A year of being the Befana

befana

Best wishes to everyone on the day of the Epiphany (La Befana)! I have been playing the role of the Befana (fully in the role and no longer an apprentice) for a year now. I still remember the wonder and also the fear that I felt when I received news from Shama Viola that she had chosen me as her apprentice. I remember the day of the official passing of the role, staying up at night to respond with the right action to the first challenge: a letter from Zela and Nilo (Damanhurian children) asking for particular gifts.

Here I share some lessons that I learned throughout the year, listening to the voice of the Befana within and beyond:

I am ready. I am a young Befana. At first I thought maybe too young to fill a role that requires wisdom and represents a mystical appearance in connection with divine forces. However, all throughout my life I have found myself in situations where I didn’t have all the traditional qualifications, although by overcoming doubt and choosing to be there, to do, to act, to learn, to offer myself to others… I find that something always comes together to support: inspiration, synchronicity, the knowledge of the Popolo, mysterious aid, rewards that are proportionate to the courage involved in making the choice.

Listening and communicating. There are messages, always. To receive and to give. It’s just a matter of finding the right way to listen. Sometimes it’s silence. Sometimes it’s an observant eye. Sometimes I need to let go into the flow of connection that is always moving around me. Sometimes I don’t quite understand: why this message, in this moment, and for whom? But I trust in it, and I express it, and the open channel surprises me with synchronic results, like the story of the parking lot blocks and the dome of the Hall of Mirrors!

The broom. Part of the Befana myth says that she is always occupied in housecleaning. Even when she is flying out and about, she leaves the floor clean using her Befana broom. And this represents sweeping away of the problems of the year. It’s true, I have always swept the floor in the spaces around me attentively and a little obsessively. There is a distinct feeling before and after, renewed energy, lightness, a stage that is reopened to welcome new events and presences. The broom is a symbol, and it is also a tool for taking action in the material world.

Happy cleaning and celebration!

Quaglia Cocco
The Befana

befana-quagliaAuguri a tutti nel giorno della Befana! Svolgo questo ruolo da Befana (piena e non più apprendista) da un anno adesso. Mi ricordo ancora lo stupore e anche il timore che sentivo quando ho ricevuto la notizia da Shama Viola che mi ha scelta come apprendista, e il giorno del passaggio ufficiale, rimanendo sveglia di notte per rispondere con l’azione giusta alla prima sfida: una lettera da Zela e Nilo chiedendo doni particolari. Continue reading

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Fire dancing in the circus and riding wild horses

Ayoto 350[crossposted from the Damanhur Blog]

In making the choice to be a Damanhur citizen, my initial sadness over leaving behind other possibilities in life transformed to deep gratitude as one by one, everything came back around and manifested synchronically…

I came to Damanhur while I was traveling around the world for two years, relishing the nomadic freedom of moving around the planet and through my days and nights with no fixed schedules or destinations. I let synchronicity be my travel agent and intuition my compass. As much as I was thriving while living in the moment, I also was seeking a place to make a home and sink in some roots. Seeking sacred space, ritual, communal living, art and healing as a way of life, and land for growing organic things. I found Damanhur, and thought: this place has it all. I can’t believe it already exists! … I wasn’t ready to commit to being here yet, though I felt drawn to stay connected as I kept traveling.

Everywhere I went, I sensed possible timelines to the future solidifying. It seemed like, no matter where I was, no matter how exotic and absurd the situation was, there were peopleMacau jade elefant offering me long term places to stay and sources of income, transportation, food, everything I needed to live a comfortable life, as networks of love and friendship materialized. I knew that if I chose to stay, this place could be my home… Despite the glamour, beauty, or adventurous story surrounding my options, I always felt in my heart that it wasn’t right to stay in those places. Every time I said no to something, I felt this enormity of gifts from the universe and flow of events in a certain direction, collapsing back down into the void. What were the situations? Well, here are two:

At one point, I was on the island of Macau, a former Portuguese pirate colony turned Las Vegas of China, off the coast of Hong Kong, visiting a friend who was coordinating the construction of a Cirque du Soleil theatre at the newly erected Venetian hotel and casino complex. MacauIt was a surreal experience on many levels, including the fact that I was in Venice the week before, and I found myself in a sparkling new, still-being-constructed version of the time and water-worn, crumbling medieval city on the water. There were even brand new gondolas! In Macao, with my friend at an Indian restaurant, I met the director of the Cirque du Soleil show that was to debut in the Venetian theatre, and when he found out I was a fire dancer, he encouraged me to audition for the show. Fire dancer, in a luxury casino circus show, on a Chinese island. This was one of the timelines I hopped off of as I followed my path back toward Damanhur.

Macau fire dragon

Cappadocia jade horse 2Then, there was Göreme. In central Turkey, Cappadocia, way out, amongst Sufi mystics, cowboys and a Brazilian belly dancer, in a dusty landlocked alien landscape of infinite volcanic tuff rock protrusions and millennial cave homes. That timeline included a band of authentic cowboys, extremely rare (for a non-Muslim non-Turkish woman) whirling dervish ritual dance lessons from a Sufi master in the backroom of his carpet shop, a job at the local travel agency and nightly belly dancing at the tourist show for an absurdly high return, given the 15 minute caveperformance time. My own, simple, serene remodeled yet traditional “wall-to-wall” Turkish carpet-covered cave palace with organic vegetable patch and apricot, mulberry, fig and cherry trees out front, and famous cave temples right above. Hot air balloons, UFO museum, vast underground cities. The warming marble slab at the local hammam. Most of all, what drew me to stay in this tiny, remote, completely unique and incomprehensible place, beyond the rousing nights with a cave full of Spanish tourists, raki liquor flowing, spoon clacave2cking and dancing… were the horses. A small, cave ranch with the most beautiful wild brown horses. Contacting these deeply wise animals everyday and riding them through the strange, dramatic landscape. Occasionally, the cowboys would trek to Kayseri, ride into the mountains and come back wrangling more than 400 wild horses, including day old ones amongst the bucking stallions.

Cappadocia wild horses

Well, there are ever more places and unforgettable scenes, though let’s flash forward to Damanhur.

When I came back to Damanhur, to stay this time, I started a program to become an ‘A’ citizen, and after a Game of Life viaggio adventure and intensive communal living experience with other new citizens, I moved to my first established nucleo community, the one that synchronically had space for me… It was Tin, in the heart of the Sacred Woods Temple. And there, in the horse stables, were Lucy and Nuri, two horses, the only ones we had at Damanhur at that time. So, my love for living with horses returned, fulfilled.

Hamurdan

Then, a few years ago, Arciere Aglio, one of the Damanhurian artists with a flare for directing provocative theatre shows, was casting for a new rendition of a musical theatre piece that was written and performed nine years previously, called Circus Hamurdan. He asked me to play a new part, written in specifically for me: Ayoto Kome Co-Chen. A Chinese. fire dancing. circus performer. My few spoken lines were all in Chinese… and purposefully, humorously mis-translated into Italian. So even that seemingly released dream came to be. As I was dancing with fire fans in the middle of the Damanhur Crea conference center Ayototurned big top circus ring, with my (fictional) Spanish bull-fighting fire-eating companion, this realization really landed in me. Seven years ago, when I made the impassioned choice to live here and become a Damanhur citizen, I thought I had cut off the other possibilities that were presented to me on renounced life paths. Little did I know that living in the heart of a mystical paradise, with golden node of Synchronic Lines, ritual connection to Oracle forces and divinities, populated with alchemists and magicians… the events here move in such magical and unexpected ways. If the intention is pure, and the will is strong, then all dreams, desires and wishes come true in time, even the forgotten ones. Life at Damanhur spans time and space in an infinte way so that everywhere is here and all time is now. And anything and everything is possible.

Ready to make a bold choice and experiment with living and manifesting your dreams in Damanhur? The Syncho-door is open. Destination Damanhur… Looking forward to playing in the synchronic field of possibilities together!

Routine

playa sunset

Before coming to Damanhur, very few routines in my life had survived. I was in a period of demolishing all predictability. Brushing my teeth twice a day, that yes. But, getting dressed in the morning…usually, though not always. I could eat breakfast at 6 am just as likely as 2 pm, not really because of sleeping in late, although that also happened at times, but rather to give the body time to detoxify when it called for it. Loosing myself in the project of the moment and doing nothing else not even sleeping for 36 hours. Not having a cell phone or computer fortropical bells four months while getting lost in the tropical jungle, then resurfacing in Los Angeles and posting tales from the voyage on my blog for three weeks, before selling the MacBook again and using the money to buy the next plane ticket, this time to Istanbul. Falling asleep in one time zone to wake up shifted into one two hours ago. Yes.

Now. If you ask me what I’ll be doing at 5:45 pm on Saturday, November 13, 2012, I can already answer you. Everything meticulously programed and color-coded in iCal, the routines for every day, the weekly ones to do by Friday and those not to be done before Tuesday, bi-monthly, monthly, at the first of the month, by the end of the month, trimestral, semestral, annual, every 15 months, every 18 months, every 2 years, crossed reference with the ones every second Sunday of the golden domemonth, not to be confused with the one every two weeks alternating Wednesday and Thursday and those from 11 to 11:30 Monday and Wednesday the week before the full moon, but not in July.

Daily journal writing, prayers, programming. When my Virgo personality is at the wheel, I can pass the entire day planning to perfection. Although, I find that it’s all useful. I read my journal and I retrace landscapes of memory, the valleys and clouds, little signs that otherwise wouldn’t have left a trace in the mind. That which is renounced with spontaneity returns 10 times over again with directed thought and the force of constancy, steps forward toward the objectives already sketched with dotted lines. With all this structured and programmed living, does synchronicity still work as a vehicle for amazement? Yes, but it’s much more subtle, clandestine, collective. A sea with pulsations and orchestrated rhythms, and in one way or another, the unexpected always finds its way in.

Prima di arrivare a Damanhur, sono sopravvissute poche routine nella mia vita. Ero in un periodo di demolizione delle prevedibilità. Lavarsi i denti due volte al giorno, quello sì. Ma, vestirsi la mattina, di solito sì, qualche volta no… Continue reading