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 ARADIA: gospel of witches part1

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PostSubject: ARADIA: gospel of witches part1   ARADIA: gospel of witches part1 I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 18, 2013 8:31 am

If the reader has ever met with the works of the learned folk-lorist G. Pitré, or the articles contributed by "Lady Vere De Vere" to the Italian Rivista, or that of J. H. Andrews to Folk-Lore,[1] he will be aware that there are in Italy great numbers of strege, fortune-tellers or witches, who divine by cards, perform strange ceremonies in which spirits are supposed to be invoked, make and sell amulets, and, in fact, comport themselves generally as their reputed kind are wont to do, be they Black Voodoos in America or sorceresses anywhere.

But the Italian strega or sorceress is in certain respects a different character from these. In most cases she comes of a family in which her calling or art has been practised for many gen erations. I have no doubt that there are in stances in which the ancestry remounts to mediæval, Roman, or it may be Etruscan times. The result has naturally been the accumulation in such families of much tradition. But in North ern Italy, as its literature indicates, though there

[1. March, 1897: "Neapolitan Witchcraft."]

has been some slight gathering of fairy tales and popular superstitions by scholars, there has never existed the least interest as regarded the strange lore of the witches, nor any suspicion that it embraced an incredible quantity of old Roman minor myths and legends, such as Ovid has recorded, but of which much escaped him and all other Latin writers.[1]

This ignorance was greatly aided by the wizards themselves, in making a profound secret of all their traditions, urged thereto by fear of the priests. In fact, the latter all unconsciously actually contributed immensely to the preservation of such lore, since the charm of the forbidden is very great, and witchcraft, like the truffle, grows best and has its raciest flavour when most deeply hidden. However this may be, both priest and wizard are vanishing now with incredible rapidity-it has even struck a French writer that a Franciscan in a railway carriage is a strange anomaly-and a few more years of newspapers and bicycles (Heaven knows what it

[1. Thus we may imagine what the case would have been as regards German fairy-tales if nothing bad survived to a future day except the collections of Grimm and Musæus. The world would fall into the belief that these constituted all the works of the kind which had ever existed, when, in fact they form only a small part of the whole. And folklore was unknown to classic authors: there is really no evidence in any ancient Latin writer that he gathered traditions and the like among the vulgar, as men collect at present. They all made books entirely out of books-there being still "a few left of the same sort" of literati.]

will be when flying-machines appear!) will probably cause an evanishment of all.

However, they die slowly, and even yet there are old people in the Romagna of the North who know the Etruscan names of the Twelve Gods, and invocations to Bacchus, Jupiter, and Venus, Mercury, and the Lares or ancestral spirits, and in the cities are women who prepare strange amulets, over which they mutter spells, all known in the old Roman time, and who can astonish even the learned by their legends of Latin gods, mingled with lore which may be found in Cato or Theocritus. With one of these I became intimately acquainted in 1886, and have ever since employed her specially to collect among her sisters of the hidden spell in many places all the traditions of the olden time known to them. It is true that I have drawn from other sources, but this woman by long practice has perfectly learned what few understand, or just what I want, and how to extract it from those of her kind.

Among other strange relics, she succeeded, after many years, in obtaining the following "Gospel," which I have in her handwriting. A full account of its nature with many details will be found in an Appendix. I do not know definitely whether my informant derived a part of these traditions from written sources or oral narration, but believe it was chiefly the latter. However, there are a few wizards who copy or preserve documents relative to their art. I have not seen my collector since the "Gospel" was sent to me. I hope at some future time to be better informed.

For brief explanation I may say that witch craft is known to its votaries as la vecchia religione, or the old religion, of which Diana is the Goddess, her daughter Aradia (or Herodias) the female Messiah, and that this little work sets forth how the latter was born, came down to earth, established witches and witchcraft, and then returned to heaven. With it are given the ceremonies and invocations or incantations to be addressed to Diana and Aradia, the exorcism of Cain, and the spells of the holy-stone, rue, and verbena, constituting, as the text declares, the regular church-service, so to speak, which is to be chanted or pronounced at the witch-meetings. There are also included the very curious incantations or benedictions of the honey, meal, and salt, or cakes of the witch-supper, which is curiously classical, and evidently a relic of the Roman Mysteries.

The work could have been extended ad infinitum by adding to it the ceremonies and incantations which actually form a part of the Scripture of Witchcraft, but as these are nearly all-or at least in great number-to be found in my works entitled Etruscan-Roman Remains and Legends of Florence, I have hesitated to compile such a volume before ascertaining whether there is a sufficiently large number of the public who would buy such a work.

Since writing the foregoing I have met with and read a very clever and entertaining work entitled Il Romanzo dei Settimani, G. Cavagnari, 1889, in which the author, in the form of a novel, vividly depicts the manners, habits of thought, and especially the nature of witchcraft, and the many superstitions current among the peasants in Lombardy. Unfortunately, notwithstanding his extensive knowledge of the subject, it never seems to have once occurred to the narrator that these traditions were anything but noxious nonsense or abominably un-Christian folly. That there exists in them marvellous relics of ancient mythology and valuable folklore, which is the very cor cordium of history, is as uncared for by him as it would be by a common Zoccolone or tramping Franciscan. One would think it might have been suspected by a man who knew that a witch really endeavoured to kill seven people as a ceremony or rite, in order to get the secret of endless wealth, that such a sorceress must have had a store of wondrous legends; but of all this there is no trace, and it is very evident that nothing could be further from his mind than that there was anything interesting from a higher or more genial point of view in it all.

His book, in fine, belongs to the very great number of those written on ghosts and superstition since the latter has fallen into discredit, in which the authors indulge in much satirical and very safe but cheap ridicule of what to them is merely vulgar and false. Like Sir Charles Coldstream, they have peeped into the crater of Vesuvius after it had ceased to "erupt," and found "nothing in it." But there was something in it once; and the man of science, which Sir Charles was not, still finds a great deal in the remains, and the antiquarian a Pompeii or a Herculaneum-'tis said there are still seven buried cities to unearth. I have done what little (it is really very little) I could, to disinter something from the dead volcano of Italian sorcery.

If this be the manner in which Italian witchcraft is treated by the most intelligent writer who has depicted it, it will not be deemed remarkable that there are few indeed who will care whether there is a veritable Gospel of Witches, apparently of extreme antiquity, em bodying the belief in a strange counter- religion which has held its own from pre-historic time to the present day. "Witchcraft is all rubbish, or something worse," said old writers, "and therefore all books about it are nothing better." I sincerely trust, however, that these pages may fall into the hands of at least a few who will think better of them.

I should, however, in justice to those who do care to explore dark and bewildering paths, explain clearly that witch-lore is hidden with most scrupulous care from all save a very few in Italy, just as it is among the Chippeway Medas or the Black Voodoo. In the novel to the life of I Settimani an aspirant is represented as living with a witch and acquiring or picking up with pain, scrap by scrap, her spells and incantations, giving years to it. So my friend the late M. Dragomanoff told me how a certain man in Hungary, having learned that he had collected many spells (which were indeed subsequently published in folklore journals), stole into the scholar's room and surreptitiously copied them, so that the next year when Dragomanoff returned, he found the thief in full practice as a blooming magician. Truly he had not got many incantations, only a dozen or so, but a very little will go a great way in the business, and I venture to say there is perhaps hardly a single witch in Italy who knows as many as I have published, mine having been assiduously collected from many, far and wide. Everything of the kind which is written is, moreover, often destroyed with scrupulous care by priests or penitents, or the vast number who have a superstitious fear of even being in the same house with such documents, so that I regard the rescue of the Vangelo as something which is to say the least remarkable.


How Diana Gave Birth to Aradia (Herodias)

Of the sufferings of Mankind, and how Diana sent Aradia on earth to relieve them by teaching resistance and Sorcery-Poem addressed to Mankind-How to invoke Diana or Aradia.

The Sabbat-Treguenda or Witch-Meeting

How to consecrate the supper- Conjuration of the meal and of Salt-Invocation to Cain- Conjuration of Diana and to Aradia.

How Diana Made the Stars and the Rain

Thn, Charm of the Stones Consecrated to Diana-The Incantation of Perforated Stones-The Spell
or Conjuration of the Round Stone

The Conjuration of the Lemon and Pins-Incantation to Diana

A Spell to Win Love

To Find or Buy Anything, or to Have Good Fortune Thereby

How Have a Good Vintage and Very Good Wine By the Aid of Diana

Tana and Endamone, or Diana and Endymion

Madonna Diana

A Legend of Cettardo, and how Diana appeared with ten Bridesmaids to give away a Bride- Incantation to Diana for a Wedding.

The House of the Wind
Showing how Diana rescued a Lady from Death at the House ol the Wind in Volterra.

Tana or Diana, The Moon-Goddess

Diana and the Children

The Goblin Messengers of Diana and Mercury



How Diana Gave Birth to Aradia (Herodias)
"It is Diana! Lo!
She rises crescented."
-Keats' Endymion

"Make more bright
The Star Queen's crescent on her marriage night."

This is the Gospel (Vangelo) of the Witches:

Diana greatly loved her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and of the Moon, the god of Light (Splendor), who was so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride was driven from Paradise.

Diana had by, her brother a daughter, to whom they gave the name of Aradia [i.e. Herodias].

In those days there were on earth many rich and many poor.

The rich made slaves of all the poor.

In those days were many slaves who were cruelly treated; in every palace tortures, in every castle prisoners.

Many slaves escaped. They fled to the country; thus they became thieves and evil folk. Instead of sleeping by night, they plotted escape and robbed their masters, and then slew them. So they dwelt in the mountains and forests as robbers and assassins, all to avoid slavery.

Diana said one day to her daughter Aradia:

E vero che tu set uno spinto,
Ma tu set nata per essere ancora.
Mortale, e tu devi andare
Sulla terra e fare da maestra
A donne e a' uormni che avranno
Volentà di inparare la tua scuola
Che sara cornposta di stregonerle.

Non devi essere come la figlia di Camo,
E della razza che sono devenuti
Scellerati infami a causa del maltrattamenti,
Come Giudel e Zingari,
Tutti ladri e briganti,
Tu non divieni...

Tu sarai (sempre) la prima strega,
La prima strega divenuta nel mondo,
Tu insegnerai l'arte di avvelenare,
Di avvelenare (tutti) I signori,
Di farli morti nei loro palazzi,
Di legare il spiritu del oppressore,
E dove si trova un contadino ricco e avaro,
Insegnare alle strege tue alunne,
Come rovinare suo raccolto
Con tempesta, folgore e balen,
Con grandine e vento.

Quando un prete ti fara del male,
Del male colle sue bene di'Zion,
Tu le farei (sempre) un dopplo male
Col mio nome, col nome di Diana,
Regina delle streghe...

Quando i nobili e prete vi diranno
Dovete credere nel Padre, Figlio,
E Maria, rispondete gli sempre,
"IL vostro dio Padre e Maria
Sono tre diavoli...

Il vero dio Padre non e il vostro
Il vostro dio-io sono venuta
Per distruggere la gente cattiva
E la distruggero....

"Vol altri poveri soffrite anche la fame,
E lavorato malo e molte volte;
Soffrite anche la prigione;
Mapero avete una anima,
Una aninia più buona, e nell'altra,
Nell'altra mondo voi starete bene,
E gli altri male."...


'Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born but to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school

Yet like Cain's daughter thou shalt never be,
Nor like the race who have become at last
Wicked and infamous from suffering,
As are the Jews and wandering Zingari,
Who are all thieves and knaves; like unto them
Ye shall not be....

And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all i' the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor's soul (with power);[1]
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with thunder (terrible),
And the hall and wind....

[1. Legare, the binding and paralysing human faculties by means of witchcraft.]

And when a priest shall do you injury
By his benedictions, ye shall do to him
Double the harm, and do it in the name
Of me, Diana, Queen of witches all!

And when the priests or the nobility
Shall say to you that you should put your faith
In the Father, Son, and Mary, then reply:
"Your God, the Father, and Maria are
Three devils....

"For the true God the Father is not yours;
For I have come to sweep away the bad,
The men of evil, all will I destroy!

"Ye who are poor suffer with hunger keen,
And toll in wretchedness, and suffer too
Full oft imprisonment; yet with it all
Ye have a soul, and for your sufferings
Ye shall be happy in the other world,
But ill the fate of all who do ye wrong!"

Now when Aradia had been taught, taught to work all witchcraft, how to destroy the evil race (of oppressors) she (imparted it to her pupils) and said unto them:

Quando io saro partita da questo mondo,
Qualunque cosa che avrete bisogna,
Una volta al mese quando la luna
E piena...
Dovete venire in luogo deserto,
In una selva tutte insieme,
E adorare lo spirito potente
Di mia madre Diana, e chi vorra
Imparare la stregonerie,
Che non la sopra,
Mia madre le insegnera,
Tutte cose....
Sarete liberi della schiavitù!
E cosi diverrete tutti liberi!
Pero uonum e donne
Sarete tutti nudi, per fino.
Che non sara morto l'ultimo
Degli oppressori e morto,
Farete il gluoco della moccola
Di Benevento, e farete poi
Una cena cosi:


When I shall have departed from this world,
Whenever ye have need of anything,
Once in the month, and when the moon is full,
Ye shall assemble in some desert place,
Or in a forest all together join
To adore the potent spirit of your queen,
My mother, great Diana. She who fain
Would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, them my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.
And ye shall all be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything;
And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead;
And ye shall make the game of Benevento,
Extinguishing the lights, and after that
Shall hold your supper thus:

The Sabbat: Treguenda or Witch-Meeting-
How to Consecrate the Supper
Here follows the supper, of what It must consist, and what shall be said and done to consecrate it to Diana.

You shall take meal and salt, honey and water, and make this incantation:

Scongiurazione della Farina.

Scongiuro te, o farina!
Che sei il corpo nostro-senza di te
Non si potrebbe vivere-tu che
Prima di divenire la farina,
Sei stata sotto terra, dove tutti
Sono nascosti tutti in segreti,
Maccinata che siei a metterte al vento,
Tu spolveri per l'aria e te ne fuggi
Portando con te i tuoi segreti!

Ma quando grano sarai in spighe,
In spige belle che le lucciole,
Vengeno a farti lume perche tu
Possa crescere piú bella, altrimenti
Tu non potresti crescere a divenire bella,
Dunque anche tu appartieni
Alle Strege o alle Fate, perche
Le lucclole appartengono
Al Sol...
Lucciola caporala,
Vieni corri e vieni a gara,
Metti la briglia a la cavalla!
Metti la briglia al figluolo del ré!
Vieni, corri e portala a mé!
Il figluol del ré te lasciera andare
Pero voglio te pigliare,
Giache siei bella e lucente,
Ti voglio mettere sotto un bicchiere
E quardari, colla lente;
Sotto un bicchiere in staraí
Fino che tutti i segreti,
Di questo mondo e di quell'altro non mi farai
Sapere e anche quelle del grano,
E della farina appena,
Questi segreti io saprò,
Lucciola mia libera ti lascieró
Quando i segreti della terra io sapró
Tu sia benedetta ti diro!

Scongiarazione del Sale.

Scongiuro il sale suona mezza giòrno,
In punto in mezzo a un fiume,
Entro e qui miro I'acqua.
L'acqua e al sol altro non penso,
Che a I'acqua e al sol, alloro
La mia menta tutta e rivolta,
Altro pensier non ho desidero,
Saper la verissima che tanto tempo é
Che soffro, vorrei saper il mio avenir,
Se cattivo fosse, acqua e sol
Migliorate il destino mio!

The Conjuration of Meal.

I conjure thee, O Meal!
Who art indeed our body, since without thee
We could not live, thou who (at first as seed)
Before becoming flower went in the earth,
Where all deep secrets hide, and then when ground
Didst dance like, dust in the wind, and yet meanwhile
Didst bear with thee in flitting, secrets strange!

And yet erewhile, when thou wert in the ear,
Even as a (golden) glittering grain, even then
The fireflies came to cast on thee their light[1]
And aid thy growth, because without their help
Thou couldst not grow nor beautiful become;
Therefore thou clost belong unto the race
Of witches or fairies, and because
The fireflies do belong unto the sun....

Queen of the Fireflies! hurry apace,[2]
Come to me now as if running a race,
Bridle the horse as you hear me now sing!
Bridle, O bridle the son of the king!
Come in a hurry and bring him to me!
The son of the king will ere long set thee free!

[1. There is an evident association here of the body of the firefly (which much resembles a grain of wheat) with the latter.

2. The six lines following are often heard as a nursery rhyme.]

And because thou for ever art brilliant and fair,
Under a glass I will keep thee; while there,
With a lens I will study thy secrets concealed,
Till all their bright mysteries are fully revealed,
Yea, all the wondrous lore perplexed
Of this life of our cross and of the next.
Thus to all mysteries I shall attain,
Yea, even to that at last of the grain;
And when this at last I shall truly know,
Firefly, freely I'll let thee go!
When Earth's dark secrets are known to me,
My blessing at last I will give to thee!

Here follows the Conjuration of the Salt.

Conjuration of the Salt.

I do conjure thee, salt, lo! here at noon,
Exactly in the middle of a stream
I take my place and see the water round,
Likewise the sun, and think of nothing else
While here besides the water and the sun:
For all my soul is turned in truth to them;
I do indeed desire no other thought,
I yearn to learn the very truth of truths,
For I have suffered long with the desire
To know my future or my coming fate,
If good or evil will prevail in it.
Water and sun, be gracious unto me!

Here follows the Conjuration of Cain.

Scongiurazione di Caïno.

Tuo Caïno, tu non possa aver
Ne pace e ne bene fino che
Dal sole[1] andate non sarai col piedi
Correndo, le mani battendo,
E pregarlo per me che mi faccia sapere,
Il mio destino, se cattiva fosse,
Allora me to faccia cambiare,
Se questa grazia nil farete,
L'acqua al lo splendor del sol la guardero:
E tu Caïno colla tua bocca mi dirai
Il mio destino quale sarà:
Se questa grazia o Caïno non mi farai,
Pace e bene non avrai!

The Conjuration of Cain.

I conjure thee, O Cain, as thou canst ne'er
Have rest or peace until thou shalt be freed
From the sun where thou art prisoned, and must go
Beating thy hands and running fast meanwhile:[2]
I pray thee let me know my destiny;
And if 'tis evil, change its course for me!
If thou wilt grant this grace, I'll see it clear
In the water in the splendour of the sun;
and thou, O Cain, shalt tell by word of mouth
Whatever this my destiny is to be.
And unless thou grantest this,
May'st thou ne'er know peace or bliss!

[1. Probably a mistake for Luna.

2. This implies keeping himself warm, and is proof positive that moon should here be read for sun. According to another legend Cain suffers from cold in the moon]

Then shall follow the Conjuration of Diana.
Scongiurazione a Diana.

You shall make cakes of meal, wine, salt, and honey in the shape of a (crescent or horned) moon, and then put them to bake, and say:

Non cuoco ne il pane ne il sale,
Non cuoco ne il vino ne il miele,
Cuoco il corpo il sangue e l'anima,
L'anima di Diana, che non possa
Avere ne la pace e ne bene,
Possa essere sempre in mezzo alle pene
Fino che la grazia non mi farà,
Che glielo chiesta egliela chiedo di cuore!
Se questa grazia, o Diana, mi farai,
La cena in tua lode in molti la faremo,
Mangiaremo, beveremo,
Balleremo, salteremo,
Se questa grazia che ti ho chiesta,
Se questa grazia tu mi farai,
Nel tempo che balliamo,
Il lume spengnerai,
Cosi al l'amore
Liberamente la faremo!

Conjuration of Diana.

I do not bake the bread, nor with it salt,
Nor do I cook the honey with the wine,
I bake the body and the blood and soul,
The soul of (great) Diana, that she shall
Know neither rest nor peace, and ever be
In cruel suffering till she will grant
What I request, what I do most desire,
I beg it of her from my very heart!
And if the grace be granted, O Diana!
In honour of thee I will hold this feast,
Feast and drain the goblet deep,
We, will dance and wildly leap,
And if thou grant'st the grace which I require,
Then when the dance is wildest, all the lamps
Shall be extinguished and we'll freely love!

And thus shall it be done: all shall sit down to the supper all naked, men and women, and, the feast over, they shall dance, sing, make music, and then love in the darkness, with all the lights extinguished: for it is the Spirit of Diana who extinguishes them, and so they will dance and make music in her praise.

And it came to pass that Diana, after her daughter had accomplished her mission or spent her time on earth among the living (mortals), recalled her, and gave her the power that when she had been invoked... having done some good deed... she gave her the power to gratify those who had conjured her by granting her or him success in love:

To bless or curse with power friends or enemies [to do good or evil].
To converse with spitrits.
To find hidden treasures in ancient ruins.
To conjure the spirits of priests who died leaving treasures.
To understand the voice of the wind.
To change water into wine.
To divine with cards.
To know the secrets of the hand (palmistry).
To cure diseases.
To make those who are ugly beautiful.
To tame wild beasts.

Whatever thing should be asked from the spirit of Aradia, that should be granted unto those who merited her favour.

And thus must they invoke her:

Thus do I seek Aradia! Aradia! Aradia![1] At mid night, at midnight I go into a field, and with me I bear water, wine, and salt, I bear water, wine, and salt, and my talisman-my talisman, my talisman, and a red small bag which I ever hold in my hand con dentro, con dentro, sale, with salt in it, in it. With the water and wine I bless myself, I bless myself with devotion to implore a favour from Aradia, Aradia.

Sconjurazione di Aradia.

Aradia, Aradia mia!
Tu che siei figlia del più peggiore
Che si trova nell Inferno,
Che dal Paradiso fu discacciata,

[1. This is a formula which is to be slowly recited, emphasising the repetitions.]

E con una sorella, te ha creata,
Ma tua madre pentita del suo fallo,
A voluto di fare di te uno spirito,
Un spirito benigno,
E non maligno!

Aradia! Aradia! Tanto ti prego
Per I'amore che por ti ha tua madre,
E a I'amor tuo che tanto l'ami,
Ti prego di farmi la grazia,
La grazia che lo ti chiedo
Se questa grazia mi farei,
Tre cose mi farai vedere,
Serpe strisciare,
Lucciola volare,
E rana cantare
Se questa grazia non mi farai,
Desidero tu non possa avere,
Avere più pace e ne bene,
E che da lontano tu debba scomodarti.
E a me raccomodarti,
Che ti obri... che tu possa tornar
Presto al tuo destino.

The Invocation to Aradia.

Aradia! my Aradia!
Thou who art daughter unto him who was
Most evil of all spirits, who of old
Once reigned in hell when driven away from heaven,
Who by his sister did thy sire become,
But as thy mother did repent her fault,
And wished to mate thee to a spirit who
Should be benevolent,
And not malevolent!

Aradia, Aradia! I implore
Thee by the love which she did bear for thee!
And by the love which I too feel for thee!
I pray thee grant the grace which I require!
And if this grace be granted, may there be
One of three signs distinctly clear to me:
The hiss of a serpent,
The light of a firefly,
The sound of a frog!
But if you do refuse this favour, then
May you in future know no peace not- joy,
And be obliged to seek me from afar,
Until you come to grant me my desire,
In haste, and then thou may'st return again
Unto thy destiny. Therewith, Amen!

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