Introduction to this Section: The Ritual Spiral Model of Ritual Systems and Cultural Generation
Updated: Nov 1
This video is my introduction to the Ritual Spiral Model and what I hope to accomplish (and stimulate among other academics), with this section.
Below the introductory video (in the making), is Chapter 13 of my Dissertation "El Rocio: A Case Study of Music and Ritual in Andalusia, Spain". This Chapter summarizes the theoretical model I developed for how ritual systems come into being to generate culture and form the basis of all human cultures. I have been making changes and re-writes to it, and these are indicated by the different colored font.
Chapter 13: Conclusions and Summation of the Theory of Ritual: Toward a Theory of Ritual Systems I have divided the conclusions into two basic concepts that respond to the two trajectories set out in the Introduction of this work: emotional tuning, and experiential displacement. The summary and conclusions to both sets of basic concepts include what I judge to be their observable supporting facts, and from that my theoretical extensions. The first concept, the experiential displacement of the religious experience, comprises the central features towards a theory of sacred ritual relations and ritual morphology that I call the “ritual spiral.” Section 1 of this chapter presents this theory of ritual and in the process two brief summaries. The first is of the religious experience as I have covered it in this work, and the second is a brief explication of how I am applying semiotics to my theory of ritual. The remainder of the section introduces the various components that together comprise the theory of ritual relations I call the ritual spiral theory. [I now call it the Ritual Spiral Model (10/2023)] Section 2 relates basic concepts of the ritual spiral theory to any potential musical corollary through my hypothesis of musical and ritual functional congruency. The second concept, that of emotional tuning and its potential consequence, emotional proliferation, is summarized in Section 3, and is basically a theoretical construct as well. However, the primary vehicle for the process that I am calling emotional tuning in Andalusian ritual is the musical/emotional procession that consists of the singing chorus, and the stationary juergas. These two behavioral practices are observable facts, as is the cultivation of a focused and structured emotional mode by each ritual procession. The juergas, or stationary musical ritual, does not display the single emotional focus at all times as does the procession. Nonetheless, the ritual structures of the procession and the juerga, in conjunction with the focused emotional content (especially in the procession) together manifest a ritual structuring of the emotions that is also observable. As such, emotional structuring by the ritual practices, as experienced by participatory observation, followed by reflexive introspection, comprises the data base upon which the theory of emotional tuning is based. Section 3 presents emotional tuning as the summation of the three basic elements that have constituted the fundamental objects of analysis throughout this dissertation: ritual form, musical form, and emotional mode What emerges from the two summaries, the first of the ritual spiral theory, and the second of emotional tuning, is that the latter is perhaps not solely a musical correlation to the first, but that it is quite possible that the purely musical ritual may have been one humanity’s earliest rituals. In Section 4, I refer back to the evolutionary theories of biomusicology concerning music and consciousness that were presented in Chapter 12, to suggest the possibility that an entire ritual system can conceivably consist of nothing more than a system of musical forms and their performances constantly evolving through time. The musical forms and rituals of El Rocío, and by extension of Catholic Andalusia, seem to support this possibility. [However, for explorations of tpurely musical ritual systems, sub-Saharan African cultures are an exceptional fertile ground for this kind of inquiry. In fact, as noted throughout the text, several such traditions have been cited extensively.] At the end of these conclusions I suggest some ways in which the ritual spiral theory might be applied as a useful and practical analytical tool in the field.
Section 1: The ritual spiral —toward a theory of ritual relations Only by placing the religious experience at the center of the study of sacred ritual does the ubiquity of sacred ritual and its historical persistence begin to make sense. The religious experience seems to be unique to humans, and I would argue, fundamentally human. With that in mind, neurophenomenology (or biogentic structuralism) must be given credit for at least taking the bold step of placing the religious experience at the center of ritual studies in an attempt to understand the neurobiological basis for ritual practices. Neurophenomenology, despite the criticism discussed in Chapter 11, begins the inquiry by pointing the study of sacred ritual into the experience of religion rather than solely to its by-products such as its representational arts, history, and dogma, and its socio-political functions. I am suggesting that a provisional, and I think useful, way to treat the phenomenon of the religious experience within this work, and one that does not attempt to describe its actual content, is to consider the varieties of religious experiences as being states of heightened awareness, and accelerated learning. I am suggesting this based on the studies of biogenetic structuralism that indicate that the activation of the mystical mind comes into being only when the entire central nervous system is fully activated (Laughlin, et al. 1990, 34–61; d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 21–45). This suggests to me that the individual undergoing the religious experience is processing information at peak capacity. This in turn suggests that the person is learning, or formulating information as knowledge, at an accelerated rate. What is being learned, and what that knowledge might be, whether universal in some way, cultural, or individual, is not something I am prepared to speculate about at this time. We can assume that since all humans seem to share basically similar nervous systems, that (according to the tenets of neurophenomenology) the activation of the nervous system into the mystical state (Chapter 11) occurs along the same neurological structural processes, more or less, in the same way among all humans cross-culturally. However, to my knowledge there have not been any studies done as of this time to support or negate that assumption. What is important to note is that the human nervous system, according to the neurophenomenologists, has latent in its structural relations the capacity for this experience and so the religious experience and its varieties seems to be a fundamental potential within all humans. Furthermore, the experience itself seems to be an extension, or acceleration, of what the human nervous system is constantly engaged in to begin with; processing and modeling the relationships between the self to the self, and the self to its environment, which would include both the immediate environment and the extended, or cosmological environment. Whether or not the convictions arrived at by those who have undergone such experiences, that claim the experience has given them a far more powerful understanding of reality is true or whether the experiences are basically states of extreme self-deception, is not the issue here. The importance of the religious experience in relation to sacred ritual is what this work seeks to emphasize. I am proposing that the religious experience is the central most important phenomenon operating behind all sacred ritual systems. This theory is a theory of ritual, not a study in neurology. I am convinced that rituals and ritual systems cannot be explained without taking into account the religious experience. The proponents of neurophenomenology have presented a model, even if it we accept it only as a theoretical construct, for how the phenomenological aspects of the religious experience can be considered in direct relation to both neurobiology and to ritual practices. Once we provisionally accept the religious experience on its own terms and acknowledge its centrality to human ritual practices, then we can proceed towards a theory of how sacred ritual systems might come into being. A sacred ritual system, as will be further defined below, can be seen as a system of behaviors to do all three of the following: (1) induce the experience, (2) retain and enshrine in memory the very existence of the religious experience, and (3) preserve knowledge attained from those experiences through various stages of symbolic representations. I am proposing, based on my work at El Rocio and in other areas of Andalusian ritual, that as a result of these three institutionalized patterns of behavior the religious experience sets into motion a process that generates cultural artifacts, behaviors, and knowledge. Although, as I related in Chapter 11, many scholars within ritual studies have already suggested that much, if not most, of human culture can be seen as a result of ritual processes, how these rituals might have come into being has remained unclear; hence the many, often contradictory theories of ritual that were briefly explored in Chapters 11 and 12. I am proposing that religious culture is founded upon a system of ritual behaviors that are directly or indirectly related to the religious experience. Accounting for how these rituals might come into being to form a system of related rituals is the central objective of the theoretical model I am presenting in this section. Brief review of the religious experience I will only present here a number of superficial aspects of the religious experience that have been already mentioned throughout much of this work and make use of the biogenetic structuralism model presented by d’Aquili and Newberg. By postulating a continuum of experiences that remain within the neurobiological limits of the model presented by the proponents of neurophenomenology, we can identify a process that engenders varying degrees of experiences that would fall within a general category of "religious experiences. The amplitude of experiences, ranging from the lesser experiential states along the “unitary continuum” (their term; d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 97) to the fullest expression as an experience of direct communion with an “Absolute Unitary Being” (also their term; d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 98) constitute for neurophenomenology, the spectrum, or the varieties of the religious experience. Again, I am not arguing for whether religious experiences constitute deeper apprehensions of reality or whether they are actually powerful states of delusion and self-deception one way or the other. My emphasis is upon the fact that these states occur, that they are historically cultivated, and they have had an enormous impact on human culture, and that most importantly for this thesis, they seem to have a deep relationship to ritual and music. Furthermore as previously stated, when the most intense levels of these experiences are attained to, whatever is actually happening neurobiologically requires the fullest possible activation of the central nervous system. The last statement, in my opinion, is a critical aspect of the model presented by the neurophenomenologists and is what I base my suggestion that the religious experience is a state of heightened awareness and accelerated learning. The problem is that at this time science has no way of evaluating what exactly has been “learned” in that state—whether it is a more direct apprehension of reality or a profound instance of self-deception. Determining an answer to that question, however, is not the issue here. The position I am taking for the purposes of advancing a possible theory of ritual is the same position I have developed all along in this work as a result of my investigation into El Rocio and its relationship to Andalusian Catholicism. I am proposing that ritual systems are based upon religious experiences, first, and that any thoughts or reflections about those experiences are second. How to determine what the precise proportions might be between those experiences, and their representations and reflections, toward the eventual formulation a general theory of ritual and religion would constitute an ongoing exploration well beyond the bounds of this dissertation. However, what I can say at this time is that if my position is correct—that religious ritual systems are founded primarily upon the religious experience itself and not primarily upon the arts, sciences, dogmas and reflections that would follow—then the problem of their interacting proportions must be seen as a problem in semiotics rooted in neurological processes. Once again, biogenetic structuralism is a good first step in that direction. What follows, then, is a summary of what has been covered in this work concerning the religious experience: (a) The fullest possible activation of the structures of the human nervous system results in a phenomenological experience that d’Aquili and Newberg call the “mystical mind” (1999, 79–120). Each critical sage along the process towards full activation of the nervous system is characterized metaphorically as a “spill-over” or “overflow” wherein one of the two basic systems within the total central nervous system stimulates the other (Laughlin online tutorial; Laughlin, d’Aquili, McManus 1990, 146–152; d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 95–102). (b) One crucial aspect of the full activation of the nervous system is that it creates a phenomenological state wherein there is no subject/object dichotomy between the individual and the universe at large—the experience of a continuous, undifferentiated, semiotic flow of exchange. It is worth noting that this seems to be the experiential anti-thesis to what is proposed by the linguistic-based structuralism position, wherein ritual is seen as “neurotic act” that attempts to unite what language has irrevocably fractured (Lévi-Strauss in Bell 1997, 43). (c) The religious experience reveals a subjective self that is conditioned neither by social positioning nor by the constraints of language. The very fact of the experience of self/other merging is, in itself, a penetration of the limits of language. The structures of language—far from determining the extent of our consciousness, much less our experience of reality—formulate a barrier that is overcome in the initial stages of the activation of the “mystical mind.” Language itself seems to be but one liminal boundary among others that the religious experience penetrates. (d) Not everyone is inclined or interested in pursuing the religious experience. The ubiquitous persistence of religion and religious rituals suggests, however, that most people are suggestible to its re-presentation at one level or another and that most people will act upon this suggestibility to one degree or another. All human beings, in this context, fall somewhere between the indifferent atheist and the mystical saint. (e) The suggestibility to the religious experience seems to be equally distributed among all classes and races. The work of W. A. Christian Jr., Local Religion in 16th Century Spain (1981), is especially salient on this point. His study of religiosity among the rural and urban peoples of sixteenth-century Spain indicates that people are religious and unreligious in more or less equal proportions across all distinctions of class, wealth, and education. This contradicts the prevailing intellectual “wisdom” that claims that education leads to less religiosity while poverty and ignorance are the breeding ground for it. This social fact, the relationship between communitas and religiosity, seems to correlate on a social level what biogenetic structuralism suggests is true on a biological level; that all humans share a similar nervous system and with it a potential for religious experiences. (f) According the neurophenomenology, an experience of the Absolute Unitary Being—that is, the full activation of the nervous system—is rare, although the many lesser experiences that are related to it are quite common (d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 102–103). The religious experience is not always the objective in a sacred ritual While I am proposing that the religious experience (and its varieties) constitute the central phenomenon at the heart of any sacred ritual tradition, I am also suggesting, at the same time, that the experience itself (the activation of the mystical mind to its fullest capacity) is not the ritual objective of every ritual in a ritual system; far from it, most rituals are not attempting to do this at all. Furthermore, the most visible rituals, those that are the most socially developed and prominent, are specifically designed to avoid such experiences. The how and why of this fact constitutes the basis of the theory of ritual relations outlined below, that I am calling the Ritual Spiral. The best way to approach an understanding of this theory of ritual that I am proposing is to consider the system as a whole as a semiotic process on a cultural level that nonetheless is analogous to semiotic processes within individuals. Preliminary semiotic discussion: categories of S/O displacement in Peircean semiotics The first step toward a basic biosemiotics (a tentative term) that would support a theory of ritual relations is to fully embrace Peirce’s trichotomy of signs and the three levels of sign processing (see Van Baest 1995 for a thorough general explication of the Peircean sign and its categories and Turino 1988 for an application of Peircean semiotics to music). What Peirce did was to provide a means through which the relative affectivity of signs could be established as a set of relations. These relations are based upon what I am calling semiotic displacement. If we consider the following three types of signs—in a progression from the categories of Peirce’s Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness—the determining factor is the increasing distance, or “gap” in terms of inherent relation, between the sign and its object. Because the relationship under consideration is the sign and its object, the three types of signs constitute Trichotomy II (as opposed to Trichotomy III that considers how a sign might be interpreted by the sign reader, and Trichotomy I, the S/O relation as being properties in reality). We can see, as traced below, that the change in category from Firstness through Thirdness, within Trichotomy II, is a product of an increasing displacement between a potential sign and its object. Icon: There is a relation based upon resemblance. A photograph, two variations of the same melody. Two loud sounds from different sources. Index: The sign is related to its object through co-occurrence in actual experience. The smoke that can indicate fire. But also a national anthem played at different specific occasions, such as in a parade, or to a flag, that may suggest different things to different people according to their past experiences. The tune of the Tamborilero being played at the Rocio as opposed to its being heard on a recording. Symbol: The Taoist Yin-Yang, the colors of a national flag, the meaning of a word and its sound or written expression. As Thomas Turino explains: “Symbols are signs about other things, whereas icons and indices are signs of identity (resemblance, commonality) and direct connections” (Turino 1988, 5). But Peirce also takes into consideration the sign/object relations that do not entail an interpretant (perceiver) in order for those relations to exist in reality (Trichotomy I). That any potential sign, no matter in which trichotomy it might be processed (if it is processed by a human at all) has nonetheless a trace in Trichotomy I, is how pierce firmly roots his semiotics within a positivist pragmatic framework. This feature of his model is critical to my theory of ritual experiential default that I have already referred to in Chapter 8 and that I will continue to develop below. In Trichotomy III, wherein the interpretant is what is under consideration (the person reading a sign), Peirce considers the reality of a sign/object relationship in categorizing its relative potential effect; a facial expression versus the idea of a unicorn for instance. There is the emotional interpretant, as an “unreflected-upon feeling caused by a sign” (Turino 1988, 3), an energetic interpretant as being “a physical reaction caused by a sign, be it foot tapping to music..” (3), and the sign-interpretant as a linguistic based concept (ibid.). “When a Tree Falls in the Forest: The first step in semiotic analysis is to determine what is the sign, what is the object, what is the effect, and to whom, in any instance. While seemingly simple, this basic step is often overlooked leading to the postmodernist conflation mentioned earlier” [my italics] (Turino 1988, 3). What I am drawing attention to by these examples is that there is a relative magnitude of displacement between the sign and its object—certainly not something that can be necessarily measured quantitatively but something that can be nonetheless compared. The displacement between the redness of oxygenated blood and the blood itself, and the possible meaning (within the mind of an interpreter) of the sight of smoke to a potential fire, is considerable. It is not nearly as great, however, as that of the potential “meaning” that might be arrived at (or not) as a result of the perception (again, by an interpreter) of the Taoist symbol and the symbol itself as a series of interrelated lines on a piece of paper. I am suggesting that these seemingly compartmentalized sign categories are actually a seamless process of exchange constituting a semiotic flow that moves with greater force from lower displacement to higher displacement than the reverse, from higher displacement (symbolization) to lower displacement (actual relations). By “greater force” I simply mean that there is more likelihood that the interpretant will bring the sign/object into direct relation as the S/O “gap” narrows, in large part because the sign/object relation becomes increasingly a property of real and present circumstances, versus arbitrary, learned associations of convention. Whereas these relations in reality are still a question of degree and magnitudes of probability as far as the final potential effect it may or may not have upon a potential interpreter, those degrees relations nonetheless play a major role in the probability of any sign being processed at all, or processed in a particular way, that can not be ignored. The alternative is to begin considering the environment as a socially constructed “text” wherein all categories of signs and levels of experience are conflated into the narrow restriction of the linguistically structured, intellectual signs that constitute the cognitive exchanges in Thirdness. I believe that this is the “postmodern conflation” that Thomas Turino was referring to above. Experiential default and semiotic (experiential) displacement Furthermore, as I discussed in Chapter 8, every sign has its “trace” within each “category of being” below it. For example, a man reading about a description of a smoking fire is nonetheless seated in his chair sensing the “operational environment” (a term borrowed from neurophenomenology) of his room and his own biological processes regardless of the degree to which he may or may not be conscious of them, just s a person attending a Mass experiences the operational environment regardless of to what extent he might be processing the flow of symbols issuing from the priest or from the symbolic web embedded in the church iconography. Mental operations in Thirdness cannot occur within a biological vacuum. In my concept of experiential default, I am simply building upon Peirce’s concept of semiotic trace to suggest that whether or not signs of Thirdness are processed within any given environment, such as a ritual for instance, the trace of those signs within the operational environment are nonetheless experienced and processed at some degree of consciousness: not by choice, but by the simple conditions of reality. Semiotic displacement is not only constituted by the degree of abstraction between a symbol and its object as categorized by the three modalities of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness within the Peircean semiotic model, but also by its potential magnitude to come into relationship. The Peircean categories provide a relative means with which to compare different degrees of semiotic displacement. When signs come into relation out of a field of potential signs, as in the “semantic snowballing” effect described by Turino (1988, 12), as a web of signs, their statistical propensity to be interpreted one way or the other combine to create what I call a “semiotic potential” which in the case of rituals must still not be considered in any stand alone absolute sense, but rather as a potential that can only be understood when compared with the semiotic potential of another ritual in the system. Every specific instance of a ritual constitutes a web of signs. Semiotic displacement can also be seen as another way to look at the myth/ritual dynamic. The degree to which the religious experience is being represented is the degree to which the experience itself has been displaced into symbolization. Its ultimate displacement is into language and symbols, wherein it is completely fractured into symbolic representations and from which it can be reintegrated as an experience only with a great deal of effort through practices that have been enshrined and cultivated within the many sacred ritual systems of the world. (See d’Aquili and Newberg 1999, 91–93, for a discussion concerning various ritual traditions for the inducement of the religious experience.) Ritual, far from being a fruitless, “neurotic” attempt to reintegrate what it, the ritual, is incapable reintegrating, is virtually the only means by which such a reintegration may take place, precisely because ritual activity resulting in the religious experience led to the symbolization of the displaced object to begin with; the absent object within a sacred ritual being the religious experience, or experiences, themselves. Ritual proliferation, symbolic ratio, and ritual systems The process of reintegrating what has been displaced (direct knowledge of the religious experience) takes place at varying experiential degrees as spin-off rituals, a process I call “ritual proliferation.” (ritual differentiation) Ritual proliferation begins when a central ritual (such as the Mass), at some point in its evolution, starts to spin-off separate rituals from itself in response to the increasing displacement of its own initial ritual objective; that being the religious experience, into increasing degrees of symbolization. This concept was developed in Part II by comparing the historical background of the Mass and its present day relationship to the three Andalusian processional modes, and especially its relationship to the formal processions of El Rocío (Chapter 9), and the Salida ritual procession (Chapter 10). The bidirectionality of ritual change in relation to the religious experience—one toward increased ratios of symbolization and increased experiential displacement (high symbolic ratio), and one away from symbolization and toward deeper levels of the reintegration of the religious experience (low symbolic ratio)—is what I am suggesting constitutes a ritual system. I am proposing that it is due to these differing experiential ratios that ritual analysts, looking at individual rituals, have arrived at such vastly conflicting conclusions. The “upward,” abstracting, symbolizing current can be seen as the encounter with the symbol in the Eliadean version of “eternal return” (1991), of which the example in this work has been the Mass and is history, while the “downward” movement into experience can be seen as the "satyr procession" that leads to the attainment of Nietzsche’s concept of “tragic wisdom” (Nietzsche 2000, 38–39)—a concept that constitutes the basis for his “eternal return” ( 2000, 307–333). The example given in this work to elucidate the progression towards deeper levels of experience has been the progression of processions within El Rocío beginning with the departure following the Mass at the Cathedral and ending at the Salida. But both concepts, that of Eliade's encounter with symbol and Nietzsche's procession into the forest, may be seen as actually the same semiotic process of experience and representation at different stages in that process: one moving deeper into experience, the other moving further into symbolization—one displacing experience into symbols that nonetheless point back to the experience, and the other reintegrating the experiences symbolized by the former, and in return generating new symbols. Like a spiral in motion, if one enters into the spiral on the western side, then the circular movement appears to be going northeast, but if we enter on the eastern side the movement appears going southwestward. I would suggest that the point through which an analyst intervenes into this semiotic process (what ritual he chooses to study), will have a great deal to do with the outcome of the analysis Discourse, semiotic magnitudes, and sign forging However, I am also proposing a slight extension to the Peircean model of sign types and their categories of potential experience. There is also the consideration of “magnitude.” The direction of a semiotic current, in terms of force, has to be understood as being of greater magnitude (as a product of the probability of the sign being processed at all in any given instance) within the Peircean levels of Firstness and Secondness, compared with the level of Thirdness. More important, when considering the magnitude of a sign or of a web of signs, as constituting a potential arising within the field of perception of a sign-reader (interpretant) consisting primarily of signs of Thirdness, such a potential will lack the force, in terms of probability of effect, to overcome what is already present as habits and dispositions of the reader. The signs of Thirdness find their interpretation within the sign user only because the “path” for their reception has been clearly prepared over time (the very definition of a sign of Thirdness). The process of individualization, that is the process through which the individual comes to know themselves, is the same process that prepares the likely paths for semiosis (the processing of signs of Thirdnesss through enculturation of social conventions). [The process of individuation and the process of semiosis are both learning processes] In Chapter 6, I presented an example of how aesthetics can be embodied through musical ritual and how these ritual practices in turn create discourse. I would argue that those dispositions and habits of the individual, epitomized by the embodied aesthetics I explored in Chapters 6 and 7, are not to be effected as readily by the discursive media, a process that by definition requires that the predispositions already be in place in order for the semiological process to take place at all: What effect is a written sentence likely to have upon a person who cannot read the language? How effective can a television commercial be if a person cannot relate to what is being advertised? What is the probability (magnitude of potential effect) that an advertisement for this year's Rocío dress might have upon a person from Hanoi, Vietnam, as opposed to someone from Seville? It's certainly possible, but how probable? The illusion that these kinds of signs (or web of signs) can alter human behavior through “discourse,” I would argue is grossly overemphasized by discourse theorists such as R. Harré (1983). As the history of El Rocío (for example) suggests, whenever a discourse originating from outside the ritual experience attempts to impose behavior upon the ritual practitioners that is not already consonant with their behavioral aesthetics, it meets with fierce resistance and has little to no effect unless a great deal of force is brought to bear. To put it simply, doctrine can not override practice unless it brings with it a proportional degree of outside force; symbols do not create behavior as much as they are a result of, and reflection of, behavior. The embodied aesthetics forged within the experiential rituals by the emergent individual, such as in the juerga practices presented in Chapter 6, go much further toward creating the ground upon which subsequent discourse will arise than will discourse originating from the superstructure determine the behavior of the individual who has come to being as a product of ritual practices. A final consideration that I would like to introduce, in terms of semiotics, is the concept of the “forger” of a sign, as opposed to the interpretant. A person singing, for instance, is forging signs potentially at each level of the Peircean categories of being. However, that person is also interpreting his/her own forged signs even in the moment of their production by the fact that the act of sign forging effects the sign-forger's own state of being to one degree or another: It cannot be otherwise. A congregation, or chorus, of singing people forges signs (to other potential interpretants but also including to themselves) that affect their own state of being. The semiotic flow of signs is clearly originating within their own biology and moving upward as further potential signs (to themselves and to others), whereas the passive reception of signs by an audience allows, to a greater degree, for any abstract connotations or potentially symbolic aspects of the music to become more pronounced. It is not a matter of this or that but of degree in terms of potential effects, yet nonetheless the conditions from the onset are not the same: a person when singing is not functioning semiotically (as a processor of information) in the same way as that same person functions when listening to someone else sing. The physical direction of the movement of the sound is different and so is the directional flow of information. The magnitude of effect, however, although increased by the forger, is not necessarily determined by that fact alone. The difference in the field, as discussed in Part II chapters 8 and 9, can be seen as the difference between the Rocieros singing their own songs in procession on the way to El Rocío, as opposed to those same people sitting in church listening to the singing of a church choir. The processions and juergas discussed in Part I are good examples wherein the full participation and forging of signs, in the way of clapping, singing, dancing, shouting, and improvising, is what the majority of the ritual practitioners are doing, and these same activities constitute the ritual (taking into consideration that juergas are themselves a type of ritual). The “boiling energy” rituals described by Katz (1982) provide graphic examples wherein not only are the musical signs forged by the participants, but according to the practitioners, there is the forging of some kind of perceivable energy as a direct result of their musical ritual activity. Furthermore, when a ritual practitioner is forging signs through ritual activity such as song and dance, their default experience (as will be further considered below) is to their own performance; that is, the trace of every sign they forge is rooted in their performance. Like the participants in the Salida, there is little S/O differentiation, little in the way of a semiotic gap. What signs are forged are self-referential. This is a critical distinction between a performer/audience ritual such as the Mass (Chapter 8) and a fully participatory ritual such as the Salida procession (Chapter 10). The default experience of the ritual performer, such as the musical juerga performer, regardless of whether they are inspired or not, or whether they experience some kind of spiritual or ecstatic moment, is to their own performance. Conversely, the critical displacement that takes place in the audience/performer ritual (and the same holds true for any other musical performance) is the displacement of the audience's own performance. Ritual default: What is experienced as trace, regardless of the interpretant’s relationship to the symbolized object within the ritual As I have already noted, the concept of experiential default was covered in Chapter 8, which dealt with the Mass, and again in Chapter 10, which dealt with the Salida. What follows is a recapitulation of ritual default that serves to present the concept within the overall theory of ritual I am proposing. First of all, rituals that function predominantly within the category of Peircean Thirdness (that is, they address highly symbolized objects characterized by a wide S/O displacement) are nonetheless conducted by people who are in perpetual exchange with their operational environment. Whether the ritual structures provide enough support (through their duration, intensity, intentionality, and so on) to overcome the displacement between what is being symbolized (the absent object) and what is experienced in the operational environment is what will determine the ritual’s functional default category, or default station, within the ritual system. The congregation experiences the Mass as physical beings within an operational environment, and within that environment every symbol has its trace through the three degrees of the Peircean categories of being: Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness. The highly abstracted symbols and the sermons of the priest may or may not be processed to a specific level of experience, but nonetheless, as covered in Chapter 8, the congregation cannot help but experience the reality of their presence within the environment. That experience, regardless of whatever intentionality attends the ritual, and regardless of the web of potential meanings contained within the symbolic environment, constitutes the default experience of the ritual. The fundamental issue raised here is simple: What is experienced when there is no “religious experience” within a sacred ritual? The experience of the operational environment is what I am calling the default experience, and this default experience, especially within a highly symbolic communal ritual, will inevitably default to an experience of the social order to the degree that the social order is present and sensed by the congregation. I will continue to suggest, for reasons to be given below, that in a highly symbolic ritual the social order is inevitably present and so it is inevitably experienced. The other side of the experiential default concept is that of experiential displacement. What is the web of highly abstract symbols in a symbolic ritual such as the Mass referring to that is not actually present? I is, primarily I argue, the religious experience itself. The experience has been displaced into symbolic representations. The obvious question of course, is why? Why not simply ritually induce the experience, rather than symbolize and interpret it to the congregation? Symbolic drift, ritual proliferation, and the central ritual I propose that the driving forces behind the movement towards increased abstraction within a ritual are twofold: First, the very success of a ritual draws it further and further into the social structure by the very presence of the growing body of the congregation. As the ritual becomes embedded within the social structures, representation and codification of the implications of the religious experience become more important than the experience itself. The ritual, on the way to becoming a religion, in a very real sense becomes increasingly administrative and discourse increases in prominence. This is the root of the process of experiential displacement that begins a ritual’s inevitable movement into what I am calling: symbolic drift. It is this symbolic drift that creates the S/O displacement within a ritual process that must be bridged, either within the same ritual or elsewhere in some other ritual, in order for the displaced experience to remain functioning as a vital source of knowledge to the community at large. The growing distance over time, between ritual signs and their objects reflects the increasing displacement of the central ritual from its own ontological phenomenology. The fact that new rituals seem to arise in response to those experiences that have been symbolically displaced would support what Nietzsche first asserted in terms of an impulse (................), and what was then reaffirmed by Laughlin, et al., (1990; 1999) in terms of neurological structure; that the drive towards deeper levels of experience is innate in humans. The impulse to seek out deeper levels of experience would seem to be a latent potential within all humans, an impulse that each individual, to one degree or another, might pursue according to his/her own predispositions. What results from this accumulating tension between what is increasingly symbolized (symbolic drift) and what has been displaced; experiential displacement, is what precipitates the “spin-off” or “breakaway” rituals that constitute ritual proliferation. Ritual proliferation comes in a variety of ritual forms and intentions such as pilgrimage; fasts; and other ascetic practices, meditations, self-mortification, and so on. Ritual proliferation, to my knowledge, has never been previously identified or addressed by ritual studies. Whereas representational products such as mythologies and other arts have been acknowledged by various ritual analysts to have been either the product or cause of ritual practices (see Chapter 11), I am proposing that those cultural products are all examples of the experience to representation current described above and that they are characterized by a deeper search for meaning. Ritual proliferation, however, is a result of the opposite directional flow: from representation to experience, and is characterized by a search for deeper experience, a process that becomes manifested first as rituals, and only afterwards, in its return current, as representational arts. I am suggesting that the ritual systems comprise a proliferation of rituals that are interrelated by a common central ritual, a central ritual that through time and symbolic drift created break-away rituals in its wake as ritual practitioners pursued deeper levels of the religious experience beyond the structural boundaries of the evolving, increasingly symbolic, central ritual. It follows then, that the central ritual of a ritual system, one such as the Mass for example, has to be the ritual of highest symbolic ratio due to the fact that its increasing symbolization (and socialization) is responsible for the other rituals coming into being as break-away rituals in the first place. This in turn suggests that the central ritual should be the oldest ritual in the system and the one that has undergone the greatest degree of symbolic drift.[i] But the most important characteristic of the central ritual, if my thesis is correct, is that the other rituals in the system were at least in part, if not totally, generated from this central generating ritual as consequences of its having undergone extensive experiential displacement in response to its own success (or popularity) causing it to assume an increasingly important administrative role within the social structures accruing around it. The ritual must become, as a result of this increasing social role, more and more symbolic, and with that symbolization, it proportionally displaces experience and this process that I call symbolic drift, occurs concomitantly with the experiential displacement of the religious experience. The central ritual will inevitably reflect the social order to a much greater degree than any other ritual within the system. The social order is usually represented and experienced as the society comes together to reaffirm knowledge that has already been integrated into the social structures. By default the social structures are experienced within a highly symbolic ritual because inevitably the social order is present and manifest, while the ritual objects are by definition abstracted as symbols, and as such they are for the most part absent. Communitas is not, in general, a feature of the highly symbolic central ritual. On the contrary, the social order is implicit either overtly, as part of the ritual objective (i.e., a coronation ritual) or as a default experience (the Catholic parish, and with it the Mass, as it is still in most cases reflective of socioeconomic stratification). Symbolic drift, experiential displacement, and ritual proliferation, are the central concepts to the theory of ritual relations I am presenting herein, and together they suggest a way through which rituals come into being and create a ritual system. Experiential displacement and symbolic ratio as a continuous semiotic process: A Summary of the theory of ritual spiral When individual rituals are examined with an interest as to their phenomenological state, it becomes apparent that there is no consistent phenomenology from one ritual to another, although from one instance of a specific ritual to its repeated performance, there is a certain observable consistency (i.e.: the Mass, every Sunday, at a specific parish, will have a very predictable coherency). If this were not the case, it would be difficult to imagine how, or why, the ritual would be repeated over and over again, or considered to be a ritual at all. The phenomenological inconsistencies are not so much found between instance to instance of a particular ritual, but from ritual to ritual category within the same family of rituals. The phenomenological differences between ritual categories within the same system can be very striking, and as mentioned previously, they can be more different from category to category within the same system than between similar categories cross-culturally. The religious experience (its strongest variety being the full activation of the nervous system) and its displacement into symbolization is what I believe to be the force behind sacred ritual systems, and I am proposing that this is the most compelling explanation for their tenacity and ubiquity of ritual systems throughout human history. When its degree of displacement is considered to be the operating dynamic within each ritual within a system, then the different theoretical positions presented in the last two chapters can be reconciled. Previously, wherever the analyst intervened into a ritual system for analysis, the analyst would formulate a theory that assumed that the same ratio of experiential displacement occurred in all the rituals within that system. Cross-culturally these mistakes are easy to make. For instance, a comparison of the Catholic Mass, with the Muslim Salat, the Jewish Sabbath, and the Muslim/Hindu Bedaya, might suggest the realm of religious ritual is limited to the highly symbolic and the deeply socially embedded and socially invested rituals: which certainly can be true as I have argued throughout. But a comparison of my experiences with the Salida of El Rocio to the zykrs of the Turkish Jerrahi Order, or to the accounts of the Tantric Yoga practices as described by O. Garrison (1983), the African Vimbuza ritual as experienced by Friedson (1996, 158–162), and the Boiling Energy ritual of the !kung, as described by Katz (1982), would give a totally different picture of sacred ritual. Furthermore, the similarities cross-culturally (laterally), if similar functioning rituals are compared, can be as striking as the differences between rituals (vertically) within the same system but whose functions are different; i.e., the difference between the Mass and the Salida as described in Part II of this work, are far more extensive than the differences between the Mass and the Muslim Salat, if we consider what is experienced rather than what is being symbolized. What I am claiming accounts for these differences and similarities among rituals is the relative symbolic ratios that each ritual is functioning at in respect to the religious experience. I have already suggested in this work that the religious experience itself is not what is being processed through much, if not most, of the ritual system (the symbolic rituals seem to dominate numerically, at least this is the case in Andalusian Catholicism) but rather its representation at various levels of experiential displacement that is the ritual objective. I am suggesting that the ritual system formulates the religious experience at different stages and that these different stages are manifested into certain kinds of rituals best characterized by their degree of symbolic ratio rather than by any specific symbolic, or behavioral pattern. Most of the ritual system is actually representing the experience as a means of disseminating and integrating “knowledge” into human culture and society. Knowledge, in this case, is fundamentally that knowledge which was derived from the experience, or series of experiences. Ritual stations as “overflows” in semiotic potential The different proportional ratios of the myth/ritual dynamic from one ritual to another within a ritual system constitute the different experiential levels at which the religious experience is experienced and institutionalized. The individual rituals that constitute the ritual spiral can be seen as “stations” constituted by differing ratios of experience and representation that determine the semiotic functions described above. It is worth noting here again, that there may be more than a metaphorical relationship between the spilling over of human activity beyond the ritual boundaries of a symbolic ritual into various degrees of experiential ritual activities as proposed by this ritual spiral theory, and the model of the religious experience itself as being constituted by a “spill-over” between subsystems within the human nervous system. The two processes, the sacred ritual system and the human religious experience, may prove to be more of a direct analog between semiotic processes and human behavior rather than that of a metaphorical relationship. This tendency for humans to seek out, to varying degrees, direct experiential knowledge, I am interpreting in semiotic terms and seeing as a natural semiotic process within humans, both individualy and collectively. This process, in turn, balanced with the symbolic or representational process, lays at the foundation of any ritual system. Ritual systems are for me an institutional structuring of the semiotic process—a process that is, of course, always in progress in any human act whatsoever, but in the case of a ritual system and its ritual internal acts, is founded upon a particular kind of experience and its series of representations at various degrees of experiential differentiation. I hope to have presented an argument that at least makes plausible the basic principles of the ritual spiral theory: Experiential displacement of the religious experience, symbolic drift, and ritual proliferation. The theory attempts to account for how ritual systems come into being and for their seemingly endless capacity to engender human activity through both representational arts and experiential endeavors. El Rocío, as this investigation reveals, does both of those things: It has generated a great amount of literature, music, and intellectual speculation, and it has generated enormous amounts of human activity as a response to the mere act of carrying out the ritual. If we propose tentatively that the ritual spiral is an accurate explanatory model for Catholic Andalusian ritual, and that the model can be extended to account for other ritual systems based on the universality of the religious experience and of religious ritual, then we can account for how entire cultures can easily become religious cultures based not so much on shared beliefs, but upon shared ritual activity in the way of ritual systems generated by ritual proliferation. The beliefs generated by these systems among a population may not always be congruent among all its members, but nonetheless the cultural identity will hold together through the ritual practices and the shared cultural aesthetics they generate. Hence we may propose that what connects people within such expansive categorical groupings such as Christian culture, Muslim culture, Hindu culture, etc., and their endless subdivisions, will be their underlying and overlapping ritual systems far more than any specific doctrinal or administrative overlays. The ritual spiral theory also provides at least the foundation for a methodology with which carry out an the analysis of rituals and ritual systems based upon the principles of (a) the comparison of relative symbolic ratios within a ritual system as they reflect relative degrees of experiential displacement of the religious experience(b) the relative degree of sign forging to sign reading on the part of a congregation, to include the implications of a ritual with no performer/congregation separation, (c) the implications of social stratification versus communitas within a particular ritual, and (d), the concept of ritual default as it reflects the S/O relations within a particular ritual structure. But of special interest to the ethnomusicologist, is the hypothesis of ritual and musical semiotic congruency, an idea that I will present in the following section. Section 2: The principle behind music and ritual semiotic congruency In reference to the theory of a musilanguage, proposed by Steven Brown (2000, 271–298) in the previous chapter, although I think it is somewhat of an oxymoron to use the phrase, “sound as emotive meaning,” to refer to the effective mode of music, I nonetheless find the spectrum he describes useful and it brings into focus, through the relationship between music and language, an analog to the spectrum I have been attempting to reveal in ritual through the myth/ritual dynamic. If we were to place a ritual at every marker along his spectrum between “sound as emotive meaning” and “sound as referential meaning” (see Figure 13-1), what we would have is a parallel spectrum from ritual as experience, to ritual as symbolic. The spectrum would reveal a movement in the changes of semiotic potential as being a sequence of changes in symbolic ratio. But what Brown is also revealing is the expansion in the semiotic gap from the acoustical and emotive to the referential and symbolic. What is of special interest is that there must be a functioning congruency all along the spectrum; not of absolutes, as in there being no acoustical emotiveness in language, or no possible symbolism in the emotive sound structure, but rather that the degree of each is what determines the categorical function. There is no either/or, but rather proportions of symbolic ratios; one recedes as the other advances. I am proposing that at each stage, for there to be a recognizable stage, as in a difference between “heightened speech” and “leitmotif”, for example, the relative function of either the referential or the experiential qualities of the music (or conversely the language) must be congruent. Figure 13- 1 Steven Brown’s diagrammatical representation of his Musilanguage theory (Wallin, Merker, and Brown 2000, 275) In other words, the music cannot function as a recitative in its reference/emotive ratio and still be considered a leitmotif. In the latter, the ratio must be different: it can not be otherwise. The ratio has to change. When that ratio changes, the musical structures, in some way, will change with it. The degree of experiential displacement within a ritual relative to other rituals in the system creates a semiotic ratio that in turn determines its relative semiotic function within the ritual system. If a ritual is functioning at a highly symbolic ratio, the music in that ritual must also be functioning at a highly symbolic ratio if the ritual is to function as a ritual at all. The music at the Mass, can not function in the same semiotic ratio as the Sevillanas Rocieras functions within a juerga at the Rocío. The semiotic function of the music, within a ritual that employs music, must function at the same semiotic ratio as the ritual is functioning within the ritual system it is a part of. If the music were to be employed at a different semiotic function, it would change the function of the ritual. If, for instance, ecstatic singing (and, with it, the “dance” of pushing and shoving and yelling) and the incessant clanging of bells that characterizes the Salida were to be performed at the Mass, in the same sequences of duration and intensity, there would simply be no Mass. We can have a Mass, or we can have a Salida, but we can not have both at the same time and place. The structured sound of the Mass must be congruent with its ritual structured phenomenology, and likewise with the Salida. The same is not true however, of the symbolic content. As covered in Part II, they symbolic content may run the gamut from simple to complex and esoteric, but it alone, will not determine the semiotic potential of the ritual. The Salida is 14 hours long. The salamander and the crescent moon below the image (described in Chapter 3) are there the entire time. But like the change in costumes the image has undergone over the years (App. B), these symbols have minimum effect upon the ritual in comparison with the experiential activity; activity which, as described in Chapter 10, has no symbolic representation at all (i.e., the “crunches" described in Chapter 10). The musical activity, even in the deconstructed state that we find at the Salida, is essential to the work of the ritual; because it has to be. We, meaning myself and the other participants in the Salida, could not have sung Mozart’s Mass at the Salida. It would not have been a question of whether or not it was permitted, it would simply have been impossible. Nonetheless, the degrees of proportionality (the symbolic ratio) of the myth/ritual dynamic (at work within the musical function) are relative; there are no absolute values. Only by comparing one ritual to another within the same system can we arrive at a sense of relative experiential proportions. A simple term with which to denote the degree of experiential displacement in a ritual as compared to other rituals in the same system (the ritual spiral) is the term; symbolic ratio that I have already presented in this section of this chapter. What the term means in relation to music and ritual congruency is that to the degree that a ritual functions more like a language system in that it refers to objects outside itself, is its degree of symbolic ratio. Likewise, the degree to which a given musical performance functions more like a language in that it also refers to objects other than itself (in both cases, to an absent object), it too is functioning at a high symbolic ratio. What I am proposing in regards to these to instances of symbolic ratio, the musical performance and the ritual, is that whenever a ritual has a musical component, to whatever degree of symbolic ratio the ritual is functioning at (and this is a question of its relative function to the other rituals within the system of which it is a part), the symbolic ratio of the music within that ritual must be nearly, if not exactly, the same as that of the ritual. This is what I am calling music and ritual semiotic congruency. Whereas the above is fairly obvious in the extreme expressions, these ratios become more subtle in the mid level ritual stages somewhere between the highly symbolic and the highly experiential. In the formal processions we have the semiotic ratio of the Sevillanas Rocieras functioning at a more ritually constrained level than we do at the juerga, but much less so than at the Misa Rociera (Chapters 7, 8, and 9). But we also have the highly symbolic function of the Tamborilero, whose music serves as a herald for the passing of the Virgin's banner (Chapter 4). I cannot at this time provide any kind of mathematical formula to express these proportional relationships, and I don’t know if such a thing is even possible. I will leave the subject for the time being: Hypothesis No. 1: The semiotic functional ratio (symbolic ratio) of the music in a ritual must be congruent with the semiotic function of the ritual within its ritual system. What follows from hypothesis No. 1: Hypothesis No. 2: If we analyze the musical semiotic function within the rituals of a system and compare them, we will determine the relative semiotic functions of those rituals in relation to one another (their symbolic ratio). What follows from No. 1 and No. 2: Hypothesis No. 3: The semiotic function of the music within a musical ritual will indicate the degree to which the religious experience (as as functional parallel to musical self-referntialism) has been displaced within that ritual, relative to the other rituals of the system. The degree to which the music is referring to something outside itself, to an absent object, will parallel the degree to which the ritual itself is referring to an absent object; the realization, or experience of, the religious experience itself (as we have defined it). In summary, the symbolic function of the ritual as a whole will be congruent to the symbolic ratio of its musical component. The relationship between the three basic elements; music, emotions, and ritual, must remain in congruent symbolic ratio from ritual to ritual within a system. But where the music and ritual congruency is even more evident is within the morphology of a ritual. As a ritual changes in response to those sociocultural forces I summarized earlier that would constitute its symbolic drift, the symbolic ratios of the three elements, ritual structure, musical structure, and emotional/experiential content, must change proportionally and in parallel. Again, I am proposing, but at this time I cannot prove: that it cannot be otherwise. The limits of symbolic analysis pertaining to music and ritual A corollary to the above hypotheses and one that may seem to be very counter-intuitive to the present academic currents is this: It is not necessary to analyze the symbols of a ritual at all, nor is it efficacious. The presence, or the non-presence, of any particular symbol or symbols within a ritual does not tell the analyst much about the ritual one way of the other. This holds true even for a highly symbolic ritual. The symbols within a symbolic ritual always point outside the ritual structure. The analyst must retrace the same path that the ritual practitioners do and follow them outside the symbolic ritual and into the experiential rituals; whether it be to the university (to look for deeper meaning), the monastery (deeper experience), or to the Salida (deeper communal experience). Neither can the mystery of the Transubstantiation be fully understood, nor can the experience of Holy Communion be experienced solely by going to Mass and listening to discourse of the priest who seeks to examine and interpret the symbols. Of course, attending the Mass is precisely the place the analyst must, and should begin his inquiry, eventually he will have to pursue the absent object outside the ritual structures, which is exactly the point of a symbolic ritual; it point elsewhere. Conversely, to understand the Salida, the analyst must not go outside the ritual structures as that will lead the analyst out of the ritual and away from its experience. It is not that the symbols of the Mass do not reveal anything about the Mass and Catholicism, they reveal everything about both. The problem is that the symbols are not fully revealed at the Mass; as symbols they point somewhere else. To understand the Mass, the analyst must go somewhere else. And conversely, to understand the Salida, the analyst must not go anywhere else. The above concept is paralleled within the musical component of a ritual. To understand the musical element of the Mass, its structural composition and its function within the Mass, one must kook outside of the music and to the underlying choreography of the Mass and to its doctrinal constraints. But in order to understand the music of the juerga the analyst must not leave the juerga; the music of the juerga and the juerga itself as a ritual, are both the same phenomenon. The ritual spiral and biogenetic structuralism To biogenetic structuralism I have suggested one basic adaptation and three extensions in my formulation of the ritual spiral theory. The adaptation I made was to deemphasize the role of linguistic structuralism and, with it, the concept of “symbolic penetration” (Laughlin, McManus, d’Aquili 1990, 189–197). I would introduce, in its place, the following three concepts: (1) The internalized musical form as itself constituting a ritual practice (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) (2) The concepts of experiential displacement and ritual proliferation (Chapter 8, and Chapter 13, above), and as a result of those two (3) The proliferation of musical forms and musical rituals (Chapter 5), and with that, the proliferation of their concomitant emotional modes (Chapters 5, 6, and 8). The last concept can be subsumed under what I am calling emotional tuning, a concept based upon my observations in Andalusia in general, and at at El Rocío in particular. Emotional tuning, when understood to be ritual work that operates directly upon the human emotions, along with the constituent element of the chaotic emotional experience, adds another dimension to what is still the basic tenet of Biogenetic Structuralism: that the human nervous system can be “tuned”, that is manipulated, and even to some significant degrees permanently altered, through ritual work (Laughlin, McManus, d’Aquili 1990, 146–147). Section 3: Emotional tuning, emotional proliferation, and the ritual spiral Emotional tuning and the procession The musical procession, consisting of a single focused emotion, is in Andalusian Catholic ritual an observable fact. One has only to participate along the route to realize that the cultivation of this emotional mode is the entire purpose of the romería pilgrimage. However in order to grasp the overall structural scheme of the ritual system as a whole, it is necessary to take the various other ritual processions of Andalusia into account because the comparison reveals how different ritual processional traditions cultivate contrasting emotional modes. The tuning of the individual to the inner procession, its inner communal intention (Chapters 9 and 10) seems to be a natural consequence of the ritual practices regarding emotional structuring. Although I did not employ any neurobiological instruments to gather data with (nor would such an approach have been appropriate), nonetheless there are a number of factors that one can point to in support of the emotional tuning process. First, there are my own experiences as I presented them in the three vignettes of the Prelude. Second, there is the sheer duration of the pilgrimage; the single emotional mode is being constantly generated among the practitioners creates a ritual resonance (see Chapter 6). Third, the sheer intensity of many moments of the Rocio is equally inescapable if one is fully participating. These three characteristics: focus, duration, and intensity, I feel confident in arguing, make emotional tuning as a sum total of aesthetic resonance and group entrainment on the part of any participant individual inevitable. Even more importantly, as a communal project their efficacy is incontestable. That most people, most of the time, become emotionally in tune to the prevailing “de Gloria” emotional mode is observable and can be seen as being the dominant reason for the continued performance of the ritual. Emotional tuning and embodied aesthetics However, perhaps the strongest argument for emotional tuning has to be made by pointing to the observable manifestations in behavior, that in Andalusia is called an individual’s “forma de ser” (Chapter 6), or “mode of being”, and what I am calling embodied aesthetics. Certainly this needs more work, and at the moment the idea has to be advanced tentatively, but the ritual and musical behaviors that have been noticed historically, and are still observable to this day, as being the “baroque” nature of Andalusian aesthetics (as presented in Chapters 5, 6,and 10), has to be seen, I argue, as being a product of these ritual musical practices in which the emotional exteriorization of internalized musical forms is such a prominent feature. Furthermore, the inherent communitas of these rituals (Chapters 2, 6, and 7), also serves as a vehicle to impart the cultivated aesthetics to all levels of the social order (see Chapter 6; the juerga as musical communitas). The tuning take places, as I observed it, within the two basic ritual structures of procession and station. The procession in particular, focuses and cultivates a single emotional mode (as argued throughout Part I), and the musical forms play a key role in that process (Chapters 5 and 6). The Andalusian musical form The role and nature of the musical form that in Andalusia is called the “palo” (Chapter 6) has to be seen, in conjunction with the ritual procession, as another key realization arrived at through the fieldwork, especially concerning emotional tuning. The combined characteristics of the palo’s formal integrity, its capacity to be a vehicle for great emotional expression, and the very plasticity of its structural components in relation to its formal integrity, allows the palo to change in relation to ritual and emotional morphology (Chapters 5 and 6), and makes the Andalusian musical form a powerful ritual component as well as a powerful vehicle for the spreading and manifestation of cultural aesthetics throughout Andalusia (Chapter 7). Furthermore, the two behavioral practices: internalization of musical structures and their exteriorization as musical behavior (Chapters 5 and 6), when applied to the communally structured formation that is the ritual procession, and to its stationary configuration, the juerga (Chapter 6), comprise the basis for Andalusian Catholic ritual. These three elements, the musical form, the procession, the stationary juerga, and their interrelations, are observable within El Rocio. Together they constitute the key ritual elements of: ritual structure (or form), musical structure (or form), and emotional structure (or form, or mode). Exploring those three elements as they manifested in El Rocío constituted Part I of this dissertation. Emotional tuning and the chaotic procession The fourth element is an extremely interesting phenomenon: the element of the chaotic, an element represented by the Salida (Chapter 10, in Part II). The chaotic procession has been noted historically (Chapter 2) but never explained. No observer that I have come across has yet arrived at an explanation for this curious Andalusian ritual behavior. I am tentatively putting forth a possible explanation that I think is not only plausible, but seems to follow from the work of both Nils Wallin (as presented in Chapter 12) and to an extent, the proponents of neurophenomenology (as presented in Chapter 11). As I presented the phenomenon in Chapter 10, and again in Chapter 13, the drive toward the chaotic is the culmination of what up until that moment had been a steady cultivation of the single emotional mode; that of “de Gloria” (defined in Chapter 8). I am proposing that the chaotic procession has three basic characteristics that are highly suggestive of its potential efficacy within the ritual system as a whole, and that may also suggest that it is a critical element within the process of emotional tuning. The first characteristic is that the chaotic experience reintegrates the cultivation of specific structured emotions into a generalized undifferentiated emotional experience that can be considered as an emotional “anti-structure” (to borrow a term from Victor Turner). By pressing any prevailing emotional modality to its extreme, the particular emotion merges into its oppositional emotions and any other emotions that may arise in that heightened state of emotional amplification (Chapter 10). Whether a particular emotion, after being intensified beyond a certain point converges with all other emotions, or whether all emotions emerge when any single emotion is intensified beyond a particular threshold, I cannot say at this time. Either way, the salient point is that within the chaotic procession the cultivated structured emotion begins to de-structure into something plastic and indefinable. In this way, a second characteristic, emotional proliferation, takes place as a parallel to ritual proliferation (where rituals break off from a central ritual in order to cultivate deeper levels of experience; see Chapter 13) is engendered. Each cultivated emotion changes, however slightly, with every ritual performance, such that any subsequent cognitive categorization will always lag behind the actual experiences. In this way, new emotions, or at least continuous variations of a particular emotion come into being and with those variations, new “modes of being” or “emotional modes” as embodied aesthetics come into being. The third characteristic reveals itself when we consider the culminating chaotic processional experience to be a variation within the continuum of religious experiences—one that, by its very nature, is both a communal and an individual experience (Chapter 10). I am considering the chaotic procession as a variation of the religious experience from two vantage points. The first is historical. The ecstatic processional chorus that culminates in a hysterical/chaotic act is well documented as being part of the religious practices of a number of religions, among the most well-known are the rituals of Dionysus from the Middle East and classical Greece (Otto 1996) and those of Shiva still practiced in India today (Daniélou 1992). The chaotic procession, when seen as a means toward emotional intensification, expansion, and proliferation, suggests a powerful role on the part of the chaotic element in furthering the development of human consciousness, when human consciousness is considered as consisting of the summation of the many emotional modalities or “modes of being.” The idea is especially provocative when the theories of the potential relationship between core-consciousness and the emotions are taken into consideration (Damasio 1999, 134–143) and in conjunction with Nils Wallin’s theories of expanded emotional repertoire, self-consciousness, and brain capacity (Wallin 1991, ii–vii, 129, 482–485). Furthermore, the work of other neurobiologists such as Robert Zatorre suggests that music, like emotion, penetrates to much deeper levels of the brain than does language, while the work of Laughlin, d’Aquili, et al., asserts that the religious experiences, and certain ritual techniques, can result in permanent changes to the nervous system, changes that Laughlin refers to as “tuning the nervous system” (Laughlin, McManus,d’Aquili 1990, 146–147). Within that ritual system, the presence of the chaotic procession suggests a critical element within the ritual process that I have described as emotional tuning and that within that process, the chaotic experience functions as one variety of the religious experience that may contribute toward an expansion of the emotional categories. The potential to expand the emotional categories constitutes a potential to modify the nervous system even if those modifications consist of only slight incremental changes. Those changes, however small, over time may contribute towards a deepening of individual self-awareness, or “knowledge of the self”. This knowledge can be observed in the embodied aesthetics of the ritual practitioners as evidenced by Andalusian culture in general. However, although the chaotic procession is certainly the most dramatic expression of the variations of religious experience in Andalusian ritual, the small peak experiences associated with the Flamenco Duende, or the Devoción of the romerías (both ascertained by the authors extensive fieldwork in Andalusia), and the experiential manifestations of the “hair-raising,” the “goose bumps,” or the “skin orgasms” (Judith Becker’s term for similar phenomena in Indonesia and elsewhere [2004, 63]), constitute moments of aesthetic resonance that are common occurrences in Andalusian musical culture (Chapter 6). Those extreme experiential moments characterized by chaotic ritual culminations such as that of the Salida at El Rocío, are nonetheless not experiences that are categorically different from common everyday musical experiences in Andalusian culture. Those chaotic convergences of the emotions into spine-chilling and hair raising, emotional charges are only extremes in degree of experiences that at lesser degrees of intensity are quite common. What I am claiming here is that those moments of aesthetic resonance that can be experienced at the juergas of El Rocío (and to include the secular Flamenco juergas outside the Rocío) are not categorically different from the more extreme experiences of the chaotic processions. I am suggesting that as a total system of emotional tuning there is a seamless transition from the sacred to the secular in terms of embodied aesthetics that has little to do with political, ideological, or doctrinal stances, but that proceed primarily from the cultural ritual bed. (Consider my argument, presented in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 that Flamenco and other “folk” traditions of Andalusia are heavily invested in the ritual system as well and may even be products of the ritual system.) Andalusian embodied aesthetics are the result of a continually evolving system of emotional tuning that manifests itself as popular culture. The Sevillanas Rocieras, as covered at length in Chapters 5, 6, and 7, are just one such example. Andalusians use the term “formalidad” (discussed in Chapters 6 and 10) to summarize whatever is their state of behavioral norms—norms that at any particular historical moment are manifested through the embodied aesthetics of their popular culture. Section 4: The morphology of the musical mode and the focused emotion of the ritual procession considered in relation to biomusicology A possible relationship between the musical form and Wallin's theory of emergent consciousness As I discussed in Chapter 12, Wallin and other biomusicologists have linked emergent consciousness in early humans to the formation of tonal flow that would have served as a vehicle through which to focus emotional content. This theory roots emergent consciousness to music production as originating deep within the biological structures of the human nervous system (Wallin, Falk, Merker, Jerison, Todd, in Wallin, Merker, and Brown 2000). If this theoretical approach proves valid then it provides a biological and evolutionary basis for the musical form to have come into being as a possible consequence of emerging consciousness over time concomitantly with increased emotional focus, that in turn might have catalyzed further differentiation of the emotions. The initial process, once set in motion, would lead to further differentiation, a greater increase in the degrees of emotional/intellectual focus, and so on, into a continuing self-perpetual spiral of emotional proliferation and emergent consciousness. The musical form, or its proto-type as a vocalization, would have evolved simultaneously with the emotional evolution and intensification of the emotions; sound form repertoire expands with the emotional repertoire as vehicles of focused will, and with them, according to Wallin, there potentially evolves an expansion of brain capacity (Wallin 1991, 129, 483–485). The procession and station within an evolutionary framework The procession can be seen as the ritual inheritor of a variety of ethological impulses to move and make sound in communal formation; whether it be territorial marking through gesture and sound (Ujhelyi 2000), mating displays and calls (Merker 2000; Miller 2000), hunting formations and calls (Kunej and Turk 2000), and so on. The ethological roots for the procession are many. In the animal organization of sound and communal activities, the congruency of the elements of sound making and intention is not an option: consciousness as a mode of being is the consequence of the act itself. The human processions of today, as evidenced by the present practice and the history of El Rocío, display an analogous congruency to their possible ethological inheritance except that they display a wider range of conscious design and choice, and over time they have developed a far more expansive repertoire; a repertoire that as this work suggests, is in still in continual evolution (Chapter 5). But what operates within the procession, the focused emotion, can not be separated from its organized sound component. I would argue that what we now call a song, a hymn, or an anthem, or even a dirge, might have had their origins in a specific musical form and its ritual processional (or stationary) practice. Consider also the verb, to march, or to mark, as in to mark territory, that was presented in Chapter 2 in relation to the processional pilgrimage and the camino. What is interesting is that if the processions of El Rocío cultivated an emotion of glorification, they also marked territory along the way, crossed boundaries, and eventually pushed even the defining emotion of the procession to its limit at the Salida (Chapter 10). In a similar vein, the emotional cultivation that was an essential element at the stationary stops along the camino, the juergas (presented in Chapter 6) were also musical rituals at camp, around a camp fire, and eventually an altar, the Simpecado. The juerga, campfire, hearth, and altar progression, in relation to the musical ritual, can also be looked at within an evolutionary framework (See Frits Staal Rules Without Meaning 1989, for an in-depth study of the Vedic “Fire Altar” rituals and their relationship to mantras and his thesis that they are the oldest of Vedic rituals). We can see that the procession, as being a single focused emotion, and the station, as potentially the site for a series, or even a "procession" of various emotions, are intimately linked not only in their obvious alteration from one to another along the pilgrimage, but also in their mutual dependency upon the invisible, yet essential element: the musical form. Musical form and morphology as creating emotional proliferation and possibly being the sole essential component comprising a ritual system The morphology of the musical form, especially within the framework of the ritual procession and station, as evidenced at El Rocío, and covered in depth in Chapter 5, might be seen as a continuation of, or a co-evolutionary component of, the morphology of conscious states rooted in evolutionary adaptations and ethological behaviors that is theorized by Wallin, Merker, Falk, and others within the field of biomusicology (Wallin, Merker, and Brown 2000). Furthermore, the musical vocal form might constitute the basis for what in the musical ritual, becomes the ritual, musical, and emotional congruency that I have presented throughout this work. The internalization and externalization through performance of the musical form itself constitutes a ritual practice that obviates the necessity of an intervening media between the body, and the ritual. The performance of the musical form is the ritual. It also requires nothing more than the body—no tools, no images, no artificial symbols. The musical form, when considered in light of the work of Nils Wallin and other researchers in biomusicology, can be seen as being part of the process that would formulate a structured will to create ritual in the first place, that is; an emotional disposition towards further emotional intensification. The musical form perpetuates its own coming into being; the more it is performed the more it generates emotional focus and structure. Those emotional structures can entail self-reflexivity that in turn might compel further musical practice, and so on, and a musical ritual spiral could conceivably be set in motion. Certainly this is a hypothetical notion, however in practice we can see the circularity of emotional intensification through externalization of internalized musical forms leading to further internalization, further exteriorization, further emotional intensification, and subsequent morphology of musical forms and ritual practices as observable through musical performances and their embodied aesthetics such as those presented in Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 10. We see this evolving relationship between musical from and emotional states operating at El Rocío as a natural occurring ritual process. The morphology is in itself a form of emotional expansion, or proliferation that leads to an intensification of individual self-awareness through the ensuing embodied aesthetics. The theoretical relationship between emerging consciousness and emotionally focused tonal flow formulates an ethological prototype for the three elements in relation within today’s rituals as evidenced at El Rocio; ritual form, musical form, and emotional form (or mode). The musical form, then, as already mentioned above, may prove to be the first actual human ritual, or proto-ritual that bridges Wallin’s theories of tonal flow and emergent consciousness, with the fully institutionalized, fully conscious rituals, of procession and station. I believe, then, that it is not too speculative to reiterate the suggestion that a ritual system composed entirely, or almost entirely, of musical forms might have been the earliest ritual system to have evolved. Ethnomusicology, the religious experience as emotional tuning, and biomusicology The theoretical plausibility for human consciousness to be largely a product of the differentiation of musical forms as a concomitant co-evolutionary component to a differentiation of emotional modes that are both cultivated as ritual practices, goes a long way toward accounting for possible origins to the immense proliferation of musical rituals to be found around the world. Furthermore, the linking of consciousness as being itself a product of a ritually driven proliferation of emotional “modes” coevolving with the three elements of the musical ritual: musical form, emotional mode, and ritual form, has important implications for the continuing role of ethnomusicology as a social and anthropological science. Potential uses of the Ritual Spiral theoretical model in the field The ritual spiral model provides a means of orientation to the researchers in the field as they attempt to sort through the maze of rituals that often constitutes a religious ritual system. The list that follows presents what I believe at present to be the key practical uses of the theory for the field researcher. (1) By being conscious of the spectrum of rituals within the spiral, the researcher knows to compare rituals within the system itself in order to select which rituals he will choose to focus upon that will in turn best suit his purposes. In this sense the ritual spiral promotes an intra-systemic ritual comparison rather than a cross-cultural comparison. (2) If the researcher chooses an experiential ritual, he should expect that doctrine and dogma will play a correspondingly lesser role. In that light the researcher should not be surprised to witness acts that might seem contradictory to the doctrines or dogmas that were professed within the central ritual. It is not a question of whether or not the acts are deliberate contradictions, but rather that those ritual activities might well be the source of those dogmas to begin with and it is actually from within them that the symbols and dogmas might be best understood; because the rituals give rise to the symbols and myths, not the other way around. (3) It seems to be inevitable that the more experiential the ritual, the more prevalent the communitas. Contrasting the level and commitment to a communitas may prove to be an important marker as to the kind of ritual one is dealing with. The symbols in the experiential rituals of communitas will not provide reliable markers as to the intentions or experiences of the ritual performers, and even less to the prevailing social discourse. What the experiential rituals will reveal to the investigator are the sites wherein the cultural aesthetics embodied in behavior can be best explored. This is true because these rituals are the cultural source of those behaviors. Social behaviors, rather than social discourse, will be revealed. The more “religious” or ritually integrated the society, the more coherent the behaviors will be despite the contradictions and ambiguities that will inevitably be a property of the social discourse. (4) A sociologist will be able to gather much more useful information from the symbolic rituals especially the central ritual (if there is only one), if social structure and social relations are the focus of the study. However, observations taken form the symbolic ritual should not be examined in isolation. Some knowledge of the experiential rituals should be taken into account through participatory observation, just as the investigation of an experiential ritual should take into account the symbols and dogmas presented at the symbolic end of the spiral. If the disparities are too great, then some sort of social conflict may be eminent. (5) A neurobiologist will be able to interpret data more accurately regardless of what kind of ritual he selects if he is aware of the difference in symbolic ratios between various rituals. The experiential rituals (lower symbolic ratio) should be reflected by brain activity that will engage deeper layers of the brain, while the symbolic rituals (higher symbolic ratio) should reveal activity that is more limited to the newer, more superficial layers of the brain: it is the difference between musical processing (when processed more as music) and language processing (or musical processing when it is functioning more symbolically). The results obtained from a comparison of intra-system rituals across the spectrum within the spiral should provide the most valuable neurological information. It should reveal differences according to what parts of the brain are more intensely activated according to where within the spiral the ritual is manifested. (6) If the study intends to focus on the religious experience itself, then the researcher would most likely need to look to the rituals performed at the social margins but not necessarily the geographical margins. However, the deeper these religious experiences are cultivated the more likelihood they will in fact be found at both the social and the geological edges. (7) Understanding musical form and its potential for morphology will be a great asset to the ethnomusicologist studying musical ritual, especially if there is a relationship to popular culture. Understanding that fixed songs, or fixed musical pieces, performed at pre-set times and for pre-set durations, and their corresponding parallel pre-set ritual structures, would strongly indicate a symbolic ritual no matter how “ecstatic” the performance might appear to be. Fixed songs and fixed musical pieces may be what emerge into the social structure, but in all likelihood, it is the musical form that will prevail within the experiential rituals. The reason is simple: there is no predicting when an effect will take place. The music of a musical ritual must be open-ended and adaptable to the unfolding situation. Likewise, the music must be plastic enough to absorb changes, especially, as I have argued, the changes of the third key ritual element: emotional morphology. The emotional morphology demands musical morphology and the result is new music. That new music becomes popular music and introduces a new aesthetic into the social structure. I hope these applications will in fact prove useful to the field researcher. If so, I am sure there will be changes and additions, which I also hope will be the case.
[i] Although I am not prepared to argue this point at this time, it may prove that symbolic thought itself is a product of the displacement of the religious experience into symbols; that is, symbolic drift.