Catherine De Medici, Religious Tolerance, and the CERN Ritual

In the summer of 2016, the CERN tunnel in Switzerland was opened with a strange ritual involving nymphs and satyrs.

I have written on this blog before about the relationship between satyrs and the image of the devil. I also have written about the esoteric reading of classical myth, that is, in addition to a moral reading as well as a delight in the story of a myth, there is also a hidden meaning in many classical myths tied to theurgic magic.

Well, the CERN ritual popped into my mind when I read the following description of Catherine de Medici’s festive rituals following the signing of the Edict of Amboise in 1563, which brought a temporary truce to the fightings between Catholic and Huguenots in France. James Clough describes this ritual as including “Troops of ladies and gentleman, disguised as nymphs and satyrs” who roamed “the woods and meadows of the estate, gayly re-enacting the legends of ancient Greece.”

As I have suggested, it is my view that the underline esoteric reading of the satyr-nymph trope as well as the other bizarre contacts between gods, animals, and humans in classical myth is sex magic and some early transgressive ritual.

As a side note, the ur-story behind the  Robin Hood and Maid Marion tale is an echo of this ritual in Celtic myth.

Why would a Medici Christian queen have a mock pagan ritual to celebrate an edict of religious tolerance?

Was this a reference to the Golden Age being restored?

Why was this same ritual performed at CERN?

Do physicists spend their time practicing the occult and reading classical myth when they are not running particle accelerators?



One thought on “Catherine De Medici, Religious Tolerance, and the CERN Ritual

  1. “Why would a Medici Christian queen have a mock pagan ritual to celebrate an edict of religious tolerance?” De’Medici is famous for her court festivals (as are many French Kings and royalty all together–that’s how they entertained themselves ). They had these spectacles all the time but surely a peace treaty that put an end to a bloody religious civil war was worthy of a big celebration.

    “In the tradition of sixteenth-century royal festivals, Catherine de’ Medici’s magnificences took place over several days, with a different entertainment each day. Often individual nobles or members of the royal family were responsible for preparing one particular entertainment. Spectators and participants, including those involved in martial sports, would dress up in costumes representing mythological or romantic themes. Catherine gradually introduced changes to the traditional form of these entertainments. She forbade heavy tilting of the sort that led to the death of her husband in 1559; and she developed and increased the prominence of dance in the shows that climaxed each series of entertainments. As a result, the ballets de cour, a distinctive new art form, emerged from the creative advances in court entertainment devised by Catherine de’ Medici.[11]”

    “Was this a reference to the Golden Age being restored?” I don’t think so. De Medici would have preferred reconciliation or defeat of the protestants–but both efforts failed. This book specifically mentions the nymphs & satyrs in the Ballet Comique de la Reine being inserted to recreate “authentic classical greek drama” & that de Medici had a “beautiful publication” made describing the spectacle and that this became common for court ballets–to show everyone how rich & cultured and prove which court was the best. Also her husband was unfaithful to her from the time they were married–same century as Henry VIII in England — morals weren’t very good at the time (nor til Victoria) so probably nymphs and satyrs was just an excuse for men and women to tryst around the woods of the country houses/chateaus.
    Wikipedia article on same ballet doesn’t mention:

    Maybe Louis xiv was engaging in magic as well as satyrisis

    1st modern ballet

    “Why was this same ritual performed at CERN?” Not sure where you get the idea that the same “ritual” was performed. Do you mean a Greek Dionysian orgy? Maybe nymphs and satyrs served to give a classical Greek cast to the spectacle and maybe it was a spectacle in tradition of royal spectacles but not sure how you could see N&S as the main focus of this show (starts at 5:57:58)

    Not mentioned by most commenters as much as the demonic appearance of the devil, workers becoming “tribalistic” (@ 7) and start disrobing ushering in the devil at @15

    Was greek culture tribalistic? “Satyr play, genre of ancient Greek drama that preserves the structure and characters of tragedy while adopting a happy atmosphere and a rural background.”

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