Stregheria is a medieval/archaic Italian word meaning witchcraft. It is also referred to as La Vecchia Religion.
Widespread notoriety of Stregheria was first made available by Charles Leland in his works 'Etruscan Roman Remains' and 'Aradia:Gospel of Witches'.
Many practitioners consider these works to be important in gaining an understanding of the background of their tradition.
Stregheria has many similarities and differences with Wicca,and in some ways resembles many other culturally-based Neopagan religions.
Practices include the celebration of seasonal holidays,ritual magic and reverence for gods, ancestors, and tradition specific spirits.
Stregheria itself has many variant traditions and individual practices do vary considerably.
Like Wicca,Stregheria makes use of the Pentagram as an important symbol.
The usage of the Pentagram can be traced back to the Roman Pythagoreans.
Stregheria uses the ritual tools of cup,wand,pentacle and blade,which are seen in the suits of the tarot and amongst many systems of Western occultism.
Stregheria rituals take place in a circle,with an altar facing North.
Ritual actions include prayer and the blessing of food.
The Arician tradition contains a rite of initiation,similar to some Wiccan traditions, and celebrates eight holidays known as Treguendas, as well as the practice of ancestor reverence through spirits known as 'Lare'.
Practitioners of Stregheria are encouraged to consider themselves as practicing mages or witches, and to believe that magic can have an effect upon reality.
Stregheria contains a specific belief about the influence of spiritual beings on magic.It is believed that the Grigori,or 'Watchers',a kind of guardian Lare,must witness the display of prescribed signs and gestures, and that they have the power to negate energy from the astral plane.
The Goddess Diana, The God Dianus/Lucifer,and the Grigori,therefore constitute some of the chief entities with which the Stregherian Mage works.
This tradition in many ways seems to echo another legend wherein an elder race known as the Grigori descended to the Earth in ages past and brought the gifts of civilization, and interbred with human men and women.
This excerpt from Leland's 'Aradia:Gospel of Witches' will alert the careful reader to such implications.
How Diana Made the Stars and the Rain-
Diana was the first created before all creation;In her were all things; out of herself, the first darkness, she divided herself; into darkness and light she was divided. Lucifer,her brother and son,herself and her other half,was the light.
And when Diana saw that the light was so beautiful, the light which was her other half,her brother Lucifer,she yearned for it with exceeding great desire.
Wishing to receive the light again into her darkness, to swallow it up in rapture,in delight,she trembled with desire.
This desire was the Dawn.
But Lucifer,the light, fled from her and would not yield to her wishes;He was the light which files into the most distant parts of heaven,the mouse which flies before the cat.
Then Diana went to the fathers of the Beginning, to the mothers, the spirits who were before the first spirit, and lamented unto them that she could not prevail with Lucifer.
And they praised her for her courage,they told her that to rise she must fall;To become the chief of goddesses she must become a mortal.
And in the ages,in the course of time,when the world was made,Diana went on earth,as did Lucifer,who had fallen and Diana taught magic and sorcery,whence came witches and fairies and goblins-all that is like man,yet not mortal.
And it came thus that Diana took the form of a cat.Her brother had a cat whom he loved beyond all creatures and it slept every night on his bed,a cat beautiful beyond all other creatures,a fairy:He did not know it.
Diana prevailed with the cat to change forms with her,so she lay with her brother and in the darkness assumed her own form and so by Lucifer became the mother of Aradia.But when in the morning he found that he lay by his sister and that light had been conquered by darkness,Lucifer was extremely angry;But Diana sang to him a spell,a song of power and he was silent,the song of the night which soothes to sleep;He could say nothing.So Diana with her wiles of Witchcraft so charmed him that he yielded to her love.
This was the first fascination,she hummed the song,it was as the buzzing of bees (or a top spinning round),a spinning-wheel spinning life.She spun the lives of all men;All things were spun from the wheel of Diana.Lucifer turned the wheel.