One of the fundamental ways of regeneration, in an ecovillage, is welcoming in and integrating new members. The longevity and sustainability of any community depends on it. The approach to this process has evolved over the 40 years of Damanhur’s existence. Quaglia Cocco reports.
Looking for the article about Terra Preta? It is here: http://sites.ecovillage.org/de/node/5610
The Game of Life – Damanhur´s institution for constant change – inspired “Viaggio” journeys to go out into the world in groups and return with dozens of new Damanhurians, eager to work, play and revolutionize life in the community. There have been more organized programs for integrating new citizens in the past 15 years or so, experimenting with intensive group building out of the context of everyday life, giving new citizens a community house to dive into the first hand experience of making it thrive, or integrating new people into the existing communities.
For the last five years, with the New Life program, this same Game of Life spirit of bringing in a wave of innovation has been diffused in the nucleo communities of Damanhur, as people from all over the world come to absorb experience as a Damanhur citizen for three months, while contributing their unique color. Many former New Life participants have brought their skills and have left a significant mark.
Sustainability and agriculture is a common field of passion and collaboration. Three recent New Life participants, Beverly from Australia, and Axelina and Rebecka from Sweden have activated a biointensive agriculture program at Dendera nucleo community in the Tentyris region. In collaboration with two Damanhurians passionate about growing food, the New Life citizens, with support of volunteers from 9 different countries, have restored the soil of several greenhouses.
Practically, they removed logs from a previous project, dug trenches that were filled with sand and underground heating pipes, added manure as natural fertilizer, layered hay and seeded plants which are now thriving. An initial step in the process was sending soil from Dendera to a laboratory in Australia to have its mineral composition analyzed, for understanding what is needed to bring it into equilibrium. The project responds to a lack of carbon and nitrogen in the soil, using chicken manure to restore nitrogen. While traditional agriculture with machinery and non-organic fertilizers releases carbon into the atmosphere, methods such as these – done entirely by hand – aim to take carbon out of the atmosphere, which can reverse the effects of global warming on a large scale. All three New Life participants feel so passionate and determined about this project and life at Damanhur that they have decided to stay.
Here is the video that Axelina and Rebecka made with Bev and others, beautifully illustrating the ideals and practices of the project:https://vimeo.com/126784926
Axelina and Rebecka share about their New Life experience and the points that have touched them while choosing to make Damanhur their home. Basically, the decision came from the heart, from a feeling of being at home in the nucleo community, Tiglio, where they have been staying. Axelina says, “They brought us into the community family and helped us through everything, always asking us to share what were going through and offering support.” Rebecka adds, “Whenever I was going through a tough period, feeling doubt about living here, I saw how connected the Damanhurians are with each other, and this helped me to overcome the difficulties of the moment.”
One of their favorite parts of the New Life program was spending time in the Sacred Woods Temple, going there once a week to walk the spirals and labyrinths and contact the trees. Rebecka says, “This anchored a lot of my New Life experience. Something new would come up for me in the labyrinths, and I would work with it during the week, and then the process would repeat. I feel the experiences here have increased the speed of my personal development.”
In addition to the woods, the agriculture project was also a grounding point. When everything else felt very stormy or overwhelming, the project was something that was real and that kept them going. Projects and practical goals are powerful in fostering a sense of commitment and involvement.
Axelina shares, “At a certain point, it started feeling really right to be here. It was not easy to make the decision at first, because we thought we would be on the road for a long time. Then we realized, the journey that we were planning, we can experience it within ourselves and in Damanhur in a way that is so much greater than what we would have done by traveling the world.”
A sense of love and family, manifesting practical dreams, and accelerating personal transformation make living at Damanhur a natural choice for those who come here for New Life and find themselves feeling deeply connected.