Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Domavoi for Sale/Adoption/FREE

Alas, the domavoi, Russian house sprite, is harassing me so I am putting it up for adoption/sale/giving it away. Yes, I know my house is in Georgia, but the house was made during the Soviet period, so I am going to assume it has one.
Several frustrating scenarios have occurred since I have arrived. For instance, the other night, I was walking down the stairwell, which has no lighting, when I stepped on a random cactus. I have no clue from where this cactus came.   Luckily, I only had three big thorns that could easily be taken out by tweezers, but why did it have to happen?
Eventually, I fell asleep last night deciding to be proactive by going running in the morning.
Up until today, I have been too worried to exercise. Exercising doesn’t really exist here. Although my host cousin tells me that she does yoga in her apartment back in Tbilisi and runs in the yard while in the village. Previous volunteers warned me about the hassles of exercising outside of the yard. Some advice included a list of inappropriate clothing one should not wear, reasons why you will always be stared at (because people wonder to where are you running and why so quickly), and to watch out for village dogs who will chase you.  But after talking to another volunteer who lives several villages away about the inevitability of gaining weight if we didn’t do something now, I decided to give running a try.
So this morning, I went running/walking and gasping for air up the mountain (it could have been a really big hill, I don’t know) to the peach orchards that my family owns. My run was frequently halted by herds of sheep, getting hit by figs falling from the sky, and rocky paths that were too dangerous to run.  But I managed to get a work out, and headed back home proud of conquering my fear.
Then the domavoi struck. I went into the bathroom to take a shower, and there was no electricity. This meant I couldn’t take a shower. I am now used to not having electricity during the day, but not when I want to shower. My host mother and father explained that I would have to take a bucket bath. When hearing the sound of those words strung together, I wanted to cry. I wanted to find the small panjuri hammer and throw a tantrum like my little friend. However, since I am not a one year old, I told myself to save those tears for a time when I would really need them, and drink coffee instead.  I drank two cups of coffee and had breakfast while I waited for the 10 liter bucket to boil. I dreaded every moment that went by, praying to all the world’s deities that the electricity would turn on, but alas no one listened; I had to take the bucket bath.
I managed to take the bucket bath. In order to have a bucket bath, you need two buckets of water, one that is cold and one that is hot. You have to mix the two in a pitcher and bathe accordingly. Let’s just say, I survived and was proud once more that I had conquered yet another challenge. As I was walking up the stairs to my room, I was pondering how these moments of great satisfaction, like running in the peach orchards, are always followed by another challenge, aka the bucket bath. And as I walked into my room, the electricity turned on.  ….Not cool, Mr. House Sprite. I really needed to wash my hair today.

So if anyone has literature about how to get rid of domavois or the rules of switching them to another house, I send it my way. I would love to know. 


  1. From the Wikipedia

    Traditionally, every house is said to have its domovoi. It does not do evil unless angered by a family’s poor keep of the household, profane language or neglect. The domovoi is seen as the home's guardian, and he sometimes helps with household chores and field work. Some even treat them as part of the family, albeit an unseen one, and leave them gifts like milk and biscuits in the kitchen overnight. To attract a Domovoi, go outside of your house wearing your best clothing and say aloud "Grandfather Dobrokhot, please come into my house and tend the flocks." To rid yourself of a rival Domovoi, beat your walls with a broom, shouting "Grandfather Domovoi, help me chase away this intruder." When moving, make an offering to the Domovoi and say "Domovoi! Domovoi! Don't stay here but come with our family!"

    The favorite place for these spirits to live is either the threshold under the door or under the stove. The center of the house is also their domain. The Domovoi maintains peace and order, and rewards a well-maintained household. Peasants feed him nightly in return for protection of their house. When a new house was built, the Polish homeowner would attract one of the domovye by placing a piece of bread down before the stove was put in, and the Russian one would coerce the old house's domovoi to move with the family by offering an old boot as a hiding place. People made sure they only kept animals the domovoi liked, as he would torment the ones he did not. Salted bread wrapped in a white cloth would appease this spirit, and putting clean white linen in his room was an invitation to eat a meal with the family. Hanging old boots in the yard was another way to cheer him. The domovoi was also an oracle, as his behavior could foretell or forewarn about the future. He would pull hair to warn a woman of danger from an abusive man. He would moan and howl to warn of coming trouble. If he showed himself, it forewarned of death, and if he was weeping it was said to be a death in the family. If he was laughing, good times could be expected, and if he strummed a comb there would be a wedding in the future.

    The domovoi does have a more malicious side. Although one's own domovoi could be considered an ally, the domovoi from a neighboring household brought no happiness. Russian folklore says that a domovoi could harass horses in the stable overnight, as well as steal the grain of a neighbour to feed his own horses. Still, domoviye could befriend one another and were said to gather together for loud winter parties.

    If a domovoi becomes unhappy, it plays nasty tricks on the members of the household. Those include moving and rattling small objects, breaking dishes, leaving muddy little footprints, causing the walls of a house to creak, banging on pots and moaning. If the family can determine the cause of their domovoi's discontent, they can rectify the situation and return things to normal. If not, the spirit's tricks may escalate in intensity, coming to more closely resemble those of a poltergeist (cf. tomte), or he may threaten to stifle people in their beds (this myth is likely to be based on sleep paralysis). More often than not, however, families live in harmony with the spirits, and no problems arise.

    Domovoi also like to make the sound, "He! He! He!, Ho! Ho!, Ho!" when they are excited or happy.

  2. Ask St. Benedict to pray for you. He is the patron saint of home protection.

  3. I had some really nice bucket baths in Togo and I totally managed to wash my hair. You just have to pour on some water and then suds and pour on some more. Also hot water, that's golden. Does the electricity just go off at random? I always found that to be entertaining.