Now that I am “home” in Damanhur after a 33 day journey, I reflect on the viaggio of the past month, beginning with bringing Damanhur School of Meditation teachings to Tamera in Portugal and concluding with a Burning Man Symposium held like an egg in a nest at Esalen in Big Sur, California. It’s so heartening to see those of us who carry and move within group identities connecting in with each other deeply and dissolving boundaries in these collaborative endeavors.
I have noticed that Damanhur facilitates transformation within people in a certain direction, and Tamera does so too on a different and unique trajectory. Holding the Damanhur Path to Spiritual Freedom course in Tamera brought the participants into a movement that ended up in a different place than either of those, a beautiful synergy of the gifts from each source, sparking joy, authenticity and liberation.
The same thing happened during the Burning Man Symposium at Esalen I feel. The unique alchemy of each container poured together to create softly exploding fireworks of pure magic that mixed the sound of the Pacific ocean waves crashing into the night with the smell of sulfur in the steam of the baths and the taste of miso soup and marinated kale, together with the roar of power tools and high caliber laughter, swigs of tequila, pink hair and building up something colorful and creative just to set it on fire immediately. Somehow it worked.
One of the reasons that life at Damanhur is so immensely satisfying, even though so intensely demanding, is the gratitude that comes back to us at unexpected moments, from friends and guests who come here and connect. Here is a message from my dear friend Safed/Tamera whom I met while camping together at the Heebeegeebee Healers at Burning Man. She reflects on Damanhur after an initial visit last April…
“I feel the time has come for me to express my gratitude for my experience at Damanhur. Due to my connection to you and the general level of love and respect that you command, I was treated as a revered guest in a way that felt very inclusive and connecting. Distinguished from the Damanhurians and the New Lifers, I still felt a part of something. I discovered new manifestations of the spirit and devotion and expanded my worldview about what a spiritual life and community means. I was awestruck at the sheer volume of the “work” that Damanhurians have produced and do produce, the magnificence of the Temples and the labyrinths attested to that in a visual way but there was a sense of something deeper, a drive to search deep and then out of that searching to produce, to create, to express the depths of the being.”
My name is Quaglia Cocco, which means “Quail Coconut” in Italian. I live in Damanhur Spiritual EcoCommunity in northern Italy as a full time resident “A” citizen. This means I live in one of the nucleo communities and fully participate in all aspects of Damanhur, so: the social and community life, the spiritual tradition and rituals, and the aspect connected to playful transformation. I am the first and (so far) only born-and-raised American who has made this particular choice of full immersion Damanhur.
I often hear the questions, “How did you hear about Damanhur? … How did you come here? … How did you come to live here?!?” asked rather incredulously. Yes, it does seem unlikely that an Ohio-born, Texas-raised nomadic Renaissance artist with ancestral roots in China and Taiwan and educational roots in Berkeley, California and tribal roots in San Francisco, with a tendency to hop tropical islands and fire dance all over the world … would decide to settle in provincial northern Italy at the foothills of the Piedmont Alps. Well, this isn’t just an Italian mountain village here, folks. This is Damanhur. I could live anywhere in the world, and I chose to live here. But how?
Like many important, life-altering choices, it all started at Burning Man.