Return to the center with Jules Verne
The caves of Borgio Verezzi in Liguria and my first fantastic book
last update 11/02/24
Entering this underground world was like being a child again, emotionally returning to those emotions of amazement, enchantment, fantastic worlds to be explored that I imagined as a child when I read the first book of my life: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne ! Despite my venerable age, that amazement has not yet faded, and Nature always manages to amaze and enchant me as in those distant times, for me it was a return to the center of the Earth!
I was in Liguria for a few days of holiday, and I discovered this place by chance, browsing on Google Maps, so one morning I thought of stopping here, and never was a more appropriate decision! I honestly didn't expect so much beauty, and so close at hand. In fact, the caves are not perched on some unattainable cliff, but are right in the town, about a fifteen minute walk from the centre, from the train station. They are recognized as the most colorful caves in Italy, in fact the concretions have amazing shapes and colours. The different colors are due to the mineral and organic substances that the rainwater absorbs and brings with it from the ground above.
They are "touristic" caves, that is, they are equipped so that they can be visited by anyone. All you need is a sweatshirt as the environment is still underground, therefore cool and humid, and non-slip shoes.
As at the beginning of a fairy tale or an adventure story, these caves were discovered by chance by three local boys, who out of curiosity lowered themselves through a hole in the ground! Here you will not take a journey to the center of the Earth, but you will only penetrate a few meters below its crust, but what wonders just a few meters below: a whole other world, then fantasy generates other rapes, and who knows what amazing horizons could reveal themselves in the eyes of the traveler who manages to take the right path and possesses the gift of sight to be able to see even the invisible inhabitants.
If you are in the area, they are absolutely worth a visit, if you are not in the area... it is worth coming!
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Cave of Borgio Verezzi, Liguria di Ponente (Savona)
Chronicles of a fantastic journey: dream or ancient reminiscences?
Audas viator terrestre centrum attinges
"The real journey began. I hadn't yet looked into that bottomless pit into which I was about to descend, the moment had come. I bent down from an overhanging rock and looked inside. My hair stood on end. The sense of emptiness came over me; I felt that my center of gravity shifted and vertigo rose to my head like an intoxication. Nothing more terrible than this attraction of the abyss. I actually hadn't taken enough "abyss lessons" at the Vor-Frelsers-Krk in Copenhagen. However, the little I had looked into that well, it was enough to allow me to realize its structure. The sheer-cut walls had many prominences which must have facilitated the descent; but even if the staircase was not missing, the railing was absent."
"The one at our feet served as a step, however it became a stalactite on the walls. The lava, porous in some parts, created small rounded ampoules: opaque quartz crystals, adorned with clear drops of glass, and suspended from the vault like chandeliers, they seemed to light up as we passed. It would have been said that the genii of the abyss were lighting up their palace to receive the guests of the Earth. "Magnificent" I exclaimed, "what a spectacle"... let's walk, let's walk... it would have been more correct to say "let's slide" as we let ourselves go without any effort along the sloping floors. It was Virgil's faciles descensus Averni (easy descent into the Underworld).
"If my gaze could go far over that blue expanse, it was because a singular light made every detail stand out. But not like the light of the Sun with its dazzling beams and the splendid extension of its rays, nor like the pale and cold light of the star of the night which is only a reflection without heat: no, the strength of that light, its trembling expansion, its clear and dry whiteness, its low temperature, and its brighter shine than that of the Moon, manifested in clearly an electrical origin. It was a kind of aurora borealis, a continuous cosmic phenomenon that filled the cave capable of containing an ocean. ... Instead of a vault entirely dotted with stars, above those clouds I felt a vault of granite that was crushing me with all its weight. Then I thought of that theory of an English captain, who said that the Earth was a vast empty sphere, inside which the air remained luminous due to its pressure, while two stars, Pluto and Prosperina, traveled their mysterious orbits there. Had he perhaps guessed the truth? ...but the words of human language are not enough for those who venture into the depths of the Earth!
"Since I had set out on my journey, I had seen various wonders; so I had to consider myself proof of any astonishment. Instead, at the sight of those letters engraved there for three hundred years, I was left in a state of dismay very similar to stupidity. And not only was it read on the I rocked the signature of the learned alchemist, but I had in my hands the tip that had traced it. I could no longer doubt the existence of the traveler and the reality of his journey, that's for sure."
"Ah! What a journey! What a wonderful journey! Having entered one volcano, we had emerged from another. And this was located over twelve hundred leagues from Sneffels, from that desolate plague of Iceland, at the edge of the world! The adventures of Our expedition had brought us to one of the most harmonious countries on Earth. We had left the region of eternal snow for those green countryside. Over our heads the gray Icelandic sky had gradually receded and now we were under the blue vault of Sicily! After a delicious snack with fruit and fresh water, we set off again to reach the port of Stromboli. It didn't seem prudent to tell us how we had arrived on the island; the typical superstition of the Italians would have led them to see some demon in us vomited from hell. There was nothing to do but present oneself as humble castaways. It was less glorious, but much safer."
Fragments from Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
VISITA INTERIORA TERRAE RECTIFICANDO INVENIES OCCULTUM LAPIDEM
In fact, the story of this fantastic journey may not be a mere far-fetched fantasy, the fruit of a visionary writer, in fact Jules Verne was not so much a visionary, but rather an initiate into certain knowledge, and like any work of art or fantasy self-respecting, has different degrees of interpretation, from the most banal and superficial one that everyone perceives, to the symbolic and more properly esoteric ones that only some can perceive.
No one knows for sure what is at the center of our planet, because no one has ever physically been there, either personally, or with drilling, core drilling or other devilry. Scientists tell us about a nucleus of molten and incandescent metal, but they are only theories, all to be verified.
Indeed, even reading Verne's story it seems that in the end it is not a real journey to the centre, but rather a journey just below the crust, a rather superficial journey, but enough to tell of a kingdom made up of large empty spaces, grandiose and astonishing sceneries, underground oceans, strange luminescences and natural laws slightly different from those on the surface. In short, Verne throws a stone into the pond, he talks to us about an opportunity, an alternative, a vision perhaps more human and spiritual than a nucleus of molten metal. At this point the ancient myths of Agharti or Agartha cannot fail to come to mind, ancient traditions scattered throughout the world, and some enterprising travelers of the past have told us "of the existence of an underground world that extends its ramifications everywhere, under the continents and even under the oceans, and through which invisible communications are established between all regions of the Earth.". (1) There would also be particular places on the surface, places of communication and access to this profound inner world. In these depths a "King of the World" and all his people would reign, and ancestral Cosmic Rituals would also be celebrated here, it is said that "there are moments, during the underground celebration of the Cosmic Mysteries, in which travelers who find themselves in the desert they stop, and the animals themselves remain silent." (1) (... the timor panicus of the ancients?).
Would our planet therefore have an internal world, beyond the superficial one that we all briefly know? If the considerations of all the ancient wisdoms which state that the macrocosm and the microcosm are similar are valid, the basic principle as above so below, as below so above of Hermes Trismegistus, then it could make sense, even if only for analogy. We ourselves have in a certain sense two lives, a conscious life where we decide, and a profound interior life that acts independently of our will: we do not decide to breathe, to digest, to make the heart beat, they are all functions independent of the our will. The heart responds to emotions and can influence our reality, more than the opposite (we cannot control the heart), in the same way the intestine is said to be our second brain, and it is often it that influences our emotional states , rather than the opposite. We therefore also have a superficial world, where we govern with our rationality, and an internal and profound world, where other laws apply and where what governs is a principle that does not depend on us, some call it the soul. If we see our planet as a Great Mother, as a great living organism, then why not think that it too has a superficial life and a deeper parallel life?
This King of the World could be a sort of soul of our planet. It governs the life of the Planet from the depths according to a non-human, non-rational logic, just like our soul does inside our body. "The title King of the World, primordial and universal legislator, does not at all designate a historical or more or less legendary character, what it actually designates is a principle, cosmic intelligence. It is important to note that these terms properly designate principles, and that they cannot be applied to human beings since they represent these same principles, so that they are essentially linked to functions, and not to individualities". (1) These are very interesting words by Renè Guenon, full of meanings with a thousand implications. We would therefore be an emanation of these principles, our most hidden depths, our soul, would be in connection with these depths, which are cosmic energies, therefore not only literally in depth, but also in the vastness of the cosmos.
It is well known that an imbalance in our depths, a separation of our conscious and rational life from our deepest being, our very soul to speak in simplistic terms, leads to states of imbalance that we call disease. Health is a state of harmony between our inner world and the external one that we manifest in everyday life. Now, on a planetary level, it is evident that this harmony has been lost for some time, our societies do not seem exactly in harmony with the deepest Spirit of the Planet, and for this reason it is properly correct to speak of a sick world, I think that on this we can agree.
"But, as the Earthly Paradise has become inaccessible, the supreme center, which is basically the same thing, can, in the course of a certain period, be externally unmanifested, and then one can say that the tradition is lost; this is precisely the condition of the current era, whose beginning dates back well beyond the limits accessible to ordinary and profane history.
The traditions relating to the underground world are found among a large number of peoples, it could be observed, in a general way, that the cult of caves is always more or less linked to the idea of an interior place or a central place, and that, from this point of view, the symbol of the cave and that of the heart are very close to each other." (1)
The fantastic stories of Jules Verne, like those of many other so-called fanstatic writers, such as Bram Stocker or Gustav Meyrink, upon careful and thoughtful reading appear like encrypted messages, allegories of hidden or profound truths, to be understood beyond the fantastical garb with which they disguise themselves.
Marcel Brion writes: "Journey to the center of the earth appears as a sort of descent into hell worthy of Orpheus, a search for the center which is the same as in all mystery religions. According to ancient myths the hero thus acquires a new life in following an authentic rebirth. Isn't it symptomatic to see Axel, Jules Verne's hero, penetrate the Earth through the crater of an extinct volcano and re-emerge into the light during the eruption of an active volcano? As for the priest who initiated the hero, it is his uncle, the strange scholar Lidenbrock whose name means he who opens his eyes." (2)
And again Daniel Compére: "The discovery of the place takes place in a sacred moment, the summer solstice, just as the initiations took place in certain rigidly established periods. First, the novice is brutally separated from his own universe and undergoes some preparatory tests: meeting with the abyss, the lepers and death, the climbing of Sneffels. The actual initiatory journey begins with the descent into the crater. The entry into the domain of death is accompanied by purification rites: lack of water, journey through the diamond and confusion in the labyrinth. The novice loses consciousness and regains it within the sacred space, Axel bathes in the primordial waters before undertaking the crossing, He is then sent in a dream to the origins of the world. He contemplates the source of life, in the beautiful in the midst of the storm he receives the baptism of fire, finally the return to the profane world. Thus that Axel who was able to learn about the abyss is now able to contemplate the highest things." (3)
And Michel Lamy ends in his essay on esotericism by Verne: "However, stating that the author has traced the structure of his books on the initiatory scheme is not sufficient. We must go further... Jules Verne's novel [not only Journey to center of the Earth] is in fact the story of a man in search of his own soul, that divine particle that each of us must discover deep inside ourselves through various trials, freeing it from the waste of matter. Let's dig to the center of the Globe if necessary..., Internalization and interior searching must be accomplished!" (4)
That there is something important in the bowels of our planet seems very probable. That this something is infernal powers that aim at the occult control of what happens on the surface, that they are aliens or that it is a King of the World, a primordial cosmic force, an initiatory center of ancient lost wisdom, that it is the soul of Mother Earth or Hell more properly speaking, there is plenty to meditate on... and please don't just call them "fantastic stories" relegating them to a sort of minor literature: the fantastic exists, and it is within us!
(1) Renè Guénon - Il Re del Mondo -
(2) Marcel Brion - L'Allemagne Romantique: le voyage initiatique -
(3) Daniel Compére - Un voyage imaginariè de Jules Verne. Voyage au centre de la Terre -
(4) Michel Lamy - Jules Vene e l'esoterismo. I viaggi straordinari, i Rosa-Croce, Rennes le Chateau - ed.Mediterranee
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