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.