Lake Pergusa is the only natural lake in Sicily. The other Sicilian lakes are just reservoirs.
Lake Pergusa lies in the center of Sicily. According to the myth, Kore, Demeter’s daughter was abducted by Pluto while she was picking flowers by the lush shore of this lake. After that, she became the queen of the underground and her name changed from Kore into Persephone.
These days, there is a racetrack around the lake, but the area has not lost its mythological charm.
Walking by the lake at sunset, I saw a cave in the distance. Maybe from there Pluto came out with his chariot drawn by powerful steeds. All of a sudden, he snatched Kore from the luxuriant earth and took her to the underground.
Thinking about the myth, I felt like walking in another world, fantastic and beautiful.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind



You are welcome, even though you are Italian, a descendant of the ancient Romans.’ ‘I am from Sicily. The Romans didn’t consider Sicily part of Italy. In fact, Sicily was a Roman colony, like Judea. We were ruled by a Roman governor like you. You had Pontius Pilate, and we had Verres, who was so brutal that he stripped the Sicilian temples of the golden statues. In my hometown he couldn’t steal the statue of Demeter because it was too big, but he snatched away the statue of Victory which Demeter held in her hand,’ I said.”
“Uncle Salvatore. Don’t you think that still now there are differences and misunderstanding between Sicily and Italy? I have a feeling that they are two different nations. As for me, I consider myself as a Sicilian rather than an Italian. What about you?”
“Benedetto, I am a citizen of the world, as you know. So I don’t feel like being Italian or Sicilian. My country is the world. Garibaldi unified Italy politically, but he couldn’t make one nation with the many small countries that preexisted Italy, because all of them had different history, traditions, and their uniqueness.

This is an excerpt from The Vibrations of Words: second edition by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind




On Good Friday the streets of Enna are swarming with tourists from all over Europe. Many churches are open, even those that usually are kept closed during the year, due to the shortage of priests.

The Church of Santa Chiara was open. It was adjacent to the ex-convent of the Franciscan Poor Clare Sisters. There were many tourists inside the church, who admired the artistic tiles on the floor and the graves of the soldiers who died in the First and Second World War.

Then, everybody moved to the cathedral from where the litters with the statues of Jesus and Our Lady of Sorrows were carried in procession.

I think few tourists paid attention to the gratings both inside and outside the churches. Obviously, they didn’t know the history of Enna. They couldn’t know why there were gratings not only inside the churches but also in the external walls.

One time there were many monasteries, convents and churches in Enna. Many nuns were cloistered. They had no contact with the external world except through the gratings. They were able to look outside without being seen, for the gratings were very thick. They could see people in the church and, through the external gratings, they could also see the processions and people walking in the street.

These days there are no cloistered nuns anymore. The last were the Carmelite Sisters, who left Enna a few years ago. Now, the empty convents, churches and gratings witness the presence of the nuns that lived there.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind







In my hometown, the processions of Holy Week are ingrained in townspeople’s DNA.
On Palm Sunday the wooden statue of Jesus is carried on a litter in procession by the brethren who belong to the Confraternity of Passion, from the Church of San Leonardo to the cathedral.
The town band and the townspeople follow the statue. While I was in the procession I had a look at those around me. Some women who had been attractive one time, now had their faces seamed with wrinkles. An old friend of mine whom I had not seen for a long time came close to me and we walked together for a little while. He told me that he had undergone two difficult surgical operations, but now he was in a good condition. I also saw a woman who had a bad reputation. Although she was a doctor, she was considered by everybody a rude and malevolent woman. There were also young people with a jaunty air. Everybody followed the procession as if they were going with the current of a river. At the end we arrived at the cathedral. The procession was over and I returned home to write something about what I had seen.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind



When Easter draws near, the housewives in my hometown clean their houses deeply. They move the furniture from one side to another and clean everywhere. Apparently, they follow an old Jewish tradition. In fact, during Passover, which symbolizes the liberation of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt, the Jews clean deeply their houses to remove all traces of leavened products.
I, too, started cleaning my apartment, room by room. Doing that, I realized that cleaning the rooms was like cleaning my mind. Can you imagine a person with a clean mind that lives in a dirty house? Of course not. Actually, everything is connected: mind, body, soul, and environment.
Once, I knew a housewife that couldn’t find anything well in her house. She was very untidy and dirty. Do you think she could have a clean mind? Of course not. Her mind was as messy and dirty as her house.
From a Christian perspective, cleaning our house and mind may mean that we get ready to welcome Jesus who comes and visits us. Only with a clean mind we can elevate our spirit toward higher spheres.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
-The Vibrations of Words
Travels of the Mind


WP_20181009_003Today, October 8 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. In the monastery where I am staying until Thursday, the Sisters decorated the chapel with the fruits of the Earth: pumpkins, squashes, ears of corn, onions, and so on.

Our chef roasted two turkeys and baked a delicious pumpkin pie. As an exception, we had a glass of wine at lunch.
The whole weekend is Thanksgiving Day. One of the workers in the kitchen said that she celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, with thirty-five people in her small house!

Some Canadians prefer to go for a hike and enjoy the special colors of the trees in this season.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is related to the traditional harvest festival. In a sense, it is different from that in The United States. The dates of the two celebrations don’t coincide, as well as their symbolic meanings.

In my hometown Enna, we have a few celebrations related to the harvest. Some of them date back to the time of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.

One day, I asked a friend of mine, “Can you imagine a world without celebrations and rites? Being outside rites means to be outside life.”

“I don’t think so. For me all days are the same,” he answered.
“How can you say that! Without rites there is no human life, indeed. Everyone conforms to festivity, celebrations and rites.”
“I am different from others. Getting over rites and rituals is my aim.”
“So, you don’t celebrate anything!”
“No, I don’t. Everyday I have a celebration in my heart. I am beyond rites and rituals,” he said.

On Thursday, I am leaving for Korea. There, I’ll find different traditions, but people’s heart doesn’t differ.

Ettore Grillo, author of
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind







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.

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.

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






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




The cult of Mary is deep-rooted in Enna. Every church has its Madonna to worship: Our Lady of Grace, Madonna of Valverde, Madonna of Children, Madonna of Lourdes, Madonna of the Rosary, and so on. The main Madonna is Our Lady of the Visitation, because she is the patron and the protector of Enna. The celebrations last for two weeks starting from July 2.

Today, the statue of Maria moves from The Monastery of Montesalvo to the duomo where it will remain until the next July 2.

Almost all the townspeople follow or watch the procession. We can say that the cult of Mary is engraved on the DNA of every Enna people.

When Cicero came to Enna which is called the navel of Sicily 2000 years ago, he was mesmerized by the sacredness of the place to such an extent that he felt that the citizens of Enna looked like “omnes sacerdotes” (all priests). He was right definitely.

Twenty centuries have passed since Cicero came here. Although the cult of Demeter has turned into that of Madonna these days, Cicero’s words are still pertinent. Few cities in the world can boast such a traditional cult like Madonna Feast.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind




Glastonbury (UK) 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.


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.


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