Federation of Damanhur
Damanhur is an example of what can occur when creativity and art is applied to every facet of a community. They have created everything in their society using a cutting edge DIY approach. Damanhur is an intentional community of people in Northern Italy. “Founded in 1975, the Federation has about 1,000 citizens and extends over 500 hectares of territory throughout Valchiusella and the Alto Canavese area in Italy, at the foothills of the Piedmont Alps. Damanhur promotes a culture of peace and equitable development through solidarity, volunteerism, respect for the environment, art, and social and political engagements.” (1).
They are the world’s largest and most successful eco-village and alternative spiritual community. An eco-village is an intentional community which strives for environmental sustainability, self-sufficiency and communal living. Damanhurian’s are linked by these shared values along with a shared spiritual system which is uniquely Damanhurian. The story of this metaphysical community reads like a work of science fiction where a group of people live and create their dreams. I have personally spent over one month of time at Damanhur in 2007.
“Damanhur has a Constitution, a complementary currency system, a daily newspaper, a magazine, art studios, a center for research and practice of medicine and science, an open university, and schools for children through middle school. The Federation of Damanhur is also known throughout the world because its citizens have created the Temples of Humankind, an extraordinary underground work of art dedicated to the reawakening of the divine essence in every human being. It is considered by many as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The art studios that made the Temples are located at the Damanhur Crea, a center for innovation, wellness and research, open to the public every day of the year. Damanhur has centers and activities in Italy, Europe, Japan and the United States and collaborates with international organizations engaged in the social, civic and spiritual development of the planet.” (1).
They are continuously creating and evolving the Temple of Humankind which is one of the most impressive works of spiritual architecture of our time. They have successful artist studios selling paintings, tiffany stained glass, mosaics, jewelry, clothing and more. All art works employ metaphysical energies which make the works spiritually charged. They have schools, fire departments, construction, art restoration, seed banks, genetics laboratory, sustainable farming practices, solar and wind energy and these services extend to the surrounding regions. They developed their own currency, governments and departments to maintain and grow the community and the surrounding regions. They are frequently invited to give courses at the United Nations on sustainable living, community building, and more. They are unique, mysterious and their worldview is a challenge to all who meet it. They developed all the services needed by investing in educating their peoples so all labor and needs could be filled through the efforts of community members. They also developed spiritual systems, alchemy, metaphysical technologies, spiritual ceremonies, ritual, initiations, astrology, divination, energy healing, cosmologies, and even time travel. (In future posts I will publish their early time travel logs).
The founder of Damanhur is a man called Falco; he and a few others founded Damanuhur when they were camped in the foot hills of the Alps in Northern Italy. They saw a light appear in the sky and an orb descended. This orb could communicate with Falco and this orb said he should build a temple into the mountain in that spot and start a spiritual community in harmony with the earth. Without knowledge of architecture or mining they began to dig a temple into the side of the mountain. This is now a huge complex known as the Temples of Humankind and has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. Every person in the community contributes in some way to the creation of this amazing temple giving everyone a sense of equality and ownership. This incredible temple is just one of many temples and spaces of worship at Damanhur and a lengthy article could be written about this structure alone.
The schools for the children of Damanhur are impressive and are not deeply spiritual. They want the children to choose for themselves and to have freedom of choice in regards to their future. The students go on multiple trips internationally to experience other cultures and other places. They study math, language, science, cooking, reading, writing, computer science, social sciences, the arts and more. The young people at Damanhur seemed quite content much more so than my own experience of adolescence. The community living and setting provides endless support for the children and opportunities to experience many facets of life in and outside the community.
The Damanhurian’s have limits set for population density in a given area and thus their one thousand plus residence are spread out across their large property. Each area is different but all have solar and wind power, and family units called nuclei. There were 14 people living in the house I stayed at. They would have family meals and rotate housekeeping duties. Each person had their own room, which I never saw, and space for personal items. Dinner time was when everyone would meet unless they were tied up in some activity. The meals were fresh food grow in Damanhur and home cooked. The wine was made there and the people were animated, typical Italians who were surprisingly ordinary for the setting they lived in. They seemed to be a typical group of Italian friends and family sharing their meals and enjoying each other’s company.
One thing that really struck me was that with all the magic, psychic and spiritual play, the Damanhurian’s were normal people choosing to live in a new way and creating a society which was unique and reflective of their values. They have been able to maintain the sense of normalcy with-in this fantastical environment. Due to the far out nature of Damanhur I had expected the people to be spiritual beings glowing with a mysterious alien presence. To my surprise they were very normal Italians.
To keep the community on equal footing and interesting they developed the games of life department. Games of Life has the task of keeping the community happy and vibrant. They will have people switch from their primary job to another so they can experience the whole of the community and empathize with others. They develop lottery for travel, services, and activities. These activities include large scale games, theater, music, films ect… The large scale games are impressive and the games are also a form of research into cooperation and into future scenarios for the expansion of Damanhur.
They have a complex spiritual life which is shrouded in mystery and is integrated into everything they do. The spiritual aspect is, in fact, the core that bonds the community together. They are all interested in living sustainable and spiritually heightened lives with- in a community. The power of communal ceremony and ritual infuses their lives with purpose and the rewards of self-realization from the spiritual practices keep the community inspired. The Temples of Humankind are a primary example of how a spiritual journey in a community can lead to incredible accomplishments which cannot have happened without a shared spiritual vision.
They offer classes in the Damanhurian Mystery School and include courses on past life research, astral travel, Damanhurian spiritual philosophy, history of the universe which includes beings from other planets, time travel and metaphysics. A man recounted an amazing story to me one afternoon about his experience with past life research. He said that after one of the classes in past lives he had a vivid dream of playing piano in a past life and from that day forth he could play piano with expertise.
People who join Damanhur come in many ways. One of the women I spoke to from the Netherlands consulted with the Damanhurian’s about the overwhelming visionary states she experienced in meditation and life. They gave her a practice and talked to her about these experiences and she chose to join the community. I asked her what about your husband and family she said, “They will understand this is what I am drawn to do.” Many of the people join the community in this way, others are born in Damanhur or the surrounding regions and choose the alternative of Damanhur over rural Italian life; others are attracted by its mystery and mastery of community development and sustainability.
The story of Damanhur is amazingly complex and this article is a brief outline at best. I have been so intrigued by Damanhur that future articles on time travel, Damanhurian technologies and arts will be published here at transpersonalspirit.wordpress.com.
By: Transpersonal Spirit
Merrifeild, Jeff. Damanhur: The Story of the Extraordinary Italian Artistic and Spiritual Community. Hanford Mead Pub. 2006.