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.



gratitude for Gabbiano


Damjl. twilight hour. in the living room of the former nucleo Tesan. low light. leather covered sofa. seated with several New Damanhurians. a little distracted and anxious about the fire dance for the film Dreams of Damanhur that I was about to do immediately after the lesson with Gabbiano. In fact, I was already in costume, red skirt with dangling strips of cloth and performance makeup. Gabbiano treated the scene as if it were all status quo.

a ritual is like a telephone, he said. to call and communicate with the beyond, with the divine… he shared other thoughts, wisdom, cracked a few jokes, saying very little in the end. he wanted to emphasize this metaphor of the telephone with respect to rituals.

Quaglia with fire outside. Piazza del Nuovo Popolo. under a cloudy dark gray sky. preparation. a flurry of white gas and poi, spun off to remove the excess, fire fans, adrenaline, music, videocameras, guest fire dancer Marisa, the lighter … lit … go! fire in motion, blurred vision of golden illuminated faces, of fire reflected by the eyes. fire in the heart, fire of the soul.

the next day, during Falco’s Friday evening question and answer session with the guests, during his response to a question like, “As an artist, how do you find time for inspiration if you’re always so busy?” Falco spontaneously thanked us for the fire dance performance, saying that he had a creative problem to resolve, and while he was watching the dance, a solution arrived to him… thus illustrating to the guest that by participating in many events, he can also find useful ideas and inspiration in unexpected moments. nothing is wasted.

thinking about that night, I am very grateful for Gabbiano, who passed me a kind of key during his brief and focused lesson, with which I opened a dimensional door, whether or not I was aware of it. during the rituals to come for Gabbiano, to honor his luminous and profound soul, I hope he hears us, that his voice arrives to us like an infinitely precious telephone call.

Damjl. la sera ore blu. dentro il salone del ex-nucleo di Tesan. luce bassi. divano coperto di cuoio. seduta, con Nuovi Damanhuriani vari. un po’ distratta ed ansiosa…

Continue reading

The journey and the destination: Damanhur

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.

Continue reading