The spiritual journey at Findhorn is a journey of co-creation with The Angel of Findhorn/God/Spirit/the Divine
As it should be, the Findhorn of 2011 is vastly different from that of 1962 when Eileen and Peter Caddy together with their three sons and friend and colleague Dorothy Maclean drove into Findhorn Bay Caravan Park and sited their caravan next to the rubbish dump. (This ‘original’ caravan still exists today at the ‘Park’ almost 50 years later.)
The early days
When Peter, Eileen and Dorothy and the three Caddy boys landed at the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park, it was no means by accident. Eileen Caddy had undergone several years of spiritual training after first hearing God’s voice some years earlier. Eileen meditated regularly and wrote down the guidance she received in these meditations. In one such meditation she was told that they would all return to Cluny Hill Hydro in Forres where they had worked previously and which is approximately seven kilometres from Findhorn. This did eventuate many years later. In the meantime this small cohort of three adults and three children needed to find ways to supplement the Social Security payment they received. And so a garden was planted next to their caravan with its annexe for Dorothy. The garden was planted also using guidance Eileen received and then later using Dorothy’s connection with the energy of the various plants she named ‘devas’.
Work is love in action
The main tenet of their lives was to work and act from a place of love. In my four years living at Findhorn I heard Eileen ask several guests as they worked in the various departments if they loved what they were doing. If the answer was no she would suggest they take some time out to meditate and return when they were able to work from a place of love. Working with love was what created their amazing renowned garden. For three years they lived quietly and fairly unseen until visitors began to notice the plants in their garden. Gradually, as the publicity grew, more and more people came to work with them in the garden and wanted to stay. These numbers grew radically after the publication of Paul Hawken’s book ‘The Magic of Findhorn’ in 1968.
The creation of an educational charitable trust and centre
In the early 1970s David Spangler and his partner Myrtle Glines visited Findhorn. They returned a year after their first visit and stayed for three years. David was instrumental in changing the direction of Findhorn. From an early age he too experienced contact with an inner wisdom. Peter invited him to share some of this wisdom in the sanctuary where everyone was expected to attend each morning to hear Eileen’s guidance regarding the work for that day. David’s channelled lectures were inspiring and he fostered a shift in focus for the community from the growing vegetables and plants to spiritual education.
As a consequence in 1972 the Findhorn Foundation, a centre for transformative and holistic education, was established as an educational charitable trust. The work of the Findhorn Foundation continues today and has expanded the courses it offers to address the needs of the 21st century. David Spangler continues to visit Findhorn and is an online faculty member.
The primary education centre for the Findhorn Foundation is Cluny Hill College formerly Cluny Hill Hydro. The Hydro’s business gradually declined after Eileen, Peter and Dorothy relocated to the Trossachs Hotel and the community was able to buy it in the late 1970s as Eileen had been promised in earlier guidance.
The challenging ’80s
In the 1970s Eileen received guidance that she was to stop sharing her guidance with everyone. Through meditation everyone could access his/her own wisdom, “the still small voice within” and “learn from experience to live positively, demonstrating the laws of manifestation in their own lives”. A ‘core’/ management group was created as well as a ‘focaliser’ group with each focaliser being responsible for a department in the ever expanding community. (These groups and terminology are still in use today.) These groups and the community as a whole are guided by an overlighting energy known as ‘The Angel of Findhorn’.
By this time Peter and Eileen had separated to continue their own spiritual growth and development and Peter eventually left the community. Dorothy had returned to the U.S.A.
After acquiring Cluny Hill Hydro the community over a number of years naively purchased several more fairly large properties in Forres and Findhorn village in an attempt to fulfil Eileen’s earlier guidance, which spoke of a ‘City of Light’. The belief was that “God was guiding the process, … and He would make sure of the funds”. What resulted was a significant debt, leading to strict accounting, and a number of members left the community. Many hard lessons were learned, mainly that the spiritual journey was a journey of co-creation with The Angel of Findhorn/God/Spirit/the Divine. (I remember seeing a sign on occasions at the Park Office in 1989 where we collected our mail that read “Trust in God and tether your camel.”)
Some departments such as the Findhorn Press, the Phoenix shop and the now owned Caravan Park were making a profit requiring separation from the charitable trust. New Findhorn Directions, the trading subsidiary of the Findhorn Foundation, came into being.
It was in the early 1980s that the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park (the Park), where the community was founded, was purchased. Until this point in time no permanent buildings could be built and people were still living in caravans and ‘bungalows’. Now the first seeds of the Eco Village could be sown. Eileen Caddy was the first person to occupy the first permanent ecologically built home at the Park.
The 21st Century
Today the Findhorn Foundation and community is a flourishing and exciting place to be. By following the inner guidance and early spiritual principles established and demonstrated by the three founding members and the passions of its diverse membership, the Findhorn Foundation at the Park has spawned and developed “education programmes experienced within a thriving, established spiritual community and eco village with the lowest recorded ecological footprint in the industrialised world”.
This has been achieved by:
- Creating its own energy source from the 4 wind turbines, which produce more than enough energy than is needed by the community.
- Building and maintaining a Living Machine, an ecological sewage treatment system.
- Replacing inefficient caravans with buildings using ecological materials and building techniques, and cost efficient mobile homes for staff.
- Organic food production.
- A community shop in which you can use the community’s own currency, the Eko.
- Partnering with Findhorn Ecovillage.
All of the above demonstrate that from its very beginning the Findhorn community is committed to working in harmony with Nature.
Other developments since the 1990s include the establishment of –
- The Findhorn College, which develops and offers accredited courses in further and higher education and professional development based on experiential education for personal transformation and sustainable living.
- The Findhorn Consultancy Service based on years of well-recognised experience supports the transformation of consciousness in businesses, organisations and communities.
The Findhorn Foundation is now recognised as a Non Government Organisation with consultative status to the United Nations.
I mention all of the above to demonstrate all that has been achieved at Findhorn in almost 50 years from humble beginnings, co-creating with Spirit/God/the Divine, or whatever name sits best with you, and Nature, listening to the ‘still small voice within’ and being willing to put the guidance given into action.
I was drawn to live at Findhorn and become a member of the Findhorn Foundation for two main reasons – I felt so strongly that I had come home when I first walked through the doors of Cluny Hill College and that my spiritual and personal growth were gained through normal everyday activities such as vacuuming the dining room carpet, cleaning toilets and making beds – and we all had our part to play together in this wondrous experiment in human consciousness and transformative learning.
I first decided to go to Findhorn when I heard of the Transformation Game from a friend in Melbourne. She seemed so excited and alive as she spoke of her experience of playing the Transformation Game for a day guided by a trained facilitator.
The Transformation Game (the Game) was created in consultation with the Findhorn community over 30 years ago after observing how people transformed their behaviour and heightened their awareness by being at Findhorn. It is a fun and complex board game, which offers a meaningful and playful way to explore current personal issues, relationships with yourself and others and to gain understanding and assist in creatively transforming patterns that no longer support you. It can be played light-heartedly or at deeper levels of intensity, depending on your choice. The Transformation Game was one of the first projects to become a business and move away from the Findhorn Foundation.
I enrolled in a week-long Transformation Game workshop. Two major learnings still stand out for me 20 years on. My Guardian Angel for my intention was Power, which I felt quite daunted by initially, and I needed to change my attitude to power so that I was connecting and aligning with the power of Spirit. I then was confronted by my attitude to pain and depression (or in this case the dark night of the soul). I had never felt safe or comfortable sharing my real self with others. There was no escaping it in this setting, especially when I had invoked something along the lines of being my true self. I have had and continue to have a relationship with the Transformation Game and the Angel overlighting this enlightening tool ever since.
I also continue to visit the Findhorn community whenever I’m visiting Europe or the United Kingdom. My last visit was to participate in a beautiful ritual honouring the Winter Solstice in 2009. Findhorn will always have a special place in my heart.
The words in quotation marks indicate they have been quoted from Eileen Caddy’s writing, Carol Riddell’s book the Findhorn Community, creating a human identity for the 21st century or literature published by the Findhorn Foundation.
Further information on the Findhorn Community is at www.findhorn.org
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