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2015 by Raven Grimassi and Clan Umbrea, all rights
reserved. Reprints of these pages are not allowed
without written permission of Raven Grimassi or the
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Raven Grimassi and the
Arician Tradition of Italian Witchcraft is not
associated or affiliated with the following individuals,
organizations, or traditions:
Aradia Earth & Sky
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is La Vecchia Religione?
It is the
Old Religion of Italy. Within it are contained the
pre-Christian European mystery teachings. La Vecchia
Religione is the Witch sect of Old Italy.
What are the origins of Stregheria?
Stregheria has its roots in ancient Etruscan religion,
which itself was inherited from Neolithic religion.
There are surprisingly few elements in Stregheria that
can be said to be strictly Roman influences, and it
should be noted that a Sicilian branch of Witchcraft
also exists and is different in many ways from the
Italian mainland traditions. Some modern systems
of Stregheria contain
various elements of Tuscan peasant religion mixed with
material Medieval Christian heresy sects, particularly
those involving Saint worship. Catholicism served as a
veneer that was fitted over the Old Religion in order to
survive during the period of violent persecution at the
hands of the Inquisition and secular authorities. To
many modern Italian Witches, most Catholic saints are
simply ancient pagan gods dressed in Christian garb.
The majority of systems within Stregheria have removed
all vestiges of Catholic veneer and have returned to
their full pagan heritage.
3. What is the Arician System of
It is a modern system incorporating a form of the mystery cult of
Diana and Rex Nemorensis, which once thrived in the
Arician grove at
in ancient Roman times. The Arician Tradition, known as
Ways, embraces the
ancient European mystery teachings of pre-Christian
Western Civilization. The Arician Tradition strives to
maintain the ancient mystery teachings while at the same
time working to adapt to modern times. Therefore we do
material and teachings, but we do not discard older
4. How does Stregheria differ from
There are many elements in our tradition of Stregheria
that are different from Wicca. We follow a slightly
different Mythos from Wicca and thus the Treguenda
(Sabbat) that appear in the Wheel of the Year are
culturally different from Wiccan Sabbats. Our rituals
are very structured and reflect a philosophy of "adding
but never removing" elements from our rites. We have a
strong commitment to family and clan, reflected in our
practices of ancestor reverence through spirits know as
We believe our tradition follows what we would call an
Elder Faith, the Old Religion, from which many of the
elements of modern-day Wicca have been derived.
5. Does Italian Witchcraft
include practices of harmful magic?
Because the Italian Craft has roots of great antiquity there
are elements of what can be called war magic.
This type of magic is only used after a magical or psychic attack has been
launched against practitioners of the Old Religion, and is
therefore a defensive art. We do not draw "first
blood" with the art of magic, meaning that we do not launch
the first assault. However, we do practice magical
binding as a preemptive act when the need to defend
against a real threat is apparent. There is no
intent to harm with an act of binding. Although it is not
our way to start a fight, we are more than willing to end
one with the full intention and effort of winning.
6. Aren't all Streghe Hereditary?
No, not at this time, although for many centuries one
had to be "of the blood" to be Strega. There were blood
witches among those Aradia led, and certainly between
her time and the late 20th Century, most streghe had
been raised in family traditions. But there has long
been the inclusion of spouses who appeared interested
and so inclined, and a provision for
bringing devoted outsiders into one of
7. Do I have to be Italian to practice
No, you don't. Stregheria is a spiritual path that is
open to all. It is, however, based on traditional
Italian witchcraft and does have an Italian flavor. It
is primarily derived from Etruscan religion rather than
8. Do the Streghe worship the Roman Gods and
In the Arician Tradition, we worship a pantheon that is
different from the urban gods of the Romans. Some of
those deities were shared, however, with the Latins, and
some with the Etruscans, and some of them are in our
pantheon, most notably Diana, whose worship was focused
at a temple at
in the Alban
Hills. Our principle name for the Goddess and God is
Uni and Tagni, taken from the Etruscans. However, there
are other Streghe in
who do not follow our tradition, who may worship the
urban gods of the Romans.
9. How can I learn more about Stregheria?
Ways of the Strega
which was released in February,
Ways of the Strega and
both by Raven Grimassi.
You may purchase Raven's
Call, a journal published by
Raven Grimassi. Also recommended are
The Golden Bough by Frazer, and The Evil Eye
10. Can I be initiated into the Arician tradition?
Yes, but being initiated requires finding a teacher
under whom you can study. You can dedicate yourself as a
solitary practitioner until you are able to find a
11. How much time is required in order to
advance between degrees of initiation?
We do not have a set period of time, as this is a matter
between student and teacher. However, we do encourage
each person to participate in the eight festivals of the
year, and the full moon of each month during that year
cycle, before asking to move on to the next level.
Elevation to the next degree is something bestowed upon
students because their efforts and their understanding
have displayed to their teachers that it is time, and
not simply because a required period of study has
12. How can I find a teacher?
Finding a teacher can be difficult. An online Course
of Study is available through Raven's Loft store
also do an Internet search on Strega or Stregheria, and
talk to your local occult or witch shop. Caution is
urged when encountering groups or individuals that claim
the system known as Stregoneria (as opposed to
Stregheria). One example is the
organization known as "Stregoenria Italiana" which
promotes a form of stregoneria that is litle more than Catholic-rooted
folk magic having little if any relationship to
authentic forms of Italian Witchcraft. However some
practitioners of Stregoneria erroneously insist on referring to
themselves as Witches instead of sorcerers.
Another suggestion for seekers is to attend pagan
gatherings and lectures. Read whatever you can.
Subscribe to pagan journals. The Strega Path is
growing, and when the time is right, the teacher will
13. I don't know anyone in my area who
practices Stregheria. How can I find a group?
Not all areas have Strega groups, but the Strega Path is
expanding into several areas of the
U.S. There are
small pockets of initiates on the West Coast, East
Coast, a few southern States and even some in the
14. Does gender or sexual preference
matter in the Strega tradition?
We are opposed to discrimination in any form and try to
accommodate all seekers, however, since Italian
Witchcraft is a nature religion, we seek balance in all
things. This can require compromises in order to find
one's place in the tradition.
15. Does your tradition use ritual nudity?
Most, but not all, Strega traditions do. The Arician
tradition works six months out of the year robed and six
16. Does your tradition use
Because the Italian Craft is rooted in the ancient fertility
cult of Old Europe there is an element of sensuality and
sexual theme within some of the rituals. We only
incorporate this in a spiritual setting.
No one is ever forced or manipulated into
anything that he or she is unwilling to participate in. Outside of the religion some
practitioners occasionally use sex magic with willing
participants under mutual and free consent. Minors are
not allowed to participate or be present at any ritual that
involves nudity, sensuality, or sexuality.
17. Who is Aradia?
Aradia is the name taken ( in honor of an ancient
goddess) by the woman who we sometimes refer to as
The Holy Strega. Her followers knew her as Aradia
di Toscano and also called her La Bella
Pellegrina or the Beautiful Pilgrim.
Our traditions teaches that Aradia was born in
Tuscany (legends states 1313)
and was taught the
Old Ways, by her aunt. As a
young woman, she would walk through the Alban Hills near
and contemplate the fate of the people of
who were downtrodden by the nobility and the Church.
One day, Aradia had a moment of spiritual enlightenment
is which she knew she must challenge the existing order.
In this moment, she heard the word MoonShadow and
began her spiritual teachings. Aradia gathered streghe,
outlaws, and others who dwelt in the forests around Nemi
during the 14th century, and taught the Ways. her
disciples formed what is known as the Triad Clans, from
which our Tradition had descended.
published a distorted version of the Aradia story that
he received from a woman named
Maddalena, who claimed
to be a witch. Our tradition's version differs
significantly from this published version.
18. What are the Triad Clans?
The Triad Clans are an alliance of three related Witch
Clans known as the Tanarra, Janarra, and Fanarra. These
Clans are also known as the Mystery Keepers. The
Tanarra maintain the ancient stellar mystery
teachings. The Janarra keep the lunar mysteries and
the Fanarra are guardians of the earth mysteries.
According to oral tradition these Clans were formed by
the followers of Aradia shortly after her
19. What is a Boschetto?
A Boschetto is a group of Witches numbering from 3 - 13
members who join together from worship, study, and
fellowship. In Wicca this would be called a coven.