Saturday, April 27, 2013

Benedicaria

Benedicaria (Way of Blessing) is a modern term created to be used as an umbrella descriptive term for traditional Italian folk magic. The practice of Benedicaria dates back at least to the Christianization of Italy back in Roman times and actually represents a transition from pagan folk magic into Christian folk magic.

Practitioners of Benedicaria are Christians and work primarily with what people call "white magic", often by calling upon God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints, for various purposes such as; cleansings, healings, protection, exorcisms, and blessings. Negative work such as banishings and other works are also used but only if the work is deemed justified. The bible, crucifixes or crosses, rosaries, statues of the saints, holy water, and other items such as herbs, roots, and natural items are employed in various rites.

Benedicaria should not be confused with Sregheria (witchcraft), even though outsiders may accuse practitioners of practicing witchcraft. Since the latter 1800s numerous authors with various agendas have attempted to claim that stregheria is the traditional practice of Italy. In reality, witchcraft has always been viewed as evil and true Benedicaria practitioners do not refer to themselves as witches. The difference between Benedicaria and Stregheria would be the same difference between a witch doctor or shaman and a witch. Witch doctors and shamans oppose and fight/remove witchcraft. Thus, Benedicaria acts to counter the effects of witchcraft and can remove curses and fight witches who may be spiritually attacking clients. Generally, the typical person who continues to 'muddy the waters', spreading the misinformation about Stregheria are modern Neopagans who claim to be Streghe or part of a pagan tradition that has survived the coming of Christianity. To date there has never been any evidence submitted to prove such claims and all the present information suggests that the tradition of Stregheria, as a surviving pagan religion, is a modern invention.

The quickest way to determine if someone is a genuine practitioner vs. a modern stregheria practitioner is that practitioners of Benedicaria are Christian and do not worship pagan gods while practitioners of stregheria will worship pagan gods as well as claim to work with the saints in their magic.

Benedicaria is extremely similar to other forms of Christian Folk Magic, such as Curanderismo and Hoodoo/Rootwork/Conjure.

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