Last year, Erik visited the Federation of Damanhur, an intentional community just north of Turin in the foothills of the alps, where the residents carved out a labyrinth in the mountain to create their Temples of Humankind. It sounds, and looks, breathtaking. From HiLobrow:
With over six hundred permanent residents, and hundreds of more “citizens” of various grades scattered around Italy and the world, Damanhur possesses an enviable range of quality businesses, workshops, schools, healing centers, and quasi-independent collective homes, all organized according to an innovative governance system notable for its pragmatism and productivity. Damanhur organizes conferences, restores medieval buildings, sells high-end cloth and foodstuffs, and trades goods and services among themselves using their own currency.
But the community’s on-the-ground success story pales in comparison to what that hole in a mountain became. Over the weeks and years, without much formal training, working at night and with music blaring to cover up the drills, a select crew of Damanhurians hollowed out a series of mighty chambers and passageways, all without other members of the community—to say nothing of the greater world—clueing-in to their secret work. With tenacious devotion and a startling degree of art, they transformed these underground spaces into the Temples of Humankind: a remarkable otherworldly honeycomb of sacred murals, onyx mosaics, stained glass, sculpture, inlaid marble, hidden passageways, precious metals, mirrored stone, alchemical elixirs, and—who knows?—maybe even the cosmic energy circuits, intergalactic portals, and temporal wormholes that the people of Damanhur suggest are the ultimate functions of their sacred architecture.
Erik Davis visits Damanhur (Thanks, Greg Taylor!)