Chapter 21

Findhorn and the Garden of Eden

The most advanced experiment involving communication with plants has now developed in a remote corner of northern Scotland, with results more radiant than have been achieved by any other means. On a barren, wind-blown patch of gorse and sand overlooking the Firth of Moray, a seedling community has taken root which may flourish into a marvel of the Aquarian Age.
Three miles as the raven croaks from the battlements of Duncan’s castle at Forres, and just south of the heath where the three witches prophesied to Macbeth that he would be Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, an ex-RAF squadron leader turned hotelkeeper decided to take up residence with his wife and three young sons in the derelict corner of a caravan park on Findhorn Bay—a rubbish heap of old tin cans, broken bottles, brambles, and gorse bushes.
Tall, ruddy, with the gentle manner of an English headmaster and the dress of a country squire, Peter Caddy, who once walked two thousand miles through the Himalayas, crossing Kashmir deep into Tibet, has been a follower since young manhood of a school of adepts whose object is to bring back beauty and wonder to this planet. Illumined by the dictates of his conscience, or as he chose to call it, the will of an all-powerful creative force revealed to him by his clairvoyant wife, Eileen, Caddy pulled up roots and moved to Findhorn one snowy November day in 1962. Accompanying the Caddys was another sensitive, Dorothy Maclean, who had left the Canadian Foreign Office to study Sufism.
For some time the Caddys had been intent upon radically changing their lives by turning away from mundane occupations and materialist pursuits in order to enter upon what Caddy calls a long period of training and preparation. During this period they planned to surrender everything, including all personal volition, to a being they term “Unlimited Power and Love,” whose will is manifest to them through the guidance of a deceased Rosicrucian master whom they recognized in the flesh as Dr. G. A. Sullivan, and in the spirit as Aureolus, or St. Germain, or the Master of the Seventh Ray.
To be fair, the place in which the Caddys least expected to settle was the unsightly, overcrowded encampment of mobile houses known as Findhorn Caravan Park. For years they had hurried past it on their way to and from Forres. Now some mysterious force was overriding their aversion. Following what appeared to be crystal guidance, they wheeled an old caravan onto the site of their new home—less than half an acre in a hollow not far from the main cluster of trailers, a patch of land composed mainly of sand and gravel, constantly swept by gale-force winds, protected only partially by tufts of broom and quitch grass which kept the sand from blowing away, and shaded by a belt of spiny fir trees.
With winter coming it was a dismal prospect. Following the concept of the monks who used to build their monasteries by hand, putting love and light into the fabric of the building with every stone they laid, the Caddys cleaned their rickety trailer from top to bottom and polished all the furniture, pouring in vibrations of love to cancel out the negative vibrations they considered to be inevitable in structures built by people interested only in money. Cleansing and hand painting the caravan was a first step toward the creation of their own center of light.
As none of the Findhorn pioneers was employed, and their meager resources would carry them through only one dark and clammy Scottish winter, they dreamed of springtime and establishing a garden, partly to increase the protective shield of light round them and partly as a source of healthy nourishment.
Short days and long nights Caddy pored over gardening books, which he found contradictory in their recommendations. Written for horticultural enthusiasts living mostly on the mild southern coast of England, they were irritatingly irrelevant. When Easter rolled around to herald a renaissance of the land, the arid, all but lifeless soil surrounding their caravan seemed hopeless for growing anything comestible. Caddy, who had never sown a vegetable seed in his life, felt like Noah when guided to build an ark where there was no water; but he dutifully persisted. Either guidance was to be followed to the letter or they might as well return to the world of business. His Rosicrucian masters had taught him one prime rule of life: “To love where I was, love whom I was with, and love what I was doing.”
To receive the arcane guidance on which the infant community planned its every move, Eileen would rise regularly at midnight and meditate for several hours, bundling herself in an overcoat against the chill of the Scottish nights, taking refuge in the only place that could afford her absolute tranquillity, the trailer park’s frigid toilet. Eileen had read in a book that everyone receives his spiritual name at some point in life and that only then can he begin his spiritual work in earnest. In 1953 she had felt the word Elixir branded on her forehead; so she adopted the name, and from then on her guidance was constant.
In her clairvoyant vision Elixir saw seven cedarwood bungalows clustered together, in the midst of a splendid garden, all trim and neat. How this vision was to materialize in the constricted squalor of the caravan site remained a mystery. Yet all were prepared to put their faith in her clairvoyance.
The prospect of creating a garden seemed a superhuman task. The ground was made of fine, dusty sand and gravel in which nothing grew but tough pointed grass. Elixir received guidance that each time you put a spade into the ground you put in your own vibrations, that the right vibrations acted as a magnet to draw in like vibrations. Peter Caddy cheerfully dug a strip of quitch turf three feet wide by nine feet long and laid it to one side. He then dug down eighteen inches, accumulating a pile of sand and gravel. In the clean trench he placed the strip of quitch turf upside down and broke it up with his spade. This was to insure that the turf would not sprout its way back up to the surface, but provide nourishment as it disintegrated.
Repeating the operation with two more trenches, Caddy had a garden nine feet by nine. His problem was to get water into the soil, a far more difficult job than he imagined. The sand was so fine the water poured onto it simply went into globules like quicksilver. Only by dint of the most assiduous patience, by spraying the surface over long periods with a very fine spray, was it possible to impregnate the soil sufficiently for it to hold the moisture. More stones and gravel had to be raked out; finally the plot was ready for seeding. According to the local agricultural experts and the available textbooks on gardening, nothing could be grown in the Findhorn soil except perhaps a few lettuces and radishes. Scanty fare for a family which had become accustomed at their hotel to daily steak or duck washed down with good red wine.
Fortunately Elixir had been warned by her guidance that man is eating the wrong food, drinking the wrong drink, thinking the wrong thoughts, and making his body gross instead of a body of light. They were to eat less dense food and begin to concentrate on making a real garden, the fruit and vegetables of which, combined with honey and wheat germ, would constitute the fare in the new age of refined bodies.
Conscientiously Caddy planted his lettuce seeds in an inch-deep furrow made with the handle of his spade, placing the seeds a foot apart, then raked them over. To sit in the sun and watch their garden grow the Findhorners needed a fence, to fend off the ever-present winds blowing across the Moray Firth, and a level concrete patio. Sand they had in abundance, but no cement, nor any money for its purchase.
Lumber for a slatted fence appeared as if by miracle from a man who was dismantling his garage. As soon as the fence was up a neighbor ran over to say that some barely damaged bags of cement had fallen from a truck across the road. In a short while they had a fenced patio from which to admire—not thriving young lettuce, but stunted apparitions, attacked by wireworms.
What to do? Caddy had been warned by Elixir’s guidance not to use chemical insecticides. A neighbor chanced to pass and informed him of a pile of seasoned soot just outside the entrance to the caravan park, an admirable antidote to wireworms.
Caddy spread it carefully, without taking into account the wind which that night blew it through the caravan, into hair, books, and clothing. Luckily it rained and the soot was washed into the soil. By the end of May they were eating luscious lettuces and radishes.
As Elixir’s guidance informed them that chemical fertilizers were toxic to the human body, a compost heap was essential if they were to grow a greater variety of vegetables. Only, where to obtain the ingredients? A pile of rotting grass was donated by a neighbor. A nearby farmer, grateful for a rescued sheep, gave Caddy a large load of cow manure. A friend who owned a riding stable allowed them to follow his horses with bucket and shovel. A nearby distillery supplied them with free peat dross and cummings, a natural barley-germ fertilizer. Seaweed they gathered free from the beach. A bale of hay, dropped from a passing truck almost at the gate of the park as if from heaven, served to cover the piles of compost.
Relying on such “supermundane assistance,” the Findhorners acted as if they were endowed. As one of them wrote: “We could have been negative and said the soil was useless—as it was. Instead we put hard work and positive thought into everything we did.” Caddy began working from morning till night, putting sweat and radiations into the soil, his object to grow sufficient, vegetables and salads to provide a large part of their diet in the months to come. Along with pure air, sunlight, sea bathing, and plenty of cold, pure water, they hoped gradually to purify their bodies and endow them with energy, on the theory that the more refined their bodies became the more they would be able to absorb cosmic energies and the less solid food they would need.
The Findhorners planted watercress, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, parsley, squash, and asparagus. As a living wall against an unruly Dalmatian they planted hedges of blackberries and raspberries round their garden, which began to spread beyond the caravan till it covered two acres of ground, every bit of soil of which had to be manufactured from old turf and new compost, every square inch manhandled several times in the process.
Within two months the results were stunning the neighbors, who, not knowing of the spirit in which the Caddys were going about their gardening, could not understand what was happening, especially when the Caddys’ cabbages and Brussels sprouts were the only ones in the area to survive a plague of cabbage-root grubs which eat away at the roots of the plants, and their harvest of black currants grew healthily by the bushel, whereas the crop largely failed in the rest of the county.
Findhorn lunches began to consist of salads with over twenty ingredients; surplus quantities of lettuce, radishes, spinach, and parsley were disposed of round the county, which was suffering a shortage. Their evening meals included two or three vegetables from the garden, grown without fertilizer or insecticides, freshly picked and freshly cooked. Stews from garden vegetables consisted of onions, leeks, garlic, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, artichokes, kohlrabi, celery, squash, potatoes, flavored with all kinds of herbs.
Elixir was told to let her mind dwell on each ingredient when making a salad, or a ratatouille, that her thoughts and feelings were important in the continuing cycle of life. She was to appreciate whatever she was doing, whether peeling a carrot or podding a pea, and to consider each pea or bean a living thing in her hands. Of the peelings and garbage nothing was to be wasted. All was to go back into the compost and the soil, constantly increasing the live vibrations. The only drawback to this life was that when they were obliged to go into town, or on a short holiday, they found it very difficult to support normal food. Elixir became so sensitive it was painful for her to go near the noxious vibrations of so-called civilization.
When midsummer came they were ready to preserve quantities of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, putting up altogether a hundred pounds of jam. They pickled fifteen pounds of red cabbage, and large quantities of cucumbers. In a newly built garage they stored potatoes, carrots, beets, and shelves full of shallots, garlic, and onions. During the winter they prepared the earth for the following season and planted more fruits, altogether some twenty species, including apples, pears, plums, greengages, cherries, apricots, loganberries, and boysenberries. By May of 1964 the fruit trees and bushes were bursting into bud.
When estimating the number of red cabbages the Findhorners would need for the following season Caddy calculated that with an average weight of three or four pounds they would require no more than eight. To the Findhorners’ amazement, when the cabbages matured one of them weighed thirty-eight pounds and another forty-two. A sprouting broccoli, mistakenly planted as a cauliflower, grew to such enormous proportions that it provided vegetables for weeks; when eventually pulled out of the ground it was nearly too heavy to be lifted.
It began to dawn on Caddy that there might be some greater underlying purpose behind what was happening at Findhorn, that they must be involved in some mysterious pioneering venture, some larger experiment in group living, that the garden might be the nucleus of some larger experiment in New Age living, a sort of training course in the realization that Life is a Whole.
In June of 1964 when the county horticultural adviser came to take a sample of the soil for analysis, his first comment on arrival was that the soil would require a dressing of at least two ounces of sulfate of potash per square yard. Caddy replied that he did not believe in artificial fertilizers, that he was happy using compost and wood ash. The adviser said that would be totally inadequate.
Six weeks later, when the adviser returned bringing the results of the analysis which had been carried out in Aberdeen, he acknowledged with some bewilderment that the analysis had found no deficiencies in the soil sample. All necessary elements, including rare trace elements, were present. The adviser was so astonished by the results that he asked Caddy to take part in a broadcast about the garden in which the adviser would take the chair and an experienced gardener using conventional methods with chemical fertilizers would debate with Caddy. Caddy says that at the time he still did not feel it appropriate to expound to the public on the subject of the spiritual side of their endeavor and again he attributed the success solely to organic manure and compost.
By now they were growing sixty-five different kinds of vegetables, twenty-one fruits, and over forty herbs, both culinary and medicinal. For some time Dorothy Maclean had also been receiving extraordinary spiritual guidance of her own and had adopted the spiritual name of Divina. She learned from the aromatic plants in the garden that their unique wavelengths could serve special functions for humans, affecting different parts of human anatomy as well as the human psyche, some plants being good for wounds, others for eyesight, others for human emotions. She realized that by raising the quality of her own vibrations she might eventually open the doors to a whole new spiritual realm of plant life. It became clear to her that human thinking, human passion, human anger, human kindliness and affection, all have far-reaching effects on the world of plants, that they are most susceptible to human thoughts and emotions, which affect their energy. Poisonous and bad-tempered moods have as depressing an effect on plants as happy, uplifting frequencies have a beneficial effect. It occurred to her also that bad effects could come back to humans as they ate the produce they had infected with bad vibrations. Thus the whole cycle could become viciously descending, leading to more and more misery, pain, and disease, or hopefully ascending, leading to greater joy and greater light.
Divina says she realized that the most important contribution that man can make to a garden—even more important than water or compost—is the radiation he puts into the soil while cultivating it, such as love, and that every member of a group has something to contribute in the way of radiations—strength, happiness, and so on. Everything that comes into a human being through inspiration of one sort or another goes out again modified in wavelength, tone, and timber by the will of the person involved; he or she can improve the quality of what is sent out and increase the brilliance of its wavelength.
At the same time Divina realized that the soil and plants are constantly being affected by radiations from the earth itself and from the cosmos, each of which contributes to its fertility, without which both soil and plants would be sterile; these radiations, she realized, were more fundamental than chemical elements or microbiotic organisms, radiations that are subject fundamentally to the mind of man. Man appeared to have the role of a demi-god; by cooperating with nature he might find no limit to what could be achieved on this planet.
In the spring of 1967 Elixir—who still received the overall policy guidance for the venture—was told that the garden was to be extended even further and made into a place of beauty with the planting of many kinds of flowers. The center was to be expanded and new bungalows built. The vision she had first received on arriving at Findhorn was now beginning to materialize. Money for neat cedarstrip bungalows turned up as if by miracle, and the bungalows were soon surrounded by impeccable flower gardens.
In 1968, when Findhorn was visited by a number of accomplished gardeners and agricultural experts, they were amazed at what they found, remarking they had never seen such a uniformly high standard in all sections of a garden. The growth and color of the flowers in the new herbaceous borders were so remarkable that the visitors were at a loss to explain the phenomena, considering the poverty of the soil and the rigorous northern climate. When Sir George Trevelyan, who for twenty-four years had run the famed Adult Education Foundation at Attingham, dropped in at Easter he was amazed by the quality of the daffodils and narcissi growing in beds crowded with shorter flowers, all as beautiful and large as he had ever seen, their brilliant colors of a scintillating quality. He found the root vegetables the best he had ever tasted, and was surprised to find fruit trees of all sorts in blossom, as well as a vigorous young chestnut standing eight feet high among broad-leaved trees and shrubs thriving on the landward slope of windswept dunes.
As a member of the Soil Association, with an interest in the organic method, Sir George said he had seen enough to know that compost and straw mulch alone mixed with poor and sandy soil were not enough to account for such a garden. There must, said he, be some Factor X to be taken into consideration, adding that if so much could be accomplished at Findhorn in such a short time the Sahara could be made to blossom.
In June of 1968, Miss Armine Wodehouse, of the Radionic Association, who ran a commercial truck garden in Wales for twenty years, visited Findhorn and was amazed at the lush crops she found, especially when she noted the pure sand thinly spread with compost and the powerful winds that swept uninterruptedly across the garden. She felt the strawberry plants would arouse the admiration of any gardener, and was surprised to find moisture-loving asters and primulas, which are notoriously thirsty, thriving in such soil.
Mrs. Elizabeth Murray, an independent organic gardener and member of the Soil Association, who visited Findhorn in July of 1968, felt that the radiant health of the trees, flowers, fruit, and vegetables was far beyond the ordinary. She felt the compost was of such poor quality when mixed with sand that it could not explain the superb produce, which for size, quality, and flavor was superior to anything she had ever seen anywhere. She too was sure that such results could not have been attained on such barren soil simply by good husbandry and compost.
Lady Mary Balfour, sister of Lady Eve, who describes herself as an “ordinary gardener of the organic school,” spent twenty-four hours at Findhorn in September of 1968 and wrote: “The weather throughout was grey and at times wet. Yet in retrospect I can see that garden in brilliant sunshine without a cloud in the sky, which must be due to the extraordinary brilliance of the blooming flowers I saw there. The flower beds were all a compact mass of color.”
Lady Cynthia Chance, a follower of Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamic farming methods, was astounded when Peter Caddy told her he did not need to apply Steiner’s methods, that he had a more direct spiritual way of obtaining the same results. A United Nations agricultural expert and professor of agriculture at various universities, Professor R. Lindsay Robb, when he visited Findhorn just before Christmas went on record to say that “the vigor, health and bloom of the plants in the garden at midwinter on land which is almost a barren powdery sand cannot be explained by the moderate dressings of compost, nor indeed by the application of any known cultural methods of organic husbandry. There are other factors and they are vital ones.”
At which point Peter Caddy broke down and let out to Sir George Trevelyan the secret of their success at Findhorn. He said that Dorothy Maclean, or Divina, had managed to get into direct contact with the devas or angelic creatures who control the nature spirits that are said by clairvoyants to be everywhere at work nurturing plant life. Sir George, an advanced student of the arcane, of astrology and the hermetic sciences, admitted he was aware that a number of sensitives claimed to be in touch with the devic world and to be working with it, that Rudolf Steiner had founded his Biodynamic methods on such knowledge. Far from scoffing at Caddy’s explanation, he was prepared to give it credence and to validate it by suggesting that conscious investigation of such worlds is of the utmost importance to our understanding of life, and especially our understanding of the life of plants.
In short order Peter Caddy put out a series of pamphlets describing the true nature of the experiments at Findhorn. Divina contributed detailed descriptions of the messages she said she received directly from the devas, of which she described whole hierarchies responsible for every fruit and vegetable, for every flower and weed. Here was a Pandora’s box more phenomenal than the one opened in New York by Backster.
Findhorn quickly developed into a community of over a hundred disciples. Young spiritual leaders turned up to preach the gospel of a New Age, and a college was founded in the community to teach the tenets of this New Age. What had started as a miraculous little garden appeared to be turning into a true center of light for the Aquarian Age, visited annually from every continent of the globe.
Parting the veil into other worlds and other vibrations beyond the limits of the electromagnetic spectrum may well go a long way to explain the mysteries which are incomprehensible to physicists who limit their looking to what they can see with their physical eyes and their instruments. In the more ethereal world of the clairvoyant, who claims to have mastered the art of etheric and astral vision, a whole new series of vistas opens up around plants and their relation to man, to the earth, and to the cosmos. The growth of seeds and plants, as Paracelsus intimated, may indeed be affected very strongly by the position of the moon, the positions of the planets, their relation to the sun and to the other stars of the firmament.
Fechner’s animistic vision of plants being ensouled becomes less of a wild conceit, as does Goethe’s concept of a prototype plant. Burbank’s knowledge that whatever man wishes he can produce with the aid of nature or Carver’s insistence that nature spirits abound in the woods and take part in the growth of plants may have to be reviewed in the light of the discoveries of the Theosophists and especially of such extraordinary seers of nature spirits as Geoffrey Hodson. The ancient wisdom, as detailed by seers like Mesdames Helena P. Blavatsky and Alice A. Bailey, throws quite another light on the energy of bodies, both of humans and of plants, as well as the relation of individual cells to the entire cosmos.
The secret behind Pfeiffer’s Biodynamic compost, which has been proved so highly effective scientifically, turns out to be a homeopathic wonder based on a fairyland creation of Rudolf Steiner’s organic brews made by burying cow horns filled with cow dung and deer bladders filled with nettles and camomile leaves. Steiner’s anthroposophy, or Spiritual Science, throws such a light on plant life and agriculture as to make scientists root in their tracks.
Aesthetically, the world of the devas and the nature spirits turns out to be even more full of color and sound and perfume than the creations of Scriabin and Wagner, their gnomes, nymphs, and undines, their fire, water, earth, and air spirits closer to reality than the Holy Grail and the eternal quest it engendered. As Dr. Aubrey Westlake, author of Pattern of Health, describes our imprisoned state, we are locked in a “valley of materialistic concepts, refusing to believe there is anything other than the physical-material world of our five senses. For we, like the inhabitants of the country of the blind, reject those who claim to have ‘seen’ with their spiritual vision the greater supersensible world in which we are immersed, dismissing such claims as ‘idle fancies’ and advancing far ‘saner’ scientific explanations.”
The attraction of the seer’s supersensible world, or worlds within worlds, is too great to forgo, and the stakes too high, for they may include survival for the planet. Where the modern scientist is baffled by the secrets of the life of plants, the seer offers solutions which, however incredible, make more sense than the dusty mouthings of academicians; what is more, they give philosophic meaning to the totality of life. This supersensible world of plants and man, only touched on in this volume, will be explored in another, The Cosmic Life of Plants.

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Pub: Oct 12 2020 02:16 UTC
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