A Magical Book About a Magical Place

The Magic of Findhorn is a magical book. I first read it when it came out in paperback more years ago than I care to remember. For more than a decade, I reread it now and then to savour Hawken’s sweet distillation of the spirit of the time. Those were the heady days of pot-smoking hippies, smiling flower children, and idealistic communes. Findhorn added fairies, giant cabbages, and bushes that got out of the way when you wanted to make a path through them. It was wonderful to imagine that I might run off and join the small band of romantics building a new kind of community on what was once a garbage dump. I never did, of course. Sometimes I think I missed a great chance. Findhorn still exists, although it is now a foundation and calls itself a “New Age” community. Naturally, there is a website.

First paperback edition cover

An enchanting look at an early New Age community in Scotland.

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Romanticism’s Claim on Individuality

Romantics like to think of themselves as unique individuals who have the strength of character to go against the flow. They describe anyone who stays in the mainstream as a “conformist,” a word with negative connotations.

A man stands atop a mountain looking down at the clouds

Romanticism promotes an anti-social emphasis on individuality and self-absorption. (photo: public domain)

Academic and novelist Ann Swinfen has some interesting things to say about this topic as it relates to C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. In her work of literary criticism, In Defence of Fantasy (1984), she points out that Lewis was against individualism and in favour of conforming to religious orthodoxy and societal norms. His fiction reflects this strongly held rational philosophy.

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