I’m participating in another promo, starting today, for books about witches. The first Toil and Trouble book is free, and Book Two is $.99. I thought I’d post a little bit today about some of the research I did for The Toil and Trouble Trilogy, specifically about Italian witchcraft.
First of all, benedicaria is a real thing. It is a melding of Catholicism and folk magic, and there are people who do actually practice it. The people who practice it are called benedette, but they are not identical to the benedette in my books, who are a sort of mix of nuns and nurses. I couldn’t find authentic benedicaria rituals and spells, so I made mine up. Also, most of the real folk magic that people use is for healing and for spiritual edification, and I needed something a little more intense, since it would be used to keep the berserkers at bay. For my spells, I used Catholic prayers. Also, I used part of the text for the Catholic exorcism. That’s the first spell Olivia uses on Brice in the book. At one point, in Book Three, the benedetta uses a “spell” that’s actually just a bible verse. (I think it’s from Isaiah.) Additionally, the Latin spell that Olivia uses on Lucio at the end of the second book is a modified prayer to god Mars.
Secondly, the Italian word for witch is strega. And there’s a difference between benedicaria and stregheria. Stregheria doesn’t have the Catholic component. From what I can understand, most real stregas today are fairly equivalent with Wiccans. So, of course, I didn’t go that path either, because I needed a bit more bite to my witches. I also gave the creepy strega in the second book the name Aradia, who is a legendary Italian witch, said to be the daughter of the goddess Diana. (You can read about her here.)
Finally, the jettatore is a male witch in Italian legend. He can throw the “evil eye.” Given the fact that my benedette didn’t approve of the fact that the mafia in my book used magic to make money, I thought it was fitting that they would call them by a pejorative name like that, but I did my best to make it plural, so I called them jettatori. If anyone actually reads Italian, you could probably rip my singulars and plurals to shreds in the books, but I did try. 🙂
Anyway, if you haven’t read The Toil and Trouble Trilogy, now is the time! And if you’re in the mood for witches, check out witchyebooks, where you can find free and cheap witch-themed books from over thirty authors.
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And for one-stop shopping, here’s a handy Amazon listmania.
Happy Halloween, and Blessed Be!