Wednesday 11 May 2016

The Talason #FaeVisions

Guest post by Vladimia Becić

Casa Encantada, based on original by Lolatower, CC-BY-SA
Belief in the talason is spread out throughout the Balkans, either under the same or similar name. In Macedonia it used to be called the talas'mim, and in Bosnia either the tilisum or the tilisun.

Talason is the spirit-protector of a building and it ties itself exclusively to it, not the ones that inhabit it. For this reason, the talason is considered to be a mythical creature that relates to places, not people. Its main purpose is to protect the building from people who approach it with bad intentions.

A talason can protect public buildings such as post offices, town halls or schools. However, a talason can protect family homes as well, but in that case it does not represent an ancestral spirit, like, for example, Roman Lares and Penates, and it is in no relation to the inhabitants of the house. Even though it is invisible to humans, according to legend, it can be seen by those born on a Tuesday or Saturday. A talason appears to them in a form of a dark shape or a shadow. There are also mentions of it being seen by dogs.

The relationship between talasons and shadows sprouts from the belief that a shadow is an equivalent of a man's soul, and that the soul/shadow and body can be separated. It was also believed that, through separation from the body, a man's soul would tie itself to a building. During construction, builders would wait for a passer-by's shadow to fall upon the foundations, measure its length and build the measurement into the foundations. For this they would strictly use silk thread. It is during the measuring that the soul/shadow separates from the body. The person whose shadow was measured and built into the foundations usually falls ill and dies within forty days. Their soul becomes inextricably bound to the building and becomes known as the spirit-protector of the building, i.e. its talason.

Since builders secretly measured the shadows of passers-by in order to ensure a building got its spirit-protector, people tended to avoid building sites, and mothers forbade their children to go near them.

According to tradition, the protection of buildings used to be ensured by walling up living people inside the foundations. That way the spirit of the victim would become the protector, i.e. the talason. Allegedly this method used to be applied in the Balkans. Later on, it was replaced by the more subtle version of measuring the shadow with silk thread.

Vladimira Becić’s “The Scythe and the Hourglass” can be found in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean.

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