Federation of Damanhur

The Federation of Damanhur
TypeNew Religious Movement
HeadquartersVidracco, Piedmont, Italy.
Coordinates45°25′01″N 7°44′51″E / 45.416915°N 7.747598°E / 45.416915; 7.747598
Oberto Airaudi

The Federation of Damanhur, often called simply Damanhur, is a commune, ecovillage, and spiritual community situated in the Piedmont region of northern Italy about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of the city of Turin. It is located in the foothills of the Alps in the Chiusella Valley, bordering on the Gran Paradiso National Park. The community has its own constitution and currency, the Credito.

Damanhur is named after the Egyptian city of Damanhur which was the site of a temple dedicated to Horus.

It was founded in 1975 by Oberto Airaudi with around 24 followers, and by 2000 the number had grown to 800.[citation needed]

Damanhur's supporters claim the growth and activity of the community has revitalized the local area.

The Federation of Damanhur has centers in Europe, America, and Japan.

The Temples of Humankind are a collection of subterranean temples built by the Federation of Damanhur, and they are some of the largest underground temples in the world.

Life at Damanhur


The constitution began with 3 bodies of Damanhur: The School of Meditation (ritual tradition) Social (social theory, social realization) and The Game of Life (experimentation and dynamics, life as a game, change). A fourth body was recently added, Technarcate (individual inner refinement).

Citizens participate in one of 4 levels, depending on their desired involvement: A, B, C, or D. Class A citizens share all resources and live on site full-time. Class B citizens contribute to financial goals and live on site a minimum of 3 days a week. Class C and D citizens live anywhere. (page 102, Merrifield, 2006) Class A & B citizens participate fully in The School of Meditation, Social, and the Game of Life. Class C citizens participate fully in The School of Meditation.

Citizens participate in one of several ways, depending on their personal nature. Ways include the Way of the Oracle, the Way of the Monk, the Way of the Knight, the Way of Health, the Way of the Word, the Way of Art & Work, and many others. Most citizens live in houses of 10-20 people each, federated together into the Federation of Damanhur.

Marriage works on a renewal basis, for a period of so many years before renewal. Conception is timed for auspicious birthdays of children.

From 1983 onwards, members have assumed animal names (Sparrow, Prawn, Mole, etc.).


Since May 2009, a website called Damanhur Inside Out has hosted anonymous testimonials from people claiming to be ex-members of the Damanhur community, and articles relating to legal controversy around the Foundation and its founder. In the 2007 assessment of Patrizia Santovecchi, the President of the National Psychological Abuses Observatory (Osservatorio Nazionale Abusi Psicologici, O.N.A.P.), Damanhur shares characteristics typical of psychologically abusive cults. These characteristics include barriers to leaving freely, siege syndrome, in which outsiders are portrayed as enemies constituted by negative energies; suppression of criticism, imposition of obedience, estrangement from family members, depersonalization, and submission to the will of the guru. A 2018 analysis of interviews with ex-members echoed these themes, showing that their process of disillusionment with and departure from the community usually took several years and could be "torturous". Damanhur have publicly responded to criticism by describing themselves as an "ethical cult". Academics have noted that Damanhur has undergone changes since the death of the founder in 2013, and become more outward-facing. Websites have become an important means by which the Foundation is "advertising and legitimizing" itself as an 'Exemplary Utopia'.

This page was last updated at 2024-04-19 09:43 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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