The Village Notice Board


notice 0
notice 1
Love Hagley
notice 2
Neighbourhood Watch
notice 4
Buddy Bench

Temple of Water

"Breathe slowly through your nose, and then out through your mouth", the gentle whistle from the chimes echo into each corner of the temple. My eyes are tightly shut, and I am sat on the cushion with my legs folded, just like I'm back in middle school. There's a warmth to this room, the six of us are huddled in a circle, and then the mantra begins. Our guide commences the chanting, he sounds out the various vowels and I hesitantly join in, listening to the vibrations bouncing off the walls. "Louder" he shouts, our chanting becomes a choir and our voices seem to harmonise with each other.

This is my last day at Damanhur, I've been here four days living, and learning about the community. Located in the mountains of Turin, Italy, this spiritual community has adopted an eco way of life. The Damanhur began as a covert society, their leader, Falco built secret underground temples within these mountains in 1975, and was later revealed by a whistle-blower in 1992.

The singing has stopped, and my eyes start to peel open. This hall is called the 'Hall of Water'; its white washed walls are coated in various coloured paints of symbols and words. I skim over some of the writings, Sanskrit words are the only familiar pattern that I can see. These walls are lined with sixteen ancient languages, some of which are still undeciphered but are all spiritually and aesthetically intertwined. This temple is devoted to the feminine principle and adopts the shape of a chalice, which is a symbol of receptivity. I look up to the stained glass dome ceiling hovering above my head. The glass cupola is glazed in shades of cerulean, sapphire and sea blue mimicking that of the ocean. The four gold leaf dragons emerge from each corner of the room, a symbol of the pathway of energy known as the synchronic lines that unite faraway worlds in the galaxy.

I look to the floor and notice a mosaic of dolphins nestled inside a six-pointed star. The sphere on the back altar sits quietly as the man asks us to examine the scripture on the walls. We stop at each point of the room examining the languages that Falco had produced, meditating to each wall and each symbol. It's rumoured that the leader Falco was in a state of trance when writing these words and each symbol has a meaning and has a purpose to one's spiritual journey. Although a few of the cryptograms have been revealed, some of the languages are yet to be understood.

The windchimes echo in my ear once again, I close my eyes envisioning the symbols on these walls. I'm trying to understand this community and this spiritual journey that The Damanhur have adopted. Our teacher asks us to open our eyes and to choose a symbol to draw in our notebooks. The idea is to take this scripture away and to use it as a meditation but to not show anyone. I have been taken with a symbol that is similar to the hieroglyphics of Ancient Egypt. The symbols are within a scarab beetle painted in fine gold lines, the words MUN are at the bottom half of the beetle and drawings of a bird and other characters lie within.

This particular hall is said to be ideal for meditations on the life cycles, preparation for childbirth, to come into contact with one's feminine essence and to reawaken profound memories. Although I long to be enlightened within these four walls, I'm yet to experience a profound reawakening. I thank my teacher and walk the underground passages back to the surface. We leave these hidden temples through a simple door in a house, nobody would have ever known. Concealed from the realities of the modern world, an exposed secret is still relatively hidden.