Recently I was interviewed for the Twisting the Plot Podcast. You can listen to that interview here. Twisting the Plot: New Possibilities for Women over 50. is the brainchild of Dr.Cecilia Dintino and Hannah Murray, both psychotherapists with years of experience in many modalities including Drama Therapy, who noticed when they reached a certain age that there was no roadmap for women over 50. Or … the ones that existed were less than exciting.
Many people celebrate the Feast of Epiphany each year on January 6th. As I was growing up, my Italian Grandmother never considered Christmas to be over until we arrived at Epiphany which she called “Little Christmas.”
She would give small, traditional gifts on this day. Because she was actively Catholic, she would pray in that tradition. But I remember Italian candies, tangerines and nuts coming out on that day. Candles were lit to the names of little elemental being friends to be remembered.
Catholics see the Epiphany as the day that the Three Magi arrive to the baby Jesus and offer him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh. But in Italy, the celebration among the village folk is a celebration to and in honor of La Befana.
What is wildness? Wildness is the untamed and untamable. Wildness is not domesticated. Wildness is our true nature.
Wildness is what makes life possible. Some call it adaptation, random chance, chaos. But it is wildness. Random evolution and chaos are at the root of life systems, because from this wildness/chaos, potentialities are created that allow species to adapt to change. DNA has wildness in it that cannot be controlled even by genetic manipulation and that is how, in the context of unexpected changes in its environment, it thrives and life continues.
Wildness in a human is often thought to be a person who lives outside of cultural norms and customs. To me a wild human is anyone who is owned and defined by themself, in touch with their inner “daemon,” indwelling spirit or genius, as Mary Daly calls it.
Ursula K. Le Guin’s popular and beloved novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, is an amazing book for many reasons but what caught my imagination in a very personal way is a form of divination, called “Foretelling” in the novel, and the wisdom brought forth by Le Guin in the scenes and characters portraying this practice.
Read a full post on The Left Hand of Darkness here.
The foretelling takes place in the land of the Fastnesses: The land of the Foretellers and the tradition of the Handdarata. The Handdara is described as, “a religion without institution, without priests, without hierarchy, without vows, without creed: I am still unable to say whether it has a God or not. It is elusive. It is always somewhere else. Its only fixed manifestation is in the Fastnesses, retreats to which people may retire and spend the night or a lifetime”(54-55).
In rituals of intensely heightened sexual energy, nine Foretellers create a web of charged connectedness, then listen for an answer to the question they have been presented. It is an enormously expensive undertaking for both parties. Those who ask must pay a lot because those who are the Foretellers expend large amounts of their life force in the process.
The main recipient in the group listening ritual is the “weaver.” In an astoundingly profound passage, the weaver explains that for Foretellers, the nature of the question is extremely important. “The more qualified and limited the question, the more exact the answer… Vagueness breeds vagueness. And some questions of course are not answerable”(60).
The Cimaruta is an ancient symbol and charm that represents the Streghe/Janarre (Italian medicine) lineage and is also seen to be a potent tool against the evil eye.
The symbol is a stylized sprig of the rue plant (ruta) with various charms hanging off of it, all representative of the craft in varying ways. On the Strega Tree Apothecary’s cimaruta logo hangs the moon, a key, the snake and a flower. We chose these for our logo as they represent the powers that we work with.
Theresa and Annie are a direct descendants of a Strega lineage through their great and great-great-grandmother on their father/grandfather’s Italian side This ancestress is a powerful ally in our work. All Strega Tree diviners are initiated into this lineage since they are initiated through Theresa, Annie or one of her mentees. Janarra is the deeper layer of this lineage.