The Romanian government needs money. Now, all governments always need money—or at least that’s what they say—but Romanian government officials have now decreed their nation’s financial straits to be so dire as to require levying a 16% tax on the income earned by the nation’s witches, astrologers, and fortune-tellers.
Some witches are turning to black pepper and yeast, in order to sow discord within the government. From the banks of the Danube River, other witches have hurled mandrake root into the waters, calling Wrongness down upon the president and his associates.
Said president, Traian Basescu, is believed to have taken to wearing purple, the royal color, in order to deflect the wrath of the witches.
Bratara Buzea, self-identified “Queen Witch,” warns that “we do harm to those who harm us. They want to take the country out of this crisis using us? They should get us out of the crisis because they brought us into it.” Buzea, who was imprisoned in 1977 for practicing withcraft by former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, promised that “my curses always work.”
Buzea is employing several sister witches in a ceremony that relies upon cat excrement and a dead dog to Bring Badness to those who would rake in her coin.
Other Romanian witches are not so roiled: they’re just glad their craft has at last been legalized.
Witch Melissa Minca told The Associated Press she was “happy that we are legal,” as she chanted and cast a spell on the banks of the Chitila River in southern Romania.
“This law is very good,” said Mihaela Minca, sister of Melissa. “It means that our magic gifts are recognized and I can open my own practice.
“From my point of view, this law adopted now is very good and I’m very happy because the Romanian government considered that our magic skills, which are recognized and accepted worldwide, are now authorized in Romania too.”
Witchcraft in Romania is not some quaint relic of earlier times. It is instead deeply embedded in Romanian culture. More than 80% of Romanians identify with the Orthodox Church, which tolerates the practice. Businesses consult witches in an attempt to boost profits; witches staff stands at the country’s trade fairs. Football teams employ witches to cast spells on opposing teams. In this age of the intertubes, some Romanian witches practice the craft online.
Former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife Elena, maintained their own personal witch, but were so afraid others might rely on the same powers that high-profile witches were locked in the slammer. Ceausescu also imprisoned practitioners of transcendental meditation, and closed down the psychology departments in the nation’s universities, fearing even these people Might Get Him.
Romanian Judge Elena Simionescu was in 2007 relieved of her position as court president, and her salary reduced for three months, when she “was accused of being a witch—alleged by court staff, judges and prosecutors, to perform rituals of splashing water, mud and ‘other liquids,’ as well as salt and pepper, on fellow judges’ desks.”
The practice was said as an attempt to bewitch and tried to cast spells on them, creating a conflicting atmosphere during her term as a president of the court in Vatra Dornei, in eastern Romania.
She denied the accusations, telling investigators, “I splash my colleagues’ desks with holy water every day, in the spirit of good Christians’ rituals.”
But a local lawyer claimed she had many quarrels with people working in the court, and they were all convinced that she was casting spells.
Inspectors investigating the complaint concluded that Judge Simionescu used “unorthodox methods with her court colleagues and maintained a constant tension by using occult practices and witchcraft.”
The most recent Romanian presidential election is said to have turned on witchcraft:
The Romanian president himself has a cozy relationship with the beyond. Last January, would-be president Mircea Geoana told the media he lost the election to incumbent Traian Basescu because Basescu’s witch put a hex on him.
Photos showed clairvoyant Aliodor Manolea [pictured below] walking just behind the president before an important debate, during which Manolea hit Geoana with a “negative energy attack,” the runner-up claimed.
A Basescu spokesman admitted Manolea was around a lot but not officially part of the campaign staff.
Mihaela, [Geoana's] wife, claimed he “was very badly attacked, he couldn’t concentrate.” Romanians mocked the former foreign minister, saying he was a bad loser.
But the recent publication of photos showing well-known parapsychologist Aliodor Manolea—his specialities include deep mind control, clairvoyance and hypnotic trance—was close to the President during his re-election campaign, has caused Romanians to wonder whether he really did put a hex on his rival.
It has since been the talk of the nation, when the daily Evenimentul Zilei wrote in an editorial: “The Evil Witch Defeated Geoana.”
It seems that the president have some sort of Hocus Pocus Experts (let’s call them HPE) that use their energy for defeating his political enemies. These HPE use the mystical violet flame to kneel their targets.
The people outside Băsescu’s ruling party said that on Thursday, most of his people were wearing violet clothes, scarfs, neckties or document holders. His political enemies are terrified that all this esoteric influence will bring them misfortune and it’s very possible that after violet flame, black magic will be next. We are a loving God people, we believe in witches, violet flames, white and black magic and all things related to that and our ruler must be the best of . . . everything, so it’s not that weird that he won the presidential elections using violet flame.
Because of the increasing number of people who are afraid of the violet flame influence, 5 witches sent of Ciresica, “good Christians with powerful healing abilities,” are trying to unbind the violet flame curse from Romanian Parliament.
Cireșica (the only Romanian witch that wrote 6 magic related books) said that a couple of years ago a flock of black birds entered the Parliament building and since then this institution is haunted by ghosts and spells and this ritual is “for the sake of the country.” Because this ritual was going to be broadcast on TV, they tried to make a show look as truthful: “Cast away the evil from the Romanian Government, let the Romanian country be clean of spells, of curses, let it have a clean and lit government who will bring us good news. I have stopped and removed the flame of evil and the curse of the Romanian Parliament by the flock of black birds. Let all evil and spells go away from the Parliament . . . Evil, get out from our country and the brains of Presidents and leaders.” Well, this is not the exact translation but it’s close to it.
Here is an account of modern-day Romanian witches who do not seem to be involved in politics, translated into English from another tongue, presumably Romanian:
Minodora, along with two of the six daughters, came especially from Bucharest to advise and help with love problems, “clujenii” who were victim of black magic or want to know the future. In a small room on the street Korea, Minodora hide their tarot cards, magic plants and objects that help spells.
She began work at age witch 15 years. “It was a gift, inheritance so that only family can. The magic can not teach the book,” said Minodora . . . .
She learned “profession” and the old and the mother caterpillar, who is her aunt. At first, when not making announcements in the press, customers were only involved in witch case. “In the evening we all gathered Sanziene and make a big fire, rituals and then show us where is the world need us and we go there,” said Dora, daughter Minodora. Thus, the witches are divided and wine where I feel it’s needed . . . .
He had family and children, but has cheated wife. “Adventure has not visited and he wanted to retire. Mistress paid a witch spells to make them black and so’s family fell apart,” explained Minodora. His wife called witches and support, participating in all sorts of rituals, he did better . . . .
Many come from other counties in order to ask for help witches. They say they only better. “We can bring peace and quiet, to solve drink, to solve weddings that were connected by the black magic out quick silver, and other descantam stress and insomnia,” said the witch. But all this can not be made unless the client advice you witches and the “treatment.”
“What is there to tax, when we hardly earn anything?” complains witch Alisia. She asserts that her income is so small that the notion of taxing it is “foolish.”
“The lawmakers don’t look at themselves, at how much they make, their tricks,” she told the Associated Press news agency.
“They steal and they come to us asking us to put spells on their enemies,” she said.
Astrologer Maria Sarbu likewise scoffs at the notion that her people are rolling in the dough.
“Astrologers are seen as riddles, like wizards and so on. Most astrologers do things with passion. So, perhaps the government will get more passion than money, because not so many people come to the astrologer.”
However, there are those in Romania who believe that the nation’s witches, or at least some of them, earn quite the tidy sum.
“You only need to see what sort of places they live in to know they are earning a fortune,” groused Andrei Chiliman, mayor of Bucharest’s First District. Chiliman in 2006 decreed in his domain the first witch-census in the nation, a practice that has since spread throughout the country. “And that means they owe the taxman huge amounts of money.”
“If they sell something, whether it’s a potion or a curse, they need to pay tax,” Mr Chiliman added. “And by registering them we will allow unsatisfied customers to sue them if they don’t get what they paid for.”
There are an estimated 4000 witches divining for dollars in Romania. Those who believe Romanian witches enjoy a lifestyle commensurate with the rich and famous claim witches can command from $14 to $142 per spell, in a country where the average monthly income is $238.
Back in 2006, as Chiliman sent his witchfinders out across his lands, Maria Campina, White Magic Queen, railed:
“The state has not educated us. If they set up a witchcraft academy with the tax money, then we would pay—but until then we won’t be paying anything.
“We already do a lot for our country. Whenever there is an important Christian celebration, we perform a ritual to protect the country from natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, and ask for prosperity for Romania. That has to be worth more than any tax income.”
Romanian tax inspector Emil Popescu responded that, regardless of what services Romanian witches might perform for their country, “we cannot accept payment in kind.”
It was in 2006 that Gabriela Ciucur, then 31, became the country’s first legally registered witch.
“The authorities sent me home and told me it was ridiculous at first. But we finally reached a deal and registered my company as dealing with astrology and connections to the spirit world.”
[Ciucur] sees up to seven clients a day and charges around [$9.50] a session.
She gives receipts to her clients for work that includes star-gazing, fortune-telling and talking to the dead.
She said: “I registered myself because I wanted to sleep peacefully at night after hearing the taxman was going to start checking on witches who make lots of money, have luxury houses and don’t pay anything to the state.”
Ciucur remained the nation’s only legal witch until the recent decree both legalizing, and taxing, the practice.
This “tax the spirit-finders” crusade is a reflection of the Romanian government’s increasingly desperate need for money. In 2006 the government considered legalizing, so that it might be taxed, prostitution. Last year it decided to tax fast food, the pittance old people receive in pensions, and even the allowances of children. Still, the country has been brought so low as to have to cut back on Christmas.
Last fall, thousands of people took to the streets in Romania to demand that the government rescind a 25 percent cut in all state employees’ salaries effective as of July 1, and restore the “wage incentives” that constitute up to 60 percent of state workers’ incomes.
Like the rest of the West, Romania is entering “the age of austerity”; red cards proffered by the demonstrators read: “No To Austerity.”
Eventually teachers and policemen joined the protests, which centered around government buildings, on one occasion preventing Finance Minister Gheorghe Ialomitianu from fleeing the premises “because protesters booed him every time he tried to get out of the office.”
Ialomitianu eventually got out of the building with help of security forces, but protesters threw papers at him as he left.
The finance minister calls the protests illegal and says those who aren’t at work won’t be paid for the days they’re off the job. He needed protection when he went to the ministry Thursday.
All work ministry employees in the capital, Bucharest, and around the country joined the finance ministry protests, said Ingrid Moldoveanu, general secretary of the National Public Employees Union.
They are protesting in front of their buildings across the country, angry about the revocation of wage incentives, Moldoveanu said.
The wage incentives had made up as much as 60 percent of the employees’ total income before they were taken away in July. The incentive money had been a redistribution of funds that came from outside the government’s budget, for example from uncovering tax evasion cases.
And lo: here we see the reason for the witch-fleecing. To attempt to restore some of the monies paid to state workers in wage incentives, the government seeks to increase revenues accumulated through tracking down tax evaders. Declaring witches, astrologers, fortune-tellers, and the like, legal, makes their incomes taxable: if they don’t pay, they become evaders, and their monies may be scooped up by the state and distributed among its unruly workers.
The Romanian government, then, is attempting its own sort of magic. Or at least sleight-of-hand. Of course, sometimes the magic works. But sometimes it doesn’t.