One of the many losses in the fire that burnt our Community Centre to the ground was the magnificent ‘Firebird’ stained glass panel in the Upper CC. But it has triggered a most wonderful story of the undeniable magic of manifestation, shared here by long-time resident Roger Doudna, who was instrumental in acquiring the artwork.
In 1988 I organised an October conference here called ‘The Individual & The Collective: Politics As If The Whole Earth Mattered’. To prepare the ground I organised a group from Findhorn to go to Russia in the spring. Those were the Gorby glory days of glasnost and perestroika, and there was a lot of work by ‘citizen diplomats’ in both Russia and the West, helping to break the ice by meeting person to person. James Hubbell, Findhorn Fellow and creator of the glass panel, had been similarly touched in San Diego by a charming guy called Gennadi Gerasimov, one of Gorbachev’s emissaries to the West. Long story short, James sent the Firebird panel to Findhorn so it could be taken to Russia after the October conference.
Unfortunately, the anticipated representatives from the Russian government failed to show here, and we didn’t feel very confident that those Russians who did come were the right people or could do it justice in Moscow. Net effect, the Firebird remained with us at Findhorn, no doubt in part because we fell in love with it ourselves and gave it pride of place in the Upper CC. I explained all this to James several years ago and he was satisfied that it was in the right place after all.
Thanks to my personal connection to the panel, I was particularly distressed at losing this beautiful work of art to the fires. With a heavy heart I wrote to inform James, who then shared a fascinating coincidence: during the weekend of the fires he had actually been re-reading the Russian fable that inspired the Firebird in the first place. (* You can read the fable below.) So, it’s almost as though this was the Firebird’s way of saying goodbye to its creator. Subtle worlds …
The really good news was that we still had photographs of the panel, and James still had the original drawings for the Firebird at his studio in southern California. He offered to recreate it if we wanted to commission it.
There was talk of various fundraisers to replace it, and I connected with Simon Stedman, the Findhorn Foundation’s finance steward, about the Foundation’s insurance cover. I also consulted Fasil Bogale, resident accountant and CEO of Ekopia Ltd, who advised asking for £12,000 to cover all relevant costs.
But after speaking to the insurance adjustor, Simon indicated that there was virtually no hope of securing the $11,000 that James had quoted to replace the window itself. James also said he would send another quote to cover the costs of getting it here …
Peter Caddy, co-founder of the Findhorn Community, used to say that manifestation involves four things: getting clear on what you need (rather than want), putting it out to the universe, releasing it and then letting God provide in whatever way He/She chooses to manifest.
So, I knew how much to ask for and I had secured sufficient support to announce a fundraising appeal. But when I opened my emails some days later, I discovered a missive from John Clausen of the Hygeia Foundation, who processes donations from USA to Findhorn, saying he had just received a cheque for $17,000 to support the Foundation’s rebuild in the wake of the fires, also mentioning the loss of the Firebird.
I asked Simon if the Foundation would kindly reserve it for that purpose, and he agreed to take my request to the Stewards the next day. Later that day I received another email from James Hubbell saying he’d received a quote of $6,000 for the packing and shipping to get a new Firebird here.
You don’t need a head for figures to realise that $11,000 and $6,000 make $17,000, which was EXACTLY the amount of the donation. And the £12,000 estimate that Fasil recommended likewise equates to $17,000 at current exchange rates.
The next evening I received word from Simon that the Stewards graciously supported allocating this generous donation towards the replacement of the Firebird. And so I have written to James to recommission it on behalf of the Foundation and Community.
Pretty good manifestation story, don’t you think? Let there be many more!
* The Firebird Fable
A gentle orphan girl named Maryushka lived in a small village in Russia. People would come from all over to buy her embroidery, and many merchants asked her to come away and work for them. She told them all that she would sell to any who found her work beautiful, but she would never leave the village of her birth.
One day the evil sorcerer Kaschei the Immortal heard of Maryushka’s beautiful needlework and transformed himself into a beautiful young man and visited her. Upon seeing her ability he became enraged that a mere mortal could produce finer work than he himself could. He tried to tempt her by offering to make her Queen if she would embroider for him alone, but she refused, saying she never wanted to leave her village.
Because of this last insult to his ego he turned Maryushka into a Firebird and himself into a great black Falcon. He picked her up in his talons and stole her away from her village. To leave a memory of herself with her village forever she shed her feathers onto the land below. As the last feather fell Maryushka died in the falcon’s talons. The glowing rainbow feathers were magic and remain undimmed, but show their colours only to those who love beauty and seek to make beauty for others.