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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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

the Temples: home sweet home


when I travel around the world and come back to Damanhur,
I don’t feel like I’ve really come back…
even if I return to all the daily rituals and mechanisms of connection,
forehead to tree trunk, plates in the dishwasher, recuperating meetings,
saluting Horus from the gazebo next to the Open Temple with a wink…
until the moment I enter into the halls of the Temples.
a deep sigh, finally… home.
a wave of fresh air that penetrates the skin,
refreshing the muscles and caressing the bones.
finally I can breathe, let go, really breathe.
not a breath that descends to the sternum
and rises back up in a fit of anxiety,
but the breath that cleanses the entire universe,
beginning with the spheres on the altars in the chambers within,
the small, hidden ones full of brilliant treasures
veiled, sometimes brought out and shown,
when the planets and stars are aligned and friends with each other.
finally, protection, a bubble of pure time and atmosphere
defending me from the disharmonious radiation and confused thoughts outside.
underground. salvation. blessing. sensation of electric soul-belonging.
the rock walls, the living sculptures, every figure and symbol speaks to me,
sings a love song to me, divine music that guides the eternal invisible dance.

quando sono in giro per il mondo e torno a Damanhur… Continue reading