Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean
unintentionally founded the Findhorn community in 1962. All three had dedicated themselves to following a disciplined spiritual path for many years. They first came to northeast Scotland in 1957 to manage the Cluny Hill Hotel in the town of Forres. Eileen received guidance in her meditations from an inner source she called ‘the still, small voice within’ and Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance and his own intuition. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel. After several years however, the hotel company terminated Peter and Eileen’s employment, and with nowhere to go and little money, they moved with their three young sons and Dorothy Maclean to a caravan park in the nearby coastal village of Findhorn.
Feeding six people on unemployment benefit was difficult, so Peter decided to grow vegetables. The land in the caravan park was sandy and dry but he persevered. In her meditation, Dorothy discovered she was able to intuitively contact the overlighting intelligence of plants – which she called angels, and then devas – who gave her instructions on how to make the most of their fledgling garden. She and Peter translated this guidance into action, with amazing results. In the barren sandy soil of the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park they grew huge plants, herbs and flowers, most famously the now-legendary 40-pound cabbages. Word spread, horticultural experts came and were stunned, and the garden at Findhorn became famous.
Other people came to join the Caddys and Dorothy in their work and soon the original group of six grew into a small community, committed to their spiritual path and to expanding the garden in harmony with nature. The community published a slim volume of Eileen’s guidance entitled God Spoke To Me, in 1967, and word of this determined and spiritually oriented community spread still further. In 1972 the community, the Findhorn Foundation, was formally registered as a Scottish Charity and in the 1970s and 80s grew to approximately 300 members. In 1975 the Foundation purchased Cluny Hill Hotel (which had declined after the Caddys’ departure) as a centre for workshops and for members’ accommodation, and in 1983 purchased the caravan park in Findhorn.
The Ecovillage Project
began at the end of the 1980s, contributing significantly to the development of the ecovillage movement worldwide. An ecovillage, defined as being ecologically, economically, culturally and spiritually sustainable, was a logical development of the community’s work with spirit and nature. There are now 90 ecological buildings, three wind generators and a biological sewage treatment plant, The Living Machine.
In 1995 the Findhorn community and the evolving informal ecovillage network organised a conference at Findhorn: Ecovillages and Sustainable Communities for the 21st Century. From this initiative the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) was established, with the Foundation becoming one of its founding members.
The Findhorn Ecovillage is a constantly evolving model used as a teaching resource by a number of universities and school groups. The Findhorn Foundation College was established to provide a vehicle for academic programmes and to host students and study groups from the local area and around the world.
In 1997 the UN recognised the Findhorn Foundation as a Non-Governmental Organisation associated with the Department of Public Information. The Findhorn Foundation is an active participant in a variety of UN activities and events.
founded in 2009, is the Ecovillage benefit charity; developing, protecting & improving the Community’s social & environmental sustainability and well-being — currently through our Affordable Housing, Carbon Offsetting, Community Care programs — and providing active support of new community projects. If you have any ideas, click here!
Together we can better