Fires at Findhorn... From Ashes to Ashes

 A few days ago a friend called me. 

It was only 8pm on Vancouver Island, but she was calling from Findhorn, Scotland - I knew it was the middle of the night there and immediately thought something must have happened. 

"Kathy!" she said,   "I have some terrible news, the CC and the Sanctuary have been burnt down.  It appears to have been arson, the fires are still raging, there are six fire fighter crews here, but there's nothing to do to save them". 

The Findhorn Community was my home for over twenty years.  I met my husband there.  We raised our two children there. We build an eco-home there.   My connections and friendships go long and deep.  So many beautiful happy memories. 

These two buildings that were torched were the hub of community life.  Social gatherings (pre-covid days) and meals and parties were all in the Community Centre (or the CC as it was affectionately known).  And the main Santuary, a simple humble structure - built in 1968 when there were only a handful of people in the community, with the guidance given to build a building that would hold 50 because "many people would be coming".   That vision came true.  Over the decades since, The Findhorn Foundation and Community has hosted 1000's and 1000's of visitors and many, many people and families have since settled there to live. 

What a terrible thing.  Who would do such a thing?  And arson? The deliberate, pre-meditated act of setting fire to a building to destory it.  

The Main Sanctuary Before
The Main Sanctuary After 

What level of confusion, anger, destruction in his heart caused this person to do this?   It appears the person set the fires and then turned himself into the police.  And my rage towards him was palpable.  I knew this man - not well - but enough to have a wee chat every so often. I felt betrayed.  He had even been on the team that were caretakers for the Sanctuary and CC. 

And he had just lost his job.  With Covid forcing the closure of the main source of revenue for the Foundation, over half the staff had been made redundant. 

And I sat and did my inner work.   I realised that naming and shaming the perpetrator of the crime kept me in a position of the victim.  I refuse to be a victim.  I refuse to feel that his mental illness, his confusion, revenge, anger, sorrow, despair or whatever dangerous mix of emotions and thoughts that led him to do this can get the better of my own sense of peace and well-being. 

So I choose to remember the happy memories and give thanks for the amazing work of the tireless firefighters who spent most of the night and all the next day putting out the blazes. 
The fire-fighers still taming the fire the next day

I give thanks that the night of the fires was a very calm one, and there was very little wind that could have destroyed so much more of the surrounding buildings and the people sleeping inside them
The charred remains of one picnic bench aptly named RELEASE

The remains of the community centre after the fire

The community centre before the fire

The phoenix firebird stained glass mosaic by artist James Hubbell destroyed in the fire

I give thanks for the happy memories of the Sanctuary where we were married, where we spent a happy sunday morning when the children were little singing songs at Children's Sanctuary. Where we gathered when community member died or departed as we did for Canada in 2018.
I don't need a building to hold my heart. 

I give thanks that no fire can destroy the hours and hours I spent in silent meditation every morning at 6.30am for years and years - such a blessing. 
I don't need a building to hold that stillness.

I give thanks for the CC and the conversations, the circles of gatherings, the meetings, the workshops, meals with Byron Katie, Spiritual Teachers, Yoga Teachers and many different wonderful connections,  the delicious food, the time spent cooking in the Kitchen -  each and every moment such a blessing. 
I don't need a building to hold those connections.

I have shed tears of grief and anger.  As time moves on and it's a few days now since this news came to me, I see that this too shall pass.  Out of the ashes will grow new things. And then return to ashes.  Such is the cycle of life. 

 If you are drawn to donate to the Findhorn Foundation fire appeal to support the rebuild of these iconic buildings please click the link below 

Donate Now   

Photos taken from Facebook most credits to Mark Richards at AURORA IMAGING FINDHORN


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