La Vecchia Religione

LVROnline Course:
La Vecchia Religione—
An Inside View of Traditional Italian Witchcraft

“La Vecchia Religione” is Italian for “The Old Religion” and refers to the traditional practices of a strega. “Strega” translates into “witch.”

I was born into a Italian shamanic family tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Our family has many magics. This online course focuses on one of the most pivotal. Traditional magic is taught contextually, so lessons also provide a mystical overview of La Vecchia Religione.

The Strega practice we’ll focus on is considered the most advanced magic possible, can magnificently improve every aspect of life, yet is accessible to a magical beginner.

stregamoonThis course has five powerful aspects:

One) Weekly lessons received by email. Each lesson is a digital Book of Shadows entry (PDF).

Storytelling relays a great deal of the course’s information, making lessons easy and fun for you. I’ll share my personal tales of being in an Italian shamanic family tradition.

stregaroseI’ll add other relevant chronicles, too, as well as additional material needed to understand the aforementioned pivotal strega practice and traditional Italian witchcraft as a whole.

La Vecchia Religione is a shamanic path. Some shamans invoke magic simply through their personal, quite human stories. If you want strega magic, it’s in such stories.

Your reading this course’s stories, with no more effort on your part than when you read a fantasy novel, magically transforms every part of your life—large improvements everywhere. After the course, a special enchantment remains available forever to continue creating numerous, marvelous changes for you.

Benefits of merely reading the stories:

* You automatically start becoming a new you, with greater wholeness of being and peace. You notice your power growing magically and in other parts of your life, so you have better access to all the inner resources needed to reach your life goals.

* Your circumstances automatically start improving. Your most cherished goals become more viable and attainable.

* The stories transport you to a Fey-touched realm. And this course’s stories are true-life Faerie tales with real magic that helps you live in your own special Faerie tale: dreams can come true.

Our lessons will bring us into the presence of Diana Magna Mater (Great Mother Goddess). She gave humankind magic so we can live free and prosperously, overcoming challenges, including liberating ourselves from oppression. She will protect and guide us in our journey.

Lessons also provide easy shamanic exercises that reinforce the tales’ enchantments and deepen your relationship to them.

stregamoonTwo) My full-color art ornaments the PDF Book of Shadows pages, including new paintings created especially for this course. I joyfully painted for ages to create fifty new page ornamentations specifically for these lessons! I wanted imagery to convey the enchantment of Italian sorcery.

Three) Nine audio files recorded expressly for this course. The spoken word is a way you and I can be in sacred space together. So I recite excerpts of the PDFs.

stregamoonFour) Two fun, easy crafts projects. I’m thrilled about my Pagan-style craft ideas because they’re sooo magical: they help you experience the power of Italian witchery, deepen the magical journey, and increase its benefits. I’ve never seen anything like these projects, and I’m not going to say here what they are, heh. They’re special, and I’m saving them for you.

I painted art specially for these projects, making your part easy: you receive full-color digital files of my Pagan art, so you only need to print the artwork and follow a few simple instructions. I can barely wait for you to have the art! Heck, I’m chomping at the bit, waiting for you to have the rest of the course, too.

stregamoonFive) One-on-one support. I’m available by phone for up to 45 minutes. If you have questions about the material, need help because your commitment to doing the lessons falters, want to further explore a particularly tantalizing part of the curriculum, or have other concerns, feel free to phone.

You can divide the 45 minutes into two or three conversations. Conversations must occur during the span of the course or within a month after.

stregarose2I love integrating my art into my writing. Ditto creating audio portions and being available by phone. The five parts of the course (text, art, audio, etc.,) weave together to take you on a mystical journey into the heart of Italian witchery. During it, along with the benefits already listed:

* You gain confidence in your own journey—its spiritual, magical, and mundane aspects.

* You find confidence in yourself, just as you are, right now.

* Important insights come to you—wisdom needed to get the maximum out of life.

* You claim your birthright—your heritage of magic and wildness as a Fey-touched child of the Old Gods.

In addition to being transformative, this journey is core to understanding Italian witchcraft as a whole. In other words, along with improving your life, the journey is also an experiential lesson that conveys a mystical overview of: traditional Italian witchcraft as a magical culture, its otherworldly sensibilities, and its history.

stregarose3Though they impart an overview and history, lessons are easy, not like reading a textbook. This is not dry history, not dry material, not a dreary recitation of facts, charts, and lists that you have to memorize, plod your way through, or otherwise labor over. You experience La Vecchia Religione in your spirit.

This look into my family’s magic is traditional Italian shamanism no one else teaches. A lot of this is material I’ve never taught until now.

stregastarThe course starts April 30, with your first lesson. You receive one lesson a week by email for 11 weeks.

If an unexpected event makes me unable to send one week’s planned material, I’ll extend the course an extra week.

Tuition is $250. Scroll down to pay securely with PayPal:




No experience needed. But even advanced practitioners will enjoy this. If you need more info, or want to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan, call 814-337-2490. No refunds. My online courses aren’t transcriptions of oral tradition lessons. (I teach oral tradition by phone.) The online courses are special unto themselves—magic tailored to be spectacularly effective, relevant, exciting, and safe when learned online.

Trapped by Lore

Guardian111WTTraditional lore can inform, gently point to mysteries, and outright open gateways. But, nowadays, in the Pagan community, rigid interpretation of lore often becomes a stranglehold on magical and spiritual practices.

I’ve spent years learning lore, meditating on it so it can inform shamanic lessons I give, and creating ritual based in lore. So I’d be the first to insist that, sometimes, lore provides definitive, irrefutable facts. However, common sense is needed.

My mother taught me to think for myself. It was one of the greatest gifts a parent can give.

Furthermore, growing up in a shamanic family tradition (specifically, Italian witchcraft), I got a sense from how mom lived her life that traditional shamanism is far more fluid than usually represented. Yet I see many magical practitioners trapped by lore, which is one way their personal paths and viewpoints are squelched.

An example: one of my students was utterly devoted to Hecate. He was told by another of his teachers that he was incorrect to honor Hecate as Mother Goddess since She is the Crone of the underworld. My student felt crushed. He knew from personal interaction with Hecate that She is an utterly loving mother, and he loved Her dearly as such. Yet a teacher whom he respected was telling him his whole relationship with a deity was wrong.

That teacher probably had the best intentions but nonetheless was unwittingly trapped by lore and unintentionally trying to do the same to the student. Had the teacher actually spoken to Hecate, She would’ve revealed Her motherly traits. But the teacher let lore take precedence over the student’s personal revelation.

Furthermore, had she known more lore, she would have realized that, though one culture’s lore of Hecate says She is the Crone Goddess of the underworld, another culture’s lore shows Her as the Mother. If memory serves me correctly, Hecate was known in Thrace as Mother, but then She traveled to a place where people did not have actual sleeves on their clothing. The sleeves on Hecate’s image were considered bizarre. Hence, it was decided She Herself was bizarre and, as such, must be an underworld goddess. (Please correct me if my history is wrong here.)

The sort of invalidation my student met squelches people’s spiritual explorations and hurts their hearts. The teacher used lore to invalidate someone’s belief system and actual interaction with a deity—a deeply beautiful, meaningful, and pivotal personal revelation. How awful!

Lore is often simply one person’s experience or the experience in one group/culture. A single experience should not be taken as a rigid overview of the matter at hand, a definitive sense of all that ever was and ever will be, of all that is possible for anyone anywhere. The traditional Italian magic I grew up with is not the same as that of some other Italian shamanic family traditions.

Another example: there is Italian lore about threatening the Gods, telling Them that, if They don’t give you such and such, you will revenge yourself upon Them. I can assure you: when you try to bully a God, there’s no telling what the backlash is going to be. I learned this from personal experience, in my younger days as a priestess, and all it took was one such incident to realize I should never threaten a deity again. I told my Gods that, if They wanted me to continue to priestess for Them, They had better give me such and such.

They gave me what I asked for, and They gave it to me in a way that devastated my life. It took years to recover. The false sense of something being okay to do just because it’s lore is too prevalent. I got trapped by lore! When viewing lore, I try to use common sense, look to my own experiences, and think things through. But instead, feeling desperate about needing change in my life, I let myself get trapped.

Lore is filled with starlight, sunlight, moonlight, illuminating the mystical path. I want to dance along that road joyfully, not turn my back on it by using lore to create dogma. So mote it be.

Calligraphy to Ornament a Book of Shadows Page

Below is a stop motion vid of calligraphy I did for my upcoming online class in Italian magic. I’ll use the calligraphy in a Book of Shadow page for the course (unless something unexpected stands in the way. And I might keep tweaking it, I never know because I am very fussy, but so far I am happy with it).

If you want to see the vid again after it’s played, click the arrow that’s kind of circular or refresh the page.

I attempted to calligraph the word “Strega” in a way that conveyed the power of traditional Italian witchcraft.

Art is magic!

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Ask a Strega to Teach You a Spell and …

Strega2018Ask for a spell from a witch raised in a family tradition of Italian magic that reaches back centuries, and the witch might change the topic so smoothly that only hours later do you realize your question was avoided.

Ask that same person how their aunt Teresa is doing, and you’ll hear an hourlong story about Teresa’s new boyfriend, during which tale you’re also taught the exact rite you requested … though you may have to watch carefully for it.

A few days later, you drop by the witch’s house to ask a vital question about your magical path but, when you show up at the door, the witch greets you with, “Hiya, I need to run out for a minute to pick up some groceries.”

If you choose to tag along, your question is answered … though you may have to watch carefully for that reply. Or the witch might give it to you outright: perhaps, at the grocery store, while examining cabbages, looking for the best one, the witch uses clear, precise words to express her or his thoughts about your magical journey. But, just as likely, while shopping, the witch does something that, on the surface, seems unrelated to your concerns, but that thoroughly resolves them.

Or perhaps, walking down the grocery aisle, the answer you need pops into your head.

During the grocery trip, something else might happen: a door opens to a world your heart has always longed for, a world you’d so hoped the witch would show you. You have been taken to the heart of the mysteries … if you were paying attention.

In fact, this breakthrough was the real reason you’d shown up at the witch’s door that day, though you may or may not have realized it until she opened that other door for you, a portal that appeared in a supermarket and opened to Faerie.

However, none of the above scenarios might come into play. You could ask the very same witch to teach you a ritual, and she or he might immediately give it to you, undisguised, in clear-cut, straightahead language, and answer questions you have about the spell just as quickly and clearly. In fact, you might get taught in that manner on a regular basis, so you easily learn a lot of spells and charms, and receive a great deal of valuable input about your overall witchcraft journey. You are the exact same person, and the witch is the exact same witch, so why might there be different scenarios?

Other scenarios could occur.

A multitude of them might all happen between you and the witch, so you learn not just in a single manner but through various modalities.

The above post is an excerpt from one of my online courses on Italian magic. To receive announcements of upcoming classes, subscribe to my free newsletter here: http://www.outlawbunny.com/newsletter/

The Figa

The Figa
Reclaiming Women’s Power and an Italian Amulet

FigaPic2Sm

A figa is an amulet in the shape of a closed hand. Often, the tip of the thumb peeks out between the middle and index finger. The figa represents a woman’s genitals and is a charm for protection and good luck. It is also a talisman for fertility.

Even as a youth, I was drawn to the figa, not only as a talisman but as an archetype. It held tantalizing mysteries, and its antiquity and exotic roots were a delicious contrast to the American 50s bland norm.

I acquired a new figa recently, and shot the above photo, so you could see it. Isn’t it beautiful? I absolutely love it!

I purchased my new amulet here; the shop has more, each one different: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

I’d already had a figa for … hm, I don’t know how long. It could be 30 or 40 years, or far less. I don’t remember how I acquired it. I was raised in an Italian, shamanic family-tradition. Otherworldly sensibilities were so typically present in our home, a part of daily life. A figa could slip into my life seamlessly back then, the entry not as noteworthy as it could be for people who aren’t constantly surrounded by that sort of thing.

Yet, despite my familiarity with Italian folk culture and my intense draw to this charm, I rarely saw one that I thought beautiful. I was never fond of my old figa, had wanted a new one forever, but couldn’t find one that pleased me till now.

My finally liking one is significant to me as a woman. Read on to learn why.

Seeing my new figa, which is very feminine, sweet, and elegant, I realized by comparison why I’d rarely liked a figa in the past. For one thing, they’re usually quite macho. An object that is supposed to embody female sexuality should … embody female sexuality.

Plus, figa figures are often crude. The crudeness repelled me, though on a subconscious level until I saw my new sweet, elegant figa. The crudeness—again, I experienced this subconsciously—was like being slapped in the face, shamed for being female.

Instead, I adore my new charm. Its sweet, feminine elegance is powerful magic and significant healing.

I was blown away by the shop’s photograph of this piece. And I did my best when I took the photos for this post, but it’s even better to see it in person; its exquisite artistry almost took my breath away. The careful sculpting of an elegant, feminine hand, enhanced by the marbling of its resin, makes it a true treasure.

It triggered a train of thought. The charm must not only be an Italian folk symbol for female sexuality per se, but also imply lot more. The figa must have originally symbolized everything—everything—a woman can be if she is unbound; her full being realized and expressed. The amulet must have once represented this totalness of being and potency in all parts of life. Otherwise, I do not believe the charm would have become so incredibly popular. It is worn not only by Pagans but by many Italians, including Christians.
FigaPic1SmBe clear, when I write, “Everything a woman can be,” I’m implying everything a human can be. I am positioning a woman’s sexuality as potency, the same way a man’s sexuality is often viewed as potency in his business and all other parts of his life.

I love folk art, folk magic, and the place where the two intersect. I also believe one might better understand a piece of folk art if one knows the cultural norms prevalent when the piece was made. That includes pop culture. Enter Kenneth Lane. The figa I bought is a vintage Kenneth Lane.

What was occurring around jewelry designer Kenneth Lane when he had the urge to create a figa that would be neither vulgar nor shaming? What in the political climate impelled him? Or did something solely personal to him serve as motivation? (The political always impacts us personally, but you know what I mean.) Whatever it was, we owe him a debt.

I mean, “figa” is Italian for the demeaning term “pussy.” The styling of most figa figures reinforces that nastiness. I do not object to a figa shaped roughly in a spirit of exuberance, or if a limited skill set did not allow finely honed lines. What I oppose is the consistent vulgar representation and the overall gestalt it feeds, a deeply hurtful cultural norm.

By the way, I see nothing wrong with a masculine figa per se, but there’s something wrong with a feminine symbol generally being masculine.

In any case, Kenneth’s jewelry was popular with Hollywood stars. Although many Pagans wear a figa, the pendant is also popular with non-Pagans. So people can knock pop-culture all they want, but I bet Kenneth’s pendants made women of all kinds proud of being women.

Kenneth’s styling was powerful. It wasn’t until I saw it that I could understand by contrast how demeaning most figas are and reclaim another part of my power. His rendering of the figa was able to heal me from a cultural norm so deeply ingrained and horrible that it still hurt my soul despite my fierce pride in my female nature and witchy wildness. I have a new piece of my magic as a woman and a new piece of my womanly pride.

What had been a sacred image in ancient Rome lowered in value until it became used as a rude gesture. A symbol that once must have honored women came to denigrate them. I believe Kenneth helped change that. I hope my thoughts here help a bit, too.

The profound power that exists in every human is diminished when we reduce anyone’s power through shaming depictions.

But when we shine a light on the wonderfulness of those around us, our own powers shine.

… Now the only problem I have is how to stop myself from buying all the figas in the shop. There’s a gorgeous variety, each piece quite different. I’ve already bought a second one. Here it is on my altar:
FigaPic3SmI will treasure these figas always. Here’s where to acquire an outstanding charm: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

Hiding, Healing, Power. Pt 2

If you missed part one, here it is: https://stardrenched.com/2012/06/13/hiding-healing-power/

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Hiding - Fey Strega in Training

Hiding, Healing, Power. Part two
Written and painted in March and/or early April, 2012.

This little Italian girl is another example of someone hiding. Why do you think she is hiding?

Dear site visitor, I want you to see the Faerie tale illustrations at their best. When WordPress shrinks a pic to fit the page, it blurs. Please click on a painting to see it unblurred; it makes a real difference.

Everyone who hides has a story. What is yours? It is okay if you hide some of it.

Here is part of hers (she wants to hide the rest): When she first hid, she had a pretty place in her mind. She started building it. First, she made the window frame you see her peeking out of.

She lived behind it with her Faerie cat. She giggled there a lot. The cat dozed in brilliant shafts of sun light that came through the window. As she slept, she dreamt up schemes for the little girl. They had many adventures, and no one saw. Except other Faeries. So many giggles!

It took a long time, a lot of work, and a lot of hiding to build more. (Sometimes you hide to find quiet magic, so that you can even imagine secret places in your mind.)

For years, all she had was that window frame to hide behind. But it kept her safe. I mean, look at all the detail she put into it!

Little Bunny in a Tea Cup. Available as a limited first edition print. For more info, click on the picture

And by the time she had grown up, her home was finished.

Faerie art, Francesca De Grandis

Want to know what adventures she had as a grown up? I’ll post part 3 in two weeks here. I blog once a week, and am alternating between this blog and the blog at my other site. Two blogs with two separate RRS feeds.

Please use the nifty Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ buttons, right below, to share my Faerie tale. Thank you for your support, it’s the only way many folks will know about my new story and refurbished site (the site you are on has been updated lately with a new look and all sorts of other new stuff).  I cannot do it without you! If you do not see the buttons, you’re viewing this blog entry on my site’s home page. Just click this https://stardrenched.com/2012/06/27/hiding-healing-power-pt-2/