The Magician

The Spider Dance - Tradition, Time and Healing in Southern Italy - Giovanna Parmigiani

Giovanna Parmigiani [+-]
Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University
Giovanna Parmigiani holds a Ph.D. in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from the University of Toronto, and is Senior Fellow at Harvard Divinity School (Harvard University).


By narrating the ethnographic experience of a “pilgrimage” to Galatina in occasion of the Festival of Saint Peter and Paul the author undertook with members of the cerchio, she analyzes the scholarly discourse around pizzica and the phenomenon of tarantismo in Salento. Some of the main ideas of the scholar Ernesto de Martino, still very influential among both academics and Salentinians, are engaged critically and an argument is presented in favor of a “spiritual neotarantismo”—a relatively new phenomenon, not studied in depth (or dismissed superficially) before this ethnographic work. Some of the beliefs and practices of the Sisters, such as the pursuit of bellezza (beauty) as a spiritual practice, the importance of desire, and the notion of becoming are described in detail and their connections with what Jung called “synchronicities” are outlined.

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Parmigiani, Giovanna. The Magician. The Spider Dance - Tradition, Time and Healing in Southern Italy. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. May 2023. ISBN 9780000000000. Date accessed: 30 Sep 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40112. May 2023

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