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Thursday, January 21, 2021

6 Methods Of Philippine Sorcery And Its Counter Spells

Black candles, needles, blood, pictures, a strand of hair, and voodoo dolls, are but few items that come into mind when the word sorcery is mentioned, along with some special incantation uttered while conducting it.

Sorcery was practiced a long time ago, in the form of faith healing. The negative notion about sorcery has been attached to it, such as black magic (supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes). It was said that sorcery is a category of belief and practices considered separate from both religion and science. Maleficium is the Latin term, which means witchcraft was performed to cause damage or injury, the resultant harm. 

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
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People who are practicing or performing sorcery include various kinds of people with different cultural connotations and occupations that depend on the ethnic group they may be associated with. Sorcery in the Philippines is entirely different from the Western notion. 

But how did it become a spine chilling ritual? And how can it be performed?

Despite the fright, some people are into it and curious about how it works. In Philippine culture, the said practice is still taboo to many. Yet, it has slowly grown as it continues to give every interested imagination satisfaction and thrill to every spell a sorcerer utters.

Perhaps some are wondering what methods and techniques on how does a sorcerer perform the ritual are. And if there is a way to counter such a thing. 

Before Casting The Spell

There are two factors on how a spell can be executed by a sorcerer; through an agent or tools and a victim’s representation. Magical tools come in different forms like small animals, insects like centipede or beetles, or objects like needles and pins. On the other hand, effigies, puppets, or the famous of all would be the voodoo dolls; these can also be used and linked to the victim by using nail clipping or strands of hair. Chants, spells, or symbols will activate it. The sorcerer will then harm the effigy that will cause corresponding harm to the victim or physically send the object into the victim’s body, ranging from pins, stones, or even insects.

Soil, fire, herbs, spices, oils, candles, kitchenware, and utensils are often used for charms, rituals, and potions. Ingredients in the said act themselves will determine the effects on their victims. These practices were documented as early as the 17th century by Francisco Combes, a Spanish priest who established Christian in the Philippines.

The factors, as mentioned earlier, will be divided into the following methods of sorcery. Barang, Hilo, and Usik are the ones that need to use agents, while the second part is representation-based sorcery Paktol, Sampal, and Laga. 

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
Image: travisjthompso
 Barang: The Killer Insects 

An ordinary human being does it with black magic. They tend to torture their victims and later kill them by infesting the body with insects. Barang is probably the most known method of sorcery in the Philippines. They are different from mangkukulam, who only causes pain or illness. 

In legends, the mambabarang (the sorcerer who performs the Barang) keeps their swarm of carnivorous beetles in a bamboo section and carefully feeding them with ginger root. When the sorcerer employs the dark art, a prayer ritual or incantation will be uttered and whispers instructions, and identifies the victim to the beetles. They will then be set free and seek out the victims and gain entry into the body through its orifice (nose, mouth, ears, anus, or even existing wounds). The resulting illnesses are supposedly resistant to conventional medical treatment and only reveal its true nature when it succumbs, and flying insects will come out from the body. The beetles could lay eggs inside the victim’s body that may cause a post mortem. Barang can be performed through a hair strand of the victim and tie to the bug or worm, which will serve as a medium. When the sorcerer pricks the bug, the victim will immediately feel the intended effect.

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
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Usik: Pin of Death 

Usik is a method of sorcery that is similar to Barang. They both use insects or animals. The difference will be the prayer or spell during the ritual; Usik uses smaller insects. One type would be the Usik Daginut; it results in more excruciating agony to the victim as it is summoned to live inside the hair follicles or skin pores. Other versions of it use tiny sharp objects entering the victim’s body that will cause intense lacerations and terrible pain in the vital organs. The items might be a needle, pins, grains of sand, or broken glass pieces. 

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
Image: Blogger

Hilo: Poison Magic

Hilo is a Cebuano term that means poison. It is a method of sorcery that uses poison on its victim.

The sorcerer needs to build first an improvised altar of branches or stones in an enchanted or secret place. Blades should be arranged in a similar appearance to a bagakay tree (a bamboo species native to the Philippines). The sorcerer will then summon the spirits through prayer and offerings to send a snake to the altar. 

The snake will appear, gliding on the blades leaving its blood and poison in it. It will be collected by the sorcerer and mixed with a potion from a poisonous plant. The finished concoction can be used in different ways. It can be put into the victim’s drink or food or poured into the sorcerer’s hands where they can introduce it to their victim’s body by a simple touch.

The poison can be used indirectly on the victim by burying it in the ground where the target usually walks. After stepping on it, the poison will then enter the body and cause bloody discharge.

Hilo is a sorcery method that requires a high price to acquire but will give a guaranteed result. It is said to be pricey because before using elsewhere, it needs to be used first in any people living in the consignee’s house, such as their husbands/wives or children.

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
Image: The Moonlight Shop

 Paktol: Doll Magic

Paktol is a sorcery method that uses dolls as a depiction of the victim.

The first step in doing this method is by placing a doll with a piece of paper pasted on it. Written in the paper is the name of the target. While mentioning the name, the sorcerer will utter the words, “now you will suffer for what you have done to me.” After that, the sorcerer will recite the Apostle’s Creed; when they reach the part that tells about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to the cross, they will start inserting needles into the doll corresponding to the body parts of the victim. As long as the needle remains, the victim will feel the pain. 

Another way to perform Paktol is to use a skull from a person who is yet to be baptized. The ritual should be done on a Friday at noon or eight o’clock in the evening. The sorcerer will then give an offering to a specific spirit to help them in the ritual; it was said that the life-force of the unbaptized skull is the one who will plague the victim. The sorcerer should take seven leaves from the following: mangungkoy, kanomay, and balanti. The leaves should be placed in the left, right, and backside of the skull, a paper with the name of the target is placed in front of the skull. The leaves and the paper are all tied up in the skull using a nito vine or black cloth with three wedges inserted between the cloth and the skull. Then the sorcerer will make a rod out of the mentioned tree.

After that, the ritual is performed to summon the spirit and kill the person with a name written on the paper in front of the skull and tap the wedge in the skull. A chant will be repeatedly uttered while tapping the wedges. “Now you are not a living person. You are among the dead, and I have a command for you. Go to the person written there (pointing the piece of paper using the branch) and kill him.”

The sorcerer can repeat this after two weeks; the victim then will die due to severe headaches. Seven taps on the wedges should be done, and if one of the black cloth snaps, the victim will die immediately. 

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
Image: New York Post

Laga: Boiling Magic

This method requires the sorcerer to boil herbs, animal essence, and any traces, body excrement/parts, or any possessions of the victim, which shouldn’t be touched by the sorcerer. The said objects should be bounded in the leaves of mangungkong, balanti, and kanomay trees. The sorcerer should also make a makeshift tripod from the mentioned trees after calling the spirits’ help. At the same time, a pot is placed atop of the tripod containing the victim’s wrapped items and a noxious poison called Igdalaut, prepared during Good Friday at 3 in the afternoon. The ritual should be done Friday at noon or 8 in the evening.

Once all the ingredients are placed in the pot, it needs to be covered by the leaves from the three trees and should be tied using nito vine seven times around the pot. The trees mentioned above will be used to fuel the fire to boil the ingredients, along with hagnonoy, lagundi, and alipata sala. The sorcerer will lit up the branches of the tree to boiling the potion. All branch needs to be consumed; the victim will then endure body swelling, high fever, and even heart attack. 

Kulam, Barang, Mangkukulam, Sorcery
Image: Blogger

Sampal: The Sea Creature Magic

Similar to the method paktol, Sampal needs to gather body fluids or parts of the victim as depiction, any traces, and a small sea creature called Bahagbahag should be included. To find bahagbahag, one needs to use the hairs of a dead woman. The dead woman’s hair needs to be tied near the sea creature’s tail and will be placed in a basin. The sorcerer needs to make a gripper made out of the branches of mangungkong, balanti, and kanomay to hold the representation of the victim that is wrapped in leaves. Afterward, the representation needs to be inserted inside the Bahagbahag through its mouth. The mouth of Bahagbahag will be tied as well using the same hair of the dead woman. It will then be put back into the sea while tied to a rock or stick to keep it in place.

This method’s effect includes enlargement of the stomach during high tide with unbearable stomach pain until the victim’s body will burst. The sorcerer can just put the Bahagbahag into the shore and wait for it to die; it will also speed up the victim’s death. 
In every problem, there is a solution, in the same manner, that there are ways to fight back sorcery and cure the victim with the methods mentioned. Not only that the victim can be healed, but the sorcery may bounce back to the sorcerer himself. It is called Balisug.

One way to counter the sorcery is by using the Balikbalik tree’s shavings around the victim’s body. The shavings will then be divided into two piles, both wrapped with leaves of the Badyang plant. One will be buried under the branch of mangungkong, balanti, and kanomay and put fire on top. And the other pile will be carried to the sea; the carrier of the stack needs to make sure not to meet anyone along the way. The carrier needs to go into the sea where water meets its chin. On that spot, the pile needs to be buried in the sand. If conducted successfully, the curse or sorcery will return to the sorcerer.

The way to counter the Barang is through a shaman or a mananamba (healer). The mananambal will take an insect from the body of the victim. Wrap using a black cloth and place in a pot with sap from the trees of badyang, alipata, gusoguso, and sorosoro, including seven pieces of balikbalik tree. Note that fluid must be taken from the left side of the plants and trees. The pot should be covered using gabi plant leaves and put into boil using the branches of balikbalik, mangungkong, kamonay, and balanti as fuel. If made successfully, the curse or sorcery will return to the sorcerer.

For the method Usikan, a specific counter that can be used is called Dapo. It is done using boiled coconut oil mixed with 21 slices of a plant called Badiang; it needs to be wrapped in black cloth and rubbed into the affected area of the victim’s body while uttering an incantation. The objects used in Usikan can be seen inside the black cloth when opened.

Sorcery can’t be explained by science. It has been around since the earliest people on Earth. It was said to be documented through carvings in the walls of a cave. Along with the fast-changing evolution of the world, sorcery has also evolved. It has been developed to intricate systematic knowledge and practice of the supernatural.

In the Philippines, sorcery also takes the role of a healer. Although sorcery frightens most people who have never encountered such a thing, sorcery can be abused and used in wrongdoings. That makes sorcery frightening and deadly sometimes. Sorcery can also be a solution out of desperation to someone who has been hurt.

Sorcery is a skill that can be passed on to generations, it can be terrifying, but it can be a solution. It needs to be studied and observe safely, for it is a dangerous yet enticing practice.
By Kris De Vera Estrella, IFY Books

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