AVALON, THE LOST ISLAND

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AVALON, THE LOST ISLAND

The small town of Glastonbury has been a holy place since time immemorial. It is said that the area was a marshland, and only the Isle of Avalon stood amid the swampy water.

According to legend, King Arthur and his wife Guinevere were buried on the top of the Isle of Avalon. Later the monks of Glastonbury Abbey found the burial place and moved the bones to the abbey where they still lie.

These days, the Isle of Avalon is called “THE TOR”. On the top of it, the Tower of Saint Michael dominates the vast surrounding plains. From up there the view is breathtaking.

All the area around Glastonbury is believed to be mystic.

It is said that Joseph of Arimathea was the Virgin Mary’s uncle. He used to come to England to trade in metals. In one of his travels he even brought the young Jesus with him.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail – the cup from which Jesus drank during the Last Supper, filled with the blood that dripped from the cross- to Glastonbury.

At the foot of “THE TOR”, there are two springs across from each other: “The White Spring” and “The Red Spring”. Their water is thought to be miraculous.

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The “White Spring” is inside a cave. The water flows into two small pools, one bigger than the other.

As soon as I entered the cave, I felt a strange energy, similar to that I had experienced in a cave in Tanzania ten years ago. Here, there were naked people, both women and men, that bathed in the water. Four women stood in a circle with their hands up holding roses in the middle of the wider pool.

Inside the cave, small altars with bones of animals, ribbons, small stones, and similar objects were placed all around.

One of the women in the cave told me that if I dipped my legs in the water my brain would be purified at once.

Inside the cave it was dark. The burning candles couldn’t light it.

The “Red Spring” stands in the open air. The water seems to be colorless. Walking uphill I arrived at “Chalice Well”. The water looked quite reddish due to the iron that it contains.

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In Glastonbury I have learned something more about legends, history and traditions of England. The rites which people perform in the cave of the White Spring are unique.

Some day, if somebody asks me where to go while he is traveling in England I will answer without any hesitation: “Go visit Glastonbury! You will not be disappointed definitely. It is one of the most amazing, mystic, and magic place in the world.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

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THE UGLY DUCKLING

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THE UGLY DUCKLING

The story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, is about an ugly duckling that looked different from the chicks of the same brood. He was dark and ugly. The other ducklings didn’t want to play with him. He remained isolated in the corner of the pond, until one day he decided to run away in search of a place where he would be accepted.

Wandering here and there, he joined first a family of geese and then a farmhouse. Both the geese and the farmers considered him ugly and useless.

The ugly duckling spent the winter alone and hungry. With the arrival of spring he landed up in a pond where very beautiful birds were swimming.

He didn’t dare to approach them. It was unthinkable that a so ugly duckling, as he was, would have been accepted by those graceful birds! He kept standing on the edge of the pond until one of those birds glided towards him.

How beautiful you are!” I have never seen such white feathers!” said the swan.

The ugly duckling bent his head incredulous and saw his image reflected on the water. He was a swan as well! His feathers had become white!

A similar allegory can be found in Jalaluddin Rumi’s Mathnawi. Rumi tells his hearers that they are “ducks, being brought up by hens”. They have to realize that their destiny is to swim, not to be chickens.

Both Rumi’s and Andersen’s stories are allegories of life. There is a natural evolutionist process in all living beings. It varies from individual to individual, depending on the happenings of life.

Character and personality may change, like the feathers of the swan. The essence, the innermost being is always the same.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

USEFUL TIPS

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USEFUL TIPS

A few days ago, I heard of a Russian lady who was jogging on the beach of Arambol when about ten dogs surrounded her. One of them, which was a puppy, jumped up to her arm.

Probably, the puppy wanted to play with her, but it scratched her arm with its sharp canine teeth. She washed the very small wound with sea water and kept jogging. Later, the owner of the guesthouse advised her to go to the doctor.

It was a guy from Austria who told me what had happened. He knows India very well.

He said that fifty thousand people die every year because of rabies in India. He said that there are many healthy carrier dogs. They look healthy, like the puppy that bit the Russian lady, but they are rabid.

Actually, rabies is widespread in India. Whenever a street dog bites you or even scratches you with his teeth, don’t hesitate to run to the doctor for the full course of post bite injections: five shots.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

MANDALA

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MANDALA

A mandala is a ritual drawing or painting usually round-shaped. It symbolizes the universe.

In some parts of India, every day housewives draw a colorful mandala in front of their house. To make it they use chalk powder which they drop from their hand very skillfully. Over the day the drawing of mandala fades away because people step on it.

Walking on the beach of Goa, I could find somebody who draws a mandala on the seashore. The work will not last long. Soon the tide will erase it.

While looking at a mandala on the sand, I recalled what once happened in an ancient Zen Monastery. A master gave his disciple the task of heaping dry leaves under the blowing wind. There was a deep meaning in that seemingly absurd task?

A mandala drawn with chalk powder or a mandala on the sand has the same meaning of heaping dry leaves under the wind? I think they symbolize our life. Every day we strive to heap dry leaves that the wind will blow away sooner or later. Every day we draw our mandala which will disappear tomorrow like that on the sand.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

8 MARCH 2028

8 MARCH 2028

When I was an eleven-year-old student, our teacher made us write an essay with this title to stimulate our imagination: “8 March 2028 – describe yourself and the world around you on that date.”

In my essay I made a lot of predictions about my future life, but as far as I can remember, none of them turned out to be real.

I didn’t predict that I would become an author and a traveler.

We can program our life, but very often it goes its way regardless of our plans. Casual happenings drag us here and there beyond our control.

Now I am at Arambol Beach in Goa (India) for my winter holidays.

How did I spend the last day of the year? At dawn I went jogging on the beach, saluted the rising sun, and helped some fishermen that asked me to give them a hand to beach their heavy boat.

At night, I walked along the seaside where thousands of people were waiting for the stroke of midnight.

On the first day of the new year, I went to the beach at daybreak again. There were a few cleaners that were collecting the garbage littered by those who had celebrated Happy New Year all night.

I jogged and then saluted the rising sun as usual. It was the same sun as yesterday. Seeing me, the fishermen waved their hands from a distance. Nothing had changed! We humans divide time into days, months and years, and make wishes whenever a new year comes, but in nature there is only an uninterrupted flow of happenings without beginning or end.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

MALCHA

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MALCHA

Yesterday, I went to a tea festival in Daegu. There were many booths, and inside each of them Korean ladies dressed in their traditional dress called hanbok served tea. I tasted malcha for the first time. It is a kind of tea made of green tea powder. The lady in the picture made it by using a special tool and then offered it to the visitors.

In other booths they served other kinds of tea, including a very fragrant tea with lotus flowers.

Beside the special flavor of many teas, I appreciated the refinement and elegance of the ladies to make and serve tea in the booths.

Making and serving tea is an art, so as cooking, painting, writing, playing a musical instrument and even living is an art. Don’t you think that human relations would be smoother and more beautiful if we applied a bit of art to our behavior?

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

www.sbpra.com/ettoregrillo

THE BROKEN DANDELION

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Dandelion is a medicinal herb widespread throughout the world. It is indicated to cure liver diseases and has diuretic properties as well.

A few days ago I picked a fair amount of dandelion herb. Once at home, I started cleaning it and put the buds whose stem was too long and hard to eat into a flower vase and poured some water. While selecting the buds I was on the brink of throwing away one of them whose stem was broken. Its shape was not attractive but finally I decided to put also it into the flower vase along with the others.

The next morning almost all buds opened and to my surprise the most beautiful flower was the broken dandelion, as you can see in the picture.

Sometimes people are like broken dandelions. We tend to assess them by their outward appearance, but we don’t know what kind of flower they have in their heart.

Ettore Grillo Author of these books:

 A Hidden Sicilian History

The Vibrations of Words

Travels of the Mind