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Findhorn Foundation's founder Dorothy Maclean dies aged 100

By Alistair Whitfield

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THE last of the three founder members of the Findhorn Foundation has died not long after reaching her 100th birthday.

Co-Founder of The Findhorn Foundation Dorothy Maclean celebrates her 100th birthday...Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Co-Founder of The Findhorn Foundation Dorothy Maclean celebrates her 100th birthday...Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Dorothy Maclean, a writer and educator on spirituality, was best known for her descriptions of contacts with the consciousnesses of nature she called 'devas'.

Guidance from these sources was a major element in the growth of the Findhorn community and its seemingly miraculous gardens.

Dorothy was born in the small town of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, to a middle-class family.

Growing from a nature-loving child and avid reader to an awkward and unhappy adolescent, she later likened this feeling of separation to a fall from Eden.

At 17 she took a BA degree in Business at the University of Western Ontario, where she also excelled at badminton.

Even at this questioning age she believed truth was "no respecter of creeds".

At 20 she was employed as a secretary by the British Secret Intelligence Service in New York, later transferring to the Panama office.

Here she met John Wood, an officer who introduced her to Sufism and the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

She married John in 1941 and they travelled extensively, arriving in London where Maclean worked at the Counter-Espionage Section of British Intelligence during the Blitz.

Dorothy had met the mystic Sheena Govan in 1940 on a train ride to New York and reconnected with her in London.

Having divorced John in 1951, she became involved in Govan’s spiritual practices in England.

Through this she met fellow seekers Peter and Eileen Caddy, who would eventually go on to create the Findhorn Foundation with her.

In 1954 Dorothy had her first experience of the God within, which she called a “vast unity”.

She began a regular practice of meditation to connect with this voice within, which led her to the belief that love must be practical.

She later joined the Caddys in the management of Cluny Hill Hotel in Forres, working as a secretary and receptionist for six years.

The three believed the hotel became a success on the strength of inner guidance.

Failing to repeat that success at another hotel, she and the Caddys were dismissed by the hotel company on short notice.

Maclean moved with the couple and their three children into a cramped caravan which was parked on the outskirts of Findhorn.

During meditation in 1963 Dorothy’s inner guidance suggested she begin to contact the consciousness of nature.

Probably her most well-known contact with non-physical consciousness was with devas.

She chose this term to describe a formless energy field which she believed oversees the pattern and growth of all forms and embodiments of creative intelligence.

“To hold each little atom in its pattern,” one deva told her, “is to hold it in joy.”

Co-creation with the devas was said to have led to the abundance of the Findhorn garden, which boasted giant cabbages and winter-flowering roses.

Interest in the duneland garden and the spiritual principles behind its vitality led many to join the new community.

Dorothy collected her messages from devas and angels in several books.

“Humans generally don’t seem to know where they are going, or why,” the pea deva told her.

“If they did, what powerhouses they would be. If they were on a straight course, how we could cooperate with them.’

Dorothy left Findhorn in 1973 and was involved in the founding of the Lorian Association, a spiritual education community in North America.

She began travelling the world teaching and lecturing, helping others to contact their divinity within and connect with the intelligence of nature.

She also expanded her non-physical explorations, contacting the overlighting angels of different nations, and developed a concern for the environment.

Spiritual teacher and one-time Findhorn Foundation member David Spangler called her a forerunner of planetary wholeness.

He said: “Down-to-earth, practical and not given to glamour, nevertheless Dorothy has learned to expand her spirit and step beyond the purely human points of view without abandoning them either.

"Knowing her has been a great privilege in my life.”

The Findhorn Foundation community is now the largest ecovillage in the UK.

More than 30,000 visitors have attended its workshops and conferences, some of which continue Dorothy’s themes of inner listening and co-creation with nature.

She moved back to the community in 2009, retiring from public life the following year.

Her experiences are recounted in several bestselling books, which include Wisdoms (1970), To Hear the Angels Sing (1980), To Honor the Earth (1991), Choices of Love (1998), Seeds of Inspiration (2004), Call of the Trees (2006), Come Closer (2007) and Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic (2010).

She celebrated her 100th birthday in January of this year, receiving hundreds of cards, and well wishes from all parts of the globe.

Dorothy Maclean, spiritual teacher and author. Born January 7, 1920. Died March 12, 2020.

She is survived by her beloved community – The Findhorn Community which she co founded in 1962.

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