In the early hours of Monday 12 April, residents in the Findhorn Foundation and Community in Scotland woke to the news of fire. Thankfully nobody was hurt and the natural environment is largely intact. The fire brigade was called and arrived on the scene at around 2am. About a dozen Foundation co-workers and community residents in the houses in the vicinity of the fires were safely evacuated and rehoused as the firemen tackled the blaze. Fire wardens assisted the brigade during the early hours of the morning to keep people safe and to communicate with residents. The community responded with care and support throughout the day and is in transition once more. From preparing to finally welcome back guests, they now face the loss of two significant buildings. Please send your love and prayers as they navigate from crisis to opportunity.
Two iconic Findhorn Foundation buildings have been destroyed, both at the spiritual and social heart of the community. The community’s main meditation sanctuary, which has been the spiritual heart of the community for decades and the community centre, which has been the hub of the community for meals, social gatherings, talks, and dance and music events since it was built by community members in the 1970s and when the regular programme of residential events are running, is usually very busy.
Caroline Matters, CEO of the Findhorn Foundation is working closely with trustees of the Findhorn Foundation and the New Findhorn Association convenors David Harrison and Lorraine Rytz-Thériault to coordinate a local community response within the 15-hectare bayside site known as The Park. Caroline Matters has stated, “We are so grateful that no one was hurt and know that the spirit of the community lives in our hearts and connects us all here in Moray, Scotland and our global community around the world. Buildings can be rebuilt. Our main concern is to take care of our co-workers and community”.
As an international spiritual education centre the Findhorn Foundation has welcomed thousands of people from all around the world over the last 59 years. However, due to the continuing uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, there is no set calendar of events for 2021 and both the community centre and the sanctuary have not been open to use by the community, except at limited times within Scottish Government guidelines.
There is an ongoing joint investigation by Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue and the Findhorn Foundation will release more information when it becomes available. Caroline Matters affirms that, “Our purpose and commitment is unwavering. We will rebuild, we have been through trials and tough times before and we will make it through this event. Things will resume after Covid-19 restrictions end, as there are other facilities that can be used. We do not expect it to have a significant impact on the business but it may require some co-workers and residents to be moved from some buildings to others. The safety and well-being of our residents, our community and our guests is of paramount concern. We are deeply grateful to the Scottish Fire Rescue Service for their quick response in containing the fires and ensuring the safety of all concerned. The Findhorn Foundation and community are deeply touched by all the support we are receiving both locally and from around the world.”
Simon Stedman, Chief Financial Officer adds, “Even as we gather as a community to meditate and hold this situation in the light, we also recognise that this situation presents us with financial needs. If you feel moved to give as an immediate response we will very gratefully receive any donations”.
So many of you know the devastation of such an experience and have shown incredible strength and resilience in the face of local catastrophe. As form and structure are released, it allows for new possibilities to emerge.
In 2015, a devastating fire destroyed Harbin Hot Springs and their rebuild is interwoven with the regeneration of the land. Esalen have been impacted by landslides and road closure and demonstrated such tenacity. Kalani Honua have experienced volcanic eruption on their Hawaiian Island Home and continue the focus on permaculture and yoga. Yasodhara Ashram lost their sanctuary to fire and created the beautiful Temple of Light through dedication and love. Occidental Arts and Ecology lost their historic barn and meeting place and continue to work with communities from the region to restore and build cultural and biological diversity. Last year fire swept through Breitenbush Hot Springs destroying guest accommodation and acres of precious forest and their commitment to rebuild is strong.
These are just some of the enormous challenges centers have faced. The global network of support is strong, as each center seeks to serve the world around us in the midst of pandemic, climate crisis, social injustice and economic strain. Together, may we turn every crisis into an opportunity, and experience a healing of the heart.