Amoraleza sits on 4.35 hectares of land, in the mountains above the towns of Órgiva and Lanjarón, in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It borders the Sierra Nevada Natural Park and is 45 minutes south of Granada and 30 minutes from the Mediterranean sea. Besides a stone house, which is used by the administrative team as an office, all dwellings are low-impact. The accommodation is in yurts and cabins. During the warmer months, there are bell tents for the volunteers. Many visitors and volunteers also choose to camp.
We are completely off-grid and our energy source is solar. There is a good mobile phone and internet connection, but we choose not to use Wi-Fi. Water in Andalusia is a precious resource and we are fortunate to receive our water from the Rio Lanjarón, which reaches us through a system of acequias (water channels), reservoirs and pipes. We have a natural swimming pool and a spring which runs when there is enough rain. In drier years, we get our drinking water from the nearby town of Lanjarón, famous for its water. We have a shared outdoor kitchen and a large geodesic dome which we use as a workshop and ceremony space.
Since the community was established in 2006, we have experimented with many different ways of living together. We are a family with 4 children and over the years have shared with many friends, visitors, volunteers, and both short and long-term community members. We are open to welcome other long-term and permanent members with a similar vision of health, nutrition, spirituality and respect for nature. We would especially like to share with other families dedicated to the work with sacred plants.
We are working on generating abundance for the community, by offering retreats and providing accommodation and meals to visitors. We run retreats from March/April to October and during this time welcome many volunteers and visitors. Our average community group size is 15 to 20 people and we offer an opportunity to experiment with group dynamics through the creation of temporary community. During the winter months, there are few organized activities and there are usually only a few people in the community helping to do renovation work, harvest the olives and care for the land.
We are vegetarians, non-smokers and do not smoke marijuana, use drugs or alcohol.
Over the years, we have acquired a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge about living a low-impact lifestyle, especially about eco-building, nutrition, local plants and wild foods. We love to exchange knowledge, music and laughter with the many people who stay with us during the year.
We value direct and genuine relationships between people and prefer to spend time connecting with each other rather than becoming too absorbed in virtual relationships via computers and mobile phones. While we understand that these technologies are necessary for work, study and research, we invite people staying on the land to make moderate and limited use of them in order to live as much as possible in the present moment.
There is also the broader community, known as the Amoraleza family, which is made up of friends and former retreat participants and volunteers who are scattered around the globe and continue to support us from afar. We are grateful to all the people who have helped Amoraleza become what it is today and dream of one day creating more communities with the same ethos in different parts of the world.
The History of Amoraleza
Veronika and Lorenzo are the founders of Amoraleza. In 2006, they bought into the land and spent the first years sharing the ownership with Ananda Chris, an English man who had purchased it more than a decade before, with the dream of creating a community. He is a Pipe Carrier with the Native American Red Path and hosted many ceremonies including sweat lodges, vision quests and Peyote ceremonies on the land.
The original project was to create a Santo Daime community, as the three had met through this neo-shamanic Christian tradition. In the years they spent together, they shared the land with other families and friends and regularly held Santo Daime ceremonies. In 2013, they parted ways and Veronika and Lorenzo created the Amoraleza Association.
Veronika and Lorenzo met in 2003, at the Ecoforest Project for Sustainability, a raw vegan permaculture community near Malaga. After living there for more than a year, they were wanting a change, and were drawn to the Alpujarras mountains, the southern face of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada. They had a dream of finding a piece of land to create a retreat centre with accommodation in yurts. Their search was unsuccessful and they found a temporary home in Beneficio, where they lived in their yurt for 2 ½ years. Beneficio is a well-known hippie community, which borders Amoraleza.
These two community experiences were very different. Ecoforest could be summarized by: "too many rules and too many restrictions", while Beneficio was the exact opposite: "not enough rules and not enough restrictions"! Despite no longer being a part of these two communities, they feel a deep sense of gratitude and respect, both for their originality, value and merit, as well as for the many enriching encounters and experiences they had there.
In 2005 , during a trip to England, Veronika and Lorenzo discovered Ayahuasca, through the Santo Daime church. After this amazing discovery, and through a series of synchronicities, they found their new home, on this land which later became Amoraleza.
As the founding members of this new community and after their two previous experiences, their challenge was to find the right balance between not enough and too many rules. An organism can not develop without
the presence of a membrane (boundaries), which protects it and separates it from
"chaos" or the quantum soup. This membrane also allows the creation of an inner
space conducive to the development of life and of its different manifestations. As
such, and especially for a community, consciousness also constitutes its membrane,
hence the importance of limits and a minimum of rules. With this definition, we wish
to create an appropriate space for the residents and visitors to develop the pearl
that each one carries within her/himself.
For Veronika and Lorenzo, learning how to create, organize and run a community
has been an important process. They have also learned to survive with the basics
and have lived in a yurt for the last 17 years, 11 of those without electricity. They
have shared their home with many people over the years, each one bringing
valuable gifts and teachings. Some community members have stayed for several months, others, several years. There is a constant flow of people coming and going; some as visitors or volunteers, and others who come back to support the project year after year. Although Amoraleza is still not an established community, it gives the people who come here an experience of temporary community and a feeling of what it is like to live in a shared space with others, including all the gifts and the challenges.