It’s witchcraft. It’s religion. It’s dogma & deities. It’s culture. It’s a collection from your heritage and your environment.
Let’s start with what you will read on wikipedia:
“Benedicaria, which means “Way of Blessing,” is a relatively new term for a number of loosely related family-based folk traditions found throughout Italy, most notably in southern Italy and Sicily. Though referred to by some as “Folk Magic” or even as “Witchcraft,” the various Benedicaria Traditions are concerned almost exclusively with healing, cleansing, spirituality, and religious devotion.”
Yeah. Ok. That’s pretty close! And the reason this is the definition was simply survival. Catholicism was the main religion throughout Europe for quite some time, and in order not to be killed for following the old faith, a combination of the faiths emerged.
When people ask me to describe my faith or name it, I’ve always had a hard time answering the question because it isn’t as simple as a straight forward dogma. It’s “the things we do and have always done.” Now that I am out and about in the pagan community, the witchcraft community, and the community of the occult and spiritualism, I just didn’t find that any of their definitions and boundaries fit. I don’t like the word spiritualism or mysticism because they bring about a vagueness of not wanting to commit from your soul to who you are and what you believe. They’re like that boy-toy you had that just wouldn’t commit to you and yet you kept him around because he made you feel good about yourself. I don’t like the blanket term pagan because of the connotation it brings with it. It also just sounds like I believe in mythology (which we all do to an extent, right?). I’m not just a Stregha because I don’t follow all their holidays, rights, and systems. My grandmother was from Sicily, and we just didn’t name it. We didn’t talk about it. She was Catholic, yes, but what I learned wasn’t Catholic. My mother believed in the Earth and what it gives you. But my spiritual awakening came when I went into my African roots and let them rush over me like a violent river whose damn had held back the fresh water and the murk from thousands of generations. What do we call this?
Benedicaria. It’s a folk religion (specific doctrines and practices that are not recognized by formalized religion… I always tell people, like the Native Americans), that is comprised of cultures that influence/d the practitioner.
Now, I have dedicated myself as a cultural teacher, which means that I teach the performing arts, so to pass down experiences and to remind us of our humanity and how to treat one another. I teach the faith. I teach responsible use of witchcraft. I also heal and curse and talk to the dead. I also banish what should not be there and invite what could. My job as a spiritual teacher is not to judge the world around me, but to help it to continue.