To Lyon, the galleries of the Musée des Confluences are immersed in a strange atmosphere at the start of spring. Is it linked to the darkness that reigns in the rooms, to the presence in the entrance of a howling wolf? In the haunted forest setting, a little further? Or those swarms of crows and bats that hover above our heads? The public entering the “Magic” exhibition*offered by this institution until March 2023, shifts into another dimension.
After treading on a strange pentagram, inscribed on the ground, which symbolizes how the five elements regularly invoked in witchcraft interact (fire, air, water, earth and, above all, the spirit), the visitor progresses with caution between showcases that describe esoteric rituals across the planet. From Nepalese shamans to Beninese marabouts, from voodoo healers to “fire cutters” and other magnetizers from Berry, via Breton spellcasters, no region of the world and no time seems to escape beliefs in a supernatural reality.
Everything is (para)normal!
“The success of films featuring magician characters, the flowering of new forms of new age spirituality and so-called alternative medicine that we could qualify as neoshamanism, such as the political reappropriation of the figure of the witch in certain feminist circles but also anarchists, demonstrate, if necessary, that our contemporary societies have not yet finished with this subject”, notes Julien Bondaz, teacher-researcher at Lyon-2 University, who is part of the scientific committee of this exhibition.
READ ALSOA strange magic grimoire at the Toulouse natural history museum“It has long been asserted that magical practices were the prerogative of primitive societies and that they existed before the great religions of salvation. However, we can clearly see that this is not true. Even in France… speeches persist that reflect the permanence of these immemorial superstitious beliefs”, continues the ethnologist who has specialized for several years in the study of these phenomena in West Africa.
This exhibition demonstrates how fertile ground remains in France for what looks like a form of pagan worship. Without ever judging those who adhere to these practices, the course of the Lyon museum leads us to realize that, beyond the extreme diversity of magic rituals, there are great anthropological constants in the adherence to the existence of phenomena. supernatural.
READ ALSOWizards are among us!
Amulets and medals, grimoires covered with magic spells and incantations, recipes for potions and talismans in the form of statuettes or dolls, the 400 or so exhibits on display lead us, over nearly 700 square meters, to consider magic, in all its forms, as a form of world heritage where humans attempt to “communion” with the mineral, vegetable and animal world by investing certain stones, certain plants and certain animals with specific powers. “The term magic sometimes seems unsatisfactory to characterize the quest for meaning that lies behind these common approaches in all societies”, concludes Julien Bondaz wisely.
* ” “Magic” exhibition (co-produced with the Toulouse Natural History Museum). Confluence Museum : 86, quay Perrache, Lyon. Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Late opening until 10 p.m. on the 1st Thursday of the month. Until March 5, 2023.
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Magic invades the Musée des Confluences
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