Witchcraft Continued: Popular Magic in Modern Europe

By Willem De Blécourt; Owen Davies | Go to book overview

8
Witchcraft, healing and vernacular magic in Italy

Sabina Magliocco

Field notes, 29 October 2001: Bessude, Sardinia. I am walking in the countryside outside this highland pastoral town of 500 inhabitants with Mario, a shepherd in his mid-forties, and his cousin Pina, whom I have known for approximately fifteen years. Mario is telling us how his grandfather taught him and his cousins, Tonino and Basiliu, to charm warts when they were working for him as terrakos (tenant-shepherds) in the 1970s. ‘I didn’t know you could cure warts too; I thought it was just giaio (grandpa) and Uncle Basiliu,’ exclaims Pina. ‘He taught all of us this meikina (medicine) before he died. He couldn’t die until he had passed it on,’ Mario explains. ‘Does the cure consist of berbos (‘words’, a spell) or are there also actions and herbs that you use?’ I want to know. ‘Only words,’ says Mario. ‘But does it work?’ asks Pina. ‘It depends; sometimes,’ he replies. He tells us how he recently cured a friend who called him on the phone from Rome to ask for a healing; but he also showed us warts on his own hands that he has not been able to charm away. When I ask him what the words are, he says he believes the cure must remain secret, because passing it on means passing on the power to heal. ‘There were lots of people in the village who knew berbos for things: to make birds leave a newly-sown field, or to make dogs go away,’ he explains. ‘How about keeping eagles away from the lambs?’ I ask, thinking of spells I have read in folklorists’ collections. ‘For that you need a gun,’ he says, deadpan.

While the last formal accusations of witchcraft in Italy took place around 1750, and by the early nineteenth century Enlightenment discourses had relegated supernatural beliefs to ‘superstition’ among the educated elite and the clergy, vernacular religion and folk belief were far from dead in Italy. Legend complexes about witches and related beings flourished well into the twentieth century, and folk healers continue to practise their craft in both urban and rural areas. In this chapter, I will give a general overview of vernacular magical beliefs and practices in Italy from the time of unification to the present, with particular attention to how these traditions have been

-151-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Witchcraft Continued: Popular Magic in Modern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 224

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.