Celebrating Dorothy Maclean

Community members came together this past Friday to honour and celebrate
co-founder Dorothy Maclean. Dorothy has been with us for several weeks as the keynote speaker in our recent Positive Energy Conference and has also been holding workshops for guests and community members.

Dorothy’s genuine love for God, devotion to service and joy for life, along with her boundless energy at 88 years young, make her an instant hit with young and old alike wherever she goes. On this particular evening, Dorothy was being honoured specifically as:

* a co-founder of the Findhorn Community
* a source of inspiration
* a living example of connecting with God and the intelligence of nature
* a wonderful woman working effortlessly for others all over the world.

The team hosting the celebration included former Foundation Focaliser, Judy McAllister, who has worked very closely with Dorothy for many years, and Foundation staff members Margo van Greta, Monica Böni, and Dürten Lau.

The evening began with a sherry hour which was the tradition back in the day when Cluny was still run as a hotel, followed by a sumptuous dinner in the Community Centre, complete with sit-down service (no waiting in a long Friday night dinner cue on this fine occasion!).


Community baker extraordinaire, Katharina Brocke, baked a delectable black forest gateau encased in fresh cream and exquisitely decorated with a spring bouquet of daffodils.


At one point during the evening a guest commented to me, ‘There’s no way everyone can be this happy all the time.’ ‘No, not all the time,’ I replied, ‘but this is a very special celebration which reflects how much we all love and admire Dorothy. Her joy is infectious.’


After dinner, we gathered in the Universal Hall for a good old-fashioned sharing, seamlessly hosted by Judy McAllister, and tailor-made to celebrate, as one performer put it, Dorothy Maclean, Deva of the Humans.


The sharing opened with an invitation to journey into the realm of Australian/ Celtic dreaming inspired by Craig Gibsone on the didgeridoo and Rory O’Connell on the pipes.


Brief tributes were lovingly and whimsically offered by long-time community friends Brian Nobbs and Sandy Barr. Judith Bone paid tribute on behalf of Foundation trustees and management. Special video appearances by those from the other side of the pond came from Dorothy’s Issaquah family, including David Spangler and his wife Julie. Other video tributes came from Shin-ichiro Terayama in Japan and Alan Watson in the US.


Community artists Margot Henderson, Leslie Downie, resident clown Lesley Quilty, pianist Philip Stewart, and humorist Dave Till all gave brilliant performances with great panache.


Margot Henderson’s sketch turned the concept of ‘connecting with the intelligence of nature’ on its head when she rolled herself onto the stage as a garden pea (in a pod) and proceeded to follow her inner guidance, somewhat skeptically, to connect with the intelligence of humans – ‘I didn’t know humans had any intelligence!’ was her retort – and then the simple garden pea noticed Dorothy right there in the audience, smack dab in front of her. What followed was a delightfully bashful moment of adulation for the Deva of the Humans.


Philip Stewart gave us a stirring rendition of one of the most widely known and performed standards of the jazz repertoire, Harry Warren and Mack Gordon’s There Will Never Be Another You and, Dorothy, there truly never will be.


Lesley Quilty blossomed in clownhood as she bounded onto the stage announcing…

‘Hello, it’s me – your friendly neighbourhood clown deva, or, as I’m also known, ‘the essence of clown.’

You can also call me ‘oh, shining one’ if you really want to make me happy…

The shining one’s inner guidance brought a message of joy, inspired by that very quality that is so much a part of Dorothy. The wisdom of the clown deva’s guidance also advised, emphatically…

If you’re looking at someone and they aren’t bringing you joy…
then look away!…..
look at someone is who is bringing you joy!…

and radiate that out to everyone…


A rare, and perhaps most unexpected, messenger, Archangel Mi-cha-el (played by community member and interfaith minister, Will Russell), brought messages from the angelic realms as well as the nature kingdoms. The Landscape Angel, who is responsible for the re-shaping of natural forms to fit the spiritual needs of the moment, brought a very specific message for Dorothy, well more of a pronouncement really. In its wisdom the angelic council had ordained that in order for ‘Dorothy of the Community,’ as she is known in the angelic realms, to stay up-to-date and relevant for today’s audiences, her earthly label was to be shortened to ‘Dot’ for Dorothy and ‘Com’ for Community, so that from hereafter she shall be known as – you guessed it – ‘Dot Com.’

The garden pea was next to have its message delivered and it went something like this….’Why haven’t you called? You had my number but apparently you preferred to associate and communicate with other more exotic species like the Tibetan Blue poppy or the mighty redwoods. It’s now 44 years since I last heard from you….’ The garden pea went on to describe the psychological effects of its plight and ended with, ‘So, be an angel and give an old friend a call. Shucks Dorothy, after all I did help to launch your workshop career. Anyway, it’s time to go — time to take up my leaf and stalk’. Goodbye dear friend and may you forever go in Peas.’

(This piece was written and performed originally by Michael Lindfield in April 2000 at the Whidbey Institute and was presented in the Hall with a few minor modifications.)

As the evening began to wind down, co-hosts Margo van Greta and Dürten Lau expressed their love and appreciation for Dorothy with a presentation of flowers.


After an eventful evening, the celebration ended with the entire audience serenading Dorothy with a joyful chorus of the South African song Siya Hamba the words of which when translated mean ‘We are walking in the light of God.’


How did Dorothy receive all of this attention and affection, you might be wondering… why, with her typical hallmarks of grace, humility and very good humour, of course. When asked to comment on the evening, Dorothy said in her inimitable style…“It was a delightful evening, such abundance, such fun! Thanks to all who played a part in making it happen.”

Long may you continue, Dorothy!

– Mattie Porte –
14 April, 2008

Photographer: Mark Rowatt Anderson

This entry was posted in Community News. . Bookmark the permalink.