In her new book, Dorothy shares 366 early messages inspired by the God within and in our article below, David Spangler reflects on her extraordinary life.
It was one of those truly magical mornings, the kind that linger forever in memory. A group of us were gathered in January for one of the five-day intensives that are part of Lorian’s online Deepening into Spirit program. We were in the living room of one of the lodges at Harmony Hill, a gracious and lovely conference center overlooking Hood Canal, a wide, calm fjord forming the eastern boundary of the Olympic Peninsula in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. From the windows of the room, we could see the Olympic Mountain range to the west rising above the foothills that began just across the Canal from us, its snowy peaks a majestic and eye-grabbing presence against the blue of the sky. It had lightly snowed the night before, so the trees and ground were all dusted with whiteness as well. It could not have been a more beautiful setting on a more beautiful day.
Seated by the window was our speaker for the morning, a remarkable woman who had come to tell us her story of discovering and falling in love with God. The splendour of the view behind her was ample proof that God was holding us in love as well.
Dorothy Maclean was our speaker. I have had the privilege of being her friend for thirty-six years, yet that morning, listening to her and seeing her framed by water, sky, and mountains, it was as if I were seeing her for the first time. I was struck forcibly by the power, the joy, the Light of this soul in front of me, expressing itself through a most unassuming and down-to-earth personality. I thought to myself, I want to capture this moment in memory so that in years to come I can bless myself with the thought that I knew Dorothy Maclean, one of the most remarkable spiritual teachers of our time.
Dorothy is world-famous as one of the three amazing and inspired individuals who founded the Findhorn Foundation community. She was the one who made the contact with the spiritual intelligences within and behind nature that resulted in the miraculous Findhorn garden, and ever since she has been known as the “Deva lady.” But there is a great deal more to Dorothy than her work with the garden. Indeed, her very modesty and practical down-to-earth-ness — one might say her very ordinariness — cloaks a deep mysticism and attunement to spirit.
Like Eileen Caddy, her co-worker and associate of many years, Dorothy also received messages from the God Within, but unlike Eileen who heard a voice that dictated its messages to her, Dorothy would be surrounded in a Presence that impressed meanings upon her soul, requiring her mind to find the words to express what she was experiencing. She couldn’t just listen; she had to participate in what was unfolding. This was hard work, and Dorothy often meditated with a thesaurus and dictionary beside her so she could find just the right words to capture the message she felt. The extent to which she succeeded, and the richness and power of these messages, can be seen in her newest book, Come Closer: Messages from the God Within.
When I first came to Findhorn, Dorothy was Peter Caddy’s secretary, a role she had performed for many years. In a sense she was also secretary to the Devas of nature and to God as well, using her spirit, mind, and stenographer’s pad to record the instructions and inspiration from which so much of Findhorn’s work emerged. Visitors seeing her working in the office often had no clue as to her importance in the community, nor did Dorothy ever put herself forward. But they might have been even more astonished had they known her full background.
Or at least “they” would if they chose to pass over some of the most important and critical parts of Dorothy’s story. In nearly every great mystic’s life there can come a crossroad moment, a challenge of heart, mind, spirit, sometimes even of body, when a choice must be made to reach for a new plateau of awareness and engagement with God and the world, or to accept a life of lesser accomplishment. In the years after the war, Dorothy faced her crossroad challenge. It was a challenge to “be more loving than I thought possible,” as she writes in the prologue to her new book. She succeeded in that challenge, giving up what had most meaning to her and in that act, as mystics have discovered over and over again, finding that she had lost nothing but had gained everything. In the midst of her personal crisis, she heard the words, “Stop, listen, and write,” and when she did this, she discovered a connection with her God Within. It was then that she began “falling in love with God,” as she eloquently puts it, and began a daily discipline of tuning in and writing every day for years.
In 1973 Dorothy left Findhorn to return to Canada and the United States. Then her work shifted into new dimensions as she began to be contacted not only by the angelic forces of nature but by angels of cities and nations. Through her work, she opened up for many people a vista of an ecology of life working in interconnected ways across the threshold of physical and non-physical existence, an ecology that sought and needed human cooperation and participation for the good of all life in our world.
As I said earlier, for many people Dorothy is best known as the “Deva” or “Angel” lady for her work at Findhorn. But Dorothy sees herself as something different. She sees herself as an ordinary person who learned to fall in love with God and discovered beyond all question that God is in love with us. It is spreading the message that we can each find our own unique contact and love with the Sacred that gets her out of her comfortable apartment and into cars, trains, and aeroplanes to go wherever someone will listen to her story. And she does this not out of any messianic impulse or even a desire to teach. She does it because she wants to share the joy and love she has found in her own life. She feels it’s the natural inheritance of each of us, and she feels that more than any time in the past, the world needs as many of us as possible to remember this inheritance and to claim it.
I will never forget that moment in January at Harmony Hill with the deep blue of the Hood Canal reflecting the blue of the sky above and the rugged peaks of the Olympic Mountains rising in the background. But I will remember it not for the scenery but for the presence of a divinely ordinary person, a woman who has already given the world a great deal and who continues to give because she loves.
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