The 1960s sees the peak of the Cold War, the first man on the moon, the “summer of love” and student revolts in many countries. During these times of accelerated change, Dieter Duhm publishes “Fear in Capitalism” – a best seller in the German left movement. At the time, he coins the phrase “revolution without emancipation is counter-revolution” meaning a revolution cannot succeed on the outside unless it’s also taken place on the inside. In spite of its initial enthusiasm, the students’ movement loses itself in dogmatic infighting and finally disintegrates. Duhm continues searching, seeking to establish a viable alternative to the existing system of violence.
1978: Start of the Project
In May 1978, after several years of searching, Dieter Duhm sets up the first community experiment in southern Germany, together with Sabine Lichtenfels, Charly Rainer Ehrenpreis, Sarah Vollmer and 8 others. This is named the “Bauhuette” project (German for “builders’ lodge” based on the Templar lodge used when building Chartres). The goal is to create an interdisciplinary research center, attracting specialists in bionics, architecture, food security and new technologies. They realize that they won’t be able to create any lasting solution if they don’t have a sustainable social framework, and that they need to look at the inner conflicts. The core question of the project becomes: how can people live together long term in trust?
1983: Social Experiment
The numbers grow from a few to 50 people who commit to stay together for 3 years in the Black Forest, to study how to build a functioning community. Tapping into their bursting life energy, experiments begin in vortex research, wastewater treatment and building techniques. Unlike other communities, they explore topics often ignored – sex, love and money. They live by the motto “nothing that is human is alien to me,” using theater and art to rediscover truth beyond the alienation of our culture and tap into the healing powers of life. They explore the basic guidelines for the foundations of community.
“SD Forum” is an abbreviation of the German word “Selbstdarstellung,” meaning self-expression. Members meet every day for Forum, where they reveal what’s happening inside and among them. In a protected space, they share their conflicts, joys and hidden desires without fear of judgment. In this space of mutual solidarity, people learn how to express themselves in theatrical art pieces, which liberates them from endlessly and seriously circling around themselves. They realize that seeing is loving, and that truth and self-revelation generate trust.
Discovering Sexual Freedom
In freeing love and sexuality from fear, the community find the deepest, most crucial aspect of their research – the healing of love. The environment of trust that they create in the community allows participants to experience what would otherwise be hard to imagine – openly expressing and following their erotic truth, establishing solidarity among men who love the same woman and vice versa. They set foundations for love free of jealousy, lies and betrayal. The German media is indignant, kicking off a slander campaign in the mid 1980s. The community responds by publishing their insights and inspirations for an erotic peace culture.
Healing Biotopes Plan
The social experiment gives rise to a larger vision of peace. Dieter Duhm first develops his Political Theory based on his research of how information shapes the fields governing our collective behavior. With this, he formulates a strategy for global peace, achieved through a network of Healing Biotopes and peace villages that create a field for living nonviolently on Earth.
1991: ZEGG – “Center for Experimental Cultural and Social Design”
In 1991, in northeast Germany, members of the original community set up an organization called ZEGG, a community and non-profit education center, which soon develops into its own independent organization. Several people working in Tamera today used to live and work in ZEGG.
“Eros Unredeemed” is Published
Dieter Duhm’s “Eros Unredeemed” is published by Verlag Meiga.
1992: Deeper Listening
In parallel, Dieter Duhm, Sabine Lichtenfels and a few others set up an open house and healing center in Lanzarote. Members of the group run “La Massilia,” an early version of the “Love School.” Others were establishing “Kairos” – a dolphin research boat.
Establishing a Peace Village
During the desert camps, the group asks “where can we create a place to ground the global Healing Biotope project?” Portugal seems to be a good place as it has historically often embraced radical movements. Because much of the land is ecologically degraded, it’s the perfect place to show how it’s possible to create paradise on a barren piece of land.
1995: Founding Tamera
The group chooses Monte do Cerro, a 140-hectare site of undeveloped land, in the shape of an eagle, in the rural Portuguese Alentejo. During a meditation at a spring on the land the name “Tamera” comes to Sabine. They later learn that this was an ancient Egyptian word for the “land of water” (and an early name used for the land of Egypt itself). Thanks to the generosity of private donors, the site is bought in 1995.
Dreaming the Land
Instead of applying a preconceived masterplan, they live as artists and deep ecologists, connecting with the slumbering dream of the land that wants to be realized here. In their first vision, they see the big lake they will build in 2007. The animal kingdom welcomes them with astounding friendliness and unusually trusting encounters with wild animals occur. They begin to communicate with visible and invisible beings and to receive guidance for building the Healing Biotope. This later becomes the work of Terra Deva.
A small group creates the basic infrastructure including workshops, studios, networking offices, seminar rooms and accommodation. Gardens and trees are planted for reforestation, all from private funds and donations. Experiments begin in energy research and ecology.
First Summer University
100 people from many different countries visit. This heralds the start of the education programs and conferences.
1996: “Weiche Macht” [Gentle Power] is Published
Verlag Meiga publishes Sabine Lichtenfels’ book “Weiche Macht” [Gentle Power] on a vision of a new women’s movement, based on a new love towards men.
1999: The Big Fire
In the middle of the night of January 31st, 1999, the community’s large hall – the main building in Tamera – catches fire. Grateful that no one is injured, the community watch as it burns to the ground. With everything lost, the community is renewed in their solidarity to rebuild. The network of solidarity around Tamera is strong and help comes from all directions. New temporary structures like the conference tent, huts, containers, caravans and wooden houses are built, and a permanent building for the Institute for Global Peace Work is constructed.
2000: Global Peacework Starts
The Institute for Global Peacework is inaugurated and begins establishing connections and collaborations with committed activists and thought leaders, peace villages, educational projects and social movements around the world. This includes building solidarity with courageous initiatives in the Global South like the Colombian peace community San José de Apartadó, running campaigns and forming networks.
2001: The Middle East
After the outbreak of the second intifada in Israel-Palestine, the co-workers of Tamera realize that it’s no longer possible to look on as bystanders without taking action. Sabine Lichtenfels receives a meditation on how peace can be created in the Middle East, and this is sent out to many partners, marking an acceleration of our global network.
“The Sacred Matrix” is Published
Verlag Meiga publishes Dieter Duhm’s “The Sacred Matrix” about the transition from the matrix of violence to the sacred matrix of peace, with Healing Biotopes as self-sufficient future communities, “greenhouses of trust” and “acupuncture points of peace.” The book aims to pass on his years of research and knowledge to the next generation.
Generation Shift 2001–2006
Dieter Duhm and Sabine Lichtenfels begin offering peace education programs for young people. A group including Benjamin, Robert, Vera, Mara, Juliane and others who are deeply acquainted with the peacework philosophies of Tamera forms to organize education, teach today’s youth and to work on the creation of the Global Campus. The new generation of leaders remains today, supported by the experienced elders of the project.
2002: First International Peace Camp
The vision of a Peace Research Village in the Middle East develops after a 3-week camp. Many journeys are made to this land to hold peace camps with participants from both “sides.” A group of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals start working on this, using Tamera as their training ground.
2003: Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)
Tamera joins GEN – a solution-based, multi-stakeholder alliance providing information, tools, examples and global representation to the expanding network of those dedicated to developing and demonstrating sustainability principles and practices.
“We Refuse to be Enemies”
A group of Israeli and Palestinian musicians and a Tamera theater group tour throughout Germany and Switzerland. The theater piece is called “We Refuse to Be Enemies.”
2005: The First Grace Pilgrimage
Shaken by the threat of war against Iran, Sabine Lichtenfels starts a peace pilgrimage without money from Portugal to the Middle East. Arriving in Israel-Palestine after several months, with Benjamin von Mendelssohn, she invites a group of 40 Israelis, Palestinians and internationals to join the first Grace Pilgrimage, walking through Israel and the West Bank for peace, justice and reconciliation.
2006: Monte Cerro Peace Education
The first peace education begins. 100 people from Tamera and 100 activists and students from the world start 3 years of studying and knowledge gathering. This paves the way for the peace education that exists today.
The Aula is Built
Sabine and the community raise funds for the new community space through a pilgrimage. Providing space for 400 people and with walls 8 meters high, the Aula – our auditorium – is the largest straw bale adobe building in the Iberian Peninsula, and is built by community members and friends of Tamera. The Tamera community and all guests gather here every Sunday morning and for special events.
The “Global Campus” is Created
A committed network of planetary centers for peace begins to work together. This includes seminars, peace actions, pilgrimages and building help in Israel-Palestine, Colombia, Brazil, Kenya, Mexico and Portugal. In 2015, more than 30 leaders of the different initiatives come to Tamera to deepen their education and cooperation, guided by Vera Kleinhammes. As a result, several educational gatherings take place in Colombia.
The Aldeia da Luz is Built
8 women, most of them over 60 years old, build this “Village of Light.” It houses sewing, pottery and medicinal herb workshops, all made from locally-sourced adobe and wood. A center of female knowledge, with a communitarian “grandma quality,” it is a creative gathering space and living accommodation for both men and women.
Grace Pilgrimage Book is Published
Verlag Meiga publishes Sabine Lichtenfels’ book, “GRACE: Pilgrimage for a Future without War,” on the story of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to Israel and Palestine.
2007: The Water Retention Landscape is Built
In 2007, the construction of the Water Retention Landscape starts, inspired and supported by the Austrian permaculture specialist Sepp Holzer. On December 31st, 2009, Lake 1 reaches capacity. Work continues on the permaculture gardens – lakes, ponds, swales and terraces – and the water landscape.
More Grace Pilgrimages 2007-2010
2007 to Israel-Palestine, 2008 to Colombia, 2009 in Portugal and 2010 to Colombia again.
2009: The Solar Test Field is Built
After 5 years of collaborating with the physicist Juergen Kleinwaechter, this experimental space is built. Here, we develop and test inventions for solar-powered energy autonomy and combine them with water management and food production. People test and use these technologies in daily life. Gradually, more experts and collaborators join the team and wider network, e.g. biogas expert T.H. Culhane and the Blueprint Alliance. Find out more…
2011: Annual Water Symposium Begins
The first annual symposium on Water Retention Landscapes, led by Tamera’s water visionary Bernd Mueller, brings together water experts, aid workers, government officials, entrepreneurs, donors and journalists in Tamera. From these meetings, we begin collaborating with a global network for promoting and manifesting a new water paradigm as a response to desertification and climate change.
2012: Global Love School Launches
Partners from around the world gather for the first of an annual Global Love School. Members commit to meeting over 3 years. Their aim is to create a durable ethical foundation, a core of truth, trust and mutual support for a planetary network of individuals and communities working for the healing of love across the globe.
Buckminster Fuller Institute Honorable Mention
Tamera receives an Honorable Mention for the Water Retention Landscape after applying for The Challenge – an award for “Socially-Responsible Design.”
2013: Global Campus Visits
Delegations from Tamera travel to all external base stations of the Global Campus, and arrange annual exchanges and mutual visits.
Beginning of the Terra Nova Network
In May 2013, we start providing materials for local groups to form, studying the foundations of Terra Nova. By 2016, our educational outreach shifts towards online courses. Future plans include setting up a global media platform for the growing network.
United Religions Initiative
Tamera joins the United Religions Initiative, which promotes enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.
2014: “PIER” Process Starts
We apply for a change of land classification to be able to increase our built infrastructure. The municipality of Odemira decides to accompany us in the PIER process (Portuguese acronym for “Plan for the Intervention into Rural Space”). Our plan is published without objections; this process is still underway. Find out more…
Verlag Meiga Publishes “Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love”
Dieter Duhm’s book, “Terra Nova: Global Revolution and the Healing of Love,” shows how a morphogenetic field of peace is organized from within, and to what forces it could connect in order to oppose the global forces of violence and so make possible a future without war. In 2014 it’s published in German and in 2015, it’s published in English.
2015: Increased Regional Outreach
We increase our commitment to the regional network, building alliances with municipalities, organic farmers and other emerging communities, to ensure the ecological and social sustainability of the Alentejo. In fall 2016, 30 people from Tamera and local partners make a pilgrimage along the Sado watershed to raise awareness of the water situation and offer solutions.
2017: The Start of the Akron School
Internal leadership training and continuous spiritual education in our Political Ashram begins.
Defend the Sacred Gathering
In August 2017, we host activists, leaders of movements, Indigenous elders and youth from around 40 countries with experience of sacred activism to reconcile Indigenous wisdom with futuristic thinking. The gathering gives rise to a manifesto for how a growing global community can stand up for life, water and a future worth living everywhere.
A key part is the aerial art action on on August 12th on Odeceixe beach to stop plans for offshore oil drilling in Portugal, a campaign we began to be involved with in January 2017. Find out more…