Fools, shamans, goblins: liminality, otherness and ritual inversion

The peripheral location of the Folle / Buffone / Jester of the medieval era links him, as well as to the archaic Shaman, to other liminal characters of myth and folklore, such as the Wild Man, Harlequin, the Genius Cuckold and more generally to all that category of feral entities connected on the one hand to the demons of vegetation and on the other to the functional sphere of dreams and death. With regard to the rite, the Folle is to be seen connected to the so-called "ritual inversion" that was carried out during the Roman Saturnalia and during all those collective walking rituals of the Charivari type from which the "Feste dei Folli" were born in the Middle Ages. and the modern Carnival.


From Stonehenge to Rapa Nui: Donald Wandrei and the return of the Titans

Taking both hands from the "Weird" literature of HP Lovecraft e Arthur Machen and combining the proceeds with the hypotheses of Charles Fort and the theosophical and "Atlantean" doctrines, Wandrei's 1932 novel was able to anticipate if not actually shape most of the cultural currents ascribable to the so-called "alternative reality" of the second part of the twentieth century: from the "magic realism" of Jacques Bergier to the "paleo-astronautics", from the encounter with extraterrestrial civilizations up to some dystopian predictions that today, almost a century later, do not seem science fiction at all.

Gunung Padang: the Javanese "Mountain of Light", between (fanta) archeology and folklore

We went to the island of Java in Indonesia to visit Gunung Padang, an enigmatic archaeological site that some have called "the oldest pyramid in the world". From the โ€œOut of Sundaโ€ theory to the recent surveys with the carbon-14 method, we will try to give a historical location to the โ€œMountain of Lightโ€, between (fanta) archeology and folklore.

Stellar symbolism and solar symbolism

di Andrew Casella
cover: "The zodiac and the planets"ย by Bartholomeus Anglicus, taken from De proprietatibus rerum, Ahun 1480

[follows from Cyclic time and its mythological meaning: the precession of the equinoxes and the tetramorphย eย A Science in Tatters: Survival of the Doctrines of Cyclic Time from the Timaeus to the Apocalypse]

To resume the common thread of the images that we introduced in the first two appointments of this cycle, in the light of the previous considerations, it might be useful to quote a passage from Norse mythology.

The phenomenon of sleep paralysis: folkloric interpretations and recent hypotheses

The myths and the chronicles of folklore have transmitted to us with extreme clarity the way in which the ancients framed this phenomenon: surprisingly, all the chronicles and legends of antiquity agree in affirming that responsible for these disturbing experiences is a certain type of astral entities - sometimes labeled by modern minds as 'spirits', other times as 'demons', often also as 'fairies' and the like - who conduct their attacks only during the night, often pressing on the sleeping victim's body and sometimes entertaining with the subject has a sexual relationship. These entities, in various cultures, have been called in numerous ways, the best known of which to us Westerners are those of Latin derivation: 'succubi', 'nightmares' and 'larvae'.

di Marco Maculotti
cover: Johann Heinrich Fรผssli, Nightmare

Sleep paralysis, also called hypnagogic hallucination, is a sleep disorder in which, between sleep and wakefulness (therefore in the moment before falling asleep or in the instant before waking up) one suddenly finds himself unable to move. Most of the time, according to what those who suffer from this disorder say, the paralysis begins with a tingling sensation that goes through the body, reaching the head, inside which the subject feels a kind of hum "like a swarm of bees โ€or a sound similar to that of a washing machine or aโ€œ thumping and screeching of metal objects โ€. Often the victim of this experience tries to scream for help, managing at best to whisper faintly, also experiencing the unpleasant sensation of hearing his own voice suffocated by something abnormal.

Often, if the victim is in bed with someone, the latter cannot notice anything, to the point that often even the most disturbing phenomena (terrifying sounds and noises, incomprehensible voices, sometimes even strange unnatural lights coming from outside) succeed to arouse the attention of those who do not undergo the episode in first person. It can also happen that the succubus (which, if once the name for the mysterious entity causing the phenomenon, is now the term by which medical science refers to the 'victim') hears familiar voices - or, sometimes, even 'demonic' - calling him, or arguing with each other behind the subject's back or, worse still, whispering close to his neck, often from behind, in a disturbing voice.

Science believes that this abnormal state is due to the persistence of the state of atony that the muscles present during sleep and is caused by a discrepancy between the mind and the body: with the consequence that, although the brain is active and conscious and the subject can often see and perceive clearly what surrounds him, despite this the body remains in a state of absolute rest, to the point that any movement is precluded for the duration of the experience. Of course, science denies the reality of the experiences experienced during this mysterious experience, reducing them to mere hallucinations caused by equally mysterious alterations in the subjects' brain balance, which would occur at the exact moment of the transition between wakefulness and sleep โ€” and vice versa.