Daily Archives: January 5, 2011

La Befana – The Celebration of Epiphany

La Befana – The Celebration of Epiphany

By GrannyMoon


Holidays in Italy are rich in traditions which have,for the most part,a religious history.

A favorite Italian holiday occurs on January 6. It is commonly known as “La Befana “

(Twelfth Night or the Eve of the Epiphany or Little Christmas ). La Befana is a personification of

the “spirit of the Epiphany ” and can almost be considered a nickname for “Epifania,” the proper

Italian word for epiphany. While the Western Christian Church celebrates December 25th, the

Eastern Christian Church to this day recognizes January 6 as the celebration of the nativity.

January 6 was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem.


Tradition depicts La Befana as a kindly old lady with a stereotypical nose with a big red mole on

top of it and a pointy chin. Wearing an old coat mended with carefully with colorful patches and

tattered shoes,she flies around on a broom and carries her black bag filled with sweets and

presents for the children. Entering the houses through the chimney she places her gifts inside

the children ’s stockings hung with care, the night before.The buoni ragazzi (good kids) are very

happy to find their stocking filled with presents.They have been busy writing letters to La Befana,

la buona strega (good witch). But for the children who have not been good, there will not be

presents, but a lump of coal!


The origin of the tradition is veiled in mystery and in all likelihood this poetic figure goes

back to country legends of pre-Christian times.Befana also exists in various other popular

traditions.For instance on the evening of January 5 th ,”The Old Woman ” (symbolizing the

out going winter),Befana appears in street processions as a masked figure with her consort,

“Befano “,”The Old Man “.Their followers revel as music fills the street, they receive

offerings,the gift of prosperity and blessings from Befana.Then to assure a good year,

the dolls are burned in effigy in the town square,welcoming the returning spring.


Her festival has usurped an ancient pagan feast set celebrated on the Magic Night, the 6th day of

the New Year, chosen by ancient Eastern astronomers according to their complicated calculations.

Epiphany was, therefore, pagan in origin.Only later was the day associated with the life of Christ.


Apparently there was a woman with a broom called Befana found on some Etruscan scratchings.

The people in remote areas of the Emilia still call on her by that version of the name to bestow or

cure malocchio (evil eye). Even la scopa (the broom)is considered a blessing against evil.

In Italy tradition,however, the Christmas holidays ending on 6th January, is quite fitting for a gift-

giver since the Feast of the Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi (or 3 Wise Men)to the

infant Jesus, with their gifts of gold,frankincense,and myrrh. The Magi were named Balthazar,

Melchior, and Gaspar,according to tradition.According to legend the three men during their

journey stopped and asked an old woman for food and shelter. She refused and they continued

on their way.Within a few hours the woman had a change of heart but the Magi were long gone.

The Befana is depicted as a witch astride a broom, still searching the world for the Baby Jesus.

Thinking of the opportunity she had missed,Befana stops every child to give them a small treat in

hopes that one was the Christ child.Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking

for the baby Jesus.


Many welcome La Befana by laying out a small meal for her. Consisting of sausage and

broccoli and usually accompanied by a glass of wine. After her arrival, it is a time for celebration

and people move from house to house visiting friends and relatives.


This is a song used by some Italian children,a rough translation into English would be:


La Befana comes at night

In tattered shoes

Dressed in the Roman style

Long live la Befana!!

She brings cinders and coals

To the naughty children

To the good children

She brings sweets and lots of gifts.


Take frankincense, both of the best and the inferior kind, also cumin seed. Have ready a

separate scaldino (spirit bowl), which is kept only for this purpose. And should it happen that

affairs of any kind go badly, fill the scaldino with glowing coals, then take three pinches of best

incense and three of the second quality,and put them all ‘in fila ’ (in a row)on the threshold of the

door. Then take the rest of your incense and the cumin, and put it into the burning coal, and

carry it about,and wave it over the bed and in every corner, saying:


In nome del cielo!

Delle stelle e della luna!

Mi levo questo mal d ’occhio

Per mia maggior ’ fortuna!

Befana! Befana! Befana!

Che mi date mal d ’occhio maladetta sia

Befana! Befana! Befana!

Chi mi ha dato il maldocchio

Me lo porta via

E maggior fortuna Mi venga in casa mia!



In the name of heaven

And of the stars and moon,

May this trouble change

Befana! Befana! Befana!

Should this deed be thine;

Befana! Befana! Befana!

Take it away, bring luck, I pray,

Into this house of mine!


Then when all is consumed in the scaldino,light the little piles of incense on the threshold of the

door, and go over it three times, and spit behind you over your shoulder three times, and say:


Befana! Befana! Befana!

Chi me ha dato maldocchio! Me lo porta via



Befana! Befana! Befana!

I say,

Since thou gavest this bad luck,

Carry it away!


Then pass thrice backwards and forwards before the fire, spitting over the left shoulder, and

repeating the same incantation.


Looking for a place to celebrate in the typical Italian tradition…here are a few!

Paularo, Italy :La Femenate Bonfire (January 6).

Tarcento, Italy :Pignarul Giant Bonfire Festival (January 6).

Cividale, Italy :Historical Pageant and Costume Parade (January 6).

Gemona, Italy :Messa del Tallero Medieval Pageant (January 6).

Milan, Italy :Epiphany Parade of the Three Kings proceeds from the Duomo to the church of

Sant ’Eustorgio (January 6).


The legend of the Befana has had an important role in the imagination of all children of the world.

Those who wish to relive the magic of the first wonders of infancy and understand the meaning

and origins of this extraordinary figure,should be prepared to undertake a long voyage that will

carry them back in time,to the origins of human ’s history.


This little old lady so dear to children has continued to fascinate them for centuries, and they still

await her arrival on the night of her holiday. The gatherings at La Befana are filled with music,

song, traditional foods, sweets and gifts. Celebration reigns supreme, with people opening their

hearts by sharing love and peace in the World.


Source: “The Legend of Old Befana “, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1980,by Tomie dePaola

“Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies” by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963

Befana incantation from “Etruscan Magic &Occult Remedies “, by Charles Godfrey Leland,University Books,NY,1963.

“Befana ” by Fabrisia


By GrannyMoon For The Lunar Monthly, December 2001


Copyright GrannyMoon 2001  http://goddessschool.com 
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“The Power of Words”

“The Power of Words”

Words are powerful tools of prosperity.  However,
they can also be used to destroy.  I know this all too
well in my own life.  Ever since I was a child, I have
heard and said some words that have caused rivers of
tears, astronomical pain, and complex
Nevertheless, I have also heard said words that have
brought forth laughter, joy, curiosity, comfort,
peace, and abundance of all things good. 
It’s a personal choice to speak words of power or of
pain.  Words of love or of hate.  Words of compassion
or of thoughtlessness.  The old saying that goes,
“Think before you speak” is tried and true.  And I
make that promise to myself every day.  Some days I do
it right, some days I fall short, but I keep at it. 
Because I know that how I speak to others is a
reflection of what’s going on inside of me. 
Affirmation:  I give and receive only words of love, joy, and peace.

Written ansd Submitted By Tameko L. Barnette

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Daily Goddess Devotion

Daily Goddess Devotion

Let your heart beat with the universes rhythmic and gentle flow. In this you can stay focused in each moment that allows harmony within your soul.

Lady Abigail
Copyright © 01052010

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’  

The Universal Heart Center


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Runecast for Wednesday January 5

Our rune today is Dagaz Dagaz pronounced “thaw-gauze” (D: Day or dawn) Breakthrough, awakening, awareness. Daylight clarity as opposed to nighttime uncertainty. A time to plan or embark upon an enterprise. The power of change directed by your own will, transformation. Hope/happiness, the ideal. Security and certainty. Growth and release. Balance point, the place where opposites meet.

Clouds are dispersing and the Sun shines brightly. Light and clarity. Leave your darkness behind. Changes shown by this rune are so significant, they can absolutely change your life. Something important has happened which may not be obvious to you yet. This rune signifies that growth and improvement are already happening and the only thing needed now is a positive attitude to everything happening around you. Recognize the favorable moment and catch it, and don’t miss it because you are blinded and can only see obstacles and annoyances. The day has already come and if you’re still asleep, by just opening your eyes you can be free of the bad dreams of the past.

Dagaz Merkstave (Dagaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): A completion, ending, limit, coming full circle. Blindness, hopelessness. (Note: the reversed or merkstave definitions are included only for reference as they apply to a multi-rune cast and not to a single rune that’s drawn blind from the pouch)

As with all, take only what feels right to you and disregard the rest.

**a portion of today’s rune meaning/description was kindly provided by Ingrid Halvorsen at sunnyway.com and used here with her gracious permission**

In the Light…


“Music is a release from the tyranny of conscious thought”
– Kevin Burke
Insanity is inherited, you get it from your kids…
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Today’s Goddess: BEFANA Befana Fair (Italy)

Source: Cher

Today’s Goddess: BEFANA
Befana Fair (Italy)

Themes: Overcoming Evil; Wisdom
Symbols: Broom; Horns; Hag Poppets

About Befana: Befana is the Italian Crone Goddess. Call on her for wisdom and
guidance through the other eleven months of the year. Because she has lived a long life, her astute insight will serve you well. Today is her festival day in Italy, celebrated with horns, noise makers, songs, and music. These loud sounds drive out evil and mark the passage of winter’s darkness out of the region.

To Do Today: Have any children in your life follow the Italian tradition of leaving Befana a broom to fly on and a gift basket. According to legend, Befana rewards this kindness with little gifts in stockings much like Santa Claus.

Find a “kitchen witch” at a gift shop and hang it up near the hearth to welcome Befana’s wisdom into your home. Or, take a broom clockwise around your house, sweeping inward toward a central spot to gather her beneficent energies.
To protect your home for the rest of the year, use a kazoo or other noise maker (pots with
wooden spoons work well). Go into each room and make a loud racket saying,

All evil fear! Befana is here! Away, away, only goodness may stay.

If your schedule allows, make a poppet that looks like an old woman. Fill it with dried
garlic, pearl onions, and any other herbs you associate with safety. Keep this near the stove or hearth to invoke Befana’s ongoing protection..

By Patricia Telesco ~ From “365 Goddess”

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’


The Universal Heart Center



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Wednesday’s Correspondence. …Jan 5

Source: Cher

Wednesday’s Correspondence. …Jan 5

Today’s Influences: Agriculture, Domestic, Long Life, Medicine, Travels, Visions, Theft

Today’s Goddesses: Luna, Selene, Diana, Re, Gaelach, Ida, Artemis [Whom The Greeks Associated With Bast], The Witches, Yemaya, Erzulie, Bast

Incense: Myrtle

Aromas: White Poppy, White Rose, Wallflower

Color of The Day: Silver, Grey, White

Candle: Black for New Moon, white

Color: Purple

Planet: Mercury

Metal: Mercury (Quicksilver)

Deities: Odin, Hermes, Mercury, Athena, Lugh

Gemstones: Adventurine, agate

Herbs & Plants: Aspen trees, lilies, lavender, ferns

Associations: Business and job-related issues, communication, loss and debt, traveling and journeys

Use for magic involving the subconscious, healing, emotions, love, spirituality, healing wounds, children, small animals, women’s mysteries, the female side of men, mothers, sisters, female partners, wives, instincts

What’s Happening Today:

Kore’s Day
Twelfth Night/Epiphany Eve.
Old Christmas Eve. Old
Christmas Eve/Twelfth Night: With One Blow, Boys Would Nail The
Tailcoats Of Window Shoppers To The Window Frame Of Pastry Shops.
Eve Of Wonder.
England: Twelfth Night Revel.
Syria: Night Of The Magic Mule.
Syria: Night Of Increase.
Southern Syria: Night Of The Magic Camel.
St. Agatha’s Day. Also Known As Santo Gato, She Appears As A Cat & Can Summon Storms When Angry.
Burning Of Greens.
Glastonbury, England: Blooming Of Glastonbury Thorn, Offshoot Of The Staff Of Joseph Of Arimathea.
Discordian Festival Of Blessed Saint Hung Mung.
Old Bohemia: Beginning Of Carnival.
Festival Of Pyrotechnics.
1834 — US: Kiowa Indians record this as the night the stars fell
Eve of Wonder
Bird Day
Fair Deal Day
Nones of January
St. Simeon Stylites (patron of shepherds)
Apple Howling Day
National Whipped Cream Day
Epiphany Fair (Italy)
St. John Nepomucene Neumann’s Day (1st male US Saint)
Epiphany Eve -During the week before Epiphany, Italian children sometimes dress up and go in groups of three, carrying a pole with a golden star on top, and stopping at houses to sing pasquelle, little songs about the coming of the Magi. Sometimes they are given money, but other places they receive gifts of food sausages, bread, eggs, dried figs and wine. In some small rustic towns, the Nativity is re-enacted on Epiphany Eve with the newest baby in town taking the part of Jesus.

In Friuli, families gather around the hearth to watch the Christmas log burn. For centuries, bonfires have been lit to light the way for the Three Kings. The fires are called pan e vin, bread and wine, or vecja, old one. Boys run through the fields carrying burning brands, jump across the fires, and roll burning wheels down the hill, shouting out the names of their fiancées as a way to announce their engagements (see Epiphany, Jan 6). The ashes from the bonfires are used to fertilize the earth and assure a good harvest.

Carol Field describes an Epiphany procession in the town of Tarcento which ascends a hill to where a huge bonfire, made of sheaves of corn, brambles of brushwood and pine branches is set up. The fire is lit by the oldest man and ignites firecrackers and fireworks while bells ring in the town. The way the smoke blows foretells the prospects for the coming year: smoke blowing east predicts a year of abundance while smoke blowing west is a bad omen for the crops. People take home embers to fertilize their fields; the embers are magically said to transform into sacks of wheat.

In some places, a straw effigy of the Befana is placed on the fire and burned as a way of
getting rid of the old year. Sometimes chestnuts are thrown on the fire and roasted, as a symbol of fertility.

Traditional foods served in Friuli on Epiphany Eve include mulled wine and pinza, a rustic sweet bread, made with corn flour (or sometimes rye and wheat), filled with raisins and pine nuts and figs, spiced with fennel seeds and shaped like a simple round or a Greek epsilon with three arms of equal length. It was once cooked under the embers. It is considered good luck to eat pinze made by seven different families.Source: Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990

Theodosia/Gift of God – On this day on the island of Andros in ancient Greece, the water of a spring by the temple of Dionysos tasted like wine. This continued for a week although it only tasted like wine inside the temple.

This was the same day in Alexandria that water was drawn from the Nile as part of the ceremonies of the Koreion (see above). Blackburn notes that Aion (the miraculous child of Kore) was associated with Sarapis and Dionysus which may be why the liturgy for this day commemorates the miracle at the wedding-feast of Cana when Christ turned water into wine. Source:Blackburn, Bonnie and Holford-Strevens, Leofranc, The Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’


The Universal Heart Center



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Today’s I Ching Hexagram for January 5 is 61: Centering in Truth

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

61: Centering in Truth

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Hexagram 61

General Meaning: Truth involves establishing an aware relationship between your inner core and the circumstances in your life. Centering in truth involves the ability to perceive a fundamental wisdom, reflected within yourself and the people you know.

Truth is transformed into power when you dissolve prejudice and make yourself receptive to the world as it really is. Truth’s power can be a remarkable force indeed — yet is rarer than generally imagined. It can be maintained only by cultivating a genuine openness to things as they are — a willingness to see, rather than merely look.

Whenever your inner life is clouded, your influence in the world is under a shadow. If you are fearful, you will be attacked; if you cloak genuine mysteries in dogma, opportunities for new insight will be lost. If you vacillate in upholding your principles, you will be tested. Yet, when you are firm and strong, the power of truth can break through even the most stubborn minds.

In any debate, the power to perceive the truth in the other side’s argument is essential to achieving success. It is possible to influence even the most difficult people, or improve the most difficult circumstance, through the power of universal truth — for unvarnished truth is something to which all things naturally respond. Get in touch with the part of yourself that is aware of this universal force. Cultivate this inner resource, and you will become adept at using it to bond with others to support a common purpose.

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Today’s Tarot Card for January 5 is The Devil

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:

The Devil

This Tarot Deck: Folklore

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

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