The Tarantism

The Tarantism

The phenomenon of Tarantism is part of a complex and ancient ideological system, present until a few decades ago in Spain and in various regions of southern Italy, and particularly in Puglia. The manifestation of the "symptoms" of tarantism in a person was the consequence of the participation of a group of people in a complex domestic therapeutic rite. By using a specific rhythmic, musical and chromatic apparatus, as well as ritual objects and settings, through these rituals the healing and reintegration of a suffering person were restored. Generally, every year, at the beginning of summer and for many years in a row until complete recovery, the subject was struck by a specific form of serious internal and external illness that could be treated through this ritual, even if only pro-year. Those who participated in this ideological system defined the suffering person as "tarantata", in the belief that the evil came from the poisonous bite of the "taranta", a symbolic and non-zoologically identifiable animal, ideally belonging to arachnid or reptile species. Tarantism is a phenomenon that all the different schools of thought have had to face over the centuries, without ever being able to fully explain it: ethnology, psychology, medicine, zoology, psychiatry and so on. Attempts to understand the phenomenon cannot however disregard a highly multidisciplinary approach, which cannot result in a medical-diagnostic analysis that identifies the psychopathological character, nor that simply labels tarantism as a result of ignorance and popular credulity.