Asking La Befana to Sweep Away
the Ill Luck and Envious Glances
at the La Festa dell'Epifania

In an incense burner, place three cones of frankincense after dark on January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany, the Festa della Befana. Set incense burner on the threshold of a door to the outside. Light the cones in honor of La Befana, the spirit of the Epiphany and wave your hands over them three times. Then make a spitting noise over your shoulder three times. Repeat the following verse either in English or Italian or both.
Befana! Befana! Befana!
Whoever gave me this malocchio
Carry it away!

Befana! Befana! Befana!
Chiunque mi ha dato il mal d'occhio
Me lo porta via!

Shut the door and let the three incense cones burn until finished. Collect the incense burner, bring inside and put it away.

Myth's notes

Initially in 2011, I decided the blessing, as written above, would be particurally effective at the Epiphany, January 6, so that La Befana could sweep away all the unpleasantness, envy, and bad luck from the past year before she left for the season.

After fiddling around with this ritual for a few years, I later decided that January 5, which is the Festa della Befana aka Epiphany Eve, is an easier date for me. It was also the night I was setting out a treat for the spirit of La Befana.

This spell is adapted from Leland's "Etruscan Magic & Occult Remedies." The folk practice that Leland recorded is much longer. It involves cummin seeds and frankincense resin, plus lit charcoal in an incence burner or "scaldino (spirit bowl)." The folk practice also involves walking around with the lit coals, scaldino, and burning incense inside the home to bless the whole house in every corner while reciting an Italian chant.

According to Leland, someone finally would light the three little piles of frankincense resin on the threshold of the door and recite the little Italian verse. For the past several years, I have burned frankincense cones as described above.

I first performed this spell as written in 2011 for a number of reasons. What I wrote above was what we needed in our household that year.

Originally, I got the impression that Leland's material involved two separate rituals, both involing Befana. Perhaps Leland learned about two different things and assumed they were linked because they both involved Befana. Possibly someone did do the two components altogether as one ritual.

copyright January 6, 2011 and January 6, 2017 Myth Woodling

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