MARTOR no. 28 / year 2023

Introduction. Witchcraft, Magic, Divination and the Twenty-First Century

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Tünde Komáromi
Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Hungary

Tünde Komáromi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication and Media Studies of the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary. She carried out three different long-term fieldworks in Romania and Russia. Her research areas: the social significance of the ideology of witchcraft (based on historical sources and contemporary research); magical and religious healing; interethnic and interreligious relations in Transylvania; contemporary Russian and Romanian Orthodoxy; orthodox religious communities (monastic communities, communities formed in the sphere of influence of priests, churches); post-Soviet conversion stories; demonic possession; exorcism; contemporary orthodox demonology.

Ileana Benga
The Folklore Archive of the Romanian Academy, Romania

Ileana Benga is senior researcher at “The Folklore Archive of the Romanian Academy” Institute in Cluj-Napoca, România (since 1997), adjunct associate professor at the Ethnology Department, Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babeș-Bolyai University (teaching traditional rituals since 2013). She is co-founder, together with Bogdan Neagota of Orma Sodalitas Anthropologica (based 2003, founded 2015) which shelters an important ethnological collective archive (begun in 1997 by Bogdan Neagota and Ileana Benga, enriched with many collaborations). Dr. Benga’s fieldwork experience spans three decades and mirrors expertise in the narrative transmission of the patterns of thought, ceremonial and ritual expressions of oral tradition, ethnological taxonomies and cultural transmission in the short and long diachrony.

Bogdan Neagota
“Babeș-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
ORCID: 0000-0003-0965-3385

Bogdan Neagota is historian of religions and ethnologist/anthropologist, associate professor (senior lecturer) at the Department of Classical Languages and Literatures from the “Babeş-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, where he is giving courses of Latin literature, history of ancient religions, folklore & ethno-anthropology. He is also co-founder (in collaboration with Ileana Benga) of an ethno-antropological group (starting from 2004), Orma Sodalitas Anthropologica, with a large archive (audio and visual ethnographic materials), covering field research made by B. Neagota, I. Benga and their collaborators in the last 18 years, especially in rural areas from Romania, Italy, Serbia and Ukraine ( Its research topics covers different aspects of the popular cultures, from the oral narrative traditions to the seasonal and family ceremoniality, popular religiosity (magic, daemonology, folk piety, pilgrimages etc.).

PAGES: 7-12.

KEYOWORDS: Witchcraft; magic; divination; Romanian fieldwork; twenty-first century.


Magic, witchcraft, and divination have been intensely exploited fields throughout the history of anthropological thought. One of the relevance for focusing on this topic in the twenty-first century is that no other field could connect better postmodernity to the past and present of “traditional” societies; another possible focal point is that the magic and witchcraft practices give voice to represent fine recorders for social change within contemporary societies. The “Introduction” of this special issue of Martor overviews the research on this topic in Romania, done in the late twentieth century, but also in these past 23 years, and presents the articles that are included in the volume.


Komáromi, Tünde, Ileana Benga, and Bogdan Neagota. 2023. “Introduction. Witchcraft, Magic, Divination and the Twenty-First Century.” Martor 28: 7-12. [DOI: 10.57225/martor.2023.28.01]

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