January 7, 2018, marked the 98th birthday of Dorothy Maclean, co-founder of the Findhorn Foundation and Community. Few people have left a more remarkable legacy on the spiritual landscape of our time than Dorothy. Most famous for her work with the consciousness of plants, her spiritual explorations ranged far deeper and wider.
Dorothy’s spiritual foundation and the source of all of her later work was in her realisation that God is within. In her early days, when she was trying to find the courage to end a loveless marriage, she had a profound experience that told her God, or universal awareness, was within her–that it was, in fact, her inner self.
Her experiences of knowing herself to be an aspect of universal awareness were part of a much larger spiritual awakening that characterised the dawn of new age spirituality. ‘New age’ has now become associated with self-help gurus and personal improvement books. However, for Dorothy (one of the people who helped define it) it was the coming of a new way of being. She wrote that the foundation for the future lies in realising that consciousness, not physical matter, is the one reality from which everything else flows.
Explorations of Consciousness
As she explored this realisation through meditation, she began to encounter beings from different realms of consciousness in the shared psychic space. She recorded her impressions of these encounters; always aware that her own personality and perceptions influenced how they came through.
In the beginning, borrowing a slightly Biblical flavour, the inner voice addressed her as ‘my child’ and spoke in the first person, as if it were separate from her. These limitations of language notwithstanding, her writings (presented here in italics) convey some of the most transformative spiritual insights of the modern age. At times they were incomprehensible to her, as when her inner guidance suggested she begin to contact the consciousness of nature:
Yes, you can cooperate in the garden. Begin by thinking about the nature spirits, the higher overlighting nature spirits, and tune into them. That will be so unusual as to draw their interest here… In the new world to come these realms will be open to humans–or I should say, humans will be open to them.
Discovering the Living Universe
Dorothy Maclean’s experience of the universal consciousness led her to explore a vast multiplicity of its beings and forms. Through meditation, she heard:
There is no such thing as dead matter. Everything is living and everything has a place in my one life and that life force is more than what you call magnetism. It is an influence consciously wielded on the higher levels. You are simply surrounded by life; you are a life force moving among other life forces. As you recognise this and open up to them, you draw near to them and become one with them, and work them in my purposes.
Probably her most well-known contact with non-physical consciousness was with devas. She chose this term to describe the beings that oversee the development of forms, for instance of plants.
Dorothy wrote that, whereas humans mostly identify with their personalities, devas had a different sense of self. Humans, she wrote, usually see their limited selves, needing contrasts like love and hate to make sense of their experiences. Devas, by contrast, live in the consciousness of their oneness with the divine consciousness. Their lives are expressions of joy, without the contrast or sense of separation that makes human life spicy and often difficult.
Yet the devas asserted that humans are capable of living with as much power and authority as themselves. In the words of the pea deva (Dorothy’s first recorded contact with a plant deva):
What I would tell you is that as we [the devas] forge ahead, never deviating from our course for one moment’s thought, feeling or action, so could you. Humans generally don’t seem to know where they are going, or why. If they did, what powerhouses they would be! If they were on a straight course, how we could cooperate with them!
A different group of devas expressed the same idea more pointedly:
Why go around like zombies, following this or that external guide when all the time your only guide is within you?
The Future of Humans
Dorothy Maclean’s life became a process of building the new human consciousness. She believed that humans have unique potential. Our free will gives us an ability to shape the world in ways that other beings cannot. Referring to the role of our free will, she called humans the ‘growing tip of Earth.’
She wrote that she sought to help shape a future where humans live up to their true potential and are active agents in co-creating the life of Earth. Instead of separation from Nature and the divine, she envisioned an all-pervading involvement and participation. Instead of humans exploiting and using Nature, she envisioned future humanity using its unique abilities to bless and enhance all life.
She sought to embody this co-creative consciousness in even the mundane details of her life, though she (like many others) found it challenging to truly inhabit this new consciousness. One of her encounters with a mole illustrates the difficulties of learning to establish her identity in consciousness first. The mole in question began digging up her garden, so she meditated, asking the mole to leave the garden alone, and made a mole fence.
When, despite her efforts, the mole reappeared she heard in meditation:
… the mole fence as constructed is right… but it is the mortar, your belief, which crumbles. Part of you expects it not to hold up, and therefore of course it doesn’t hold up.
After initial unsuccessful efforts to mend her thinking, she heard:
… How often have you been told that there is no sitting still in my life, but a continual reaching forward? This is being brought home to you constantly with the mole, until at times you wish you could shoot the thing, or you think it is all a pack of nonsense, or unfair. But I tell you to go on and on. Let moles be a challenge instead of a burden.
She rose to the challenge and eventually communicated clearly and convincingly to the mole so that it left her garden. In future years, after the Findhorn community that she had nurtured grew, she didn’t give advice on moles to other gardeners. She said that it was more important for them to learn on their own. The real goal was not to learn tricks of communication but to learn to stand in our full human identity and free will.
Decades ago, she received the following angelic advice:
Throw all conditioning overboard and experience from within. Let the joy roll out and unite you with all life. It is limitless, it sweeps all before it, carrying with it the flotsam and jetsam of all the kingdoms and lifting them up to the One.
Her 98 years have included endless disruptions and the continuous tearing down of old, familiar concepts and patterns. Yet she has persistently moved through these challenges, finding ways to get past the human tendency to cling to the known. Trusting that everything is one universal consciousness expressed in different types of forms, she remains both adventurous and at home with herself.
And as any local community member who has seen her radiant smile can tell you, she is still joyfully exploring.
Dorothy’s experiences are recounted in her books, which include To Hear The Angels Sing, Memoirs of an Ordinary Mystic and Come Closer.
Images courtesy of the Findhorn Foundation.
If you want to experience the conscious dimensions Dorothy explored and help increase the love and connection between realms, join the Findhorn Foundation’s 2018 conference Co-Creative Spirituality: Shaping Our Future with the Unseen Worlds, September 22 – 28.
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Wonderful story of a full human being who just happens to be Canadian. Not that nationality means anything, but, that aspect of our humanity still plays large in our cultural psyches. No, it’s not tribal thingy either. When I garden, amidst the stillness, there is always some force that speaks through that quietude and informs.
Thank you for this inspireing article! (from UPLIFT)
Every morning my vife and I read from the
book “To open inner doors” by Aileen Caddy,
It gives us a steady ground to lean on for
the coming day to Live Long Be Free and Prosper.
This brings to mind words of Ernest Holmes and Scince of Mind. I Am has creative power and I believe that she came to embody that.
Yes, yes, thank you for these pieces of wisdom, restful pictures. In these times as all life fluctuates and writhes, this article has me breathing slower and deeper. And i am anxious for the sleet to be gone. Thankful though the winds have brought so many of our huge pine branches down that we have many piles under which the birds can sanctuary.
Susan Jo Heitzman, author with Susan Michelle Burton, Ph.D. of
“Ahn’s Awakening, A Journal for Pre-Teen Girls.”
We are all the God force, (some are bad eggs to teach or test our understanding of Love) the real world is ‘Natural Nature’, we humans have created a turmoil earth dimension Nature is created by unconditional Love that’s why it’s a real God force, we will never control or program nature, it a natural process, humans aren’t!!!
We are all 1 so Love each other, even the bad eggs, better than fighting them!!! Love is all we need. Blessings
Believing that nothing happens by accident I have just come across this article about this wonderful lady who I feel is going to influence my future.
I love my fellow human beings here on earth and am one with nature and animals but have recently been through some years of stress. I feel this is now over and my path ahead is clearer now…. but to where I still do not know. I am in my 89th year so it will be interesting to find out.
Oneness in present moment With gratitude Dorothy.
I met Dorothy in the late 70’s, when I was living in Sufi community in upstate NY. I was her hostess during her time there. Looking back now, I realize what she shared with me at that time shaped my life, as did “Sufi” path that opened my spiritual heart at the time. I’ve moved on…but I know that nature and it’s rhythms, symmetry and life giving forces, have secrets to share. Secrets that have been sought for centuries by mystics and artists and those that take the time to loose themselves within her, our Mother. What Dorothy taught me remains within me aand I have made it my own in our continuing journey called life. Thank you Dorothy, you are precious!
Beautiful article, Thomas…
I would love to meet Dorothy. Lunc, perhaps?
I had never heard of this lady before reading this article.
I have an inner peace, but I am learning not to allow others to manipulate my inner soul, and my strength.
It has brought me an inner peace, upon reading this.
If I can’t learn from a beautiful lady with this much experience then I have a problem right?
Dorthy McClain has been in my conscious awareness almost all my life. Guiding me without ever having met her. In her last years living out at Findhorn, I wrote to her thanking her for all that she had done to support interspecies communication on every level of life. I work on such subtle levels and if it were not for her work and possible that of Findhorn I may have taken a much longer time to embrace and then share what I learn and co-create with nature.Dorthy did write me back encouraging me and I cherish that letter to this day. She is one of my beacons of light. Thank you for this article
This reading came at the right time….
It’s the living Lord Jesus Christ who gives us New Life. He that believes on Him and His finished work on Calvary shall have a New Life now and after death.