The Walnut Witches

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The Walnut Witches
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In Italy, there is a legend of Witch gatherings in the town of
Benevento, at the site of an old walnut tree. Manuscripts from old
witch trials in Italy, speak of this tree which (it was said) had
always been there, and was in leaf all year long. The nuts of this
tree, were said to have been of pyramid-like form. Many of these
walnuts were sold as talismans and amulets. The tree was so huge, and
its branches so thick with leaves, that its shade was said to be like
night itself. It was considered sacred to Proserpine, Nox, Diana, and
all Cthonic deities. The walnut witches were said to have been a very
powerful society of witches. It was through their dedication that the
Old Religion survived intact, during the Inquisition (and afterwards).

In 662 A.D. Romuald, Duke of Benevento, lived in Benevento and was
said to have joined in these celebrations at the walnut tree. In Benevento there also lived a man named Barbato. He was a christian, and later became a Bishop (eventually he was even sainted). Hard times befell Benevento, and the army of the Byzantine Emperor Constans II, was threatening to invade. Barbato went about the town blaming all the troubles of Benevento, on the witches and their religion. After corresponding with Constans, Barbato approached Romuald, and said that he (Barbato) would perform a miracle and save Benevento, if given author- ity to "cleanse" the town of its "heathen sins". In desperation, Romuald agreed, and sure enough Benevento was not conquered (but it was attacked).

Barbato had the Walnut tree cut down, and converted Romuald to
Christianity. One story is told that Barbato had a church built upon
the site of the old tree, and another that the tree was seeded in a
different place, and still another that the tree grew again in the
same spot.

Whatever the case, my mother says that a walnut tree still stands
in Benevento, in the Stretto di Barba, near the river. Witches still
gather there today in secret. Benevento has long been associated with
Witchcraft, and was once the sanctuary of the followers of Aradia, in
the 14th Century. In Charles Leland's book ETRUSCAN MAGIC &OCCULT
REMEDIES there are several exaggerated (but fun) stories of the good
witches of Benevento. Leland also states that the witches of Benevento
were very well known for their healing, and for dispensing coins to
the poor.

A last note of interest, Strega Liquor is made in Benevento (and
has been for quite awhile). If you can find a bottle, check out the
label. You'll find a picture of witches and satyrs dancing beneath a
tree (walnut I assume ).

author unknown

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Re: The Walnut Witches
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 2
Interesting, where did you find such a story?
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