Mora is a bad spirit in the form of a woman who comes at night and does not let people sleep as it brings bad dreams.
In Bosnia, a mora was said to beat children, in some places even to breastfeed them. If a man had pain in the chest area, people said that a mora sucked him.
The mora is known in a large part of Europe, especially in the southern countries.
Over time, people imagined moras very differently; once they took the form of beautiful women, then the form of squatting ugly, goblin-like creatures. Sometimes a mora is a beautiful woman in white, sometimes in the shape of a horse or a wolf. In some places she was even imagined without skin, so that all the internal organs could be seen.
She comes very covertly; she is so flexible that she can even come through the keyhole. She can also change into a witch.
But how can we protect ourselves from the mora?
Our ancestors drew and engraved an ancient sign on cradles, beds and other objects – a six-leafed sign of a “morca” to drive her away. “Trutamora” or “morina taca” is a pentagram that has a strong protective power. Sometimes »trutamora« was embroidered onto white shirts with a red thread to protect babies from so called death in the cradle.”
To protect people, the broom was also turned upside down in the bedroom.
A state of sleep paralysis that can last only a few seconds or even minutes before we fall asleep or when we wake up is sometimes also associated with the mora.
Interestingly, paralysis sometimes also contains hallucinations. People report noticing shadows, human or animal shapes in the room, hearing voices, the sound of footsteps, a feeling of pressure on the chest, a feeling of suffocation.
Mora is definitely not pleasant. Anything that deprives us of sleep and rest is not good for our health and mental balance. However, dreams, even those bad ones, are a way of communicating with a part of our brain that tells us a story about ourselves through symbolic images that we can decipher. Where are our fears, why do we have them, where do they come from. Quite often, they even offer us solutions, but we often do not see them because we forgot to communicate through symbols, but the ancient peoples were real masters in this area.
When we understand our dreams, we will better understand ourselves and eliminate our fears and anxieties, and thus the mora will not visit us either.
art & text: Irena Petrič