In 1962 in northeast Scotland, a dedicated group of people created a community named Findhorn. They lived by applying the principles of attraction, which they demonstrated by creating a flourishing garden on a land and climate that was harsh and labeled unsuitable for vegetation. The result, both a testimony to harmony with nature and conscious connection to all things, yielded fruit for the body, mind and spirit. David Spangler was one of the early residents of Findhorn, and during his time in the Findhorn community, he began writing down how those laws worked. In 1975, his writings were first published as The Laws of Manifestation. This book is now available again through Red Wheel/Weiser. Recently, I sat down with David to speak with him about his book and his time at Findhorn.
Kala: Hi David, thanks for joining me here on Explore Your Spirit with Kala’s Bohemian Blog. A couple of years back, I interviewed the folks at Findhorn on the Explore Your Spirit show. I’ve always been fascinated with Findhorn and what was accomplished there by a small group of conscious people. In 1970, you arrived at Findhorn and were the first American to be part of the community. Tell me about your time at Findhorn and what you experienced by being part of the community.
David: I was at Findhorn for three years during which time I served as a co-director along with Peter Caddy, one of the three original founders, and was instrumental in starting the community’s educational program. Those three years were magical. When I first arrived in 1970, there were only about fifteen people in the community, but people began arriving and staying, mostly at that time from the United States, until in 1972 there were about a hundred and fifty people living there as members. It was my first experience living in a community, and I enjoyed it tremendously. It was a chance to interact on a daily basis with like-minded people in a spirit of mutual support and encouragement. What was not to like about that?
Initially the focus at Findhorn was on the gardens and the work with the nature spirits and Devas, the angels of nature. But as the community grew so quickly, there was a need for some kind of internal educational process to bring the new members up to speed with what Findhorn was about, its spiritual vision and purpose. For years, Peter had done that himself in a one-on-one fashion, but this was no longer practical. That was when I began developing an educational process within the community. The two main teachings of the center were attunement to the Sacred, the “God Within” as Eileen Caddy called it, and cooperation with the spiritual intelligences within nature, the nature spirits and the Devas. A third became living in community in a mutually empowering way. Everything else evolved from those three principles, and part of my job was to make those principles clear.
In 1973, I felt I needed to return to the United States and resume my work here, which had been interrupted when I went to Scotland. But I have retained a deep fondness for the community and over the years have often gone back for visits. I continue to collaborate with them. For instance, next spring I’m collaborating with their educational department to offer a class, “Living Whole” which will feature a one-week experience in the community with Findhorn faculty and three months of online teaching with me. Information can be found on our website, www.Lorian.org.
Kala: It was said that Dorothy Maclean communicated with the intelligence of nature in her work at Findhorn. Some people describe this as interacting with fairies, gnomes and other beings. Was there interaction with other beings in the gardens of Findhorn?
David: The fairies, gnomes, and so forth belong to a large class of beings we called “nature spirits.” These are the beings that work energetically with specific plants and locations. Overlighting them are much vaster, more powerful Beings who are like the souls of entire species or who overlight vast landscapes and ecologies. These Beings Dorothy called the “Devas,” a Sanskrit word meaning “Shining Ones.” They would be equivalent to angels. Dorothy communicated with the Devas, receiving quite precise instructions that permitted her and Peter to grow the miraculous garden on which the fame of the community rested. An elderly Scottish gentleman named R. Ogilvie Crombie or Roc who lived in Edinburgh but who visited the community regularly was the main contact with the nature spirits. By the way, an excellent new book has just been released about him, his life and his work at Findhorn. In Britain, it’s called The Gentleman and the Faun but in North America it’s titled Meeting Fairies and is published by Allen and Unwin.
Kala: Your book, The Laws of Manifestation was written based on the laws you observed during your time at Findhorn. You state in the book – “This is what manifestation is: the working of natural laws of energy exchange and transference within a consciousness of the Whole and through an attunement to the Presence of Wholeness… It is a dynamic state of consciousness. On human levels, manifestation does not replace working for a living, it is simply a different way of expressing the livingness of the work and the work of living where work is truly seen as Love in Action”. I think this is one of the most important laws that is overlooked, that we also do have to work and take action and that thought alone will not accomplish what we wish to manifest. How best does one combine thought and action to manifest?
David: The two are really indispensable to each other. A process of manifestation can begin with either. I may need to do something, to take some action, in order to get energy moving in my life and clarify my thoughts so that I can think and imagine more precisely and clearly just what I wish to manifest. And going the other way, I may have clear images and thoughts of my manifestation but again I need to do something to open the channels for those images to connect with the larger world. Which way you approach a manifestation depends on the specific circumstances. Think of trying to play Chopin on the piano using only one hand. You can pluck out part of the melody but the richness and fullness of the music will be lost.
Thinking enables me to connect with energies of meaning: what does this manifestation mean in itself, what does it mean in my life, what does it mean in my relationships to others, and so on. Action alone won’t do that. On the other hand, action connects me to the world of matter and formation, the shaping of things, the response to opportunities, the engagement with form. Thinking alone won’t do that.
Kala: I teach esoteric teachings and have referred to what I teach as from an old age, rather than what people try to lump together and describe as new age. In reading your book, I found a similar focus, especially with your thoughts around manifestation and how it should be aligned with the Higher Will. In more recent times, manifestation has been described more as the law of attraction and a way to get what you want, many times without asking is this for your highest and best. What are your thoughts about manifesting and how it should be activated?
David: We think of manifestation generally in too restricted a way, likening it to the effect of a magnet upon iron filings. We see it as a way of bringing something into our lives. It helps to see it as an action of change: we are changing ourselves into something else and because of that we are changing the world around us as it configures to the “shape” of our life. Now this change might be great or it might be small. If I manifest a toaster, there’s probably not a great difference between me with a toaster and me without one, and the world is not going to be much affected. But if I manifest a new job or a spouse, say, that is going to change me, perhaps dramatically, and my world and relationships will change accordingly. So we need to think of manifestation not simply of attraction as if that’s all there is to it but as an act of life-shaping and to some degree of world-shaping. In my language, I say that manifestation is really an act of incarnation.
Kala: Your book is described as “transforming lives by working with the natural laws“. What do you define as a natural law?
David: A natural law to me is a description of a principle that operates in harmony and consistency with the structure and nature of reality. It is not a local phenomenon but something that operates across the spectrum of life and beingness. Thus gravity is a manifestation of the structural and atomic nature of the cosmos and doesn’t just work in Cleveland but not in Detroit; it works everywhere. For this reason, I don’t think of the “Law of Attraction” per se as a natural law, or even as a law at all. It’s a phenomenon that can occur based on principles of resonance, but not all the time; there are plenty of exceptions to its operation, for which we should be grateful. We wouldn’t want to attract everything we think about or feel, but if it were a true natural law, we would.
Kala: Since 1965, you’ve worked clairvoyantly with a group of non-physical beings, described as “from the inner worlds of spirit who are part of an inner school whose purpose was to explore and develop a spiritual teaching around the process of incarnation”. Tell us about the beings you work with.
David: My work with non-physical beings generally falls into two categories. One is with beings whom I find in my environment, such as nature spirits, or other beings who may come to me for one reason or another but in a one-off kind of way. The second is with the group you mentioned. They have often referred to themselves as a “school,” but they do not mean an educational institution. Rather they use the word in the way we might say a “school of thought,” that is, a group following a particular line of understanding, research or work. They, in turn, are part of a much larger group of beings made up of humans, angels, and devas whose overall interest is to promote the welfare and blessing of all humanity and all lives upon the earth. This particular “school” with whom I work is like a research think tank: they are running experiments, and sometimes I feel like I’m one of them! Basically, they are part of a movement to inspire a planetary spirituality, one that is neither Western nor Eastern in its basis, but one grounded in the essential nature of humanity, of the human person, and in sacredness. They are exploring just what such a planetary consciousness and spirituality might be like and how best to inspire its unfoldment “down here.” It’s not something that can be taught or revealed; it’s something that must emerge from our collaboration with them. That it, at this point in human evolution, a new spirituality must emerge from us, not from them–or more precisely, it must emerge from partnership between incarnate and dis-incarnate beings.
Within this larger objective–which a great many individuals and groups are pursuing–a particular “detachment” of this school, like a department perhaps, is working with me on the issue of redefining the nature of incarnation and what it means to be a person in order to more readily access the spiritual light that is innate in each of us. This light is not one coming from transpersonal sources but from within us as a result of the generative or creative nature of the incarnational process itself. In short, each of us is a source of what might be called “Self-Light,” a spiritual force that can be a real blessing to the world. How to understand and tap this Self-Light or “incarnational Light” and make it a practical tool in our lives is the specific objective of this department, that is, of the specific non-physical colleagues and partners with whom I work.
Kala: What is Incarnational Spirituality?
David: Incarnational Spirituality is the name I’ve given to the understanding and practice of using Self-Light in partnership with the the spiritual light from within the world and from transpersonal levels, and of course, with the Light of the Sacred that ultimate underlies all of it. Originally, I was calling it “person-centered spirituality” since it focused upon the spiritual value and presence of the personal level of consciousness and existence, not the transpersonal. But I came to realize this was too limited a term and that what I was really researching and studying in partnership with my inner colleagues was the spiritual power and consequences of the incarnational process itself. This research has formed the basis for all my classes and writings, particularly in the past eight years or so since I’ve been using the term “Incarnational Spirituality.”
I suppose one origin of this phrase was with an inner Being who appeared one day as I was writing an article about some of the challenges facing humanity at this time and said, “The problem with humanity is not that you’re too incarnated; it’s that you’re not incarnated enough.” I knew he didn’t mean we weren’t physical enough, but that we’re not connected enough, not whole enough. I wanted to know more, and this led me into researching the process of incarnation and what it means spiritually and otherwise to be an incarnate person. If any of your readers are interested in learning more, they can do so by going to my website www.lorian.org I teach online over the Internet for the most part, and there are a number of new classes soon to begin this winter and spring.
Kala: Going back to Findhorn, do you think new communities of this type will be created? Why hasn’t this concept caught on and expanded in other areas?
David: That’s a good question. I think there are new communities being formed all the time, though not necessarily in the Findhorn mode; I’m thinking here of the co-housing movement which has a lot of community elements. And there were a few communities founded inspired by Findhorn’s example. The Sirius Community in Massachusetts is one of these. But starting and running and living in an intentional community is truly hard work and not for the faint-hearted. It’s not easy making them economically self-sufficient (even Findhorn hasn’t achieved that after nearly fifty years of existence), and they require a lot of time, energy, commitment and sacrifice from everyone involved to be successful. Aside from entering a religious community, which is a different kettle of fish anyway, not that many people either can or are willing to leave their work and connections in the larger society where there are more opportunities than most small communities can offer. It’s probably the same dynamic that leads people to move from small towns to cities but not necessarily the reverse.
Kala: Who is David Spangler? If your friends and family were to describe you in five sentences, what would they say?
David: They would probably say I’m loving, funny, a happy father to great children, a most appreciative and grateful husband to a fantastic woman, someone who likes to play games, someone who needs more exercise, and a writer who uses long, complex sentences where short, simple ones would do! Oh, and I love chocolate!
Kala: It was a pleasure speaking with you David. Thank you for your time.
More about David Spangler:
Since returning to the United States from Findhorn in the early seventies, David Spangler has continued to travel and lecture widely. He has developed and taught classes at a number of institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, Seattle University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. He also teaches classes for the Lorian Association for Incarnational Spirituality at www.lorian.org
More about Kala Ambrose:
Kala is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala’s book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. Kala lectures on Esoteric Teachings, Developing Business Intuition, Working with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Wise Woman Wisdom (also known as the Divine Feminine). Kala’s Guided Meditations CD’s have just been released with Spirit of Hawaii and Egyptian Mystery Temple and Tibetan Mountain Journey. More info: www.ExploreYourSpirit.com