Imagine you have landed on one of the most exquisite terrains in the world and you might find yourself in the wooded, rolling foothills of the Italian Alps. Imagine fields and vineyards and old stone farm houses with terracotta roofs. Consider forests of various foliations of greenery, the oaks, the chestnuts, and breezily quivering birches. There are glistening river currents, small songful springs, and sedentary lakes throughout fields and groves. You’ll see expansive greenhouses and gardens everywhere. And some of the buildings you drive by (both in the countryside and the small neighboring town) have paintings of stars, spirals, mysterious sacred symbols, or colorful images of children playing with a dragon. Or perhaps a ceramic mosaic, a statue of the Egyptian god Horus, or Bastet, goddess of cats, or Pan. If you start by imagining these things, you have just placed your finger into an unfolding rose petal of Damanhur.

At least this is where I began.

I knew I had found my place in terms of terrain not long after I arrived. So many signs and images have led me to this exact spot. And the landscape is only the beginning. One senses the energy that moves behind solid experiences, the underlying creative essence. It’s like a fragrance I can’t quite interpret. I just get a whiff and then and I want to follow it. All those books I’ve read about quantum physics, synchronicity, the A-field, Aboriginal Dreamtime, etc., begin to make sense. I’ve found myself in an entire community thinks (and seemingly lives) this way.

I want to learn Italian, not just because I enjoy the language, which I do, but because there are so many intriguing people that I want to know what they’re thinking. But then there are plenty of English-speakinSpiritual Healers Schoolg people who have been drawn here as I have, so there is never a lack of stimulating conversations.

If you imagine European Cafe society (minus the cigarette smoke) wedded with enthusiasm of the early consciousness-raising groups, you have the café at Damanhur Crea at any given day. This is the place to meet for conversations on philosophy, metaphysics, creativity, travel and various other facets of living. But then, you have an opportunity for such conversations almost anytime and place around here. This aspect of Damanhur is another unfolding petal.

I can tell you about my first day walking through the outdoor temples above Damjl, seeing statues of gods and goddesses and painted pillars emerging from many mythic and spiritual traditions. Various rock spirals and “circuits” are spread out over the lawns where people are invited to walk in as meditation. Some of them have specific healing purposes, such as to help improve digestion or memory. I see hundreds of handmade terracotta ceramic figures everywhere, sitting in the fields, half hiding in bushes, or lazing like nymphs surrounding pools and fountains. There are tall standing stones and various altars to the different elements. You are invited to sit and blend with the sound of splashing water, or lean against a tall stone, sAll that is importantmelling it’s mineral qualities. There’s the open temple, designed like a Greek amphitheater for rituals and performances. And numerous rose bushes everywhere in bloom.

Since my first visit to the Open Temple, I come here many times to lay on the grass and listen to tiny birch leaves trembling in the breeze or to sit by the water element fountain, or near the shaded pool surrounded by mossy ceramic nymphs. Sometimes I sit by the giant terracotta dragon, or on the steps beside the statue of Horus. Or I walk the spiral of stones. And always, always, I smell the roses.

by Ann Marie Molnar

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