04 May, 2019
"Repeat after me! To be together with who I want."
Those instructions come from a family of Romanian witches, who are doing a video call with a person in India.
The person is paying the witches to cast a spell - a group of secret words that are believed to have magic power when spoken.
The Internet and the Witch Community
Witchcraft is traditional in the eastern European country.
The rise of the internet and social media have helped to grow the business of Romania's witch community. Many the country's estimated 4,000 witches are now getting customers from Europe, Asia and the United States.
"A truly powerful witch can solve problems from a distance," explains 20-year-old witch Cassandra Buzea.
Buzea said her generation had persuaded the older one about the powers of the ‘selfie,' referring to images people take of themselves. Her mother quickly supported the idea.
"Nothing's changed, the craft is the same, but now it's much easier for us to be in contact with clients from other countries," said Mihaela Minca, who taught her daughter Cassandra the family craft.
The witches hold many of their online meetings in a small building about 15 kilometers north of Bucharest, Romania.
They would not say how much money they earn, but they did say that a tarot reading starts at around 50 euros, or around $56.
Other more complex services, however, last weeks and can run into the hundreds.
Involvement in Politics
Minca said she connected online with nine witches and wizards from across Europe and the United States. Their goal: to make magic against Romanian lawmakers seen by witches as corrupt.
Streamed online, the group performed a magic act with their overseas partners. The act was to punish "those who don't do their jobs, those who have bad intentions," Minca said. She said those targeted by the magic "will lose their positions and suffer health problems."
The non profit anti-corruption organization Transparency International, says Romania is one of the EU's most corrupt states. The European Commission, based in Brussels, has kept the country's judicial system under special monitoring since it joined the bloc in 2007.
Romania's ruling Social Democrats proposed changes to the country's crime laws last year. The European Commission said the proposed changes could undo years of democratic and market reforms.
Minca said she and her fellow witches plan to use the power of the internet once more ahead of May's European parliament elections, "for the good of the country."
I'm John Russell.
Emily Wither reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Catherine Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
cast – v. to send or direct (something) in the direction of someone or something
craft – n. a job or activity that requires special skill
tarot – n. a set of 78 cards with pictures and symbols that is used to see what will happen in the future
ritual – n. a formal ceremony or series of acts that is always performed in the same way
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