Fire of love in the direction of the heart

At Damanhur every year at the end of December, we gather at the spiral in Damjl and hold a ritual bonfire to celebrate the Nativity (birth of the divinities) and the beginning of the Epagomenoi days. The qualities and behavior of the fire can give synchronic indications for the present moment and future events. The pyre is built up with very long, thin wood trunks and branches so that at a certain point, it collapses and falls in a certain direction, which can also be meaningful. The Sages light the fire, the King and Queen Guides are present and the Sacred Dancers are in a circle at the perimeter of the spiral, dancing prayers in unison.

fire - 1Last year, the Nativity pyre fell toward me while I was dancing. I was standing at North, just to the right of the entrance to the spiral. With my survival instincts intact, I stopped dancing and jumped a little to the left to get out of the way as it fell, though the flaming wood touched the earth without reaching me. I felt a little silly for being scared. I understood that whoever builds the pyre takes accurate measurements of the wood, so it falls without hitting anyone, neither the Sages nor the Guides, Sacred Dancers or spectators.

At this year’s Nativity fire which was held last Monday evening, we were practicing beforehand and one of the Sacred Dancers half jokingly said she was afraid it would fall on us, and I said, “Oh that’s not going to happen! Someone measures the wood and it stays inside the spiral without reaching us when it falls. I learned this last year.”

The community gathered around and the Nativity pyre was lit. It burned and grew and then… it fell in my direction (South-West). This time though, I completed the Sacred Dance movement I was doing (Damjl – capital or #1 city) without jumping aside. I was standing there watching the fire fall toward me, feeling emotion and intensity, though also a kind of tranquility, without any fear. For me, this was an indication that there had been an evolution in trusting others, in the Popolo, in the divine, in the fire itself, and there was a capacity to stay centered in this trust even in moments of apparent danger.

Some people tend to comment on the Nativity fire and other rituals like it, sharing their interpretations and readings, though this is the first time I am doing so. I don’t feel very skilled in reading signs of this kind on a big, public scale. I usually do better with more intimate and individual divinations. Although seeing as how the fire keeps falling toward me, maybe it’s not just by chance. So, I’ll also share the personal divination reading I did.

fire - 2Before the lighting of the fire, I instinctively established a code:
If the fire were to fall toward me, it means that the most important thing to focus on during the coming year is the world of the heart (which means relationships with those around me, communication, connection, unity)
If the fire were to fall away from me, it means that the most important thing to focus on is the mission of Damanhur through work and projects, within Damanhur.
If it were to fall to the left, the most important thing would be Damanhur mission, work and projects, outside of Damanhur and abroad.
And if it were to fall to the right, it means that all three of these realms are equally important.

The fire fell toward me, so my reading of it is: for me, and maybe beyond me as well, the essential thing is love. Loving each other, living in connection, really knowing each other deeply and authentically. Understanding through the heart, beyond the mind. Making an effort to connect on a soul level and learning something from others every day. This is the simple essence of what will bring about solutions and success in all spheres of life.

A Damanhur ogni anno a fine dicembre, ci avviciniamo alla spirale di Damjl per una pira, per celebrare la Natività (nascita delle divinità) e l’inizio dei giorni Epagomenoi. Le qualità e comportamenti del fuoco possono dare indicazioni sincronici per il momento e eventi futuri… Continue reading


breathe in.

It’s time to inhale.

So… I admit. I’m exhausted. Not like in a totally heavy or empty sort of way. More like drifting into stillness at the tail end of a so-many-months long exhale of uninterrupted movement, play, service, love. Fire, offerings, performances, camera lenses, gazes, in the temples and under the starry night sky open fields. So much dance. Dancing in every way. On every occasion. Birth, death. Equinox. Two steps forward, three steps back… breathing deep and flying right over the obstacles and the letting go.
Magnetizing the tappi.
Italian driving adventures. Velocity, autostrada. Torino. Ivrea. Milano Malpensa after midnight.
Going to new places, ancient ones too, coming home. Healing, dreaming, building. Making, art. Orienting, trees. Harvesting.
Cleansing. Alchemy. Ritual magic. From Solstice and back again, from one full moon to the next. Every week, repeat.
Translating, everything.
Writing, in stellar and human languages. So many voices and stories insisting on coming through the filter of my body, mind. voice.
Connecting the dots… communicating, with everyone, the Dutch TV personality wandering around our kitchen and interrogating me about my love life and future children, all the hundreds of people who ask me the same questions about how long I’ve been here and how I did I end up here in the first place and what do I do and what is my ‘typical’ day like and and where on earth am I from anyway? …
Escaping. Sun-bathing.
And now … it’s the darkness of new moon and time to breathe in again. Refill and filter through. In solitude, in the shadow of the mountains, in the starlight always nourishing me.


The Apprentice Befana loves to dance

During the most recent meeting and celebration of the Epiphany for the Damanhur Way of the Oracle group (which among other things, holds the full moon Oracle ritual) last January, Shama Viola the current “Befana” was preparing to pass on the role to a new person, only to discover that the consensus from the group was that Shama is to keep the role for now, while she finds and trains an apprentice. (The Befana is a role within the Way of the Oracle that is annually bestowed upon a lucky sage at the Epiphany, and throughout the year, the Befana occasionally shares messages of wisdom with the community.)

Befana3So, among the names that were spontaneously yelled out by the crowd to suggest an apprentice Befana, I heard mine. I felt curious about this potential new adventure. I was tempted by the fun props and witchy hats involved, though I stayed silent (since I am careful about accepting a new role without completely understanding what it means, knowing how a casual “yes” can turn into years and lifetimes of responsibility and commitment.) In any case, the moment passed, and it seemed to go in a different direction because I didn’t hear anything more about the Befana.

Then, last month, Shama writes to me saying that in her search for an apprentice, she used her trusty pendulum with the Damanhurian phone book, page by page, and discovered that it is to be… Quaglia Cocco! She asked the question and verified it three times just to be sure, and it seems that I am the “chosen” one for this role. I should have known that a room full of Oracle Way folks can’t be wrong…

So after consulting with Shama to begin to step into the Befana’s shoes, here’s my first article.

Sometimes we may find ourselves far from Damanhur or other places that feel sacred or like home… for various reasons, to visit relatives, for business trips. Many Damanhur citizens and initiates live almost always physically distant, even if in their hearts, their desire is to be fully present in the community, near the Temples of Humankind, with the Popolo Spirituale. In these situations, however long they last, there’s no reason to feel disconnected because of geographic distance, because as Initiates, we are the first temples, living in the sacredness of our bodies, which are optimal alchemical laboratories and repositories of knowedge and memories. During my life as a traveler and dancer, I have learned how to reconnect with a sense of the sacred, even in the most remote places, through breath, movement, and body awareness as a means of asacred dance 1wakening. Let’s take a look at the sacredness of dance in different traditions, to better understand how the concept of the body-temple, with ritual opening to the divine through movement, is really universal. Almost all the peoples of the earth have practices of sacred dance, and of course at Damanhur, we do too! Continue reading


Today. Damanhur Year 39° day 3. Quaglia new year day 2.

Nia! You are so luscious and good, I am grateful to be in your community embrace again! Fire and Air. ferocity and joy. tears and sunshine. Somehow I always seem to be surrounded by beautiful women: this time, elders and a pregnant mother, like-minded community, from cellular to global, body wisdom alive at Dance Space in Ashland, Oregon.

recupero serata giovedì, all caught up until I miss another one this Thursday driving south to San Francisco again… so many delights in the coming month! reports to come.

at the Imagewellsprings, quiet non-festival time, under a tree, pranatherapy – flower essence healing trade with Julie Heather, met in ‘random’ conversation… yes, it’s just a coincidence that I met someone with my childhood name while returning to the womb in the hot water last night nude at the lithia baths… every birthday, remembrance of my origins. stellar contract signed in starlight, dive-bombing into birth outside Cleveland Ohio, then midwest to Texas… a long way from the horizon with two suns.