Monday, October 29, 2012

American Football in Europe: Bergamo Lions

Bergamo Lions 2002

Hanging out with the Bergamo Lions, for a brief behind the stands experience at Eurobowl XVI 2002.


Bergamo Lions

The Bergamo Lions is an American football team from Bergamo, Italy. They won the Eurobowl in 2000, 2001 and 2002, while losing to the Chrysler Vikings in the finals of 2004 and 2005. In Italy they have been unbeaten since 1998. In 1995, the Lions were a part of the Football League of Europe.

They have occasionally paid for Canadian football and American football players to play for the team but most Italian-born players are unpaid. One example is former Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Jeris McIntyre. The Lions have also recruited American coaches, including former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger as their offensive line coach.

12 Superbowl Italiano (Italian championship): 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

3 Eurobowl (European championship): 2000, 2001, 2002.

1 Champions League: 2000.


Molinaro, John F (2008-05-05). "Playing for Pizza: How two Canadian brothers lived out their dreams of playing pro football in Italy". CBC Sports. Retrieved 2008-06-07.

Baldinger, Brian. "Baldi in Bergamo, Italy". Retrieved 2010-03-22.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

'Cernunnos' by Deep~Glade


I first met Cernunnos deep in the Forest of Dean, alone and within a forest glade with the sun filtering down through thee gently rustling leaves, the humming insects but most of all the silence…and there He was! Some might say he was merely a mirage, a spark of my imagination but to me He was, and is, as real as you or I.

Who is Cernunnos? Well, popularly he is A Gaulish god associated with the stag and all hoofed animals, a god of fertility. abundance and the wild. He is probably best known from his image on the Gundestrup Cauldron, found in Denmark, and dating from between 200 BC and 300 AD. But scholars now believe that the name ‘Cernunnos’ doesn’t necessarily refer to one particular god but probably was a name given to many tribal gods that had similar characteristics in an attempt to ‘nationalize’ these gods under one name during Roman rule.

The name ‘Cernunnos’ is now generally believed to be derived from the proto-Indo-European root *krno, which also gives us the Gallic cernon, the Welsh carn, the Latin cornu and the Germanic *hurnaz, all of which mean ‘horn’. We can also see this root in words such as cornucopia and coronet (a small crown). As I’ve mentioned the most dramatic representation of Cernunnos appears on the Gundestrup Cauldron. Here he is seen sitting cross-legged, or crouching, holding a ram-headed serpent in one hand and a torc in the other, he also wears a torc himself and is surrounded by wild animals, including the wolf and the stag. Regarding his sitting position, many have believed that this rather buddha-like position suggests he is a god derived from the far East but when you think about the way the ancient Celts habitually sat we can see that this is merely a representation of their culture. Classical writers reported that the ancient Celtic Gauls did not sit on seats but were to be found sitting on the ground, either in a crouching position or cross-legged. The ram-headed serpent he holds aloft is of special significance as serpents were a symbol of fire coming from the earth; rebirth and renewal (note also that snakes shed their skins in entirety annually) and hibernate during the winter months and then become active again during the spring, thus seen as ‘coming alive’ again. Ram-headed serpents were always seen as symbols of chthonic wisdom and transformation. The torcs were always a sign of power and leadership in Celtic culture, so wearing one and also holding one shows us that Cernunnos was someone of great power and leadership. Leadership over whom? Well the fact that he is surrounded by wild animals gives us a good clue. Generally seen as a god ruling the wild spaces, and animals.

However, there is more to Cernunnos than just a fertility god. In fact he has more to do with hunting, culling, and purification through selection and sacrifice than fertility. He is equated with Herne the Hunter, great lord of Windsor Park who takes the spirits of the dead to the Underworld in what is known as ‘The Wild Hunt’, and also Gwyn ap Nudd and Arawn, who in the Mabinogion is the Lord of Annwn, the Underworld. Moreover, the Romans equated him with Dis Pater, not only a god of abundance but also god of death. So Cernunnos has mastery over the energies of nature but is also what is known as a psychopomp, a gate-keeper god who has province over leading souls of the dead to the underworld.

So what about my experience with Cernunnos? Well it moved me to write a poem in his honour as he has become one of my patron deities.

At the edge of the glade
In liminal places,
Arms branch out, feathered leaves
Rustling in a soft breeze….

Softly green merging with space
Antlers garlanded with grace,
and ‘Who am I?’ written on his face.

A question? Or a statement?
My heart flutters, my soul sings…
Poised on a moment of eternity,
All is within and without.

Was it a voice in my head?
An aching echo of a long distant past?
‘Know me’ he said,
‘Embrace me’ he echoed down the halls of emptiness.
My soul reaches out…

Out into the space, into the trees, into the leaves,
With green and golden tints.
Swallowed up by the coolness of dew,
The musky odour of hide,
The moist earthiness.

And we were one
Cernunnos and I.


Written by Deep Glade



Celtic Gods & Goddesses by R.J. Stewart
Horns of Power: Manifestations of the Horned God by David Rankine

Magic of the Celtic Gods & Goddesses by Carl McColman & Kathryn Hinds


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wotansvolk flag as an Umbrella Symbol of European Neo-Paganism?: Part 2

The 'Wotansvolk flag as an Umbrella Symbol of European Neo-Paganism?' entry from last February has been one of the most viewed pieces ever published on this blog. I thought that it needed some slight clarification.

I am not specifically an Odinist. However, it seems obvious to me that it could be beneficial for there to exist a united-concept; a "European-American folkish neopagan concern." Not an organization, but more of a periodic panel.

The Odinic Rite makes some attempt at this by stating that they represent all pre-Christian faiths of North-Central/West Europe. Lets face it, there are concerns even within that idea which do not wish to be a wing of Odinism; and see themselves as a folk-family within themselves.

Recently, the California-based Asatru Folk Assembly--in an article regarding "folkishness"--at least hinted that Wicca was not of their people (Northern European). Well, lets examine that. On the surface, this would seem to be correct. Wicca attracts many people who, if I merely attempted to name them, would make me sound like a "hater"; but whom are infinitely different than we are, on many levels. On the other hand, Wicca is based on a magical tradition, chiefly from the British Isles as far as its specifics, and actually tied to magical traditions from all over Europe. Many of these spiritual traditions overlapped one-another, and the history of that is too much to go into now; but suffice to say that they often existed openly within (and even part of) more prevalent belief systems like Odinism. In other words, they ARE in essence from and of our people. It's an open secret that Odinism and the "magical traditions" (i.e. "witchcraft") have a lot of common themes.

I believe that Cernunnos, the chief god of the Gauls, developed from a long natural-syncretization between the native "horned god" (of many names) and Odin. Also, Odin--and other major gods like Cernunnos, Lugus, etc.--was associated to the Roman and Greek god Mercury. While this stemmed from an attempt to force-syncretize a new paradigm of Roman rule; there seems to have been some genuine tie-in (Odin-Mercury), written about by Guido von List in his book 'The Religion of the Aryo-Germanic Folk', which was unrelated to this policy. In addition, Slavic heathenism clearly has many ties and common themes to Odinism.

What I am driving at is that there is a strong basis, in an effort for a "European-American folkish neopagan concern", to utilize the Wotansvolk flag as a unifying symbol. The solar cross and the raven symbolism are tied deeply to a host of other European heathen traditions. Odinism, and all of it's folkish denominations, seems to overwhemingly be the major spiritual tradition that we're talking about here; past and present. It found its way, in some form, to every corner of Europe. Why not acknowledge that, and finally make good on this flag? The founder(s) of the flag must be given the full right to profit from it; regardless if it's patented or not.

One of the great failures of all of the folkish neopagan concerns applicable here, is the failure to connect solitary adherents of even their own spiritual path.... must less the unifying principle we're looking at here. Think of how often "solitaries" have lived in close proximity, but never connected. The reality of the situation is as follows: There are perhaps a dozen or so folkish neopagan concerns, each with many denominations. Collectively we represent a tiny minority of the population at large. There are a sizable number of "universalist neopagans" (mostly Wiccans), but they're not folkish; or even decent or honorable people in many cases. They probably outnumber us ten or twenty to one! Okay, that adds some additional confusion. So we find ourselves in this social rut that we should climb ourselves out of. We can solve this problem.

No individual or group needs to intrinsically change, just form a larger folkish outer social perimeter. Reach out locally. We don't need an organization, but new local structures and networks. It's more logical for this to start locally, and work it's way up; rather than the other way around. You can, as an individual, make a big impact locally. Your existing hearth or coven can remain entirely unchanged, and exist as a separate entity from a "loose local folkish neopagan milieu."


Friday, October 26, 2012

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 3

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 3

I wanted to make a few closing points to this series, as well as tie in a few loose ends. First of all, I'm not an "ex-Christian," nor am I "anti-Christian." I just think that did a good job, intrinsically, on this particular piece. This text was from one of their podcasts, but I thought it was important to make a text reference of it. I recall, unfortunately, of having lost important articles and text in the past. For the companion podcast, click here and select "Christianity's relationship with witchcraft" from the menu box.

I will also point out that every religion, spiritual tradition, and folk tradition of our ancestors is a part of this blog. Also, this blog has taken a look at religious and spiritual concerns of other peoples who have lived and have deep roots in North America... Christian/Catholic, or not. It is estimated, and I will post the references here in time, that the Camunian Valley was I recall about one-third "pagan" prior to the Val Camonica witch trials. If we are not sympathetic to the issue of this persecution, then who is!? Those Camunian Catholics and "Heathens" of the Middle Ages lived together in harmony.

The only thing I would disagree with in this article was the term "witchcraft." Although loosely a "magical tradition," I believe that most of the Camunian Heathenry were merely observing the "wheel of the year" and other ancient pre-Christian rites. Few literally practiced "magic," I believe, beyond simple folk traditions. "Heathenry" means "people of the hearth," or an earth-based spiritual tradition. In the Middle Ages, and going right back into the ancient world, the Camunian and Tellinian Heathens would gather on the very mountainous Tonale Pass to observe the seasonal sabbats. It was "Heathenism" (polytheistic earth-based religion), and prior to a millennium ago, it was "the religion of our people." 

It probably didn't have "one name," but it later became known locally as "Stregaria." An old Camunian word, "Engermadura," may have had the same or a similar meaning. It likely meant "spell" or "charm." Another old Camun word, "Bodena," seems to be a reference to the ancient "stag god".... probably Cernunnos. It is translated to something like "the denomination of the old stag," and it seems to have been a type of reference to an actual name of the faith. Despite the chief male god--along with various other goddesses, and sometimes gods--the tradition seems to have clearly been more maternal, symbolized by the moon.

What is covered on this blog?

1) Items having to do with the Camunian, Brescian, Bergamask, Lombard, or Italian-Swiss cultures--past or present--which would include prior cultures of Lombardy. Also, openly reaching out to these concerns worldwide.

2) Items having to do with religion and spiritual traditions, which mainly include Christian denominations and Heathen traditions of past or present Lombardians, Europeans, or peoples with roots in North America. Also reaching out, in some form, to these concerns worldwide.

3) Items having to do with the environment, the natural world, the earth, and the universe; all of which our ancestors cared a lot about. Also reaching out, in some form, to some of these concerns worldwide.

4) Reaching out, in some form, to other more smaller "sub-ethnic" European-American concerns or regional/provincial associations relating to the Italian peninsula worldwide. For example, Basque, Bavarian, Welsh, Piedmontese, or Bergamask.

The more controversial items are purposely avoided. However, this doesn't mean that they should be avoided by individuals.

What are our goals?

1) Helping to facilitate the establishment of a "Lombardian-American" society of some type. For association, cultural enrichment, and study. This would be best headquartered somewhere in the Great Lakes region. Iron Mountain would seem appropriate. There needs to be a property, building, and at least two full-time staff to start.

2) To develop the idea of people of Camunian roots on this continent as something equivalent to a Scottish clann. Our heritage is unique. We should see ourselves as more of a family than a culture or demographic. We're currently invisible.

3) To restore honor, in some form, to the spiritual tradition of which we are all heirs to. Even if you're 100% Catholic, what makes us so different to modern Greek communities who--while practicing Greek Christian Orthodoxy--share a great reverence to their polytheistic ancestry. Why should we be so different?

Goal number one is really THE goal. It's the minimum of what we expect to accomplish. A person in California of Italian-Swiss ancestry, should feel entirely connected though that heritage to a person in Wisconsin of Bergamask ancestry. Their forefathers spoke the same Lombard language for many centuries! There should not be this disconnect.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 2

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 2

Witchcraft was now classified a heretical cult. Not only that, but it was considered heretical to not believe in the power of the Devil. The punishments against witchcraft were carefully laid out, as well as the methods for detecting and trying witches. The hitherto sporadic cases of witchcraft were now to be viewed as a cohesive group that had been marshaled together by Satan to attack and destroy Christianity.

In view of this calamitous assault on Christ, the pope commissioned Henrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, educated Dominicans who occupied high positions at the University of Cologne, to systematically bring witches to trial and punishment. They carried out their assignment with a vengeance. ref

Pope Innocent’s immediate successors followed his lead and anyone who opposed the repressive measures could be considered in league with the witches. In the case of Venice, the entire state was threatened by Leo X if it did not obey the Inquisition in apprehending witches. Venice bowed to the Pope's threat, and within a year Venice had sentenced 70 witches to the flames.

The Witches Hammer, the Malleus maleficarum, is the most important and nefarious legacy the world has on witchcraft. Published in 1486, it was written by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. Their book is divided into three parts: the first proves the existence of witchcraft; the second sets forth the forms in which it manifested itself; the third describes the rules for its detection and prosecution. It states that the world in the last quarter of the 15th century was more given over to the devil than in any preceding age. It appeals to the Scriptures, the teachings of the Church and especially to Augustine and Thomas Aquinas for support. Witches and sorcerers are described as meeting at weekly sabbats and do the devil homage by kissing his ass. Satan appears among them as a tom-cat, goat, dog, bull or black man while demons of both sexes swarm at the meetings. During these sabbats, baptism and the Eucharist are ridiculed and the cross trampled upon. After an abundant feast the lights are extinguished and at the devil’s command of "Mix, mix," the participants celebrate with a lewd orgy. The devil, however, is a strict disciplinarian and applies the whip to errant members. Further, the book states that witches are supposedly transported through the air, they kill unbaptized children, and later they eat them. There is a very frequent mention of sexual intercourse. To quote: "…it is common to all of them to practice carnal copulation with devils.” Interestingly, there are two full chapters devoted to this topic alone.

For evidence of the reality of their charges, the authors cite their own extensive experience and declare that, in 48 cases of witches brought before them and burnt, all the victims confessed to having practiced abominable whoredoms for between 10 to 30 years.

Among the precautions which the book prescribed against being bewitched, are the Lord’s Prayer, the cross, holy water and salt, and the Church formulas of exorcism. It also adds that inner grace is a preservative.

The directions for the prosecution of witches, given in the third part of the treatise, are set forth in great detail. Public rumor was a sufficient cause for an indictment. The accused were to be subjected to the indignity of having the hair shaved off from their bodies, especially the more secret parts, lest perchance some imp or charm might be hidden there. Careful rules were given to the inquisitors for preserving themselves against being bewitched. If someone too zealously defended the witch, then that was taken as evidence that he was himself under the same influence. One of the devices for exposing guilt was a sheet of paper the length of Christ’s body inscribed with the seven words of the cross. This was to be bound on the witch’s body at the time of the mass, and then the ordeal of torture was applied. This measure almost invariably brought forth a confession of guilt. The ordeal of the red-hot iron was also recommended, but it was to be used with caution, as it was the trick of demons to cover the hands of witches with a salve made from a vegetable essence which kept them from being burnt. Such a case supposedly happened in Constance, the woman being able to carry the glowing iron six paces and thus going free.

The Witches Hammer was printed in many editions. It was issued 13 times before 1520 and 16 more times from 1574–1669.

That concludes part one of a three part series on Christianity’s fascination with witchcraft. You’ve been listening to the Ex-Christian Monologues, a podcast from ExChristian.Net.

Ref: Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge | History of the Christian Church | The Malleus Maleficarum


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 1

Christianity's relationship with witchcraft: Part 1

Hello, you’re listening to the Ex-Christian Monologues, a podcast from ExChristian.Net. I’m Dave, and today’s date is April 24, 2006.

Today I want to talk a little bit about Christianity’s historic relationship with witchcraft. This is part one of a three-part podcast. Part One draws heavily on the History of the Christian Church by Philip Schaff and the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Schaff’s classic work is in the public domain and freely available on the Internet.

Most primitive cultures attributed witches with the power to supernaturally injure crops, animals, health, and possessions. Many ancient cultures created laws to punish the offense. As in other cultures, the ancient Hebrews condemned witchcraft, as expressed in the Mosaic Law (
Deut 18:10 & Exodus 22:18). Following in Judaism's footsteps, the early Christian Church believed in and condemned witchcraft Acts 19:19, Acts 8:9. (Click here for Moree examples).

Belief in witchcraft never disappeared, but it wasn’t always severely persecuted. The Synod of Reisbach in 799, for example, formally mandated penance as a punishment for women convicted of witchcraft, but prohibited any capital punishment. For a time the official rhetoric of the Church even tried to tone down belief in magic or witchcraft, labeling it as either false superstition or delusion.

For centuries Christianity had taught that God was in HIS heaven, far removed from human society. The Church encouraged people to be content with their miserable, medieval lot in life. Poverty and sickness were considered gifts of God that helped people remain holy by focusing their minds away from this world and on to the next. Physical pleasures should be shunned — this life was to be endured, but not necessarily enjoyed. Common people weren't easily convinced to meekly adopt this philosophy — many hung on tenaciously to a belief in magic. They thought magic could empower them to deal with the some harsh realities of their lives. Belief in magic, instead of subsiding, actually grew.

Some so-called heretical groups, and some well meaning churchmen, doubted that witchcraft was anything more than illusions of the Devil. Most were convinced that witchcraft was a real power, fueled by the denizens of hell.

Witches were reportedly transporting people through the air and holding meetings, or sabbats, where they indulged in lust-filled orgies with demons. Mention is given to these activities in the The Bishop’s Canon, which appeared first in the 10th century and was later incorporated by Franciscus Gratianus, a lawyer from Bologna, in his collection of canon law in 1150. Women confessed to flying through the air, but Gratianus considered the women delusional. English author, diplomat and bishop of Chartres John of Salisbury, felt the stories illusions propagated by the Devil. But, his contemporaries, such as Englishman Walter Map, reported that the wild orgies were real, with the Devil appearing on the scene in the form of a tom-cat.

According to Philip Schaff, the daughter of a count was carried through the air every night, one night even escaping the arms a Franciscan monk who tried to hold her back. In 1275, a woman of Toulouse, under torture, confessed she had indulged in sexual intercourse with a demon for many years and had given birth to a part wolf, part serpent, monster. She added that she sustained the creature by feeding murdered children to it.

Pope after pope called upon the Inquisition to root out and punish witches alongside the heretics they were already persecuting. Pope Gregory IX issued a bull in 1231 invoking the use of civil punishment against witchcraft. Dominican theologians spread the belief that incubi and succubi were mating with people—a belief that was rooted in Augustine’s “City of God,” xv23., as well as in the Genesis account of angels mating with humans.

In 1233, Pope Gregory IX asserted that the Devil was making appearances in the forms of a toad, a pallid ghost and a black cat. His papal bull, the “Vox Rama,” shockingly and graphically detailed what was taking place during witch's satanic, sexual orgies, and with the stroke of his pen launched an official, large-scale persecution of witches.

In 1274, Thomas Aquinas supported the claims that humans were cohabitation with demons, and even declared that old women could inject an evil essence into young people with just a glance. I suppose that's where the evil eye myth was born.

Jean Gerson, the leading theologian of his age, said it was heresy and impious to doubt the practice of witchcraft, and Pope Eugenius IV spoke in detail about those who made pacts with demons and sacrificed to them.

Among all the papal and other documents on witchcraft, perhaps the place of pre-eminence is held by the papal bull, Summis desiderantes issued by Innocent VIII in 1484. The pontiff wrote, “…by their incantations, charms, and conjurings… they cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines, and the fruits of trees, as well as men and women, cattle and flocks and herds and animals of every kind, vineyards also and orchards, meadows, pastures, harvests, grains and other fruits of the earth… and hinder men from begetting and women from conceiving, and prevent all consummation of marriage; that, moreover, they deny with sacrilegious lips the faith… at the risk of their own souls, to the insult of the divine majesty and to the pernicious example and scandal of multitudes.”


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mother Cabrini Shrine (Wikipedia)

Mother Cabrini Shrine (Wikipedia)

Mother Cabrini Shrine is a shrine to Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, known as Mother Cabrini, located in Golden, Colorado, United States.

The shrine site includes the Stone House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Queen of Heaven Orphanage Summer Camp, a 22 feet (6.7 m) statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus designed by Maurice Loriaux, and a convent of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the order founded by Mother Cabrini.


Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini found the property, which had two barns and a springhouse but no reliable source of water, on the side of Lookout Mountain in 1902. She negotiated the purchase of the property in 1910 to use as a summer camp for Queen of Heaven Orphanage. A small farming operation was established and operated by Sisters of the Sacred Heart and during the summer, the camp saw groups of girls from the orphanage to enjoy the outdoors and perform farm chores.

Water was hauled up to the camp from the stream in Mount Vernon Canyon until 1912, when Mother Cabrini discovered a spring on the property. A replica of the grotto of Lourdes was built over the spring in 1929, then demolished and replaced by the current sandstone grotto in 1959. The Stone House, designed as a dormitory for the summer camp, began construction in 1912 and was completed in 1914.

The property became a pilgrimage site in 1938 following Mother Cabrini's beatification. The property was established as a shrine in 1946, the year she was canonized. In 1954, a 22 feet (6.7 m) statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, designed by Maurice Loriaux and mounted on an 11 feet (3.4 m) base was erected at the highest point of the site. A 373-step stairway was placed, following the path Mother Cabrini took to the top of the mountain, and is taken by pilgrims today.

The summer camp closed in 1967 and the Stone House was used as a convent until a permanent convent building was completed in 1970. Today, the convent contains a chapel, meeting rooms, a gift shop, housing for the resident Sisters, and overnight accommodations for visitors.


Mother Cabrini Shrine
20189 Cabrini Boulevard
Golden, Colorado 80401


Monday, October 22, 2012

Mother Cabrini Shrine Golden Colorado

Mother Cabrini Shrine Golden Colorado


A walk up the 400+ steps at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden Colorado on a beautiful Summer day. I have made the climb many time and its is not as easy as it looks....but well worth it


I wanted to add here that this is an impressive monument. Not a large gaudy structure, but an interesting outdoor assent up towards the sky. Also, just the location, in the middle of North America, and apparently at a higher elevation than Denver. Perfect. Good video. I would really like to visit this shrine; and much more so than Mother Cabrini's displayed remains. Actually, the main stature is of Jesus, but there's a relatively large Mother Cabrini statue there as well.

Mother Cabrini Shrine Colorado view at entrance (views from a distance)

MOTHER CABRINI SHRINE (more complete video on a more crowded day)