Eileen Caddy was a mystic, spiritual teacher, author and co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation and Community, who received guidance on how to live her life from an inner source she called ‘the still small voice within’ or ‘the God within’. From the day she first heard this voice, she followed it through her lifetime and dedicated time during the day for her ‘appointments with God’. Her life’s work was to inspire people to be still, turn within, find their own sources of inner guidance and follow that guidance.
Eileen was born Eileen Marion Jessop on the 26th of August 1917 in Alexandria, Egypt. She grew up in Egypt, Ireland and England. At the age of 22 she married RAF officer Andrew Combe with whom she had five children. Andrew was interested in spirituality and asked Eileen to join group meetings in which participants listened in silence for ‘divine guidance’. Eileen never received any guidance during this time.
In 1952 Andrew introduced Eileen to fellow officer Peter Caddy who, like Andrew, was interested in spiritual and esoteric subjects. Peter became a close family friend. After one year Eileen fell in love with Peter and requested a divorce from her husband. This made Andrew withdraw the children from Eileen and he didn’t allow her to contact them for many years. They only reconciled in the late 1960s.
Not long after the estrangement from her first family Eileen sat in silence in a private sanctuary in Glastonbury with Peter. When she asked God for help with her difficult situation, she heard a voice saying: ‘Be still and know that I am God. You have taken a very big step in your life, but if you follow My voice, all will be well.’ At first Eileen felt fearful about hearing such a clear voice, but Peter encouraged her to accept this inner voice as a source of divine wisdom. This proved to be the turning point of her life. The voice continued to communicate with her, reassuring and guiding her in a tone of loving fatherly wisdom, and using gentle biblical language.
One of the first messages of this voice was to accept Sheena as her spiritual teacher. Sheena and Peter were still married, but no longer lived as husband and wife and he already saw her as his spiritual teacher. Even though the relationship between Eileen and Sheena remained difficult, Peter and Eileen were part of her following for many years.
After their divorces Peter and Eileen married in 1957 and had three sons together. During the late 50s they managed the large Victorian Cluny Hill Hotel in Forres together with their friend Dorothy Maclean, whom they met in Sheena’s circle. They managed the hotel using the guidance Eileen now received constantly from her inner voice; every aspect of its management from the allocation of guest rooms to the choice of staff uniforms.
Through their management, the hotel became so successful that they were asked to manage another hotel in the Trossachs, where they were unable to repeat their success and subsequently, were fired. They expected to only be out of employment for a short period of time and pulled up their caravan in a hollow next to a rubbish dump at the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park; where it still stands in the same spot to this day.
“Be very very still and allow every new experience to take place in your life without any resistance whatsoever. You do not have to do anything, you simply have to be and let things happen.”
Eileen continued to receive guidance from her still, small voice within which guided every step of their journey in establishing a community. Even though Eileen, Peter and Dorothy never had the intention to create a community, living their lives guided by spirit and growing an abundant vegetable garden on sandy soil in cooperation with nature spirits attracted many like-minded people over the years and a community slowly began to grow around them.
From 1968 the group gathered every morning in their sanctuary and Peter read out Eileen’s daily guidance which informed the activities of the day. In 1971 her inner voice told Eileen to stop sharing her guidance with the community to encourage each individual to attune more and more to their own inner knowing and act from this deep place within.
Eileen and Peter separated in 1978 and divorced in 1982. From this time onwards Eileen was the only remaining co-founder still living in the community. She held educational workshops, gave international talks and wrote books, all with the same intention: to support everybody to turn to their own source of inner guidance and to encourage them to follow this inner knowing. In 2004 Eileen was awarded an MBE for her service to spiritual inquiry.
Eileen’s relationship with her ‘still, small voice within’ deepened over the years until she felt at one with the divine, which she calls the ‘God within’. She received guidance from her inner voice until she consciously welcomed death in 2006, at the age of 89, in the true spirit of her favourite saying: ‘All is very, very well.’
Her most well known books are ‘Opening Doors Within’, which contains a collection of her guidance for each day of the year, and her autobiography ‘Flight into Freedom’.
Inspiration and Quotes are taken from Mike Scott’s foreword to ‘Opening Doors Within’.