The Magic of Findhorn undiminished by time

The magic of Findhorn is as powerful today as it was in the 1970s when early pioneers of the Findhorn Foundation community joined together to become part of a force for positive change in the world.

“The place is just as exciting and full of potential now as it was then,” said Angus Marland, who looks back on a 40-year-association after first settling in Findhorn in 1972 as a 22-year-old wood carver and spiritual seeker. “What is manifesting now is as important as it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“I came for a weekend visit that turned into a decade.”


The Park mid 1980s

He and other early arrivals, among them Australian Craig Gibsone, Englishman Adam Powell and American residents Katherine and Roger Collis, led an evening chaired by Mary Inglis in the Universal Hall to commemorate and celebrate the community’s 50th year at The Park as a pioneer for new ways of living harmoniously and sustainably.

Craig, who first visited as a 25-year-old Buddhist, encountered a structured spiritual community that expected all participants to give of their absolute best, working hard seven days a week and attending daily meditations. “If you weren’t in meditation Peter would come to your tent or caravan to find out why.”

The get-together was the second in a series of talks, workshops and events leading up to the 50th birthday on November 17, 2012 and honouring a half-century committed to awakening the highest in human potential.

Katherine Collis, who arrived as a 17-year-old and met and married her English-born husband Roger in the Sanctuary at The Park 40 years ago, said the Findhorn community remains a pioneering centre where ‘answers are to be discovered.’


Traigh Bhan on Iona

The couple were so moved by the love and commitment that embraced them that they bequeathed to the community their wedding gift of the Traigh Bhan retreat centre on the sacred Isle of Iona, which continues to play an important role in the spiritual life of community members.

Today he serves as a Trustee of the Foundation and together they fulfil roles with the Lorian Association in North America, a research centre which explores contemporary spirituality and retains close links with the Foundation.

“Everything was focused on building this place and the atmosphere was of contributing and shaping something,” he said. “Now the focus in on building a new world.”
A common theme of the rememberings was the powerful energy that newcomers immediately felt along with a sense of belonging and coming home, even though the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park was somewhat bleak and uninviting and a far cry from the ‘Garden of Eden’ that has grown up around the Original Caravan.


Peter Caddy gardening around the first bungalows in The Park

All were impressed by the warm and open-hearted welcome they received and felt a strong connection with the resident group of middle-aged Britons, the men formally attired in tweed jackets and the women in conservative dresses. Angus recalled: “It was extraordinary how a group of young hippies in their early 20s were meeting a group of people our parents’ age without a hint of separation or alienation.”

Craig praised an enduring philosophy that encourages people from all religions and spiritual persuasions to come together and lovingly co-create. “It is a place of unity and diversity embracing wholeness and life. Everything is sacred and that is an essence of what we have always espoused. Everything is sacred: my relationship with you, my relationship with the garden, my relationship with life. How do I bring that in and at the same time have fun?

“The Universal Hall epitomises that for me – you can have hardcore dance and rock and roll, really going for it, and then you have really peaceful, silent beautiful spaces. It is embracing the profane and the sacred.”
Adam Powell was a gardener from Blackpool, arriving on a motorcycle with a friend, and immediately resonating with the group “living a God-centred existence with a strong sense of co-creation with Nature.”


Findhorn community co-founders Eileen, Peter and Dorothy with (from left) Craig Gibsone, David Spangler and Francois Duquesne

Talking to Dorothy Maclean and Roc (Robert Olgilvie Crombie) they realised that these two were communicating directly with the Nature kingdom and yet were entirely practical and down-to-earth individuals.

Adam and a group of friends became the nucleus of the gardening team that took over responsibility from Peter Caddy and when they encountered a problem with moles, Dorothy urged them to communicate directly with the creatures that were turning a lawn into a minefield.

They walked around the area visualising a fence of light protecting the lawn, and then created a tunnel of light to encourage the moles to enjoy safe passage to a nearby area of the garden. The moles quickly obliged!

A 1973 BBC TV documentary, presented by Magnus Magnusson who was a household figure in Britain, did much to give credibility to the fledgling community and its already famous gardens.


Building starts on the Universal Hall

Excerpts shown in the Hall raised much good-natured laughter and showed many of the elders as fresh-faced youngsters, also providing fascinating glimpses of Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean, the sole surviving co-founder who is now 91 and an enduring source of inspiration for the community.

“I wanted the truth,” she said. “What’s the purpose of life? Why am I here? Finding out the answer to these things has been my goal and I know the answer now: it is to be more loving.”

The next gathering in the Universal Hall, which is open to long-serving members and newcomers alike, is on January 9th at 7.30pm and will involve Dorothy Maclean, Judy McAllister, Brian Nobbs and Mary Inglis and will include a video link with David Spangler of the Lorian Association.

Geoff Dalglish

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