The Romany People
The Romany are as diverse a people as any
other cultural group, but share many things in common with each
other. Their traveling lifestyles were born of necessity, early in
their history earning their living from selling their talents and wares as
they traveled from village to village and marketplaces between. Telling
fortunes, repairing goods, sharpening tools, shoeing horses, ... using
many trades and many forms of exchange and barter.
Because their numbers split off into
different directions; some from India, Egypt and Turkey, some continued on
up through central and eastern Europe, we see in tradition and code of
behavior a common theme. They were not content as land owners nor were
they educated in the ways of land law. Theirs was a life of being on the
move, content with it. The language of the Rom bears no relation to
Romanian, although there is percentage of Rom in Romania. Their language
has its roots in the east, India and related areas.
The reputation, pushed along by the
ill-informed, of gypsies as miscreants and thieves, tramps and cheats, is
a stereotype that has hurt the Rom and other gypsy groups and cultures
around the world. Yes, like any culture, there are those who act
contrary to decency and the morality of the clan. However, gypsy
people are a faithful and hardworking people in general. Those who leave
their bad reputations behind are usually shunned by the larger circle of
Gypsy magic is a combination of pagan
magic, old traditions, adherence to superstition, with a blend of saint
and angel work. Like an eclectic pot of old and solid well-used
methods of spiritual and mystical tradition.
Herbs are a large part of old world magic,
dried or fresh when in season, the gathering was a solemn responsibility
among traveling populations. They were used for cooking, healing and
magic, not to mention their tradability at markets. Nothing was
taken for granted.
As cultures became fixed, taking hold of
land and settling in permanently, the traveling clans were looked upon as
unfortunates or with disdain. (yet when needed, people would see a
gypsy for a prediction, a reading, etc.) The same thing happened with
travelers around the world. Travelers found themselves on the bottom
of the social scale.
The wise women (Shuvani) were considered
among the elders most valuable to the tribe. She was / is the
healer, the wise one to whom you went with a question or
Readings by way of tea leaves and cards,
various bits and pieces, were common. People went to gypsies, feeling that
they had a connection to the cosmos, they lived out in the open, under the
stars, a connection to the earth, not to mention an age-old bouquet of
successes with healing.
The Romany people are under some serious
pressure in Europe and other areas, where discrimination and racism are
factors they must contend with.
2009 © EmeraldGypsy.com
J. Thompson Scheffler
Rom Fact and Fiction