Greetings from Damanhur, where esoteric knowledge meets community…
The underground Temples are magnificent! Truly awesome, I am humbled by the amount of work that went into the excavation (by hand) and construction of these holy works of art. The full construction was in secret, both from the local authorities and new members of the community. Now they are not so secret, and are known as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, a major tourist attraction. Known for their craftsmanship, the art combines mural, stained glass, mosaic and metal work. They have created beautiful tiffany style domes; in fact they hold the record for the world’s largest.
On our first afternoon here we were given a tour, finishing our day with a beautiful concert in the temple of mirrors. It was amazing! Drawing on many traditions they have created a uniquely Damanhurian style of music accompanied by spirit dancing.
We spent a day painting rocks in one of the extensive spiral labyrinths, a meditative service. These are considered to be connected to the temples, which are situated at the crossing of many synchronic lines of earth energy.
A special treat was the ‘concert of the trees’ , they have researched a way to use bio feedback technology to interact and generate music with plants. Sitting in the beautiful woods, listening to new age sounds, I felt my inner voice questioning the feasibility of the situation… but the truth was these people are working with the plants, and living in connection. The concert was in the middle of one of the many neucleo, or families, here. Twenty to thirty people live together with common kitchens and living spaces and private rooms. This particular neucleo is known as ‘the tree people’, because they live in the trees! It was beautiful; in this space I felt playful and was reminded of the Miwok village.
Today I learned a lot about the alternative technologies through visiting the neucleos doing this research. So cool! In addition to straw bale houses and tree houses (with living trees supporting the structures both inside and out) they are building a rotating building. This building is situated on a crane joint, and when complete will move with the sun to receive the most energy possible. It is designed to be a completely self sustaining home, with no input or output. This means full solar, rain catchment and composting toilets.
Immersed in this new community, I already miss Tamera. I miss my new friends, and the feeling of being surrounded by open hearts. Damanhur's analytical and esoteric approach to spiritual and research feels different to the heart centered field of research at Tamera. Both are working to create models for holistic sustainable communities, in very different ways. It is interesting to see these different models and notice similarities and differences, and notice the effects on my personal experience. More and more I am learning what is important to me, and what I value in community and work.