It was extraordinary, yesterday, to switch between television channels in many different parts of the world and to find the same pictures on every one - the rescue of the Chilean miners.
And deservedly so. It was a tale of bravery, character, technical brilliance, human determination and of miracles. It was an event that was filled with symbolism, such as light and dark, upper world and lower world, death and re-birth, sun and moon, test and initiation. It is impossible to imagine how the men felt to be buried deep underground for 17 days with little prospect of rescue - and then to be given hope as first contact with the outside world was made.
It was in every sense a life-changing experience, a private journey of self-discovery as well as a very public spectacle. In time the miners and their families will be forgotten as the media spotlight moves elsewhere, but for each of the trapped men their lives will never be the same again, and nor will their souls. Some of them will be wiser and stronger, more appreciative of life and more compassionate; some will be more aware of their spiritual self and connection; some will be distracted by the lure of temporary fame and fortune; some will will turn to drink or drugs to forget.
Meanwhile, each year thousands of miners are killed in Chile, China, America and in other mining countries in accidents caused through poor regulation and carelessness. Perhaps the momentous events in a remote desert in Northern Chile will help to prevent the unnecessary deaths, though I doubt it. As I celebrate the return of 33 men to life and light, I light a candle for those who were not so lucky.