Saturday, March 17, 2012

Findhorn: a garden based on teamwork

March 15, 2012 Too Soon?
“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” Mia Hamm, US Soccer Player

“One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.” Master Jin Kwon, South Korean Martial Arts Master

“I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity... to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” Paul McCarthy


I’m enjoying the 70 F weather in Central Ohio.  My daffodils are blooming and the fruit trees around town are bursting open their pink, white and magenta colored petals.  I’ve got my shorts out and riding my bike.  But, in the back of my heart there is a dark curtain with worry.

As a gardener, we are at the minimum 2-3 weeks ahead of planting schedule.  Our winter here was abnormal.  We missed having at least two weeks of deep freeze that helps decrease the insect population.  What does this all mean?
  • If we get a freezing rain now it will wipe out our apple, cherry and peach crops.  For consumers, this means an increase in prices.
  • Without the freeze over the winter we will have a larger insect population who like us humans, will be hungry for things that are green. 
  • If it is 70F now, what will this mean in July and August?  Will the temperatures be higher?
  • The fosthyia are blooming.  Will we still get 3 more snows? 
A gardener thinks of these things while planting their onions and peas.


I’ve been a gardener for many years (Refer to ‘Body’ article). Recapping, my Dad had my siblings out there in the garden planting, weeding and picking when I was in Elementary School. His type of gardening was organic square foot gardening. In a nutshell, I learned that tomato plants can grow in a 1’x1’ square and bean plants are grown 9 plants per 1’ square. All organic plant byproducts otherwise known as kitchen scraps went into a compost pile. The compost was spread out in the spring and rototilled in before we planted on Memorial Day Weekend (Northern Ohio). Dad didn’t use any white stuff on his plants to keep the bugs away. He used marigolds and nasturtiums and the slugs were controlled with pans of beer.

Diane, owner of Pearls of Wisdom (my favorite Columbus metaphysical bookstore), carries many books on gardening. Many of the books are centered on healthy nutrition by growing your own, the witches gardening by the moon, and on herbalism and native plants for healing. One book I pulled off the shelf in the late 1980s (To Hear the Angels Sing by Dorothy Maclean) was about Findhorn.
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Findhorn original garden
Findhorn is located in Northern Scotland. Briefly, the founders, Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean began communicating with the Garden Devas based on a message received by the Spirit of God to do so. This part Scotland isn’t the best area to grow with sandy soil, winds and the dry cool climate with limited waterfall. However, they followed through with God’s message and began communicating with the Devas daily. The first year they did this resulted in an abundance of food. What I remember from the book was their ability to grow a 40 lbs cabbage without the use of Miracle Grow. Findhorn is yearly visited by international visitors who all come to see the gardens. Findhorn is a member of IONESCO and is recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization, or NGO, by the United Nations. It is one of those ‘earthy wow sites’ I hope to get to in my lifetime.

Maclean named the spirits Devas from the Sanskrit name for light beings.   People have called them angels, fairies or spirits.  How do I picture them?  I think of them as unseen entities who've always been there.  We humans have either forgotten or have never learned about them.  What I do believe is that they should be treated with respect and not be thought of as “slaves to do our bidding.” 

This idea of working with the Devas intrigued me. Getting started was felt weird and uneasy. I was never taught to pray for garden spirits or honor the garden spirits. Praying after the harvest at suppertime yes, but never in the beginning.  Let alone, did my Dad ever ask where ‘they’ would like the tomatoes planted or what type of fertilizer they’d felt was necessary to grow the plant. My first hurdle was to overcome my fear that I’d be a subject of a family intervention to the state psych hospital because of my beliefs in unseen fairy tale ‘wee folks.’ (T shrugged and believes.)  The rest of the community gardeners?  Don't ask.  Everyone does their garden different.

Once I got over my fear, I’ve learned working with the Devas is very much like the skills needed to work in the office: team building skills. The skills I’ve easily used on many projects for my job have now been transferred into the garden setting. Basically, we (Devas and I) are pooling our areas of expertise and talents to create the garden beneficial to both. And, for the past 5 years I’ve moved from my beds around my house and started working with them in my community garden plot.

Shared mission and goals built on trust
First, you have to believe in Devas. How I would best describe Devas are elementals, spirits, fairies, angles of the garden. Believing they are there is an act of faith on your part. They don’t seem to have any problems. It’s us humans who rely too much on our sense of sight.

Second, you have to be up front as possible. I know that the Deva’s are concerned about creating the best energy for the health of the landscape. My goal is for growing the best vegies for my family. I do care about their cause, but growing vegies helps my family reduce our $$ at the groceries. I guess the bottom line is how we can help each other in this mission.

My communication with them starts on the Spring Equinox. During my ritual at the garden, I have a plan listing the types of vegies I plan on growing the upcoming season. I bless the soil and ask for their help back at my home for plant placement. I communicate via my pendulum by asking yes and no questions. Example: Should a tomato plant be planted in this square? How often I should water each week. How often to fertilize?

I’m very clear to the Devas that my family likes certain vegies and I’m open to growing different types of flowers to help their cause. I’m also clear that they get to drive where things are planted. And, I drive the format – square foot gardening. If they say put a tomato in every 9’x9’ square – okay I will put a tomato plant in every 9’x9’ square.

Collaboration with participation
My main collaboration effort has been around bugs. Specifically, our collaboration has been around the beetles that like my bean. They like my beans because I don’t use the white powdery stuff like other gardeners. Through my collaboration with the Devas I’ve been able negotiate one row being just for the beetles and I get the rest. This collaboration has made me see the beetles as just trying to survive too. In other words, we all have a place on the earth.

Start Asking Activity:

Materials Needed: Journal and pen
Sit alone next to your houseplants or outside next to your garden.  Ground yourself.  Ask:  Do need anything that could help out the garden?  Should a plant be moved?  Should there be any crystals?  Any type of fertilizer needed to help out?  Then listen.  Journal your response.

Maclean, Dorothy. To Hear the Angels Sing. Elgin, IL: Lorain Press, 1980.
Wright, Michaelle Small. Perelandra Garden Workbook.  Perelandra. 1987.

Youtube video on Findhorn  Interview with Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean
Miller, Danny. The Findhorn Film. Dannymillerfilm 29, Oct. 2009. Web. 17, March. 2012.


  1. This is a really great post. Well done on finding an "F" topic that is both unique and extremely relevant. I love the information on your own personal gardening practices! Read my article on "Plant Familiars" in the 2012 Lewellyn's Witches' Almanac if you get the chance... a lot of what you describe is the same as how I discovered and started working with my own plant familiar.

    1. I will look it up - I have a copy at my desk. Cool to connect the person with the Almanac article.

    2. Oops, sorry... I meant "Witches' Calendar." I also have 2 articles in the Magical Almanac & I got confused, ha ha.

  2. Great post. Must admit the few times I've tried to work with plant spirits I've had 'wow' results, a plant coming back from near dead. You've inspired me to get out and have another go. Thank you

    1. Your welcome - I've been reading Maclean's book again and inspired that as a team it is possible to help heal our earth and not be passive. My working with the 'Devas' is becoming more about cleaning up a mess - so my Grandchildren will have an earth like what I see outside.


Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.