The fire at the Parisian cathedral of Notre Dame in April 2019 brought to our attention the history of the great Christian temples of the Middle Ages. They are elements that belong to popular culture, not only religious tradition. Staying only in Paris, think of all the stories and legends born around the great church, from Victor Hugo onwards!

In those great achievements there was a piece of everyone’s life, and not only in a metaphorical sense. In the chronicles of the time, it is clearly told that alongside the bricklayers and those who were involved in the construction of the large churches in Paris as in Rome, in Madrid, in England and so on, even merchants, professionals and peasants came to help. Having finished their daily job they would come to contribute to the realization of those works that had such a great symbolic value.

In this way, everyone was the creator of a great temple, which united the divine dimension with the material world. Everyone had the opportunity to feel as an artist, because he had participated directly in the realization of what was, beyond all the other meanings, a great work of art.

Almost like a game

Falco Tarassaco said:

A being who is not able to produce art, has no soul.

Going in the direction of art is an aspiration of every human being, even those who do not realize it or who think they have no talent for creating beautiful things.

The history of the creation of the Temples of Humankind, in Damanhur, demonstrates these concepts very well. Their construction began in 1978, almost like a game. How many things, in Damanhur, start that way! The idea of ​​creating a small underground meditation room, in direct contact with the earth.

And then becoming passionate about the idea and seeing that it was possible to gradually create larger and more welcoming halls, the Damanhurians decided to go on, and to continue building the massive, current structure that exists today.

It was a collective work, in which those who had the knowledge to understand the nature of the terrain, designed the structures and built them, guiding the commitment of others who simply wanted to feel themselves, temple builders, as a way to leave their mark on the big book of life.

In the same way that the great medieval cathedrals were built, people with the most diverse skills participated in the construction of the Temples, compatibly with the safety requirements and the legal regulations. There were surgeons, farmers, and goldsmiths who were also engaged, as well as employees, pharmacists, teachers and so on.

A turning point

For many, especially when they had the opportunity to participate in the artistic work that enriched the Temples, it was also a matter of discovering a new talent within themselves. For many Damanhurian artists in fact, the doors to painting, mosaic or glass art opened precisely because at a certain point, with the intention of participating in the great collective work of art that is the Temples, they started helping out in the laboratory. Little by little, for many of them it was a real discovery of spirit inside, of desire, of capacity until then unexplored. It made them discover that they too were artists! Thus, they joined those who had already presented themselves as painters or sculptors, with a previous background, and started a new life.

The history of the Temples of Humankind is a great artistic history of construction, of technique, of creating a delicate relationship between man and the environment, and it is also a great human history because for many it represented a point of discovery and turning point within themselves.

It can happen in life, even when and where you don’t expect it. The construction of a large temple can be an example, but life can offer countless others. The important thing is, as every creative being does, to recognize the occasion and make your own work of art.