The Tao of Etna
The Tao of Etna
The Tao, in Chinese philosophy, represents the ultimate and undefinable reality, the primordial energy of the universe which underlies and unifies all the complexity of things that unfold around us. Therefore it is considered to be the source of everything and the evolutionary mechanism, the driving power of nature that is always changing through the dynamic interplay of two opposite forces, the female and male principle, the Yin and the Yang.
The symbol of Tao, originally inspired by the shady and the sunny side of a mountain, is a circle divided into two embryonic shapes, one white and the other black. It visualizes the opposite principles embracing themselves, each one containing at its core the seed of the other polarity in an ever-changing and dynamic balance.
Tao and nature
The view of nature according to the principles of Tao is quite different from the one commonly perceived in the West.
An electron or a human being, a flower or a galaxy, a volcano or a butterfly, are all manifestations of Tao and part of the same wonderful, harmonious and undivided network. If we see reality under this angle, realizing that duality and separation is only illusory, it is possible to perceive an unified field of energy that permeates nature. If we observe it and if we merge in it, we can discover a deep connection between its evolutionary mechanism and the one that lead us in our growth.
Nature is a teacher that can show us how to be attuned to the ceaseless cycles of change, in balance with ourselves and, consequently, with the universe.
Today we can have an easy access to many informations and we can enrich our lives with what we consider to be the best in different traditions from different backgrounds.
I am at the same time the individual fascinated by the wisdom of the East and the geologist that see nature in a scientific way.
Etnatao, the name I have chosen for this project, combines those two polarities.
During the excursions I lead around Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, I offer to my guests all the naturalistic details needed to appreciate the richness of such a peculiar ecosystem, but I try also to underline how volcanoes are linked to the planetary evolution in order to give them a broader experience of this place.
Especially in volcanic areas, it is easy to perceive the power of transformation of nature because it works at a very fast pace.
In our planet it manifests itself in different ways. On its surface, mountains are constantly growing and eventually they will be eroded and disappear while new ones will start forming in an endless cyclic pattern. We are not aware of it because those processes happen during millions of years and we live in a very different time frame. Around volcanoes like Mt. Etna, one of the most active volcanoes of the world, things are quite different. Due to its continuous activity, its landscape is defined a “dynamic” landscape that continuously modifies the volcanic territory at each eruption.
Over here, for instance, a new crater can grow even several hundred meters in a matter of few weeks or few months, or an old one can disappear quickly for a collapse. Mt. Etna is a natural laboratory, a living organism and a powerful engine of change.
Therefore visiting Mt. Etna give us the unique opportunity to know an extraordinary place, to see evolution at work at an incredible speed and to have the possibility to feel that nature can really be a vehicle of growth and and a way of harmony.
“Magical places are always beautiful and deserve to be contemplated. They represent a bridge between the invisible and the visible.” Paulo Coelho