In Advance of the Landing: The Findhorn Community
Andy Roberts

 Peter Caddy, Contactees and the Findhorn Community

First published in Magonia 89, August 2005. A version of this article forms part of Flying Saucerers: A Social History of UFOlogy by Andy Roberts and David Clarke (Heart of Albian Press, 2007)

Mention Scotland’s Findhorn Community to anyone with an interest in the New Age movement and you’ll receive a smile and an automatic nod of recognition. Ask just what they know about it and you’ll be told a half- remarkable story of cosmic serendipity, giant vegetables, meetings with Pan, and a spiritual centre where people live in harmony, communicating with the spirits, or Devas, of nature.

findhorn60That’s the popular view of Findhorn, but it barely scratches the surface of this fascinating place. The Findhorn Community has been dubbed The Vatican of the New Age’, and a University of Light’ and includes among its patrons such diverse personalities as Prince Philip, Shirley Maclaine and Mike Scott from the Waterboys, who recorded his last album, Universal Hall, there. More recently, in the autumn of 2004, Findhorn was featured in a three part Channel 4 series, The Haven, which explored the alternative lifestyles of its inhabitants and charted the experiences of some of the many spiritual seekers who take part in the courses on offer. Findhorn’s credentials as a New Age University are beyond reproach, with thousands of people attending courses each year, ranging from Dances In Space and Time to Close To God On Iona, happy to pay up to £ 1,495 for the privilege. Findhorn is worth over £5 million pounds a year to the local community, yet still attracts strongly polarised opinion. Some believe that the Findhorn community attracts vitally needed employment and tourism to the area. Others aren’t so certain, one neighbour commenting of its visitors, If they were any good to anyone they wouldn’t be at the Findhorn Foundation’, another noting that members of the community are often seen hugging when they meet, It’s just not our way’.

Yet whatever its detractors may say the Community is so embedded in the spiritual psyche of the UK that one of its founders, Eileen Caddy, was awarded the MBE for service to spiritual enquiry’. According to the Community’s newsletter, Eileen chose to hand the medal to God’. What God thought of the award was not recorded but it may have been more pertinent to ask, What did the aliens think? ‘

Yes, aliens. The official Findhorn website states: “The Findhorn Community was begun in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. All three had followed disciplined spiritual paths for many years and had been specifically trained to follow God’s will”. But 1962 was merely when Peter, Eileen and Dorothy moved to Findhorn. The Findhorn Community’s true origins lie in the 1950s, in the maelstrom of post-war fringe ideas and philosophies which eventually settled out as what we now call the ‘New Age’. Central to Findhorn’s origins lies a secret which the current leaders of the community would very much like to play down; flying saucers. For all their talk of the Community being formed by the guidance of God one of the core beliefs held by Findhorn’s founders in the ’50s and 60s was that flying saucers existed, existed and their occupants were in psychic contact with them. It was also an article of faith that physical contact with the saucers was not only possible, it was certain.

Findhorn’s principle mover and shaker was Peter Caddy, together with a close knit circle of partners and fellow spiritual travellers such as Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. Caddy died in 1994 but Eileen Caddy still lives at Findhorn and Dorothy Maclean is a big name on the U.S. New Age scene. All were heavily involved in the flying saucer contactee belief system, but it is Caddy’s story which binds them together. Peter Caddy didn’t spring fully formed as a New Age guru at Findhorn, and nor were flying saucers his sole interest. Like many spiritual leaders Caddy passed through a series of religious, philosophical and occult beliefs, a parade of mysto-fashions of which flying saucers were just one aspect. His early life saw him attend school at Harrow, followed by a career in the catering trade with J. Lyons … Co. Caddy became interested in esoteric subjects in his early teens and eagerly read anything he could get his hands on; the teachings of medium Grace Cooke, Yogic philosophy and similar writings occupied and informed his every spare waking hour. In 1936 he met a Doctor Sullivan, who was the Supreme Magus of the Rosicrucian Order Crotona Fellowship, an esoteric order dating from medieval Europe, which also numbered Gerald Gardner, often dubbed ‘the founder of modern witchcraft’, among its ranks.

Dr. Sullivan and the Rose Crotona Fellowship made a deep impact on the young Caddy, a series of lectures called Soul Science becoming the single most important foundation’ for his future life. Dr. Sullivan also presided over Caddy’s spiritual’ marriage to Nora Meidling, after which they sealed the knot with a more formal civil service.

caddy

Peter Caddy, Findhorn's founder

Caddy was commissioned into the RAF soon after commencement of hostilities in 1939, entering the catering branch of the service and in 1943 he was posted to India where he developed a taste for the mountain landscapes of the Himalaya. Tibet, especially, fascinated him and he joined what was to be the last Western expedition to Tibet just prior to the Chinese invasion. It was an experience which left him physically and spiritually exhilarated.

Caddy’s post war life is a whirlwind of travel and meetings with remarkable men and women. He soon realised that he was getting little from his marriage to Nora, when he met another young woman, Sheena Gowan, who was also on the spiritual path. Their meetings were intense on the spiritual level, and eventually – perhaps inevitably – this soon became a physical relationship and they moved in together. Sheena received ‘guidance’, by way of what we now call channelling, from God, and it was eventually through this guidance Caddy was told he must end his marriage to Nora. It’s easy to laugh at this, and to suggest that the spiritual milieu they existed in was fake, merely a cover or justification for extra-marital relationships which were frowned on at that time. Indeed, reading Caddy’s autobiography it’s hard not to see the post-war spiritual scene as a hot bed of partner swapping, a sort of Confessions of a New Age disciple.

For example, not long after Caddy and Sheena were conjoined in spiritual union the new Supreme Magus of the Rose Crotona, Walter Bullock, fell in love with Sheena. Caddy writes: “Walter had long had a conviction that one of his missions was to be the father of the One who was to come, the next Messiah. Since he saw Sheena as the mother of the child, a physical union was necessary.” A physical union duly took place and Caddy was cuckolded. What would have caused most relationships to break up was reframed in spiritual terms by Caddy and Sheena as being ‘a test for us all’. Caddy and Sheena then married and Caddy took up a permanent commission in the RAF, becoming Commanding Officer for the RAF School of Cookery.  Although Sheena and Caddy parted in 1951, they continued to work together on a spiritual level. Caddy was posted to the Middle East where he met and later married Eileen Combe. By the time of his death in 1994 Caddy had been married five times and had numerous special friends’ during his voyage through the spiritual, but fecund, waters of the New Age.

A chance meeting in the Philippines with Anne Edwards, also known by the spiritual name of Naomi, spun Caddy off on a new series of adventures. Naomi was a channeler and received the message that her and Caddy had been together in many previous lifetimes and were destined to work together again. It appears that Naomi was also the first sensitive Caddy met who was in touch with aliens and he noted, Naomi had received many messages from beings in space, concerning their space ships, their purpose and mission’. Naomi remained in the Philippines but Caddy, Sheena and Eileen eventually, as many pilgrims do, stumped up in Glastonbury before moving on to Scotland.

By 1954 Caddy via Naomi had amassed numerous telepathically channelled messages. Some of these were from what he termed the pace brothers’. In line with others who were receiving channelled communications during the 1950s, such as George King of the Aetherius Society, the message coming through Naomi was that extraterrestrials were extremely worried about the state of the Earth and of man’s evolution. It was essentially a warning of impending ecological disaster if humanity didn’t change its evil ways. Information was also given about the flying saucers themselves and how they operated. Caddy received an inner prompting’ that he should put together a report on the nature of these messages, a professional report which he would compile using his training at the RAF Staff College. The report would be called An Introduction to the Nature and Purpose of Unidentified Flying Objects and would clearly outline who and what lay behind the increasing numbers of UFO sightings, and the reason the Earth was being visited.

Once the 8,000 word report was completed the problem was how to distribute it to the twenty-six people Eileen’s guidance had decreed should receive it. Some copies were simply entrusted to the Royal Mail, others reached their destination by more direct methods; former Prime Minister Clement Attlee received his by it being handed to him by his aunt! Lord Dowding, already an outspoken proponent of flying saucers, spiritualism and elves was given his by Caddy personally at his London club. During the meeting they discussed the content of the report, Dowding later writing to Caddy saying, I am personally convinced of the existence of spaceships, and I think it highly probable that they are manned by extraterrestrial crews… I think that the government ought to take the subject of spaceships very seriously, and to let some senior and responsible official take on the task of collecting evidence as a preliminary step to formulating an opinion, and perhaps a course of action.

Caddy’s main target for the report however, was Prince Philip. The Queen’s consort was known to have a keen interest in flying saucers, even to the extent of subscribing to Flying Saucer Review. His Equerry, Squadron Leader Peter Horsley, was tasked with investigating flying saucers on behalf of Prince Philip, using his master’s influence to meet and interview key UFO witnesses, often in Buckingham Palace. The reports Horsley compiled were then passed onto Prince Philip for him to discuss with the circle of high ranking military officials who saw flying saucers as a major influence in world affairs and a threat, or reassurance of a momentous future for mankind.

Peter Caddy had attended RAF Staff College with Horsley and renewed his acquaintance by arranging a meeting with him at Buckingham Palace, where they discussed the Prince’s interest and how best to get the report to him as the Prince was currently out of the country. A plot was hatched and as luck would have it Caddy was to come into contact with Prince Philip as part of his duties during a stopover the Queen and her husband made in El Adam in North Africa on their journey home from a royal tour of Australia. Caddy duly found himself alone in the dining room with the royal couple but protocol and, no doubt, fear precluded him from handing the report over there and then. Instead, he spoke with Commander Mike Parker, the Prince’s Naval Equerry, known for being another flying saucer aficionado. Parker immediately leapt at the chance to get the report into Prince Philip’s hands, saying, ‘Oh good! Anything to have a crack at the dome-headed boys’, meaning, presumably, the scientific establishment, most of whom had no time for fanciful notions concerning UFOs and alien visitors.

The mid 1950s saw Caddy and his female followers domiciled at a variety of locations in England and Scotland, going through various personal and spiritual trials and tribulations. But there was trouble ahead. The national press had become aware of the unusual ideas and freewheeling domestic arrangements shared by Caddy and his followers. Journalists tracked them down and the media was alive with stories about the group who were quickly dubbed The Nameless Ones.

In March 1957 the Caddy’s became the managers of the Cluny Hill hotel in Forres, on the Moray Firth, overlooking Findhorn Bay. Eileen had channelled guidance from God that they were to establish a Centre of Light’ there. Now, as the Cold War hotted up in the late 1950s so did Caddy’s interest in flying saucers and how their occupants could save the earth from possible nuclear conflagration. Eileen Caddy had received a channelled message consisting of one word, LUKANO, which appeared in her inner eye written in letters of fire. The Caddy’s could find no meaning for this world and were prompted to ask their most powerful sensitive Naomi, who, Caddy claimed, ‘could be in instant telepathic contact with any name given to her’. Naomi tuned in and discovered that LUKANO was the captain of a Venusian mother ship’ who wanted to make contact with the Caddys. Caddy wrote in his autobiography, ‘we were told the time had come to make that contact’.

Now there was almost daily channelled contact between Caddy’s sensitives, Dorothy, Lena, Eileen and Naomi, and the Venusians. Expectations were high that physical contact was imminent and it was a widely held belief, shared by Caddy and his circle that groups of chosen’ people would be evacuated by the saucer folk. It goes without saying that Caddy and his coterie of female followers saw themselves as at least a few of the chosen ones and so, desperate to make contact with the space brothers, during the hotel’s off-season Caddy and Lena would go to a possible saucer landing site on the beach near Findhorn to await the landing. As a measure of how serious this belief in an inevitable landing by flying saucers was Caddy noted, I had the trees cleared from the mound behind the hotel in preparation for the landing.

The much longed for landing never came. But the media found out about Caddy’s activities and ran articles about the goings on at Cluny Hill Hotel. The front page headline in the Sunday Pictorial for September 20th 1960 read, ‘The Martians Are Coming, He Says.’ The accompanying exposé claimed that Caddy believed ‘great numbers’ of flying saucers from Mars and Venus would be landing on earth within the next few months to warn earthlings that they were on the brink of disaster. ‘The main thing is to be nice to them’, he said, They have to be met with friendship. They are trying to help us.’ Caddy explained that he had created the landing strip on Cluny Hill at the aliens’ behest claiming, ‘I was instructed to do so by a kind of telepathy from them’. Caddy went on to outline exactly what his belief in flying saucers meant, ‘I believe they will offer people on Earth a chance to leave this planet with them before the catastrophe. They are like us in many ways, but the chief difference is that they have no understanding of such emotions as hatred, greed, jealousy or spite. Their only emotions are love and friendship.’ The adverse publicity these media revelations caused the Cluny Hill Hotel almost got Peter Caddy the sack.

The summer of 1961 saw the worldwide political scene degenerate and there was widespread belief that nuclear war was imminent. Caddy’s team of sensitives and channellers were told that an extraterrestrial rescue plan to save the Earth was under way, and they were among the chosen ones who would be saved. Eventually a message came through that seemed unambiguous, ‘Each one of you should be in readiness, you will be given very little warning’. Channelled messages from the extraterrestrials informed Caddy that they had tried twice to land on the Cluny Hill landing strip, once on Christmas Eve 1960 and again on New Year’s Day 1961 , but had been foiled due to a combination of climatic conditions and atomic bomb testing. Peter Caddy and Lena mounted watch for several hours a night in the hope that the third attempt at a landing would be successful, but sadly the aliens still stayed away.

In November 1962 the Caddy’s parked their caravan at the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park and the beginnings of the Findhorn Community as we know it today were formed. Caddy decided they would become self- sufficient and they began to plant a huge variety of fruit and vegetables in the poor soil of the Moray coastline. Against all expectations the garden thrived, a fact which the Nameless Ones attributed to their daily meditations and contact with the elementals and Devas, nature spirits who belonged to every living thing. Dismayed by the often contradictory guidance he found in gardening books, Caddy eschewed traditional knowledge and simply asked the Devas directly for guidance. The result was a continuous flow of huge and nutritious organic fruit and veg which helped sustain the community during their early years.

Although the Nameless Ones were now working closely with nature spirits Peter Caddy’s flying saucer fascination continued unabated and he forged links with many saucerians who he believed shared his vision. In 1965 he attended Lady Mayo’s Ecumenical and International Convention in Edinburgh at which the American contactee Dan Fry was speaking, Fry later visiting Caddy at Findhorn. During this period Caddy also attended a meeting of New Age leaders at Attingham Park in Shropshire headed by Sir George Trevelyan, son of the famous historian. In the mid 1960s Trevelyan was making tentative enquiries among the flying saucer elite about the possibility of forming a national UFO authority within the UK. He was stimulated to do this by Brinsley le Poer Trench (Lord Clancarty), Johan Quanjer and Air Marshall Sir Victor Goddard. The saucer scene must have been too exotic even for Trevelyan’s catholic tastes as, whilst he visited the Caddy’s many times, he was never a part of the saucer scene at Findhorn, although a small group of New Age saucer enthusiasts including Trevelyan formed briefly in 1967 and referred to themselves as the ‘Attingham Group’.

Johann Quanjer came to know the UK flying saucer scene very well, and he wasn’t impressed with much of it. Quanjer was one of those intriguing, mercurial types within British ufology who have been completely written out of the subject’s histories. He was a serious political and philosophical thinker whose war experiences as a child led him to spend his life searching for a better system of politics; I couldn’t understand the need to base everything on conflict,  and indeed I deduced that conflict is not necessary for human progress, and never really has been.

After travelling in Canada and North America, Quanjer settled in London and made contacts within the burgeoning 60s New Age movement. Through his friend Sir Courtney Forbes he got to know influential new age mavens such as Sir George Trevelyan and he was a good friend of Brinsley le Poer Trench. Through his connections in the New Age field Quanjer became aware of flying saucer contacts and near-landings at Findhorn and he eventually visited the community, certain that, ‘there is no doubt in my own mind that these extra-terrestrials and their saucers do exist and that they are seriously intending one day to make their presence known to people on earth.’

Caddy, at this time in the 1960s, had set up a telephone tree so a select group of people could be alerted when the saucers were due to appear. Quanjer recalls, ‘One morning, in May 1966, an urgent phone message came through to me from Edinburgh, Scotland: ‘The bells are ringing’. These four words, breathlessly sounded out for me on the trunk line, were apparently a code’ for something like, Flying saucers might be landing on a previously indicated spot somewhere on the North Coast’. ‘ Although he had not yet visited Findhorn, Quanjer was sceptical about their claims of extraterrestrial contact, writing, These saucers had thoughtfully planned to burst upon an astonished world during the Whit week- end of 27-30 June, so that everyone with a job (as I had) could attend without great inconvenience.’

Sceptical or not, after an eight hour train journey Quanjer was soon being whisked along the Moray Firth coast road to Findhorn. But on arrival his reservations were proved correct, ‘What I had been led to believe would be a bucolic paradise of new age initiates, was really a huddled mass of mild eccentrics…’.  Quanjar’s view of Caddy was dim, ‘…here was their leader, a healthy middle-aged man who preferred to accept unemployment money and family benefits rather than a job to support himself and his family’. The Findhornian’s attempts at self-sufficiency didn’t impress Quanjar either and he referred to their, ‘small but luxuriant vegetable garden…’ as being ‘… perhaps their only visible hold on reality’.

After introductions to Peter Caddy, Robert Ogilvy Crobie (Roc), and the other invited guests Quanjer was informed that a channelled contact had sent instructions that a flying saucer was going to come in from the north east, flying low over the North Sea to avoid being captured on radar at nearby RAF Lossiemouth. This was it! As a preparatory measure Caddy and Roc channelled various occult historical figures such as St. Germain and also Masters from Saturn and Mars. Darkness fell and the excited saucer spotters loaded cars with provisions and blankets and drove to the beach where they spread out and waited eagerly for the saucer. For a while nothing happened and then, ‘Suddenly, the actor (Roc) with arms aloft, exclaimed that it had arrived. Yes, it was here. No one else saw anything though it was concluded that our space guest must still be in another dimension.’ Quanjer had, by now, had enough of the naïve pretensions of the Findhorn set and sent his own thoughts out, ‘… much further and higher in silent prayer that they please not land here among this inauspicious human welcoming party.’

After the failed landing Eileen Caddy received a channelled message which confirmed contact had been almost made, ‘Let none of you have any feeling of disappointment regarding last night (the landing of our space brothers). All was in preparation for something far, far greater than any of you have ever contemplated.’ The message went onto advise that what Caddy and his friends believed would be a flying saucer sent as part of the extraterrestrials plan to evacuate their supporters, was in fact merely delivering a message that everything would be ok.

Quanjer continued to pursue his interest in flying saucers, ultimately being responsible for the creation of the International Sky Scouts (later becoming Contact UK) in 1967. Yet however sceptical he was of the contact attempts at Findhorn, by 1967 he was trying to communicate with the recently deceased American contactee George Adamski, using Lady Sandys, wife of former Defence Minister Duncan Sandys, as a channel.

Findhorn’s reputation as a New Age community was now spreading rapidly, and not just within New Age circles. The loose coalition of free- thinkers known as beatniks, together with elements of the mod’ subculture, was transforming into the hippie movement, via the agency of the powerful psychedelic drug LSD. By 1967 the idea of living simply and communally, in harmony with God and nature, inspired by ideas imported from the East, appealed to many hippies. A growing number of them became aware of Findhorn and could see no reason why it wasn’t for them.

One such beatnik who made the transition was Neil Oram, a flamboyant character in the hippy scene. Oram later achieved success when he wrote the world’s only 24 hour fortean play. The Warp was a kaleidoscopic roller coaster ride through his life and its many diversions, in which flying saucers played a major role.

In the long, hot summer of 1968 Oram was living in the quiet Yorkshire hill village of Haworth, notable for its connections with the Bronte Sisters. No stranger to strange phenomena and open to psychic influences Oram received a telepathic message during a meditation telling him to, ‘found a spiritual maternity hospital. A centre without dogma, where people could give birth to their real selves.’ In an act of spontaneity which characterised the zeitgeist Oram accepted the message, sold his cottage and was about to venture into the unknown when he received a letter from guru Meher Baba’s secretary. This alerted him to Findhorn where, the letter informed him, a small group of pioneers were, ‘living on sand by the edge of the sea, and are uniting together Divine Guidance, Alien Intelligence, fairie intelligence and human faith in developing consciousness.’ Findhorn appeared full of promise to Oram and he and his young family immediately hitch hiked to the bleak Morayshire coast.

On arrival he was immediately disappointed, ‘It felt like Noddy land. Utterly UNREAL. Like ceramic pixies and gnomes cavorting in the garden. Phoney. Croquet on the lawn type of atmosphere.’ There was an instant culture clash between the two tribes, and the feeling was mutual. For all Caddy’s protestations of unconditional love for the human race his first impressions of meeting Oram and family were,’… to my dismay they were dirty, dishevelled hippies… They had to learn that dirty, torn and slovenly clothes were not acceptable at Findhorn, particularly in the Sanctuary.’ During this initial meeting Oram recalls Caddy saying, ‘You see the trouble is a lot of you hippies have been taken over by the sex drive and that’s why you can’t channel God, the angels, or our advanced space brothers.’ The irony of this, considering Caddy’s interwoven personal relationships as well as Oram’s later claim that Caddy had been ‘… screwing the  hippy chicks who started arriving. As usual all being done behind Eileen’ s back”, was decidedly rich!

Caddy immediately dismissed the idea that Oram had been guided to Findhorn by any Divine Agency and suggested they spoke with Anthony Brooke, who was now staying at the community. Caddy told Oram that ‘Brooke was the man, when it came to UFO activity’. Whilst at Findhorn Oram met a host of characters from the outer fringes of the New Age including the previously mentioned Roc. Roc has become famous in Findhorn lore as having encountered the god Pan in Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens. The ex-actor also had extra-terrestrial experiences including one when a man wearing a silver suit appeared in his room. Roc focussed on the entity and he disappeared, but re-appeared in his bedroom where a philosophical discussion ensued, the etheric bedroom visitor telling him there was a war raging all around them between the forces of light and dark. Roc could also see ghosts, and had once found a group of dead airmen playing cards in an old RAF Nissan huts at Findhorn. Oram recalls, ‘It didn’t take long for Roc to realise that the men were unaware that they were dead. Eventually Roc organised a flying saucer to come over the bay one night where Roc and the men were sat on the beach. Roc had told the men that a special craft was coming to take them all home. When the men saw the flying saucer descend and hover just above the sand, they willingly climbed aboard and sailed away.’

Oram’s hippie sensibililities grated with Caddy’s old school ascetic leanings and tensions grew between the two men. This culminated one evening when Caddy barged into a caravan ordering him, ‘You’re wanted in the Sanctuary!!!’. Oram ignored Caddy, who repeated, ‘I said you’re wanted in the Sanctuary now!!!’ Once again he shouted, ‘This is your last chance! Are you coming with me now or not?’. Oram declined but was later berated by one of Caddy’s sycophantic followers, ‘What were you doing man? What were you doing refusing to come to the Sanctuary? You were meant to be a CHANNEL, man! A CHANNEL for our space brothers! The mother ship was HERE!!! Right above the Sanctuary man! Right ABOVE… and it was calling for YOU!!! And you let us ALL DOWN MAN!!! You threw away the opportunity for HUMANITY to EVOLVE onto a HIGHER LEVEL!!! You’ve let us ALL DOWN, MAN!! You’re a BETRAYER of our movement. A JUDAS!!!’

The following day Oram and family left Findhorn.  His original vision came true shortly afterwards and he founded his own spiritual centre at Goshem, high in the mountains above Loch Ness. Thirty seven years after his encounter with Caddy at Findhorn, Oram’s opinion of the man is undiminished, ‘He remains to this day, the biggest ego-maniac I’ve ever met. Utterly insensitive. Outlandishly bombastic… He was a total phoney. Con man.’

Peter Caddy left Findhorn in the 1970s and the focus of the Community changed dramatically. Channelled messages from the space brothers and belief in flying saucers were marginalised, being replaced by deeper work with the Devas and more direction from God itself. Alfresco flying saucer welcoming parties were out and spiritually earnest seminars and conferences were very much in. Prophecy turned to profit and Findhorn began to market itself as a commercial venture, setting itself on the course which has brought it to financial fruition today. I suggested to Findhorn that flying saucers and aliens were key to the community’s history and development but that they had been carefully airbrushed out of Findhorn’s official history. The one line reply avoided the questions I posed regarding the role belief in flying saucers had played in the emergence of Findhorn, with the anodyne: ‘There’ s no ‘official’ community line regarding UFOs and we have no policy on publicising the subject or otherwise’.

Yet it does seem that the Findhorn is somewhat embarrassed at its flying saucer contactee beginnings and like all corporate entities seeks to minimise problems by simply ignoring them. Other than a few brief comments in Peter Caddy’s autobiography there is nothing in the Findhorn literature which refers to this crucial aspect of their past. To the vast majority of those who visit Findhorn this obfuscation will not matter. But the story of Findhorn and flying saucers is a vital missing piece of the jigsaw of the UFO subject in the UK and cannot be ignored to suit the current fashions in New Age belief at Findhorn.

It could be said that Findhorn is nothing more than an apocalyptic 1950s flying saucer cult which got savvy and moved with the times, dropping one of its original tenets and replacing it with others more in keeping with the mores of the New Age market place.  Others may say, in light of Neil Oram and Johan Quanjar’s comments, that Peter Caddy was a hypocrite; a con-man using cod-spirituality for financial and physical gain, utilising and manipulating whatever elements of the supernatural were currently fashionable to attract adherents and money. But perhaps, and this is much more likely, Caddy and his followers were just a group of sincere but flawed human beings who were desperately seeking something. That something, like the goal of all spiritual seeking, was a desire for certainty, guidance and purpose in a chaotic universe.

During the period between 1954 and 1970, flying saucers, or rather the idea of flying saucers, provided them with that something. Their shared belief in the impending apocalypse and the possibility of salvation from the skies enabled them to form strong relationships and to build a thriving community based on their communal beliefs and hopes. By their own accounts they were happy, and if belief in extraterrestrials provided them with that happiness, then that’s no bad thing really, is it?

 

 

4 thoughts on “In Advance of the Landing: The Findhorn Community
Andy Roberts

  1. Sources can be found in Andy Roberts and Dave Clarke’s Flying Saucerers: A Social History of Ufology (Alternative Albion, 2007). Caddy’s book In Perfect Timing (Findhorn Press, 1998) is cited in the bibliography — JR

  2. I’m so pleased I found this account, it is true that the Foundation (please don’t call them Findhorn) are now distancing themselves from the UFOs and the Nameless ones, even though they are celebrating 50 years of existance. Now they are an ‘educational’ charity making millions from the guillable who are willing to pay for their dubious courses which include week long courses on spring cleaning – share the love and the work. Their garden was actually on some very fertile land which was liberally fertilized by the blood Peter Caddy collected daily from the local abbatoir. They have ruined what was a lovely village in the NE Scotland and continue to do so.

  3. I have to laugh at the memes, most of them untrue, that appear to have a half life of several hundred years. With all due respect to Findhorn Villager who clearly would rather trade in gossip rather than simply go in and inspect the Annual Accounts which as far as I know are still open to the public and have been for over 20 years, the Foundation does not make millions from gullible people. Far from it. But it’s clear that 3 centuries of English hegemony and half a millenium of spirit curdling Calvinism have left their mark on some parts of the Highland populace who assume that any success must be illicit and must therefore be far more remunerative than could ever be the case in reality.

    I lived and worked there for 16 years between 1973 and 1994 and can assure you that no one is getting rich through their FF employment. The overhead of a large Victorian spa hotel and the replacement of aging derelict caravans swallows the ‘profits’. In fact the FF is so profitable that about every 5 years since the late 90s it
    has had to sell off one of its properties in order to keep itself afloat. Three have gone so far and the cupboard is looking rather bare.

    My exhorbitant pay in 1994 was room and board and about 50 quid a month. The Foundation director got the same. It was the same for the founders when they lived there. When I returned to America in 1994 all I got for my years of service was a cheque for 600 quid: I had to start over from square one which I did by selling as many of my belongings as I could before departing. My brother had to cosign a car loan. I can assure anyone blundering into this thread that I am not the only one who has had to go that route. Unless one has inherited wealth, made a killling in business or has a skill that allows them to set up in private business you either ‘get by’ in the FF or you get out and start over.

    As for the gardens — the ‘oh it was the blood meal from the abbatoir’ goes along with another I heard from a Scot last November who lives locally but is originally a Lowlander—that because that area was a market garden from about 1910 to 1930 it was obviously all a lie, the soil was already fertile. Comments like these are pathetically similar to those of climate change deniers who say there’s no warming or blame the cosmic rays.

    The truth is the county agricultural advisor initiated the soil tests both from Caddy’s garden and from the areas surrounding it. He knew Moray well, including the farm next door. I doubt he’s still around, but he is the one who made the big deal about it, because based on his expertise even Caddy’s organic techniques should not have produced the produce they did. It was soil chemists in Aberdeen who performed the tests. Not Caddy.

    My stars, you only have to look at old photographs to see what was growing in undisturbed ground to realize that any previous soil fertility had long since disappeared. Heather, gorse, marram grasses, tree lupins. You’ll not find those plants on fertile soil; they’re pioneer plants; they show up at the start of a soil building process not at the end. Although it’s probably more accurate to call gorse a Visigoth plant as I’ve seen it grow any place it can and is tolerated.

    As for blood meal, it is a high nitrogen source that is used by some organic gardeners, but it gets used up very quickly; I know I’ve used it–put it on and 3-4 days later depending on the plant variety you have put down more; and it does not contribute to the development of soil. Especially the soil of the Findhorn peninsula which is acid and high in silicas. Which is why even if the land there is sustainably farmed as it probably was before the last world war and the advent of petro-chemical fertilizers, it will not last unless it is continuously nourished and built up. In my 16 years of residence I dug in the ‘soil’ in many locations including the so-called former farm land and it had far more in common with the contents of my childhood sandbox than my grandparents’ garden.

    I was present when two half acre market garden plots were opened in 1981; to call that land fertile is a laughable joke by someone who is clearly not the master of his agricultural brief. Today those plots have been transformed–by 3 decades of compost, manure, mulch and organic husbandry. In 1980, one of several sheep set out to graze that ‘pasture’ died. The vet’s autopsy showed that it died of malnutrition: the head gardener had to provide additional feed for the survivors from then on. Fertile soil indeed.

    I went back in November and can show anyone who’s interested a former pasture on one of the properties that has begun reverting to sand dune and gorse through simple neglect. Gorse in bloom is beautiful and its coconut scent is a delight, but it is destroyer of plant communities it invades. Open land with acid sand over shingle is an open invitation for such colonizations.

    As for the UFO coverage in the main story, it was a very interesting read and filled in some of the backstory that I had not come across before, but the author got the timing of some events wrong and was clearly misinformed about some motivations. What is attributed to embarrassment and hiding is much more the result of membership turnover. In terms of the transmission of cultural values and its own history the FF has been its own worst enemy. In FF terms I am the equivalent of a member of the Continental Congress that drafted the Declaration of Independence if he were to be walking around Washington DC today trying to figure out what the hell had happened to his country.

    A FF generation comprises about 2 years on average not the 20-25 we’re used to thinking about. I am working on a book and will be covering the UFO aspect of its history as I encountered it. So my thanks to Andy Roberts and John Rimmer for adding to my background knowledge. Please feel free, either or both of you, to contact me privately for further clarification. If I had more time I’d have written more tonight, but I just can’t spare the time at the moment.

    Cheers,

    Gordon

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