The Founders of Findhorn

Growing up in the hippy era and the budding New Age in the sixties and seventies, it was not uncommon to hear of Findhorn, especially if you had any interest in organic gardening and New Age concepts. Although still an active organization today some people who have been in the movement believe it has lost its original founding principles based on Peter Caddy's (1917–1994) philosophy. Peter believed it was his mission to establish in the world a new way of living based on New Age concepts, especially those concepts he learned from the Rosicrucians.

Findhorn began with three people, Peter and Eileen Caddy (1917–2006), and Dorothy Maclean (1920). After the Caddys became unemployed in 1962 they moved into a travel trailer, parking it at the Caravan Park at Findhorn Bay in northern Scotland. Living off of government subsidy, which was very meager, they decided to supplement their food by growing some of their own. After Peter started preparing a garden with basically only sand, Dorothy began communicating with the nature spirits and helped Peter, under the direction of these spirits, to transform their rocky barren ground into a miniature garden of Eden resulting in 40-pound cabbages and 60-pound broccoli plants. Although they did not sustain those size vegetables over the years, they did begin to draw a lot of attention with their still amazing vegetable garden and Eileen's supposed daily contact with the God within and Dorothy's own channeling.

A spiritual community began to develop around them and people steadily began to move to the Caravan Park to be a part of their community. Peter remained the main director, while Eileen would give Peter the direction from her daily inner communication. Peter would not do anything without Eileen taking it to God first and confirming his intuition. Likewise, everything in the garden was directed by the nature spirits through Dorothy's communication, and Peter would carry it out to the letter.

The question becomes, was the Findhorn community God's plan as they believed all their years together? Did they set the precedence on how a New Age community in the Aquarian Age should be? If so, how? And if not, why? To answer those questions one must look at the individuals and their fruits, as well as their characters, and the community they created. Having never met them myself, or visited Findhorn, I have taken their own words and shared their stories here from their memoirs which reveal a lot about their characters and beliefs to help understand what made them a New Age group and whether their beliefs contributed to the forming of what their goal was.

Peter Caddy
Peter was the wayshower and he describes that from a early age that he had set the goal of perfection in this life. At the age of sixteen Peter was introduced to yoga philosophy and began to question many of the things that had been taught by his Methodist upbringing and through the conventional religions. He then left school to pursue a catering career because he did not want to work a nine to five job and he began learning the trade. He started a five-year apprenticeship and from that experience joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) as an officer in the Catering Branch.

Peter he was on a holiday when he was eighteen when he saw two girls through a window and with a sudden intuition within he realized he was going to marry one of them. Her name was Nora Meidling. He went and introduced himself and they started dating. He never fell in love with her, but he said since she came from a good family and was well-educated he felt that she was a good person to raise a family with and would make a satisfactory wife. Four years later they were married at the outbreak of World War II, after a mostly platonic relationship. He joined the RAF immediately after their marriage and for the next eight years, until 1947, he remained in the RAF and married to Nora.

Through his future brother-in-law, Jim, Peter discovered Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and the books of Alice Bailey, as well a some Rosicrucian materials. Jim was the first person Peter met who shared the same spiritual and mystical interests and he voraciously studied all the books recommended. He could talk with Jim about reincarnation, karma, life after death, and a wealth of other esoteric topics that he could not talk about with anyone else. When Jim told him that spiritual evolution was like going up a mountain and would take thousands of lifetimes to gradually get higher and higher until self-realization and cosmic consciousness was obtained, Peter decided he could do it in one lifetime. Without hesitation, he made a commitment to the path of initiation to climb unceasingly towards the top and reach it, come what may, in his lifetime. This remained Peter's goal his entire life. He also was a perfectionist and very goal oriented, which only increased after Jim introduced him to a Dr. Sullivan when he was nineteen and who he said forever changed his life. Dr. Sullivan was the head (or Supreme Magus) of the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship.

There he was initiated into the Francis Bacon Chapter in London, which was a secret order where he could not even tell his fiancée he was a member. Eventually she became an initiate and they began attending meetings together. Peter admired Dr. Sullivan greatly. Dr. Sullivan taught them positive thinking, healing techniques, how to empower others, and how to grow into self-possession and self-control. Each lecture had lessons included with practical exercises and affirmations such as ‘I am Power! and ‘All power and intelligence that I can use are already mine’, which sounds almost exactly the same affirmations that the I AM Movement taught. He was also taught how to gain mastery over your will with right thinking, and how to respond immediately to inner promptings unhampered by weaknesses of the physical body.

Peter not only learned these techniques, he embodied them. Through this training he learned that nothing was impossible, and through the power of positive thinking anything could be accomplished, and what you believe to be true molds your destiny. You create every condition in your world. You make your life whatever it is, and thus you either consciously or unconsciously are your own creator. One other lesson taught that Peter practiced all his life was to love where you are, love whom you are with and love what you are doing.

Peter and Nora were officially married in 1939 but Peter said they never spent a great deal of time together because he was away with the RAF most of their marriage and on his leave-periods he would often travel and climb the Himalayas. During his years with RAF Peter enjoyed life to the fullest. In his first year with them he ran competitive long-distance races of ten miles twice a week where he said his will was strengthened. He would usually try to pack in as much activity as possible between finishing work at 5 pm and dinner at 9 pm. In a typical evening he would play a game of tennis, have a swim, cycle 12 miles to the horse stables to ride, and cycle back just in time to bathe and change for dinner.

He also had a full social life, he said, with dances nearly every night and having a wonderful time with many girlfriends, one for each activity: tennis, swimming, riding, and walking. He said none of those relationships involved sex, although he said he fell in love with one of the nurses. They never consummated the relationship and she was later posted elsewhere, but the experience made him realize the emptiness of his marriage with Nora.

Peter became the Command Catering Officer on the Burma Front, with 250 catering officers under him and was in charge of meeting the catering needs of nearly one million personnel. He claimed Dr. Sullivan's teachings gave him the ability to perform this challenge and responsibility, and with ease, because he had a positive attitude. While on his leave-periods and RAF sanctioned expeditions, he walked over 2,400 miles in the Himalayas and he said he fulfilled all of his travel goals by visiting Kashmir, Ladakh, Mt. Everest and Tibet, twice. Although impressed with the Tibetan monks, and saw his Tibetan trips as the most meaningful trips during his life, he also saw that Tibet was no longer the spiritual government of the world that he believed they were. With the Chinese invasion he believed that many of the great ones, like the Dali Lama, fled to the West where they brought their wisdom and knowledge and learned of the Christian ideals of the West. This was one of Peter's major goals, to unite the East and West in their spirituality.

Sheena Govan
After the war Peter met Sheena Govan on a train. She was beautiful, had the same spiritual interests and he believed she had a strong love for God and everyone else. He was smitten, and within months he moved in with her believing it was the right thing to do—and never mind Christian morals. He consequently had to give up his Rosicrucians membership because his wife and brother-in-law were still members and his behavior he knew would be thoroughly disapproved, which it was.

Sheena believed her mission was to transform the world through love. She believed she was helping people "birth the Christ within". Peter called her a "sensitive" because she would receive messages for people during her meditations, and her house would constantly be filled with people coming to her for help. Sheena's father was an evangelist who founded the Faith Mission in 1913 but she did not follow in his footsteps, but rather had an unconventional spirituality all her own with the belief in the supernatural and her emphasis on one's personal growth in becoming the Christ.

Sheena lived off of an inheritance but she was also working for a travel agency when Peter met her. On the spiritual front she was in great demand from people who wanted help and guidance. She claimed to teach her students how to do everything perfectly and with love. Peter believed in what she was doing and that she really was an extraordinarily loving person, really being a midwife to helping people through this birth of the Christ within.

Peter soon became her slave, acting as her scribe, cooking and cleaning for her, while she remained constantly busy with helping people. He believed she was totally balanced in love, light and wisdom even when she would be loving one moment and berating him the next. Peter said after living with Sheena she appeared to always be right and after some time he began to feel like he could not do anything right and even, he said, for a time Sheena really believed he could not do anything right. Yet he accepted it all as training and what he believed was necessary to be pruned by her to be a more balanced and loving person and so he continued to love and adore her.

Peter still spent weekends with his wife, who was then pregnant with their second child, until he said he realized he was not being truthful to her with his new relationship. He felt his only choice was to be with Sheena and her teachings, as he said she awakened love in his heart. So he told everyone of his choice. Peter's relationship with his parents, his friends and his wife's family were jeopardized, and all were shocked and upset with him.

Sheena believed she and Peter were two halves of the same soul (sometimes called twin flames) and he believed Sheena had helped him to birth the Christ within. With that belief he then threw away all his Blavatsky and Bailey materials so as to only follow the path of love Sheena taught, and to do everything in love—and perfectly. Eventually Sheena claimed she was taking messages from Archangel Michael and finally from the "highest aspect of God" the "I AM". Ironically, Peter could never channel anyone, although throughout the rest of his life he surrounded himself with channelers.

Then a surprise came to Peter. Dr. Sullivan had died in 1942 and a new leader, Walter, was appointed. Sheena announced to Peter one day that Walter had fallen in love with her and they were meant to be married and give birth to a special child (the next Messiah) and Peter's role was to serve them! Sheena agreed with Walter that this was true, although she said she was not in love with him, but still in love with Peter. Peter said he was in shock and experienced a really bad time. He could not eat, in tears and did not want to live any longer. Here he had given everything up for Sheena, his family, the Rosicrucians, and his closet friends, all but his commission in the RAF and she was asking him to give up her to follow God's will. It was a traumatic time for Peter when they consummated their relationship. In the end, Sheena did not marry Walter and she miscarried someone's child, either Peter's or Walter's. She said it had been a test and she need not have to marry Walter. She had served the inner birth of the Christ for Walter helping him balance in love where he was only light and wisdom before.

Peter soon lost touch with his children and he and Sheena married in 1948. Sheena was often sick and for a period of time was bedridden. Peter believed she was taking on people's negative energies to help them. She often had migraines, but her illnesses were never explained in what they were. Five years into their marriage Sheena announced to him one day that they were no longer to be man and wife. Again, he was shocked and bewildered, he said he loved her more than he'd ever loved anyone before. She said they were still to work together but she received that they were not each other's other half. When Dorothy Maclain, a close friend of both of them found out, she gave Peter a message that soon he would meet his "true partner. Sheena told Peter also that he would meet his true half soon. At the same time, Peter was transferred to the Middle East. He loved his job and the time away helped him to adjust to having a new relationship with Sheena. His job also required him to travel a lot and he said he flew over 70,000 miles.

It was 1952, and while in Iraq Peter met the Officer in Charge of Administration, Andrew, and his wife, Eileen. They began to spend a lot of time together due to their shared interests in the occult and Peter enjoyed his time with Eileen as well as with Andrew. Meanwhile, Sheena let Peter know that she had fallen in love with another man, Peter was heartbroken, but he learned at the same time that to love was to surrender the one you love, forgive and to serve in love.

Andrew tried to get Peter to join the group Moral Re-armament, but Peter was not interested, although he tried. The movement featured surrendering to Jesus Christ and sharing with others whose lives have been changed in pursuit of four moral absolutes: purity, unselfishness, honesty, and love, and they encouraged participants to continue as members of their own churches. Women were not allowed to wear makeup, smoke or drink alcohol. One of their practices was to meditate and then one is to write down their messages from God, but Peter never could receive anything, and at that time, neither could Eileen. Yet three months later Peter suddenly, while in Jordan, heard a voice that said, "Eileen is your other half", and he believed it was true even though he had no feelings for Eileen. The problem was, Eileen was married already and had five children.

Meanwhile Sheena became dangerously ill with an ectopic pregnancy. Although divorce proceedings were started, Peter was still her husband and refused the doctor to perform surgery because he felt she would die if she had the operation. She did not, but began to get better, affirming in Peter that his intuition was right. After Sheena recovered Peter sought out Eileen to tell her about his new revelation about them, although she gave the idea no credence. Then, over six months later, one night love blossomed between them and they spent the night together. When Eileen told her husband he evicted her from their house and refused her contact with her children. Thus began years of terrible torment for Eileen, mixed with some wonderful times with Peter when they were together, but most of the time they were apart, and she missed her children.

Sheena offered for the new couple to live with her, while yet still married to Peter, and Eileen still married to Andrew. Sheena had already broken off her relationship with the other man she said she had fallen in love with. Before they moved in together the three of them went to Glastonbury where Eileen said she heard a clear inner voice for the fist time that claimed it was the God within, just as the Moral Re-armament movement had encouraged her and others in their daily "quiet times" during which they would listen for divine guidance. She then began to receive daily messages.

Sheena also became Eileen's mentor, much to Eileen's despair as she not only did not take to Sheena well, although she tried. As they spent more time together Eileen said at times that she hated her. Eileen had gotten in one of her inner messages that Sheena was to be her teacher. While Peter was away at RAF Eileen would remain alone with Sheena. Sheena would one moment be kind and then quickly change to being mean and cruel to Eileen, supposedly this was the way Sheena reformed others to be the Christ. Often Sheena would be sick and bedridden for weeks at a time, and Eileen would virtually became her slave while Sheena acted like the princess and the pea. Nothing Eileen did was right by Sheena, and Eileen never objected, although she did not like feeling like a doormat. Sheena also appeared to rely on Eileen's daily messages for herself as for some unknown reason she stopped getting guidance for herself.

Eileen, on the other hand, was afraid of Sheena and could see no good in her at all. When Sheena was unwell she often demanded that Eileen come and sit by her bed and hold her hands over to heal her, for hours at a time, although Eileen had no healing powers. When Peter would return on his leave Sheena's behavior towards Eileen would change for the better, and Eileen would get a reprieve. Peter gave no consolation to Eileen. He emphatically believed that Sheena was the most loving person in the world and that Eileen's problems with her was of her own making and so he told her she needed the experience to refine her for their future work together.

Dorothy Maclean would often visit Sheena and had no problems with her. She loved and respected her. She had known Sheena for years when they had worked together in the British Secret Service in the early part of the war. Dorothy often came to visit Sheena, and Peter and Eileen got to know her well. Eileen said that Dorothy and her were like day and night and they would never had been friends if it wasn't for Sheena's group.

Meanwhile, Peter had struck up a spiritual relationship with another medium, Naomi, (one of her channeling names) who was getting messages from "space brothers", extraterrestrial beings, who were supposedly concerned with the welfare and evolution of the earth. Peter wrote an article about them and with Eileen's guidance he was to send copies of his article to high level dignitaries and officials to make them aware that UFOs exist and to take possible action. Later this UFO interest would escalate so that Peter, Eileen and others were preparing and waiting for a spacecraft landing in Scotland.

Eileen soon became pregnant. Sheena told Eileen that the child was the one that she should have had but miscarried. After his birth this possessiveness would become an issue with Sheena physically taking the baby away from Eileen while Peter was away. At those times Peter thought nothing wrong with Sheena taking the baby, but they left Eileen in fear that she would never get her son back.

Sheena received a message that Peter should retire from the RAF and that he should move to Ireland and take on a menial job. She said he and Eileen were putting their relationship before God. Peter, as usual, agreed with Sheena's direction and gave notice, although it would not have been easy for him to have his resignation accepted except he claimed he had fallen in love with a senior officer's wife and was going to marry her. They accepted his resignation. In Ireland he got a job as a cook in a small hotel, which was a hard blow to his pride after being a catering officer for twelve years.

Sheena would not take Eileen back to live with her and so she arranged for her to live with Dorothy while Peter was in Ireland. If was originally supposed to be only a brief separation but it was too long for Eileen. One day Sheena came and took her son away saying she was not fit to be his mother. When Peter heard he was in agreement with Sheena. Sheena refused to let Eileen see or be near her son and with the separation both from Peter, her newborn and her other five children Eileen grew very depressed and even came to the point of suicide one day, but was interrupted by her brother visiting. He took her home and reunited her with her children—and Peter believed—with Andrew. That sent him into a depression, coupled with his less than perfect job, homeless and with little money. He worried that without Eileen passing her tests he could not finish his mission for God and Eileen would incur a great karmic debt that would take lifetimes to pay off. He believed that they were going to be the cornerstones, the foundation for the New Age to be built. He felt crucified. Without Eileen he felt useless and he lost thirty pounds and even his hair turned white, even though he was only thirty-eight years old.

In desperation, and against Sheena's wishes who was staying nearby him with the baby, Peter went to try and get Eileen back six weeks later. She had been staying near her brother who was taking care of her five children while Andrew was away, and with Andrew's permission she was allowed to spend time with them. She and Peter talked by phone but she said she would not leave the children although she wanted to be with him and she did not want to see Sheena ever again. One day he waited outside in a ditch until she was alone in the house and then went in to get her. She refused but he convinced her, in tears, that God was depending on them to complete a mission and he could not do it without her. In a daze she left with him knowing how much she would hurt her children. She also insisted that she would only go if she did not have to be under Sheena's influence ever again.

Peter got them jobs at a school and in a few months Sheena said she could no longer take care of their son and she would bring him back, so Eileen worked and took care of the baby. Then she discovered she was pregnant again. Peter became unhappy with his job and found another catering. Six months after their second son was born Sheena invited Eileen and the children for a visit, according to Eileen. Peter insisted she should go although she did not want to. Yet she knew how much it meant to Peter, so she went. At first Sheena was nice, especially with other people around. Then Peter informed Eileen he had quit his job and was going to Scotland where their future was and she would have to stay with Sheena again. She was furious. After all the people left things quickly reverted back to the old animosities between them.

According to Peter's memoirs the story takes a different turn. Peter states Sheena was ill and asked for Eileen to come and take care of her and told Peter that since Eileen had not learned her lesson in putting God first and had given up her God communication, Sheena directed Peter to go to Glasgow and find a job there. So Peter went back to Scotland where he felt their mission was to be, and Eileen, against her desire, had to stay with Sheena who was living on an island in a cabin with no running water.

Peter stated he did not want to live a mundane life as they were doing since Eileen's return because he knew how important it was they complete their missions, and without Eileen listening to God they were just being a family, and he was determined that was not going to happen.

As things got unbearable between Eileen and Sheena, Sheena moved to a place a mile away. Eventually she came back and took Eileen's two year old from her, telling her she was his real mother and he was her child. Eileen was furious and let Sheena have it. She said she had never been so angry in her life. She tried to get her son back the same evening, but Sheena would not give him to her and by morning she had left the island taking him with her.

Eileen spent the next six months in a dark hole, she said. Peter called it her "dark night of the soul". He had sent her just enough money each month to cover her rent, but not much more, as he had trouble finding work, and she became angry and resentful towards God and Peter for deserting her. Then Peter wrote her that he couldn’t find a job and she would have to continue to live there. She went through a desperate time with little food and heat and no money to even get off the island. She was cut off from everyone, even God she thought, and if it wasn't for her newborn she considered taking her life again.

A simple man who lived nearby, but never spoke, began bringing her bits of food to eat and peat to burn or she would have almost starved. She had no idea how he knew she needed food. She tried to get work but with the baby she could not. Peter did not sympathize with her and again felt Sheena had done the right thing taking her son from her.

Gradually she said her fury diminished and she stopped feeling sorry for herself and she began to quiet herself and the voice came back. With the inner God once more she wrote to let Peter know. He quickly returned to take her back to Glasgow with him on Christmas day and they had a happy reunion. Shortly after that Sheena returned their son to them.

Though they had a happy reunion that would keep them together for years to come—Peter would eventually leave her for another woman after previously "falling in love" again with another young woman at Findhorn, whom he did not marry. But first, Findhorn, the space brothers, and Peter's hotel management job at Cluny Hill in part two.

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Eileen Cady, Flight Into Freedom, Element Books Limited, Saftesbury, Dorset, 1988.
Peter Cady, In Perfect Timing: Memoirs of a Man for the New Millennium, Findown Press, Forres, Scotland, 1995.