__ΞΞΞΞΞΞΞϴϘϴΞΞΞΞΞΞΞ__

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9 Responses to “__ΞΞΞΞΞΞΞϴϘϴΞΞΞΞΞΞΞ__”

  1. Champion_Sax Says:

  2. __ΞΞΞΞΞΞΞϴϘϴΞΞΞΞΞΞΞ__ Says:

    The benandanti – a term meaning “good walkers” when translated into English – were members of a folk tradition in the Friuli region. The Benandanti, who included both males and females, were individuals who believed that they ensured the protection of their community and its crops. The Benandanti reported leaving their bodies in the shape of mice, cats, rabbits, or butterflies. The men mostly reported flying into the clouds battling against witches to secure fertility for their community; the women more often reported attending great feasts.

    Across Europe, popular culture viewed magical abilities as either innate or learned; in Friulian folk custom, the bendandanti were seen as having innate powers marked out at birth. Specififcally, it was a widely held belief that those who in later life became benandanti were born with a caul, or amniotic sac, wrapped around their heads. In the folklore of Friuli at the time, cauls were imbued with magical properties, being associated with the ability to protect soldiers from harm, to cause an enemy to withdraw, and to help lawyers win their legal cases. In subsequent centuries, a related folkloric tradition found across much of Italy held to the belief that witches had been born with a caul.

    From surviving records, it is apparent that members of the benandanti first learned about its traditions during infancy, usually from their mothers. For this reason, historian Norman Cohn asserted that the benandanti tradition highlights how “not only the waking thoughts but the trance experiences of individuals can be deeply conditioned by the generally accepted beliefs of the society in which they live.”

    Visionary journeys

    Although these were described by bendandanti as spirit journeys, they nevertheless stressed the reality of such experiences, believing that they were real occurrences.

    On Thursdays between the Ember days, periods of fasting for the Catholic Church, the Benandanti claimed their spirits would leave their bodies at night in the form of small animals. The spirits of the men would go to the fields to fight evil witches (malandanti). The Benandanti men fought with fennel stalks, while the witches were armed with sorghum stalks (sorghum was used for witches’ brooms, and the “brooms’ sorghum” was one of the most current type of sorghum). If the men prevailed, the harvest would be plentiful.

    The female Benandanti performed other sacred tasks. When they left their bodies they traveled to a great feast, where they danced, ate and drank with a procession of spirits, animals and faeries, and learned who amongst the villagers would die in the next year. In one account, this feast was presided over by a woman, “the abbess”, who sat in splendour on the edge of a well. Carlo Ginzburg has compared these spirit assemblies with others reported by similar groups elsewhere in Italy and Sicily, which were also presided over by a goddess-figure who taught magic and divination.

    The earliest accounts of the benandanti’s journeys, dating from 1575, did not contain any of the elements then associated with the diabolic witches’ sabbath; there was no worshipping of the Devil (a figure who was not even present), no renunciation of Christianity, no trampling of crucifixes and no defilement of sacraments.

    Relationship with witches

    Ginzburg noted that whether the benandanti were themselves witches or not was an area of confusion in the earliest records. Whilst they combated the malevolent witches and helped heal those who were believed to have been harmed through witchcraft, they also joined the witches on their nocturnal journeys, and the miller Pietro Rotaro was recorded as referring to them as “benandanti witches”; for this reason the priest Don Bartolomeo Sgabarizza, who recorded Rotaro’s testimony, believed that while the benandanti were witches, they were ‘good’ witches who tried to protect their communities from the bad witches who would harm children. Ginzburg remarked that it was this contradiction in the relationship between the benandanti and the malevolent witches that ultimately heavily influenced their persecution at the hands of the Inquisition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benandanti

  3. A little somethin’ somethin’ from up North…

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