The Cimaruta (Chee-mah-roo-tah) is an Italian folk charm that’s usually worn as jewellery or hung in the home to offer protection against the Evil Eye. Usually made of silver, the charm is shaped like a living sprig of rue with magickal and protective symbols sprouting from the ends. Over time and, through the Christianization of Italy, some charms became reminiscent of catholic religious symbols which also offer protection and good blessings.
This charm bag is inspired by the cimaruta to offer spiritual and emotional protection using dried rue, rosemary, and vervain; and silver charms to represent the other protective symbols of the cimaruta charm. It’s one of the spells I am most excited about in Green Witchcraft, and I’m so excited to get to share it with you all! Before we dive in to the spell, let’s talk a little about some of the symbols included in various different versions of the cimaruta. (They’re different all over Italy!)
The Symbols of the Cimaruta
Rue – this Mediterranean plant has been believed to offer spiritual protection, and was used to create pain-relieving medicines, since the days of ancient Rome. In modern witchcraft it’s used for protection, hexing, banishing; and makes the perfect herbal base for our charm bag.
Crescent Moon – The symbol of divine guidance, magic, and intuition. The moon also served as the gatekeeper to the world of dreams and spirit. The crescent moon is of course also a symbol of Diana or Artemis, the Mediterranean goddess of the moon and protector of women.
The Key – This is related to the symbolism of the moon in that serves to open doors, physical and spiritual, and allow the wearer or user to move through the world (and other worlds!) safely. For many modern witches the key is a symbol for Hecate. Italians are also quite hung up on phallic and rude symbols in protection against the evil eye and a lock and key were often both included to represent hetero intercourse.
Vervain flower – This is another magickal protective plant, and was often considered to be aligned with the faery or otherworldly spirit kingdoms.
A Hand – The hand may be open, or holding a dagger or wand. The hand is a common protective symbol, and symbol of magic. The Hand of Fatimah is a Middle Eastern symbol used to protect from the evil eye, and the lines of the hand have long been believed to hold a person’s secrets.
The Horn or Cornetto – A twisted horn is actually its own protective charm in Italy! While the Cimaruta is more popular in the south of Italy, northern Italians (like my family!) are more likely to wear a Cornetto or Cornicello pendant for protection against the evil eye. This symbol offered good luck, stamina and virility, and these days resembles a chili pepper.
Rooster or Cock – This is another instance that may be about rude and phallic gestures, which are used to repel evil in Italy. As funny as that is, the rooster is also a symbol of bringing in the light. The rooster raises the sun every morning, banishing the darkness and everything that creeps and crawls through it.
The Snake – the snake has numerous magickal meanings on the Cimaruta. One reference could be to the viper-venerating Lombard witches of Benevento who made offerings to a golden snake under a walnut tree. This is often attributed to the worship of Isis or her roman counterpart – Diana. The snake is often seen as a wise and magickal creature, and is associated with powerful witches who regularly practice their craft in the dark of night.
Other Animals – Many Cimaruta charms feature many protective animals such as hares, frogs and toads, scarabs, fish, and dolphins
Christian Symbols – since Italy is a catholic nation some Cimaruta that were made after Christianity came to the country feature popular Christian symbols of protection and good will like a heart, praying hands, the fish, a cross, angels or angels wings, and the sun.
Enjoy these pages from Green Witchcraft before it’s released on 2/25/2020, and if you make your own Cimaruta Charm Bag let me know on instagram with the hashtag #BeyondGreenWitchcraft!
Pre-order your copy here, and request it at your local witch shop!
My dad’s mother, Noni, hails from northern Italy. She died when I was very young, and of course I get told all the time how much I look and even sound like her. She’s my comforting ancestor spirit I feel around me all the time. Unfortunately Noni was also very angry at the end of her life with MS, and loved drama so I didn’t get to spend a lifetime with my Italian family – I barely knew them. When Italian Folk Magic by Mary-Grace Fahrun came out in 2018 I felt like I suddenly had tether to my roots I’d never really realized I was missing. I read it sometimes and just laugh at the Italianisms and feel close to the fam. That’s one of many reasons I am so honoured to have seen this beautiful review for my book on amazon.
“Paige Vanderbeck’s Green Witchcraft: A Practical Guide to Discovering the Magic of Plants, Herbs, Crystals and Beyond, is exactly as described: a practical guide. I love this book. It is an outstanding research- and experience-based, yet approachable, book that covers everything one needs to get started on their path. As a seasoned practitioner, Paige’s beautiful book made me fall in love with green witchcraft all over again. An excellent choice for both aspiring and experienced green witches.” ―Mary-Grace Fahrun, author of Italian Folk Magic: Rue’s Kitchen Witchery
I don’t even know what to say except 💚💚💚💚💚💚💚