Federation of Damanhur

An Italian spiritual community known for its artistic expression, eco-sustainability, and the intriguing underground Temples of Humankind.

Religion: New Age
Founder: Oberto Airaudi (known as Falco Tarassaco)
Founded: 1975
Location: Piedmont, Italy
Size: Approximately 600 members
Other Names: Damanhur, Damanhurian Federation
Website: damanhur.org

The Federation of Damanhur, named after the Egyptian city dedicated to Horus, was established in 1975 by Oberto Airaudi and approximately 24 followers, expanding to 800 members by the year 2000. Known for its innovative and revitalizing impact on the local area, Damanhur has developed a global presence with centers across Europe, America, and Japan. Central to its identity are the Temples of Humankind, expansive underground temples which stand as a testament to the community’s dedication and artistic vision​​.

The founder, also known as Falco Tarassaco, was a spiritual leader who initiated the construction of the Temples of Humankind with a profound spiritual and philosophical underpinning. Damanhur’s rituals and beliefs draw from a rich tapestry of spiritual traditions, blending elements of paganism and New Age beliefs, including a complex understanding of humanity’s evolution and the universe. The temples serve multiple purposes, including spaces for meditation and ceremonies that are exclusive to community members. These practices are partly inspired by a blend of mythological, historical, and spiritual narratives, suggesting a deep-rooted belief in a connection across all forms of life, from terrestrial to extraterrestrial​​.

Life within Damanhur is governed by a unique constitution that outlines the community’s spiritual and social frameworks. Members, or Damanhurians, can participate at various levels of involvement, ranging from fully immersive living within the community to more peripheral engagement. The society is structured around several spiritual pathways, including the Way of the Oracle and the Way of the Monk, among others. Damanhurians typically reside in communal homes, embracing a shared lifestyle that is underpinned by practices like marriage renewal terms and timed conception for auspicious birthdays. Additionally, adopting animal names since 1983 is a distinctive tradition within the community​​.

The Temples of Humankind are architecturally and spiritually significant, with themed rooms such as the Hall of Mirrors and the Hall of Victory. These spaces are designed to facilitate personal and collective spiritual experiences, echoing the community’s beliefs in the interconnectivity of all life and the evolutionary journey of humanity. The construction and artistic endeavor of the temples reflect Damanhur’s overarching ethos of creating a new civilization grounded in human potential and peace. This ethos is further exemplified by the community’s creation of a unique culture, complete with special greetings and a shared philosophy that prioritizes spiritual unity and collective growth​​.

Controversy has surrounded Damanhur, particularly highlighted by the website Damanhur Inside Out, which features anonymous ex-member testimonies and discussions on legal controversies involving the foundation and its founder. Criticisms include accusations of psychological abuse characteristics akin to those found in cults, including the difficulty of leaving, suppression of criticism, and submission to the community’s leader. In contrast to these these allegations, Damanhur has described itself as an “ethical cult” and has reportedly become more open since the founder’s death in 2013​​.

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