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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting healthy...

Ciao a tutti,

Just a mundane post for today.

Mike and I have been getting healthy and have started some new routines to help us.  We're now going to the gym a minimum of 3 times a week. Each gym day is at least 30 minutes of cardio for weight loss and aerobic improvement. This week, we've started to add it a bit of weight work with the intention of toning and strengthening.

That's not all. I cleaned out the cupboards of all the commercial junk food. No more chips or processed snackies.  I've restocked with an assortment of nuts & granola. Other snacks are fresh fruit, a variety of fresh berries and cream, celery and carrots, and Italian and Greek Olives.  Believe it or not, it's quite yummy and the junk food cravings are pretty manageable since our "reward" is 1 nice dinner out each week followed by a yummy dish of homemade icecream.

In 2 weeks, I've lost 5 pounds (*I* certainly don't notice that yet!) and feel MUCH better.

Dovetailing with this is my project to get my food recipes down and print them into a book that we can have in the kitchen, making it easier to choose healthy meals and create the grocery lists.  So far, I'm up to about 70 pages of recipes.

This week's meals are:
Chicken Broccoli Bake
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Baked Pork chops with dijon, rosemary, and garlic
Basic Meatloaf

Wish us good health!

Benedizioni,

---Vincenzo

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cleansing/Protection Spell



Ciao a tutti,

Years ago I wrote up instructions for a client on how to do a simple set of cleansing/protection spells.  Over the past several weeks, I have had a LOT of folks asking for the same thing.

Below is what I originally came up with and offer it now to those would would find it useful.  Please feel free to modify it to your specific situation(s).

Benedizioni,

---Vincenzo

************************************

Cleansing/Protection Spell Work - (c) Rev. Vincent Russo, 2008

There are a variety of very simple spell magics that you can do to protect your family and yourself.  You can do any or all of these things.  The first 2 spells are to cleanse and protect your home and those within.  The next suggestions are for you and for other people in your family.  They are very basic yet effective and they are flexible enough so they can be adapted to virtually any spiritual practice or religion with just a bit of effort.


1 - Home Cleansing Spell:
                a - Sit quietly for a few minutes.  Say, "Let the Divine Light descend to aid me and protect this home and all within!"  Visualize you home surrounded by a glowing sphere of Light.  This Light is a shield of protection that will ground out any negativity directed at you or your home.
                b - Open all the windows and get a good breeze blowing through the house (turn on a fan if you like).  Let the breeze take away any "heavy" or negative atmosphere (think "spring cleaning" time).  Leave the windows open until step "e".
                c - For each room, take a grapefruit, orange, or other citrus fruit and cut it in half.  Place each 1/2 on opposite corners of each room.  The fruit halves will absorb any lingering negative energy.
                d - After 3 hours, take a brown paper bag and place all the fruit halves in it and seal the bag by rolling it tightly shut.  Dispose of the bag in the trash OUTSIDE of the house.
                e - Close the windows and doors, sealing the house from all negative energy.

2 - Home Protection Spell (warding the doors and windows):
                a - Fill a bowl of pure water (spring water)
                b - Add 3 tablespoons of salt (kosher if you can) to the water.  As you add the salt to the water, visualize the salt creating little sparkles of light as it enters the water.  Say, "I exorcise from thee all impurities and uncleanliness!  I cast out all evil and negativity!  This is my will, so mote it be!"
                c - Stir the salt & water with the forefinger of your dominant hand (right if you are right handed, left if you are left handed).  When you do so, visualize Divine Light being drawn down from the sky into your head, down your arm, and out your finger into the water to infuse it with Divine Light (or up from the fires of the Earth into your feet, up your legs and torso, down your arm and our your fingers).  Say, "By the power of the Light, I charge thee with Power and Protection!  I cast out all negativity and evil and charge you to protect my home!"
                d - Use the salt water to ward your house by using the forefinger of your dominant hand and drawing either a pentacle (5 pointed star in a circle) or a cross on the door frames and window sills.  Say, "With this sign I do ward thee from all harm!"
                e - While running the water in the kitchen sink, pour down the drain any of the salt water that is left over saying, "Let this holy water take away with it any negativity and evil, never to return!"
                f - Take a few minutes to visualize you home surrounded by a glowing sphere of Light.

Both of the above can be done weekly or in times of stress as needed.


Personal:
1 - Most obvious is to try to put yourself only into positive situations.  If you find yourself in a negative situation, remove yourself from it as quickly as possible - especially any situation where this other person is also at.  Don't see it as them driving you away.  See is as if you were leaving a room where there was a foul smell.
2 - Imagine that you are surrounded by an egg shaped sphere of white light.  The light is a direct channel from the Divine and will protect you from any negative outside influences by energizing you and deflecting all bad energy away (effectively grounding it out so it becomes harmless).
3 - Don't feed into the negativity.  Keep as positive as possible and tell yourself that you deserve happiness.
4 - Personal Cleansing and Protection Spell (Similar to the Home Protection Spell):  You can use the same Home Protection Spell mentioned above but to ward yourself rather than the doors and window sills.  I'll repeat it below and modify it for you:
                a - Fill a bowl of pure water (spring water)
                b - Add 3 tablespoons of salt (kosher if you can) to the water.  As you add the salt to the water, visualize the salt creating little sparkles of light as it enters the water.  Say, "I exorcise from thee all impurities and uncleanliness!  I cast out all evil and negativity!  This is my will, so mote it be!"
                c - Stir the salt & water with the forefinger of your dominant hand (right if you are right handed, left if you are left handed).  When you do so, visualize Divine Light being drawn down from the sky into your head, down your arm, and out your finger into the water to infuse it with Divine Light (or up from the fires of the Earth into your feet, up your legs and torso, down your arm and our your fingers).  Say, "By the power of the Light, I charge thee with Power and Protection!  I cast out all negativity and evil!  I charge you to protect me!)"
                d - Use the salt water to ward yourself (or another person) by using your forefinger to draw either a pentacle (5 pointed star in a circle) or a cross on your (or their) 3rd eye, over your (or their) heart, and on each of your (or their) palms.
                e - When you are done, while running the water in the kitchen sink, pour down the drain any of the salt water that is left over saying, "Let this holy water take away with it any negativity and evil, never to return!"
                f - Take a few minutes to visualize yourself surrounded by a glowing sphere of protective Light.
                g - You can do the Personal Cleansing and Protection Spell as often as you like but I would recommend either daily or weekly.

After doing any magic or spell work, it is a good idea to sit quietly for a few minutes and be confident that it is working.  It also helps to have a bit of "grounding food" like hearty bread (with butter, peanut butter, jam, or some such).  Drinking a glass of spring water is also good to do.

Cleansing/Protection Spell Work - (c) Rev. Vincent Russo, 2008

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day Celebrations in Italy!

Happy Beltaine!  Blessed May!

One of the things that folks tend to forget is that Italy is part of Europe, southern Europe but still Europe.  That means that the standard 8 Sabbats that form the wheel of the year marking the changing and heights of seasons, also have their equivalent in Italy.


I found this fantastic post by the Society of Diana about MayDay celebrations in Italy.  I'll provide the link to the original article but I also wanted to repost it here for those of you who don't like to be bounced around. :-) I couldn't get the videos to embed properly but the links will open them in a new window.

Benedizioni!

---Vincenzo

************


Embracing the Ancient (Cantamaggio '13)

One of my motivations for blogging and speaking is to demonstrate that there is an unbroken, never forgotten, stream of ancient tradition which has survived throughout the ages, despite attempts from the outside to dry it up. This is evident in many cultures, not just in Italy, but there it is incredibly prevalent; What was barely under the surface is once more being celebrated openly and publicly, with less "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" and more joyfully embracing the traditions of our ancestors.

Today is Cantamaggio- The singing in of May. Tomorrow is Piantarmaggio- the Planting of May!

Cantamaggio Parade Float 1949 c.e.

It is only recently that Italians are coming out and saying "this is what the Pagans did to ensure fertility and a good crop for the summer." Or at least, thanks to the internet, it's been published more widely.
Here is a translation of the event listing for Cantamaggio 2013 in Terni:

Starting from April 26 to May 17, 2013 Terni is filled with colors.

The Cantamaggio Terni, traditional folk festival, which welcomes the arrival of summer, singing, songs, dances, floats and traveling shows, will open a season of cultural, musical, sport tourism, gastronomy and solidarity
The main new feature this year will be for a true return to tradition explains Homer Ferranti, president of Cantamaggio, "the awarding of the winners will be held in chariots same night of the show and not, as in recent years, the day after ."

The mayor, Leopoldo Di Girolamo, says that this edition of Cantamaggio 2013 "is especially notable for the active participation of many Terni school children and young people who will renew and continue a tradition that is inserted into modernity. A message of commitment and responsiblity, which belongs to the best civic experience of the people of Terni, a message of growth and innovation which is to be remembered even in the moment of the festival. "
I followed the event listing to a site which has pictures of parades and floats and entertainers. The pictures go back to 1948, the festival... no one remembers when it was started, it was always just done.
Here is an Italian blog with video, song lyrics and a local take on the festivities. The page has an English version.

Another website about the region has this at the top of its 'What is Cantamaggio?" page:

The "Cantamaggio" is a festival celebrating the return of spring and the waking up of nature from the winter sleep; The origins of the manifestation seem to be relegated to pagan and tribal rites linked to countryside practices that intended to celebrate the return of the good season and in a certain way to thank the divinities for favorable summer harvest.

The actual "Cantamaggio" of Terni, in fact, has its roots in an antique city habit: groups of "maggiaioli" also called "maggianti", which literal translation results to be "holders of May" (a flowering branch to which was suspended a luminous box) they were going from house to house singing "stornelli" and love songs; they were often receiving in exchange money or food and therefore they were planting the twig in land to wish good luck and fecundity.


Here is a short documentary on the subject from Italian director Gildo Giulianni:

The "Cantamaggio" is an ancient tradition in many parts of Italy. In some areas of Umbria is still very much felt. During the night between April 30 and May 1 of each year, groups of singers, made up of friends and relatives, gather to sing traditional songs around the streets of the country, stopping from house to house. In this documentary I followed some groups in their performances. The documentary aims to communicate the attachment to tradition and the way in which it adapts to the present day.


http://youtu.be/dYfvVq9Vb9s


http://youtu.be/bci1dvVjn_o









I'm not saying that Italians are about to chuck their saints, holy water and rosaries (all pagan in origin, by the way), I am just happy to see that, even when it's for the purpose of generating tourism, towns in Italy are openly acknowledging and reclaiming their ancient heritage, even if they sanitize the sexuality in favor of flowers and singing to keep it "family friendly." 
Evviva Cantamaggio!



Nusimo quilli che va a piandà Maggiu 
ce piace le velle donne e le fijole 
je purtimo le rose e le viole 
ma dopo lo sapimo nu se che ce vole 

E le Fate? 
Le Fate era proprio velle donne 
facia l’amore e pure che cos’atro 
Li preti dicìa sempre “ad’è peccato” 
facìa ‘rpijà a tutti le madonne


Cantamaggio Parade Float 2005