Stegheria Wicca – Italian Witchcraft

Italian witches, known as Strega, walk the path of the Old Religion (Str. They are the witches of Ancient Italy. In 1890, folklorist Charles Leland published a book titled ARADIA; GOSPEL OF THE WITCHES. Although it was typical in many ways of the distorted Christian image of Witchcraft of this period, we do find several things of interest. In Leland’s book, Italian witches worship a goddess and a god, meet for full moon rituals and celebrate with singing, dancing and making love. Their celebration also includes a feast containing cakes and wine.

In 1609, Francesco Guazzo published several woodcuts in his book Compendium Maleficarum. One of these Italian woodcuts depicts witches gathered inside a circle drawn upon the ground. In 1954, Gerald Gardner describes English Witchcraft in very much the same way. Take a look at some of the topics on this Web Page for other interesting similarities between the Strega Path and Wicca.

What is valuable in Leland’s book Aradia; Gospel of the Witches is that we find a very interesting view of pre-Gardnerian Witchcraft in Italy. Leland gives an account of Witches who gather nude to worship a goddess and a God when the moon is full. During this celebrate they enjoy cakes and wine, and they sing, dance and make love. For those readers who believe that Gardner invented these concepts, bear in mind that this was written in 1890, over half a century before Gardner’s writings. Some people claim that such aspects are Gardnerian indicators and argue that the Strega Tradition is therefore based on modern Wiccan tenets. However, the timeframe does not support such an erroneous assessment, as these concepts clearly pre-date the Gardnerian movement of the 1950s from which modern Wicca evolved.

The ancient Roman poet Horace gives us perhaps the earliest accounts of Italian Witches and their connection to a lunar cult. In the Epodes of Horace, written around 30 BC, he tells the tale of an Italian witch named Canidia. Horace says that Proserpine and Diana grant power to Witches who worship them, and that Witches gather in secret to perform the mysteries associated with their worship. He speaks of a Witches’ book of Incantations (Libros Carminum) through which the Moon may be “called down” from the sky. Other ancient Roman writers such as Lucan and Ovid produced works which clearly support the same theme. This would seem to indicate that during this Era such beliefs about Witches and Witchcraft were somewhat common knowledge. We know from the writings of Roman times that Proserpine and Diana were worshipped at night in secret ceremonies. Their worshippers gathered at night beneath the full moon and shunned the cities where the solar gods ruled. Diana was a Roman Moon Goddess known earlier in Greece as Artemis; twin sister of Apollo God of the Sun.

This is a system, not a religion per se, which is based on a 400 year old German Magick. In this day and age though, it has lost much of its ancient concentrations and is basically now into simple faith healing.

If you would like to learn more about Strega, I heartily suggest you go to one of their home sites, such as the excellent and well researched Stregheria.com – The Home of Authentic Italian Witchcraft. You will find everything you want to know at that great site alone.

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