SICILY UNDER THE SPANISH: THE INQUISITION

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The main difference between the Medieval Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition is that the former was directed by the Pope, while the latter was under the authority of the king of Spain, who enforced the Inquisition’s rules not only in Spain but also in the Spanish possessions like Sicily, Sardinia, and Mexico. Spanish kings used the Inquisition not only to judge heretics and witches, but also to get rid of their political opponents, on the pretext they were heretics.
One of the most atrocious instruments of torture was that called “the mouse.” The inquisitor inserted a live mouse into the vagina or the anus of the person suspected of heresy or witchcraft. The head of the small rodent was directed towards the inner organs of the prisoner. Sometimes the anus or the vagina was stitched closed. The little animal, striving to find a way out, penetrated the victim’s body, scratching and biting it, provoking shooting pain.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

HOMOSEXUALS BURNT AT THE STAKE

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It has been reported that at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, from 1547 to 1640, around a hundred capital punishments were enforced against homosexuals and people who had had “deviant” sexual intercourse, like oral or anal sex. Copulation with animals was also liable to bring a death sentence. In fact, any sexual activity not directed toward procreation was considered a capital sin. Sometimes the confession of those sins was wrung out by torture, even though at the time of the Spanish Inquisition it was not necessary to torture the suspect, because the mere sight of the instruments of torture was enough to persuade the alleged culprit to confess all their sins—or whatever else the inquisitor wanted them to confess, for that matter.

While heretics went directly to the stake to be burnt alive, homosexuals and sexually indecent people usually, as an act of mercy to make their death less agonizing, were strangled or hanged before being burned at the stake. In any case, those kinds of death sentences were enforced publicly to serve as a deterrent to others.

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

CAN A RICH MAN ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?

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“Starting from nothing, I have become very rich. Hence, I have asked myself, ‘With all these riches, do I deserve the kingdom of heaven?’ In fact, in the Gospel it is written: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:24). What does this passage mean to you? Do you think I have sinned by accumulating wealth on behalf of our families?”
“In my opinion, in that passage, Jesus wanted to say that you must create riches on behalf of others, not only for yourself. You have built the fortune of our families. This was a good action, because now we are rich, thanks to you.”
“My interpretation is different. With money we can buy external things, not the inner world, and the kingdom of heaven is linked with the innermost heart. To be close to God, the heart should not be spoiled by the lust for wealth. At the beginning of my life as a rich man, I was sure that I could purchase everything with money. But over the years, I came to realize that I couldn’t buy love, friendship, or the esteem of others. In other words, I couldn’t buy feelings. I couldn’t buy invisible valuable things for my soul.”

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MARY’S WELL IN ZIPPORI (ISRAEL)

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“Hearing his words, I hesitated about going to Nazareth with him or going to see this Mary’s well. The latter alternative prevailed. ‘Yes, I want to visit Mary’s well. Where is it? ‘It’s just three hundred meters away. Cross over that field, and you’ll find it. Good luck! After you see the well, you can take a bus to Nazareth. The bus stop is across the road.’
“I walked in the countryside, but I couldn’t find the well. I asked a man on the way. ‘Yes, it is down there. Some people drink the water of the well, but I’ve never done that,’ he answered.
“After passing by a garbage heap, finally I found the well! I got near to it and was welcomed by the warm greetings of several children. ‘Shalom! Shalom! Shalom!’ they all sang in one voice. ‘Shalom!’ I answered with a big smile.
“The children were splashing in the pool, jumping up and down. Actually, the well was a pool. The water had a bluish hue, which degraded into light blue and ended in whitish colorlessness by the edge where I was standing. At first, I guessed that the light blue color of the water was caused by the reflection of the blue sky. But soon I realized that the pool was too small and shallow to reflect the blue sky. The water didn’t seem to be stirred up by the children who splashed continuously. Its preternatural blue color remained unaltered.
“I took off my shoes and tried to keep my balance while I was walking on uneven, pointed stones. I sat on the edge of the pool and dipped my feet into the cool water. Then I washed my face and my head. There was an ancient wall on one side of the pool. A small blue rivulet fed the pool. I had never found any mark about this Mary’s well on the map. Nevertheless, I visited the well by chance. The sky blue color of the water and its atmosphere enchanted me. When I stepped out of the well, the children performed a Hebraic dance for me. I was happy to see their dance. I waved goodbye to them, smiling. Then I walked to the bus stop.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

BURIAL RITES IN THE WORLD

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“I think, Uncle Salvatore, there are countless burial rites in the world according to culture, custom, ethnic groups, historical periods, and so on. Last year I visited Korea with my father. I saw many rounded mounds in a mountain. They were graves shaped like maternal wombs. Somebody said that the womb-shaped grave completes the cycle of life. There are two wombs, the womb of the mother and the womb of the earth.”
“There are people that practice neither burial nor cremation. For instance, in Tibet dead bodies are dissected and thrown to vultures. Buddhist tradition gives less importance to the body, which is considered as a mere container of the soul. For the Buddhists, what matters is the soul, a continuum without beginning and end, not the body. But for the Christians, the body will be resurrected on the Last Day. So, it is important.”
“Supposing that the body will be resurrected, I don’t think the new body will be the same as it was before death. It may be a body of light, ethereal and subtle.”
“Yes, I think so. All four Evangelists are unanimous in admitting that Jesus resurrected, but his body was not the same as it was before death. Even the Apostles couldn’t recognize the risen Christ at first glance.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I want to be cremated after I die. I read somewhere that a few body functions continue for some time after death, for instance, nails and hair keep growing. It would be hideous to feel still alive while you are being buried. What about you? What do you think about the cremation of your body?”
“I don’t want to be cremated after I die. I will follow my family tradition. I’ll ask to be buried. The most important thing is God’s help. It’s not important which funeral rites you choose.”

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A MEETING WITH A YOUNG SEER

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“Many holy persons appeared in my life, and they led me toward my spiritual growth. One of them lived in Kamut. He was a young man, called Mario, around thirty years old.”
“I didn’t know there was a man that looked like an angel in Kamut.”
“There was, indeed. I can testify he was a special man. Every year on July eleventh, something mysterious happened at his home. At noon he fell asleep. All his friends gathered around his bed and watched him while he was sleeping.
“On July eleventh, I went to his house in Kamut. At the entrance of the living room was a statue of the Virgin Mary. There was water around the base of the statue. It had the scent of roses. Mario’s room was in the loft. There was a blue blanket on the bed and a blue ribbon on his belly. It was similar to the ribbon I had seen on the statue of St. Michael the Archangel. At noon Mario slipped into the sheets. His eyes blinked and then he fell  asleep. I sat down on the floor and watched him.
“From time to time, Mario turned his head to the right and then to the left. Sometimes, he smiled. Then, his hands turned reddish. Little by little, red spots appeared on his hands. The spots looked like coagulated blood. Often Mario folded his hands. He tried to say something, but his voice was so low that it was impossible to hear him. One of Mario’s friends sat beside the bed, put a microphone near his lips and recorded his words. I heard Mario utter volcano or volcanoes.
“While I was watching Mario, a picture of Mia Martini on the wall caught my attention. She was an Italian singer who committed suicide. Suddenly, the lady sitting at my side started to tell what she heard from Mario. She turned to me and said, ‘All convicts will be set free. All bonds will break.’ She also uttered a third sentence, but I didn’t keep it in mind even for a short while. It was as if I had a sudden lapse of memory.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

AN ESOTERIC MEETING ON THE DAY OF THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

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“I hosted the esoteric meeting on the day of the feast of Saint John the Baptist, which falls on the summer solstice. That afternoon my neighbors were at home. Seeing all those cars parked in the yard, they were surprised.
“While the white girdle brethren purified the living room, the others waited on the upper floor. In fact, we were not allowed to see how the purification ritual took place. Rino was one of those who performed the ritual, and later he told me that it was a kind of exorcism. We burned a lot of incense. Moreover, there were intervals of silence,  specially when we did the chain. Surely my neighbors wondered why so many people stayed silent and burned incense. That evening, the grand master talked about solstices, equinoxes, and rites related to those special days.
“He said, ‘Equinox and solstice come from the Latin words aequinoctium and solstitium. Since time immemorial, people have celebrated solstices and equinoxes. The winter solstice is related to Jesus’s birth, the summer solstice is related to St. John the Baptist’s birth. They were second cousins. The former was the son of Mary and the latter the son of her cousin Elisabeth. The birth of John the Baptist preceded that of Jesus by six months. On the summer solstice, herbs have a special energy. There are many practices related to the magic night of St. John. On that day people start bonfires, which are the symbol of purification, and pluck special herbs, above all, the hypericum also called Saint-John’s-wort. Spring equinox is related to Cybele, the goddess mother who symbolizes the earth, and to Attis, her son, who symbolizes the vegetation of the earth.’
“When the meeting was over, everybody left, and I remained alone in the house. That night, when I was about to sleep, I sensed that something was happening downstairs. I felt that there were ghostly presences in the living room. I wanted to go there, but I feared an unpleasant encounter. I got up and headed for the landing of the staircase. I thought I saw a ghostly figure with horns coming toward me. As we met almost face-to-face on the landing, he went back downstairs, and I returned to my bed.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

INTOLERANCE TOWARDS THE DISABLED AND THE SICK

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“Persecutions and discrimination can affect not only ethnic or religious groups but also social classes. The disabled have been the object of intolerance over the centuries. In the ancient Greek city of Sparta, newborns with a physical defect were thrown from Mount Taygetos. In Italy, some lidos didn’t allow kids with heavy physical disabilities to enter.
“Recently, in the United States and in Italy, the device that kept two vegetative patients alive was unplugged. Consequently, they died. In my opinion, this is a case of intolerance. When I volunteered at a center in England that provided holidays for the disabled, I looked after a young man who was completely paralyzed except he was able to move his eyes. He lay on a stretcher. I still remember his name, Neil. I asked the nurse how to feed him. The nurse answered, ‘You have to spoon-feed him as if he were a little bird. When he wants to say yes, he raises his eyes, and when he wants to say no, he lowers his eyes. It’s easy.’ I did like that. At the beginning, the spoonful I gave him was too much. He couldn’t swallow the food and coughed. By and by, I found the proper mouthful, and he ate quietly. He couldn’t smile, for every part of his body was paralyzed. But looking at his eyes, I felt that he was happy while I was feeding him.
“Some say that the heavily disabled like Neil are better off dead because they suffer so much. This opinion comes from an incorrect idea of happiness. They think that only good fitness brings happiness. This assumption is a kind of prejudice. There is a soul inside a body. The soul can be happy even in a disabled body, like Neil’s body.”
“Uncle Salvatore, maybe some kinds of life are useless. People who are alive but show no sign of brain activity don’t feel anything and can’t move. Don’t you think it would be better to put an end to their life?”
“I don’t think so. I am favorable to all kinds of life. We don’t know what will happen after death. Who knows, maybe we’ll disappear forever. Therefore, between to be and not to be, I’ll choose to be, regardless of the form of life, healthy or unhealthy, normal or disabled, happy or unhappy.

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MITHRAISM AND CHRISTIANITY

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“His easy and fluent talk was like the rushing of a river. It seemed unstoppable. ‘Do you think the Christian religion is original? Not at all! Christianity borrowed its rites from the cult of the god Mithra, who was also born in a cave on December twenty-fifth.’
“I stared into his eyes, and then I raised my voice, ‘Tell me! Where did you find such information? Can you prove what you said?’ ‘Yes. I’ll give you written proof, but don’t ask me to prove anything else. Everything I say is true. I don’t invent anything,’ he said severely. Actually, a few days later, he showed me the encyclopedia through which he had learned about the god Mithra. While I was driving toward downtown Isola, he kept talking about religion. ‘The Roman Catholic Church built many cathedrals on god Mithra’s temples. Do you want me to give you evidence?’ ‘Yes, I do!’ I answered eagerly. ‘Hence, go to Rome and visit the Basilica of San Clemente. It’s near the Colosseum and easy to reach. This basilica has one ground floor and two basements. At the entrance, on the ground floor there is the newest church dating back to the twelfth century. If you go down to the first basement, you’ll find another church which goes back to the fourth century. On the second basement, you’ll find god Mithra’s temple. Some people perceive a peculiar energy in the lowest basement, especially when they stand near the water which flows down there. I don’t believe in extrasensory energies. I only believe in what I can touch, see, and hear. I am just reporting that somebody feels an arcane energy in the Mithraeum of San Clemente Basilica.’
“Giuseppe was still telling me the story of the god Mithra when we got to Umberto Sabatini’s house. Umberto’s build was different than Giuseppe’s. He was a tall redhead with a more refined way of dressing. Umberto had the air of a teacher, while Giuseppe looked like a blacksmith. Actually, he had been a teacher of Latin and ancient Greek, but he quit his job. Even though he had a degree in classic literature, he wanted to become a municipal policeman. Strangely, although Giuseppe and Umberto had master’s degrees, they didn’t want to have the job they had studied for. One wanted to be a writer instead of a physician, and the other a municipal policeman instead of a teacher. Two uncommon persons! Like them, maybe many of us would want to be uncommon, to lead a different life, change jobs, move away from our country, city, family, and so on. But we don’t do that because we tend to live according to the social patterns that have conditioned us since childhood. Umberto, at a brisk pace, got into my car and sat in the back seat. We introduced ourselves briefly and set off toward Capodarso, which is almost a half hour away from Isola.
“On the road Giuseppe resumed his tirade. ‘The Christians changed the figure of Jesus. The Greek word Christos, which means anointed, doesn’t apply to Jesus. The term was coined later by the early Greek-speaking Christians. Jesus was anticlerical, but the Christians turned him into a priest. Jesus didn’t hand over any rite, but the Christians borrowed their rituals from Mithraism, such as baptism, Holy Communion with bread and wine, and so on. The idea that Jesus was born from a virgin was also borrowed from Mithraism. In fact, Mithra was born from the virgin Anahita, who had been inseminated by the god Ariman through a miracle. Like Jesus, Mithra promised eternal life to his followers and was very popular among the Roman soldiers who could die in battle.’

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
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo