Woo woo begins

I’ve decided to come clean–about using a pendulum and connecting with nature spirits. I like to rely on my secular, rationalist credentials, but that’s only part of who I am, and anyway, my parents are dead. So who’s really to embarrass?

I remember my father–who held a Ph.D. in biochemistry– yelling, “Bullshit!– bullshit! bullshit!” whenever a family friend tried to talk to him about organic food. But after Dad died, my brother Jon told me Dad used to urge him to travel to Nazi Germany in his dreams to save Jewish children, so maybe Dad and I weren’t that far apart.

The gate to nature intelligences swung open for me my third year of graduate school. My husband and I were having dinner with our friends Bruce and Alison, and they began telling us about Findhorn Community, where they had met. Findhorn itself is a harbor fishing village at the northern tip of Scotland. The community grew up around a garden established at a nearby trailer park by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. Their garden flourished spectacularly, according to the three, because of the spiritual guidance they were receiving from nature intelligences.

Bruce later sold his story about the community to Louisville’s Courier-Journal (Swain, Bruce. “How Findhorn’s garden grows.” 27 June 1976). He said, “Whatever you believed, you couldn’t argue with the fact that they were growing 8-foot high foxgloves in beach sand.” And then Alison said, “There’s a woman living near D.C. who’s started a garden just like Findhorn. She calls it Perelandra, and she gives workshops. You should go; you’ll love it!”

In the early 90s, Machaelle Wright was indeed giving garden workshops at Perelandra, and my husband and I spent an enjoyable weekend at a nearby bed-and-breakfast while attending the sessions. Machaelle’s garden had a kind of crystalline peacefulness and perfection that is hard to convey. I feel it now in my own little meadow garden but cannot tell if what I feel and see is the effect of nature intelligences or the filter of my own love.

One Perelandra session featured a lecture from a Ph.D. in soil science, who said that he had never seen soil healthier, richer or more teeming with life than Perelandra’s. This impressed me. However woo woo the garden process was, it clearly worked.

Machaelle taught us how to connect with nature intelligences and to test for their response with muscle testing similar to that I have since experienced during chiropractor visits. She had us make circles with thumb and pinky and to ask questions that could be answered yes or no. A “no” response would weaken the connection and allow the thumb and pinkie to break apart when pressed with fingers from the other hand. I never trusted myself with this procedure. What if I was pushing harder than necessary to get the answer I wanted?

There was also the questionable usefulness of asking yes-no questions about design. It is one thing to ask, “Should I put the garden here? Is this big enough? How many rows? How far apart?” and so forth. But I couldn’t do that while generating a design, anymore than you could ask someone how many strokes it would take to paint a painting, or what color and intensity red to use, or what shape line. So for many years after, I simply asked for guidance when I started a design and hoped I was tuned in to whatever was offered.

Until one day in the south English countryside, a sweet-faced workman in overalls walked into my life, taught me how to use a pendulum in about 5 minutes, and walked out of my life. But that is another woo woo story.