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  • Writer's pictureW. Gerard Poole

From Mass to Salida: A Semiotic Descent to The Chaotic Emotion at El Rocio

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

The accompanying video sequences were recorded in my role as a participant observer at the Processional Pilgrimage of El Rocio (Ro-sse-o). The video itself traces what I am calling a "Semiotic Path" that starts within a ritual that displays a higher "Symbolic/Experience Ratio" within the spectrum of experience to representation in reference to the Ecstatic Experience. In this example the trace begins with the highly symbolic Catholic Mass, and "descends" into ritual layers characterized by an increase the the experiential elements and a corresponding decrease in the symbolic elements. The experiential ratio begins to increase within what I am calling the "Joyous Procession" on the way to El Rocio, and culminates in Salida ritual, an event that is often described as "Dionysian".


Emotional Cultivation and the Chaotic Emotion: Towards a Theory of Ritual, Musical, and Emotional Parallel Morphology, as Encountered in Andalusian Ritual Practices

[The following paper was presented at the "Ritual Dynamics" conference in

Heidelberg, Germany, 2008].

W. Gerard Poole, Ph.D.

The purpose of this paper is to present an opening argument for the possibility that the varieties of religious experience might be closely linked to the cultivation of emotional modalities, especially through communal musical rituals. I will propose a theoretical relationship between three key ritual elements: ritual structure, emotional mode, and musical form. Although this paper does suggest historical and evolutionary implications, the scope of the paper is limited to the presentation, in outline, of a theoretical model of ritual systems followed by an example of music and ritual morphology.

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