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The 2022 conference of the ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming 6–9 September 2022, Riga (Latvia)

Theme | Registration | Programme | Abstracts | Info

Photo by Indriķis Stūrmanis


Programme (pdf)

Tuesday, September 6

16.00–18.00. Conference opening, reception
The National Library of Latvia, Mūkusalas street 3
Aigars Lielbārdis (Conference organizing committee)
Eva Eglāja-Kristsone (Director of the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia)
Rita Grīnvalde (Head of the Archives of Latvian Folklore, ILFA)
Jonathan Roper (Chair, Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming, ISFNR)

The 2022 conference of the ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming 6–9 September 2022, Riga (Latvia)

Wednesday, September 7
The National Library of Latvia, Mūkusalas street 3

Session 1. Chair: Aigars Lielbārdis
9.30.–10.00. Jonathan Roper. Chugg’s Charms: Authenticity, Typicality and Sources
10.00.–10.30. Andrey Toporkov. Russian Versions of "The Dream of the Virgin": Problems of the Social Functioning of a Non-canonical Text

10.30.–11.00. Coffee

Session 2. Chair: Jonathan Roper
11.00.–11.30. Daiva Vaitkevičienė. Prayers and Verbal Charms in Lithuanian Oral Literature: One or Two Genres?
11.30.–12.00. Laura Jiga Iliescu. “This 'Mother of God Prayer' Comes like a Charm”: Considerations on a Terminological Issue in the Frames of the Charm Genre
12.00.–12.30. Tuukka Karlsson. Kalevala-metric Communicative Incantations: Discussing Canonical Terminology of Finno-Karelian Knowledge Objects
12.30.–13.00. Frog. Para-Incantations and Para-Charms More Generally

13.00.–14.00. Dinner

Session 3. Chair: Katherine Hindley
14.00.–14.30. James Deutsch. The Scientific, Religious, and Charming Practices of Hyomei During the Influenza Pandemic
14.30.–15.00. Alessandra Mastrangelo. Verbal Charms in the Context of Healing Practices in 19th century Sweden: The Case of a Healing Book
15.00.–15.30. Ilona Tuomi. License to Kill: An Investigation of Frog Coffins and the Social Logic of Magic

15.30.–16.00. Coffee

Session 4. Chair: Mare Kõiva
16.00.–16.30. Nidhi Mathur. Sadhguru, great mystic from India, on healing Sadhguru, Great Mystic from India, on Healing
16.30.–17.00. Kira Kyrgys. Tuvan Charms and Their Relationship with the Worship of Nature

Thursday, September 8
The National Library of Latvia, Mūkusalas street 3

Session 1. Chair: James Deutsch
9.00.–9.30. Davor Nikolić, Evelina Rudan, Josipa Tomašić. The Status of Charmers, Charming and Charms in the Ethnographic Discourse of Ethnographic Monographs at the Turn of the 20th Century
9.30.–10.00. Inna Veselova. Men and Magic in a Soviet Village
10.00.–10.30. Danila Rygovskiy. Illness as Blessing, Illness as Penance: Discourse and Practices in Old Believer Monasteries

10.30.–11.00. Coffee

Session 2. Chair: Ilona Tuomi
11.00.–11.30. Mare Kõiva, Tatziana Valodzina. Transmission of Knowledge: A Comparison of Belarusian and Estonian Traditions
11.30.–12.00. Lubov’ Golubeva, Sofia Kupriyanova. The Transmission of Magic Knowledge in the Healing of Baby Diseases
12.00.–12.30. Julia Marinicheva, Angelina Potasheva. Magic Knowledge Transfer: A Knower and a Successor
12.30.–13.00. Kira Sadoja. Healers’ Codes of Behavior in Rural Areas of the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine

13.00.–14.00. Dinner

Session 3. Chair: Tuukka Karlsson
14.00.–14.30. Katherine Hindley. Vernacular Charms and the Vernacular Bible in Medieval England
14.30.–15.00. Aigars Lielbārdis. The Formation of the Vernacular Religion in Latvia: Traces of the Jesuit Legacy
15.00.–15.30. Aleksi Moine. Finno-Karelian Incantations and Networks of Non-human Agents: How to Talk About Vernacular Christianity?

15.30.–16.00. Coffee

16.00.–17.00. Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming meeting. Chair: Jonathan Roper

18.30. Conference dinner

Friday, September 9

10.00.–14.00. Excursion to the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum (


At various times and in various societies, there have existed, alongside the texts and practices based on the canons of science and religion, other unofficial but widely practiced traditions. The traditions of charms and folk medicine feature traits of both “high” cultures and peripheral otherness, in practices that have interacted over time. Historically, their co-existence has often been peaceful and complementary, though at times violent as well. Traditions practiced by the masses could be banned and persecuted. This clash was based on the values of different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups, as well as economic considerations. At the same time, the antagonism between these values enriched tradition, whether that was clashes between the official religion and folk religion, permitted and forbidden medicine, or proper and deluded texts and practices among others. Priests, monks and educated doctors have fought for the right to heal the people; church canons, prayers, and the cult of saints have influenced folk traditions; the development of conventional medicine has changed local traditions, while local conditions have determined the regional peculiarities of the official religion and conventional medicine.

This conference aims to focus on canonical and non-canonical texts and practices, and their co-existence and interaction over time. The conference also invites discussion on the terminology and methodology of the discipline, analogue and digital resources, and future perspectives. Applicants were encouraged to focus on the following topics:

– canonical and non-canonical healing practices and texts;
– learned and lay medical texts and traditions;
– monastic and folk healing traditions;
– the transmission and dissemination of healing texts and practices;
– the dichotomy of religion and magic;
– the punishment of charmers over time;
– wrongdoing and correct practices;
– national and regional peculiarities of charms and charming;
– the framing of folk religion and vernacular;
– digital and audio-visual resources involving charm texts and tradition.

The conference has been supported by the International Society for Folk Narrative Research, basic budgeted sub-programme 05.04.00 “The Krišjānis Barons Cabinet of Folksongs” of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Latvia, and the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia. The conference take place in Riga as a hybrid event for both in-person and online participation.


Online registration is still open until Monday 5 September by filling in the registration form


Abstracts (pdf)


Contact person: Aigars Lielbārdis


Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of the University of Latvia

Archives of Latvian Folklore

ISFNR Committee on Charms, Charmers and Charming

Conference venue

The conference will take place in Riga as a hybrid event for both in-person and online participation. The online participation will be ensured via the Zoom online platform.

National Library of Latvia
Mūkusalas street 3, Rīga


All restriction related to the Covid–19 is cancelled at this moment but as the situation is varying, please follow to updated information about traveling to Latvia on the website:
and on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Latvia homepage.

The conference venue will be located in the building of the National Library of Latvia (Mūkusalas street 3, Riga). Since 2014 it is also the home of Archives of Latvian Folklore and grants well-equipped premises that provide all necessities for a scholarly meeting.

IT services and support Wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) is available throughout the conference venue. Staff at the venue will be available to provide technical and IT support.

It is highly recommended to take identification documents with you!

The entrance to the National Library of Latvia on September 6–8 will be possible with identification document only. Please note that all bags (also small bags) must be left at the lockers at the cloakroom if you enter the library premises outside the conference room! All valuable items could be transferred to the special transparent bags. Safety deposit for the key – 1 EUR coin (notes could be changed in the special box on the wall). Coin will be returned when the key is placed back to the locker.

How to access

The venue of the meeting is easily accessible from the city centre by public transport, taxi or walking. Trams (No. 1, 2, 5) and buses (No. 22 and No. 3) run close to all the hotels, cross the bridge and stop close to the conference venue at the stop 'Nacionālā bibliotēka'.

Travel and getting around

By air: Riga International Airport is served by many international airlines and by the local company AirBaltic.

The public transport that goes to Riga International Airport and back is Bus No.22 . A regular ticket for one trip can be bought from the bus driver (price 2.00 EUR), but if you buy it beforehand at the small store (e.g. Narvesen) or self-service ticket vending machine, a one-way ticket will only cost you 1.15 EUR. Other tickets that can be used for public transport (excluding orange express buses): 1-hour ticket 2.30 EUR, 24-hour ticket 5.00 EUR and 3-day ticket 10.00 EUR.

Riga City Centre and other destinations from the Airport can also be reached by using taxi (average fare price 15-20 EUR).

By sea: The Stockholm – Riga line is served by Tallink.

By land: There is a bus service between Riga and many European countries. This route is served by Lux Express, Eurolines, Ecolines, and others.

There is an international passenger train service between Riga and Minsk, Kyiv, Moscow, St. Petersburg. This route is served by LDZ CARGO Ltd.

Public transport in Riga:

Information about public transport

Ticket prices


Commonly hotel reservations are made via or The hotels listed below are among the most known hotels in Rīga.

Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel
Address: Kuģu iela 24, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 0.5km

Bellevue Park Hotel Riga
Address: Slokas iela 1, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1km

Wellton Riverside SPA Hotel
Address: 11. novembra krastmala 33, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1km

Wellton Centrum Hotel & SPA
Address: Kalēju iela 33, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1.4km

Wellton Riga Hotel & SPA
Address: Vaļņu iela iela 49, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1.5km

Rixwell Hotel Konventa Seta
Address: Kalēju iela 9/11, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1.5km

Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel
Address: Minsterejas iela 8/10, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1.1km

Park Inn by Radisson Riga Valdemara
Address: Krogus iela 1, Riga. Distance to the conference venue: 1.4km


National Library of Latvia

The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia


Last time modified: 04.09.2022 21:38:00