An inextricable tangle of branches and roots arises in many Indian villages in the place where two trees united in marriage (vr̥kṣa vivāha), grow intertwining with each other in an everlasting 'embrace'. This interweaving describes well the complex network of symbols and textual references that are revealed in the relationships that Indian culture has built around a pair of trees: the aśvattha and the śamī. In this paper, I will try to highlight some mythological and ritual aspects related to this pair. The two trees, in fact, although in today's context separately, are the object of rituals that turn out to be true tree marriages. In particular, concerning aśvattha, what is striking is that the tree is subject to a shift-gender whereby in some contexts it, traditionally regarded as a male tree, acquires a female role within the couple. This phenomenon can find a parallel in the mythological and ritual complex that the Indian religious tradition has built around the two pieces of wood used to light the ritual fire: the araṇi. Through the analysis of some Vedic religious texts and following a diachronic reading, I will try to highlight the evolution and the transformations that this theme has undergone, but at the same time, I will try to bring out the continuity of forms that can be summed up around two hermeneutic guidelines: the foundation myths and the theme of the promotion of fertility and sexuality. In particular, I will analyze the symbolic values linked to the coupling of the two araṇi and the multiple variants that this motif has generated. Highlighting these variants means highlighting, on a mythical level, the emergence of sexuality that is not necessarily heteronormed. Indeed, these versions lead us to reflect on an arboreal nature that alludes to sexuality that bypasses and transcends gender binary and accounts for the gender fluidity found in certain contemporary arboreal 'marriages'.

igor spanò (2021). Vr̥kṣa vivāha. Dendrogamie in India fra tradizioni antiche e pratiche devozionali contemporanee. In D.R. Scandariato, C. Tassinari, G. Zisa (a cura di), Dendrolatrie. Miti e pratiche dell'immaginario arboreo (pp. 159-180). Palermo : Edizioni Museo Pasqualino.

Vr̥kṣa vivāha. Dendrogamie in India fra tradizioni antiche e pratiche devozionali contemporanee

igor spanò
2021-11-10

Abstract

An inextricable tangle of branches and roots arises in many Indian villages in the place where two trees united in marriage (vr̥kṣa vivāha), grow intertwining with each other in an everlasting 'embrace'. This interweaving describes well the complex network of symbols and textual references that are revealed in the relationships that Indian culture has built around a pair of trees: the aśvattha and the śamī. In this paper, I will try to highlight some mythological and ritual aspects related to this pair. The two trees, in fact, although in today's context separately, are the object of rituals that turn out to be true tree marriages. In particular, concerning aśvattha, what is striking is that the tree is subject to a shift-gender whereby in some contexts it, traditionally regarded as a male tree, acquires a female role within the couple. This phenomenon can find a parallel in the mythological and ritual complex that the Indian religious tradition has built around the two pieces of wood used to light the ritual fire: the araṇi. Through the analysis of some Vedic religious texts and following a diachronic reading, I will try to highlight the evolution and the transformations that this theme has undergone, but at the same time, I will try to bring out the continuity of forms that can be summed up around two hermeneutic guidelines: the foundation myths and the theme of the promotion of fertility and sexuality. In particular, I will analyze the symbolic values linked to the coupling of the two araṇi and the multiple variants that this motif has generated. Highlighting these variants means highlighting, on a mythical level, the emergence of sexuality that is not necessarily heteronormed. Indeed, these versions lead us to reflect on an arboreal nature that alludes to sexuality that bypasses and transcends gender binary and accounts for the gender fluidity found in certain contemporary arboreal 'marriages'.
Settore L-OR/17 - Filosofie, Religioni E Storia Dell'India E Dell'Asia Centrale
igor spanò (2021). Vr̥kṣa vivāha. Dendrogamie in India fra tradizioni antiche e pratiche devozionali contemporanee. In D.R. Scandariato, C. Tassinari, G. Zisa (a cura di), Dendrolatrie. Miti e pratiche dell'immaginario arboreo (pp. 159-180). Palermo : Edizioni Museo Pasqualino.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/527992
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