The front cover photograph shows me as a tourist at the Findhorn community in Scotland, standing in front of Eileen and Peter Caddy’s caravan. It is still in the same location where it was parked over forty years ago while Peter waited to return to his job at the Cluny Hill Hotel. Today, the caravan is the office of the Spiritual Practice program focalizers, but in the early years, Eileen and her friend Joan cooked meals for fifteen people out of that little kitchen. Dorothy Mclean, the third co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation, lived in the addition attached to the trailer just behind me. The insert shows the new entrance sign leading into The Park. It represents the ever-expanding wider community that supports the ideals of the New Age movement and their EcoVillage.
The picture of me on this page was taken in front of the doors to the Universal Hall, which was built fifteen years later when the community had expanded and needed a place for the performing arts. James Hubbell, a designer from California, was inspired to create the winged doors to have the devas’ presence felt. His website says he integrates art and architecture to create places for the soul, focusing on organic design solutions. His list of projects can be seen at www.hubbellandhubbell.com.
As soon as I saw the wings glowing in the stained glass doors, I asked Richard to take a picture of me. When I was ten years old, an older child had found a book with name definitions. I can still remember nodding in agreement as she read the many variations of my name and said that it means… A messenger of God. Often people compliment me on the word association and I say, “I am working on my wings …” And now I have a picture of them. To me they were so real and fitted perfectly even matching the color of my rain jacket.
When Eileen, Peter and Dorothy moved to the trailer park next to an air force base, they grew vegetables to help make ends meet. One day, Dorothy heard the deva of the pea speak to her and was offered guidance on how to cooperate with nature. Next thing they knew, they were growing forty-pound cabbages and people from all over the world were travelling to Findhorn to see what was happening. Many came and many went, and a few decided to stay. With God’s guidance and giant leaps of faith, a community was created that was based on the spiritual principles of attunement, cooperation with the deva’s and each other, believing that God had a plan.
In 2003, Eileen was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the UK New Year Honour List for ‘spiritual inquiry’ by the Queen’s representative. Many of the sacrifices that were made are detailed in the Peter and Eileen’s autobiographies which are on the book review pages. Dorothy, who is 86 years old, is still writing hers, and she travels the world teaching Choices of Love and Connecting with Nature workshops. For the last four summers, she has taught at our Retreat Center and will be returning again. She is a delightful, insightful woman who inspires us to be the best we can be.
Richard and I have hopes to create a community that supports the Johnson’s Landing Retreat Center in a similar way and I wanted to learn how this large and successful spiritual community operates. What makes Findhorn so magical? Part of it, I believe, is in their Common Ground statement which is on page 20. It took many years and the input of hundreds of people to fine-tune this work of art and now it can be used by other groups as a guide to essential behaviour for getting along.
Another reason for my wanting to visit Findhorn personally is that I have been playing with the Angel Cards, which are part of the Transformation Game, that was created at Findhorn as a personal development tool. Fifteen years ago I had friends that played it, and I wanted to give it a try but nothing manifested locally until four years ago when I heard that Brita Adkinson, who had lived at Findhorn for many years was giving a workshop at Johnson’s Landing. I signed up. (She has an article on page 18.) I loved the process that happened as each player got clear with their intention and voiced their frustrations. An eye-opener for many, this game provided some highly transformative moments as the answers revealed themselves with the help of the group and some universal guidance. One day, I hope to become an facilitator and I trust my angels will know when that time is right.
Richard and I both enjoyed our ‘Experience Week’ at Cluny Hill College, which has been part of the Findhorn Foundation since 1978. In 2005, over 3,000 visitors participated in this program which supports the Foundation, allowing people like me to see their community in action. Part of their success is that participants work three hours a day, and learn what their motto means … work is love in action. As far as I was concerned, it was not work per se … We gathered at 9 am in various work departments (I worked in homecare and Richard in maintenance) and did an attunement (checking in with the devas), followed by a sharing to see how each of us was feeling. It was emphasized that our work was to imbue the place with light and love and that the cleaning or cooking was secondary. Midway through the morning, there was a twenty-minute tea break so we could socialize, and fifteen minutes before the shift ended, we gathered again to tune out and share how the morning had gone. The afternoons were about building trust with our original group of 13 people who were from all over the world, and in the evenings, there were so many choices of what to do … sacred dance, yoga, videos and more.
During the second week, we helped out in The Park, which is where the caravan on the front cover is parked. It is a fifteen-minute bus ride from Cluny Hill. First I choose to weed the aquatic plants that are part of ‘The Living Earth Machine.’ The timing was perfect, it was a rainy day and I was inside a greenhouse. Their was two of us, prying and chopping at the roots that had overgrown their containers causing a restriction in the flow of water. Then I chose to work in the kitchen, helping cook with ten others, to get dinner ready for 140 people. It was good to see how the inner core functioned as well as the wider community by listening to as many people as possible. I really enjoyed helping out and being part of the process.
Each day at Findhorn starts with an early-morning option of chanting or participating in a meditation with guidance from Eileen’s book entitled God Spoke to Me. This book has been published many times, and is now available in 27 languages. It contains the essence of Findhorn and what makes it so magical. Since my first reading of her book, which was ten or twelve years ago, I have felt a kinship with Eileen as have many others. I too believe that God speaks directly to each of us, offering guidance and at the same time allowing us free will.
One of the frequent presenters at Findhorn is Neale Donald Walsch, spiritual messenger and best-selling author of the Conversations with God series. As this movie circulates around the world, I am sure more people will be inspired by the guidance they hear. It does take practice, persistence and trust as one learns to ‘tune in’ and then to follow the guidance. In doing so, we also change how we use our life force and as Gandhi says, “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” I feel grateful for the opportunity to have been able to travel across the world and experience the magic of Findhorn and to try on my new wings.
This winter Richard and I hope to figure out how to best incorporate what we learned into practical solutions for growing a community in Canada. If you are a dedicated soul who has ideas and wants to be of service, and maybe even has some money to invest, we are looking for help to co-create an EcoVillage with a spiritual foundation.