The shamanic power of Mahjong tiles…

…games and competitions.

Throughout history, different cultures have expressed the pleasure of connecting to others through playing in games, races and competitions. Having fun in this way creates deep connections and lightens conflicts. Peoples around the world have always devised playful ways to express this kind of connection in their own culture.

The Damanhurian Popolo has also been exploring this modality for a while now, playing and having fun as a way of connecting different people and groups. We value living with a sense of humor and not taking ourselves too seriously. We have the Game of Life, which since 1983, has made sure that the spirit of play is alive in hearts and everyday lives. We have had historical competitions, ones on the beach at Gargano in Southern Italy… Then there is the Horusiadi (a kind of Damanhurian Summer Olympics). There is also a new space at Damjl called the Giocoteca that creates spaces and opportunities to play and throw yourself in the game. On Tuesday evenings at the nucleo community Magilla, you can often choose to participate in the right challenge for yourself, whether playing board games, video games, foosball or a pretty fierce game of volleyball.

mahjong tilesThinking about the value of play, I remember when I was a child and I went to visit my relatives in Taiwan, and almost every evening after dinner, they played Mahjong, a Chinese game where you win points and sometimes money by creating favorable combinations of tiles that are like playing cards. My grandparents, aunts and uncles would sit there for hours divided in tables of four, snatching up and pushing around the tiles with their signature click-clack sound. I asked myself, why do they spend so much time playing this game? It was an immovable ritual, an absolute priority.

Sometimes I would play with them, and often win too! And I began to understand the fascination of Mahjong, the magic of it all. Gradually entering into connection with the other players in a network of telepathic thought, navigating with strategy and speed. Sometimes synchronicity would make extraordinary and improbable combinations with the tiles laid down and passed from one person to the next. Basically, it was a veiled shamanic school. Even the tiles contained interesting natural elements: wind from the four directions, different kinds of dragons – red, green and white, the four seasons of the year, and four flowers (bamboo, chrysanthemum, orchid and plum).

These experiences in my youth taught me that giving space to playing and games nourishes us, creates bonds, opens news doors and refines our perceptive and magical powers.

Quaglia Cocco, Apprentice Befana

Il potere sciamanico delle tessere di Mahjong… i giochi e le competizioni

Da quando il tempo è tempo, i Popoli hanno sempre espresso la piacevolezza della connessione attraverso il gioco, le gare e le competizioni. Il divertimento lega gli animi e alleggerisce i conflitti. Qualsiasi popolo ha sempre escogitato modalità giocose per esprimere nella propria cultura modi di connettersi l’una all’altro.

Anche il Popolo damanhuriano da tempo sta esplorando questa modalità, che attraverso il gioco ed il divertimento sta legando i vari gruppi. Valorizziamo il vivere con l’umorismo e il non prendersi troppo sul serio. Abbiamo il Gioco della Vita che da 1983 fa si che lo spirito del gioco sia vivo nella nostra vita e nei nostri cuori. Abbiamo avuto le gare storiche, quelle sulla spiaggia a Gargano… Poi le Horusiadi (una sorta di Olimpiadi d’estate a Damanhur). C’è anche uno nuovo spazio a Damjl che si chiama la “Giocoteca” che crea spazi ed opportunità di giocare e giocarsi. C’è la martedì sera al nucleo comunità Magilla dove spesso si può scegliere la sfida più adatta a sé, tra giochi a tavolo, videogiochi, calcetto o un torneo di pallavolo piuttosto accanito.

Pensando del valore del gioco, mi ricordo quando ero piccola e andavo a trovare i miei parenti in Taiwan, e quasi ogni sera dopo cena giocavano a Mahjong, un gioco da tavolo cinese dove si guadagnano punti e a volte soldi, creando opportune combinazioni di tessere. I miei nonni e gli zii si sedevano divisi in tavoli a quattro, scambiando e spostando le tessere lisce con i clic-clac, immobili per delle ore; mi chiedevo: perché passano così tanto tempo a questo gioco? Era un rito immutabile, una priorità assoluta.

A volte giocavo con loro, e spesso vincevo anche! E ho cominciato a capire il fascino del Mahjong, la magia. Man mano entrando in connessione con gli altri giocatori in una rete di pensiero telepatico, da navigare con strategia e velocità. A volte la sincronicità faceva succedere combinazioni straordinarie e improbabili con le tessere lasciate e passate uno all’altro. Insomma, era una scuola sciamanica non-dichiarata. Anche le tessere contenevano elementi naturali interessanti: il vento delle quattro direzioni, tre tipi di dragone mahjong flowers– rosso verde e bianco, le quattro stagioni dell’anno, e quattro fiori (bambù, crisantemo, orchidea, pruno).

Queste esperienze della mia gioventù mi hanno insegnato che dare spazio al gioco ci nutre, crea legami, apre nuove porte, raffina i nostri poteri percettivi e magici.

Quaglia Cocco, l’Apprendista Befana


My name is Quaglia Cocco and I love coconut

cocco heartFrom my heart, I thank the Popolo of Damanhur for my new plant name Cocco (Coconut)! I have loved coconuts all my life and having it come to life within me as my name is a great honor that touches me deeply.

Here are some of the main reasons I love coconut so much:

The reason that is closest to my heart are my grandparents. I have known only two of my grandparents, my maternal ones, who lived in Taiwan when they were still alive, close to lots of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Every once in a while when I was a kid, my parents and I would go to visit them (from Houston, Texas to Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and I have beautiful memories of all the tropical delights that they offered me: fresh coconut ready to drink and eat, opened with a machete cutting through the husk of the green coconut, heavy like a bowling ball… (and other tropical fruits, mango, banana, papaya, that have already been taken on as plant names). So, Cocco connects me to one of my origins and emotions that still warm my heart. Just as Quaglia (Quail), which is the official bird of California, helps me to feel connected with California, faraway and beloved land and another one of my key origins.

cocco dolceI have other nice memories of coconut: so many experiments in the kitchen with coconut in every imaginable form, making raw vegan desserts and specialties. Long journeys on the Hawaiian islands where I drank coconut while exchanging natural healing methods and teachings with the native Hawaiians. On Big Island, where I fire danced for the first time at Rebirth – the Hawaii Burning Man regional. Kauai in particular was the place that called me with synchronic insistence to free myself from a satisfying life in San Francisco and dive into a nomadic journey of international exploration for two years, during which I found out about Damanhur and came here to visit for the first time.

cocco tropicsThen, there are the more scientific and health related reasons. The richness of minerals, alkalinity and protein in coconut milk makes it a viable substitute for mother’s milk when the mother is unable to produce milk herself. This is practiced most of all in tropical areas, where coconut milk is fresh and available. You can also substitute coconut water for blood plasma when needed. It’s vital nourishment! Drinking coconut water before or during a long airplane flight can reduce the effects of jet lag. I’ve tried it and it works! In addition to optimum hydration, coconut water increases lymphatic system circulation, so it helps with relaxation and sleeping well on the plane or even at home. So, I hope this name and how I live it will do its part for the nourishment, wellness, relaxation and most of all fun for the Popolo! Thank you!

Quaglia Cocco

Ringrazio di cuore il Popolo di Damanhur per il nome vegetale Cocco! E’ da una vita che amo questa piante e viverla è una grande onore che mi emoziona. Continue reading

desire is all we need for unity

it’s enough to just want it
desiring and being
to be here
in the Game of Life:
I, you, we
a single being
a Popolo like no other
us, united.


it’s enough to see it
to see
your smile
emanating from the dream
in your heart.
my desire,
your living dream,
within you
inside of me,
chain of smiles,

it’s enough to feel it
all of themFreedom in Community:
a river
from the future to the now
the present moment
the only moment
that counts
that pulses
with the vitality
of the heart
yours, mine
together with joy
and free will.

~ Quaglia

Winter Solstice 2013, for my ‘viaggio‘ traveling companions who inspired me by risking, sharing and opening their hearts, to reach a new level of community unity: The SuperIndividual.

basta volerlo
volere e essere
desiderareContinue reading

Damanhur with InterPlay in Oakland, CA


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.