Definitions & Descriptions

The following are descriptions, not definitions.

They serve only to help us develop a common language when interacting at Streghe.US.

Let’s talk about how Italian words are used by Westerners (specifically, English speakers).

Often, English speakers will modify foreign words to make them sound better within an English sentence. For instance, in English, a person who practices “Wicca” is referred to as “Wiccan”. However, a person who practices “Stregheria” is “a Strega”, not “Streghan”. Personally, I feel that if someone is going to use a foreign word, it’s important to understand the word in the native language from which it originates and use it in that context. Of course, it can get even more complicated when we start to get into colloquial expressions! If one still chooses to anglicize a foreign word after knowing it’s origins and use, then at least it is an informed choice.


Below are common Italian words that we use in this forum. I’d like to offer how *I* use them. This is not meant to tell others that they aren’t using them correctly but is instead offered as a way of explaining how I heard them used when I was in Sicily and come up with a common frame of reference:


Witch – A person who actively practices a form of cultural or folk magic (witchcraft) as part of their worldview or spiritual path. Someone whose spiritual practice includes the active use of magic or manipulation of the (occult) hidden or unseen forces of the Universe.
Origin of the word “WITCH” – Middle English wicche from Old English wicca, masculine, wizard & wicce, feminine, witch; akin to Middle High German wicken to bewitch, Old English wigle divination, and perhaps to Old High German wīh holy. First Known Use: before 12th century.

The Craft, The Old Religion – Shorthand for the traditions and practices of (usually) European based religious Witchcraft.

La Vecchia Religione – The Italian phrase “La Vecchia Religione” translates into English as “The Old Religion”. However, when the original Italian phrase is used, it specifically refers to the various religious Witchcraft traditions and practices native to, and derived from, the cultures of the Italic people including Italy, Sicily, and the greater Mediterranean. When the English phrase is used, it usually refers to the European based traditions/practices or to all Priesthoods of Witchcraft regardless of cultural origin.

Stregheria – An archaic Italian word for Witchcraft that is becoming to come back into modern usage that refers to Witchcraft specifically in association with the Sabbat and the worship of Diana. In other words, religious Witchcraft as part of the worship/reverence of the Old Gods of the Italic cultures (including modern Italian-American cultures and ancient Greco-Roman cultures such as Sicily and Italy). Many expand this description to include the forms/traditions of religious Pagan Witchcraft based with roots in the greater Mediterranean cultures, past and present.  Nota Bene: Stregheria is an archaic word Witchcraft that Raven Grimassi has pointed out comes from “The 18th century writings of Giorlamo Tartorotti refers to “Stregheria” as the survival of the cult of the goddess Diana”.

Stregoneria – The common Italian word for witchcraft (or sorcery) used in mainstream Italian culture often used to indicate harmful magic and is associated with the Devil – just as the word “witchcraft” does in most mainstream Western cultures. Within magical communities or self-identified Streghe, stregoneria is simply the practice of magic as a practice regardless of religion or spirituality, e.g. the practice of magic, spell work, creation of charms/talismans, and folk magic both in Italy/Sicily and within the Italian/Italian-American cultures.

Strega (una strega) – singular, female witch; a female practitioner of Stregheria or Stregoneria (Italic Witchcraft). Some traditions have additional names and titles used within their tradition.

Stregone (uno stregone) – singular, male witch; a male practitioner of Stregheria or Stregoneria (Italic Witchcraft). Some traditions have additional names and titles used within their tradition.

Streghe – plural of strega; i.e. a group of female witches (also commonly used to indicate a group of witches of mixed sex). Some traditions have additional names and titles used within their tradition.

Stregoni – plural of stregone; i.e. a group of male witches. Some traditions have additional names and titles used within their tradition.

della strega – possessive singular; i.e. The witch’s broom (La scopa della strega)

delle streghe – possessive plural; i.e. The witches’ broom (La scopa delle streghe)

Wicca – A common misconception is that Paganism, Witchcraft, and Wicca are one and the same. Originally, Wicca referred only to the collective of traditions now known as BTW (British Traditional Witchcraft). In the modern USA, and over the past several decades, the term “Wicca” has begun to be more inclusive as the diversity in the various Traditions has become more apparent. Used this way, Wicca (modern or contemporary Wicca as opposed to BTW) more generally refers to the Priesthoods of the Old Religion that share certain characteristics, namely: 1) they are traditions of Witchcraft that are based in the cultures/lores of Europe; 2) they are the lineaged, Initiatory Mystery Traditions; and 3) they share a common body of lore and practice. “Wicca” in the general sense includes Traditional Wicca or the BTW Traditions (Alexandrian, Gardnerian, Mohsian, Central Valley Wicca, etc.) as well as more diverse/pluralistic Traditions of Contemporary Wicca such as Chthonioi-Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca and Protean.

La Magia Popolare Siciliana – Folk Magic. The “culturally common” practices or traditions of magic.


Words that are not Italian but commonly used by English speakers:

Stregan, Streghan, Stregherian – These are American derivations of Italian words but not actually Italian. They are often used to indicate a practitioner of witchcraft (stregheria or stregoneria). However, a person who practices stregheria (or stregoneria) is not “stregan” or “stregherian”. A person who practices Stregheria is a “a strega” or “a stregone” (English) [or “una strega” or “uno stregone” (Italian)].