THE TOWER OF FREDERICK II OF SWABIA, THE KING OF SICILY

One of the most interesting monuments to visit in Enna (Sicily), is the Tower of Frederick II of Swabia (1194-1250). Besides being the King of Sicily, he was the Holy Roman Emperor, and the King of Jerusalem.

This great emperor was crowned King of Sicily when he was 4, under the regency of Pope Innocent III.

Since Frederick II grew up in Sicily, he was able to speak the Sicilian dialect as a native speaker. However, he also spoke Latin, Arabic, Greek, French, and of course German.

He was a man of extensive learning. Being thirsty for knowledge, he came into contact with the Sufis, the troubadours, esoteric schools, artists, and men of letters. He loved Sicily to such an extent that he wrote in his will that his body should be buried in Sicily. In fact, he rests in the Cathedral of Palermo.

He was the founder of the Sicilian School of Poetry and of the University of Naples. He also built several castles. Of note, Castel del Monte, in Apulia and the Tower of Frederick, in Enna.

Both these buildings are characterized by the number eight.

The plan of Castel del Monte is octagonal, the eight towers of the castle have also octagonal bases. There are eight rooms on each floor with windows facing on an inner octagonal courtyard. Somebody says that this unique castle was built to enclose the Holy Grail.

The plan of the Tower of Frederick in Enna is also octagonal. It is similar to the towers that form Castel del Monte. Both the monuments are made with stones of varied hues. It is said that Frederick II collected stones from various Pagan temples, which were particularly rich in energy, to build these structures. Besides having an octagonal base, the Tower of Frederick shows eight loopholes vertically and eight loopholes horizontally in one of the walls, while other sides of the tower are without loopholes or windows.

What is the meaning of the number eight, so dear to Frederick II? According to esoteric schools, the number eight symbolizes the union of Earth and Heaven. In other words it symbolizes the infinite.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

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

WONDANGAM, A GOOD TEMPLE FOR ZEN MEDITATION IN KOREA

20191006_163725
The Zen Center was in the woods. The drinking water flowed from the ground naturally. There were about ten buildings in the area. All of them were made of wood in traditional Korean style.
My roommate was the only one who spoke English fluently. As soon as I arrived, we met the Zen master. We bowed in front of him and then he started talking, while my roommate translated his words into English.
“I’ll give you something on what to meditate. This something is just a question: “WHAT IS THIS?” said the Zen master.
After the meeting was over, I asked my roommate the meaning of this words.
He answered, “The question “What is this?” implies something or somebody that asks the question. “This” can be considered the original engine of your actions.”
While I meditated by asking myself “What is this?”, I watched myself to find out whether I was made just of flesh, bones, and blood or there was some energy inside me. I couldn’t find the answer, but by meditating on such a question for twenty days, I purified my mind. The question “What is this?” chased away all the thoughts that had crammed my mind for a long time. My mindset changed, and I felt almost reborn.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

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

SYMBOLISM OF THE NUMBER SEVEN

number-seven-floor-cover-hexagonal-paint-blocks-75399899[1]

 

In the meantime, Maoz came back from prayer. I wanted to talk with him about  Hebraism. ‘The number seven is recurrent in life. The days of the week are seven, the notes in music seven, the colors of the rainbow seven, and the precepts that non-Jews have to follow also seven,’ I said, turning to Maoz. ‘Chakras of the body are seven, too,’ Maoz added. ‘I heard about chakras in a meditation center in India,’ I said. ‘In Judaism, we also have chakras, but we give them different names. We call them Sephiroth. The Sephiroth tree is made by ten Sephirah, three of them are on a very high level and seven are on the level of human beings. The Sephiroth tree shows a microcosm and has a corresponding macrocosm.’
“Maoz drew ten small circles and united them with lines. Then he wrote a name beside each circle, starting from the upper one, which he called Crown. He named Understanding and Wisdom the two circles below Crown. Between Understanding and Wisdom he drew a smaller circle and united it to them with two lines. ‘This smaller circle,’ he said, ‘is the result of Understanding and Wisdom.’ He also named the seven lower circles, Abram, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, Moses, Joseph, and Messiah King David. ‘And also it is possible to give different names to the Sephiroth, Kether. . .’

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

VISITING GORDON’S CALVARY

garden-tomb-jerusalem-entrance-to-israel-71048397[2]

“When I got to the Garden Tomb, I was surprised at the silence in that place. I turned to the right and headed for the skull-shaped rock. It was a cliff with two big holes and a nose-shaped stone between them. To my eyes, it didn’t look like a skull. On the railing was a picture of the cliff. Looking at it, the whole cliff seemed to be skull-shaped.
“I turned left and walked to the tomb. Entering it, I saw three stone beds. One of them was a bit higher than the others. The ceiling of the tomb and the right wall had been plastered. I was alone inside the tomb. Turning my eyes to the wall on the right, I thought I saw Jesus’s face slightly imprinted on the wall. It was similar to that on the Shroud of Turin. I didn’t see the whole face but only some features like the eyes. At that time I felt that the real Holy Sepulcher was there.
“I got out of the tomb and looked for the winemaking press. I couldn’t spot it. So I asked a lady who was sitting on the bench. She got up and pointed out a pool where in the past the grapes were pressed by feet and the juice flowed into a smaller basin. ‘Do you want to see the real place where the Lord was crucified?’ ‘Yes, of course!’
“She led me to a rocky wall on one of the sides of the garden. ‘This cement covers the  crack in the rock caused by the earthquake that happened when Jesus passed away. Underneath our feet there is no rock but a wooden floor. The rock is hollow. Digging is in progress. Jesus’s blood fell from his bleeding body into the Ark of the Covenant. He established a new covenant between God and humans.’
“I was puzzled by her words. How is it possible that the Ark of the Covenant was below the cross when Jesus died? I thought. She noticed my doubtfulness, so she took out a pen and a postcard from her purse and wrote something. Then she gave me the postcard. ‘Do your research, and then you’ll find out that I am right.’
“Later, I checked her information. Actually an archeologist had been digging under the rock of Gordon’s Calvary. The aim was to bring into the light what was once called Zedekiah’s Cave, a vast underground quarry which supplied the stone for the Temple of Solomon. Therefore, nothing can be excluded. I still keep the postcard the lady gave me. Besides the name of the archeologist, she wrote, ‘Jesus loves you.’

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

THE CHARM OF THE MOSQUES IN TURKEY

20190614_214235

Visiting Turkey, I have come across many majestic mosques with minarets so slender that they seem to want to touch the sky. But what impressed me was the sincere prayers of the Muslims. They pray five times a day, with great zeal.
In my hometown most of the congregation consists of old women, while in the mosques there are many young men that pray zealously.
Seeing them praying with such ardor, I wanted to pray with them. So I entered a mosque and asked a man to teach me how to pray. He said, “Our prayers are in Arabic, even though Arabic is not our mother tongue. All Muslims must pray in Arabic, for the Koran can’t be spoken in a language different from the original.”
“How can I pray?” I asked.
He answered, “Start your prayer by saying Allah Akbar (God is most great). However, if the imam is present, follow him. He will guide you.”
Then he gave me a few booklets about Islam. I accepted his gift gladly. I will read them when I come back to my hometown.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

VISITING THE GRAND BAZAAR IN ISTANBUL

20190614_125515Besides Haghia Sophia, what impressed me in Istanbul was the Grand Bazaar. It deserves to be visited not only for its bigness but also for its architecture, the kind of merchandise the shops display, and the swarm of thousands of people looking into the shops here and there. On the other hand, shop sellers try to allure passersby and ask them to enter their shops to buy something.
Imagining life in the Antique Grand Bazaar many centuries ago, I can see the swarm of slaves sent to the market by their masters to purchase this and that. I imagine patricians in their litters carried on slaves’ shoulders, who look at the comings and goings of people from the litters.
Opposite our room in the hotel, there are the remains of an old Roman aqueduct. Something of the old aqueduct still remains, but now where are those who haunted the Grand Bazaar in ancient times? What’s left of them? Nothing! Life in the Grand Bazaar will continue after us, from generation to generation, but with different characters!
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

 

VISITING THE SUFI CULTURE CENTER OF KARABAS-i VELI, OSMANGAZI (TURKEY)

20190615_233134Touring Turkey, we came across the Culture Center of Karabas-i Veli. It happened naturally, as if a powerful stream of energy had attracted us. The Center looked like the zawiya (Sufi lodge) I had attended in Rabat (Morocco) a few years ago, but unlike there, here the Sufis were the Whirling Dervishes who claimed to be direct descendants of the mystic poet Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.
While I was waiting for the performance to start, I sat on the floor for men. We waited for three hours. In the building there were two separate areas: the ground floor for men and the loft for women.

After two hours, a man wearing a cylinder-shaped red hat and a white beard, who seemed to be a top level Sufi, addressed the audience for more than one hour. He spoke in Turkish. I couldn’t understand anything, but the vibrations of his words seemed to penetrate the innermost layers of my soul. I felt that he was talking about God and the many ways to approach the Deity.
“The Sufi way is mystic,” said a man sitting beside me, when the speech was over.
I turned to him, with eyes full of wonder and kept listening to him.
“Do you know that Saint Francis of Assisi was a Sufi?” he asked.
“How can you know that?”

20190615_233535
“I am sure about Saint Francis of Assisi as a Sufi and I can give you a lot of evidence on that. However, if you want to know more on this topic, read The Sufis by Idries Shah.”
Then, almost ten Dervishes entered the hall, which fell silent. They wore black habits, placed themselves on a raised side of the hall, played their musical instruments, and sang. After they played music for some time, the whirling dervishes came in one by one whirling. Their whirling was amazing! There are no words to describe this fantastic performance. Everything had a symbolic meaning, from the colors of the Sufis’ habits to the position of their arms and hands.
There are many modes of worshiping God, but only a few great spirits can follow the mystic way which is very demanding. The Sufis are among them, definitely.
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)

our-lady-3560521[1]

“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

AN INDIAN NATUROPATH TALKS ABOUT VOID AND EVOLUTION

two-hands-leaves-naturopath-nature-logo-green-89003190[2]

“Prem introduced me to a friend of his. According to him, he was an exceptional man. Unlike Prem and Rajan, who wore Western style clothes, he wore Indian white clothes. He held his hand out to me and introduced himself. ‘I am a naturopath. My name is Hari. I live in a mountain of the Himalayas. My village is located three thousand meters high.’ ‘What is naturopathy?’ I asked. ‘Naturopathy is body treatment through the five elements: water, earth, air, fire, and void.’ ‘Is void an element? Doesn’t void mean nothingness?’ ‘No, it is not nothingness. Void means nothing and everything at the same time,’ Hari answered.”
“Uncle Salvatore, this third man you met at the Burning Ghat, seems to be a bit more learned than the other two. But I can’t understand his words. What does it mean, nothing and everything simultaneously?”
“He said, ‘Earth, stars, trees, rivers, and everything emerge and submerge in the void. Everything appears and disappears.’ ‘How does the process of emersion and submersion happen? What is the meaning of appearing and disappearing in the void?’ I asked. ‘It is beyond the mind. Nobody can explain it.’ ‘Do I have to believe blindly? Or is there something rational that I can understand?’ ‘Yes, there is something rational. Where does this tree come from? And where does this tree go? How does our body survive, and where does it go after death? This is the void,’ he concluded.”
“Uncle Salvatore, I sense that the void is like a stage. Actors can’t act without a stage. They come on stage, and then they make an exit. The void is like that, I think.”
“You are very smart, Benedetto. I am proud of you!”
“Then I asked him, ‘Is man a fruit of evolution, or a creature of God?’ ‘A human being is made of developed particles. God didn’t create the world. God created only one thing, the first big blast, and then his work was over. After the big blast, there has been the evolution of particles. ‘How did evolution set groups of well-disposed and homogeneous cells and give rise to intelligence? Did it happen by chance?’ ‘Not by chance! Bacteria come from the earth. We eat food, and after digestion we excrete. The excretion produces worms, insects, and then bigger insects, likewise, intelligence develops more and more to create self-consciousness. If you look at a leaf through a microscope, you’ll see the particles moving. This is called chemical resonance, which causes further evolution. Resonance is the movement inside the particles. All particles vibrate. The entire universe vibrates. Okay, now I have to go,’ said Hari.”

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