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  • #31
    Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
    Are you saying that Italian witches have beliefs or practices that are not known by non-witches in Italian culture?
    I am saying that we only know what we are told. I don't believe that everyone knows everything that goes on in my home. When a family or person is practicing in their home, I do not believe that they tell others everything. I believe there are some things that only a family may know.

    Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
    Um, seems like a stretch there, as the text you quoted defines stregoneria as the art of witches, which is then defined as operations to cause damage to other people.
    I see it as two definitions. Stregoneria - the art of witches, which is witchcraft as far as I'm concerned. The next definition, stregoneria - magical operations that harm others. It looks like two completely different definitions to me. If they were one definition, they should have been combined.

    You're trying to say that the second definition (magical operations that harm others), is what describes stregoneria (the art of witchcraft OR magical operations that harm others), definitively. And then in turn, anyone who practices stregoneria is an evil practitioner. So the second listed definition is what stregoneria really means, and the first listed definition is simply defined by the second definition. Which doesn't make any sense to me and isn't really how dictionaries work. Both definitions can be referred to as stregoneria separately. Similar to the definition of "pagan" in the dictionary. There are several definitions and not all of them are true from everyone's perspective and vice versa, and one definition does not describe a previous definition as you have stated is the case with the two definitions I posted. They can, but they also can be viewed separately, which is why they are separated by numbers.
    • 1. One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially an adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity.
    • 2. A Neo-Pagan.
    • 3. Offensive.
      • 1. One who has no religion.
      • 2. A non-Christian.
    • 4. A hedonist.


    "One who has no religion. A non-Christian.". According to your reasoning, these definitions would be a stretch not to believe, because the majority of our culture says it's so, because it's in our dictionary. Yes, that is what the majority may believe, but is it completely true? Not if you talk to some of the minority, who may believe that you can be a pagan and have no religion or you can also be a pagan and a Christian. Are their beliefs of themselves invalid because the majority doesn't agree?

    I don't see it as a stretch. I see it as two definitions of the word stregoneria.

    Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
    You’re right; it only shows, by dictionary definition, what the average person believes about the meaning and intent. So, in this regard Italian witches have beliefs that are not congruent with what the majority of people in Italy believe and perceive. Therefore it’s a cultural mismatch. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?
    I do not see it as anything other than people having different perspectives about one particular issue and some agreeing with it and some not. I don't feel that that necessarily constitutes a cultural mismatch, if some people believe one thing and others believe something else. For a cultural mismatch, I feel that you would need to have a majority of things that are looked at completely differently between a group of people. I disagree with some things that my family believes, but that doesn't constitute a familial divide or mismatch.
    Last edited by Xirian; February 7th, 2007, 01:43 AM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Xirian View Post
      You're trying to say that the second definition (magical operations that harm others), is what describes stregoneria (the art of witchcraft OR magical operations that harm others), definitively. And then in turn, anyone who practices stregoneria is an evil practitioner
      Nah, I’m not saying it; I’m just going with the historical, literary, and definitions found in Italian writings. To date I’ve not seen any definition of stregoneria in an Italian dictionary that states, suggests, infers, or implies a positive association. I was hoping you had one.


      Originally posted by Xirian View Post
      I do not see it as anything other than people having different perspectives about one particular issue and some agreeing with it and some not. I don't feel that that necessarily constitutes a cultural mismatch, if some people believe one thing and others believe something else.
      Neither do I, but I often see the opposite attitude on the Internet when it comes to Italian witchcraft.

      Originally posted by Xirian View Post
      For a cultural mismatch, I feel that you would need to have a majority of things that are looked at completely differently between a group of people
      Right, like Italian witches and Italians who aren’t witches.

      Originally posted by Xirian View Post
      I see it as two definitions. Stregoneria - the art of witches, which is witchcraft as far as I'm concerned. The next definition, stregoneria - magical operations that harm others. It looks like two completely different definitions to me
      That’s an interesting way to concoct the meaning a person wants the word to have, I love it! But using your analogy about the word Pagan, it can mean a person or something related to the beliefs of the Pagan (a Pagan practice, a Pagan altar). But it’s the definition of the practitioner that comes first, which then gives meaning to what he or she practices or uses. So in this light, stregoneria is the practice (not one definition of the word) and it’s what streghe do (not who they are). And it's always culturally used in a negative meaning.

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      • #33
        I call it all, "energy work" and leave it at that.
        "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
        We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

        Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          Nah, I’m not saying it; I’m just going with the historical, literary, and definitions found in Italian writings. To date I’ve not seen any definition of stregoneria in an Italian dictionary that states, suggests, infers, or implies a positive association. I was hoping you had one.
          I showed you one. In fact, I showed you one that I feel was a positive association and a negative one.

          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          Neither do I, but I often see the opposite attitude on the Internet when it comes to Italian witchcraft.
          I sometimes see that the opposite attitude stems from fear. Fear of what, I have no idea. But you see it often with regards to paganism, witchcraft and religious beliefs that are not mainstream.

          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          Right, like Italian witches and Italians who aren’t witches.
          Not necessarily. I believe that one's culture isn't only about their religious beliefs. I do think that that plays a part. For instance, one can go to a culture and see that some people are Christian, while the people down the street are pagan. However, there are many cultural aspects that are the same and onlookers and even those involved may comment on the fact that they live similarly, their food tastes similar, their children look and behave similarly etc... Just because the religious beliefs aren't the same, doesn't necessarily mean their culture is completely different.

          They are still Italian, whether they practice witchcraft or practice some form of Christianity, at least from my perspective.

          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          That’s an interesting way to concoct the meaning a person wants the word to have, I love it!
          No, those are the meanings that were given in the dictionary that I quoted. There were two separate definitions. One was the art of witches. The art of a witch, to me, is what that same dictionary contributes to a male witch and not a female witch interestingly enough.

          stegone:
          1 sf
          uomo cui si attribuivano poteri soprannaturali, malefici o benefici;
          (man which supernatural powers, curses or benefits were attributed;)

          But when you look at the definition of a strega:

          strega:
          1 sf
          donna cui si attribuivano poteri malefici e rapporti coi diavolo;
          (woman which curses and relationships with the devil were attributed to powers;)

          So as far as the first defintion of stregoneria, the art of the witches (streghe=witches or it bewitches), or male witches (stregoni (p)=male witches/stregone(s)=male witch), I would personally subscribe to the definition attributed to the stregoni since in implies that it is supernatural powers that curse or benefit. So a male can actually be seen as a practioner of stregoneria and not seen as evil, but a woman can't, as far as the dictionary is suggesting and I think that's bull and do not agree.

          I'm sure the majority or the writers of the dictionary, feel that streghe and stregoneria are evil, but just because the majority says it's so, does not mean that all people subscribe to such beliefs. They might not call themselves witches or one that bewitches (streghe), but they may certainly imply that they are practitioners of stregoneria (witchcraft).

          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          But using your analogy about the word Pagan, it can mean a person or something related to the beliefs of the Pagan (a Pagan practice, a Pagan altar). But it’s the definition of the practitioner that comes first, which then gives meaning to what he or she practices or uses.
          Yes, that's how it was in the dictionary that I quoted about pagans. But it wasn't listed like that in the dictionary I quoted about stregoneria, in regards to the first definition that I posted. The art of witches. I don't believe they gave themselves the label, but they know that what they practice currently, is magic and some are willing to call themselves stregoneria practitioners, while some are not.

          Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
          So in this light, stregoneria is the practice (not one definition of the word) and it’s what streghe do (not who they are). And it's always culturally used in a negative meaning.
          You can keep suggesting that stregoneria is only about evil magic, but if you talk to someone who feels that they practice stregoneria and immediately imply that they are only practicing negative magic because that's what the dictionary says, I'm sure you'll be faced with some resistance.

          The same with the definition of witchcraft in our dictionaries. There is the implication that it sorcery, which to many implies black magic, but that isn't the case for everyone. And the definition of a witch is worse implying a woman who practices black magic or the black arts (among other definitions). Witch and witchcraft are still derrogatory terms in many parts of the U.S., but that doesn't mean that all witches or those who practice witchcraft are evil because the dictionary may allude to that, or that those who seek to know more about witchcraft are only interested in evil connotations that are placed on witches and witchcraft, does it?

          I can't explain my personal beliefs about this subject any better than what I've already done. I feel we are thread jacking and if what I've said can't be understood and you feel is way off, then you might want to try actually talking to someone who feels that they practice stregoneria, instead of me, someone who has already stated that they do not practice stregoneria, which I believe is witchcraft that is specifically related to Italian folks.
          Last edited by Xirian; February 7th, 2007, 04:02 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Nemesis Descending View Post
            stregoneria is the practice (not one definition of the word) and it’s what streghe do (not who they are). And it's always culturally used in a negative meaning.
            True enough, and I can say with reasonable certainty that there's no support for a positive view of stregoneria in any works of Italian history or literature. That, of course, simply presents the commonly accepted view among native Italians. It's not proof per se that such is the case, but it is the cultural understanding of stregoneria.

            Stregheria, by contrast with stregoneria, does have a different literary rendering. Once example appears in the writings of Girolamo Tartarotti (circa 1751) who describes "stregheria" as a religion devoted to the goddess Diana. This distances it from the simple sorcery of stregoneria. I refer, of course, to his book Del Congresso Notturno Delle Lammie.
            “There are survivals of pagan rites in Christianity, and in every man there is a survival of the pagan that preceded him; paganism is primordial fire, and it is always breaking through the Christian crust” (quote from the collected works of George Moore)

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              I feel we are thread jacking
              I don’t see how, the thread is about the definition of witchcraft, the labels we apply, and how we personally refer to these practices. So it seems we’re discussing all of that, or have I missed something here?

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              you might want to try actually talking to someone who feels that they practice stregoneria, instead of me, someone who has already stated that they do not practice stregoneria, which I believe is witchcraft that is specifically related to Italian folks.
              Oh, been there done that many times

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              I showed you one. In fact, I showed you one that I feel was a positive association and a negative one.
              I’m not trying to be argumentative but what you actually showed me was a quote “the art of stregoneria” which doesn’t mean good or bad as a statement in and of itself. Its meaning is only discerned from its description in the other passage as an operation to bring damage to other people.

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              I sometimes see that the opposite attitude stems from fear. Fear of what, I have no idea. But you see it often with regards to paganism, witchcraft and religious beliefs that are not mainstream.
              Oh, that’s easy to understand, it’s a fear of coming up short by comparison. This type of fear can’t allow for other possibilities or alternatives.

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              Just because the religious beliefs aren't the same, doesn't necessarily mean their culture is completely different.
              Yeah, and I know some people feel that way about Stregheria versus Stregoneria, and others don’t. Hey, go figure…

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              stegone:
              1 sf
              uomo cui si attribuivano poteri soprannaturali, malefici o benefici;
              (man which supernatural powers, curses or benefits were attributed;)

              But when you look at the definition of a strega:

              strega:
              1 sf
              donna cui si attribuivano poteri malefici e rapporti coi diavolo;
              (woman which curses and relationships with the devil were attributed to powers;)

              So as far as the first defintion of stregoneria, the art of the witches (streghe=witches or it bewitches), or male witches (stregoni (p)=male witches/stregone(s)=male witch), I would personally subscribe to the definition attributed to the stregoni since in implies that it is supernatural powers that curse or benefit.
              But taken in context with not only the common understanding but also the historical and literary background, the “benefit” referred to is about people who gain from the magic of the stregone. In other words his magic harms an enemy and so the opposing person benefits. Taking things out of cultural context confuses the meaning.

              Originally posted by Xirian View Post
              You can keep suggesting that stregoneria is only about evil magic, but if you talk to someone who feels that they practice stregoneria and immediately imply that they are only practicing negative magic because that's what the dictionary says, I'm sure you'll be faced with some resistance.
              Well sure, many people do hold to their necessary illusions, but that doesn’t alter the prevailing cultural understanding.

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              • #37
                Nemesis Descending,

                I've already stated my thoughts on this issue as best I can and I've answered your initial question thoroughly, based on my current understanding, my conversations with those who practice stregoneria and do not feel that it only has evil connotations, reading books and articles about Italian culture and history, reading articles about those who feel stregoneria is nothing but evil and only evil people practice it and I have come to the conclusion that it's very similar to how witchcraft is and was thought of in this country. Evil and taboo and you must be worshipping the devil if you are a pagan. If you want to keep that stereotypical thinking up, more power to you.

                Just because the dictionary says that a witch is into black magic doesn't mean that's true for the majority of witches. It just means we need to change the dictionary definition of witches and witchcraft with more accurate and current information, which they have started to do by adding the definition that witchcraft is equated to Wicca. Not completely what I'd like to see, but it's a start. However, it also puts Wicca in a negative light being on the same page with the other definition I stated. So are Wiccans old women who practice black magic? I don't think so, but I believe that is what the majority may think if they look up witchcraft in the dictionary and have done no further research on the subject.

                If people feel the need to continue to spread around negative information, comments and thoughts about stregoneria, then that is what the majority will believe, instead of doing their own research on it and thinking for themselves. Just because one of the two definitions of it in the italian dictionary is magical operations that harm others, doesn't mean that's really what's going on. I'm sure many have used it to harm, just as people in the U.S. have used witchcraft to harm. But that doesn't mean that they are all evil and only have evil intentions. That's the thing that people focus on because it's the most sensational and that's why witchcraft has been stigmatized as evil and horrible, in my opinion. And I feel that pagans need to stop adding fuel to the fire.

                I personally do not believe that all stregoneria practioners are evil and only have evil intentions. Just as I don't believe that all witchcraft practioners on this forum are evil and have evil intentions. This is based on common sense and has nothing to do with research or dictionary definitions. If you wish to believe that stregoneria is evil and only means an evil practioner because the italian dictionary has it as one of it's definitions, who am I to stop you from believing that. But from what I know about humans, most are smart enough to know that there are always consequences to their actions. That most people are not filled with only evil intentions and are not always wanting to harm someone. You can talk to an anthropologist or psychiatrist to find that out. If they are willing to face the consequences of their actions if they choose to do magic that harms someone, then that is fine by me. It doesn't make stregoneria evil in my eyes.

                You have just as many resources at your fingertips as I do, perhaps even more, I don't know. But I do know that you can go out and seek information from the source and gain a much larger perspective of the issue than I feel that you have now.

                If you want to keep asking me questions about something that you should be asking of those that practice stregoneria, you aren't going to find out much, aside from my own personal views. My views are always subject to change, but right now this is what I believe. I have answered your initial question and gaining more information is up to you.
                Last edited by Xirian; February 7th, 2007, 08:57 PM.

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                • #38
                  Xirian,

                  I never stated what I personally believe about stregoneria. I just tried to discuss it in terms of its background and within its cultural setting. I can see you tire of the discussion, and so I'll stop addressing it with you.

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                  • #39
                    Depends on who I'm talking to.

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                    • #40
                      It seems to depend, somewhat, on whether or not you are talking to an anthropologist.

                      In the anthropologist's world-veiw, "witchcraft" has to do with destructive magical practices that threaten or disrupt the community. However, if you are a non-anthropologist, and perhaps a practitioner from a culturally diverse area such as Los Angeles or London, you may include the traditions that you mentioned under the catagory of "Witchcraft", the latter having much more positive connotations, usually being the practice of earth-based magic.:cheers:

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                      • #41
                        Well... it's my belief that if you choose to manipulate events and reality using your own inner-strength and spirit as well as the strength and spirit of things around you... then it's witchcraft. The tools may vary, the worship and beliefs may vary, but when you get right down to it, it's witchcraft.

                        In terms of identity (as witchcraft does imply that the devoted practitioner is a witch, whatever that may mean), it is up to the individual. If someone tells me that they practice Voodoo and claim that it's not witchcraft, I'll believe them. If a Christian tells me that prayer, for them, is a form of witchcraft, I'll believe them.
                        :cheers:

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Sage Rainsong View Post
                          What I mean by in your head is do you think of say voodoo (or some other magical practice) is a form of witchcraft, even if you try to use appropriate words as to not offend.

                          Voodoo is first off a religious practice that does have magical elements to it.
                          But in no was different then a Christian praying. Catholics lighting candles and saying Novenas.
                          It saddens me that some place "witchcraft" on anything that is out of the normal or is not part of the three main religions today.
                          Seek truth or Die

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