Sounds like a sequel to the Temples of Syrinx, but the temples of Damanhur are instead a very real, underground complex of… temples, built for about 16 years in utter secrecy by a small group of artsy, new agey folks in northern Italy.
It was started in 1978 and the project was lead by a former insurance broker named +. In 1975 he started a “commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community” in Piedmont, Italy, a small town at the foot of the alps. He and 24 followers set up what they called The Federation of Damanhur (named after the ancient subterranean Egyptian temple meaning City of Light).
From the Constitution of Damanhur
1) The citizens are brothers and sisters who help one another through trust, respect, clarity, acceptance, solidarity and continuous inner transformation. Everyone is committed to always giving others the opportunity to aim higher.
2) Every citizen makes a commitment to spread positive, harmonious thoughts and to direct every action and thought towards spiritual growth, placing ideals above personal interest. Each person is spiritually and socially responsible for everything they do, knowing that it is multiplied and reflected all over the world through the Synchronic Lines.
3) Through community life, Damanhur aims to develop individuals whose relationships with one another are regulated by Knowledge and Consciousness. The fundamental rules of life are common sense, thinking well of others, kindness, a sense of humour, optimism and welcoming and valuing diversity. Every citizen is required to have the ability for self-control, purity and maturity in their choices. …
There’s different…. Ways you can trian and orient yourself towards: the Way of the Oracle, the Way of the Monk, the Way of the Knight, the Way of Health, the Way of the Word, the Way of Art & Work, etc.
So that’s very nice. What makes this of particular interest is that starting when he was 10, Oberto Airaudi, or Falcon as he is now called, started having dreams about these temples. Ancient temples he believes. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but the Damanhur folks went and bloody well built THIS:
I mean…. this kind of blows away the Dharma Initiative. Say what you will about the Federation of Damanhur, they can bloody well build a work of superhuman beauty.
There’s 7 parts of the Temple:
- Hall of Water – dedicated to the feminine principle, it is in the shape of a chalice and invites receptivity
- Blue Hall – for meditation on social matters and is used as a place of inspiration and reflection
- Hall of Earth – dedicated to the masculine principle, to the earth as an element and planet and to past and future reincarnations
- Hall of Metals – represents the different ages and developmental stages of humankind and the shadow elements of the human psyche
- Labyrinth Hall – showing Interfaith worship through the centuries, uniting different cultures and peoples
- Hall of Spheres – positioned where 3 synchronic lines merge, inviting planetary contact and transmission of messages, ideas and dreams to create harmony between nations
- Hall of Mirrors – dedicated to the sky, air and light, solar energy, strength and life. There are 4 altars to earth, water, air and fire
The Damanhur people built this for 13 years unbeknownst to any outside a small circle of artisans. However, one day the police showed up and demanded to search the premises. They had been tipped off by a former resident who had a grudge.
They found their way downstairs and when they saw what what had been built literally stood there with their jaws open.
The magistrate told them to stop further building but they could continue the artwork while the whole idea of planning and ordinances were worked out. Eventually the authorities decided to issue retrospective permission and the Temples are a popular destination spot for both tourists, artsy folks, the alternative living crowd and new agey spiritual seekers. The Damanhurs are a thriving community and while very spiritually oriented with a heavy meditation focus, they do not worship any official leader.