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Traditional witchcraft historicity & perpetuity
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Levi BolognaItaly. All rights reserved. de by BasicTemplates. The contemporary folk magic systems in Italy reflect strong elements of Catholicism, as they have since the late Middle Ages. In Americaand elsewhere, we are seeing the rise of what is commonly called Christian witchcraft.
The latter is a blending of contemporary Wiccan and witchcraft elements, which are formed around a Christian core. This process is not unlike the evolution of modern folk traditions in Italy. Modern Italian witchcraft traditions, by contrast to contemporary Italian folk traditions, typically do not contain Christian elements. Instead they focus upon Pagan elements of magic and religion. However a occult chat rooms traditions have adapted certain Catholic aspects of saint veneration, which constitute a Christian veneer masking earlier Pagan deities.
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Some contemporary folk traditions erroneously view themselves as practitioners of a form of Italian witchcraft, but occult chat rooms instead a br anch of common folk magic and healing traditions that are rooted in Italian Catholic culture.
Ironically these folk practitioners reject the authenticity of Italian witchcraft traditions that do not reflect their beliefs and practices. One example can be found on the website Stregoneria Italianaa group with members who actively contrive to foster ill feelings toward author Raven Grimassi with frequent erroneous and negative posts in various forums and chat rooms throughout the Internet.
Today we face many problems associated with the misconceptions that do exist regarding Italian folk magic systems and Italian witchcraft. Although they share certain basic elements, the occult chat rooms systems reflect a clear distinction. This is reflected in the 19 th century field studies of Charles Leland who comments:. Nineteenth century folklorist Lady de Vere describes such a structured witch cult in an article she wrote in " As noted, Italian folk magic traditions possess various aspects of Christian beliefs and practices.
These are often rooted in the venerations of saints or the use of sacred or holy objects such as holy water, the communion wafer, or the rosary. In addition various elements of folk magic are liked to important dates in Christianity such as Christmas Eve and festivals cele br ating a variety of saints. Many of these displaced earlier Pagan festivals such as the summer solstice, which is now cele br ated as St. Italian witchcraft possesses active elements of pre-Christian religion, and incorporates the aid of spirits, faeries, astronomical forces, and a variety of Pagan occult chat rooms.
Ancient Roman writers depict witches associated with the goddess Hecate, Diana, and Proserpina.
Ancient writers in Europe also associate witches in Italy with the goddess Venus, and the god Priapus. None of these elements are found in traditional Italian folk magic traditions, but they do reside in older forms of Italian witchcraft. Contemporary scholars investigating folk magic and Italian witchcraft have conducted field studies that involve interviews with folk practitioners in Italy. Almost one hundred percent of these individuals are Catholic or some other denomination of the Christian faith.
By contrast the field studies conducted in 19 th century Italyby such folklorists as J. Naturally, in accord, the material and conclusions gathered by contemporary scholars and 19 th century folklorists differ greatly. It is noteworthy that five folklorists in Italy during the 19th century independently occult chat rooms a commonality within witchcraft traditions in different regions of Italy none of which conform to common folk magic or folk traditions then or now.
Most modern scholars focus on occult chat rooms folk healer in Italyand tend to see the arts and customs of this figure as definitive of the cultural norms. While this view may be true of contemporary traditions in modern culture, it fails to appreciate the ificance of the existing Pagan elements preceding the modern folk traditions that contain them. The majority of scholars today view pre-Christian elements as insertions into a Christian framework instead of seeing them as evidence of the survival of ancient pre-Christian religion.
One example appears in the feast day of San Domenico in Cocullo A br uzzo region whose statue is covered with living snakes and carried in a procession. This site was earlier the home of the Marsia occult chat rooms Pagan tribe that worshipped the goddess Angiziaa type of snake deity.
The customs associated with the feast of San Domenico strongly suggests that the Pagan elements pre-existed in a readily adoptable form that fit the Christian veneer.
However, most scholars appear to believe that such Pagan elements are not evidence of pre-existing sects and their beliefs and practices that were later incorporated into saint veneration in the Christian era. As ly noted, most modern scholars seem to reject the idea that modern folk traditions are actually Christian offshoots occult chat rooms earlier Pagan beliefs and practices.
When exploring for the correct chronology regarding Pagan and Christian elements, it is noteworthy that the Church and its agents seem to have intentionally displaced things as they Christianized.
One example is the festival day of the goddess Diana on August 13 thwhich was displaced with the Ascension of Mary on August 15th. Another example is the birth of Jesus placed near the Winter Occult chat rooms, and his resurrection in the spring. The death of Jesus on a tree wooden cross also resembles pagan themes in Europe. When we add to this the Pagan elements contained within saint veneration, the evidence seems weighted against the Christian markers in terms of origins, chronology, and occult chat rooms took what from whom.
David Gentilcorea historian of early modern Italyheld that while it was impossible to draw absolute distinctions between schooled medical professionals, ecclesiastical healers, and illiterate "wise-women," that medical knowledge flowed between these three groups. This is one example of how common elements within a group or tradition do not necessarily demonstrate that the systems or organizations are the same.
Gentilcore also notes that while some cures were known and accessible to all members of society, others were restricted to community wisewomen :. As we shall see, they belong to the system of the sacred because they attempted to establish relationships with the sacred and influence it, although they did so outside ecclesiastical structures " - From Bishop to Witch, Gentilcore.
Gentilcore notes that historians and folklorists lack a full comprehension of folk methods.
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This has occult chat rooms to an unintentional misrepresentation of the traditions by the academic community. Gentilcore cites the concealment involved in secret societies as a factor in the misunderstanding of academic researchers:. The occult chat rooms and historian is not entirely to blame, since the invocations and prayers were often revealed by the healer without the accompanying prescription or magico -medical practices. This is usually the choice of the informant or, in the case of the episcopal and inquisitional trials, the accused for whom the secret cannot be revealed to him without both the ritual and the healer losing their efficacy.
Because of the importance of secrecy witnesses could not often be sure what the healer said or did" - Although most modern scholars dismiss or reject the pre-Christian elements of contemporary Italian folk traditions, there are some who do recognize the importance of them in understanding folk systems. Several scholars recognize that Christian themes particularly related to saints and biblical associations historiola have been constructed around pre-existing Pagan beliefs and practices.
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By their nature, such words had to escape the comprehension of the uninitiated in order to be effective. Giuseppe Cocchiara identifies this part of the invocation as a surviving pre-Christian magical formula on to which has been tacked the Christian historiola. Yet often the magical formula itself, which depends on the exorcisng power of occult chat rooms, took on a Christian form This modification and arrogation of the foundational Pagan elements of folk traditions has blinded most scholars to the lore, beliefs, and practices of the earlier pre-existing authentic forms of Italian witchcraft.
By choosing to view the modified Christian folk traditions as the original occult chat rooms normal model, modern scholars fail to search in earnest for its Pagan roots or to recognize it once they encounter it. Few if any modern scholars have personally interviewed contemporary Italian witches. One of the small s of modern scholars to explore the topic of Italian witchcraft today is anthropologist Sabina Magliocco who authored an article titled Spells, Saints, and Streghe published in Pomegranate, issue 13, August In her article, Magliocco states that most of her knowledge of Italian folk magic comes from ethnographic research and fieldwork in Sardiniawhere she spent a cumulative 18 months living in a highland community of sheep and goat pastoralists between and She makes it clear that her knowledge is in the area of Italian folk magic.
There is no claim by her to possess anything resembling an intimate knowledge of Italian witchcraft as practiced in Italy or elsewhere. It seems likely that shepherds in Sardinia did possess some knowledge of folk magic as many Italian do.
However, it seems reasonably certain that these commoners knew little if anything of authentic forms of witchcraft. Therefore they cannot seriously be viewed occult chat rooms expert witnesses on Italian witchcraft. Magliocco comments on the influence of Charles G. Leland's Aradia, or the Gospel of Witches, and goes on to say that Leland's material does not bear a strong resemblance to Italian folk magical practice as documented in the ethnographic record of the last years.
She also claims this is true of modern Italian witchcraft traditions. Naturally there is little reason why they should, because they are two different systems. As we have already seen, the community of Italian witches possesses secret customs and traditions again noted by 19th century folklorist Roma Lister.
She comments that Italian-American Witchcraft or Stregheria traditions differ from Italian folk magical practice in several important ways. She first states that Italian folk magic is not an organized or unified religion, but a varied set of beliefs and practices. This is true, which is one of the primary reasons it differs from Italian witchcraft. Magliocco writes that while folk magic has deep historical roots, it is not a survival of an ancient religion, but an integral part of a rural peasant economy and way of life, highly syncretized with folk Catholicism.
This is another reason why it differs from Italian witchcraft. She continues with the view that occult chat rooms of magical practices was at one time diffused throughout the rural population, rather than limited to a secret group of magical practitioners. Indeed such things were diffused, but they were diffused from the secret societies into the common population.
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However, the material was never understood by the non-initiated, and was quickly Christianized to conform with the standards of contemporary society. Magliocco concedes that the context of Italian folk magical practice differs considerably from that of contemporary Italian-American revival witchcraft, so that materials are not always easily transferable from one system to another.
This is precisely one of the main reasons why they need to be understood as different systems. Their differences do not render either as unauthentic but speak to different systems that are not dependent upon one another. In her article, Magliocco states that all traditions are perpetually in flux as their bearers constantly re-interpret and re-invent them with each individual performance.
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She further comments that revival and revitalization are part of the process of tradition, even when the result is different from the original practice itself. Ironically her argument is therefore as occult chat rooms of folk magic as it would be of Italian witchcraft. This would be particularly true occult chat rooms anything that pre-dated the folk tradition, since the tradition itself has transformed into something different from its roots. Magliocco writes that one of the problems with the idea of a unified organization of Italian witches is that the Italian peninsula could not be said to have anything resembling an integrated culture between the end of the Roman Empire ce and the beginning of the 20th century, making the existence of a secret, organized Italian witch cult nearly impossible.
However, the reality is that five folklorists in Italy during the 19th century independently discovered a commonality within witchcraft traditions in different regions of Italy. Magliocco also comments that the development of a unified Italian system of ritual magic, diffused through oral tradition on a popular level, is unlikely before the 20th century.