Home and the vineyardsAlong the narrow roads weaving through the luxurious hills of the Valchiusella valley, it’s often easy to spot a Damanhurian nucleo. You might see a mosaic of stones Happy Birthday Marcella!on an old wall, a colorful mural or flag, or the curving shapes of Sacred Language in the ironwork gates. Some nucleos are close to the road, others are surrounded by fields, farms or forest. Some are in the small nearby villages.

Visiting the nucleos, what strikes me is the aesthetic beauty of the interiors of the homes I see. The ones that have been built or remodeled are light, airy and colorful. They often have an entire wall of windows overlooking the green expanse of trees and hills. There are paintings on the walls, sculptures, tiles, Happy Birthday Huskycandles, etc. throughout the rooms. Sometimes there’s a tarot deck spread in a semicircle on a table, ready for passersby to pick a card. The dining rooms are often large with long tables and lovely place settings.

Then there are the older buildings, probably by a few centuries, with low, curving doorways and shadowy cool interiors. Some of these have curving ceilings made of bricks. There might even be an old, half-moon-shaped pizza oven giving the place the nuance of a shepherd’s simple abode.

ArteCultura is a nucleo above the tiny neighboring village of Vidracco. The house is surrounded by some rubble of former older buildings, looking quite charming with red roses growing in the yard. homeThis is a small nucleo, an old one with brick ceilings. The theme here is art. During our New Life nucleo tour, someone asks what kind of art. “We consider cooking as an art. We love to spoil our guests,” they tell us. “We also decorate our building and organize cultural art events for the town of Vidracco. We have a lot of spiritual involvement in the community.”

The birth nucleo, also in Vidracco, concerns all things birth-oriented: midwifery, maternity, birthing and postnatal care. It also offers preventative health care for women in general, including contraception. And not only for the citizens of Damanhur, but as a free service to the Vidracco citizens as well. And then there is the inclusion of spiritual birthing. Per la DonnaThis is a place of feminine energy and the various metaphorical aspects of birth. Women can come here for the nucleo’s healing essence.

Sitting in the birth nucleo is definitely uplifting. The main living space is decorated like a child’s room with happy pastel colors of pink, green, orange and yellow. Stuffed animals abound on the couches and there are tiny chairs around a cozy carpet. Children hang out here, obviously. But I myself can feel the healing aspect of such a playful, colorful environment.

by Ann Marie Molnar naiade3@gmail.com