I remember the tingling excitement I felt at the thought of becoming a Damanhur citizen, in those days when it was all still a dream within a dream. Then, the endless questions and unknowns would spin in my head, and I wondered if I could really manifest it as a destiny, with so many practical things to consider and resolve.
Here a few frequently asked questions I’ve heard from people considering citizenship at Damanhur and responses based on my experience here. Whether you are coming for the new temporary citizenship or longer, or just browsing through the website, I hope this brings clarity and ignites the courage for you to dive into your dreams…
Do I need to know Italian to live in Damanhur?
Italian is an important element in integrating with the core of Damanhur’s teachings and social life. However, on a short term basis, such as the temporary citizenship, I think people can also do well with good English skills, while learning basic Italian along the way. Many of the “traditional” new citizens haven’t known very much Italian when they began the New Damanhurian program. There is a weekly Italian course for new international citizens now. The evening “serata” community meetings are translated into various languages, and most courses can be as well. Almost all nucleos have at least one person who speaks English (or sometimes Spanish, French, German) well, and some people want to practice their English. I sense that Damanhurians are beginning to open up to a vision of international inclusiveness.
I learned Italian while traveling and during a three month intensive course at the university for foreigners in Perugia. My aunt teaches Chinese at the University there, and she invited me to go and take the intensive before I even arrived at Damanhur for the first time. Very sychronistic, and really one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in my life. It gave me a solid basis of grammar and vocabulary, and since then, conversations, courses and everyday life in Italy have added to my learning. I was intensely determined to learn Italian, knowing that it would open many pathways at Damanhur. I am in love with the language too, it’s intoxicating. So, I refused to speak English to anyone during the three month intensive and did everything I could in Italian, writing lists, sending text messages. I stubbornly set the intention to learn Italian really well, right away, and it worked. I have a mind for languages, though I think anyone can do it. It takes getting over the fear and embarrassment of stumbling through many situations of speaking bad Italian before really getting it. Now after a couple of years, I’m very nearly fluent.
If I move to Damanhur, can I get a job there?
This is a very individual question, depending on job skills, language skills, the synchronicity of the moment. If you are seriously interested in coming as a citizen, I recommend you write to firstname.lastname@example.org describing your experience and interest, and those who are coordinating new citizens can offer you guidance with this.
At Damanhur, can you do therapies and healing work that isn’t Damanhurian?
Before coming to Damanhur, I was a Reiki Master and had been teaching Reiki classes, doing Swedish massage therapy too. I have some other trainings such as Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage, a spiritual massage technique that I learned from Maria Lucia Bittencourt Sauer at Esalen.
In terms of energy work, the main practice of energy healing at Damanhur is pranatherapy, and Reiki is not practiced. I’ve inquired about this many times, and it seems that the main reason is: with pranatherapy, there is a method for therapists to discharge energy after a certain number of sessions given. So, there’s more security with using this method here, and it’s more in harmony with what’s happening on a spiritual level. Although it took some releasing of attachments about the teachings and achievements I had with Reiki, I have been using pranatherapy with great success. I have graduated from the School for Spiritual Healers through the Olami Damanhur University, and I received an activation to do pranatherapy sessions at the end of the first year intensive. I’ve been doing pranatherapy occasionally for friends here, because there are already seasoned healers who work as official healers at Damanhur, and I’ve been occupied with other things. Recently, I had a chance to do healing treatments rather intensively at Burning Man. I reconnected with the Heebeegeebee Healers, a group of healers I camped with in past years on the playa. I offered lots of pranatheray sessions there throughout the event, really feeling the power and potential of it. One of the things I love about pranatherapy is that it’s a 12 minute session, very time efficient. Also, I see the value of having a specific method to discharge energy periodically. It’s so necessary. I see the negative effects on healers who don’t discharge, and it can be quite dis-equilibrating and even have physical manifestations. In the healers school, I also learned how to do Damanhurian massage and how to use Selfica in healing.
I’ve done some massage trades here, and there are Damanhurians and people in the area trained in various types of massage who do offer their work. I believe the idea around healing work at Damanhur is that people who come to Damanhur as guests generally want to experience uniquely Damanhurian things, so the therapies that are offered tend to be the Damanhurian therapies. Some people also offer non-Damanhurian therapies, and have various fields of research and practice. Setter has developed Heartfelt Touch. Nautilo teaches yoga and has a whole system of chakra studies that he’s integrated with the Damanhurian methods. Oriolide works with flower essences and has integrated that. I was also teaching yoga pre-Damanhur, including acrobatic-partner yoga. I see the potential in this current Damanhurian era of experimentation and openness to introduce some different movement arts into the mix. I have founded a Damanhur Ecstatic Dance community. I also do fire dance and often have the opportunity to do performances at our parties and community events.
With these kinds of questions, I find that if I summon up my patience and humility from deep within (breaking through the intensely proud and impatient Leo ascendant exterior and calling forth the Virgo influence), I can find ways to value my past experience, express my talents and do what I love. It’s just a matter of first learning what’s already happening here and creating an opening to introduce my colors and experiences into the mix.
If I come as a citizen, do I need to participate in the School of Meditation? What if I have another spiritual practice?
The School of Meditation was the first pillar created at Damanhur, and so it serves as a foundation for many aspects of life here. Temporary citizens aren’t required to take part. The idea is if someone really loves Damanhur and decides to stay, it’s a choice they can make when they want, just as people who have been here for 30 years are constantly making the choice to participate in Meditation, and other aspects of Damanhur. It must come from love and free will.
I practiced at a Zen Buddhist center in Berkeley then San Francisco for many years. Here, I feel free to continue zen meditation when I want, though maybe I do so for 5 minutes instead of 5 days at a time. 🙂 I feel like I naturally distanced myself from those practices over the years. I don’t feel like I’ve renounced them, it’s more like they’ve become unnecessary as I am following this new pathway, with new tools for achieving results, new rituals and things to experiment with. What I learned through Buddhist philosophy and meditation stays with me. The ideal of Damanhur is to be very inclusive, having shamans and people of all traditions doing their practices at the Open Temple, for example. The Labyrinth and the Temple of Peoples honoring spirituality from all over the world. I’m happy to see this ideal being translated ever more into intention and practice. Again, if you have a specific circumstance, we can explore it together. Feel free to leave a comment or write me!