(Pic courtesy of Juli Russell)
If you want some further background on the Findhorn Foundation – click here.
The interesting part of visiting Findhorn Foundation is that it is in two parts. Where we stay is known as the Cluny College, Forres (it is based at Cluny Hill) not Findhorn, which is 20 mins away by car. Cluny can house up to 100 short term visitors. This is where we ate together, three times a day. We all have our own bedrooms, however, Julz and I are the only couple attending, so the rest are sharing in rooms of three.
The second part is “the Park” (Findhorn), which is where it all started in 1962, and continues to thrive today, with a living, working, Eco village, Garden and Universal Hall, for over 400 residents living in a range of various, unique eco style homes. Some of the earliest homes were caravans, (a few remain) and then later some have been converted from old “Whisky barrels” into Eco homes with many new houses being added.
The nearest village to the Findhorn Park, is Findhorn Villlage and the stunning Findhorn Bay. (with awesome shaped large flat stones) A small fleet of mini buses transfer people between the two spaces, and the week we are guests, they are also celebrating forty years of Sacred Dance, (for the week) with over 100+ guests participating in Sacred dance at the Universal Hall, every single day. As well there are people returning doing further “courses” beyond “Experience Week” (more about that later in future blog).
After a nice, healthy small breakfast, on day two, we assemble in the College Ballroom, together with the room full of Brazilians (approx 20) and our group (11). We all proceed to learn a host of cultural dances from a range of cultures and nations. It turns out to be so much fun for one and all – music, art and dance is a universal language. We have an early brunch, as we start our afternoon sessions early at 12.15pm.
The afternoon session is all about Angel cards. This class takes place in the Sanctuary room. The chairs/cushions are in a circle around a large bowl with fresh flowers and a candle. This room, we are advised, is available 24 hours a day, for personal mediation, or for daily morning group meditations or morning Taize singing.
We pull a card each and someone selects a card for our group. VISION is the group card chosen and mine is SYNTHESIS. Julz selects BIRTH.
That helps set the tone for the week and off we all go on the Findhorn bus to get a guided tour of the Park. We are met by a long term Findhorn community member, IAN COOK. We follow Ian around and get an insight into “the PARK”, it’s history and deeper insights into the Eco housing, community and the Universal Hall. We barely scratch the surface, however, it gives us a better “feel” of its reason for existing. We then proceed to a purpose built space, almost a hobbits room, called “Natures Sanctuary”. This part of our programme is called, INNER SHARING. We meet another wise older Findhorn community lady, Auriel. This was a highlight as she imparted a lovely story of a challenge she had encountered with her own daughter. She shared, listened and added words of wisdom to the members of our group. She had to be in her mid ’80’s and had lived on and off in Findhorn for forty years. She had studied a lot of Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher, polymath, whom I have deep respect for (ever heard of Steiner schools?)
That night we came back to enjoy another healthy dinner together. Eating in a group is fun, as we all move around to different people to get more insight about each other. At 7.30, after dinner, (they call it supper) we meet our group again to “attune” to our service departments. What this means is that, over the next few days, we all get to work in an area that benefits the whole community. It is three hours a day (over four of our days) in either Garden, Dining room, Kitchen or Home care. When we arrived we all had to do at least one night volunteering cleaning up after supper. This is known as K.P. – or Kitchen Party. Everyone volunteers, including all community members, focalisers and newbies. It is all part of what is known as “Love In Action” (a word used by Alice A Bailey in her books that Eileen Caddy – co- founders studied). LOVE IN ACTION is simply a work “in service”.
Coloured cards were placed on the floor, with the objective that you stood on the card that drew you. From this process we all end up in a particular service department. Julz gets the College dining room and I get House care at the Park with Juli R, which ended up being the “hooverer” plus cleaning the plates and cutlery “putter away-er” and for Juli R, the table cleaner. We each then meet our new team who we spend time with. My Focalisers are two eccentric gentle-men, Rory and Joseph. (I say “eccentric” in the nicest way, they were like really funny comedians). They have been living in the community for 35 years and 15 years. We have three others on our team, Brunt, Tia and Lee. They were all doing another course, which was called, Being In Community (BIC) and they had all done an Experience Week at some stage, as had Rory and Joseph many years before.
We finished our first day of “Love In Action” and returned with Julie R (from Florida/Austria) and Corinne, who worked in the Park kitchen, and the Gardeners, John, Robert and Pamela, on our little bus back to Cluny Hill College for supper.
To finish the night off we came together for a “recap” of our day, an ‘attunement’ and check in with each other. Another special guest from the community then joined us, who shared, with passionate enthusiasm information about nature of the trees and plants. He bought many rocks and wood with lichen, which we all viewed to see the wonder under the microscope. As above, so below.
We learnt how the microcosms within the forests are as important as the large trees themselves and how it is, and we, are all connected.