Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I had not been to the Findhorn Community for thirty five years. Back in 1972 it was the most exciting and controversial New Age center, where folk coaxed remarkable growth out of trees, grew ten pound cabbages by talking to them, communed with nature spirits, and listened to daily messages from God. Moving to Ojai, California, Findhorn's shadow was never far. I ran into David Spangler there and some of the Findhorn singers. When Ojai people found out I was from Scotland, the next question was, "Have you been to Findhorn?" I had, a brief day visit. I recall the peaceful atmosphere, the vibrant plants surrounding each trailer, my frank conversations with a gardener who explained the difficulties in gardening in a sandy, windswept location. The people were very friendly and hospitable, excited to talk to you about their vision for a new world. Yet I suspected a large measure of self-deception. The philosophy was authoritative, channeled by a few gurus with little room for dissent. Several years later came a series of upheavals typical of such movements, following which David Spangler, Peter Caddy and other Findhorn luminaries left to continue their work in the New World.

Last week Amber, Basia and I found ourselves in the Findhorn trailer park on a day trip, mainly curious about what had become of the legend. Near the entrance stood a large bookshop, a reception center, a map of the community. In the distance rose large ostentatious looking houses. The bookshop contained a large collection of esoterica, recalling Hollywood's "Bohdi Tree", music, jewelry and very fine wine and beer. I headed for the section with Findhorn community writings. The early books were there, I had to hunt hard before I found David Spangler's works, tucked away on their own. Old separations seem to persist. Also, no music from the New Troubadours, the Findhorn singers whose music we all knew by heart in the seventies.

We walked to the new houses and found tall wooden structures, unusual for Scotland whose houses are mostly stone, ecologically friendly with solar heating, grass insulated roofs. Not cheap to put up. The pottery center was neat. A couple potters worked there and spoke with us politely. Overall, we spoke to few people, and few stopped to chat with us. I suspect that the continual stream of visitors has made the residents a bit jaded. You wouldn't know today that the garden had any place of prominence. The small garden patches were still bare. No one was working there. Glancing into greenhouses, I noticed that electric seed propagators had replaced old fashioned talking to the plants.

The original sanctuary still stood there, with the peaceful atmosphere I remember. I sat there for a while and let my thoughts drift into silence. Nearby stood the original trailer, a museum piece from a past that no longer existed.

My impression that mega-money flows through the community was later confirmed by Ian, the gardener at Camphill, whose vegetable garden is incidentally bursting at the seams, and remains the subject of my untrammeled envy. Apparently you do need to be very wealthy to live there, to build such a house and contribute seriously to the community. "Yes, they still talk to the trees. Ask tree moss permission before they remove it." Ian may not grow his vegetables by speaking to them, but he grows his seedlings without an electric propagator, on magic compost. With all the leeks, carrots and lettuce in the ground, you'd never know that the growing season has not yet hit its stride.

There is a garden which is the life of the community.

rich people talking to trees... that sort of place would drive me nuts, i think, no matter how peaceful it was...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?