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Book: The Spider Dance

Chapter: L’Imperatrice / The Empress

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40114


This chapter address in detail spiritual practices by describing the ethnographic experience during the author's stay with the Sisters of the cerchio. These practices put synchronically in dialogue different dimensions of time and aim at changing the past through a specific engagement with the present. In doing so, these practices are a good way for enquiring some of the consequences of using the “historicity filter” in the study of Neopaganism and of magic, more generally. The author argues, in conversation with the work of scholars such as social anthropologist Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah (1990), anthropologist of magic Susan Greenwood, and ethnologist Ernesto de Martino, that an understanding of temporality as an “expanded present” may redefine both some of the attributes traditionally associated with “magical thinking” (such as that of cause/effect) and the categories used in order to make sense of Neopagan practices.

Chapter Contributors

  • Giovanna Parmigiani ([email protected] - giovannaparmigiani) 'Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University'