On Monday morning the meditation was held in the Universal Hall instead of the Main Sanctuary, as it will be for the rest of the week, in anticipation of the larger group all here to celebrate this evolving centre of love and light. The day began with a difference and now the birthday week is in full and vibrant swing!
The community has been a hive of activity in the preceding weeks, busy bees filled with passion and purpose swirling around with energy and excitement, in preparation for this climatic week of our 50th birthday year. In the expansiveness of the Hall I felt grounded and connected to the essence of our community – stillness and co-creation, interwoven with love.
In the afternoon, returning members, Findhorn Fellows, Resource People, members of the New Findhorn Association and current co-workers, who make up the diversity of our past and present, began filling the Hall, music with a joyful spirit welcoming us into the space.
I joined the crowd inside and couldn't help but smile as I stepped into the atmosphere of celebration. The Hall is adorned with festive decorations; three lanterns hang above the seats on either side, wrapped in fresh greenery and tiny orange lights, reminiscent of fireflies. Handmade Celtic paintings are draped from each pillar of the four corners and the central carving stands out more than ever, with white fabric and green leaves circling around it to the ceiling.
In the opening attunement we were invited to connect with the spirit that has been here since the beginning, to realise and recognise who we are in relation to this spirit, and remember all those who cannot be with us in the Hall, our larger community that extends around the world. Words of wisdom were shared from both Dorothy and Eileen’s guidance, encouraging us to flow with life and the pattern of perfection.
Henrietta Rose lit the tall, red candle sent from the Isle of Erraid with much love for our 50th birthday. Then Loren and Lee sang in deep masculine tones, “We are all flowing,” with a hint of seriousness in their performance to honour the significance of the occasion.
“This week is a unique meeting point, to honour and acknowledge the past and the present,” Margo explained. “To open up and create the future that wants to emerge.” I looked around the Hall with curiosity, noticing all the new faces, the colourful clothing, and felt intrigued by the contribution of one and all.
Margo invited perhaps the most cherished person in the Hall, Dorothy Maclean, to the centre stage and helped by Judy McAllister, Dorothy stood in the limelight, beaming and radiant, to receive a bouquet of flowers. It was a touching moment, as everyone stood clapping and cheering in sheer love and appreciation for our remaining co-founder, who continues to delight us with her presence around The Park.
A member from the early 70s, Simon Bell visiting from Canada, stepped forward and retold a recent conversation he’d had with the mayor of Guelph, his hometown. “I’m going to Findhorn for their 50th birthday,” he said. “Did you know one of the founders was originally from here?” She did and replied, “I’ve been there too!” Simon presented Dorothy with a certificate of recognition and congratulations from the Office of the Mayor, City of Guelph, in a wonderful twist of fate linking Findhorn with the place where she grew up.
The members of the birthday team sitting in the centre of the Hall introduced themselves, and then we were given an opportunity to get to know the people around us. Returning members connected with new members and the room was filled with pairings of lively conversation.
Jonathan Caddy was reuniting with his brother David to my left, Kathy Tyler, co-founder of the Game of Transformation sat on my right, Susan Miles long term member and focaliser of Life Purpose and many other programmes sat behind me, and Alice Weibull, a Resource Person from Sweden who lived in the community for three years from 1972, sat a few rows in front. I felt surrounded by auspicious company. I’m sure everyone else did too…
The Global Findhorn Family
The fun began as Fabien Barouch stood in the centre to ask a round of questions. Who was here in the 60s? John and Dorothy stood up. In the 70s? Most of the Hall rose to their feet! In the 80s? About half as many. In the 90s a similar number and fewer in the 00s. It was a fascinating visual of the birthday demographics.
“Who receives guidance?” Fabien asked provocatively. The entire Hall stood up. “Dorothy it’s working!” he said with delight. There are three birthdays of community members this week and we welcome our newest member into the world, Jasper Shaw Fulford, born at 8:35am on Monday morning.
We’ve all been together before
Karin gave us an overview of the birthday schedule and mentioned a surprise show this evening and then it was time for a song. The travelling troubadour, Barbara Swetina, became the centre of our attention playing her red and silver accordion that shone in the light. To warm our voices we began with the familiar Happy Birthday before launching into a song of soul memory, written in Hawaii.
Community members who knew the song were invited onto the floor, “We’ve all been together before,” we sang in unison. “Dancing in starlight upon the same shore. Soul weavers of sound and light, gathered together once more.”
“Soul weavers! It’s our job description,” said Barbara. “Thank you Dorothy, Peter and Eileen for making us what we are today.” Everyone began to sway to the music, arms extended affectionately around their neighbours waists, others waltzed with their nearest partner, and the togetherness was tangible.
People spoke of coming home, expressed feelings of gratitude and reminisced on the wonder and magic of Findhorn. The afternoon came to a close with a meditative dance to the music of Pachelbel’s Canon and we sang Alleluia, in praise of life. Shin-ichiro Terayama, a Resource Person, Findhorn Fellow and long-term visitor from Japan, played the cello and each bass note seemed to strum the depth of soul within each one of us. With the tenderness of hearts merging, the birthday week has begun.
Grand Surprise in the Universal Hall
We returned to the Hall in the evening, for a Dave Till directed extravaganza of fifty performers and stage crew. John Willoner, who arrived in 1967, described it, “As the best show ever at Findhorn!” The talent was phenomenal and the show incredibly slick. One word sums up the whole experience – wow! People will be talking about it for decades to come. Alternating between live performance and multimedia on the big screen, the skillful sound, lighting and video combined with the elegantly simple stage management and smooth transitions, enhanced the creativity and artistry to astounding levels of community inspired entertainment!
The Iona Stoker trio opened the show with the words, “Thank you Findhorn” followed by the evocative lyrics of Sinead O’Connor. The great storyteller Peter Vallance enchanted everyone with the true tale of the Original Garden and Andrea Turner sang a heartfelt love song to Scotland, the Dougie MacLean classic Caledonia. Dave Till and Shirley Barr were at Deva Central patiently communicating with the human beings Lucy Thomas and Lorenz Gramann. Ruby Worth conceived a touching tribute to her father, Michael Worth, combining his wisdom in A Book of Helpful Hints with her inspired creativity.
A sacred dance of Healing and Wholeness was performed around the purity of the candle as a slide show of community dance over the years played in the background, and Anna Barton was honoured with a moment on stage. Craig Gibsone and Rory O’Connell played the contrasting yet complementary sounds of pipe and didgeridoo in Celtic Dream Time Wake Up, the blend of cultures and traditions a symbol of our unity in diversity. I was struck time and again by the awesome talent of our community that never ceases to amaze me.
The Fannie McTartans even brought the summer Olympics to Findhorn. The gold medal winner of the dressage deserves an actual medal for her prancing performance! Ruairaidh Milne astounded us with his strength and agility on the trapeze and the variety of the show continued. Dave Till shared more profound and funny poetry and Becky Hume played the ukelele with her beautiful self-penned song about joy and strength, Red Robin. There was a tantalising kaleidoscopic slideshow Everything’s a Mirror and and in the final act, Too Many Kooks lived up to their name in the best possible way with an amazing mix of ingredients in their funky rap song Price Tag by Jesse J, capturing the energy and appreciation of the entire evening it received foot stomping applause.
When a smile touches our hearts
When the forest stills us to peace
When music moves us to rapture
When we really love or laugh or dance with joy
We are one with the angels
Thank you Findhorn, thank you, thank you, thank you!