“Hello, and welcome to the 80s!”
Liza Hollingshead, long term Findhorn resident and host of these celebratory monthly events, welcomed an audience of nearly 200 people in the Universal Hall to the ninth in a series of presentations by former or ‘old’ members about their experience of the history of our community. Some came to reminisce, others to hear what it was like in those formative years, and some, like me, came curious to learn about our past. For the panel of ‘old timers’ this was more than just a time of reminiscing – it was recalling a time of platforms being created that still exist today.
However, it was not all plain sailing, while some structures came about through a natural synthesis, others had more painful births.
Co-founder Peter Caddy, very much the benevolent but autocratic leader, left the community in 1979, and Francois Duquesne took on the mantle of Foundation focaliser. In tune with Eileen’s guidance received a few years earlier that community members needed to seek their own inner guidance, the leadership model changed and small groups emerged to hold the energy for different areas. The whole community became involved in decision-making and group consciousness grew in importance. It was a time of experimentation and discovering how to function as a community.
The Foundation had been paying land rent to the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park and a large financial debt had accumulated over time. There was also a need for land to erect permanent dwellings to house Foundation staff in the Pineridge area. In a bold move, and one that involved numerous community meetings to ensure the collective was supportive of and involved in the process, the decision was made to buy the caravan park, with the battle cry ‘It’s time to grow or die!’
It wasn’t really a battle cry, but to long time community resident Rory O’Connell the heartfelt plea of Francois Duquesne to the community that they needed bold and decisive action made it seem like one.
“An unforeseen bonus,” said Rory, “was a great sense of self-confidence that grew within the community as a result.”
We also heard about building the Family House; 1987’s The Wizard of Us, a witty rewrite penned by Jeremy Slocombe of the famous musical, that allowed the community to take a good laugh at itself; and the Russian connection, when a group of Findhorn Fellows, Trustees and others went to Russia in May 1988 to experience the place under Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika regime. During their visit they made contacts for the October conference on “The Individual and the Collective: Politics as if the Whole Earth Mattered” to which about six Russians attended by invitation from the Foundation.
Roger Doudna brought the evening to a close with a video of the 1988 East West Concert in the Universal Hall, with Russian pop musician Sasha Malinin, who had also been at the conference, banding together with musicians from the ‘west’ for a rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine. And I imagine what this community would look like today had those brave souls who pioneered their way through the 80s not made the decisions they did, or taken those bold steps to grow.
…I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will live as one.