Devotion to Aradia (English and Italian)

Oh, blessed Strega, daughter of Diana, the Gracious Goddess, Lady of the East, and our Patrona, we bow in your presence, our desire is to offer you this spoken devotion as a testimony of our love and gratitude for the innumerable favors that from you as you pour forth love, abundance, and luck.  You are our Teacher, and we are your children.  Listen attentively to our words.

Oh, la prima strega buona, la binan figlia della Diana, la dea della Graziosa, signora d’oriente, e la nostra patrona, ci inchiniamo alla tua presenza, il nostro desiderio di offrire queste parole come testimonianza del nostro amore e gratitudine per le innumerevoli favorisce quell'angolo come si versa fuori dal tuo amore, abbondanza e fortuna. Tu sei la nostra Maestra e noi siamo i tuoi figli. Ascoltare con attenzione le nostre parole.

August 15, 2016, Myth Woodling

Myth’s notes:

I do not claim this devotion above is ancient, nor even a hundred-some years old.  It formed in my mind on August 15—and I sat down and played around with the English wording so it would flow.

Yes, it is clearly based on Italian Catholic prayers; yes, I’ve been reading and studying off the web and relying on translation via Google and other Italian to English and English to Italian pages.  No, I don’t “speak” Italian; I could not honestly say I “read” it.

Over the years of staring at Italian text, I have started to recognize words, and have a crude comprehension of grammar structure.  

For example:  In English, the descriptive adjective comes before the noun. In Italian, most adjectives go directly after the nouns they modify, but the adjectives can precede or follow the noun to which they refer.  Sometimes, the different  position of the adjective may produce changes of meaning in the phrase. For example, “un buon amico” means “a close friend.” However, “un amico buono” means “a friend who is a good person.” If there are two adjectives, one may be in front of the noun and one behind it. Capitalization is used less frequently in Italian than in English, and why it is used where is not at all clear to me.

Yet to pretend I have any in-depth knowledge of Italian would be a lie.  Still, my point is I tried very hard to get this item above “correct” as possible. So where did the Italian version come from? Mostly Google Translate. "Google's free service instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages.” Google capitalized the word, Graziosa. I left it capitalized.

I think it is significant that words were tumbling through my brain on August 15. In modern Italy, August 15 is the Ferragosto, a feast day of the Virgin Mary. It is also one of the dates of the Nemoralia, an ancient festival of Diana. At different times in history, the Nemoralia was held on the full moon of August or on August 13 or 15. This Roman celebration was also identified as the birthday of Diana, who in the Roman pantheon was the daughter of Latona and Jove (Jupiter), as well as the birthday of the daughter of Diana, Aradia. (Yes, I have also noted that August 13 is often the date associated with Aradia. Yes, I have likewise noted that some folks are specifically celebrating Diana’s Festival of Torches on August 13.)  Nevertheless, it was on Saturday, August 13, 2016, that I was finally able to make a cake for Diana specifically for the Nemoralia. I remember also wishing for a devotion directly for Aradia for August 13.

So after fiddling about with the English wording, I ran it through Google Translate a few times back and forth in an attempt to get an Italian version that probably had the same purpose and feeling. Yes, I know the product above is not a literal translation of the English into the Italian, or vice versa.

One of the items I labored the most over was the list titles/epithets in the beginning. Yes, it is a mixture of old Italian and modern Wiccan titles.  I think I need especially to explain the first in English “blessed Strega,” and  in Italian “la prima strega buona.”

Both Lady Sheba and Raven Grimassi refered to Aradia by the English language title, “The Holy Strega.” I have just not found a really good translation for this title into Italian. The closest literal translation might be “Santa Strega” or “Strega Santa.” That term just does not seem to be used in Italian.  Neither is Strega Benedetta. I have used the phrase Stega Benedetta elsewhere on this web page. (Remember, of course, I do not speak or read Italian… so there may well be something I have completely missed.)

Leland never referred to Aradia as the “The Holy Strega.” So for English, I decided to use “blessed” instead of “holy.” For the Italian, I decided to use a title found in Leland, “la prima strega.”  “Strega” means “witch.” Ages ago I read an interpretation that explained that this title implied that Aradia was the “First” or “Premier” witch.  She was the “first in importance,” i.e. the “leading witch” or “the prime witch.”  I suppose this could be best understood to mean as in “She is not a witch; Aradia is THE WITCH!” the daughter of the Goddess of the Pagans (Diana). I also added the word “buona” to emphasize something else implied in the English word “blessed,” “holy,” or “saint,” that is a sense of “goodness” or “beneficence” toward others. I was attempting to underscore her “beneficence” towards her own.

It is important to understant that Aradia is a spirit who stands in two different systems. Aradia is a Goddess in the religion of Wicca, which was born in the British Isles. Aradia Erodiade is also an Italian spirit in different systems of Italian magical practices, which include Stregonia as well as numerous family practices.

The “daughter of Diana,” and “the Gracious Goddess,” are both epithets I have seen used for Aradia in Wiccan writings. The phrase “la binan figlia della Diana” also identifies Aradia as the daughter of Diana in Italian. Apparently “bianan” means “white” as in “moon-white.”

The epithet “signora d’oriente” does mean “Lady of the East.” This epithet, which was found in Italian folklore in history, was likely a title for Erodiade, when she ruled over the night assembly.

In Italian lore, “Signora d’oriente” or “Signora Oriente” was one of leaders of the night assembly--like Abundia, Richella, or Diana. She was also called “La Signora del Giuoco” ("the lady of the game"). She presided over nocturnal gatherings at which there was feasting, music, and dancing. She is apparently the same figure as “Madona Horiente,” who imparted healing herb lore, and granted visions so that her followers could answer questions to aid their community.  Erodiade does seem to the source of the name, Aradia, which Leland recorded in his book, Aradia, or the Gospel of Witches, 1899.

I also refer to Aradia as the Patrona (patroness) and Teacher or Maestra.  Wiccans, Neo-Pagan Witches, and streghe have claimed Aradia as their teacher and patron(ess).

August 2016, Myth Woodling

Further Reading:

Epithets or Titles of Aradia

Look up “Signora Oriente,” “Madona Horiente,” “game of Erodiade,” “gioco d'Erodiade,” “Game of the Good Society,” “gioco della buona societa,” “gioco di Diana,” “Game of Benevento,” “moccola di Benevento,” “Society of Diana,” "Abundia (Abonde)," “Habondia,” “Habonde,” “Herodiade,” “Erodiade,” “Herodiana,” “Herodias,” “Bensoria,” “Gulfora,” “bonae mulieres,” “Aradia, the name,” “Aradia, the book” in The ABC of Aradia and Other Subjects

See Abundantia in The Goddess Dictionary.

Aradia home page