The Blessing Way of
Southern Italian Folk Medicine
with Gail Faith Edwards
I'm thrilled to offer you this 15 week in-depth exploration of Benedicaria, the Blessing Way of Southern Italian Folk Medicine. This body of work has been coalescing within me for the last several years and I now feel ready to present it to you in its entirety. Indigenous European traditions not only still exist, they are thriving. It is my privilege to share what I know of them.
"Benedicaria is a term that links religious faith, from the dawn of time, to our physical well-being."
I first learned about "Doing a Little Holy Thing, or Fa Lu Santuccio" from my family of origin - my mother, aunts and grandmother. We had no special name for these practices at the time, it was simply the way things were and what we did. In recent years, I've been greatly influenced and taken deeper into this ancient indigenous tradition by elder woman in my ancestral village in Southern Italia who still practice the old ways. I have been blessed to spend an average of 3-4 months under their tutelage each year, since 2004.
I've created this program to be inherently experiential...I want you to shake loose ancestral memories. I want to help you open the portal into connection to our collective inheritance - bloodlines, language, culture and spirituality.
Benedicaria The Blessing Way of Southern Italian Folk Medicine is specifically designed for those of you with Southern Italian roots, many of whom have longed for reconnection to ancestral ways and have asked for such a course of study. However, it is not necessary to have roots in Southern Italia to benefit from this class, as it is, at heart, both a cross cultural exploration of Old World European indigenous spirit medicine and a deep dive into personal spiritual/ancestral terrain. As we say in Italia, "this is not solely Italian history it is human history."
This 15 week course begins on November 1 and runs until February 8. I chose this time for beginning our deep, ancestral work together because it is the dark time of the year, the time of diving deep, for dreaming and remembering.
Below you'll find the bare bones outline of the course. At the start of the class, I will send each student the complete class outline as well as the homework/research/inner work assignments that are suggested for each week's lesson and will also include resources and links for further reading on the week's focus to enhance your learning experience. Active participation on the part of each student is strongly encouraged.
I will present an audio class each week that will be at least an hour long and may run as long as two hours. We will have a forum on Facebook to discuss the work we are doing week to week. The forum is where you will share your experiences as well as post your questions... insights, dreams, etc.
Here is the basic Benedicaria Class Outline. The student work associated with each lesson will be sent along with this outline at the start of the class.
LESSON 1 ORIGINS - History of Southern Italy Regna della due Sicili, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies Immigration and the Diaspora The New World - Loss of Culture, Language and Traditions Shame Genetic Memory - The importance of Reintegration/Reclamation
LESSON 2 ANCIENT CULTURE Goddess culture Tribal culture Crossroads - Etruscan, Greek influences Introduction of Dreaming Temples Asclepius, God of Healing and Dreaming The Crescent Moon Bear
Lesson 3 - THE BENEDETTI - The Blessing Way - Fa Lo Santuccio - Who are the Benedetti and what do they do?
LESSON 4 MEDITERRANEAN MEDICINE - The Salerno Medical School Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Italic medical thought - Southern Italian Synthesis and Philosophy of Healing Medicines Plants Humors - Constitution Garden of Minerva Categorization of herbs to understand how best to apply them to the human body
Lesson 5 DREAM AND HEAL WHISPERED THE SACRED SNAKE - Going into the Healing Dream Temple the clients, the priestesses, the snake, the practices, cleansing, diet, preparation rituals, dream incubation, dream interpretation, divination and diagnosis Dream recall techniques - Salt and water
LESSON 6 MAGNETIC MYSTERIES - Healing and protecive stones, iron, earth energies, magnetic poles, power points, choosing a place for prayer and ceremony.
Lesson 7 PULIRE E PURIFICARE - Cross Cultural Cleansing Ceremonies Constructing a ceremony, a blessing, a prayer Limpias - healing ceremonies egg healing - Herbs and stones for healing ceremony.
Lesson 8 PRACTICUM - Herbs, stones, animal parts and other substances that enhance dreaming, divination and magic and inspire energetic healing Traditional Southern Italian recipes/formulas
Lesson 9 PROTECTION AND SPIRIT HEALING - Malocchio who, how, where, why, when? - elements for protection traditional amulets and talismans, protective mudras, sacred prayers and healing ritual to counter Malocchio (evil eye) containing oneself so as not to pass the evil eye to others - Creating a Brevi Bag
Lesson 10 LEARNING TO SPEAK OUR ANCESTRAL LANGUAGE - Drumming, singing, dance traditional ancestral rhythms, healing songs and chants Tammoriata, Tarantism, Esoterismo - The bite of the Spider, Scorpion, Snake - ecstatic trance as spiritual practice of Southern Italia walking between the worlds - The Cult of the Dead - Calling upon and making offerings to the Ancestors
Lesson 11 GREAT MOTHER - The Madonnas Mother Mary Sorrowful Mother - Madonna of Pompei Madonna della Neve Madonna dei Cerri Madonna della Nera (The Black Madonnas) Madonna Monte Virgin Buona Dea Cibele - Hera Diana Hecate - Minerva Persephone Demeter/Ceres Our Lady of the Healing Herbs - The Rosary
Lesson 12 VENERATING THE REBEL SAINTS - Finding and Feeding the Saints Sant Anna Sant Rocco - Sant Antonio Sant Antuono - San Giuseppe San Cono Sant Ciro San Giacomo Santa Lucia Sant Agata - San Padre Pio - San Michele Santa Teresa - San Biago - Feast Days of the Saints, pilgrimages, processions, songs, rituals, novennas in their honor
Lesson 13 HOLY SPIRIT OF THE HEARTH Domestic holiness cleaning as spiritual practice domestic tools as saced objects (broom, dust pan, whisk broom, spray bottle, wash rags, etc.) holy water, smudge/fumigation bells lifting the energy of the home and prayer space enhancing the health of ones environment growing certain plants around the home for protection, health and good fortune.
LESSON 14 SACRED CELEBRATIONS - Making a sacred space in the home, creating an altar. Sacred Days/Holy Days Catholic/Pagan correspondences solstices and cross quarter days, traditional Southern Italian seasonal celebrations, foods and beverages.
LESSON 15 RECLAMATION - Bringing it all back home Reclaiming and reintegrating our many centuries old prayer, magico/religious, blessing ways, dream, dance, music, herbs, foods and healing traditions back into our daily lives reclaiming our original languages sharing our traditions