A LIST OF FORTY-TWO BOOKS TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

It was July 2000. While I was admiring the vault of the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, a gray-haired guy about forty-five years old, with a southern Italian accent, came up to me. We talked about religion for a little while and then parted ways.

After about half an hour, I saw him again, sitting on a bench in the subway and waiting for his train.

“You are here again! Well! Since we meet again, it is not by chance. So, I want to give you this gift,” he said.

He took from his pocket a sheet of paper, a little bit crumpled, with writing on the front and back, and handed it to me. Meanwhile, the train arrived. Getting on the train, he waved his hand to me and smiled from ear to ear.

The train left. I have never seen that man again in my life, but the precious sheet of paper is still with me.

The listed books range over many subjects: literature, philosophy, meditation, cultures, and religions. There are books about Sufism, Gurdjieff, Saint Augustine, Plato, Osho, and so on. The titles are handwritten, so difficult to decipher. Some are almost impossible to read. Yet, there is a bookseller in my hometown who helped me to read the titles. Finally, we deciphered all the titles except two.

From time to time, I give a copy of the list to some friends of mine.

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

A RAINBOW IN ENNA (SICILY)

In my hometown of Enna, after two days of wind, rain and sleet, the rainbow appeared this morning. It means there will be good weather tomorrow.

The Old Testament reports that after the Flood, which lasted forty days, the rainbow appeared. It was the sign of the covenant between God and man. God regretted having sent the Deluge and promised that he would no longer punish the earth because of the wickedness of man.

As a sign of the alliance with man, he created the rainbow.

After bad weather, the rainbow appears. It is an allegory of life, which passes through an alternation of storm and sunshine. Sometimes it flows smoothly and sometimes stormy, but in the end, there is the rainbow to smile at life.

The rainbow has seven colors, as there are seven musical notes, seven days of a week, seven chakras, and so on. Number seven means good luck.

Certainly, there is something magic in the amazing seven-color arc that connects the sky to the earth!

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

THE HISTORY OF SANTA LUCIA

Santa Lucia belonged to a rich family from Syracuse (Sicily). From a young age, she wanted to consecrate herself to Jesus and made a vow of chastity. However, her mother wanted to give her in marriage to a pagan, named Timbrione. Since Lucia refused to marry him, he denounced her as a Christian. She was arrested and sentenced to spend her life in a brothel.

When the jailers tried to move her from her cell to be taken to the prostitution house, her body became so heavy that it was impossible to move. In the year 304 AD, Lucia passed away in her cell.

In the year 1039, the Byzantines stole the body of Santa Lucia and took it to Constantinople. However, during the fourth crusade, the Venetians took the saint’s body to Venice, where it is currently located.

I visited the glass sarcophagus where the remains of Santa Lucia are kept and I can testify, having seen it with my own eyes, that her flesh is still stuck to her body, despite almost two thousand years have passed since her death.

The feast day of Santa Lucia is December 13. On this day, many families in Sicily make a special meal called cuccìa. ̀It is made of boiled wheat seasoned with chocolate or sweet ricotta, honey, and pieces of candied fruit.

The tradition of cooking the cuccìa has lasted for many centuries and is still alive.

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

THE ROLE OF THE CONFRATERNITIES IN ENNA (SICILY)

Since time immemorial, Enna has been a city devoted to religiosity. When the Roman orator Cicero stayed in the city to gather evidence against the Roman governor Verres, he had the feeling that the inhabitants of Enna were omnes sacerdotes (all priests).

Until the central government requisitioned churches and convents even for military uses, in the small city of Enna there were sixty-four churches, seven monasteries and seven convents.

Today, also due to the lack of vocations to the priesthood, there is only one convent and two monasteries. As for the churches, they are less than a third of the previous ones. Some were demolished to widen the roads, others collapsed due to lack of maintenance.

The churches still kept in good condition are those that house a confraternity.

One of the oldest confraternities is that of the Most Holy Savior, which dates back to the Middle Ages. It is said that the Knights Templar founded it. The brethren wear a white tunic with a yellow cloak, and their emblem is a Templar cross.

The confraternity maintain the church quite well and recently has inaugurated a few exhibition rooms for ancient paintings and sacred objects.

It’s a mystery! Religion can never die!

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

THE MAIN TEMPLE OF DEMETER IN SICILY

According to some, the main temple of Demeter in Sicily stood where the cathedral of Enna now stands. The construction of the Catholic temple was commissioned by Queen Eleonora d’Angiò at the beginning of the fourteenth century. She was a fervent Catholic and wanted to eradicate the cult of Demeter which was still alive in the hearts of the people of Enna.

In 1942, the king of Italy declared the cathedral of Enna a national monument and in 2008, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

Since the building of the cathedral, the procession in honor of Demeter has been replaced by the one in honor of Our Lady, but basically nothing has changed. The devotion of the people of Enna towards Demeter is still unaltered; just the name of the deity has changed.

Today, the municipal band performed some musical pieces in front of the cathedral. However, the joy of the past years was missing. For the second consecutive year, the mother goddess Demeter could not be celebrated.

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

A VISIT TO A DISUSED SICILIAN CLOISTERED CONVENT

Long ago, there were many cloistered convent in my hometown of Enna (Sicily). Over the years, they have been closed due to lack of vocations. Ten years ago, the Convent of St Mark was also abandoned. It was the last one left. The Carmelite nuns had lived there since the thirteenth century, but in the end they gave up, for they were too few to manage the large building which stood on an area of about five thousand square meters.

Yesterday, it was possible to visit a small part of it with a guide. I took some photos and tried to figure out life in a cloistered convent.

Nowadays, the world has become more and more atheist. People don’t even go to church, imagine if they lock themselves up in a convent.

Once, about one hundred and fifty Sisters lived in this place. After they crossed the threshold, they couldn’t get out anymore. Even after they died, they remained in the convent. In fact, there was a kind of cemetery in the basement where the bodies were placed on stone seats and decayed.

A long time ago, it was not easy to become a cloistered nun, for a dowry was needed. Usually, the nuns came from wealthy families and brought with them silverware and other goods.

I saw a lot of gratings in the convent. The nuns looked at the world only through the gratings, just like inmates.

Only one room on the top floor was surrounded by windows without gratings. The view was very beatiful. You could admire all of Enna from up there. A bell hung in one of the windows. Who knows what that bell was for? The guide said that the nuns came to this room to meditate. Was their life wasted? I don’t think so. A life spent searching for God is never wasted!

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

GREAT MUSIC PLAYED BY A BEGINNER

The book of Revelation, or Apocalypse, tells of an angel who plays the trumpet. There is closeness between religion and music. Famous is Saint Augustine’s saying, he who sings prays twice. It means that if one praises God by music or songs, his prayer is more effective than prayers made of spoken words.

Music is a universal language. Everybody can understand and feel it. Even with the extraterrestrials we can communicate through music. Music is a path toward God. I can’t imagine paradise without music.

As I searched for an answer to my basic question, is there life after death? I couldn’t miss this important path to God, music. But what to do? At that time I was sixty-three years old. My hands and brain were too stiff to play a musical instrument. Nevertheless, I wanted to study music. So, I started learning the piano.”

This is an excerpt from the autobiographical novel The Vibrations of Words

 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

MY REVIEW OF RUNNING TO RESURRECTION BY CLARK BERGE

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All great masters teach that the secret to get enlightenment is to live life here and now, neither in the past nor in the future. Running is not different from the walking meditation of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, on the condition that you are alert and watch yourself while you are walking or running.

A marathon is also a metaphor of life. Clark Berge took part in the Half Moon Bay International Marathon, California, when he was 58 years old. It was hard to complete the marathon, but he finally arrived at the finishing line in time.

What I appreciate a lot in this book is Clark Berge’s homily to the baboons he met while running in South Africa. “There is something beautiful about just being a baboon, just being who you are,” he says to the baboons.

What a difference between a baboon and a man! The former cannot have split personality, while men often show themselves differently from what they are. Don’t you think that being sincere, honest, consistent with oneself, natural, and spontaneous is the real finish line which we should run for?

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

CEMETERIES IN SICILY

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Enna’s cemetery is large enough to look like a town.  It has broad avenues and tall tombs. Many tombs are similar to small houses. They have a room inside with walled niches and an altar where once was celebrated Mass on November 2.

I dare say that the cemeteries in Sicily are unique. I have visited some burying places while traveling around the world, but they were completely different than the Sicilian cemeteries, for every population on earth has its own way of treating the dead, depending on its culture and traditions.

In Italy, before the Napoleonic edict, the dead were buried in the churches. Later, this custom fell into disuse.

My maternal grandmother, Paolina, used to keep in her family tomb a few chairs for herself and her family, relatives and friends that came to visit the tomb or had the chance to pass by it.

This is an excerpt from November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

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

THE DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION IN SICILY

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PRESS RELEASE
Now Available for Kindle, iPad, and other e-Readers

Novel Captures The Day of the Dead Celebration in Sicily

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily is a thought-provoking story that captivates from beginning to end. The Day of the Dead is an important festival in many cultures, originating 3,000 years ago in Mexico with the Aztecs. Visiting Spaniards in the 1500s adopted the celebration, taking it home to Europe.

It is a day when children receive gifts from those who have died, and they eat special bone-shaped cakes. Cemeteries are packed with visitors placing flowers at gravesites and lighting candles in their tombs, which can look like small houses.

On such a day on the isle of Sicily, Mario Chiaramonte goes to the cemetery to visit the graves of his friends and relatives. As he strolls through the graveyard, he sees some special tombs, including those of a poet, a nobleman, and a Mafia boss. Mario also discovers some truths about living, its goodness and evil, and ultimately comes to see his own life in a different perspective.

Expect romance, adventure, life, death, and a rollicking good read, including this cultural note:

“In some tribes that I visited in Tanzania, the dead were buried in front of the house where they had lived, but before being placed into an underground niche on the side of the pit that had been dug, the dead person was put on a chair in front of his house for a few hours. This way, the relatives and friends could offer condolences to the family.” Such is life … and death.

About the Author: Ettore Grillo was born in 1946 in Enna, Sicily, where he was an attorney for 37 years. This is his fourth work. His previous books are Travels of the Mind, The Vibrations of Words, and A Hidden Sicilian History.

“The cultural heritage behind the fascinating celebration The Day of the Dead is explored in this finely honed novel. We are pleased to be the publisher.”Lynn Eddy, VP of acquisitions, Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency

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

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

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