Findhorn Foundation History

Beginnings

The Findhorn Community was begun in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. All three had followed disciplined spiritual paths for many years. They first came to northeast Scotland in 1957 to manage the Cluny Hill Hotel in the town of Forres, which they did remarkably successfully. Eileen received guidance in her meditations from an inner divine source she called 'the still small voice within' and Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance and his own intuition. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel. After several years however, Peter and Eileen’s employment was terminated, and with nowhere to go and little money, they moved with their three young sons and Dorothy to a caravan in the nearby seaside village of Findhorn.

Feeding six people on unemployment benefit was difficult, so Peter decided to start growing vegetables. The land in the caravan park was sandy and dry but he persevered. Dorothy discovered she was able to intuitively contact the overlighting spirits of plants – which she called angels, and then devas – who gave her instructions on how to make the most of their fledgling garden. She and Peter translated this guidance into action, and with amazing results. From the barren sandy soil of the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park grew huge plants, herbs and flowers of dozens of kinds, most famously the now-legendary 40-pound cabbages. Word spread, horticultural experts came and were stunned, and the garden at Findhorn became famous.

In 1970 a young American spiritual teacher named David Spangler arrived in the community and with his partner Myrtle Glines helped to define and organise the spiritual development processes that have been a central pillar of the Findhorn community ever since. A programme of learning was established and the 'University of Light' began. David and Myrtle lived in the community for three years, during which Findhorn Press published many of David’s visionary writings. Today we run almost 200 week-long workshops every year as well as conferences, events and our busy Outreach programme of workshops taken around the world by our workshop leaders.

A community is born

Other people came to join the Caddys and Dorothy in their work and soon the original group of six grew into a small community, committed to their spiritual path and to expanding the garden in harmony with nature. A slim volume of Eileen’s guidance entitled God Spoke To Me was published in 1967 by the community’s newly formed Findhorn Press and word of this strange but wonderful community spread yet further. Significant friends and supporters of the community in these early days included English new age pioneer Sir George Trevelyan, scottish esotericist R Ogilvie Crombie and Richard St Barbe Baker, 'the man of the trees'. New community members lived in caravans beside Peter and Eileen’s and in specially built cedarwood bungalows which still house guests and workshop participants today. In the late 60s the Park Sanctuary, the largest of our meditation sanctuaries, and the Community Centre, where the community still eats and meets, were built by Peter and community members in accordance with Eileen’s guidance.

In 1972 the community was formally registered as a Scottish Charity under the name The Findhorn Foundation and in the 1970s and 80s grew to approximately 300 members. In 1975 the Foundation purchased Cluny Hill Hotel as a centre for its workshops and for members’ accommodation. In the late 70s the Universal Hall, our centre for the arts, was built by committed community people. Behind its fantastic stained glass facade are housed a modern theatre and concert hall, a holistic café, dance and recording studios, and offices.

The Ecovillage and worldwide network

Throughout the 1970s and 80s further volumes of Eileen’s and Dorothy’s guidance were published including Eileen’s best seller, Opening Doors Within, a collection of daily inspirations which has been translated into more than 30 languages. Dorothy’s autobiography, To Hear The Angels Sing, was published in 1980, and a further autobiography, Memoirs of An Ordinary Mystic, was published in 2010. In 1982 the Foundation bought its home, the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park. Also acquired in the 1980s were neighbouring Cullerne House, whose gardens became the centre of organic vegetable production, and Drumduan House in Forres, where community members established the Moray Steiner School. Eileen’s autobiography, Flight Into Freedom, was published in 1989.

At the end of the 1980s, the Ecovillage Project at Findorn was begun, with an energy producing wind generator and the first of our eco-friendly buildings. An ecovillage is defined as being sustainable ecologically, economically, culturally and spiritually, and for us this is a logical continuation of our work with nature. Our original caravans are being gradually phased out as new cutting-edge eco-houses are built to the highest standards in many practical and beautiful designs. There are now 90 ecological buildings, and in the mid 1990s our biological sewage treatment plant, The Living Machine, was opened. We are part of the rapidly growing Global Ecovillage Network which links ecovillage projects worldwide.

In 1997 the Foundation was recognised as an official Non-Governmental Organisation associated with the Department of Public Information of United Nations, and actively participates in a variety of UN events.

In the 1990s the community began to expand beyond the Findhorn Foundation in a new way, as many people came to live nearby, attracted to the Foundation, or decided to settle nearby after leaving their work with the Foundation. The community of people living nearby to the Foundation began to outgrow the Foundation itself. Today the Findhorn Foundation is the heart of a widely diversified community of several hundred people, spanning dozens of holistic businesses and initiatives, all linked by a shared positive vision for humanity and the earth, and a commitment to the deep and practical non-doctrinal spirituality established in the Findhorn community by its founders.

Peter Caddy left the community in 1979 to work internationally. He came back to visit Findhorn regularly until his death in Germany in 1994. Peter’s autobiography, In Perfect Timing, was published in 1997. Eileen Caddy lived a long and inspiring life in the community and died peacefully at home in 2006. Dorothy Maclean, having lived in North America for a number of years and been actively involved in leading workshops around the world, has returned to Findhorn and lives in the Community.

Thousands of people who have lived here have taken what they have experienced at Findhorn out into the wider world. They are workshop leaders, authors, economists, scientists, artists, IT specialists, film makers, ecologists and all kinds of ordinary people living a conscious, holistic-based life. We are also blessed with tens of thousands of friends and supporters around the globe, who further extend our network of light, including our supporters network and Resource People. In addition the Findhorn Foundation has over a hundred Fellows, individuals whom we honour and appreciate for their transformative work in the world and their connections to our community.

Further reference

The following is a short selection from the many books about the Findhorn community.

God Spoke To Me

by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
The first book of Eileen’s Guidance – still in print after 40 years.

The Findhorn Garden

by The Findhorn Community (Harper Collins)
The story of the community’s early days.

To Hear The Angels Sing

by Dorothy Maclean (Lindisfarne Press)
Dorothy’s autobiography.

Opening Doors Within

by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Daily selections from Eileen’s Guidance.

Flight Into Freedom

by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Eileen’s autobiography.

The Kingdom Within

edited by Alex Walker (Findhorn Press)
A selection of writings on the history and work of the Findhorn Foundation by David Spangler, Peter and Eileen Caddy, Myrtle Glines, William Bloom, Dorothy Maclean and many others.

Simply Build Green

by John Talbott (Findhorn Press)
A guide to the principles and methods of eco-building.

In Perfect Timing

by Peter Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Peter Caddy’s autobiography.

Memoirs of An Ordinary Mystic

by Dorothy Maclean (Lorian Press)

 


Eileen Caddy


Dorothy Maclean


Peter Caddy


Original Caravan, Early 1960's


Sir George Trevelyan


R Ogilvie Crombie (ROC)


Richard St Barbe Baker


The first bungalows go in


The community landscaping Pineridge


Creating Bag End


Foundations of the Universal Hall


A ceilidh in the unfinished hall


Starting the Community Centre Extension


In Progress


Community Centre complete


The birth of an ecovillage


The beginnings of the Field of Dreams


Headquarters of the Global Ecovillage Network