A glimpse into the Sacred Woods of Damanhur By Tigrilla
In 1976, a group of seekers realized that if they wanted to create lasting change in themselves and the world, they needed to live together. Inspired by the teachings of Falco Tarassaco, nee Oberto Airaudi (1950-2013), they founded a community based on solidarity, esoteric study, sharing, love and respect for the environment, and called it Damanhur. Nestled in the alpine foothills north of Piedmont, Italy, Damanhur is a truly magical place. In a 10-mile radius surrounding the lush, green valley of the Valchiusella you can find this highly evolved, multilingual federation of communities.
Over 40 years, Damanhur has slowly expanded into a United Nations award-winning eco-community. Staying true to Falco’s original vision of a community based upon ethical and spiritual values, Damanhur has captivated attention around the world as a model society, a possible future way of living for humanity.
Damanhur is perhaps best known for its extraordinary subterranean work of art and architecture, a cathedral known as the Temples of Humankind, which has been profiled on international television as the “Eighth Wonder of The World.” Decorated with mosaics, stained glass, sculptures, wall paintings and other works of art, it is dedicated to awakening the divine spark present in every human being.
In Damanhur’s spiritual vision, a forest is a magical place where the complexity of life is expressed in a harmonious interweaving of many forms of animal, plant and subtle life. In 1990, Damanhur acquired its first woodland area. Overgrown by chestnut, oak and birch trees and abandoned by man when the acidic leaves of the chestnut had all but extinguished the biodiversity that once flourished in this land, Damanhurians set out in groups to clear and restore the woods. It was dark, there were no animal sounds, and the trees grew so close to one another that they reached up to the heavens in thin rows in hopes of capturing some rays of sunlight.
Little by little, Damanhurians raked leaves, learned which trees were best to cut down so that the rest could grow strong, and nursed the area back to health using a combination of spiritual and physical therapies. Birds and animals slowly returned and the spontaneous herbs of the hillside began to sprout once again. As the woods healed, more land was acquired, stretching out for acres above the Temples of Humankind. The trees, feeling strong once again, took their natural place as the antennas and transmitters between the universe and the planet, this time reaching deep into temple halls below, then back up again and across the synchronic lines. This active, spiritual energy transformed the entire physical and subtle ecosystem, and thus the Sacred Woods was born.
The healing was not only physical. Damanhurians learned that as the forest regenerated, a gradual reconnection of three worlds long ago separated began to take shape. Our human evolution is inextricably linked to the alliance and reunification with the physical and subtle forces that inhabit this and other worlds, which at Damanhur are called the “Mother Worlds.” In addition to Humans and Animals, Plants, Trees and Nature Spirits are the beings that inhabit these worlds, and a large part of the research in Damanhur is dedicated to opening roads of deep contact… work that continues on to this day.
Let me take this moment to introduce myself and my work: My name is Tigrilla, and I am a Plant Perception Researcher specializing in the Music of the Plants. My connection to trees and nature defines to a large part who I am and how I approach life. In everything I do, I hope to spark collective action that brings love of nature into sustainable, practical application, especially in urban environments.
Living in the Sacred Woods has profoundly changed my life in every aspect. Not only is it my home, it is my teacher, my family and my support system. I regularly carry out research experiments that help me discover how plants perceive our world, and their own. Sometimes I feel like Alice, falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, into a world in which plants, nature spirits and humans live in a symbiotic unity. My hope is that one day we will all be able to live in that world.
One of my favorite experiments was when I began dreaming with a chestnut tree I lovingly called, Luca. At night, I would connect Luca to the Music of the Plants device and place one speaker where he could hear and the other inside my room. The music would give me an indication of when Luca would fall asleep in order for me to time it so that we would be asleep at the same time. Right before going to bed, I would trace my copy of a Damanhurian diagram that I had drawn in stones on the ground over Luca’s roots in order to strengthen our connection and invite us to dream together. In dreamtime, I learned about him, the woods, and so much more. To this day, when I travel, I trace the diagram before bedtime and Luca updates me on what is happening at home.
While Luca and I still have a strong connection, my focus today is on another part of the Sacred Woods. Together with my best friend, we are actively researching a connection with two oak trees. Our hypothesis is that together these trees create a sort of portal. It is still too early to tell exactly where this portal takes you, but every week we get closer to understanding.
In addition to my personal research, I am also part of several groups in the Sacred Woods. One focuses on subtle energy and verbal contact with the beings that inhabit the forest, while another continues to work on restoring the physical biodiversity of the land through specialized care and the planting of over 100 different species that once inhabited this area. One other important part of research into that plant world comes from the Music of the Plants device, where I am a part of a team that is conducting a scientific experiment into plant learning. Each piece is an important part of a much larger puzzle that when put together will forever change humanity and our interaction with the natural world.
While all of this research and experimentation is important, it is nothing if it is not shared with others. This is why I love taking people into the Sacred Woods on guided tours, giving conferences and presentations around the world and teaching the Communication with the Plant World course. In these roles, I feel like a conduit between the plant and human worlds. I was not born with a talent for talking with trees; instead, I acquired it through repeated contact and a deep desire to understand plant perception. This connection has expanded my personal view of the interconnected ecosystem of our planet and gives me insights into how we can create a new world where plants, people and nature not only cohabitate, we co-create, something we are experiencing in the Sacred Woods.
I feel it is most important to help spark this connection in our urban environments. While the Sacred Woods exists only at Damanhur, the plant world is all around us. Many times, we don’t even recognize it. Can you imagine how different our world would be if we were to truly see and feel how our houseplants are connected to our lawns, touching the hedges around the houses, to the bushes in the park, which connect to the trees that line the street, out to the less dense areas surrounding the city and eventually reaching the forest? Think about it for a minute… you wake up and see the plant in your room and think, I am connected to the entire plant world! How would this change your behavior?
I can only hope that when you come visit Damanhur and the Sacred Woods, you feel the connection to the plant world. And then you take that feeling with you and integrate it into your everyday life by making changes that bring our worlds ever closer together.