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About the Findhorn Foundation

TEDx at Universal Hall

The Findhorn Foundation is a dynamic experiment where everyday life is guided by the inner voice of spirit, where we work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature and take inspired action towards our vision of a better world. We share our learning and way of life in experiential workshops, conferences and events that take place within a thriving community and ecovillage.

The Foundation has two main sites. The Park, nestled amidst dunes and forest, bay and beach, is an ecovillage that is home to many of our staff and a larger community of people living with shared values. Cluny Hill is a stately Victorian former hotel, five miles away from The Park, which houses staff and welcomes participants in our workshops and events. Our retreat house on the island of Iona, and the satellite community on the neighbouring island of Erraid, also welcome participants for life-changing experiences on the wild, wind-swept west coast of Scotland.

The Findhorn Foundation is an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, holder of UN Habitat Best Practice designation and is co-founder of the Global Ecovillage Network and Holistic Centres Network. The Foundation is at the heart of a community of more than 500 people who every day support and live the vision of creating a better world by starting with themselves.

History

Our extraordinary journey, from tiny band of spiritual seekers to a world centre of transformation.

Beginnings

Eileen Caddy

Eileen Caddy

Peter Caddy

Peter Caddy

Dorothy Maclean

Dorothy Maclean

Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean unintentionally founded the Findhorn community in 1962. All three had dedicated themselves to following a disciplined spiritual path for many years. They first came to northeast Scotland in 1957 to manage the Cluny Hill Hotel in the town of Forres. Eileen received guidance in her meditations from an inner source she called ‘the still, small voice within’ and Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance and his own intuition. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel. After several years however, the hotel company terminated Peter and Eileen’s employment, and with nowhere to go and little money, they moved with their three young sons and Dorothy to a caravan park in the nearby coastal village of Findhorn.

Feeding six people on unemployment benefit was difficult, so Peter decided to grow vegetables. The land in the caravan park was sandy and dry but he persevered. In her meditation, Dorothy discovered she was able to intuitively contact the overlighting intelligence of plants – which she called angels, and then devas – who gave her instructions on how to make the most of their fledgling garden. She and Peter translated this guidance into action, with amazing results. In the barren sandy soil of the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park they grew huge plants, herbs and flowers, most famously the now-legendary 40-pound cabbages. Word spread, horticultural experts came and were stunned, and the garden at Findhorn became famous.

A community is born

Chatting in the CCOther people came to join the Caddys and Dorothy in their work and soon the original group of six grew into a small community, committed to their spiritual path and to expanding the garden in harmony with nature. The community published a slim volume of Eileen’s guidance entitled God Spoke To Me, in 1967, and word of this determined and spiritually oriented community spread still further. Significant friends and supporters of the community in these early days included English new age pioneer Sir George Trevelyan, Scottish esotericist R Ogilvie Crombie and Richard St Barbe Baker, ‘the man of the trees’. In the late 60s Peter and community members, in accordance with Eileen’s guidance, built the Park Sanctuary, the largest of our meditation sanctuaries, and the Community Centre, where the community still meets and eats.

In 1970 a young American spiritual teacher named David Spangler arrived in the community and with his partner Myrtle Glines helped to define and organise the spiritual curriculum, and a programme of learning was established at The Park. In 1972 the community, the Findhorn Foundation, was formally registered as a Scottish Charity and in the 1970s and 80s grew to approximately 300 members. In 1975 the Foundation purchased Cluny Hill Hotel (which had declined after the Caddys’ departure) as a centre for workshops and for members’ accommodation, and in 1983 purchased the caravan park in Findhorn.

Peter Caddy left the community in 1979 to work internationally. He came back to visit Findhorn regularly until his death in Germany in 1994. Eileen Caddy lived a long and inspiring life in the community and died peacefully at home in 2006. Dorothy Maclean, having lived in North America for a number of years and been actively involved in leading workshops around the world, has returned to Findhorn and lives in the community.

The Ecovillage and worldwide network

Living MachineAt the end of the 1980s, the Ecovillage Project at Findhorn began, contributing significantly to the development of the ecovillage movement worldwide. An ecovillage, defined as being ecologically, economically, culturally and spiritually sustainable, was a logical development of the community’s work with spirit and nature. There are now 90 ecological buildings, three wind generators and a biological sewage treatment plant, The Living Machine.

In 1995 the Findhorn community and the evolving informal ecovillage network organised a conference at Findhorn: Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century. From this initiative the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) was established, with the Foundation becoming one of its founding members.

The Findhorn Ecovillage is a constantly evolving model used as a teaching resource by a number of universities and school groups. The Findhorn Foundation College was established to provide a vehicle for academic programmes and to host students and study groups from the local area and around the world.

In 1997 the UN recognised the Findhorn Foundation as a Non-Governmental Organisation associated with the Department of Public Information. The Findhorn Foundation is an active participant in a variety of UN activities and events.

More about our Global Networking.

Further reference

The following is a short selection from the many books about the Findhorn community.

God Spoke To Me
by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
The first book of Eileen’s Guidance – still in print after 40 years.

The Findhorn Garden
by The Findhorn Community (Harper Collins)
The story of the community’s early days.

To Hear The Angels Sing
by Dorothy Maclean (Lindisfarne Press)
Dorothy’s autobiography.

Opening Doors Within
by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Daily selections from Eileen’s Guidance.

Flight Into Freedom
by Eileen Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Eileen’s autobiography.

The Kingdom Within
edited by Alex Walker (Findhorn Press)
A selection of writings on the history and work of the Findhorn Foundation by David Spangler, Peter and Eileen Caddy, Myrtle Glines, William Bloom, Dorothy Maclean and many others.

Simply Build Green
by John Talbott (Findhorn Press)
A guide to the principles and methods of eco-building.

In Perfect Timing
by Peter Caddy (Findhorn Press)
Peter Caddy’s autobiography.

Memoirs of An Ordinary Mystic
by Dorothy Maclean (Lorian Press)

Founding Principles

Through more than 50 years of living and exploring together, three key themes have emerged as guiding principles for our work in the world.

Inner listening

When we become still and go within, either through meditation or activities such as being in nature, we can find a deep inner knowing that reaches far beyond the sense of a small and separate self. At Findhorn we describe this process as inner listening, and the knowledge received as guidance. We also use attunement, the practice of consciously tapping into the interconnectedness of life. These are at the heart of the Foundation’s ethos.

Eileen Caddy began her practice of inner listening in a Glastonbury sanctuary in the late 1950s. Later, through training and regular meditation, she developed the ability to attune to the deep knowing within her at any time. Committed obedience to this guidance led her, the community’s co-founders and the group that gathered around them, to step into a living relationship with this inner wisdom which continues to this day.

Finding the stillness and listening within, attuning, and then trusting and acting on this attunement, is the central process by which the Findhorn community lives and evolves. We believe it is a way of living that can support humanity to evolve. The Findhorn Foundation and community is a gateway to this new world and a living demonstration of it.

Work Is Love In Action

Park garden WomenWork is an opportunity to bring our whole selves and our highest love into the practical business of daily life. By bringing full, loving engagement into each task, moment by moment, we can shape a new consciousness for ourselves and the world.

‘Love where you are. Love what you’re doing. Love who you’re doing it with.’ This is founder Peter Caddy’s succinct explanation of our practice of Work is Love in Action. A former military officer who led by example, he insisted that community members bring this attitude into every daily activity, whether raking up the leaves, harvesting organic vegetables or making key decisions.

With this attitude, people discovered that each day can become an opportunity for growth and discovery when we bring our highest spiritual aspiration and love to it. Also, when we act with love and clear intention, life meets us with the right resources, people and realisations. An example of this is in the community’s early days: Peter, acting on guidance, bought several bungalows with borrowed money, although there were no people yet who needed housing. Within weeks the bungalows were full with people who wanted to live the exciting experiment that was happening at Findhorn. Manifesting the right thing at the right time became so common that the community adopted the motto ‘expect a miracle’.

Today, we continue to bring love and mindfulness to every moment, no matter how seemingly ordinary. Before each shift we share whatever is needed to bring ourselves present and then hold an attunement: a brief meditation to align people with each other and with the task at hand, and to invite the cooperation of our partners, seen and unseen.

This practice is a recognition that everything we do, no matter how small, is an opportunity to move beyond previously limiting beliefs and to shape a new future. Our own story of a tiny band of spiritual seekers growing into a flourishing, internationally respected spiritual learning centre and community is a demonstration of the power of putting our love into action. And we know that this story is just a beginning – our vision is nothing less than a world where each human being manifests their highest love and, in doing so, becomes a unique blessing for all life.

Co-Creation with the Intelligence of Nature

Cullerne PumpkinsOur planet is alive and aware. By communicating and working with the rest of nature humans can find and bring new and creative solutions to life.

In the early days of the community, while trying to grow a garden, community co-founder Dorothy Maclean found she could communicate consciously with the intelligence that gave form to the plants in the garden. As she and others followed the suggestions of these intelligences, a seemingly impossible abundance grew in the poor soil, including the giant cabbages that brought fame to the community. Building on this early work, the Findhorn Foundation continues to be a pioneer in partnering with the intelligence of nature, a practice we call co-creation. Everyone, either through innate gifts or through training in inner listening, has the potential to partner with these more subtle aspects of our world.

We bring the practice of collaborating with other forms of life into our daily activities in our kitchens, gardens and living spaces. Before each shift, we invite non-human partners, such as the plants we’re tending, animals we’re with and non-physical members of our subtle ecologies, to work alongside us. This cooperation brings practical results, as well as a more connected and creative relationship to life.

Community

The Findhorn Foundation is at the heart of an extraordinary community and ecovillage in the northeast of Scotland.

Community Life

Field of Dreams eco housesCommunity life provides the spiritual and social framework in which to experiment with new ways of being. Living together and practising spiritual values creates the transformative environment where learning takes place naturally through the ordinary activities of daily life. We work through conflicts, celebrate seasonal rhythms, eat, work and play together, acknowledge life’s milestones and explore new forms of leadership, economics and governance.

In the 1990s a community grew up around the Findhorn Foundation as more people, attracted to the Foundation’s ethos, settled at The Park. In 1998 the New Findhorn Association was created as an umbrella organisation that facilitates and encourages development of the whole community.

Today the Foundation is the largest organisation within the NFA, which now has approximately 350 individual members and a membership of 40 holistic businesses and charities. All are linked by a shared positive vision for humanity and the earth, and a commitment to the deep and practical spirituality practised here in everyday life.