Book © 1976 by the Findhorn Community, Book Review by Denice Moffat
I want to tell you about one of my favorite out of print, hard to find books that has influenced the way I’ve gardened now for the last several years. The book originally was published as four booklets on a hand-cranked machine. It’s called The Findhorn Garden—Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation and it was written by the community of people that initially developed Findhorn.
As the true story goes, in 1962 Peter Caddy, his wife Eileen, their three boys and a spiritual colleague, Dorothy Maclean found themselves jobless and homeless after working for a living in a 4-star hotel and spa. They were used to dining nightly on five-course meals in their little town in northeast Scotland. The hotel cut back due to a national recession and for the next several years this group of six found themselves living out of a 30-foot caravan trailer in a dumpy little sandy area they called a trailer park situated between a garbage dump and an old dilapidated garage.
Intuitive listeners to Spirit they kept their hopes up as they survived for years on $20/week unemployment. Then, after that ran out, on government subsidy. God told them they were there for a reason and they believed this. They were told that they would be doing something of importance to the world.
Peter attended job interview after job interview but turned up nothing in the way of employment. After weeks, months and finally years of interviews Peter was asked to sit before a committee who were trying to figure out why so many healthy, able-bodied people were unable to get work of any kind. Peter was an ex senior officer in the Royal Air force. He had managed a prestigious hotel and had exceptional organizational skills. Why was he not working?
After reviewing his thick record, one of the men asked Peter, “Would you say that God is preventing you from getting a job?” Amazed at the man’s understanding, Peter responded, “Why, yes, indeed.”
“Then presumably if we cut off your money, God will provide for you,” said the man.
And that’s exactly what happened. That next week copies of Dorothy’s newly published book, God Spoke to Me, which she had written using journaling techniques during her early morning meditations in the outhouse with only a candle for light started to sell.
In the spring of 1963, still without work, Peter decided they better put in a garden. After laboring over books all winter on all kinds of gardening techniques, he found none that addressed the environment they were to garden in. Their home and garden plot was exposed to near constant winds from all sides and the soil—well—there was none. They lived on top of gravel and sand which was held together with couch grass.
With no money and a lot of faith, they cleared a small spot to plant some radishes. Peter wanted to build a patio and put up a fence so they could sit outside and meditate. He cleared a spot where he envisioned the patio to be trusting that God would provide whatever else was needed. Within days he noticed a couple of tons of water-damaged bags of cement in the dump across the road, so he drove over there in the family vehicle and hauled it home. It was just enough to finish the patio. Next he built a fence made with discarded boards. Now, for the garden plot. . .
Peter dug up the couch grass, chopped it up as finely as possible and laid it upside down in a trough 18 inches wide by 12 inches deep then set the seeds on top of this grass. Horse feces from a nearby riding stable was used in this trough and Dorothy and Eileen cut seaweed off the local rocks and added that. God met their daily needs and they focused on the spiritual practice of gratitude.
Compost heaps were started behind the garage. A bale of straw which had fallen off someone’s truck was mixed with donated grass cuttings and vegetables too old to eat. Wood ashes were collected to give additional nutrients to the compost.
It was Dorothy that first connected with the devas of nature (The word deva is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘shining one’.) She found that she could talk directly to the plants. The peas spoke up first telling them how far apart they wanted to be, how often they wanted to be watered and they told her what was wrong and how to fix it. She relayed this information to Peter who listened and accommodated the plants and prepared more garden space. Dorothy realized that she was in contact not with the spirit of an individual plant, but with the ‘overlighting’ being of the species, which was the consciousness holding the archetypal design of the species and the blueprint for its highest potential.
Over a period of 11 months, co-creating with nature, the results of this methodology gave robust, nutritious vegetables and fruits larger than anything grown locally. In fact, it fed their entire family and they had leftovers to sell. Peter determined that a red cabbage would grow to be 4 pounds and that they would need 8 heads that winter for the family. He ended up with mature cabbages weighing up to 42 pounds!
The townspeople were amazed at the size and quality of the produce and assumed they must be using artificial chemicals but when they asked the group their secret, they were told that the produce was “grown organically with lots of compost”. Devas were never mentioned because they felt the public would not understand.
A royal visitor interested in gardening who visited the garden did not accept this explanation and pushed Peter, Eileen and Dorothy to tell him what else they were doing. He urged them to write about the devas. They did, and the press labeled the community “airy-fairy New Agers.”
The gardens continued to grow and they ended up making money by selling their surplus. They used every unusable area within the park that they could. Scrap lumber was used to build small fences, windbreaks and cold frames. The devas wanted variety—lots of it, so they planted 65 types of vegetables, 21 types of fruits and 42 different herbs. Each of these plants had their own devas to bless them and watch over them.
One day Eileen relayed this advice from her meditation to Peter: “My son, let the garden develop naturally. When you are in the middle of something and suddenly feel that it is right to place a certain vegetable in a certain place, do so. Even if it means changing everything around again. . .”
Peter took that advice and purchased extra lettuce seeds. He planted the seeds in every spare spot on the property. That year the local area lettuce crop failed and all the stores and local people came to Findhorn to purchase their beautiful heads of lettuce.
In 1965 samples of the Findhorn soil were tested. Peter assumed that he probably had some deficiencies and almost heeded the soil-testers advice to amend the soil but six weeks later the test results revealed perfectly balanced soil.
By 1967 other like-minded and interested people started visiting the Findhorn garden. They wanted to be a part of that energy. Some stayed overnight happy to stay in another person’s spare room within the trailer park. Some stayed longer to work, learn and donate their time.
A man they called Roc (Robert Ogilvie Crombie) stayed quite a while. One day he had an encounter in the garden with a nature spirit. Soon after Pan, the head deva of nature, appeared to him as well. Roc’s story is just amazing. I think you’ll love his chapter of the book.
Next, flowers were planted representing all kinds of countries from around the world. A green house was erected as well as a rock garden and a marsh garden. Foxglove grew to nine feet tall. Roses, that don’t normally like that kind of soil, bloomed perfectly. The place was truly surrounded by magic.
As the movement grew, Findhorn needed more room for gardens so they eventually purchased the trailer park. In 1975 the old Victorian hotel and spa that Peter and his family originally worked at before losing their jobs was purchased by the Findhorn community to house the thousands of annual visitors. This hotel is now Cluny Hill College run by staff members of the Findhorn community who teach sustainable living techniques. Classes, workshops and Experience weeks are ongoing. It attracts international speakers and many forms of alternative thinking. The campus is now home to over 400 people from all around the world.
What happened to the original people who started The Findhorn Garden? Well, Peter died in a car crash February 18, 1996 and Eileen died at home December 13, 2006. You can still get Eileen Cady’s weekly messages by going to the Findhorn website, clicking on the inspiration link and filling in your email address. Dorothy Maclean left the community and moved to the United States in 1972. Dorothy still gives talks and workshops worldwide.
The Findhorn Garden. Get a copy of it today. You’ll be glad you did.
To visit the Findhorn Foundation website, go to: http://www.findhorn.org/index.php and to read about all the speakers who have given classes at Findhorn, go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Findhorn_Foundation#The_founders
Here is an example of Eileen’s Guidance:
Guidance from Eileen Caddy
Within you all power, all wisdom and all understanding. Can you accept that you have within you all power, all wisdom and all understanding? Do you really want to be a power in the world, do you want to be able to help and uplift? Then you must learn to be true to the very highest within you. You will not only have to accept, but know without a shadow of a doubt, that I AM within you and that I can do all things. Nothing is impossible with Me, and with this inner knowing you can be master of every situation and rise above anything that would stand in your way. Sign up for weekly emails like this at www.findhorn.org 4 July 2008
One of the co-founders of the Findhorn Community, Eileen Caddy, received guidance from the “still voice within” and shared it with others in the community for more than 40 years. Today we continue this tradition by printing her guidance in the community’s weekly newsletter and by sharing it with the wider world through this mailing list.