When We Were Witches: The Enduring Power of Shamans, Saints, and Seers in Italian, Latinx, and Indigenous Cultures
The Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America would like to thank all who attended the highly successful “When We Were Witches” event presented by Professor Gina Miele. This event was enthusiastically attended by more than 100 people, and it was a pleasure to welcome both new and familiar faces from all over the United States! We look forward to continuing this important conversation in new upcoming projects, which will be announced soon!
To view photos from this event, please click here.
If you would like to receive a personal link of the recording of this event, please send an email to Cristina Latino at email@example.com.
We may think we are beyond believing in witchcraft, but if we look around today, we see persistent traces of many of the beliefs our ancestors lived by. On Witchtok and Instagram, the ancient stories seem more alive than ever — perhaps they never really went away. As modern takes on ancestral healing practices populate social media squares, scholars are finding commonalities across cultures that are not only surviving, but thriving.
If you have ever worn a charm to ward off the evil eye, used herbal remedies to heal various ailments, or consulted tarot cards or runes for guidance — or been tempted to try these age-old methods — come hear practitioners and researchers discuss the origins of folk practices and why we are still fascinated by them today.
Presented by Professor Gina Miele of the Department of World Languages & Cultures, join us for an important conversation with guest speakers Marybeth Bonfiglio, Frankie Castanea, Lisa Fazio, and Kino Vera.
This event will be held on Thursday, April 20th from 2:30-4:30pm in the Feliciano School of Business, Room 101. RSVP for this event here.
Meet Our Speakers:
Her practices uses the tools and methods from the Folk Catholic and animistic traditions of her Italian ancestors who were the original people of Calabria; the Brutti people, and Benevento; the Samnite people.
She has an academic background in Psychology and Ethnobotany as well as years of study and practice in the traditions of Trika Shaivism and Plant Spirit Medicine.
She thinks of herself as an infinite embodied imaginal being living as a human doing her best to remember what it’s like to be in a multigenerational and multi-species relationship with all time; past, present, and future.
Her forthcoming book “Della Medicina: Plants of Italian American Folk medicine” (Inner Traditions, 2023) is a book of ancestral and cultural traditions and practices focused on plants and Italian American healing practices.
Walther Vera (Kino) is a Peruvian healer and filmmaker working and studying here at Montclair State University. Shamanism and mysticism have been present in his family for more than five generations, and right now, his father Orlando Vera is the main shaman of his family in the Peruvian North Shore’s Dry Forests.
Walther Vera, also, is the director of Casa Inti Healing and Research Center, a safe space here in New Jersey where the academic world can meet folklore and ancestral traditions. Casa Inti hosts shamanic ceremonies with sacred medicine, conferences, retreats, and more.