Hail to all the Tarantati whose names have been lost to us! May you never thirst!
With one of our Bacchic festivals, the Aletideia coming up, almost in tandem with the Heathen solstice, the next two weeks are going to be a frenzy of ritual prep. It’s a potent time and there is a special grace in feeling the connection of our Gods like Frey and Freya to the bursting forth of the land. The Aletides carry with them darker mysteries though, reminding us that even in the brightest, most joyous of times, when the richness of the earth and its ability to nourish us, the strength of the Sun, and the power of our Gods is manifest, so too the Gods and spirits of the shadows, of the inky darkness of mystery, of the labyrinth, and of transformation endure. As we are nourished by both, so both deserve our honor.
Sannion, over at The House of Vines, reminds us to honor the Tarantati past and present, those bitten by the Gods, bitten by Spider, who open doors to Their mysteries for us in their frenzy, and in doing so purify their communities. Hail them all and in this holy celebration, may they the spirits find all that they seek.
Athanasius Kircher, Magnes sive de arte magnetica opus tripartitum pg. 759
Some tarantati let themselves hang from the trees by ropes, showing great enjoyment at such suspension – those stricken with this passion are usually the ones bitten by tarantulas in the habit of hanging the strings of their webs from trees.
Giorgio Baglivi, Dissertatio de anatome, morsu et effectibus tarantulae pg. 313
Those who have been bitten by the tarantula shortly thereafter fall to the ground half-dead, with a loss of strength and senses, with difficult breathing or moaning, often immobile and lifeless. With the beginning of the music, little by little these symptoms are attenuated, and the patient begins to move his fingers, his hands and then his feet, followed by other limbs; as the melodic rhythm becomes more pressing, the movement of his limbs gradually increases. If the patient is lying on the floor, he springs up…
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