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  • Trendy Beaches, Deceiving Witches

    Page 2 of 3
    Continued from page 1

    By Marzia Volpones

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    It's the witches' night between 23 and 24 June, just when the sun kisses the moon. Their marriage fulfilled.

    The scent of remedial herbs, indefinable balms and perfumes fills the air interlaced with the bright colours of the witchcraft jewellery and magic stones, and with the smoke from the sparkling spires of the bonfires glazing all around the market place, through the village and down into the valley.

    "Witches are said to be particularly active and deceiving this night" she was whispering. "They can be seen when they met at backstreet crossroads, or under a large walnut tree, dancing chanting making spells at bonfires light." "Tell me more"... he insisted. He didn't want to leave her nor lose her. "Everything is powerful and magic. It's the night when the sun marries the moon." Her voice lowered in a chanting spell. "Even the dew which falls on the fields this very night is believed to be miraculous: clothing and household linen wet with this dew would bring good luck and be safe from moths. Garlic which had 'taken the dew' is held to have medicinal properties enhancing his powerful strength against the malign witches' evil eye." She stared at him. "But most of all it's a night of love."

    "It's when young girls dreaming of their lover set three beans under their pillow, a full one a half pealed and a pealed one, sneaking a hand under the pillow to grasp quickly one of them as soon as they wake up in the morning. Three beans, three days. 'Who shall I marry?' 'A handsome, wealthy prince'? A 'rich merchant'? Or, alas, a 'poor guy'? All is up to the bean and time." A cheerful laughter broke out as if mocking them and her. He was bewildered and doomed to listen. They were strolling along the narrow streets toward the big bonfire down in the market square. She stopped in front of a house where a green leafy plant was growing lushly as a wailing coat of arms.

    "That's Artemisia's house. The 'white witch': the sorceress well-known in the surrounding area. Many flocked to be healed or undergo the trial or ritual of the oil of San Giovanni (St. John) which was said to identify and neutralise the evil eye and evil spells. Artemisia lived in the late 18 and early 19 centuries her house is still visited in the centre of the village." "Come. Let's dance." Her hips swinging from side to side, back and forth at the rhythm of the drums while approaching the women gathering close to the bonfire. He joined the circle and the voices. The desire of the heart and the lust of the mind interlaced with the beating rhythm and sparkling spires as the moon was getting closer and closer to the sun in a passionate kiss.

    He found himself alone. The bonfire burnt out. The green stone in his hand. Dawn was peeping through the night. The warm midsummer garbino wind, the witches' wind was blowing from the hills toward the trendy Rimini Riviera. It was time to follow its blowing. The day was up.

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