Nestled in the alpine foothills north of Piedmont, Italy, between Turin and Aosta, is a truly magical place on earth called Damanhur. In a 15-kilometer area surrounding the lush, green valley of Valchiusella lives a very active, multilingual community of 600 people.
Damanhur is a Federation of spiritual communities, with its own Constitution, culture, art, music, currency, schools and uses of science and technology. Its citizens are open to sharing their knowledge and research with other groups and cultures of the world, with anyone who is interested in exploring these themes. Damanhur holds events at numerous centers, organizations and points of outreach in many cities around the world, and also hosts thousands of visitors each year who participate in tours, seminars, retreats and courses through Damanhur University. The community has attracted interest from scholars, educators and researchers in the fields of art, social sciences, spirituality, medicine and alternative health, economics and environmental sustainability.
When it was founded
Damanhur was founded in 1975 from the inspiration of Falco Tarassaco, né Oberto Airaudi (1950-2013). His enlightened and pragmatic vision created a fertile reality based on solidarity, sharing, love and respect for the environment. As a result, Damanhur has slowly expanded into a United Nations award-winning sustainable eco-community. Staying true to Falco’s original vision of a community based upon ethical and spiritual values, Damanhur has captivated attention around the world as a laboratory for experimenting with sustainable ways of living, in harmony with nature and its elements and forces.
Damanhur is perhaps best known for its extraordinary subterranean work of art and architecture, a cathedral known as the Temples of Humankind. It has been profiled on international television as the “Eighth Wonder of The World.” This complex was entirely dug by hand into the heart of the mountain. Decorated with mosaics, stained glass, sculptures, wall paintings and other works of art, it is dedicated to the awakening the divine spark present in every human being.
Where con te is a way of life
This spark is evident on the faces and in the daily actions of those who live at Damanhur. It is where namaste…or as we say here, con te (or, “I am with you”)…comes to life, where every encounter is an opportunity to remember our shared essential divine nature. Our citizens reside in 25 distinct “nucleo communities,” inspired by Falco’s original tenets of self-refinement through positive thinking, promoting diversity, embracing change and pursuing one’s dreams with a sense of humor and adventure. Every day, Damanhurians experience these philosophies by taking action in every area…from art, culture, family life, labor and politics to research on the subtle energies that comprise the universe. In fact, to emphasize the importance of change, humor and a respect for life, many Damanhur citizens choose to adopt an animal and plant name, which they use everyday. If you come visit us, you will encounter some of our beloved citizens such as Cigno Banano (Swan Banana), Piovra Caffè (Octopus Coffee), and Condor Girasole (Condor Sunflower).
While the pursuit of one’s individual talents and “ways of service” are always encouraged, Damanhur residents agree that the community as a whole is equally important. The individual is both “I” and “we.” As one community, Damanhurians (and any others who wish to join in) recognize themselves as a Popolo Spirituale (Spiritual People).
Damanhur, the spiritual path…which we call the School of Meditation…leads every citizen through a lifelong process of self-exploration and search for the meaning of existence. This is facilitated through the study of ancient magical traditions and the celebration of the rhythms of nature. On this path, everyone learns to develop their talents and overcome their weak points (and helping others do the same).
Damanhur has created its own written Constitution, which contains the principles which are the basis for the social and spiritual experience. Damanhur also has a flag, which is yellow with a double square and an infinity sign, and the dandelion flower is a symbol of Damanhur.
A sustainable community in constant experimentation
In 2005, Damanhur received recognition from the United Nation’s Global Forum on Human Settlements as a model for a sustainable society. The award was no accident. It was the result of Damanhur’s deep respect for the environment as a conscious, sensitive entity and our citizens’ commitment to co-existing with the plant and animal worlds (as well as intelligences that inhabit this universe) in a reverent and nurturing way. One expression of this philosophy is Music of the Plants, in which communication with the plant world inspires concerts where the musicians are trees, and plants play music alongside human musicians.
Damanhur citizens cultivate organic food and livestock, and restructure and build according to green building principles. Some citizens have created companies in the fields of renewable energy, eco-clothing, food production, and much more. Damanhurians prefer natural healing methods and a holistic view of wellness, but not to the exclusion of science and medicine. The goal is to appreciate life in all its forms, while leaving the lowest possible impact on the environment. Where appropriate, leading-edge technologies are employed as a valuable ally in the defense of health and nature.
A powerful energy center on the planet
As you can see, what sets Damanhur apart from other intentional communities is that it actively utilizes the practical application of science, research and a spiritual philosophy in harmony with the planet. And yet, there is one more phenomenon that makes Damanhur truly unique: It’s an axis point where four of the 18 worldwide synchronic lines intersect. The very ground breathes. Rocks, trees and plants resonate prana. Everything seems to be subtly energized. The effect, when you visit here, is an unmistakable lifting of the human spirit.
To walk in Damanhur is to walk through past, present and future. Ancient mysteries and the forgotten wisdom of great civilizations coalesce with a fresh, tech-infused vision of an evolving potential future.