Monthly Archives: May 2024

Farewell, Damanhur

My amazing week in Damanhur is coming to a close. The night before our departure we had our closing dinner at Old Mill of Bairo, a totally luscious farm-to-table restaurant.

We enjoyed a traditional Italian meal- antipasto ( three items), first course, second course, dessert, and of course, wine.

The owner thoughtfully prepared vegetarian first and second courses for me and the other vegetarian in our group. My risotto first course was so beautiful and delicious I forgot to take a picture. I did, however, remember to take a picture of my second course-an amazing, fluffy spinach souffle.

Last Day

I felt like we were completing a beautiful circle when we ate our last lunch together in the same cafe where we had shared our first lunch when we arrived. Although the salads were different, we had another beautiful array of salads and great bread. Tigrilla introduced Tarrabah,the talented chef/owner, who created our wonderful meals.

Tigrilla also introduced two other Damanhurians who were in the cafe. One of them was Orango, the head of Meta Action, which focuses on putting spiritual thought into action.

The other, Barys, was introduced as a child of Damanhur because he was born here.

After lunch, a friend and I walked around the Open Temple before boarding our van for Milan to fly home. Once again, it felt like coming full circle. We visited the Open Temple on our first day in Damanhur and again on our last.

Final Thoughts

As I leave Damanhur, I am so thankful for the people who played a role in this amazing journey.

My dear friend Bev organized the trip, guided us through the powerful week, and initiated the transition from fourteen seekers to one powerful group.

Tigrilla and Crotalo our Damanhurian teachers, orchestrated our experiences, shared their knowledge and opened the door to the beautiful mystery of Damanhur.

My amazing group of fellow seekers were a constant source of support, inspiration and fun. I feel lucky to have gotten to know each of them.

When I started this journey, I knew one roommate a little bit and the other not at all. I am leaving with two new friends. We stayed up late talking about so many things-our Damanhur experiences, life, love, women’s rights, and on and on. And, oh, how we laughed- hard and often.

It will take time-probably lots of time-to understand everything I learned and experienced this week. I am looking forward to the journey.

Meditating With Nature

After two rainy days, we were thrilled to have two beautiful sunny days. For the first time since we arrived, we could clearly see the snow-topped Alps in the distance.

Luckily, our indoor activities were on the rainy days and our outdoor activities were on the sunny ones.


On our first sunny day we met at the Commune di Vidracco (Municipality) in the village where we are staying.

After we posed for a group photo, Elfo, the mayor of Vidracco and one of three Damahurian Sages greeted us and told us about the history of Vidracco. The three Sages share the leadership role left vacant when Damanhur founder Falco Tarassaco passed in 2013.

After he finished his brief history of Vidracco, Elfo led us down a little trail to an old mill.

He gave us a tour and history of the mill. It had been used to grind maize, chestnut, wheat and hemp.

Meditating with the Plants

Leaving the mill, we followed Tigrilla down a forest path to a little grassy area by the river.

Soaking in the welcomed sunlight, we listed to Tigrilla talk about using nature as inspiration to more deeply connect with ourselves. She guided us in a meditation and then gave us time to find a plant partner.

A tiny, one-of-a-kind wildflower called to me. My little flower and I spent a peaceful half hour being in the field together.

After our meditation, a member of our group led us in a beautiful peace dance. It seemed like the perfect way to end our morning.

Sacred Woods

I thought our first sunny day was amazing, but our second sunny day was even better.

In the morning, my dear roommate and I walked to the crea for a cappuccino and pastry. Not only were both delicious, my total bill was only 4 euros. Not sure how that is even possible.

The we climbed into our vans and traveled to the Sacred Woods

The Sacred Woods are outdoor temples that sit on top of the underground Temples of Humankind. Each space in the Sacred Woods corresponds with a chamber of the temples below. Just as in the Temples of Humankind, we were not allowed to take pictures once we went inside.

After walking deep into the Sacred Woods, Tigrilla led us through a beautiful tree meditation. After our meditation, we walked to lunch at a nearby nucleo.

Lunch at a Nucleo

Most Damanhurians live in communes called nucleos. Each nucleo is devoted to a specific field such as education, healing, seed saving and solar energy. The nucleo that hosted us for lunch serves as custodians of the labyrinths in the Sacred Woods.

Nucleo resident Lucertola Peppe welcomed us. Like other Damanhurians, she has taken a new name. In order to strengthen their relationship to nature Damanhurians take the Italian name of an animal and plant. So, Lucertola’s name in English is Lizard Pepper. The Italian language is definitely more beautiful than English.

When we arrived, approximately fourteen residents of the nucleo were eating lunch at a long table. As I watched them interacting like one big, happy family, I definitely felt the lure of living in a nucleo. And if being part of a large, supportive family isn’t luring enough, the Sacred Woods is their back yard, and an incredible view of the river and mountains is their front yard.

Afternoon in the Sacred Woods

After lunch we returned to the Sacred Woods and walked some of the labyrinths. There are about thirty labyrinths encompassing ten miles of paths in the Sacred Woods.

A labyrinth is a single path twisting and turning through several concentric circuits to arrive at a central goal.

Most of the circuits in the Sacred Woods are labyrinths, but a few are mazes, which means they have multiple paths. I found a picture of a maze in the Sacred Woods online.

One labyrinth was outside the gates, so I was able to take a picture of it. The sticks in the labyrinth are designed to aid people with visual impairments walk the labyrinth independently.

As we left the Sacred Woods we saw an interesting gate. Since it was outside the entrance, I was able to take a picture of it.

I loved my time in the Sacred Woods and know I will remember it always.


I began my day with a wonderful small-world moment. Waiting for coffee at the crea, I met Israel, an artist who had just completed a thirty-day artist residency in France. He was making a one-day stop in Damanhur and was preparing to visit the Temples of Humankind. As we chatted, I discovered he is from Fort Meyers, just an hour south of Sarasota, where I live. Amazing how we can travel to the other side of the world and meet someone from close to home.

Energized by a fun encounter and great coffee, I joined our group for a road trip to Turin, capital city of the Piedmont region. Main stop-the Egyptian Museum, the sixth most visited museum in Italy. Depending on the reference, it is the oldest or second oldest Egyptian museum in the world.

Before entering the museum we took refuge from the rain in one of the two main covered galleries in Turin while Crotalo told us about the most important artifacts we would see.

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum houses one of the oldest collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world. There are more than 37,000 items in the museum. My first impression was how well the museum organized and labeled the vast collection.

Crotalo pointed out highlights in the museum collection. An 1847-cm long entire “Book of the Dead” written on papyrus spans one whole wall. The “Book of the Dead” is a set of funerary formulas, including the funeral kit to guide the deceased to the afterlife.

I learned that pyramids had another small pyramid called pyramidions on the top. We saw the limestone Pyramidion of Ramose. Symbolizing the pinnacle of a king’s power and divine connection, pyramidions represented the king’s ascent to the afterlife and eternal rule.

And or course, we saw mummies.

And not just human mummies. Egyptians viewed animals not only as pets but as incarnations of gods. They buried millions of mummified animals at temples honoring their deities. We saw an entire small room devoted to animal mummies. I saw cats, a cow and some other animals I could not recognize.

Sometimes the body of the deceased was wrapped in funerary nets attached to the bandages. The beautiful nets were composed of cylindrical beads strung together in a rhomb pattern.

The Egyptians used special beds and headrests to facilitate dreaming. Different heights of headrests facilitated different types of dreams. I’m not sure how anyone could sleep, much less dream, in the uncomfortable looking beds.

Crotalo pointed out the hawk’s eyes on the side of a coffin. The eyes served as protection and reminder that the person can still see outside.

After the museum, we walked to an Italian restaurant for lunch, and I had an amazing eggplant parmigiana.

Magic Turin

Located where three energetic lines intersect, Turin is considered a spiritual place. So, it seemed appropriate that the Savoy royal family, who had a castle in Turin, were interested in magic. They created an alchemy garden under the castle that we visited in the afternoon.

We walked through the castle arch and into a lovely garden. I imagined what it looked like without the crane and apartment building in the background.

The Shroud of Turin

The Savoy royal family owned the Shroud of Turin and agreed to give it to the Pope under one condition. The shroud must remain in Turin-forever. So, for over four centuries the shroud has resided in Turin’s Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

The Cathedral was closed when we first arrived to see the shroud. Most of our group went for coffee, but a few of us decided to explore a bit while waiting for the Cathedral to open. We didn’t want to get lost and miss meeting our group, so the tall bell tower next to the Cathedral served as a perfect landmark. We never wandered so far that we could not find the bell tower.

Walking around, always in sight of the bell tower, we discovered an outdoor market. Unfortunately, the market was closing by the time we arrived, but an indoor part of the market was still open, and we enjoyed looking around.

We then met the rest of our group in front of the Cathedral and went in to see the shroud. The Cathedral was beautiful and it was interesting to see how they presented the shroud. I remember The Shroud of Turin being the cover story in Time magazine many years ago, so I knew it must be a big deal.

It is a big deal. By far, most people in the Cathedral were visiting the shroud. But, here is the rest of the shroud story. You can’t see the actual shroud. What you see is a copy that hangs above the home of the shroud. And it may not be the real shroud. Carbon dating suggests the shroud is a fake. Actual or not, fake or not, it was a nice final stop in Turin.

The Temples of Humankind

Today we visited The Temples of Humankind, the most well-know part of Damanhur. The totally hand-dug, multi-level temples are located inside the foothills of the Alps. Adorned with sacred symbols, paintings, stained glass and tile, they are unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Begun in 1978 when Damanhur founder Falco Tarassaco and others began excavating deep inside a mountain, they were mostly completed by 1991. Inspiration for building the temples came from visions Falco had of ancient temples when he was eight years old.

The temples were built in secret because they would not have qualified for building permits. When the Italian government discovered the temples and checked them for safety, they found the temples exceeded safety requirements and gave them retroactive approval.

Before entering the temples, we gathered outside the entrance for a group picture.

As we entered the temple we noticed another spiral across the road, Although clouds covered most of the view, the snow-topped Alps are in the distance.

Time in the Temples

We were lucky to be able to spend almost a full day in the temples. In the morning we visited each of them and learned about the art and sacred symbols. We walked through narrow, art-filled hallways and up and down steep stairways to reach each temple.

After lunch, we returned and meditated in each temple. In silence, we moved from temple to temple for each meditation. The gongs, chimes, bowls and voices used during our meditations were the only sounds.

We were not allowed to take pictures, but I don’t think a million pictures could capture the temple’s scale, intricacy and artistry. The pictures below are from on-line articles.


After our powerful and moving day in the temples, we enjoyed a relaxing meal at an Italian (what else!) restaurant. Crotalo recommended a wonderful local red wine.

First Day in Damanhur

After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Milan and boarded mini-vans for a two-hour drive to Vidracco, home of the first city and historical center of Damanhur.

Vidracco will also be our home for the week. Our group of fourteen is staying in apartments in three different buildings in the town. I am sharing an apartment with two other women. Although we each have our own bedroom, we share one bathroom. The back of our apartment overlooks a lovely view of cows and a little stream.

The Damanhur Crea Center

The largest building in Vidracco used to be an Olivetti typewriter factory. Today it houses the Damanhur Crea (a market and cafe), research center, and art shops.

Selet, the showroom for Selfica products crafted at Damanhur is a beautiful shop in the Damanhur Crea Center. Selfica,discovered and developed at Damanhur, is an advanced energy technology for healing and awakening. Some of the selfica items include jewelry, pens, and necklaces.

Exploring Damjl

After a healthy fresh-salad buffet, we traveled to Damjl, the capital of Damanhur. Crotalo and Tigrilla, our guides for the week, led a walking tour of the Open Temple. They also explained the significance of what we saw and gave us an overview of some of the major Damanhurian guiding principles.

Basically, Damanhur is a laboratory for applying spiritual principles to develop a new way to live in peace and harmony. Crotalo explained that Damanhur is not a religion but rather a spiritual philosophy.

The first stop on our walk was the Earth Altar, one of five altars in Damanhur dedicated to the five elements.

Spirals are an important image in Damanhur because they amplify feelings, sensations, and communication with other dimensions. We saw numerous spirals on our walk.

Damanhurians create art everywhere. Murals adorn many of the buildings.

Columns, statues and tile work, all with special meaning, filled the grounds.

After an exciting first day, I realized a week here will introduce me to only small part of what makes Damanhur a special place. People spend years, sometimes a lifetime, learning all the mysteries of Damanhur.