Two Different Words? Stregheria and Stregoneria

In a thread ar MysticWicks online, Grimassi disected the two words. Where strego or streg refers to Witches, and eria is a suffix that implies “doings”, the word Stregheria would almost translate directly into English as Witchery, if we disregard the fact that it’s a word unknown to most Italian-speakers. The word nero is the Italian means black, and Grimassi insists that Stregoneria refers distinctly to black magic and ill intent.

Grimassi wrote: Ask the average Italian what stregoneria is and you will be told it is harmful magic, and most likely you will be told it is being in league with the Devil. The same thing would happen if you stopped the average American on the street and asked him or her for a definition of Witchcraft. (1)

It’s as though that he implies, with this reasoning, that Stregheria would generate no such xenophobia. However, If you ask do Italians what Stregheria is, you’d get a different reaction – Stregheria is a word that does not exist. It not known to most Italians today. It is in no Italian-English dictionary that I have come across. Could it be that Grimassi himself invented the word, removing the “black” aspect from it?

Paolo Giordano’s article “What is Stregoneria vs Stregheria” is featured in Raven Grimassi’s official website and explains where we find first find pre-Grimassi evidence of the word “Stregheria”, naming two specific dictionaries. (2) If someone has seen these dictionaries and knows where I could find a copy , scan or photocopy, I’d be very interested.

Lessons in Grammar

In his book Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe, Grimassi explains that “Italian is a Latin language, and employs the use of gender in its words and sentence structure.”(3) This is true, as illutrated by the word teacher which translates into professore for men and professoressa for women.

The dictionary definitions for strega and stregone are feminine and masculine words for sorceress/er. (4) Grimassi states that streghe is the all-encompassing plural term, although that is gramatically incorrect. Strega, as a feminine noun, will also be feminine in the plural form. Streghe is absolutely feminine. Stegoni would be the term used for a group of males, and by default, a group of mixed genders as well. With this in mind, Stregoneria refers to the practice of Stregoni. We cannot be certain that the neria part of word refers to blackness.

In his examination, Grimassi wrote “that the word stregheria is rooted in an understanding of Witchcraft as a community of Witches, a people if you will. Stregoneria seems to suggest a magic system as opposed to a people.” I feel that this point is moot – Grimassi’s Stregheria tradition is certainly a magical system itself. We can also link the word stregoni to stregoneria which would indeed link it to a “community” as much as the use of streghe in stregheria does.

Stregheria can be interpreted gramatically as craft solely for women, which would be understandable for an Old Country point of view. All Witches were thought to be women, but then again, all witches were also considered evil. I’m playing the devil’s advocate with this argument – Grimassi would endorse no such image.

Given that Grimassi traces his craft primarily to the Etruscans, who were definitely not Latin, it is surprising he would emphasise the later language of the Romans at all.

Questions for Contemplation and Discussion

If contemporary Italians do not recognize the word Stregheria, is it really Italian?

The FAQ says:

No, you don’t [have to be Italian to practice Stregheria.] 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 Roman.

Why practice a distinctly Italian Craft if you are not even distantly Italian? Pride in Italy is a major part of Italian culture and therefore makes it neccessary for one to be somewhat Italian in order to be an Italian Witch.

More importantly, what does it mean to be Italian? And why should the Etruscans be emphasised more than the Romans?


MysticWicks Online Pagan Community and Spiritual Sanctuary > Raven Grimassi > Stegoneria Italiana
Posted July 5, 2008, Accessed July 10, 2008.

“One old example of the usage of “stregheria” appears in the book Apologia della Congresso Notturno Delle Lamie, by Girolamo Tartarotti (1751), which almost exclusively uses the word stregheria in place of stregoneria. Due to modifications over the centuries, the terms stregoneria and stregheria must now be viewed as referring to different systems. In fact, a dictionary printed in the year 1900 (Nouveau dictionnaire italien-francais et francais-italien – by Costanzo Ferrari) provides separate entries for stregoneria and stregheria. The entry for stregoneria refers strictly to sorcery, while the entry for stregheria refers to organized witchcraft in connection with the Sabbat.”

Giorando, Paulo. “What is Stregoneria vs. Stregheria.”
Copyright 2006. Accessed July 19, 2008.


Grimassi, Raven. Italian Witchcraft: The Old Religion of Southern Europe.
2000. Llewellyn Worldwide, Pp 4.

Accessed July 14, 2008


I’m one of those people who always de-emphasises spellwork to do beginners. No, do don’t do spells, I always say, do devotional work. There is a great difference.

What is a spell?

This is an important definition. A spell is a ritual done with the intention of change. Spells are always cast for a reason and have a specific outcome in mind.

While not everyone does it this way, most draw The Divine into spellwork, invite them into circle and ask Them to deliver these outcomes. There is a lot more to Wicca and spiritual Neo-Pagan practices than asking for stuff!

Laying Foundations with Devotionals

Would you remain friends with someone who only asked for favours? Of course not! Regular devotional ritual is neccessary for creating the basis of a relationship with the Divine. It keeps the energies and connections flowing between you so that communication comes easier. It shows your commitment to the forces you are working with.

With devotionals you aren’t asking for anything. Not anything specific, anyway. At most its an exchange of offerings between you and Deity. Regular devotionals outside from holy days are a very important part of a pagan practice and are one of the first steps to a profound, spiritually rewarding path.

Of Interest:

Kirk Thomas. Make Offerings, Damnit!

There’s no point of working so much when you don’t spend properly. Then it’s like you’re working for nothing. My mum said something along these lines last night because we were discussing my finances as a full time student and part time worker.

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Bored? Don’t know what to do? Me neither. Recommendations from a former local events data entry slave who knows what’s going on but never manages to make it to much.

My SO and I decided to be spontaneous and caught a show at The Comedy Nestlast week. I don’t know what the heck his name was, Tom Something? What a lousy show! Elias and Searles were just fine, though I was sorry we had so few people in the audience.  I’ve definitely had a  better time – with bigger crowds too – at Comedyworks.

I actually saw Paramore and openers with a friend without having ever heard of the band. It was a great show!

Watch out pedestrians! I was crossing at a yellow, and at the turn of the light some dude with his girlfriend decided to hit the gas and stop an inch away to teach me a lesson. My SO nicely stepped back and bang his hands on the car hood for a bit and stay in the driver’s way. Personally, I don’t give too much credit to male Beetle drivers with road rage. Stupid to near-hit someone intentionally in a busy intersection, no? I wonder what I would have done if he had hit me?

I’m a bit late, but here we are! Saturday looks most excellent!!!!

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I ran into a good friend, T., not long ago.

I saw her profile walking by outside the glass building and had the feeling intense hope and anticipation that come with such meetings- “Is that her, yes, it’s her! Yes, she’s coming this way!” I’ve known her for over 15 years and was glad to see her. We haven’t made enough time to see each other of late.

I told her of another old friend I had met up with and how the visit hadn’t gone as well as I had hoped. It had been fine but not great, only just describable as nice, in fact.

“That’s the difference between catching up and sharing,” T. said to me, words that have stuck with me for the last couple of days. While it’s great to “catch up”, it can only brings the conversation so far. Open ended questions about the past get tiresome. It makes me a little sad.

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It’s true – Halloween can be dangerous. Who knows what poisonned candy might be in circulation, what predators may be out on the street after unsuspecting and unwatched children. Parents definitely have to be vigilant.

I read this article, in which a woman brings up a Halloween alternative. Religuon and children’s safety make up her reasonning. As far as safety goes, we definitely do have to be wary for unsupervised kids. We do have to work on preventing graffiti and vandasm by youth.

But religion?

“Halloween originates in a pagan [sic] holiday and the things that come with it are negative,” [Ms. Schwenke] says.

The things that come with it – does she mean rowdiness, kids misbehaving? Or does she mean the Pagan-ness of Halloween itself ? Remember that this night of Spirits is not just Pagan – All Hallow’s Eve, All Saints Day and All Soul’s Day are all part of the Christian calendar and belief as well.

I do support groups that offer parties for cildren and teenagers, alternatives to them that will discourage bad behavior. I also think that children should be educated so that they’re aware of what dangers are around them. I also think that, if they’re faithful Christians, those children should learn what All Hallow’s Eve is. As a “holy eve”, a remembrance of the dead and the communion of saints, there should be nothing spiritually dangerous about this night.

Trick or tearing ‘negative, unsafe’. Susana Talagi.

Halloween and its Christian roots. Susan Hines-Brigger.

That’s a strange question coming from a writer, isn’t it? I think that loving to write really should be the quality of a freelance writer and it’s too bad I’m just not one of those.

I write to improve my writing skills.

I write as a way of improving my diction, my arguing skills, the way in which I word my phrases.

I write in hope that better writing will also bring about better conversational skills.

Sometimes we stop practicing a certain skill and realise after that we’ve lost  a lost some of our ability in that area. When I began my University studies I realized that my writing was nowhere near as good as I thought it was. Perhaps I was disillisionned from years of having it easy at school. CEGEP definitely wsn’t challenging and likely left me rusty. I would spend nights crying because all the University papers I had to write, because I hated writing about things I have no interest in, because I have too short of an attention span, because I hated my writing.

I am no longer in University but have every intention of writing better, and improving in my own way.

Bored? Don’t know what to do? Me neither. Recommendations from a Yellow Pages employee who knows what’s going on but never manages to make it to much.

I met an old friend at 3 Brasseurs for dinner – just because it’s so inexpensive and not because their beer is actually good, because it isn’t – and did the walk around town things, with a stop at Ben and Jerry’s. Very Yummy.

Plenty of great things happenin’ this week, including some great comedy acts and festivals I’ve been looking forward to all summer.

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Now, Witchvox is in an incredible community tool in that it allows any of us to write and present our opinions about Neo-Pagan Religion and Life. The problem? It allows any of us to write and present our opinions. Sometimes I read things on Witchvox and am apalled by the tangents that writers spiral on to.

Emilioa Enchantra’s article “Organization is Key” caught my attention simply because it’s a statement I do agree with and that I’ll probably write about a number of times. I thought maybe it would be about personal study organization or community organization. What can I say – I have a problem with people who complain and preach but don’t do anything, and more so, say things that I consider just plain wrong.

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“I am responsible for everything except my very responsibility.” – Sartres

I take a rather different approach to ethics, as far as Witchcraft is concerned. Some people quote the threefold law or the Wiccan Rede ad nauseum and it makes me crazy. Others quote Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt and that is the whole of the law”, but people really seem to interpret it differently. Others wing it and deal with everything on a situational basis.

As a solitary I don’t have to restrict myself to the principles of any one tradition, so I enjoy exploring the pros and cons of different ethical strategies.

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