The hills in Scotland are purple with heather, the trees are just beginning to turn golden, Cluny Hill’s apple trees are laden with fruit and the salmon have completed their run up the Findhorn River. I love this time of year and yet also love the spring buds and sense of new beginnings many of you are experiencing in the southern hemisphere. How lovely that we can ‘contain multitudes’ and that whatever season our bodies are in (I’m finding my autumn phase to be an interesting time) our spirit can be young and feisty and open to the new.
Summer has been rich and full here (catch up on all the new activities in Cluny garden) and it’s wonderful to see us expanding our educational reach, where we all take turns as student and teacher. The Foundation continues to thrive with an exceptionally high number of participants in July and August – the highest in the last six years – and the Findhorn Foundation College received its accreditation from the British Accreditation Council (in addition to its current accreditation from University of Massachusetts), which will allow international participants to more easily attend College courses.
Over 30 students from Edinburgh University’s MSc in Environmental Sustainability will visit us this week as part of the work of Findhorn Foundation College; the first Findhorn Intensive, a six-module journey over 18 months, is at halfway point; and we continue to build a partnership with L’Arche communities, dedicated to creating spiritual community for people with learning disabilities. Many groups, from Taiwan to Norway to USA, visited us for tailor made programmes and our Building Bridges initiative, working with local youth in Cullerne Gardens, is going very, very well.
I’m also heartened by the variety of educational offerings for youth: 38 bright young people from six countries, here to learn about and experience creative, holistic sustainability, camped in Wilkie’s Wood for two weeks in August as part of the Butterfly Effect European Youth Exchange; and The Park Ecovillage Trust (PET) was funded for a second year by the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), a division of the Scottish government, to extend its Sustainability Education for Schools to a wider area of Scotland.
As part of this reaching out I am delighted to announce, particularly to the 15,000 of you scattered all over the globe, that for the first time we are webcasting a programme live from the Universal Hall — and who better to launch this than Caroline Myss with The Seven Graces and Shadow Passions of your Soul, 17—19 September. The inauguration of Findhorn Live is an exciting step in making Findhorn more accessible so that you can virtually participate in Caroline’s workshop online, in your home, anywhere in the world. It’s the first of many and I look forward to meeting you online soon.
Of course, we still love to welcome you in person, especially as the community enters its 50th year on 17 November. It’s a great time to visit us and enjoy a variety of wonderful programmes to see in the New Year.
For 7 nights from 15 December we have Spiritual Practice — Winter Solstice. Every year I tell people how powerful it is to take part in our winter solstice spiral, so here is your chance to experience the darkness and the light with us, releasing 2011 and creating intentions for 2012.
Then, on Wednesday 28 December, you can choose to welcome the new year in four very different ways, but all rich in love and connection:
- New Year Celebration – Crossing the Threshold, with Barbara Swetina and Javier Rodriguez, will combine song, dance, creativity, ritual and the fun of a traditional New Year’s Eve with times of stillness and reflection.
- New Year Spiritual Healing Retreat with Franco Santoro is an opportunity to expand awareness and heal through meditation and spiritual practices by scanning the past, looking at significant events, extracting blessings and releasing pain – what a wonderful way to start 2012!
- The seven day Game of Transformation is a fascinating way to delve into and transform key life issues. It provides the chance to explore a personal intention and move along a 'life path' through seven levels. You’ll be amazed at the insights the game reveals and the power of interacting with others as you work with your deepest concerns.
- Erraid New Year Retreat is a chance to ‘just be’ on a beautiful, wild Hebridean Island off the West Coast of Scotland – a time to truly get away from it all and meet yourself while interacting with a small, intimate community. There are limited spaces available so book early.
To finish on an inspiring note about the possibility of radical personal change I recommend you read the blogs of Geoff Dalglish, 62-year-old member of the Foundation’s Living Education Apprentice Programme (LEAP), who is walking the equivalent of the circumference of the planet (40,075 kms!!) to raise awareness about the need to live lightly and sustainably. Geoff began walking on the Isle of Iona on July 7, knowing that it is payback time for him as former race and rally driver, 4×4 adventurer and magazine editor. I particularly liked the Sunday Times’ (South Africa) headline about Geoff: From petrol head to pilgrim. You can read about his escapades here and use the links in the left hand column of that page to follow his blogs.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, everyone at Findhorn sends warm family greetings.
With love and laughter.
For the Communications Team