Witches’ Sabbath

It’s still sizzling here (close to 40C) but the advantage of living in Italy is that one has a variety of escape routes: up a mountain, through a wood, into a river or just to the seaside.

I have to admit I did not spend the night on the bare mountain for the Witches Sabbath between the 4th and 5th of this month but arrived early the next day.

I’m quite glad I didn’t eat there anyway. Some of the menu items sounded a bit odd especially the penne cacciavampiri. (Italian test!).

Here covens unite from time immemorial, according to ancient practice, on the Prato Fiorito which overlooks our valley and where fire walking is used as a propitiatory rite for initiation into strange incantations and a good harvest.

Fire walking is one of humanity’s most ancient rite and date back to at least iron age India around 1200 BC. It is also a very widepread one. Nestorian christians practise it and in Bali there’s a fire-walking ceremony for small girls called Sanghyang dedari, in which benevolent spirits possess them.

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(Fire-walking on the Prato Fiorito last year)

Mayor Betti, who’d travelled up there on his horse, showed me photos of the sunrise at around 4 am on the Prato. I hope he’s gathered enough witchcraft to allow Bagni di Lucca to have a really successful summer.

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By the time I arrived anyway the fire-walking was easy to achieve as the wood had been reduced to ash. But I certainly intend to try it out next year!

Meanwhile, I decided to climb another mountain adjoining the Prato – the Monte Incoronata. It’s a lovely climb and the views around are very beautiful with many familiar villages like Tereglio and Montefegatesi seen from quite unusual eagle-eyed angles.

In summer it’s best to start really early. Not later than seven. But beware the flies can become quite a nuisance even then! The only flies I can really take are butterflies and there were plenty of tiny blue ones there which I’m sure some lepidopterist will be able to name:

Net year I think I’ll join up with the various groups camped up there and bring my own tent and cooking gear. It sounded fun and there was live music and dancing too. I might bring back some magic too!

There’s more about the Prato Fiorito in my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/the-elysian-fields-of-prato-fiorito/ including pictures of the magnificent jonquils which flower in June.





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