Mauro Cortese, was born in Calabria – Italy, on August 15th 1984. Calabria introduced him to his preparation to becoming a spiritual soul. This Land offers the sea, the mountains and a “school” made of women.
<<My mother and my grandmother taught me to comprehend, not only the respect toward the people, but also towards everything related to Nature. Its cycles, its mysteries and everything that gravitates around witchery>>
Eclectic he embarks on many trips, in company and on his own, facing the world, the land, the people. Florence becomes his home, where experience and magic got together leading him to the creation of a Facebook page, La soffitta delle streghe – which in a short becomes one of the most clicked of the sector in Italy and a witchcraft shop in Florence. There is no secret nor witchcraft, there is only desire, knowledge and a lot of humility. Soon will be published his “Agenda della Mela” by Brigantia Editrice, a collection of all the stories and magic of La soffitta delle Streghe.
A: So, let’s start from the basis: what kind of sorcerer are you? Do exist different “factions” and “ranks”?
M: I like to call myself as a “witch”, I am a son of the Mother Goddess, part of everything. It is not a matter of masculine or feminine, we are just everything. I do believe in the Celtic philosophies, in the divine power that is inside Us all. Sometimes I do hear sentences as <<We forgot the Mother Goddess>>, yes it is true, but she never left her daughters and sons alone. A mother never leaves her children, she loves them forever.
I do not believe in pyramids or ranks. This is only a human invention to dominate other human beings. I do believe in the balance, in the continuous movement – which is nor white or black, it is everything. Magic has no form, the Magic is Us. We are witches – and as I always say – we can do everything. We just need to trust our instinct and intuition.
A: What kind of tools do you use to do your ritual practices?
M: I use everything. The cauldron as the womb of the Mother Goddess, which embraces, takes and transforms in pure alchemy, to then give back. In a different way of course, everything is intended to improve ourselves, to change. Once we move in the cauldron of the Goddess, we transform ourselves too.
A: Which is your favourite “festivity” and why?
M: It is quite difficult to answer, there is not a favourite celebration. All the festivities bring us something and take something else back. Everything has a hidden meaning, alive, powerful, that moves all around in it. My Grandmother always said to me that each season is bounded to a memory, to the best or the worst we could do, without forgetting that each Winter makes the way to our beloved Spring. I love this transition, this elegance and harmony that we all should find and re-encounter. I do believe that encountering the harmony is a wonderful wish. Don’t you think?
A: S-witching to the clou topic: what does Samhain mean to you?
M: Samhain, Samhain <heavy breathing> is a celebration that usually steals my soul more than the others. Not only for its beauty, but because it has a peculiar bound with my childhood. I have always seen Samhain as something familiar, something that bounds us to the power of both love and death. To rebirth we have to die, to be what we are we must let it go. It ain’t easy I know, maybe I am too philosophical, but I do not want to lessen Samhain by saying only that there is a passage, a game of lights and shadows; there is more than this, it is something that digs inside of you, that brings you to the world, that takes you back and makes you roam at the same time. Samhain is an occasion of inner recollection. If I may say so, it is our inner death that leads us to the light. It reveals us our truths, our weaknesses, our wonders.
A: How should a Mother Goddess-goer celebrate this festivity? What will you do?
M: We should celebrate as we feel. The heart, the instinct, the knowledge, drive us where we need to go. I do not believe in rigid “rules”: this goes like this and this like that. I do believe that each of us has a personal, individual, way – which is the thing that make us uniques. Everyone should celebrate as he/she feels, wants and could. Sometimes even a candle, some incense and a thought are enough. Simplicity always pays back.
About me, what am I going to do? I am going to celebrate it here at La Soffitta delle Streghe, with all the people that want to come and join us. It is like to find oneself again, getting back home, hugging each other.
A: So you do not sacrifice babies or eat toad’s eyes soup or something like that, right?
M: <laughs> No, definitely not. We do not eat babies, on the contrary we also organised a feast for them: pumpkin carving and the typical ‘trick or treat’. We should break this stereotype of the evil witches and sorcerers. We should teach the people, pushing them towards knowledge instead of keeping them judging driven only by hearsay.
A: To conclude, in your opinion: witches or sorcerers are born or can become?
M: I do not believe in fatalisms or in the ‘chosen ones’. We are the architects of our world and we are able to do many things. I think that if you are attracted by this world, you have a certain predisposition to it, but it ain’t just this, sometimes precisely the ones that are predisposed never practice, have no idea of what witchery is, or what the Mother Goddess is. It takes patience, a lot of humility and mental openness to accept this path. To be a witch means being it always, every day, in the daily life, not only on Thursday night when we go celebrating the Moon. Being witches means being pure magic. We can become everything, we can be everything, we just need to believe it. Becoming what we want to be.
We are witches and we can do everything. May you always be blessed )o(
Via Romana 135/R – Firenze, IT
All photos: courtesy of Mauro Cortese
Featured image via Tumblr