I could go on and on about the adventures of our group at the Findhorn Foundation‘s Experience Week…our free-time hike to Forres, abetting one young man’s quest to try the quintessentially British diabetic-coma-on-a-plate (a.k.a. deep-fried Mars bar) and then ascending a minor mountain to mug for photos at the base of Nelson’s Tower…wading in the frigid Moray Firth…scrubbing sculleries and washing windows during Love in Action…and serving up a potluck of talent, from Wonderwall to Taize, on our last night…and through it all, through the attunements and trust exercises and service and meditation and clowning, bonding to become a close-knit international family.
It was the experience of a lifetime; I haven’t shared so unself-consciously or laughed so hard or felt so utterly free to drop my masks and public persona since I was a teenager.
…and it wasn’t until I’d stepped into my second week – Spiritual Practice Week – that my deep purpose for coming to Findhorn truly began to take shape: connecting consciously with the awarenesses of Nature. Our small group spent far less time bonding, far more time in solitary contemplation, and despite the wild weather (rotating snow/sleet/hail/rain/sun, often in the space of an hour), I gravitated again and again to the Power Point.
I spent the first few trips alternating between admiration of the glorious forest and mountain vista, and impassioned prayers: let me hear! let me see! let me shift to a new, grounded perspective, one that will last and support a deeper work when I go home!
Yup, I was broadcasting on a pretty wide band. And remembering the words of Findhorn co-founder R. Ogilvie Crombie (ROC), quoting the deity Pan in his memoir Meeting Fairies: My Remarkable Encounters with Nature Spirits:
…the genuine people who are legitimately curious about my world… would dearly love to see us. There is nothing wrong with that except that it very rarely works—they try too hard. Perhaps this is fortunate as they do not realise how dangerous it might be if their desire was granted too soon, before their bodies or their minds had been prepared and conditioned for the experience, and the right degree of cosmic consciousness had been reached. The elementals, the ones who are my subjects, belong to a different evolutionary stream than humanity. Close contact between human beings and the elementals can be dangerous if it takes place too soon, especially if the motives for seeking it are wrong.
So you might say I was protected up there…or else I was just making too much noise, asking!
And then there came the day when things shifted…
I was coming down the spiral path, touching the trees and bushes in gratitude, when my eyes were drawn to a stump by the side of the path. It was beautiful, covered with moss and lichen, with delicate plants resembling tiny cyclamens springing from its root. And…..something about it, the energy around it, was different.
I slowed to a halt, squatted down, and considered the beautiful little micro-ecosystem…took out my phone and snapped a photo, and rose to go on my way…
and heard in my mind a rather irritated voice, asking, “Is that all you’re going to do?”
Whoa..what??? I turned on my heel, knelt down and apologized: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snub you!
You just didn’t expect your requests to be answered? That’s not unusual.
I mentally stammered in confusion, mouth agape.
There was a sense of softening, and an invitation: Just sit down and be with us for a little bit. Let us see you.
I knelt down on the path, the wet leaves soaking through the knees of my jeans, feeling a sense of welcoming. While the stump looked – and felt – like a fairytale scene, while I could imagine the tiny fairies of the storybooks flitting about among the plants and reclining on the mosses, I didn’t see anything…but there was that sense of aliveness.
I thought of Hildegard of Bingen’s word, veriditas. referring to “spiritual and physical health, often as a reflection of the divine word or as an aspect of the divine nature”….remembered the warnings ROC had received: that if the nature spirits withdrew that vital force from nature, humans could no longer survive.
Yes, came the response, and I began to catch a sense of a multidimensional macro-ecosystem, not only populated with interdependent physical beings of all kingdoms and species, but also with related ethereal beings tasked with caring for them and keeping the whole system functioning. I knelt there in awe, feeling myself part of a cosmos much more diverse than I’d ever imagined.
You don’t have to pound on the door, came the words, gently. You need only ask in love and openness. We’re here and we want to help you in serving the land and the people.
With that, I felt I was released; the encounter was complete. I rose and bowed in gassho to the beings of the stump, and went on my way.
Crombie, R. Ogilvie (2011-06-01). Meeting Fairies: My Remarkable Encounters with Nature Spirits (pp. 92-93). Independent Publishers Group. Kindle Edition.