Celebrating a Life Well Lived

On Friday the community said goodbye to the physical body of Eileen Caddy, scattering her ashes at the base of a newly planted oak tree in St Barbe’s Wood. Friends and family, and the stillness of the winter’s afternoon, were witness to the event which marked yet another turning point in the life of the community.

Jonathan Caddy, Eileen’s seventh child, led a ceremony of gentle song, remembrance and celebration. He said he missed his mum, and for a moment the lightheartedness that has surrounded Eileen’s passing gave way to the sadness of losing a dear mother, grandmother and community founder. It was good, in that moment, to acknowledge the loss we feel. But with gentle humour, remembering Eileen’s wish to be celebrated and released, the short ceremony ended with a happy singing of a Jamaican version of an Hallelujah song.

At four o’clock the community gathered in the Hall, with more than 300 people watching photos of Eileen’s life flash past, from when she was a young girl, to her vibrant youth and early marriage, to her first days at Findhorn, with friends and family who have meant so much to her, to recent photos in a tired body ready to be released. Greetings and appreciations from David Spangler and Dorothy Maclean were shared, as were readings from Eileen’s work. A highlight was watching and listening to Eileen talk via DVD about her journey and relationship with the still, small voice within. The power of her inner knowing, the simplicity of her words, the humility of her presence were with us again as we shared in the privilege of hearing her inspiration and innermost thoughts.

In the evening a party was held for Eileen in the Community Centre, with a beautiful meal served, followed by a ceilidh of joyful music and dance.

The day was what what she had asked for: for us to celebrate her life and to keep it very simple! To the end, Eileen was an amazing example. She has been described in various newspapers since her death as a visionary and spiritual leader, but I think she would probably describe herself as a mother, grandmother, and as an ordinary person who was determined, grateful and blessed to be at one with the divinity within.

Eva Ward

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