Damanhur Inside Out

Former Damanhurians on the outside talk about life on the inside

The road to Damanhur is paved with good intentions

with 21 comments

It has been a year since my first post opened this forum. Many voices have contributed to the debate, mostly former Damanhurians seeking to make sense of it all. Only a small minority of Damanhurians paid to write in forums or their warmly encouraged friends have opposed the truth that has emerged. The fact that many of the arguments by former members were backed up by extracts from Damanhur’s own internal newspaper ‘QDq’ seems to have silenced the internal propaganda brigade. It is indeed ironic that some of the Damanhurians whose job it is to write in the forums have been faced with evidence contained in articles that they themselves have written for QDq.  It could be said, as we are talking of spiritual circles, that this is Karma working at its best!

Here, however, I do not want to contribute to any more verbal battles, I would prefer to share some of the inner battles that have been waging war inside of me ever since I left Damanhur. The forum contains many posts that describe the kind of life we all lived inside the community. There are also accounts of how we woke up to the reality of the abuse that is perpetrated there in the name of an Initiate Path. Very little has been said however, about our post-Damanhur process, our flight from ‘Utopia’ and how we have all struggled to come to terms with what has happened in our lives. I would like to describe my own journey towards ‘recovery’ over the past couple of years, in the hope that it will provide some further insight into the mechanisms that are used in groups of this kind. Perhaps it might even be a source of comfort to other former Damanhurians who are still battling with the psychological consequences of their involvement. I make no pretense to be a psychologist but who knows perhaps my thoughts can help others in some way.

When I first left Damanhur I was ‘hyper’, I was drunk on my new found freedom and completely out of balance. After years of intense restriction I was overwhelmed by the fact that I could now do exactly as I pleased (within the usual limits of course). No more Tecnarcato reports to write, no more long hours of  ‘Terrazzatura’, no more heavy buckets of cement to carry in the Temples, no more bricks to move endlessly from one temple site to another, no more excavating the mountain, no more construction work late into the night, in fact no more ‘forced’ volunteering of any kind. No more obligatory Meditation School meetings, no more anxiety about arriving on time, no need to remember not to eat after 3 pm on Mondays, no periods of silence to observe. No Vertice to answer to in disciplinary procedures if I put a foot wrong, no need to keep my opinions to myself, no one spying on me or reporting me for not observing my ‘Legge individuale’. No more bugs listening to my private conversations, no more control of my computer or telephone, no one writing evaluations on my performance as a citizen. No one taking over my parental role as regards my children, no one to make me feel inadequate, no one to humiliate me in public and no one to tell me that the outside world is a dangerous place full of ignorant people. Then there was the fact that I had a bathroom all to myself instead of sharing it with 14 other citizens; that I could eat and wear what I chose, that I did not have to share a room, live in a freezing cold caravan or sleep in a temporary wooden hut with barely room to move. I no longer had to stay up until the early hours of the morning attending endless obligatory family meetings or perform rituals for hours on end at all times of the day and night. There would be no more control of the cleanliness of my room, invasions of my privacy and no more daily reports to make on the state of my health. And last but not least, no more requests to the School of Meditation for permission to spend time away from Damanhur or to the Security Department to stay overnight with a friend living in another Damanhurian family.

Oh yes, I was drunk and disoriented by the enormity of all my new found freedom. To say that I was manic would be putting it mildly. In fact I had terrible problems just sitting still. I felt edgy if I was not doing something productive and if I slipped into a contemplative mood, I immediately felt guilty for wasting time on thinking rather than doing. In Damanhur we had all become ‘human doings’ rather than human beings. After I left, it was months before I could give myself permission to just sit down and relax. Once I spent time letting my thoughts flow naturally again instead of brushing them aside like idle chatter belonging to someone else, the healing process began.

Perhaps at this point it is better to go back a few steps to fully understand some of the mechanisms I was struggling with.

My departure from the community had been planned with military precision and the whole procedure was executed in a matter of hours before anyone really had time to take in the news. It was a scary experience standing up to the authority figures that had ruled my life for more than a decade: confronting the people who had succeeded in reducing me to little more than an obedient slave. Institutional authority figures were never a problem for me before I became a Damanhurian but in the community I easily slipped into a state of compliance when faced with officials of any kind. I always saw myself as a rebel but in Damanhur I found it hard to challenge anyone who held a position of power. When I look back on that final day, I still do not know how I found the courage to announce that I was leaving or the strength to actually go ahead and do it.

At the beginning, Damanhur had seemed such a spiritual utopia, far removed from the evils of this world but by the end it had become a psychological prison that held me captive inside a life of fear. That’s not to say that fear does not exist outside the walls of Damanhur but I am talking of living inside an inner dread, a totalitarian darkness that consumes your very soul. It is said that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” and certainly the road to my Damanhurian hell had been just that. It took me years to see the true reality of my situation, to stop brushing aside my doubts and accept that I had made a huge error of judgment. If I had truly listened to my warning inner voices when I was encouraged by the King Guides to give all my property to the community I would perhaps have escaped more lightly. Looking back it is now obvious how my ideals, my love of science fiction, the Grail romances and all things magical, fantastic and mysterious, were a fertile territory for the predatory Damanhurian seed.  I was searching for a meaningful reality, somewhere that I could use my skills to create a better world. Damanhur seemed heaven sent: it gave me a mission, it made me feel useful, it made me feel wanted and above all, it made me feel special.

I ignored the warning signs, fired by the mistaken idea that minorities are often persecuted because they are right or because they go against accepted opinion. But that is not always the case, sometimes minority groups of this kind are opposed because people on the outside see the agenda only too clearly. Those on the inside become deaf and blind to criticism because they cannot afford to challenge the world they have so laboriously created.  It would be a death wish. A Damanhurian’s sense of identity is so strongly bound up in being on a divine mission to save the planet and to feeling part of an elite representing millions of human lives, that critical questions are never asked. The world of magic, esoteric grades, animal and vegetable names, Tecnarcato status and Game of Life bracelets is so important that the idea of it all being a fantastic, fraudulent illusion is too life threatening to even contemplate.

This is one of the reasons why the process of leaving takes so long. You have to let go of it all piece by piece, all the elements that have constructed your Damanhurian personality have to be dismantled one by one until your pre-Damanhurian self can surface and challenge the illusion you have taken to be real. It took a very particular event to ‘wake up’ my old personality, an event that violated my cultural DNA and seriously rang the alarm bells.  It was rather like waking up wounded in a muddy war trench to find that I had been fighting for the wrong side.

From that point on I began to question everything that I had been told by Falco and community leaders and quietly examine the reality that I was involved in. It took almost a year to put all the pieces together and finally understand the whole picture. During that year I fought an internal struggle with myself in a kind of ping-pong war of ‘yes it is all true- no it isn’t’. I was totally confused, I did not want to believe that it was all a terrible litany of lies, I did not want to believe that I had allowed myself to be manipulated and tricked into giving away everything I owned. That I had been working for years to the point of exhaustion, not to create a model society but to make a billionaire even richer. Oh yes, it was a bitter pill to swallow. At first I was amazed at the truth behind the lies, then I felt sick to the stomach, then I was outraged and in the end I was heart broken.  I had invested all of myself and everything I had in Damanhur and its ‘dream’ and it had turned out to be the worst kind of nightmare: the kind that you cannot wake up from, the kind that will haunt you for the rest of your life.

The first few months on the ‘outside’ were another kind of hell. I had no home, no work, and no money. Fortunately former Damanhurians were able to offer me a place to stay. The remains of my aging family, neglected during my years in Damanhur, though politely supportive and relieved at my having left the community could do little to help me on a practical level. I was out there on my own with children to support, feeling like a refugee from another planet. It was not as if I could explain to people where I had been for over a decade, where I had been working or why I had no social security contributions or tax returns. It was as if I had ’missing time’ and even though I take full responsibility for the fact that I climbed aboard the Damanhur spaceship of my own accord I also feel, with a certain degree of irritation, that my mind was cleverly ’abducted’. So there I was a cosmic refugee with nothing to show for my adventure except a whole heap of anger, debt and despair.

The anger was mixed with such a profound sense of betrayal that I can find no words to describe it. It is a primordial anger that swells up in me every now and again and screams against the injustice of it all, an anger that screams “How could you have been SO STUPID!” An anger that is remorseless in its search to understand WHY? An anger that constantly asks “HOW could this have happened to me?”

I was a real pleasure to be around in those early months! I could talk about nothing else but Damanhur, I was obsessive in my need to make sense of it all. I would bombard people I hardly knew with the whole terrible story; I could not find a balance amidst all the pain and anger at the loss of my dream. Even now more than two years on, I still find myself with tears in my eyes, perhaps triggered by a song on the radio, as all the emotion returns and floods me with pain. “Why, Oh why”, I ask myself, couldn’t it all have been true. I so wanted to travel in time, to explore the nature of the universe, to travel across the dimensions. I so wanted to understand the great mysteries, the forces and magic that shapes our lives. And there, I believe, lies the worst aspect of Falco’s betrayal:  his manipulation of people’s dreams and aspirations in his pursuit of power, sex and money. I am sorry but I find it impossible to forgive him for that.

After my initial period of emotional seesawing I began reading everything I could on cult phenomena, from how you get recruited, to how it is possible to recover from the experience. This helped me a lot on an intellectual level. I began to understand the mechanisms that were used to recruit me and how I, like so many others had ‘fallen’ for the story. Things began to slot into place and a wider picture began to emerge. I could place my experience alongside those of others who had participated in destructive groups and see the similarities, share their stories and make comparisons.  The patterns were clear and Damanhur fitted neatly into every classification I read of a destructive cult. I started to feel less of a victim, less of a stupid idiot and more like a traveler with a wealth of useful experience to share. That marked the beginning of my recovery process, the fact that I could relate my personal experience to that of others and begin to see it in perspective. Every cult context is different but as I discovered, they all have many factors in common.

I was also able to measure my own psychological health against that of other former Damanhurians who had gone through the leaving process before me. All of us have approached our difficulties in different ways. Some have launched themselves into new areas of spiritual research; others have looked for a substitute guru to help them find meaning in the chaos raging inside them;  some have returned to their region of origin to take up the lives they left behind as many as twenty or thirty years ago. Some have left Italy for fear of repercussions; others are silent and refuse to discuss the past, preferring to bury their anger and disappointment and look only towards the future. I have declared myself a religious and spiritual free zone.  I look at any belief system with a huge dose of skepticism. I am not interested in burning any more bridges for utopias and I am intensely suspicious of anyone who claims to have found the answers.   I suppose this is just an initial reaction and perhaps in the future I will be able to relocate my dreams and aspirations in something other than basic survival. But for now I feel safer believing only in myself and my own inner dialogue with the forces of truth. I no longer need anyone to help me discover my ‘divine nature’ or my ‘inner master’; I will get there on my own, or not at all, as the case may be.

Slowly I have begun to build a new life and a new identity which has nothing to do with my Damanhurian past, even though every now and again someone will say “Ah, but weren’t you part of Damanhur at one time?” And throw me off balance again. My children never cease to remind me that they saw the truth about Damanhur long before I did and ask me why I had not listened to them earlier. I have no answer for them except to say that fanaticism is notoriously deaf to the ideas of others. For as long as I was a ‘true believer’ in the Damanhurian dream it was impossible for me to see the world in any other way. I had lost the ability to think for myself or if I did entertain critical thoughts, I quickly pushed them aside because they challenged my very existence. I am pleased that my children were the wiser and I am sorry for the indignities they suffered in the name of my ‘spiritual path’. I am ashamed to say that I seriously neglected them in pursuit of what I considered were ‘higher ideals’. I am sorry that I was unable to protect them from the worst aspects of Damanhurian totalitarianism and the fact that they grew up in endlessly changing groups of people all intent on disciplining them as they saw fit. I am sorry that their schooling was hopelessly inadequate in preparing them for the outside world and that they are both now paying the price for my mistakes before they have even had chance to make any of their own. It is not a pretty picture.

The psychological aftermath of my Damanhur experience has produced some interesting phenomena.  I now suffer from acute panic attacks and episodes of excruciating anxiety about things that before Damanhur I would have taken in my stride. I still find it difficult to make decisions in a supermarket because I did not do any food shopping for over a decade. Spending any money at all arouses enormous guilt feelings after years of having so little and leaves me feeling separated from the flow of everyday life. I prefer to live in a small space because it makes me feel more secure and larger spaces seem too overwhelming to conquer. Sometimes I suffer from ‘disassociation’ states and episodes of ‘floating’ where my attention dissolves into a light trance. If the right trigger comes along I am pulled back into the states of consciousness that I practiced as part of Meditation School exercises and my mind takes off on another plane. Sometimes I even time warp back into Damanhurian ways of thinking and I have to remind myself that I am no longer there. It took me more than a year before I had the courage to move out into the world again in any meaningful kind of way.

I hardly seem to have any short term memory and I have had to develop endless strategies to help remember where I have put things down or what I did only seconds beforehand. I constantly worry that I am losing my mind and my ability to cope with the everyday world. One strange aspect that I have noticed, which I also observed when living in Damanhur is my level of ‘suggestibility’. I believe this is a result of the sophisticated suggestion techniques Falco used on all of us. I find that going to the cinema or just watching a film at home has a strange effect on me. It is interesting to note that Falco always warned us against going to the cinema, saying it was a waste of time and that we were living the imaginative world of someone else instead of building our own (i.e. working to build his).  On the rare occasions as a Damanhurian that I had the opportunity to go to the cinema, I noticed that films had an incredibly profound effect on me. I would live the characters and the drama for weeks on end afterward. It was as if the world ‘suggested’ by the film had become a part of me. I began to be very cautious about the kinds of films I went to see because the reality portrayed in a film so strongly influenced my approach to daily life. This still happens even now, though to a lesser extent and I have to pay attention to the kind of films I choose to watch.

It is taking me a long time to completely restore my sense of self-respect and a belief in my own abilities, to be happy with who I am rather than striving to be what someone else tells me I ought to be. Slowly, step by step I am working towards it and I guess this is the biggest challenge in the long and painful recovery process. I will never be able to return to my pre-Damanhurian self and live my life as if Damanhur never happened but I am trying to build a new sense of identity based upon what that experience has taught me. I still want to believe that a small group of dedicated people can inspire change in the world but I suspect it requires a revolutionary dedication to truth that is hard to find in our times of ‘universal deceit’:  to quote a phrase by George Orwell, the prophetic author of 1984.

I often think of those I left behind in Damanhur and wonder where they are now with their ‘good intentions’. I wonder if they will ever see the contradictions and wake up to the lies and corruption.  Falco, as the ‘Time Monk’ – according to his book the ‘Seven Scarlet Doors’ – is leading them along the road to the ‘Central Fires’ (a euphemism for hell perhaps?). For the most part I believe their intentions are good …I don’t think the same can be said for his.

Giorgio

Posted to Ce.S.A.P:  2009/01/01 19:10

Written by damanhurinsideout

May 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm

21 Responses

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  1. what a brave and beautiful and strong person you are. It is not only the likes of damanhur that entrances and captivates people. Many people are so heavily invested in their belief systems that they cannot see the reality in front of their very eyes. Your story, unfortunately, is a metaphor for the world we live in and the power we give away, both on gross and subtle levels.
    I wish you the strength to open your heart and allow love in: in my experience it is the only true reality that is not a ‘belief’. Your heart will heal you. Nobody and nothing else.
    I congratulate your bravery and courage.
    Much love to you friend.

    Siobhan

    June 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    • Hi Siobhan

      Thank you for your encouraging words. Most of the time I do not feel brave or courageous just inadequate and stupid for having allowed myself to believe all the Damanhur silliness for so long.
      It seems some of us have to learn the hard way!
      Let’s hope this site will help others to avoid making the same mistake…
      My love to you too…
      Giorgio

      Translated from the Italian By Damanhur inside out.

      damanhurinsideout

      June 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

  2. Big hugs with deep feelings of gratitude, dear Giorgio, for sharing your experience

    yes indeed it’s amasing how clearly you can see where you are at, right now. as you said with simply perfect semplicity, you are “just like a traveler” moving on with his own luggage of experiences… just like everyone else *BUT* with the great difference that you know where you are now!!!

    do take it easy, brother man, abide grief and sorrow for what it is NOT anymore! I wish your healing is going to end up soon… as soon as you’ll start to realise that NOW it is the beginning of the rest of your Life.

    Plants grow stronger where they have been distressed

    Probably you can be a very best comunity member as you humbly admit your mistakes, in front of your kids too: everybody makes mistakes but not many are able to ask forgiveness, stand up and step forward

    Your kids will love you for this

    All the best blessings
    safe journey

    M i k i

    Miki

    June 24, 2009 at 1:46 am

  3. Dear Giorgio,

    your story put tears in my eyes..I cannot ad much to the previous beautiful comments but that it is good to remember that all the experience, especially the “bad” ones, make you stronger, better human being, if you can see them through and take the lesson..you proved to yourself that you had a great deal of courage to accept having been fooled so badly and taken astray…however, if you would not have made this experience and made it public here, we would not have known all this valuable information…so thank you for sharing all this..I deeply respect you for that and believe that you will make it through..You already did.
    Best wishes and my love to you and your family.
    Kate

    Kate

    August 18, 2009 at 1:26 am

  4. Giorgio, this is an excellent post and I know you will find healing.

    I myself have nothing to do with Damanhur apart from looking at it from the outside and wondering about it. But what you said here really interested me:

    “My children never cease to remind me that they saw the truth about Damanhur long before I did and ask me why I had not listened to them earlier”

    It is one of my favourite subjects, the question why children are not listened to and believed. If you were interested in doing it (and of course if it was not too painful for you, I would be fascinated to learn about what your children suspected and saw for themselves, and how.

    In my opinion children are very good at coming to conclusions on little evidence that are completely correct, because they are in touch with an internal truth which is forgotten by most adults. Funnily enough, spiritual training is meant to restore that truth in my opinion… but it seems the spiritual training at Damanhur does not have this effect.

    Good luck, Jason

    Jason

    January 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    • Dear Jason

      Ours is a long and rather complicated story and I cannot go into too much detail because it would easily identify me and that could cause us more than a few ‘problems’. Suffice it to say; fortunately Damanhur’s indoctrination methods are mostly aimed at adults even though children growing up in the Community inevitably absorb some of its philosophy.

      In many ways it is the children who pay the price for their parents’ decisions and there is a page dedicated to that theme on this site.

      https://damanhurinsideout.wordpress.com/damanhur-on-facebook/the-children-of-damanhur-free-to-choose/

      By the time the children become adolescents they have lived through many of the horrors of a Damanhurian life, the worst being that the authority of their natural parents over their lives is sacrificed for the dubious merits of a Damanhurian initiate path.

      I will explain.

      Damanhurian children grow up in Nucleos: extended families of around twenty people. Families constantly change their members and also physical location. Children do not have a stable reference point in terms of who they grow up with or where they live. They are perennially on the move and things can, and often do, change overnight. Many Damanhurian initiates have entered Damanhur seduced by the promise of magic and power and have little interest in the lives of children.

      The raising of children and their discipline is agreed upon by the Nucleo as a group and reinforced by all its members often with little underlying affection. If the natural parents object to what the Nucleo decides is good for their children, they have to keep quiet otherwise they are reprimanded with a loss of status in the family and the Initiate School.

      Children begin to feel very abandoned and afraid.

      They are at the mercy of whatever the Nucleo decides.

      Having two parents is hard enough but imagine what it is like as an adolescent having twenty people continually regarding you with suspicion. Are you smoking? Are you taking drugs? Are you studying enough? Are you doing enough turns with the domestic chores? In a traditional family obviously the same concerns exist but they are tempered by the love of the parents for their children and compromises are often possible. In Damanhur every child has an ‘action program’, formulated every 6 months which is strictly adhered to and sets out how the child is expected to behave and includes penalties for transgressions. These programs start from when a child is born until age eighteen. Natural parents have very little real power over their content. Many initiates are not parents and have no idea what it means to be one.

      The children understand very quickly that they are part of a regime which considers them little more than a necessary evil and that Damanhur is only interested in the wealth of their parents and the income they bring into the Community. The birth rate is so low in Damanhur that incentives have had to be given to encourage citizens to have children for the good of its public image. People quickly realize that it is almost impossible to be a good parent and a Damanhurian initiate. The social system makes sure that you rarely spend time with your children and that they become estranged from you at an incredibly young age. In the early years of Damanhur the children (including babies) were raised in a special children’s house away from their natural parents because Falco considered Damanhurians unfit to raise their own children.

      Although Damanhur masquerades as a friendly eco-society, it is really a hierarchical mystery cult and children just get in the way.

      But the children see it all very clearly. My son confessed to me the other day that he had spent years crying himself to sleep at night in desperation because he wanted to leave Damanhur but did not dare tell me.

      Initiates are required to put Damanhur before everything else, children included.

      Even now he is very, very angry. And rightly so.

      Giorgio

      Translated from Italian by DIO Editor

      damanhurinsideout

      January 24, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      • Hi Giorgio,
        I just came back from Damanhur and wondering how things will continue now that he has passed.
        Maybe I have visited for the past 5 years and one thing I cannot see or feel is ,, love,, Everybody
        seems to be very busy – which is okay as long as they enjoy it. ….but still too little joy and love for
        my understanding. What calls me back is the yearning for information and knowledge.
        Do you have any idea whether the personal self is really used for what they say or is it sort of a
        ,,hook,, to get you back?
        Thanks for all your sharing and sheding some lights on it.

        Emy

        Emy

        September 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

      • Hi Emy

        Love is sadly lacking in Damanhur and the joy has been replaced by duty to the group. Initiates jostle for power and prestige and this Community has a lot to learn about humanity and spirituality. Ritual has been substituted for spirituality …obligation for human kindness.
        The personal self is a scam. They were manufactured by Falco and had to be updated regularly. It was an innovative form of ‘TAX’ that Damanhurians had to pay. Status was conferred on those with the latest strata and those who could not afford the update were looked down upon as not doing their spiritual best. The Selfs do not work in any way and are just a very expensive lucky charm. But you need to have one to BELONG…need I say more? If you have 10,000 euro to throw away go ahead.
        The self were ‘prepared’ by Falco..now that he is supposedly dead..I guess the Vertice have introduced a new system to continue fleecing the inmates.
        Damanhur is a fantasy ..nothing more…do not feed it with your cash…it destroys lives.

        DIO Editor

        damanhurinsideout

        September 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

  5. Giorgio, I’m sorry not to have thanked you sooner for your interesting comment — wordpress never notified me about it for some reason.

    Everything you say suggests an incredible short-termism and narrowmindedness on the part of Falco and all the others who designed the Damanhur setup. I have no problem with the very notion of a mystery-cult community (I have a problem with the Damanhur one because it is a bad example), but how can they possibly have set up the community without thinking the best way to bring up children? No matter how much ‘magic and power’ you have, you are going to have to deal with families if you want your community to survive.

    And apparently, having set up a particular system, there is no desire to change it even though it obviously doesn’t work and causes harm. Probably because it is ‘divine revelation’ and thus can’t be changed.

    Well done for being able to get free, in that case.

    Jason Wingate

    April 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm

  6. thank you very much for letting others new to the idea of Damanhur to remember to always listen to their inner heedings and never compromise the God voice inside

    Elizabeth Lee

    October 20, 2011 at 5:03 pm

  7. Can the web-masters please do a write-up abour Damanhur from your perspective for the website abovetopsecret.com? They have just discovered the temples and are absolutely wowed by them, some already voicing their intent to become part of this “ideal” community…

    Sofia Ithothe

    November 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    • Dear Sofia

      It would be more effective if lots of visitors to the abovetopsecret site posted comments with links to this one. That way it becomes a popular movement and not just one voice calling out against the Damanhurian propaganda machine.
      Perhaps you could begin?
      DIO Editor

      damanhurinsideout

      November 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

  8. Thank You Giorgio for your powerful and honest account of your journey. It takes a huge amount of courage to talk about these things, and I believe that your story will help many people.

    I’ve seen around me a lot of interest in spiritual pursuits that are in the same vein. It can be very difficult to explain what is happening spiritually in these kinds of situations, as most of it is very subtle and hidden. That is why they call it the “occult” which means “hidden” and it is also why it is so hard to address directly, which of course is the point. This is also exactly why stories like yours can make all the difference when explaining to others who are unaware of the danger lurking in the art and ideals.

    Please remember Giorgio that despite everything, the beautiful children that you raised had the inner strength to look behind the facade, and you also had the inner strength to put the real picture together for yourself. And then, even though it is such a difficult thing to do, you have the demonstrated the massive courage that it takes to admit you were wrong, to take the huge leap of faith to leave, and then to have the integrity to share your story in order to help others avoid the same pitfalls! These are all hard-won victories and I hope you all know that your strength and honesty will help many other people avoid the same pain.

    I sincerely pray that you and your children are able to receive healing and find happiness in your lives, as well as all the others who have also been affected.

    ~S.

    S.

    January 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

  9. Hi everyone,

    Some readers here might be interested in my blog post published today which goes into the difference between positive and negative spiritual training. I’ve given some references for the psychology of “cult”-style systems, their psychology, and how to fight back.

    I wish the best to everyone kicking free.

    Jason Wingate

    January 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm

  10. Thank you so much Giorgio for your courageous and so very beautiful story. Speaking out like this is what promotos healing. If possible I would like to get in touch to be able to share a little more then I feel I can do here.

    Best regards, Kara

    Karen Van Goethem

    March 8, 2012 at 9:49 am

  11. Giorgio (and DIO editor),
    thanks for what you are doing here. I am someone who was absolutely deadset on visiting Damanhur for an extended time, until I found this site! And I am the kind of person they would probably want to attract – mystical spiritually interested person, very interested in time travel, sci-fi, working with nature etc; with some inheritance money. I am old enough and experienced enough that I probably would have been able to sense that something was off if I had gone there. But I am really grateful that you’ve forewarned me – at the very least it would have cost me a lot of money to go there and changed life decisions to get there, etc.
    I feel like your accounts on here are very real – there is nothing histronic or unhinged about the way you come across, I believe what you’re saying. I kind of knew straight away, even though it was a massive dissapointment, that what you were saying was true.
    So thank you for sharing this painful story with us. Know that it’s bringing light to a very distorted situation.
    I tend to think this actually must have started out coming from the right place. It seems Falco over the years has gone a bit mad and become absorbed in his own snowballing mythology…what a massive shame!
    Best wishes,
    TN

    TN

    April 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    • Dear TN

      I am pleased to hear you took this site seriously. Your research has saved you a lot of pain and money. Better disappointment now than emotional and financial bankruptcy later…not to mention the psychological damage. Damanhur is a very sad and dangerous state of affairs.

      Good luck …I hope you find a decent alternative.

      DIO Editor

      damanhurinsideout

      April 10, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  12. Thanks so much for sharing and blessings on your healing journey. I have a question, I read the bit about the personal Selfs being a money spinner, what about the Selfic jewellery, e.g: the bracelets that de-stress you, or assist creativity and the other properties that they claim to have? After meeting a Damanhurian who I was impressed with and doing my own research I am feeling that, like most things, there is the good and the bad in Damanhur. The bad being as you have honestly outlined, the good being some of the people there and their intentions, (and as far as I can tell) some of the art, growing and eating organic, and some of the technology, etc. So is the selfic jewellery, and the pendulum to orient trees special technology? Or are these a complete scam? There is interest in my local community at the moment and people are buying them. Thank you so much.

    lizzie

    January 26, 2014 at 3:46 am

    • Hello Lizzie
      Many claims are made for selfica but no serious scientific trials have endorsed it. Falco is no longer around to personally prepare Selfic objects or oversee their production. Buyer Beware… In the past, customers, on returning selfic devices that they no longer believed in, were told that they had paid their thousands of Euro for Falco’s energetic intervention not the actual object. They are worth what you are willing to pay for them…Do they work? There is absolutely no reason to believe that they do….
      DIO Editor

      damanhurinsideout

      July 25, 2015 at 1:49 pm

  13. intreasting details…I loved some of the people i met whilst in Damanhur for 3months.There were ones I met who seemed to be really very happy….there was light in their eyes for sure… however i did see that nobody had enough time/were stressed and there seemed to be a distinct lack of `freedom`….which is very important for me. As for people reporting you to the `thought police`, tapping your phone etc..that constitutes a `prison` not a community! Theres no trust in a community if that is occurring for sure. In the human lifetime the idea is to `burn off karma` not create more by actions that are hurting others. this i find it hard to understand…
    When people leave a spiritual path invariably it takes a great mental toll on them for sure…to live in such a community as citizen A` you are fully immersed. which from my knowledge & experience could very well lead you to `shakti pad`…….. There are on a spiritual path 5 `distinct steps` ….In yoga the steps are called “karam” pad, “saram” pad…… “shakti” pad where you have a chance to `step thru the door of consciousness`….many people leave the path at this stage & don’t go through…..its also called the crucifixion …[ we are speaking of the` ego` false self…crucifixion .] its scary & awful time for the ego quite frankly..you will be challenged on your greatest weakness….But if theres `trust` in the spiritual mentor you can go through…..after this has been completed there is Sahej pad[ which means `with ease`] where everything changes ..This is Mastery……Ego has gone…mind is quiet, peaceful…. the last stage which very few make it is Sat pad…sat meaning `Truth`…..karma completed…..
    So it would be interesting if people who left came to this `door`…..when theres commitment & real total immersion thats what can occur ….Since i don’t know any of you I cant know if this is what occurred.
    I validate your pain & hear that your experiences were unpleasant .My spiritual teacher once said `you are never given anything you cant handle in life`….It also makes us stronger………I send you all much love & pray you receive healing..

    kim kennedy

    July 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

  14. giorgio —

    first of all i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your courage and to alerting us all of the dangers of this movement. I myself was about to do an extended stay.
    I think the cults are more dangerous the more of their seeming accomplishments (they are less dangerous when they are obviously crazy, ie Jim Jones). This situation at Damanhur is very, very tricky and dangerous.

    To add to all the other voices, your post is so heartfelt, informative, completely lacking in any kind of self-pity… i know it has been a long time for you, but i wish you to find peace and forgiveness for yourself and for your prior colleagues here. perhaps your original purpose in this, your mission, was to write this blog..

    From my personal analysis, people join cults because they hunger after 2 things: a sense of purpose in their lives, a need to be a part of a larger movement that they can contribute to and collaborate at the deepest and most powerful levels; and secondly a sense of personal belonging. Both of these things are very difficult to find in our current, fragmented and hyper-individualistic society; and the tragedy in this is that it appears one can either live in the fragmented world in a “life of quiet desperation”, covering up that deep need for meaning and connection through “entertainments” and/or semi-dysfunctional relationships; or one can join an intentional community or New Religious Movement (NRM) such as Damanhur, almost all of which breakdown at some point (although not all of them in such an extreme manner such as Damanhur). This is my current conundrum. I am on a mission to find the answer, i so long to find a community that would fulfill that need. The next stage of this journey is probably Tamera community in portugal, but there are many others. Google “intentional communities directory”.

    My sincere hope is that sites such this will help us distinguish the communities that truly come from a place of love and healing. Thank you so much, Georgio, for helping us out.

    Marc

    December 19, 2014 at 12:58 am


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