The Role of the Cunning Person in the Sicilian Tradition
We are called by many names, maghi, benedetti, i ma’ari, and behind our backs those who dislike us call us ‘streghe’, but our role does not change. We are healers, counselors, mediators, bringers of justice and protectors of our communities. We are sought out when people loose control over some part of their lives, in order to bring it back into balance they petition our aid and we work our best to heal their afflictions, to find what has been lost, to right wrongs and ensure prosperity. We offer our services free of charge and rely soley on the gratuitous generosity of our clients with gifts of food, livestock or services. We do this because our power, that is, the gifts we utilize to effect change in the lives of others and ourselves, are gifts from “a Maronna” or in Italian “la Madonna”, the Blessed Virgin Mary bestows upon the families she deems worthy the abilities needed to heal and protect. Therefore our services are free of charge, though social convention deems that we are brought some sort of gift, it is not necessary and we usually will not turn anyone away. Our knowledge is passed down to us from our ancestors and in many cases they never stop teaching us.
Most healers have “allies”, spiritual beings, often souls long past on, that communicate with us in order to help those that seek our aid. Often times a state of trance must be achieved in order to do more complex tasks and workings. This state is usually brought on with ease as these healers and their allies maintain strong and constant bonds throughout their lives.
Healers have always been necessary in their communities, and though our numbers have dwindled over the years due to the advent of science and subsequently the rise of atheism, we are still very much alive and passing down these traditions and our knowledge for the good of our neighbor.
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.