Mezzo Juso is about an hour’s drive, in a Fiat 500, from Palermo, and after mountain roads and dark, meandering streets, arriving in the piazza is a gift. It wraps itself around you and makes you feel warm. Paolo described it as “womblike”. A Catholic Church leans against a Greek Orthodox Church. Musicians mill around and towns people gather. Gazing across the piazza, a marble Madonna wears a halo of twelve stars as did moon goddess Innana-Ishtar.
Her stars go out with the streetlights. With a blast of a trumpet the church doors swing open and the procession begins. First there are the streams of women carrying candles, then white robed, hooded figures, then the brass band, and finally the men carrying the Madonna. The men step side to side, backwards and forwards, funeral-march style, making the Madonna lurch with a mesmerising sway. She is looking for Jesus. She won’t find him tonight.
On Thursday night, in Mezzo Juso, it is only the mother Mary carried through the streets, but in Il Capo and Erice and Trapani on Friday, there will be retinues of sons. Jesus will be garrotted. Jesus will be flogged. Jesus will be speared. Jesus will be thorned. Jesus will be nailed. Jesus will be dead.