Walking with a feeling of excitement and expectancy, light from the full moon overhead illuminating the path, I make my way to the Universal Hall. Tonight is the opening ceremony of the Love, Magic, Miracles conference and all in the community have been invited to attend.
For the conference participants it has been a full day already: registering, settling in and meeting with their home groups. I enquire of the young woman sitting next to me, “What are these home groups?” Lucky explains they are groups of about 12 people each and offer a space for sharing, support and ‘a familiar face’, something important with a conference this size. Lucky, who has travelled up from Cornwall, is one of 144 participants coming from 23 countries, and like many others who raised their hands when the question was asked, she is here for the first time. Her enthusiasm is infectious and I find myself smiling inside and out.
Two huge floral displays in autumnal reds, oranges and yellows grace the front of the Hall, with those rich colours echoed in the flowers surrounding the conference candle. This candle, made especially for the occasion by our island community on Erraid, in the colours of white, pink, golden yellow and blue, is lit by our beloved Dorothy Maclean to open the conference. Seeing those colours, I sense the magic – the divinity – that has already begun manifesting in and around this conference.
After a moment of silence – as is the Findhorn tradition – the presenters each in their own time come forward to light a small candle from the centre candle and offer a blessing for the conference. Love, magic, miracles, grace and radiance are all brought in with the hope that they will be generated within the conference, in each one of us, and then sent out into the world with the recognition that we are one community, one family of humanity.
We share this earth with all life and tonight a blessing is offered for the ‘thrival’ of the honeybee, a creature with whom our own destiny is intricately woven.
Harvest of miracles
Michael Hawkins and Antonio Palmieri share with us that tonight is the harvest of two years of hard work, inspired by the quality of love that Eileen Caddy radiated, that Peter Caddy put into action and that Dorothy Maclean recognised as the greatest power on earth. In recognition of how Eileen used to say that the essence of the Findhorn Community is to bring heaven down on earth and to learn to do everything with love, Michael and Antonio wish us all one heavenly week before handing over to Barbara Swetina and Francois Monnet.
Barbara and Francois’ desire for tonight is to help create external beauty, knowing this is a reflection of our inner beauty. Francois takes us on a little journey as he reveals from beneath three large strips of vibrant silk fabric laid on the Hall floor a huge red and turquoise print. Twelve years ago at the Angels conference held here at Findhorn, Francois and a Polish artist created a papercut of the Tree of Life, in the tradition of the New Year of the Tree celebrated in the small villages of Poland. This papercut was then taken to peace conferences all over the world. As one would imagine, after being unfolded and folded again and again, the papercut started to wear out and eventually was replaced with the print we see before us on the floor.
The Tree of Life represents the universe, and the human being. Using this physical representation on the floor, we are invited to one by one place a small candle somewhere on the tree, offering a blessing as we do. It is pointed out that this is the first action of the conference that we are taking together and I am moved to tears as I witness this beautiful ritual. Accompanied by the etheric sounds of Barbara on harp and Herewood Gabriel on singing bowls and thumb piano, a gentle stream of blessings come into the tree and into the world.
Holding in our minds the image of building a temple, we end this first evening together by singing a Russian Kyrie Eleison, a sacred chant, with the intention of transforming ourselves and our world.
As I go out into the night, I’d like to leave you with the ancient Celtic blessing from the Hebrides that Phillip Newell offered as his blessing:
May the grace of the love of the moon be thine,
May the grace of the love of the stars be thine,
May the grace of the love of the waters be thine,
In the name of the word of all life.