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Article ID: 6360
Age Group: Adult
Posted: June 18th. 2003
Third Annual Witches Meeting
by M Macha Nightmare
Abrawicca, the Brazilian Association of Witches (in Portuguese, AssociaŤ"o Brasileira da Arte e Filosofia da Religi"o Wicca), [http://www.abrawicca.org/] spearheaded by Claudiney Prieto and Mavesper Sy Ceridwen, just put on a wonderful festival in the heart of the largest city on the South American continent, S"o Paulo. Held in the downtown business district known as Paulista, the avenue formerly home to the mansions built by wealthy Portuguese coffee barons, the conference drew 500 people to the Hilton Hotel over the weekend of June 6-8, 2003. Claudiney is Brazil's best-selling author on Witchen subjects. He and Mavesper are the founders of the Brazilian Dianic Wicca tradition, descended from McFarland Dianic.
The opening ritual on Friday night was held in big Ibirapuera Park, similar to Central Park in New York [http://www.mindspring.com/~mgiger/saopaulo.html] Three hundred celebrants honored White Buffalo Woman. Although within a formal Craft structure, this ritual was as eclectic as many in America. Its juice came from chanting, drumming and dancing, which the ebullient Brazilian Witches did with abandon for about three hours.
Saturday morning opened with a dramatic dance to the Morr'gu, done by the same lovely dancer, Claudia, who had danced as White Buffalo Woman at the previous night's opening ritual.
Various vendors purveyed their magical goods - jewelry, robes, artwork, tchotchkes, books - in the lobby outside the meeting rooms.
The two American presenters were deTraci Regula, an authority on the worship of Isis, [http://www.mysteriesofisis.net/] and myself. Neither of us speaks Portuguese. Because of the language barrier and the fact that working with a translator in the middle of someone else's workshop can be disruptive, I only attended one presentation other than deTraci's and my own. It was about the indigenous goddesses of Brazil. Mavesper, an attorney with the Brazilian Congress by day, has done extensive research into these indigenous goddesses. She showed us an array of tools and ritual items used by these indigenous people in their approach to their goddesses. Later she had us do some basic ritual practices.
Mavesper [http://www.templodadeusa.com] has written a book about these goddesses. It is with her publisher and not yet published, and when it is it will be in Portuguese, but who knows? If there is sufficient interest in an English-language edition, it's very possible one might appear. In any case, I think this is a contribution to goddess culture of great worth. I see it as sacred work. In fact, the "Sy"that Mavesper has added to her magical name is the name of one of the goddesses she found during her research.
DeTraci's presentation on Saturday night drew a big, enthusiastic crowd. When she demonstrated a purification done with a sistrum, instead of a few volunteers, nearly all 500 people in the room lined up to receive one. So deTraci began an Isis chant, Claudiney and others drummed, and several young women began dancing in a mock-pop Egyptian style while the purifications progressed.
My presentation was called "Buffing and Polishing for Self-Taught Witches and Covens." Title aside, when you're speaking to and with 500 Witches of all levels of knowledge in another language, you just wing it. I was challenged to do a good job, and from the response afterwards and feedback since, evidently I did. All would have been for naught had it not been for my wonderful translators - Arthemis, Bia, Liane, and, unofficially, ValŽria Vihlena, an astrologer who was another presenter.
Abrawicca has 2000 members representing 16 of Brazil's 26 states. Many came from distant parts of this enormous country (Brazil is nearly as large as the U.S.) to learn and to share. There were Gardnerians, Alexandrians, Dianics and practitioners of several other Witchen traditions, astrologers, Tarotists, at least one shaman, a workshop on shapeshifting, one on Bridget, and sacred belly dance.
The attendees were primarily young - high school through twenties and thirties - and ebullient. They seemed hungry for anything and everything that was offered.
In my experience, Brazilians, - Brazilian Witches ("bruxas") in particular - are a warm, friendly, social, hospitable, party-loving people. Pagans from other countries traveling in Brazil will be enthusiastically welcomed. I hope to return another time.
M. Macha NightMare
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