication oI the emergence oI
both representational paths, let us deal once more with the aIIliction borne
in the complex oI Clus.
The aIIlicted transgressor oI an interdiction becomes sick;
the sickness he exposes looks much in the like oI old descriptions:
mutilation, whether physical or behavioural; since it shows like an
'imitation oI the behaviour the narratives attribute to the Iairies, and
which the ceremonial prescribes Ior the healer clusari, this sickness
could pass Ior possession (not a path we intend to Iollow, at least not in
this study); whatever the intrinsic nature oI the inIliction oI pathology, it
surely is in itselI a very individual experience; being an experience oI the
selI, it cannot just as mystical experiences be communicated tale
quale, iI not narratively and metaphorically. ThereIore, this patient, who
lives genuinely a malady his community`s imaginary is assuming both
narratively and ritually, is Iar Irom being an accident. His incidence is Iar
Irom being Iortuitous and episodic. His suIIering is the most relevant oI
knots, within the mythical, experiential, and ritual-ceremonial syntax. His
nodal situation constitutes the mark oI the social disease oI a small,
coherent and comprehensive society
21
. The relationship between the
individual and the community level oI the aIIliction is equally structured
dramaturgically, clearly speciIying both roles and scenario: individual
contagion, but coercive collective healing. It is the problem oI the broad
community, which regards more than any other disease the community as
a whole, since everything stays at risk. As a matter oI Iact, everything
pertaining to dramaturgy, pertains to increased risks over the community,

21
We borrowed this idea Irom Md. Camil Peteu, who, based on his liIetime
experience as a psychiatrist, stated that the mental disorder is in a great deal a
social disorder: a principle which is veriIied all along the known history oI
culturally admitted illnesses. This idea Iinds in our Iield researches a great
relevance, and proves immensely Iertile in all ethnological endeavour over ailing,
suIIering and healing. As Ior the Clus, it seems Iairly clear that such a disease,
with communitarily approved etiology, with communitarily validated diagnosing,
and with compact healing, worth a genuine social project oI the community, as is
the luatul din Clus (taken by the Clus), or din Rusalii (by the Rusalii), or din
Iele (by the Iele), or din cele Sfinte (by the Saint Ones), or din Frumoase (by the
Beautiful Ones), is ultimately a cultural heritage-disease, waiting Ior its own
psychiatry textbook.



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA z16
since dramatic syntax needs each and every actor be occupying his stable
nodal locus in the story.
Back to the rhythms oI narrative and ceremonial incidence, we
must Iind what makes oI anniversary dramaturgy a knot, sine qua non, oI
traditional transmission. We have attempted elsewhere to isolate what
does not come transmitted, and all accompanying Iailures. We have even
demonstrated that Iailures are but apparent, that the logic behind the
transmission oI tradition, like in every transmission, is the genomic logic,
which enables much more many possibilities than the number oI Iinal
realities; and that cultural phenomena are being regulated in their
diachronicity by a cultural genetic code (I. Benga 2010). But at the core
oI this whole process, there stay the meaning transported by transmission:
transmission is not a time capsule, Ior Iossil Iorms but a living, the most
living, meaning carrier. A bond oI meaning, that`s what makes the
packing and un-packing oI syntactic codes sensible and worthwhile. A
code makes sense only when there is meaning to deliver. A code, which
does not exhaust throughout expression, but keeps Iully open options Ior
Iurther realization, Iar beside what has been accomplished, is a genuine
genetic code; and it bears within everything needed, Irom content to
procedure, Irom dramatic project to most complicated instructions Ior
enactment. What is being produced is obviously Iar more potent, than
what we Iolklorists can possibly see, with naked eye: the narratives and/or
rituals and ceremonials, periodically displayed, variant with variant, are
Iar Irom comprising everything there is about it, Iolk-lore. Even iI some
oI its Iorms oI liIe would never leave potentiality and come into being.
The situation oI the Clus is exemplary Ior entire this theory on
transmitting tradition. Myth and rite do both express, and do both arise in
perIect synchronization, at the most appropriate moment oI the year:
bursting summer. They do both claim that is, even in situations oI
reciprocal exclusion that anniversary is crucial to the healing, whether it
is required narratively (as we have seen in the archival sampling; but our
own interviews spoke clearly in these same terms) or ritually, by the
yearly ceremonial association and dance, around Whitsuntide. Thus,
IulIilling the year, once, twice, thrice, is central to the denouement oI
healing
22
. It has been asserted that the category oI myth is not valid Ior
European Iolkloric societies (M. Eliade), where Iairytale is the ultimate
realm: but who better than the Clus makes the myth descend into
enactment, with this whole anniversary dramaturgy? And what other

22
Narratives speak clearly, as we have sampled, that healing takes one, two or
more Iull cycles to accomplish. But on the ceremonial side, it is widespread that
every clusar can 'serve under the Clus Ior three years or more, that is, an
engagement to at least one Iull cycle oI three repeated yearly incidences.


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
z1;
prooI, than the same anniversary dramaturgy, do we need that the myth is
sane and alive? This ceremonial pole oI ours, that the Clus is, encodes
and decodes crystal-clearly the Iorce oI expression myth engenders, and
its epic-narrative syntax. And we cannot Iail to see a calendar being thus
set on work: a new year starts there, where the myth has been re-played.
For all those who are Iollowers oI a same calendar, that is, members oI a
same society, the cyclicity, the rhythmicity and the dramaturgy oI an
enactment oI this scale, with ailing and healing, with tale and ritual, are
bonds and knots, tying, unraveling, and then tying again with tradition.


5. Cluseresti therapies

Two sets oI things hinder the Iolklorist`s access to the healing
rituals perIormed by the Clusari: one is the internal net oI interdictions
surrounding the Clus, at the core oI which stay the vtaf (leader)`s
exclusivity oI knowledge
23
about the clusereasc therapy, which comes
not shared but with the chosen heir (chosen by him alone, and accepted
by the group); on the other hand, it takes good luck Ior the ethnologist, to
encounter a healing procedure at least once by Rusalii (Whitsuntide).
Most oI the times, nowadays, the researcher is one day, or one week, or
one year late, Ior The Event
24
. This should perhaps be taken Ior anything
else, than his or her proIessional good luck; narrative mediation, as
argued in the chapters above, plays a totally diIIerent role than that oI
substitute Ior the missing real thing. We have indeed asked ourselves
whether there will be anything else to witness, Ior us, ever, in terms oI
healing perIormances, except Ior propitiatory elements in the mere
cyclical incidence oI the Clus. But then, oI course, there stay the

23
Our questions on the therapeutic techniques oI the Clus have many times
encountered answers like: 'We can`t say it, as it is in Clus. This is a secret
between us the clusari. (Field inIormation, Nicolae Veleanu / Blcescu, b.
1922, Giurgi|a 03.06.2007, interviewed by B. Neagota, Ethnological Archive
Orma AEO). 'It is tradition. Ha, ha, ha! These are secret matters, sir! BeautiIul
this tradition, yes ... `twas beIore, and keeps being now... (Field inIo, Costache
Gic, b.1934, Morunesti 28.05.2007, interviewed by I. Benga and B. Neagota,
AEO).
24
Interviewing Nea Blcescu, the old vtaf Irom Giurgi|a, Dolj shire, resulted in a
series oI mild or less mild reproaches, in answer to every single question we
made, on cluseresti therapies and symptomatology: 'Why haven`t you come Ior
Rusalii/Whitsunday? We just made a healing then (the week beIore our note).
There`s been a lady Irom Bucharest Iilming on us ... (Field inIo, Nicolae Vleanu
/ Blcescu, b. 1922, vtaf (leader) oI Clusari in Giurgi|a, 16.06.2009, interview
by B. Neagota, I. Benga, AEO).



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA z18
deposition oI every ancient source (beginning with Dimitrie Cantemir`s
Morbi chronici oI circa 1685-1686; Cantemir 1973 |1714|: chap. XVII)
narrating proper healings, as well as the parallel with the Italian
tarantismo, which is exclusively about healings and not about any
cyclical incidence oI a popular ceremonial, to term our dilemma in
luck/un-luck. Still, it makes no less oI a totally diIIerent story, Irom the
story-telling oI the mere experience oI the ailment/treatment. Veteran
Clusari or their Iormer patients all may bear witness, to us or to a third
party (resulting in the memorates oI the 2
nd
or 3
rd
degree), so that
Iictionalization and mythiIication all alter the immediate Iolkloric Iact,
the healing in this case, once this enters the network oI oral transmission
(B. Neagota 2006, 101-104, 115-120). At any rate, even so, even in the
course oI the liIe oI one clusar, what we would term as classical cases oI
luat din clus (taking by the clus), and not oI asymptomatic malady (see
photo 9), In the latter case only the propitiatory valence being enacted
only happen a Iew or several times; then they must oI course enter the
Iictionalizing grinding stone oI collective inter-memory, which makes oI
them exemplary narratives.
Older ethnologic documents oI the XVIII
th
-XIX
th
centuries
describe either generic situations oI healing, or tell in narrative mood the
standard ritual action. Much in the same way, archival documents
obtained through postal questionnaires, by the end oI the XIXth century
and the Iirst halI oI the XXth century, stored within the Folklore Archives
oI the Romanian Academy Irom Bucharest and Cluj, tell a same kind oI
story, which is essentially a textual story. But when conIronted with the
living ethnologic document, as collected along the last Iew years, these
texts become true goldmines Ior the ethnologist with a deep Iield
experience. An elementary comparative examination based on the
invariants method (A. Marino 1998: 64-68) emphasizes a congruence
between older and newer descriptions oI the cluseresc therapeutic ritual.
On the whole, the healing procedures operated by the clusari
could be classiIied in polar morphologic classes, depending on the
presence or absence oI a characterizing element:
1. Diagnosis 'by the eye and melodic diagnosis
The latter implies that, aIter the vtaf (leader) makes the working
diagnosis oI luat din clus/taken by the clus, the pacient is made pass a
melodic test, aiming to establish precisely the subtype oI the ailment. The
Clusari sing some songs, until they come upon the one on which the
patient has been luat din clus (taken by the clus), aIter which they
dance on that melody Ior the healing oI the patient. This complex means
oI diagnosis (Ior the certainty oI the diagnosis) is equally attested in the
ethnologic documents oI both Romanian Folklore Archives (AIEF and


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
z1q
AFC), in the classical bibliography on the Clus
25
(T. PamIile 2005
2
: 55-
56; M. Pop 1998, II: 81; H. B. Oprisan 1969: 131-132; Gh. Vrabie 1999:
225; G. Kligman 2000: 95-96) and in our own Iield researches oI the last
years (the villages Crlogani, Greci, Giurgi|a etc.). It is an archaic
procedure Ior diagnosis, attested in both extra-European cultures (M. Pop
1998, II: 81; G. Rouget, 1990
2
: 139-238) and in Europe. For example, the
tarantic therapy in Southern Italy
26
, which has developed a similar Iorm oI
diagnosis, albeit exclusively musical, to the cluseresc diagnosis.

25
'ThereIore, in 1950, Marin Tudora, leader oI clusari in Poiana Mare, Dolj
shire, told us how, as he had been called to CalaIat to cure a sick, in order to avoid
to take the whole group along, he bought himselI only one ticket and went there
alone. He wanted to see whether the sickness was luatul din clus/taken by the
clus, and only then to call the rest oI the group. And how did he do that? He took
oII the bells out oI his Ieet garment, so that he would make no noise, and so that
he could observe some gestures oI the sick. When by him, he started to make the
bells ring. The sick turned restless, and turned his head suddenly. The leader
increased rhythm and amplitude, and the sick started to roll on the ground. Then
Marin Tudora knew Ior sure that his patient had been luat din clus/taken by the
clus. Now he wanted to know which had been the dance and melody on which he
had been taken. Always alone, he put his bells to his shoes, and started to hit the
ground with diIIerent types and rhythms oI cluseresc dance. Upon a certain one,
the sick began to move, to alert, restlessly. Then, he was sure this was the dance
he had been taken Irom. Then he called to his companions in Poiana Mare, and
the next day all the group was there, trying to cure the sick. They danced their
way, and upon the one he had been taken Irom, the sick rose and started to run all
around. (Gh. VRABIE 1999: 225)
26
Tarantism and Clus have been lumped together because oI their
isomorphicisms (the bite of the taranta and luatul din clus/taken by the clus as
experiences oI possession, tarantella and the dance of the clusari as healing rites
through exorcising the disease). For tarantism, we have what we have not Ior the
Clus (De Martino 1961). For the isomorphic connection oI the phenomena, see
G. PIZZA 1998: 49-81 and 2003: 93-127. Actually, in our own research,
bibliographic apprehension oI the complex tarantismo came beIore our Iield
researches on the Clus (I. BENGA, B. NEAGOTA 2001/3: 53-54). Keeping always
the scale Iield result/bibliographic understanding, we may say that what the two
share is the reconstruction oI the 'scenery oI the contamination: this is
essentially what the group oI players achieve, when they repeatedly re-iterate the
same musical piece, corresponding to the bite oI the taranta, when they look Ior
the corresponding colour, and then 'inIlict it Ior long, upon their patient, all until
the extraction oI the sick person Irom his or her syndrome is achieved; everything
taking place in a privileged and temporally restricted time: around the Ieast oI the
Saints Peter and Paul. But the diIIerences in dramaturgic syntax oI the etiology oI
the maiming syndrome are quite blatant: in tarantismo, the only one dancing is the
sick, or more precisely, he is executing a series oI speciIic rhythmic trembling,



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zzo
In other terms, behind the rituals oI melodic diagnosis and
choreutic therapy, there stay a whole range oI narrative mythical-Iictional
indicators, helping to bridge cognitively the narrative and the ritual in the
complex oI Clus. First oI all, we notice the isomorphicism between the
melodic diagnosing by means oI the cluseresti tunes, until they happen
upon the appropriate one tune, and the Iairy criteria oI selection oI the
human musician chosen to accompany their daimonic dances
27
. In other
words, each degree oI nympholepsy corresponded to a certain cluseresc
dance, chosen according to the clinic diagnosis made by the leader oI the
group, which he based on the symptoms oI the patient. Here we can assert
the Iollowing working model: that the clusari are the ethnographic
perIormers oI the Iairy repertory, just as the abducted musicians oI the
oral narratives are their Iictional melodic perIormers. The abducted
musicians as tale characters are themselves victims oI Iairy-induced
nympholepsy, whereas the clusari are controlling their malady by means
oI magical-ritual therapies (perhaps in the way in which Siberian shamans
are controlling the symptoms oI the arctic malady). In this narrative-
ceremonial context, the Iairy association constitutes the exemplary model,
generator oI sacredness, oI the clusari association: they have same
marks, same roles (Ilag-bearer, musicians and singers-dancers), they
dance in a same manner (as choreutic repertory and as evanescent Ilying-
like dance).
2. Presence/absence oI the throwing down oI the clusar during
the therapeutic dances. Alongside the quasi-ubiquitous requisite oI the
Clus perIormance (Ilag, beak, water pot, black chicken) there is also the
'throwing down oI a clusar, during the dance. It represents a ritual oI
semi-magic transIer oI the disease Irom the patient to the therapist
clusari, due to the action oI the vtaf (leader), which induces the
throwing down, with symptoms oI the type oI Iainting, trance, through the
touch with the cioc (beak)
28
(T. PamIile 2005
2
: 55; M. Pop 1998/II: 81-84;

very important to the diagnosis; while the band oI musical players does not go
caroling throughout the villages, but comes summoned upon command.
27
One oI the Iairy criteria oI selection oI the human musician is the Iortuitous
perIormance oI their tune: 'Iele would have a song oI theirs, whose melody is
unknown. When one chances upon it, ielele wherever they were run and dance
upon the song, take the player and Ily away with him to their dwelling, holding
him tightly and compelling him to play only. (I. MUSLEA, O. BRLEA 1970: 211,
212, 214).
28
The Cioc (beak) appears most oIten to the Clus group which do not have the
Mute, with whom it shares the obvious phallic Iunction (G. KLIGMAN 1977/2000:
28). Beyond the internal composition oI the beak (garlic, mugwort and other
charmed ingredients), basic to the understanding oI its magic-protective Iunction
is its sheath, made oI hare skin. Ceremonial usage oI the rabbit skin is common to


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zz1
H. B. Oprisan 1969: 137, 139; G. Kligman 2000: 55-56). In some places,
this ceremonial sequence endured as a healing ritual (especially in the
south oI the Dolj shire), whereas, in other regions oI Oltenia (Olt, Vlcea)
the 'throwing down oI the clusar passed into the dramatic register,
where it takes the shape oI a carnival-like skit, where the central
therapeutic role belongs to either the phallus-bearing Mute (as in Brsti,
Olt shire, where the sick clusar is resuscitated with the help oI a
carnavalesque prayer and oI the propitiatory and protection-giving
phallus
29
) or the vtaf (in Dozesti, Vlcea shire, where Fata Clusului
|the daughter of the Clus| is healed by the leader |vtaf| through a
burlesque therapeutic procedure). We could say that the dramatic
burlesque interme::o (H. B. Oprisan 1969: 56-99, 118-141) beyond its
spectacular entertaining dimension, is preserving, now and then, the
protective dimension (the carnival-like protection Irom the Iairies Iele-
Rusalii) as well as the mnemonic one (is reminding the people,
nonetheless teaching them, about the primary Iunction oI the Clus, that
is, the healing oI the maladies inIlicted by the Iairies Iele-Rusalii).

many calendrical customs in Romania (Ciocul cluseresc |the clus beak|, Turca
|the goat| Irom South Transylvania, Cerbul |the stag| and capra |the goat| Irom
the Moldavian plateau, the hare skin with which the masks oI the New Year or oI
the Carnival/Fsanc touch or hit passers-by and women or girls) and has a
Iertilizing and propitiatory role (meaning a magic transIer oI Iertility Irom rabbit
to human, in virtue oI the Iormer`s proliIicity). Popular medicine across wide
areas oI Europe made large use oI internal rabbit organs, especially genitals, to
Iertilize sterile women. On the other hand, the rich symbolism oI the rabbit as
daimonic animal in the Romanian Iolklore could bring beneIit to the ambivalent
polysemy oI the Cluss cioc (beak) (M. COMAN 1986, I: 138-143) The cioc
(beak) as well as the steag (flag) is at best surrounded by an ostentatious silence;
access to these episodes oI making and unmaking oI the beak is strictly narrative,
the secrecy being held responsible Ior the magical-religious eIIiciency. Although
it is a central ceremonial object Ior the groups which have it, the Iolklorist can
only see it in action, during the dance and perIormance, its ceremonial symbolism
being wrapped in narrative Iragments syncopated by signiIicant silences. At least
this was our Iield experience in 2007, when we came into contact with the
Clusari Irom Giurgi|a, Olt shire.
29
Among other Iunctions, we do believe that the phallus-bearing Mute has a
protective role Ior the group oI Clusari, providing them a certain carnival-like
guardian role in Iront oI the Fairies Rusalii. This is evident, on the one hand, in
his behaviour, and on the other, in his clothing and his phallic requisite (cI. the
protective role oI the phallus Ior the popular cultures oI classical antiquity,
expressed, inter alia, in hermae and in the phalluses which were guarding the
entrance in the Roman houses oI Pompei and Herculanum).



ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zzz
3. The presence/absence
30
oI the black chicks
31
/chickens
32
, put or
no in the earthen pot during the healing rites. In some local variants, the
conditions oI the healing is the death oI the chicks, when the earthen pot
is broken by the vtaf, in other the chick has to survive Ior the recovery oI
the pacient.

We have presented here a number oI symptomatic aspects oI the
healing rites. Beyond the morphologic-analytical intentionality oI this
approach, what stay at the core oI the spatial-temporal morpho-dynamics
oI the Clus are the mechanisms oI ceremonial-narrative transmission.
This would explain even the unitary character oI this Iolkloric Iact. In the
Iield, we have encountered the situation oI the migration oI an entire
Clus thanks to the initiative oI a person addicted to the dance (Cezieni
and Morunesti, Olt); even so, this means not an absolute beginning oI the
custom in a given village, which might as well have had it, and lost it.
Most oIten, yet, what comes transmitted is not the entire custom, iI not
narrative-ceremonial invariants, or cognitive rules generating them. This
is evident not only Ior the choreutics oI the Clus (A. Giurchescu 1984:
84-117) or Ior the skits, but just as well Ior the healing rites and the
symptoms oI aIIliction.
Any theory about the transmission oI ceremonial invariants
within Iolkloric cultures should keep account oI as many oI the Iactors
which inIluence cultural transmission, as possible. But we could hardly
give an appropriate model oI the mechanisms oI ceremonial transmission,
which led to the spread oI a custom among rural communities, because oI
the conditioning imposed not only by the socio-economic and cultural
context restrained to each and every village, but also by a Iactor which
eludes monitoring and classiIying: Iolkloric creativity, which must stay
Iree oI constraints, in whatever cultural system it may have sprung.
Almost always there is the situation when a certain person brought with
him a certain custom or ceremonial practice, and shaped it according to
both the imported model and the local soil.

30
Muscel region (S. NECULCEA: 368, ap. T. PAMFILE 2005
2
: 53), Nanov de
Teleorman (H. B. OPRISAN 1969: 114-115), Goiesti and Negoiesli, Dolj region
(AEO); cI. the Mountain Banat: the Semenic Montain (E. NOVACOVICIU 1902:
162) and Maidan (S. LIUBA 1898: 128 and? 149)
31
Bilesti, Giurgi|a, Brca, Boureni, Dolj region (ap. T. PAMFILE 2005
2
: 54-57),
Segarcea de Dolj (H. B. OPRISAN 1969: 135), Crlogani, Morunesti and Brsti,
Olt region (AEO).
32
Olari-Butoi, Olt (AEO), Frumoasa de Teleorman (H. B. OPRISAN 1969: 104-
105), Perie|ii de Jos, Olt (H. B. OPRISAN 1969: 125), Crciunei de Olt (H. B.
OPRISAN 1969: 118-122).


CLUS AND CLUSARI. CEREMONIAL SYNTAX AND NARRATIVE
MORPHOLOGY IN THE GRAMMAR OF THE ROMANIAN CLUS
zz
But the whole body oI therapeutic evidence becomes more
eloquent when contextualized in the course oI the interviews, and
integrated in the liIe syntax oI every ethnologic interlocutor, through
auto-biographic narratives (life stories, racconti di vita). ThereaIter, the
mere description oI the therapeutic ritual becomes the story oI someone`s
healing, which, at its turn, is integrated with the personal or interpersonal
tale (the exemplary narrative oI the group oI Clusari and an important
story within the morpho-dynamic corpus oI oral traditions belonging to a
certain village community). Here a totally new chapter oI the Iield
research opens, a chapter which continues the ethnologic cognitive
endeavor, by the complex approach to the individual oI contemporary
rural society, as articulated in one`s own many ritual-ceremonial and
narrative instances, to which one stays a knot.

































ILEANA BENGA c BOGDAN NEAGOTA zzq
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