exWitch Australia
Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


An experimental spiritual community founded in 1962 and located in northern Scotland, and the site of a garden seemingly endowed with special powers.   At its peak in the late 1960's and early 1970's, Findhorn yielded 18 kg (40 lb) cabbages and other plants and flowers that sometimes grew to twice their normal size despite the fact that the soil was nothing more than sand and gravel and the bitter climate of the North Sea made for abysmal growing conditions.

Findhorn residents claimed that they received the directions for planting, cultivating and managing their gardens from spirits that inhabit the natural world.   The Findhorn experiment:. has come to be viewed as a demonstration of the power and potential of human beings and the natural world living and working together in harmony.

Peter Caddy and co-worker Dorothy Maclean, who established the fIrst garden on the site, claimed to have established contact with a spirit of the plant kingdom, called a Deva, said to hold the archetypal pattern for each individual plant species.   The Devas provided specifIc information about every aspect of the garden: how far apart to plant seeds, how often to water, and how to remedy problems.   Within a year Findhorn had been transformed, with the gardens overflowing with life.   Cabbages were over ten times their usual weight. Broccoli grew so large that the plants were too heavy to lift from the ground.

As word of the garden spread, it became a model community for proponents of the New Age movement.   By the early 1970's, more than three hundred people lived, worked and studied in Findhorn.   Residents viewed themselves as the vanguard of a new society based on the principles of cooperation between people and the kingdom of nature.

By the 1980's the plants, fruits and vegetables had returned to normal sizes, and none of the present gardeners claims direct contact with the natural world.   Nevertheless, newer members of the community preserve the original spirit and ideas of the founders.

Findhorn has a democratic government, a garden school, and a company to help small businesses within the community.

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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