Swans Commentary » swans.com November 5, 2012  



Findhorn's Angels


by Michael Barker



"A born skeptic, I can appreciate that much of what you will read will seem implausible and incredible. I do not ask that you believe this account, for it is written only through one man's eyes. Every aspect of creation has as many realities as perceivers."
Paul Hawken, 1975.


(Swans - November 5, 2012)   Paul Hawken is one of the world's leading proponents of green capitalism, having authored a number of books on this subject in recent decades, the most famous being Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Earthscan, 1999), which he coauthored with Amory and Hunter Lovins. What is less well known -- although far from secret -- is the topic of Hawken's first book, The Magic of Findhorn (Souvenir Press, 1975), which explored the role that angels can fulfill in revising humankind's destructive relationship with planet earth. This book accomplished this stunning feat by eulogizing the early history of the Scottish-based Findhorn Community, a group that presently describes itself as "a spiritual community, ecovillage and an international centre for holistic education, helping to unfold a new human consciousness and create a positive and sustainable future."

Hawken recalls how he first came across Findhorn when he read an article in Harper's by occult author Peter Tompkins "describing a small group of people, isolated on a cold windblown peninsula in Scotland, who were growing one of the world's most fantastic gardens with no resources except bushels of love and contact with another dimension of consciousness called the Devic and Elemental Worlds." But despite the fact that "reports of 42-pound cabbages and 60-pound broccoli plants" made the Findhorn story "quite unbelievable," Hawken's interest was piqued as to how the founder of Findhorn, an ex-Royal Air Force squadron leader named Peter Caddy, had obtained such success in the windswept Scottish sand dunes when before starting the garden he hadn't as much as planted a seed. (1) However, Peter did not simply talk to angels to produce large vegetables but actually spent years consciously enriching the garden's nutrients with organic matter; likewise his initial bumper crops are comparable in size to those regularly attained by British gardeners in competitions (or perhaps those attained by his father who was a prize-winning gardener); (2) while the windswept gardens of Findhorn benefited enormously from the warm air generated by the local Gulf Stream currents, and midsummer days that are some twenty hours long. The area is sometimes referred to as the Scottish Riviera.

Peter sat "at the helm of a community with the aura of a corporate president," perhaps owing much to his years spent in the Royal Air Force; and as Hawken adds: "The one thing that Peter emphasized was Punctuality." Much like military doctrine -- unquestioning dedication to Findhorn is a prerequisite for success; critical thinkers and naysayers are a burden to efficient organizational maintenance. Positive thinking is thus key to Peter's "Law of Manifestation" -- positivity being so central that the word "if" apparently "atrophied from his vocabulary years ago" as the word represents negative thinking, which as far as Findhorn is concerned is "self-defeating, demoralizing, and useless." "Just four rules at Findhorn: no dope, no smoking in public areas, a rule can be made by Peter at any time, and no negative thinking!" So although Hawken credits Peter as being "inwardly... extremely sensitive and intensely motivated," outwardly he is "very much the ex-squadron leader barking out commands." (3)

Here it is useful to backtrack a little to understand how Peter came to work for angels. Hawken traces Peter's first occult experience to his childhood, when his father's search for a cure to the crippling "pain of rheumatoid arthritis" led Frederick Caddy to the...

...mysterious medicine of Lucille Rutterby, a "spiritual healer" gifted with the ability to contact those on the "other side" and seek their help. Her husband, Plato Rutterby, joined her and the Caddys in a circle of friends, meeting once a week to channel and transmit the messages of the great Silver Deer, a former North American Indian chief who soared weekdays among the Celestial Ones and descended on Friday nights to the Earth Plane into this jaunty woman in her thirties who resembled a fresh boiled dumpling in woollies. (p.43)

Rutterby's unorthodox approach to healing, however, proved unsuccessful, and when Peter's father -- who despite his occult forays was a "staunch Methodist" -- went back to his family doctor he was diagnosed as suffering from kidney stones, which were promptly remedied by conventional means, as was his pain. "To hear Peter explain it, good came out of the pain and suffering that his father experienced because it brought Peter into contact with his first 'medium'" (4) Never mind that the medium's mysterious approach to healing his father had utterly failed.

Seven years later, at age seventeen, Peter was accepted onto an apprenticeship with "the world's largest caterers" (J. Lyons & Co. Ltd), where:

During his first year in the kitchens, a "chance" meeting with his future brother-in-law brought him into contact with a fellowship of the original Christian Rosenkreutz Rosicrucians, not the AMORCS from San Jose who often advertise in magazines, but the older European branch, undiluted, original vintage. He was accepted as a member, and if his contacts with Silver Deer planted the seeds of pragmatic occultism, then his studies in the Crotona Fellowship under the tutelage of one Dr. Sullivan positively cultured it. During the day Peter was the white-smocked caterer, broiling fish and roasting tatties, while at night he entered into a world of ancient mysteries, a time warp into the Brotherhood, the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis. (p.46)

When the war began in 1939, Peter was twenty-two years old and he continued his culinary career by working as a commissioned catering officer in the Royal Air Force, and "had privileges befitting the command caterer to the largest front of the war, the Burma campaign." Based in India, Peter was now able to seriously pursue his occult interests, which led him to form a Mountaineering Club to delve into the hidden secrets of the Himalayas. Upon one of his treks into the wilderness, Peter met Ram Sareek Singh (otherwise known as the Master of Badrinath), a mysterious spiritual devotee whose image allegedly cannot be captured on photographic film. Singh subsequently became Peter's major inspiration for the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

On another significant expedition, Peter led a group to Tibet, which for Peter was "the ancient capital of a world spiritual civilization." Having led this momentous journey, Peter was disappointed not to find "the highest reflection of a God-state on earth" but instead "the last shrinking vestige of a world civilization." But his spiritual training stood him in good stead, and once he realized "that there was no religion that could bring God to man" or "culture that would be the pattern for a new civilization on earth," he concluded that the answer lay closer to home than he had expected as: "The Kingdom was within, and all wisdom and understanding must come from the God within, through each individual, not from the outside."

This inner journey commenced in earnest when "a few days after being repatriated to England, Peter met Sheena Govan on the weekend train to his home in Christchurch, Hampshire." Under Sheena's expert tutorage Peter dispensed with the Rosicrucian Order, soon becoming her husband, and after five years of acting as one of her many disciples, he obtained a promotion with the Royal Air Force (where he had continued to work), which meant he would have to move to Iraq. (5) Sheena was quick to accept this unforeseen change and informed Peter that their marriage should be brought to an end so he could move on to find his true life partner. A new chapter in Peter's life thus commenced.

Peter's next wife -- his third of five -- turned out to be Eileen Combe, the wife of Wing Commander Andrew Combe. While on a visit to Jerusalem, Peter heard a voice in his head that confirmed his own intuitive feelings that Eileen should be his wife. One year after first meeting Eileen, Peter's tour of duty ended and he arranged to accompany Eileen and her five children on the flight home to London, leaving her husband in Iraq for a further six weeks. From here on their relationship blossomed and Eileen wrote to her husband expressing her dissatisfaction with their marriage. Andrew promptly flew home and "took the children while Peter and Eileen were out." Eileen was never to see her children again. It was not long after this tragic day that Peter and Eileen eloped to Glastonbury where Eileen, for the first time in her life, began receiving clear messages from God that were to direct their lives -- although one should add that she was initially less sure than Peter that this was the source of the voice in her head. But "[d]espite her lingering doubts, she wrote everything down [that the voice told her], and Peter obeyed the instructions to the letter." (6)

Eileen became pregnant, and later that year, Peter was sent back to the Middle East. Sheena had become very ill and contacted Peter for help. Eileen cared for her while he was away, for she had received in guidance that she was to look upon Peter's ex-wife as her teacher and a source of wisdom. (p.66)

It should be totally unsurprising that Eileen's "relationship with Sheena was strained and uncomfortable." To add insult to injury, upon the birth of her child, Sheena instructed Peter to undergo a further temporary separation from Eileen, and so he took a job in Ireland while Eileen remained in England living with Sheena's disciple, Dorothy Maclean. This was all too much for Eileen, and after attempting to commit suicide, she returned to her husband and five children, abandoning her latest child with Sheena. Realizing that something had gone askew Peter returned to England and ordered Eileen to leave her former family (yet again). Dutifully Eileen did as she was told, but Peter and Sheena felt she "hadn't learned the [spiritual] lesson" and so a year after their eventful reunion they were separated again, with Eileen living on Scotland's Isle of Mull with her sixteen-month-old baby (Christopher), her six-week-old newborn (Jonathan), and Sheena, whom she still despised with good reason. The abusive relationship was reestablished immediately, and Eileen was only reunited with Peter some five months later. Thereafter they shortly left Mull to settle down together in Glasgow. (7)

Now together at last, in March 1957 Peter secured a job "as manager of the Cluny Hill, a large luxury hotel in the north of Scotland at Forres, four miles from the village of Findhorn," and Dorothy Maclean "came up to join them as Peter's secretary." (8) Peter however did not actually know how to manage a hotel and so:

Every single question about the running of the hotel was submitted to Eileen, who received the answers in guidance. No matter what time of day, no matter what the circumstance, Eileen had to drop everything, sit quietly, meditate, and hear The Voice. She could be up to her ears in dirty nappies, and Peter would burst in demanding immediate attention... (p.91)

The type of answers Eileen gave to Peter's questions essentially meant that the "Heavenly Hotel" (as it was referred to in the national press) was run in a way that their largely spiritual staff/disciples worked hard and soon the hotel was turning a handsome profit. The owners of the hotel, however, were not entirely pleased with their "maverick manager" and after he had worked for them for six years they shuffled Peter and his staff off to an underperforming hotel and eventually sacked him. Hawken adds that "No reason for the abrupt dismissal was given"; but one can understand why the owners of some twenty-one hotels were keen to ditch a manager who would be prone to clearing trees from their hotel grounds to make way for UFO encounters. The unwanted media attention surrounding the antics of Govan's so-called "Nameless Ones" eventually led to the group's parting of ways with their authoritarian guru in 1957, although her secular methods "have become institutionalized to a greater-or-lesser degree in the Findhorn community itself." (9)

With nowhere else to turn, in October 1962 the Caddy clan moved into an old caravan in the village of Findhorn, eventually moving to the local caravan park the following month (where Dorothy lived with them in an add-on annex). They remained here ever since, just a quarter of a mile from the recently closed NATO air base (Kinloss Royal Air Force Base). (10) Living on state unemployment benefits, Peter duly accepted their newfound poverty, but Eileen was more concerned and "her deeper doubts [about The Voice] surfaced in the form of negativity and complaints." Peter, who always recognized a challenge when he saw one, promptly set about providing "Eileen with the same training that he had received as a youth from Dr. Sullivan, training in positive thinking." With such a unrelenting mentor, little or no privacy, and with few options others than to conform to Peter's unyielding will, it is sad but predictable that Eileen responded to her "training" by developing "a desire to meditate for longer periods of time," such that she soon began meditating "night after night, until the early hours of the morning" in the one place she was assured of quiet: the public toilets. (11)

During what was to be an exceedingly cold winter at Findhorn Peter spent his time productively "reading about biodynamic and organic methods of horticulture." So when spring arrived, and he had successfully "manifested" the required magical bullshit (rather horseshit), hay, peat dross, cummings ("a barley residue that is thrown out by the malting companies") and seaweed to fertilize the land, he set about creating the world-famous Findhorn garden. However, it was not Eileen, but Dorothy who made Peter's success possible by making spiritual contact with plant angels: her first contact occurring with the Pea Deva in their first May at Findhorn. (12) From this moment on the course of history was set, and now:

As each new plant was introduced into the garden by Peter, Dorothy would welcome it and contact the individual Deva of the species. When questions of a general nature arose, these would be answered by the Landscape Angel, a spokesman for all the Devas, who told them that it was vitally important to think about the garden and plants in terms of radiations instead of separate aspects such as chemical and elements. (p.116)

It did not take long for the garden to prove its worth, and by June visitors were already arriving to celebrate the phenomenal growth rates attained by Peter's talkative vegetables. With the garden devas overseeing their own growth, they were in their prime, but in 1966 a Theosophist friend of Peter's named Robert Ogilvie Crombie, whom he had met the previous year, was able to enhance the garden by discovering "the world of the Nature Spirits overlighted by the god Pan." Roc, however, had first talked with a faun-like Nature Spirit called Kurmos in the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden (in March 1966). Later he then met a larger faun with a "booming" voice, who was the Great God Pan himself. Then in September, after attending a weekend course organized by the well-connected occultist Sir George Trevelyan, Roc went for a walk in the venues gardens and yet again had the pleasure to meet Pan. (13)

The event when Peter first became acquainted with Roc is significant because it marked the day that Peter finally obtained the supported of the ruling-class occult community in Britain. Thus in October 1965 Peter had gate-crashed a "New Age" conference Sir George Trevelyan had organized at Attingham Park, whose 30 participants were the "creme de la creme" of British spiritualism, like for example, Air Marshall Sir Victor Goddard, "the second-highest ranking officer in the Royal Air Force." When attendees at the meeting eventually suggested that they should draw up a charter for the New Age, Peter, "quivering with indignation," patently explained that attempts to formulate such a plan were unworkable. Instead he proposed that Findhorn was a working example of the New Age community they dreamed of creating, with its design guided by God, not humans. That Roc came on board with the Findhorn project was a massive boon for Peter, but when Sir George investigated the garden for himself (during Easter of 1968) "he was bowled over by the growth he saw in the garden." Likewise, Findhorn was able to extend it influence considerably once Peter had met the charismatic spiritualist Liebie Pugh (1888-1966) at the Attingham conference. This is because just prior to Pugh dying of cancer Peter had succeeded in persuading her to pass "on the name of a 'wealthy benefactor' as well as an active mailing list." (14)

"Sir George, as an avid student of Rudolf Steiner, fully understood" the reasons for the garden's success when Peter had revealed the miracle of Findhorn. This is because, as Sir George observed: "Steiner had founded his Bio-Dynamic methods of agriculture on his investigations of 'etheric' formative forces, and the demonstration here in northern Scotland was not a repetition of theory, but a conscious application of the knowledge of these forces." Sir George then sent a memo to Lady Mary and Lady Eve Balfour of the Soil Association which celebrated Findhorn's remarkable achievements, suggesting that there would be "virtually no limit" to food production anywhere (even in deserts) if the spiritual factor, "Factor 'X' can be brought into play on top of our organic methods." On top of this much needed support and publicity, in 1968 Eileen further boosted Findhorn's profile by publishing a book titled God Spoke to Me that contributed towards making Findhorn a world-famous center of spirituality. (15)

Under Peter's authoritarian leadership and Eileen's divine inspiration, Findhorn continued to grow as more and more people were attracted to this "center of 'light,' ... where souls could be transformed by the energies present in and around the community." In June 1970, this regular influx of visitors drew David Spangler into their intimate environ (which is where he stayed for the next three years), whereupon he brought additional spiritual guidance to Findhornians by channeling messages from a presence called "Limitless Love and Truth." David and his wife Myrtle Glines had already spent years together working the New Age circuit in California -- Myrtle counseling, and David "giving hundreds of lectures." Together they had made the decision to come to Scotland after being reading a copy of the 1970 book The Findhorn Garden, which they had been given by Findhorn bungalow owner Anthony Brooke (the former White Rajah of Sarawak). (16)

The arrival of David and his wife on the scene was quickly felt, and within six months "the community doubled in size to forty-five people, with young people pouring in until they outnumbered all the others." Indeed, by 1972 the Findhorn community had swelled to more than 120 people. National media was also spreading the word, and in the spring of 1973 the BBC ran a "one-hour prime-time color special televised live from the community center at Findhorn"; Peter Tompkins "came to gather information for his book" The Secret Life of Plants, parts of which were published in Harper's Magazine; while William Irwin Thompson was so transformed by his stay at Findhorn that in 1972 he "found[ed] a sister center in American called Lindisfarne." In 1973 David and his wife then returned to the United States and founded the Lorian Association "to carry out educational work orientated to the New Age." (17)

Here one might recall that it was Peter Tompkins's reporting on Findhorn that first drew a once skeptical Paul Hawken to Scotland to write his book on the magical community. During his brief stay Hawken noted that two especially interesting visitors attending a conference entitled "Education in the New Age" included the painter Mary Bauermeister Stockhausen (who was the wife of the German composer Karl heinz Stockhausen), "and a stunningly beautiful English writer, Jill Purce (now married to magical biologist Rupert Sheldrake), who definitely had the Glow." The conference was named to celebrate a book written by one of Peter's spiritual mentors, Alice Bailey (1880-1949), a former Anglican and Thesophist, whose last published book was Education in the New Age (Lucis Publishing, 1954), and whose work "prophesisied an esoteric 'New Age' to be inaugurated by Christ's return." In Steven Sutcliffe's largely uncritical history of the New Age, he observes that there is strong evidence that the spiritual approach taken at Findhorn was deliberately drawn from that of the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship (ROCF), and correspondence between Peter and ROCF's secretary (as late as 1971), "discusses the transfer of surviving ROCF regalia from its old center to Findhorn to be used in a 'consegrated area... where the power can be focused'." (18)


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1.  Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, pp.3-4, p.5. Peter Tompkins (1919-2007) is the author of numerous occult books, the most relevant of which was The New York Times bestseller The Secret Life of Plants (Harper & Row, 1973) which he coauthored with Christopher Bird. During World War II Tompkins worked for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, acting as deputy to the chief of psychological warfare during the British-American invasion of North Africa in November 1942, as part of Operation Torch. Notably, Operation Torch was headed by Carleton Coon, an individual who went to become a professor of anthropology and infamous author of the racist classic, The Origin of Races (1962), and was "one of the first anthropologists to suggest that the Abominable Snowman existed."

Tompkins's coauthor, Christopher Bird (1928-1996), worked for the CIA in Vietnam during the 1950s and then became head of the Washington, DC office of the Rand Corporation, before becoming a foreign correspond for Time Magazine.

Joshua Blu Buhs, Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend (University of Chicago Press, 2009), p.42; Brian Regal, Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011). For autobiographical information on Tompkins and Coon's intelligence work, see Peter Tompkins, A Spy in Rome (Simon and Schuster, 1962); Carleton Coon, A North Africa Story: Story of an Anthropologist as OSS Agent (Gambit Publications, 1980). For an examination of Coon's contribution to segregationist science, see John P. Jackson Jr., "'In Ways Unacademical': The Reception of Carleton S. Coon's The Origin of Races," (pdf) Journal of the History of Biology, 34, 2001, pp.247-85.  (back)

2. It is interesting to note that Peter's father was a keen prize-winning gardener, and Peter acknowledges that "by observing him [as a child] I did learn a great deal that I have put into practice in later life." Later he also points out how while based at Cluny Hill Hotel they were "blessed to have two of the best gardeners in the region. James MacLeod had served a seven-year apprenticeship at nearby Darnaway Castle, home of the Earl of Moray; he was joined by the former head gardener at Scotland's famous Gleneagles hotel... They made a magnificent team; I learned much from them..." Caddy, In Perfect Timing, p.22, pp.164-5. Peter notes that one particular person who had an early and seminal influence on his spiritual life was Jim Barnes, who soon recruited Peter to Doctor Sullivan's Rosicrucian Order, Crotona Fellowship. Peter recalls that when they met in 1935: "He ensured that I read all the right material by giving me a list of books to study, and since my appetite for this material was voracious, I read nearly everything available at that time, including Madame Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, the Arcane School books by Alice Bailey, and Max Heindel's Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception." (p.30)  (back)

3. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.37, p.30, p.32, p.33, pp.39-40, p.39. "There are not two sides to an argument because there are no arguments....The major decisions are not made by reason, discussion, or committees. They are made by guidance, sometimes Eileen's, sometimes Peter's in the form of intuition, and sometimes by others." (pp.34-5)  (back)

4. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.46, p.44.  (back)

5. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.47, p.49, p.50, p.51, p.59, p.60, p.62. Sheena had worked with Dorothy Maclean in the British Secret Service in New York during World War II. Caddy, In Perfect Timing, pp.72-3.  (back)

6. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.65, pp.65-6, p.66. . Eileen was born in Egypt in 1917, where her father -- who died when she was sixteen -- had served as a bank director. Peter had first met Eileen when her then husband, Andrew Combe, had unsuccessfully attempted to recruit Peter to a controversial evangelical Christian group known as Moral Re-Armament (MRA) "Eileen participated diffidently in MRA's characteristic 'quiet times' and 'guidance' sessions, although she later acknowledged that Christian Science and MRA had been 'stepping stones' on her 'spiritual path'." In 2001, MRA changed their name to Initiatives of Change International, a group whose current president is well-known environmental, human rights, and democracy activist, Mohamed Sahnoun. Steven Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age: A History of Spiritual Practices (Routledge, 2003), p.59.

Eileen's mother had been a Christian Scientist and Eileen herself had undergone "a dramatic healing experience" (which had been performed by her uncle) that "engendered within her a strong and deep belief in the power of mind over matter." Roy McVicar (introduction), Eileen Caddy, The Spirit of Findhorn (L.N. Fowler & Co., 1977), p.4.  (back)

7. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.66, p.67, p.69, p.76, p.81, p.89, p.90. "Dorothy Maclean's life became indirectly intertwined with the Caddys' in 1940 when she accepted an offer by British Intelligence to serve overseas in secretarial capacities at various embassies. She was chaperoned by her new employer from Toronto to New York in the personage of one Sheena Govan, who would ultimately become her spiritual mentor and guide. Her work took her around the world to Panama, Argentina, and Scandinavia, during which time she sought out the mental, meditative, and physical techniques of Sufism from a teacher in Rio de Janeiro." (p.108)

In Dorothy's autobiography, Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic (Lorian Press, 2010), she recalls how she "was fascinated by Egypt from the age of eight, and later devoured the writings of Egypologists J.H. Breasted and Sir Alan Gardiner." She adds that in her early teens "a book about an Indian guru... had made a big impression" on her, and later while Maclean was working with the British Intelligence in London she recalls: "Books by Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, Steiner, Krishnamurti and Alice Bailey awakened me to different perspectives and surprising new ideas." (p.3, p.4, p.22)

"To say that [Eileen] literally went through hell and found her slender inward strength stretched almost to the breaking point is an understatement. She has wondered many times, looking back, how she managed to avoid a complete breakdown!" Roy McVicar (introduction), Caddy, The Spirit of Findhorn, p.12.  (back)

8. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, pp.90-1, p.91. "With the exception of Lena and Hugh Lamont," the staff group who worked at Cluny Hill "was the same core of seekers who had crystalised around Sheena Govan in Pimlico a decade earlier." According to Sutcliffe this proto-Findhorn group sought "to supersede rational decision-making in everyday life, including spiritualty: to turn 'from intellect to intuition', as Alice Bailey's 1932 title had it." Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age, p.64, p.68.  (back)

9. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.92, p.93; Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age, p.63, p.64. Andy Roberts's article "Saucers Over Findhorn," Fortean Times, December 2006, provides a useful introduction to the British elites fascination with UFOs and New Age spirituality; for further details, see Andy Roberts and Dave Clarke, Flying Saucerers: A Social History of UFOlogy (Alternative Albion, 2007).  (back)

10. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.94; The Findhorn Community, The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation (Turnstone Books, 1975), p.154. Hawken writes: "Straight ahead, past the Findhorn Community, was the Kinloss Royal Air Force Base, where large planes were descending out of the overcast. On the fourth side of the Caravan Park was a bomb and torpedo dump, surrounded by barbed-wire-topped chainlink fences, patrolled by Alsatian guard dogs and Land-Rovers bristling with rifle barrels. Hardly a garden spot, it seemed the last place to start a 'New Age' community." (p.12) During the early 1970s, fourteen members of the Findhorn community were invited to Kinross to discuss their differing roles. Peter writes: "We arrived at the conclusion that we were all seeking the same goal -- peace on earth -- but by difference routes." "Certain individuals on our side of the fence, both young and old -- but mostly visitors, I'm happy to report -- were privately critical of our community forming connections with what they considered to be a military establishment, which they regarded as dedicated to killing people; they felt that if we were truly a spiritual centre, we should be picketing the air base. However, our philosophy was that the route to peace lay through the understanding of others and through building bridges of communication, through which greater forms of communion could arise." Caddy, In Perfect Timing, p.319, p.320.  (back)

11. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.98, pp-98-9, p.100. Hawken adds: "Peter is probably one of the world's foremost exponents of positive thinking, in theory and practice -- his supercharged approach to life makes Dale Carnegie look like a cowering beggar in comparison." (p.99) As an illustration of the power of positive (apparently magical) thinking, Hawken, matter of factly, tells a story how one day when Dorothy and Eileen "were standing up to their knees in water, Eileen's hand slipped and the knife slashed her palm. She and Dorothy looked in horror at the gash, and then Eileen quickly closed her hand and prayed in a whisper, 'I affirm wholeness,' over and over. Finally she looked up and opened her hand, and Dorothy saw that it was clean and unblemished. There was not even a mark." (p.102)  (back)

12. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.101, p.102, p.103, p.106. One might assume that one of the books that Peter might have read was Dawn MacLeod's classic Oasis of the North: A Highland Garden (Hutchinson, 1958); I say this because she was later invited to Findhorn to design their herb garden. The Findhorn Garden, p.156.

Dorothy, like Eileen, recorded the messages communicated to her, and the first contact with the Pea Deva went as follows: "I can speak to you, human. I am entirely directed by my work, which is set out and molded and which I merely bring to fruition. You have come to my awareness. My work is clear before me; the force fields are there to be brought into manifestation regardless of obstacles, and there are many obstacles on this manifested world. You think that slugs, for example, are a greater menace to me than man, but this is not so; slugs are part of the order of things, and the vegetable kingdom holds no grudge against those it feeds. But man takes what he can as a matter of course, giving no thanks, which makes us strangely hostile. Human generally seem to know not where they are going or why. If they did, what a powerhouse they would be. If they were on the straight course of what is to be done, we could cooperate with them. I have put across my meaning and bid you farewell." (p.113)

Dorothy writes: "The devas told us that since their purpose was to increase life, they couldn't tell us how to destroy the insects that were eating our plants. However, they said that by visualizing the plants as strong and healthy we could add to their life force and thus help them to withstand the attack." She then recounts the tale of the Mole King whom she asked to move to another piece of land alongside their garden. Maclean, The Findhorn Garden, p.74.

Dorothy often came into conflict with Peter's authoritarian personality, and she recalls that his "idea of cooperation with nature was still very man-orientated and orthodox and that bothered me. He was very proud of the neat little lawns beside the bungalows that had been added to the community, taking great delight in their green, luxurious growth. When one lawn began to sprout dandelions and other weeds, Peter asked the group of young gardeners from Blackpool who had joined us, to spread weed killer on it. That was contrary to our policy of not using any pesticides, and the nature-loving gardeners refused to do it. So one evening, Peter went out and did the job himself. Somehow he got the proportions of the solution wrong and almost killed the whole lawn." Maclean, Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic, p.112.  (back)

13. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.117, p.126, p.131, p.134, p.138. Although not mentioned in earlier accounts, during his meeting with Kurmos (in March 1966), Roc's "friend and protector" an etheric lion called Numa was also present. It is noteworthy that just two months earlier Roc had his "first encounter in his flat with a 'spaceman,'" called Hamid, who according to Roc's diary "was much the 'conventional' spaceman, wearing a fairly tight fitting silvery grey one piece suit and helmet." Later in the year while Roc was on the beach at Findhorn he had "the strange feeling of being in contact with a space ship which I could place overhead," and was soon found himself "in some sort of control room on board the ship." The editor of Roc's diaries, Gordon Lindsay, then reveals his nativity in citing Uri Geller metal bending talents as a genuine skill resulting from his directed thought energies. See, Gordon Lindsay, The Occult Diaries of R. Ogilvie Crombie (Lorian Press, 2011), p.109, p.205, pp.210-11, p.215.

Roc points out that although Pan was personified in a single faun when he talked to Roc, "Pan is a universal energy, a cosmic energy, which is constantly found throughout the whole of nature.... Think of Pan as everywhere all the time."(p.144) Roc's numerous supranormal abilities are outlined in Gordon Lindsay's book The Occult Diaries of R. Ogilvie Crombie (Lorian Press, 2011), and which apparently included extrasensory perception, to heal human ailments (e.g. migraine) at a distance, and the ability to dowse for water. (pp.59-65). Roc was also considered to be "the embodiment of St. Germain. St. Germain is his soul or higher self." In 1970, he acquired a painting of St. Germain for Findhorn, a painting that had originally been displayed in the sanctuary of the founder of the Rosicurian Order of Crotona Fellowship -- a group which in earlier years had so influenced Peter. (p.72) According to theosophist Helena Blavatsky, St. Germain was "one of the highly evolved humans she called the 'Masters of Wisdom.' In similar fashion, C.W. Leadbetter claims to have met him in Rome in 1926. In the theosophical tradition -- and particularly in the writings of Alice Bailey -- he is also considered to be the 'Lord of Civilisation,' a master magician, a sponsor, if not the actual source, of the Rosicrucian Society, and generally the primary overseer of the Western magical and esoteric tradition." (p.74) Roc's diary also recounts how in 1967 while at Findhorn he had a vision in which he spoke to Koot Hoomi, who was yet another of the theosophists' 'Masters of Wisdom.' (p.86)  (back)

14. Roc cited in Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.154, p.155, p.164; Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age, p.89. Sir George Trevelyan taught at Gordonstoun, counting among his students Prince Philip and the present Duke of Edinburgh, and later pioneered adult education in England, being appointed principal of the newly created Adult Education College at Attingham Park in 1947. Notably, Sheena Govan, after her break with her proto-Findhorn disciples, later briefly taught at Gordonstoun during the 1960s. Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age, p.81.  (back)

15. Roc cited in Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.165; Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.167, p.174. Roc writes that one of the first people to study the sensitivity of plants "was the remarkable Indian physicist, Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose, who did his work in the early part" of the twentieth century. He adds that "The recent work of Cleve Backster and Marcel Vogel in the U.S.A. has demonstrated that plants are sensitive even to human thoughts." Roc, The Findhorn Garden, p.102.

Lady May heaped praise upon Findhorn after her visit to the garden in September 1968. (pp.168-9) The following winter Professor R. Lindsay Robb, a consultant to the Soil Association, visited the garden, and could not explain the extraordinary success of the garden. When Lady Eve Balfour finally visited the garden in 1970, she also found its phenomenal vibrancy inexplicable. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.170, p.173.  (back)

16. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.174, p.23, p.181, p.182, p.15.  (back)

17. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.183, p.184, p.185, p.186. Dorothy Maclean left Findhorn in 1973 to settle in Ojai, California, where she then helped the Spangler's found the Lorian Association. Dorothy later returned to live at Findhorn in 2009.

Sir George Trevelyan talks of the important of telepathic communication with devas and nature spirits, writing that: "The splendid book The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins, reveals the astonishing sensitivity of plants and gives understanding of man's true relation to the plant world." Trevelyan, The Findhorn Garden, p.ix.  (back)

18. Hawken, The Magic of Findhorn, p.22; Sutcliffe, Children of the New Age, p.26, pp.41-2. Between 1971 and 1974 Jill Purce worked with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and according to her Web site, she "pioneered the international sound healing movement" rediscovering "the spiritual potential of the voice as a magical instrument for healing and meditation..." For a critical discussion of magical music, see Lisa Summer and Joseph Summer, Music: The New Age Elixir (Prometheus Books, 1996).

Jill Purce is presently married to magical biologist Rupert Sheldrake, who is most famous for coining the term morphic resonance, which was first expounded in his popular book A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance (J.P. Tarcher, 1981). Sheldrake is faculty chair for Holistic Science at Wisdom University, and served on the Global Council on Spirituality & Deep Ecology of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality. For a useful discussion of the intersection between magic and science, see Michael Shermer, The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense (Oxford University Press, 2001), chapter 8 ("A Scientist Among Spiritualists"). For a comprehensive critique of Sheldrake's paranormal work, see David Marks, The Psychology of the Psychic (Prometheus Books, 2000), pp.107-22. (back)


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Published November 5, 2012