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Nocturnal Journeys and Ritual Dances in Bernardino of Siena
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft
  • Michael D. Bailey, Iowa State University
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This article takes its starting point in a story from a famous fifteenth-century sermon against sorcery by Bernardino of Siena. The story involves a solitary page travelling through a rural area who finds a group of people dancing on a threshing floor; at dawn, all the dancers vanish but one one girl to whom the page is holding fast. This girl is not treated by Bernardino as a sorceress, though the larger context of the story makes the absence of the perception of sorcery something of a puzzle. In search of possible origins for this story, the author examines an array of parallels, suggesting ultimately that Bernardino’s story could be linked to actual folk practices that involved nocturnal dancing.

This article is from Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 8 (2013): 4-17, doi:

10.1353/mrw.2013.0013. Posted with permission.

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University of Pennsylvania Press
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Citation Information
Michael D. Bailey. "Nocturnal Journeys and Ritual Dances in Bernardino of Siena" Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft Vol. 8 Iss. 1 (2013) p. 4 - 17
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