Mongols

Weather-Conjuring among the Mongols.

There are many allusions in Mongol history to the practice of weather-conjuring. The operation was performed by means of a stone supposed to be endowed with magical virtues, called Yadah  or Jadah Tásh ; this was suspended over or hung in a basin of water with sundry ceremonies. Ibn Mohalhal, an early Arab traveller, asserts that the Kímák, a great tribe of the Turks, possessed such a stone. In the war waged against Chinghiz and Aung Khan by a powerful tribal confederation in 1202, it is recorded that Sengun, the son of Aung Khan, who had been despatched to arrest the enemy's advance, caused them to be enchanted, so that all the movements they attempted against him were defeated by dense mists and blinding snow-storms. So thick was the mist, so intense was the darkness, that men and horses stumbled over precipices, and many also perished with cold.

The celebrated conqueror, Timur, in his Memoirs, records that the Jets resorted to incantations to produce heavy rains which hindered his cavalry from acting against them. A Yadachi, or weather-conjuror, was taken prisoner, and after he had been beheaded the storm ceased.

Babu refers to one of his early friends, Khwaja ka Mulai, as conspicuous for his skill in falconry and his knowledge of Yadageri, or the science of inducing rain and snow by means of enchantment. The Russians were much distressed by heavy rains in 1552, when besieging Kazan, and universally ascribed the unfavourable weather to the arts of the Tartar queen, who was an enchantress.

Early in the 18th century, the Emperor Shi-tsung issued a proclamation against rain-conjuring, addressed to the Eight Banners of Mongolia. “If,” indignantly observes the Emperor, “if I, offering prayers in sincerity, have yet cause to fear that it may please heaven to leave my  prayer unanswered, it is truly intolerable that mere common people wishing for rain should of their own fancy set up altars of earth; and bring together a rabble of Hoshang (Buddhist Bonzes) and Taossi to conjure the spirits to gratify their wishes.”

The belief in the efficacy of weather-conjuring prevailed all over Europe. In the Cento Novelle Antiche, certain necromancers gave specimens of their skill before the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa; and the weather began to be overcast; and lo, of a sudden rain fell with continued thunders and lightnings, as if the world were come to an end, and hailstones of the size and appearance of steel caps.