Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic

Geoff Dalglish reviews the autobiography of Findhorn co-founder Dorothy Maclean.

Anyone who knows Dorothy Maclean would never consider her ordinary and to the Findhorn Foundation community she remains a treasured source of inspiration and joy.

Even at 90 she shows little sign of letting up, cutting a familiar figure as she enjoys brisk daily walks around the celebrated ecovillage and spiritual community that is part of her amazing legacy. Admittedly these days she relies on two walking sticks to help propel and balance her, stopping to rest often, but that familiar smile is undimmed and those sparkling blue eyes remain intensely curious and often mischievous. She laughs easily and often, displaying a keen sense of humour.

‘Our Dorothy,’ the sole surviving co-founder, is valued not only for her ongoing contribution but for the continuity she represents, having been with Peter and Eileen Caddy and their three sons, when they originally arrived with their caravan on November 17, 1962. But little did they realise the enormity of what they’d jointly create.

Original Caravan, Original Founders

Original Caravan, Early 1960's

Almost a half century later she lives just a few metres from that original caravan, the once bleak and sandy landscape having been transformed into a veritable Garden of Eden through an amazing co-operation between humans, plants and the higher intelligences of Nature.

She too has been transformed and shows great courage, wisdom and a deep commitment to truth, as she spotlights her journey from a small-town girl in Canada to an exciting life of travel and intrigue while employed by the British secret service during World War II; ultimately taking us behind the scenes during the formative years of what has evolved into the Findhorn Foundation community.

Although I've been fortunate to chat to Dorothy on a number of occasions recently, I learned so much more from reading her memoirs and have been opened to exciting new possibilities through her communications with unseen realms, including the overlighting Angels of individual towns, cities and even countries.

Her insights into the relationships with the Caddys are also fascinating, Peter emerging as an amazingly positive and forceful personality who was a natural leader but one with whom she sometimes clashed, while she later realised that Eileen considered her an intellectual that she sometimes found intimidating.

Dorothy (far right) with David Spangler, Eileen & Peter

“Peter was a terrific manager and leader — not a spiritual teacher but a wonderful example of someone who followed his spiritual commitment. One thing that set Findhorn apart from other spiritual communities was that it had not grown up around a single charismatic leader. There were three of us, with Peter being the only charismatic one. Each of us offered different perspectives and energy, yet we were completely united on the spiritual level.

“We were specifically told that everyone, no matter what their philosophy or beliefs, could contact God.”

Despite differences, each of the now-famous trio knew from their inner guidance that they needed to be together although they had no idea they had important work to do. “We were simply committed to doing what we called ‘God’s will,’ whatever that was. We were three very ordinary people except for our commitment to God, and on this rock the now famous Findhorn community was built. Knowing that we were to stay there and to follow our guidance to be more loving, whatever happened, was a complete job.

“Each of us had our own unique inner contact with God," she said. "Eileen heard a distinct voice, speaking to her in words that she wrote down verbatim. I heard nothing and had to find my own words to record the inner impressions that came to me. Peter never had much success with meditation. For him, guidance took the form of a keen intuition in action.”

Her best known contribution was to demonstrate how humans can communicate with the kingdoms of Nature, something she first did by attuning to what she called the plant devas. Later she also enjoyed a deep connection with the Landscape Angel and other angelic realms.

But she said this was not done on the intellectual level but by having a direct contact with the unique and special essence of the plant or being she wished to connect with. “This means going into the deepest love that I know, for it is love that connects us with the rest of life.”

She emphasises that what is seen as the magic of Findhorn was never meant to be confined to a few acres in Scotland. “The place that became Findhorn was just a rather dismal trailer park when we got there. Its ‘magical’ transformation was the result of conscious, day-to-day choices and day- to-day efforts — to meditate, listen and attune, to follow our guidance, to co-operate with the beings of Nature, and to behave lovingly towards one another, regardless of our differences. The ‘magic’ can be created elsewhere by people who make those choices and those efforts.”

An inspirational message from the Landscape Angel, speaking on behalf of all the devas, says: “Love is a firm reality which forms a bridge over which all can walk … You need us and we are ready, awaiting your recognition, love and just treatment that you give to your own kin. We wait in love for your love.”

The book, which includes some historical photographs as well as a collection of messages from the other realms, is a fascinating read and an important addition to the library of any spiritual seeker. I’ll treasure my signed copy.

You can order the book online from the Lorian Association here.

Geoff Dalglish

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