Community alchemy and building a home

california-quailNow 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.

tameraThe 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 sesalenteam 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.

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Healing of love and the dream of a new world

Con voi! My most recent journey in Portugal has been very rich with events and connections.

Evora

After landing in the Lisbon airport, I immediately took a bus to Evora and after changing into my temple dance costume in a refined hotel bathroom, I found myself standing on the Temple of Diana and doing a Sacred Dance performance. It felt very powerful to claim the honor of catalyzing millennial sacred space there. The temple is usually off-limits to anyone, and it felt transgressive on a human level yet very welcome on the divine level to step up and awaken it.

temple dance - 1I sensed the deep layers of history, the primal and elemental energies still breathing underneath the projections and oppression of religion over the centuries. A sense of reclaiming, for the feminine and the goddess. I danced a prayer for the temple and opening to intimacy and union through the public art performances that followed: blind hugs - 2blindfolded hugging and eye contact with strangers. Locals, travelers from northern Europe and Chinese tour groups stopped to observe, and some were brave enough to come in and participate. A feeling of love and magic all around.

The next day Paula S. – the Portuguese art professor who had organized the temple dance and performance piece, who came to Damanhur for the first Ecovillage Design Education course we held in 2011 and is now the organizer for the Path to Spiritual Freedom (new Damanhur School of Meditation path) in Portugal – took me around to meet different people and places in the spiritual and alternative world of Evora. She explained to me that there is a tight network of people who bring light to this city, although it takes determination to keep going because they can still feel the repressive resonance of the inquisition days. Despite this, I sensed the lightness in the hearts of the people in this area of Alentejo.

Then, I went to Tamera and participated in two events, Global Love School, along with Betsy and Eddie, and the World Council.


Global Love School

fire and waterthis and the following photos from Tamera by Ian Mackenzie

The intention of Global Love School is to explore the theme of love within communitarian, spiritual and political perspectives. There were a hundred participants or so, diverse individuals involved in community, communications, activism, healing of the body, soul and earth. Continue reading

The Creative Alchemy of Living as an Artist

[crossposted from Rebelle Society]

Expressing the creative potential within our beating hearts and human bodies is one of the most fundamental desires in life. You have it, I have it. I think we all have it: wanting to make things with our own hands, carve my own wooden spoon, shape materials and textures and cut things up and blend different colors into harmony and contrast. Stay up all night crafting utilitarian objects and impractical beauty. Writing poetry that oozes from the holes in the fence that keeps my soul contained in an earthly identity. Add the extra bit of energy that makes something completely unique, adding my own personal frequency and light code, my own individual manifestation of divine spark, a paintbrush stroke just so or a dance movement that says who I am in a more complete way than an autobiography in 23,000 words.

I don’t want to live like a lonely, misunderstood, self-centered and eccentric artist. Well maybe just the eccentric part. I want to make art in my community where art isn’t just an activity or hobby to do alone after work hours or on weekends or when depressed. Art is life. Art is breathing. Art is connecting with spirit and bridging our divine nature into the things we see and sing, touch and move. Everyday. All together.

Your Art is Your Existence #artandcreativity

LCiprea wins the prize!iving as an artist … it’s inspiring and intense. It’s being a magician, it’s a creative alchemy on a grand scale. It’s shaping reality to reflect the most pristine vision of sunlight and fields of tulips and blue dusk on the Seine and shadows in the woods at night.

What does it mean to be an artist living in community? Here are some thoughts on being an artist shared by Falco – late founder of our community – who inspired, amongst other revolutionary artistic acts, the underground Temples of Humankind with visionary art to awaken the divine spark in humanity. In Damanhur, I love living and co-creating a magical reality with hundreds of others citizens in a dance of interconnectedness and free will. Here are Falco’s words…

To be an artist.

Thanks to art, each one of us can dare to express to the maximum our invested personal power, discovering talents, developing some individual particularities into skills. Art is not just painting, sculpture, there’s also poetry, word, dance, directing theatre scenes, making costumes, creating thousands of different kinds of music, where everyone’s voice can be a key to opening up toward courageous seeking and discovery.

Even in our capacity to criticize, we must, on the one hand, keep in mind the truth of the aesthetic result, and on the other hand, offer encouragement to the artist for having taken a risk.

I want to see art in its minute forms, that is, objects for everyday use, ones that come about from imitation of ritual objects, or a playful game, or motivated by a legend or a joke.

Art can stimulate in others trains of thought that were unthinkable before. #artcreativity #makeart

Art as a method to think of new things, to stimulate in people capacities and sensations, amazement, fun, scandal, putting what you are made of to the test.

singing and smilesThere is something fundamental that seeking and artistic courage can do for all of us: it can help us to open and share of ourselves. You need to have the courage to discover yourselves, to write and share poetry, to really show something of yourselves to others.

So, art is presenting who you are to other people, discovering who you really are, trusting in yourselves and in each other, truly giving of yourselves, not just showing but really giving

– Falco Tarassaco

 

Living in community is a constant theatrical practice of living this kind of generosity as an art form.

Not just offering an object, but the soul, your life’s mission ignited and on fire, burning with a thousand different flames, all blazing and sparking together in more than a lifetime of sleepless nights and saturated days.

So, don’t wait. Don’t wait to buy all the supplies you need, rent an art studio, book a gallery show and order catering for opening night, before you decide to make a mark and express your creative spark. Start today. Do something, anything that makes you feel you are creative, connected and alive.

Pick up that ukulele you brought back from Hawaii and only strummed three times. Make dinner tonight, although this time, make it with awareness lighting up your palms and knives, turning the beets and polenta into an alchemical symphony of taste and color.

The next email you write comes out as stream of consciousness with experimental use of punctuation. Let laundry folding become a sock puppet theater.

Pull out the poetry you wrote years ago and keep it in your back pocket, so casual conversation with your roommate becomes spoken word in the hallway for an audience of one.

Your soul has something to say. Let it come out and play.
 

~ Quaglia Cocco

expression of emotion and memory

Tarot cards and chicken coop doors: the ritual of a nucleo community ‘turno’

Medicinal plants in the gardenAt Damanhur, we have the idea that living in our nucleo communities is like a ritual, and ideally, we move through all our moments at home with Attention. Presence. Enchantment. It’s true, there is a palpable everyday magic in the simple moments and tasks of living in a Damanhurian nucleo. Things that may seem like normal household chores, with this intention, become dense and significant, living acts of magic.

It’s 9 o’clock and time to start my ‘turno.’ For one half-day every week, each one of us in the nucleo has our turn to watch over things, take care of cleaning and cooking, attending to guests, and additional projects like gardening, building or fixing things, deep cleaning, and working the land.

I begin. I unlock the front door, put on my work coat, lightly dusted with wood shavings, and a pair of water resistant work gloves, maybe the 8th pair I have worn down and sometimes lost in my years at Damanhur. I go outside, feeling the clear, pure chill of Valchiusella winter air on my face. I twist open Asinella offers water to the firethe metal handle of the wood burning heater. I heft and throw in one log after another, taking them from a pile of logs meticulously stacked according to size, circumference and length. I attempt to vary their shape, as I have learned that stacking alternating round and triangular pieces is most effective and energy efficient. This is one of many pieces of practical information I have accumulated over the years here, ones I never would have known otherwise and that now have become automatic. There is a certain visceral satisfaction in hefting wood, a feeling of really using the muscles of the body in this primal functionality. Wood, fire, heat. It is a symbol, it is the warmth of family, closeness, care. Life force. Camaraderie. Living consciousness in the heart of a community home.

chickens!I walk along the former greenhouses turned tool shed, bike shed and storage space. I let the chickens out of their coop as today is a sunny day, with no ice or snow on the grass, warm enough for them to go out despite the winter chill. I pull the string system my housemate Volpe Zenzero (Fox Ginger) devised to open a little hatch door from outside the chicken coop. Volpe is the devoted caretaker of the house chickens, and we joke that this is the only place in the world where a fox nurtures chickens instead of preying on them. The chickens dash out to graze in an enclosed grassy lawn… Continue reading

Damanhur with InterPlay in Oakland, CA

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Damanhur with InterPlay in Oakland, CA

How delightful to find another community of inspired souls who love to meld art, social change and playfulness! InterPlay. We are collaborating to share an evening about Damanhur, tapping into the movement and magic.