On April 16th, 1866, my Grand Mother, Victoria Bruno Blasso, was born in Italy. She came to America in 1898 and was a midwife in New York City. She was a descendant of Giordano Bruno; the Philosopher who was burned by the Inquisition on February 17th ,1600 because he told the Truth. In the World at that time, telling the Truth was punishable by death. Today, I salute my Grand Mother and all of us; that Truth is a Blessing that can never be contradicted. Stand firm in what you believe and that Justice will always prevail. If you have to go and stand alone, then you do it. The coward dies every minute; the strong live forever. So this is where I say to you, I wish my Grand Mother a Happy Birthday; I’m glad she was born because if she wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here today, none of my family would. She was a strong woman who brought many children into the world. She was an honorable person and a caring Human Being. So today I say “Happy Birthday, Grand MOTHER!”
The word Mother is a great factor in the Italian Tradition. We have our Mothers that brought us into this World, and then we have the Spiritual Mothers that we in the old Sicilian Tradition will call our Teachers, the Reverend Mother. My Grand Mother was a GRAND Mother; she taught many people many things in this Life; how to be decent, how to care, how to not be cowards and hide behind others. Her memory is ingrained within me forever. The word Mother is a great thing, a Grand Mother is the most precious.
Last night I had a lot to think about. As I thought about my Grand Mother and all the other Mothers of this World, I gave thanks that we had Mothers who cared and protected us; that would not stand by and enable those who would abuse us, that we never abandoned our children no matter how they may have fallen by the wayside. The Mother’s Cape would always be there to protect our children; the Mother’s energy would always be there to protect our children, the Mother would never abandon her child, even if the child fell into the most heinous of situations. There is no greater disgrace than for a Mother to turn her back on a child and not know where that child is or what is happening to that child; that is falling from the Sign of Grace of all the Gods.
My Grand Mother Victoria instilled in her own daughter, knowledge and care, and that daughter, my Mother, as tough as she was – and she was tough, instilled this in me, you don’t abandon family; not for your fame, not for your fortune, not for anything. Famiglia is family; the Mother is the crux of the family. There’s an Old Italian saying that says, “One Mother can take care of one hundred children, but one hundred children cannot take care of one Mother!” That is a saying that is as old as time. The Mother who would party and let her children be alone, that is not a Mother. The mother who would put a child in jeopardy to keep a boyfriend is not a Mother! No matter what your child does, no matter what, he or she is still your child.
What is a Mother? A Mother is all; always loving and always there. Many of you have Mothers and I trust your memories of them will be good. Some do not, and they go to other people and call them Mother; that I have seen too. There is no shame in that. Sometimes where you come from, the genetic pool is truly not a Mama, so the Gods put you near people who are. Never forget your Mother, never forget her. Sometimes Mothers make mistakes and you have to be the Mother to your Mother, then you forgive, there is no harm in that. I will tell you, in the most Ancient Italian Craft, the Teacher is called Mama. It is out of respect, some people know no respect, and they walk around the Earth not knowing that respect. The respect of women, the respect of men must be maintained on this Earth; the respect of Humanity. As I looked at the sky last night ,I thought of my Grand Mother who would never back down, perhaps that is genetic on the Bruno side, they never did back down; in the face of adversity they stood their ground. They never were swayed by “If I don’t go along with this person I won’t have bread on my table.” What does the bread of treachery taste like? What does the bread of deceit taste like? What does it taste like, ladies and gentlemen, is it sweet? Is it honest? The bread of deception is very bitter, for two minutes it might be sweet, “Well, I’m making my money, blah, blah, blah…” and “If I don’t go along with this being, I will not make my money.” Or” I will not have bread on my table!”, but again, what does that bread taste like? When you really truly sit back and think, “Was it really the bread I wanted or did I stand my ground and say, ‘No, no more’!”
I see people by their own mouths hurt themselves, then they blame others, but it is their own words that condemn them! How sad, because truly they’re their own shotguns and they shoot themselves, then they go around trying to blame somebody else, how sad, how sad, how very sad! The one in the mirror; that is their worst enemy! I’ve never seen things in my life like I’ve seen lately, that certain individuals will go ahead and try to blame others for their bad mistakes, and they are bad mistakes! It is a sad thing because instead of using their energies to create they want to destroy by every angle they can and then when they are called out on what they have done, they say, “Oh! How can they do this to me?” Read your words, read what you have done to people and the things you thought that you’d get away with it, there is always, as we say, the devil that comes out to call you out on it. What a shame, then you blame everybody else for playing the game! That’s a terrible thing because you are your own executioner, you are your own executioner! There are people who want to be bobble heads to you, ok, go right ahead, but you are the cause of it all, YOU are the cause of it all! You went and made a mockery of everybody, and then when it came back to your door you said, “I am the victim!”
Don’t be a professional victim, be a professional Human Being! Be who you were created to be by your Mother who taught you to be a decent Human Being, and I look back and think of my Grand Mother and who she is descended from, and I have proof on paper if anyone would like to see the proof, that the Bruno’s, the tough little Bears, the Bear Mother; Bruno means bear, the brown bear and the bear is a Mother that will protect her children. And I will tell you this right now, if you wish to call me Mama please do so, even though I didn’t give you birth it doesn’t matter to me, and if you don’t want to you shouldn’t! My name is Lori Bruno, I’m called Mama Bruno sometimes, and it’s fine! I know they are not my children, and my own children understand because they were brought up in the Italian Tradition, where Mama is a form of respect; not to degrade anyone else’s Mother, and Grand Mother is the Grandest Mother of them all, and I happen to be a Great Grand Mother too! I am a Mother Bear and I will protect all those who come to me with sincerity and a good heart.
I worked with somebody a few years ago, and whenever this person needed medicine or whenever he was hungry, my Louie and I would cook some Italian food for him and bring it to him. I asked no recompense from him, I never wanted anything from him, just one word; respect. He knows who he is; he knows very well who he is. In the Italian Tradition, when you disrespect a woman, you are disrespecting your own Mother. When this happens, anyone who is a Mother will never abide being near this person again. The word respect is something that is a cherished commodity. You should respect your children also; you should keep them out of harm’s way. That’s the whole thing in a nutshell, protect them with everything you have! When a person thinks they can threaten someone, whether it be by trying to take their livelihood away, or take their family away, the person who tries that is nothing but a coward. And a coward is his own executioner.
I remember my Grand Mother’s Birthday today, I think of all of your Mothers and Grand Mothers, treat them with respect for you are an extension of them. Adoptive mothers who adopt children and give them life and protection, they sometimes have greater merit than those who have borne children! They have given their adopted children a life that otherwise may be they would not have had. The Mother that adopts them becomes a protector that is more fierce than anyone that could have borne the child because she truly wanted that child, so the adoptive Mother is Mama, because she truly wanted that child and adopted the child into her Life. The biggest protector a child could have is an adoptive Mother or adoptive parents.
Today I looked at Odin Lloyd’s Mother, Odin Lloyd being the man who was murdered by Aaron Hernandez. She didn’t have a husband, and she said on Father’s Day her son came to her and said “You were father and mother to me!” Another thing I thought, Mothers can be Fathers too, the Mother who stood between her child and an abuser, that Mother was a Father also. When I see somebody who degrades women I wonder what he thought of his own Mother, I often wonder when I see such goings on; a man who degrades women didn’t have a happy Mother; a man who degrades women in every aspect could not have had a happy Mother, it reflects.
So Mothers, as you sit there today, think of how you are treating your children. How will they respect their Mothers, or women for that matter? How are you bringing up your children, will they respect women and not call them vile names? Will they grow up to be men who use vile terms to describe women? I wonder… Think back on how you are treating your young men and how you are reflecting your Motherhood onto them. I leave you with this thought today, honor your Mothers, honor their memories, your Grand Mothers, your Great Grand Mothers, honor them and never forget them. The man who defends women, the man who never negates women, that’s the gentle Soul Blessed by the Gods; the one who negates women and thinks it’s a joke, they are the joke on themselves. Unfortunately in this World, we do have people like that. Unfortunately, they are there are their own executioner, even though they will try to blame others.
Not only in the Italian Craft is a Mother respected, but in many areas of the World the Mother is respected in Culture and History and the term Mama is used by many of the toughest people in Italy. Even the toughest men in the Italian tradition have been known to call a Magikal Practitioner Mama out of respect for that Magikal Practitioner’s knowledge. You have to understand the ethnic background of the word Mama; Spain, Africa, many countries of the world, you will find the High Priestess associated with the name Mama, and also with those of high respect, again we come back to that illusive word, respect.
Now we come upon people who are coming to learn, but I always like to say they are coming to remember, and in so remembering they move forward. The memories they have come forward, how many times in Magik have you said “Gee, I’ve done that before!”, and you have, probably in another lifetime, but you have done it! A Mother makes you remember the things of caring, a true Mother that is. A Mother will discipline and doesn’t tolerate bad behavior, a Mother helps you to learn and move forward, she instills in you a caring and respect for life and to learn about other people’s traditions so you too can learn why they do what they do and respect those traditions and not make fun of those traditions. You have to learn many things in this World, and that is where I say, the Peace of the World, has to come to you because in learning about everyone you have to find that Peace within you through accepting and understanding another Human Beings traditions. Those who call people Mama do so because it is of the traditional values that they have had and the learning process of those traditions. It is not that you are negating anyone else’s Mother, in fact you are enhancing the remembrance of your Mother, because the word Mother is everything that you need to know about Love and Caring, the word Mother is Nurturer, the word Mother is the Best of the Best.
So as today I remember Victoria, I know I had the Best of the Best, I know I was fortunate enough to be taught the way she was taught, it was passed down to me, not just by Grand Ma Victoria but also by my Grand Mother Giovannina; by all of them. I was very fortunate that I learned to care about Humanity; that I would never see someone who is hungry without feeding them, that I would never see anybody who has nothing without taking care of them. Honor your Mothers; be good to them, as today I honor not only my Grand Mother, but all my ancestors in the line of Mothers in my family that led to me. I know who I am, I know who my Mother and Father were, but even if I didn’t, I know who I am; I am no coward.
According to Disney, if you have looked up the Frog Prince, you will find in the Louisiana culture, Mama Odie, who had no children of her own body, but all who came to her were her children!
In the Light I Remain,
Reverend High Priestess Lori Bruno
Our Lord and Lady of the Trinacrian Rose Church
Salem, MA and the Vast Cosmos
To all mothers out there……