By Monday we had managed to escape from Mussolini’s castle. I think the talk I gave (shown in the post below) had lulled the guards into a false sense of security. I had deliberately emphasized Italy’s role in the development of Wicca and this pleased them. Four Druids helped us escape, including the previously-mentioned Ossian, Maria, his dynamic wife from southern Italy, and their two children.Here they are with Stephanie:
They took us to a mountain hideaway, and then left us, and we spent two days there.
Switching now to being serious: the Damanhur Federation who hosted us over these two days is one of the most extraordinary and exciting phenomena I have ever come across. It is a spiritual community of over a thousand people who live in the Valchiusella Valley a few hours northwest of Milan. There they have built underground temples, outdoor temples, and solar-powered eco-houses, and follow an initiatic path that places art at the centre of human endeavour, but also a commitment to being of value and service in the world. I had written about them in ‘Sacred Places’ (turn to page 76 in your copy now!) And now we were shown the temples, their organic farm, their art centre, their eco-houses and – most amazing of all – their tree-house village where they are experimenting with plant-musicians.
Electrodes are placed on a plant and the electrical signals picked up are converted via a synthesizer into musical tones. Slowly the plants learn how to make music, and remarkably those who have developed their musical talents seem to be able to pass these on to other plants simply by being placed next to the new plants.
We climbed up into a tree-house and sat beside an avocado plant in a pot who is a particularly good musician. It was extraordinarily moving to then witness the music he or she emitted.I hope we can arrange a demonstration at an OBOD gathering next year.
I would like to write more but I have a book to write. To summarise both Stephanie and I found Damanhur to be one of the most interesting and exciting places we have ever visited. The people we met were warm, friendly, intelligent, and articulate and we plan to return to learn more. See details of their temples here.
And see this page which has movie clips of the tree village and other glimpses of the community.
Finally, have a look at the Federation’s main site here. And here (photo courtesy of Damanhur) is a picture of one of their temples.