Welcome to my new home on the Web. We all get busy with life and for me its no different. So for a couple years I have been unable to keep this site in working order. Well, the Wheel has turned and I am back!! To those who have been here before, Welcome Back. And to those who are visiting for the first time - Welcome!! I will be revamping the entire site and giving it a new look. A lot of the same information will be available along with new materials. It's going to take some time to get everything done to my liking, so please be patient.
I will strive to give you a basic understanding of Stregheria (Italian Witchcraft) : its' many dieties, beliefs, folklore, history, charms, ethics, traditions and festivals. There are different traditions of Stregheria : Janarra, Tanarra, Fanarra, Silvanic, Benandanti, Luperci, Cavellini, Italian Fairy, Sicilian Fairy, Trinacrian and probably many more. In Italian, there are different words for witch/magickian/sorcerer: Strega (stray-gah); Stregone (stray-go-nay) ; Mago (mah-joh); and Maga (mah-jah). Strega means female Witch; Stregone means male Witch; Mago means magician and Maga means sorceress. The Italian words for Witchcraft are Stregheria (stray-gare-e-ah); Stregoneria (stray-go-neer-ee-ah) and Magia (mah-jee-ah). The Italian word for coven is Boschetto (boss-ket-oh), which means grove; Selva, which means forest; or Congrega which means group.
I will also bring you information about being Pagan, Wiccan and a Witch. I consider myself a Pagan and a Witch. For me, the roots of Witchcraft can be found throughout Italy in the tradition of Stregheria, the Old Religion. Witches and Wiccans are concerned with conservation and ecology. Witches believe that both animate and inanimate objects possess a spirit (numen) that links it to nature and makes it an undeniable part of the universe. It is important to note that magick is natural. There is nothing supernatural about it. As a Witch I would use such things as a wand of wood, a sea shell, a pentacle made of a flat rock, herbs, amulets, omens and chants. The power comes from within -- it is not in the tools. Our ancestors knew how to use it effectively, but it is a largely forgotten art in modern times. I believe that the Craft is not something that one practices only in Circle. You must be mindful that every choice we make always has conseqences, and that each of us, like it or not, are responsible for the all of consequences of our choices. I believe that things can be added to a ritual without taking away the meaning. We are ever evolving....so ritual must be evolving also. We are not in ancient times, so I don't think we need to stay in the past as far as rituals. But do not change the 'meaning' of the ritual when making an addition to it.
You would be very hard pressed to find a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan anywhere who would blindly follow anyone else. We are historically very independent people who seek truth from within through rituals, meditation, studying and communing with nature. We respect the right of everyone to worship in their own way. My only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be 'the only way' and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief. I do not feel that Witchcraft or Wicca is the only way -- only that it is my way. I follow my own tradition of Stregheria...I am not associated with any Clan here in the US or Italy. I do not profess to be 'the' authority on Stregheria, and what I offer here in this website is my opinions, hypothesis, conclusions and comments.
A Witch/Wiccan/Pagan lives by a code of ethics which is built upon the Laws of Nature. Our behavior is not regulated by a fear of what awaits us in the Afterlife, but a respect for what awaits us in this Life. Everything, and everyone, is connected. What we do to one another, and to our World, we do to ourselves. If you choose to follow a path (pagan, witch, wiccan, christian, whatever) then you CANNOT just 'tune in' like a TV set once in a while. For me, my path IS my religion. Just to practice it once in a while does not give you the benefit of actually 'knowing' your religion. You must practice it DAILY. It must become second nature to you. To give thanks to the God and Goddess for another day to learn, to meditate, to celebrate the festivals according to our Ways, to give proper respect to each other....this is the way I celebrate my life. I personally think that if you cannot commit to this then you need to take a second and very hard look at what you are trying to accomplish.
Neither Witchcraft, Wicca nor Paganism is synonymous with Satan or Devil worship. The very concept of a supreme evil spirit is alien to Witches; we do not worship any being known as 'Satan' or 'the Devil', as defined by the Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only be denial to another. The notion that Witches worship Satan was produced by the Roman Catholic Church as they made their way across Europe, in an effort to suppress the native earth-based religions prevalent at the time. They succeeded to the extent that they drove the practitioners of these religions underground where much of their knowledge and traditions were lost. Through the work of the many pagan organizations, as well as anthropological and archeological research, many of these traditions have been rediscovered and incorporated into Neo-Paganism, a generic term for most modern earth-based and shamanistic religions.
Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism has been confused in the popular mind with pointy black hats, green faces and broomsticks. This is a misrepresentation that we are anxious to dispel. We do not fly on brooms. We drive cars, walk or ride bikes, although I have often wished for a flying broom when I'm in a hurry! We are everyday people, your neighbors and friends. We hold jobs, raise children, go grocery shopping, go to college, join the Military forces to keep our country free, plant gardens and struggle to hold onto the 'American Dream'. There are many rituals which include brooms, and these may be the source of the flying-broomstick stories. It is also common for a ritual broom to be used for protection and banishment. The Strega were always portrayed as riding on the backs of goats unlike the witches of Northern Europe who were portrayed as riding on broomsticks.
I have found several mythical-historical personages before the advent of Christ, who are said to have suffered crucifixion/death and to have risen from the dead. i put this forth only to show that the idea of crucifixion/death/rising from the dead was found among many cultures prior to Christ. Many of the sungods, including Horus, Buddha and Krishna, are depicted with 'haloes', hundreds to thousands of years before it became fashionable in Christianity. While Christians can only claim a period of 2000 years since the birth of their religion and the incarnation of their saviour, most of the heathen religions and their divine incarnations are assigned a date several hundred or several thousand years earlier. In my opinion, the inference is that if there has been any borrowing, Christianity has been the borrower. Paganism was and is a religion of everyday life, to seek blessings, good crops, health, peace, etc. The various gods/goddesses each had their principle attributes and would be sought out by devotees wanting to enhance the quality of their lives .
The study of ancient 'magick' can teach us much. Not only about ancient society, but about human nature and human social structures in general. Ancient practitioners had their own private notebooks. This is where their painstakingly accumulated secrets were preserved. Although the Etruscan religion did not survive the onslaught of Christianity intact, the indigenous beliefs could not be completely erased. Mysterious signs left behind by our ancestors offer us a glimpse into the past and often inspire us to learn more about the people who have preceded us. In C.G. Leland's 'Etruscan Roman Remains' we read: "this Stregheria or old religion, is something more than a sorcery, and something less than a faith. It consists in remains of a mythology of spirits, the principal of whom preserve the names and attributes of the old Etruscan gods." The Etruscan people have amazed its contemporaries with their meticulous, respectful and accurate religious rites. They continue to amaze us today for the complexity of their sacred world.
Those who walk the path of a Witch/Wiccan/Pagan walk it for a lifetime. It is not an easy path to walk in this country that has freedom of religion, although I'm not sure exactly which religion is free. You have been given a physical body; you may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around. You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called 'life'. Every day in this school, you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. You are always learning: if you think you 'know' it all, think again!! You have all the tools and resources you need; what you do with them is up to you.
To me the Wheel of the Year signifies: completeness; the ever changing physical make up of where we live; the way we prepare different seasonal meals; beginnings and endings; the energy we put into finding just the 'right' items for each celebration (pine cones, herbs, flowers, incense). All this is wound around and through each Treguenda and Veglione, thus connecting us to it all. We should participate in our ritual/festivals if we truely believe in them. Now, I am not saying to 'follow blindly', but read the materials, the rituals....see for yourself if they call to you...they did to me...very strongly. The seasonal rituals (Solstices and Equinoxes) are Natures way of letting us know what 'time' of year it is. A time to plant and sow; a time to harvest; a time to celebrate Earth's fertility; and a time to celebrate life!!!! We need to be active in these....even if solitary. Do your best - don't leave anything out. Perform a play, dress up God or Goddess statues, grow your own flowers for your alter, make your own candles, grow your own herbs.....the ideas are endless. Remember, 'you reap what you sow'.
If people would look beyond their differences, they'd find they have much more in common than they think. Learning about other belief systems or religions doesn't mean you have to take on any part of those beliefs or practices. But understanding why others feel they way they do about certain issues and topics can go a long way to understanding each other.
These are my personal beliefs, be true to your own. For one who is not hereditary, that does not mean you cannot be Strega. If your heart and soul and being is Strega then you are. I do not claim to be 'the' authority on Stregheria...there are too many differences in the traditions. Each of us has to follow our own path, what works for some doesn't work for others. We are all touched by Divinity in different ways, not better or worse, just different. Please read on with an open mind and heart, and please sign my guestbook and leave me your comments.
May the Goddess and God protect and bless you.
© 1997 - 2011 Fabrisia, reprints not allowed without permission
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