SANTA CROCE CHURCH

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SANTA CROCE CHURCH

The atmosphere in Santa Croce Church warmed up. Now there were two opposing parties: the spiritualists and the materialists.
A young man from the spiritualist party raised his hand and asked to talk. Paolo nodded and asked him to introduce himself. He was a player on Enna’s rugby team. He was curly haired, tall, and stout. As soon as he got up, the girls in the audience turned towards him, mesmerized by his figure.
“My name is Giuliano, and I have something to say about the subject matter.”
“You are allowed to talk as long as you like!” answered Paolo.
“Whenever I want to discover something new and never unveiled before, I picture a man who is wandering in the desert,” the young man said. “He is thirsty and walks along the dunes. He needs some water to survive, and hopes to find an oasis. Suddenly, he sees a pond in the distance. He quickens his pace to get to the oasis as soon as possible, but once he gets close, it disappears because it was just a mirage and not a real oasis.
“He sees more mirages as he continues walking. What to do? He is tempted to give up and surrender to his ill luck, but he is a man of faith. He has faith in good luck, and is sure that sooner or later he will find real water not just a mirage. He walks and walks, dune after dune, until, in the end, he finds a
real oasis. His faith has saved him.”…
Excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

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THE HOLY WEEK IN ENNA

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THE HOLY WEEK IN ENNA

In Enna, on the occasion of the Holy Week, the Church of Saint Michael has been reopened to the public for a few days. It was a mosque until a few centuries ago. Later, it was converted into a Catholic church.

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During the Arab rule, which lasted about two centuries, Sicily was full of mosques. According to a historian, at that time there were more mosques in Palermo than in Istanbul.
Later, although there were many Catholics and also a few Muslim families, Enna was essentially pagan. The cult of the mother goddess Demeter and her daughter Kore was deep rooted in the hearts of the townspeople.
In 1412 the statue of the patron saint, Maria Santissima della Visitazione, came to Enna. Since then, the whole population has been Catholic.

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Although the Holy Week is a legacy of the Spanish rule in Sicily, some brotherhoods date back to the Nights Templar. One of these is the brotherhood of the Most Holy Savior, which was founded in 1261, before the Spaniards conquered Sicily.
The brethren who belong to the brotherhood of the Holy Savior have the privilege of carrying in procession on their shoulders the glass sarcophagus containing the wooden statue of dead Jesus.
In Enna, during the Holy Week, folklore and religiosity intertwine. It is a unique event that is worth seeing.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

PALM SUNDAY IN ENNA

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PALM SUNDAY IN ENNA

The very bad weather didn’t prevent the townspeople from pouring into the streets. Everybody followed the procession despite the intense cold.
On Palm Sunday, the brethren take in procession the wooden statue of Jesus.
The procession moves from the Church of San Leonardo to the cathedral church.
After mass in the cathedral, the procession goes back to the Church of San Leonardo.
The brethren who have the privilege of carrying the statue of Jesus on their shoulders are those who belong to the Confraternity of Passion. This brotherhood is one of the sixteen brotherhoods of Enna. It was established in the seventeenth century under the Spanish viceroy. In fact, Sicily was Spanish possession.
The rites of the Holy Week date back to the period of Spanish domination, but some brotherhoods are very old and claim to have been founded by the Knights Templar.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

THE PINE TREES IN GYEONGJU, THE CAPITAL OF SILLA

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THE PINE TREES IN GYEONGJU, THE CAPITAL OF SILLA

In old times, Korea was divided into three kingdoms: one of them was Silla.
Later, Silla succeeded in unifying the three kingdoms.
When we arrived in Gyeongju, first of all we visited the three Royal Tombs in Bae-dong. They look like big mounds but inside there are wooden rooms framed with a solid stonework. The rooms have the kings’ body, their crowns, jewels and personal things. In the past, many tombs were excavated by graverobbers, but some of them are still intact.

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Almost all the pine trees in the forests surrounding the three Royal Tombs are twisted.
According to a Korean friend of mine, botanists have studied the phenomenon and come to the conclusion that the pine trees of Gyeongju had modified their DNA not to be cut down. At the time, if the trunk was straight pine wood was used to build houses and palaces; being twisted, the trees would be of no use. Is it true? Who knows! Trees are also living beings. It cannot be ruled out that they have psychic processes and survival instinct.
King Gyeongae was the last king of Silla. He was killed by the rebel army of Gyeonhwon while holding a banquet with his court. Apparently, the step from joy of life to death is short and sudden!
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

KOREA, A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

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KOREA, A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

More than two thirds of Korea consists of mountains covered with trees of various species. Maples and Ginkgoes are common. In autumn, their leaves turn red and golden yellow, and the mountains look like a gigantic painting by God. Here and there, Buddhist temples stand on the slopes of the mountains.
A few days ago, we visited Palgong Mountain, near the city of Daegu. To reach the peak, we climbed 1365 uneven steps. Up there, the statue of Gatbawi Buddha, supposed to be miraculous, sits on the rock. Many people from all over Korea come and make their wishes to this unique Buddha with a hat on. On the top, the ladscape was very beautiful and panoramic.

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One day, we visited a museum of silkworms. The cocoon’s silk is white or yellowish. Apparently, the Silk Road started from Korea and ended in Rome. In ancient times, 1kilo of silk was equivalent to 1kilo of gold!
Another day, we walked around a tea festival. In Korea, making and serving tea is an art. I was enchanted by the gracefulness of Korean ladies wearing their traditional dress called hanbok. In the yard of a house somebody was making a traditional-style sticky rice cake. They set some steamed sticky rice on a big and thick board, and then beat it with a wooden maul. Finally, they cut the mashed rice into small pieces, put some soy bean powder on the rice cake, and offered it to the visitors. It was delicious!

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The next day I visited a Catholic holy place called Hanti Martyrs’ Shrine.
Korea is the only country in the world where Christianity was not brought by the missionaries. There were no missionaries at the first time. Even though nobody preached Christianity in Korea, it took roots naturally. However, Christians were persecuted and killed in great numbers.
In this holy place were identified the bodies of 37 martyrs. I stood for a few minutes in front of those graves and thought about the absurdity of eliminating ideas by using force. You can kill a material body, not immaterial ideas, opinions and religious feelings. Nowadays, almost a third of the population is Christian. That means that the martyr’s thought is still alive and untouched by their corporeal death.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

MY LAST DAY IN GUATEMALA

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MY LAST DAY IN GUATEMALA

First of all, I went to the Volunteer House to check out and receive my certificate.
Then, I walked to Saint Francis Church to meditate a few minutes in front of the statue of San Benito of Palermo.
This Franciscan saint is popular in South America. He is considered the protector of colored people. In fact, he was a refugee from Ethiopia adopted by a Sicilian family.
Walking in the street, I came across a family of musicians. They played good melodies with their old rudimentary instruments. Although they didn’t go to music school, they have a natural sense of rhythm.
Tomorrow, I am leaving to Korea. From one continent to another. I like traveling throughout the world, so as the musicians of Antigua enjoy playing their instruments.
Unfortunately, I cannot travel beyond the borders of this world. If it were possible, I would definitely do!
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

VOLCAN DE AGUA (WATER VOLCANO) HISTORY AND LORE

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VOLCAN DE AGUA (WATER VOLCANO)
HISTORY AND LORE

At midnight, fireworks lit the sky. They lasted all night.
At breakfast, I met Maria, the owner of the house where I am staying.
“What happened last night? Why so many fireworks till dawn?”
“In the near town of San Miguel, they are celebrating the patron saint.”
“Who is he?”
“Saint Michael the Archangel!”
“I want to go! How can I get there?”
“Don’t worry! I’ll lead you. The place is not far from here.”

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We arrived at San Miguel Escobar half an hour later or so. The streets were decorated with yellow ribbons and yellow balloons. The color yellow is symbol of happiness!
In some houses an altar had been set up with angels and baskets full of fresh flowers.
In the small church of the town there were big and small statues of Saint Michael the Archangel. He was dressed as a Roman soldier with sword and shield, but his face looked like that of a little boy. Apparently, he uses love as a weapon!

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Keeping walking, we arrived at Ciutad Vieja (Old City), the second capital of Guatemala. It lies at the foot of Volcan de Agua.
“There is a small church inside the crater! But it is a bit hard to go up there. Do you know what happened to this old city a long time ago?”
“No, I don’t!”
“Beatrix de la Cueva, Governor of Guatemala, had twenty maids attending her. In 1541, she wanted to be proclaimed the queen of the local population. To her enthronement, she organized a sumptuous ceremony in the Cathedral.
“When she was about to be anointed, a huge mass of water came down from Volcan de Agua. Beatrix de la Cueva was submerged in the water and disappeared with all her following and the city. This is human life!”
We walked for a little while in Ciutad Vieja, and then left the town to go back to Antigua.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

WHY DO I VOLUNTEER?

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WHY DO I VOLUNTEER?

My way of traveling is a bit unusual.

First of all, I don’t use tourist guides. Whenever I land in a new country, I try to spy out the spirituality of the people living there and their approach to religion and sacredness over the centuries.

I am interested in people’s heart to see whether there are some differences depending upon the country when one has been born. By volunteering, I can stay with the locals, talk with them, and taste their feelings.

Hitherto, traveling all over the world, I have not found any discrimination in humans’ heart. All people are the same! Africans, Italians, Germans, Americans, Guatemalans, migrants, local residents, and so on, have the same soul, the same mind, the same heart. No difference between them!

Second, I volunteer to share what I know. I have been studying since I was a child, and now I want to hand down what I have learned over the years.

My way of volunteering seems to be working. The children have enjoyed my teaching. That was enough to make me satisfied.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

CESAR BRANA, A CULTURAL CENTER IN ANTIGUA ( GUATEMALA)

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CESAR BRANA, A CULTURAL CENTER IN ANTIGUA (GUATEMALA)

As soon as I arrived in Antigua, I looked for a music school to practice the piano.

It is not easy to find a piano in Antigua. Their traditional instrument is the marimba, played with two small sticks.

Since I am not used to giving up, after many attempts to find a music school, at last I came across the Cultural Center Cesar Bragna.

It is housed inside a building with many rooms and a theater. In each room a particular subject is taught: languages, piano, painting, theater, cooking, violin, marimba, psychology, and so on.

The Center is open to everybody. I enrolled for piano lessons with a teacher who, although young, is very competent on the subject. A natural friendship arose between us.

Looking around the Center, I saw people of all ages and from all walks of life studying marimba, violin, painting, and English.

I wonder why in my hometown there is not a center like this.

My thoughts are with the elderly and those with mental problems. These last are at the mercy of psychiatrists who give them drugs. This way, they reach an equilibrium. But, the medicine can cure just the symptoms of the mental disease, not its cause. Once one stops taking pills, the disorder reappears.

Are psychiatrists able to administer the pill of painting? Of theater? Of friendship? The pill of love?

I don’t think so! It is much easier to give a medicine.

If in my town there were a Center like Cesar Brana, how many old people and social misfits could socialize!

Is art, music, friendship, and love more effective than psychiatric treatment? I think so!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

AN EARTHQUAKE IN GUATEMALA

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AN EARTHQUAKE IN GUATEMALA

Last night, I was sleeping in my bed when something unusual happened. I felt the house shake.

It was an earthquake, a big one measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale.

What to do? Outside it was raining hard. I didn’t feel like getting dressed and going out under that heavy rain at night.

I kept staying in my bed waiting until the earthquake would be over. It lasted one minute and thirty-three seconds! Too long for an earthquake.

What did I feel? Nothing, neither panic nor surprise. I just waited until the ground became stable again. I confined myself to observing what was happening, so as a member of the audience does while he is watching a play.

I let myself rock by the earthquake. I couldn’t do anything to prevent the phenomenon.

How many earthquakes happen in our life! All of a sudden, we lose our money, our loved one, our job, and even our life. Events appear and disappear like slides projected onto a screen. On the other hand, life is nothing but a play, a temporary and amazing play!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo