Welcome to October Frights Blog Hop
Continuing with yesterday's post about Liquore Strega
I thought I'd share a brief history of Stregheria
and an excerpt from a dark short fiction story,
featuring a strega and Liquore Strega,
I first heard the word, Strega, from my Sicilian grandmother. She and other members of the family that immigrated to America in the early part of the 20th century, spoke of them quite often. Never with disdain or fear. Most villages in Sicily had their go to Strega, the woman who helped with illness, childbirth, fertility, etc.
To fully understand Stregheria - aka La Vecchia Religione (The Old Religion), you must appreciate how old and ancient it is. It dates back to a fertility festival honoring Tana, the original Mother Goddess of the Etruscan people of pre-empire Rome. As the Roman Empire grew and became more powerful a new, younger Goddess Diana replaced Tana. Diana is a beloved Goddess in the practice of Stregheria.
While similar to Wicca it's inherently different. Stregheria was/is a heredity religion or a blood religion, meaning you must be born into a line of Stregas. Secrets, rituals, spells, and potions were handed down from generation to generation for centuries. One couldn't just become a Strega.
That rule loosened gradually. At first, you could learn the ways of the Strega, but had to be of Italian descent, but now anyone can learn the 'Old Ways," no matter your ethnicity. But, be sure that not every secret is revealed unless you have the blood of a Strega running through your veins.
In Stregheria, there are eight Treguendas instead of Sabbats. The upcoming holiday, Halloween (Samhain) is referred to as Shadow Fest or La Festa dell' Ombra, a celebration of procreation honoring the union of the God and Goddess.
Stregone are the male counterparts to a Strega, although very seldom do they have the same power as the women, and they play a different role in the religion. I should also note throughout Italy, Stregheria is practiced differently depending on the region. Sicilian Stregheria, due to the island's diverse history and geography in the Mediterranean, mixes different customs and in my opinion is a bit more magical and mysterious. But, let's face it, I'm a biased toward my grandparents homeland.
Liquore Strega is used many ways in the life of the Strega. It can be sipped after a ritual as a grounding tool, or a social drink among Stregas. One custom is to fill a 'spirit bowl' or Scaldino, usually made of metal or stone, with the liquor. When it's lit, the blue flame or Spirit Flames, represents the deity within the ritual.
Out of curiosity, I tried it. I don't know if it's the combination of the herbs or magic, but a beautiful blue flame came to life and lasted much longer than other alcohol based flames used in cooking, etc. It's very cool!
There is so much more to this ancient and fascinating religion. If you're interested, a good book to start off with is, ITALIAN WITCHCRAFT, The Old Religion of Southern Europe, by Raven Grimassi.
Here's a brief excerpt from CHOOSE WISELY:
He was late. Or he wasn’t going to show. Had she been a fool?
Mia twisted toward the faint rattling of the the half-full bottle of Liquore Strega on the counter.
“What? I’m not doing anything wrong!” She planted her hands on her hips. “I’m not playing with his free will. You’re not a love potion.”
The bottle rocked back and forth in disagreement. Its contents, the color of sunrise, swirled violently inside the glass container.
Mia steadied the bottle. Legend warns whomever you share a glass of Strega, you shall be forever united with. Choose wisely.
“I’ve sipped Strega with plenty of people after a ritual and I’m still alone,” she argued.
Yes, with sister Stregas, not a man.
“It’s a romantic myth and an old Italian superstition. Nothing more.”
If you’re not looking for love magic why Liquore Strega and not wine? The Liquore Strega wobbled from side to side in slow motion.
A loud tap hit the door of the shop. “He’s here!”
The bottle fell on its side, spiraling toward the edge of the counter. "Hey, come back here!" Mia dove forward, preventing it from a shattering demise. “I’m sorry, but you don’t understand. He likes me. This may be my last shot at finding someone. I’m not getting any younger, you know.” The bottle rested in the palms of her hand, her thumb gently tracing the curve around its neck. “I know you’re looking out for me, and I appreciate it. All I'm asking is that you give him a chance, please.”
Want to find out what happens to Mia? Her story continues in CURIOUSLY DARK TALES,
available here at Amazon
ninety nine pennies!
I have two really cute and sweet smelling spooky soaps.
One's vanilla and one's pumpkin scented.
I'll pick one winner from yesterday and one for today.
Would you have heeded the warning of the
Leave me a comment.
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