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Author Topic: Flagellation of the Alleluia  (Read 754 times)


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Flagellation of the Alleluia
« on: May 24, 2023, 09:40:10 AM »

Ketzaltlipoka (Salvador) told me about a strange spinning top custom that he found mentioned in the book The Mysteries of the Cathedrals (Le mystère des Cathédrales, 1926). The author, Fulcanelli, was a French alchemist and esoteric author whose true identity is still debated.

The passage, and the corresponding footnote, from the English translation:
Finally, there were some bizarre events in which a hermetic meaning, often a very precise one, was discernible. These were held every year, with the Gothic church as their theatre.
Examples include the Flagellation of the Alleluia, in which the choirboys energetically whipped their humming-tops (sabots)4 down the aisles of the cathedral of Langres . . .

[4] Top with the outline of a Tau or Cross . . .

It seems that St. Jacob in Miamisburg is not the first church where spinning tops have been spun!  :)

The idea of kids whipping tops through the cathedral seems to me too strange to have been invented by Fulcanelli, so my guess is that it's based on a historical fact. Was this a ceremony with liturgical or esoteric symbolism? The "Flagellation of the Alleluia" is a thought provoking name. The Alleluia or Hallelujah is an expression of praise and thanksgiving to God, therefore of joy. Whipping the Alleluia seems contradictory.

I don't remember a whip top with the outline of a Tau or Cross. I guess if you add a crown to a mushroom whip top, it would have kind of a cross profile. In addition, they seem to have been humming tops (ronflants). I would like to find an example.

The pdf of the French version can be read here and the English translation here.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2023, 12:06:24 PM by ta0 »

jim in paris

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Re: Flagellation of the Alleluia
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2023, 02:11:26 AM »

salut les amis -ies
Well , it doesn't seem so esoteric to me
flagellation which consists in a self-inflicted whipping, has long been a practise to repent
 or to show faith in the lord ...however its evident that this word associated with "Alleluia Alleluia",
which is chanted before the gospel, seems a bit awkward if not embarrassing...

here is a description of the cathedral of Langres :
 there's plenty of room to play tops / to whip tops

The interior is very spacious; 94 meters long, 43 meters long wide, with a height of 23 meters in the nave.
 It has three levels; very high galleries supported by massive pillars; a narrow gallery, or triforium,
 without windows; and the high windows of the upper level, reaching upward to the vaults.
 Corinthian columns rise from the pillars and pass between the windows to support the vaults.
 Bands of sculpture in vegetal motifs decorate the triforium(......)

one can easily imagine children playing tops in one of the 5 chapels , while the Easter office was celebrated,
thus confirming the concept of "the parish top" , with the same function :
to keep children busy so as not disturbing the office .

Amen !   ;) :)


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Re: Flagellation of the Alleluia
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2023, 11:13:57 PM »

The old article about Malafose, that Jim posted on another thread, mentioned as one of the references, Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland by Lady Gomme. It can be read online and it has several more mentions of the Parish or Town top. But it also mentions the Burial of the Alleluia and gives as reference the Every Day Book by Hone (online). The Burial of the Alleluia refers to the ceremony just before the somber Lenten, when the word Alleluia is not used again until the Easter Vigil. The ceremonial dismissal of the Alleluia from the liturgy began as a simple ritual in the time of Pope Alexander II in the 11th century. However, different regions developed their own, often spectacular, variations (reference). The quote from Hone is:

. . .  Having finished the last ‘Benedicamus,’ they advanced with crosses, torches, holy waters, and incense, carrying a turf (Glebam) in the manner of a coffin, passed through the choir and went howling to the cloister, as far as the place of interment; and then having sprinkled the water, and censed the place, returned by the same road. According to a story (whether true or false) in one of the churches of Paris, a choir boy used to whip a top, marked with Alleluia, written in golden letters, from one end of the choir to the other. In other places Alleluia was buried by a serious service on Septuagesima Sunday.”



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Re: Flagellation of the Alleluia
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2023, 11:07:57 PM »

ok. give some time to write my opinion.