Stregheria

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Stregheria is an antiquated word for witchcraft in the Tuscan dialect of the Italian language. The term comes from the Italian strega ('witch' or 'hag'), itself descended from the Latin word strix or striga ('owl'; the latter form is applied exclusively to a blood-drinking night spirit). It was popularized by C.G. Leland's book entitled Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches published in 1899. Stregheria is witccraft, and stregoneria is a form of magical sistem but not religious. Traditional Stregheria, or "La Vecchia Religione", is a religion that honors the god Dianus (or Lucifer) and goddess Diana, and their lovechild, the demigoddess Aradia who was sent to earth in human form to offer freedom through witchcraft to the poor and oppressed. The form of Stregheria popularized by authors such as Raven Grimassi is becaming the most famous know to those that are not part of italian witchcraft, his books and the Aradia: Gospel of the witches. Female practitioners of Stregheria are called Strega, male practitioners are called Stregone, and the modern neutral term is Streghe (which was actually feminine in Old Italian).

Contents

History

Much of the history of Stregheria is largely unknown. Historical references to Stregheria prior to the publication of Charles Leland's Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches are scarce. Most adherents, however, feel that Stregheria is a genuine survival of a pre-Christian religion in Italy that endured virtually under the nose of the Catholic church.

Leland's research concerning Stregheria was, and is, highly considered to be the foundation of most modern forms of Wicca. Leland was givin the "gospels" by a woman claiming to be a traditionally taught Strega. Once read the secrets of Stregheria are seen and can be learned but only by the someone who knows what to look for. Gerald Gardner, the so called father of Wicca, was profoundly influenced by Stregheria as was Alister Crowley. Most of the people that adhere to the teachings of Stregheria do, in fact, believe that Stregheria and Wicca are similar but yet to different entities. By the fourteenth century Stregheria was on the rise. Catholic records, during that time frame, have revealed the "cult of Diana" as being a menace to the Catholic Church. It was also at this time that the female messiah, for lack of a better word, was making her way from Tuscany to other parts of Italy ona pilgrimage to free the oppressed and liberate the inslaved. This woman was Aradia, La Bella Pellegrina. She was the righter of wrongs and the teacher of Stregheria. And Aradia leave behind a pact, and some writings, some where taken by the inquisitors, others where kept.

Mythology

Stregherian mythology is essentially a blend of Roman and Etruscan. Most of the deities are of Etruscan decent but also the Roman influence with the mythos being more Roman in structure.

Key figures in Stregherian mythology include:


Aradia de Toscano

According to Stregheria, Aradia was the original "teacher" of the holy strega. She taught the refugies, thieves, escaped slaves, assassins, ect. the ways of Stregheria and to show them the way of witchcraft so that they could be free and never again to be oppressed.

Diana

Diferent of what many think, Diana of the stregha is not the roman Diana, but a different one, her origins seens hard to find, she is close to the goddess Tana and Jana. The other Diana is Roman counterpart of the Greek goddess Artemis.

Lúcifer / Dianus

Lúcifer was originally the Roman god of light and equivalent to the Greek god Phosporus.He is most know as Dianus In the context of Stregheria, Lúcifer/Dianus is also described as a Sun god, brother of Diana.

The Grigori

The Grigori are the "Guardian Angels" of witches, similar to (but distinct from) familiar spirits. In Raven Grimassi's version of Stregheria, the Grigori are merely keepers or watchers of the variety found in the various tradition of Wicca, perhaps ancestral spirits. In true Stregheria, however, the Grigori are separate and distinct from the ancestral spirits. Their names correspond to the four "royal stars" of ancient ones, ancestors.

The Lasa

The Lasa are the faerie spirits of nature. Similar to the "wee-folk" of the Celtic Tradition.

The Sun

In Leland's presentation of Stregheria, the Sun is a wonderous physical manifestation of the God Dianus/Lúcifer.

Religious practices

The most obvious Stregherian religious practice is magick. Although folk magick is most common, ceremonial magick is also practiced, but not much seem.

Circle casting

In Raven Grimassi's version of Stregheria,wich by the way, him self saids that is a reformuled one, because he could reveal everything, circle casting is practiced just as it is in modern Wicca. An athame is used to "cut" holes in the circle so witches can enter and exit without breaking it. Circles are cast prior to any magickal working.

In traditional Stregheria, circles are cast only for safety before invoking certain potentially dangerous spirits. The circle cannot be cut or opened in any way, as this would give opportunity for malicious spirits to enter. Physical objects (including people) can enter or exit the circle without disrupting it, as circles are often cast outdoors where wind, rain, insects, and other physical objects pass in and out of the circle at all times without disrupting it. In terms of traditional Stregheria, "breaking the circle" does not mean disrupting it, but instead simply means leaving the protected area that the circle provides. Although leaving does not harm the integrity of the circle (and no "cutting" is necessary in order to leave), it is considered extremely dangerous to stray beyond its perimeter during a magickal working, as it would also be considered dangerous (perhaps more so) to cut holes in the circle. This philosophy of circle casting is the same historically used by the mages of medieval times.

In magickal workings that do not involve the invocation of spirits, circles are typically not cast. This is true of most antiquated magickal traditions. Some may feel more comfortable casting circles as a precaution before any type of magickal working, and it is probably from this practice that modern Wicca and the "Wiccanized" version of Stregheria developed their current practices, as contradictory as they now seem.

References

  • Leland, Charles G. "Aradia, or The Gospel of the Witches" 1899.
  • Lewis, James R. "Witchcraft today: an encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan traditions" ABC-CLIO 1999.
  • Grimassi, Raven. "Italian Witchcraft: The old religion of Southern Europe" Llewellyn Publications, 2000
  • Grimassi, Raven. "Hereditary Witchcraft" Llewellyn Publications, 1999.
  • Grimassi, Raven. "Wiccan Mysteryes"

See also

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