Savoro pes prejal, cha o Del achhel. Everything passes, only God lasts. Romani proverb
This Romani proverb reflects the spiritual thinking of the Romani people. They cherish everything because it swiftly passes and in the end they know that only God will remain. However in the mean time they believe of other spiritual beings that visit during their time here on earth. My research into the Roma’s spiritual belief took me into a very fascinating aspect that is the souls of the dead. They can be ancestors or other ghosts that come back for retribution or to counsel those they love (ROMBASE).
“Mule can appear either in human form or as animals: as dogs, cats, birds or butterflies. It is possible to distinguish them from living beings because they walk sideways (phirel seraha) and you cannot see their faces. They can even return to this world unnoticed.” (ROMBASE) It is interesting to note that their presence is most often noticed because the Roma believe, found on the Roma database, ROMBASE, that God works through the souls of the dead. These different beings, be they human or animal, act as God’s instruments to give consequences or show a sign.
Ian Hancock in his book “We are the Romani People” talked about how Roma maintain balance with the spirits so they are there to guard and help instead of punish. “The consequences of the prikaza (warning signal) underlie the universal Romani belief that nothing is an accident – that nothing happens simply by chance.” (Ian Hancock) This not only brings around the connection with the proverb but also shows the Romani’s great respect shown to the dead. Various rituals, like saving a place at the dinner table during Christmas dinner if they died half way through the year would please the dead and let the dead to find peace in the other world.
For the most part though they leave the souls of their ancestors alone, letting them sit in a corner and avoid sitting in that spot, if the ancestors can’t find rest. That way the soul of the dead can bring about their mission without interruption. Therefore in the end they can find peace and all that will remain is God.