There are many ways of approaching a volcano. The most powerful is to attempt ascension to the top parts. But reaching the summit is not the same as possessing its mystery and knowledge. There are other aspects that are essential: as every traveler knows, travel is not the goal, but the path. And the path of this mountain with a fiery red heart is in the flora of asphodel and astragal, in the vegetation of the beech forest of oaks of chestnut poplars, no less than in the stones of its sudden deserts of basalt ash lava. Then there are further dimensions, which concern the symbolic universe in which the mountain is grafted: and here poetry and myth require the visitor to review the whole structure of his thought. And to us living in the 21st century, who have as a gift the instantaneous knowledge of things that a moment ago were unknown to us, revisiting the system of legends and archetypes of the collective unconscious is not only necessary but becomes urgent and mandatory when you enter in touch with places like this.
If we tried to reflect on why the legend of Enceladus (Prometheus’ companion in the revolt against the celestial throne, which the myth wants buried under the island of Sicily, where Etna is still seething with its spirit of fire) is far less known than the harmless legend of Polyphemus, if we were to realize that we know nothing of Pan or Hecate, that these places are the powerful spirits, if we then found traces of a mythology of volcanoes which, beyond local differences, with characters of deep identity, it is widespread throughout the East (from Fujiyama to Krakatoa), it invests the Himalayas (even if the fire does not reach the surface), it engages in the Caucasus (where Prometheus remained chained for more than a thousand years) , crosses the equator and returns to the Andes, finds itself unexpected in Antarctica and resurfaces indomitable in Europe (from Iceland to Italy), then we should start a restart of our knowledge: and perhaps this is what we can do together. And this is what we are going to do.
Walking step by step every goal is reachable. Contemplating nature our thoughts melt like snow in the sun. Meditating in silence and listening to the breath, higher thoughts emerge and bring us into correspondence with that part of us that already lives in the Sun.
“Etna” is a Fondazione M’s page, whose theme is the highest active volcano in Europe considered naturalistically, for the experiences of physical ascension (trekking) and meditation (rajayoga), lived in the relationship with the symbolic imagination of this volcano. For information and contacts write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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