Dante: In Quest of Paradise
Throughout the ages, many have been graced with such experience – visionaries, shamans, artists & poets the world over like Dante Alighieri, the supreme Italian poet who - in a moment out of time – a moment of divine grace - at the end of his long journey through the depths of hell and purgatory looks back, on the advice of his beloved Beatrice who waits for him at the edge of paradise & guides him to his bliss.
This is the gift all these souls bring – this opportunity to stand back - if only for a moment - to look at our world – at our own journey’s – our sorrows & joys – and in so doing - create a different world – here, now, on earth. But this is not where Dante began.
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Canto one: Inferno, is the furthest distance from heaven’s bliss & from the insights he gained above – it is the densest frequency within Dante’s cosmology.
I cannot well repeat how there I entered, he tells us,
So full was I of slumber at the moment.
It is a hard thing to speak of, how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear. It is scarcely less bitter than death: but, in order to tell of the good that I found there, I must tell of the other things I saw there.
And the deeper into hell they go the suffering they see is more terrible to behold - until at last they come to depths where Lucifer, the fallen angel resides in the pit of the abyss.
Their tale is far too long to tell here of course – but suffice to say – many lessons are learned & much is understood.
And later, much, much later – at the moment when he looks back from the edge of paradise where we began – only then does he fully know – and even then only fleetingly.
Yet we can say of Dante that in the end he came to understand that everything is in all of us – good & evil and everything inbetween. Whatever we are putting out comes back to us in some way – collectively and individually too as the case may be. And this is how it is.
Such songs have always unified Italians, always held them together through past danger. Yet whilst the crisis has brought out the very best - it has brought the very worst as well. And this is a danger for all of us. As I write – on the 28th March – stories are beginning to emerge of hardships being just too hard to bear in the South of Italy – where people are already poor – and where most are pulling together some are pulling apart. Civil unrest is feared, theft but also profiteering – cashing in –desperate & even malicious crime – violence – and dark forces at both high and low levels - corruption like Dante saw - its perpetraitors paying for their sins deep within his Inferno.
Only time will tell how this present crisis will evolve - which parts of us will rise to the challenge - which parts will come through - and what kind of a world we might all have a the end of it!
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