Earth Treasure Vase for The Original Garden in Findhorn, Scotland


Findhorn Ecovillage is one of the largest intentional communities in Great Britain, based on the beautiful Findhorn Bay near Inverness in the north of Scotland. The Findhorn Community is world-renowned for their exploration and education of ecological and sustainable ways of living. They describe themselves as a community of wildly different souls trying to live the vision of creating a radically transformed world, where humanity embodies the sacred, where each and everyone is honored and where people engage wisely and lovingly in co-creation with all life.

For 60 years, thousands of people have participated in transformative retreats, workshops and conferences at Findhorn. The programs revolve around taking time to pause, rest, ask important questions and reflect on life. This all with the shared communal focus to deepen the connection to spirituality and nature.

In 2014 the New Story Summit was organized at Findhorn Ecovillage; a multicultural, multigenerational enquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and activists from over 50 countries. Cynthia Jurs shared the story of the Earth Treasure Vases here, and brought a vase with her dedicated to Findhorn. In three ceremonies during the summit the vase was filled with heartfelt prayers and offerings.

Earth Treasure Vase on the main altar created by Craig Gibsone at Findhorn New Stories Summit.
Two of Findhorn’s elders, Craig Gibsone and Dürten Lau, accepted the responsibility to steward the vase to its completion. Another dimension for this sacred vessel came through Sharon Shay Sloan who, during the Summit, brought attention to an unhealed wound of this area around Findhorn. It is an area where ‘’witches’’ – the healers and medicine people of an earlier time – were tortured and burned. This deep wound in our collective history is asking to be healed and our humble vessel has taken on this task.

At the end of the New Story Summit, Sharon Shay Sloan was so moved that she made a commitment to return to Findhorn herself, to participate in the final burial of the Earth
Treasure Vase in honor of this powerful call for healing.

Sharon is Director of the Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas program for The WILD Foundation, she is a certified council trainer with the Center for Council (Ojai Foundation), and since 2001 Sharon has been involved with Bioneers, currently supporting the Community of Mentors and Youth Programs.

The following story is the journey of the Findhorn Earth Treasure Vase offered through the eyes and heart of Sharon.

The Story of the Earth Treasure Vase for Findhorn

by Sharon Shay Sloan

Purpose of the Vase & Stewarding from the United States to Scotland
Last year, Cynthia brought an Earth Treasure Vase (ETV) to the New Story Summit (NSS) at Findhorn. She was encouraged to do so by Gigi Coyle, who must have seen that a significant contribution of healing might come through the legacy of this gathering, anchored in the good Findhorn soil. With time, it became clear that the Findhorn Earth Treasure Vase was to embody three primary purposes:
  1. To honor and anchor the healing knowledge of the Findhorn Community
    in the global mandala of Earth Treasure Vases.
  2. To be a seed for the best of the old and new stories for our times coming through the New Story Summit.
  3. To be a vessel for healing the legacy of the persecution of the healers, a.k.a. “witches”—in Scotland and everywhere.

At the end of the NSS last October, I made a commitment to return to Findhorn to participate<

in the final burial of the ETV in honor of this powerful call for healing. While I relate to all three of these purposes, I was specifically called for the third.

Over the year, I worked closely with Cynthia in the United States and two elders from the Findhorn Community, Dürten Lau and Craig Gibsone, plus long-time resident Sara Trevelyan, who were entrusted with stewarding the Vase in Findhorn. The call to return this autumn came unexpectedly, as we had decided together to wait to do the burial until the spring. So much for our plans! On the 13th moon since the dedication of the Vase, the little clay pot would be full, ripe and ready for the final preparations and burial. Messages came through meditation. We listened together. We all said yes. I got ready to travel and asked for support.

In those few days of preparation, Cynthia happened to be in California and was able to give me, warm hand to warm hand, me the last essentials: sealing wax, earth connecting to the other Vases in the mandala, the special herbs and flowers grown in her garden that accompany each burial, and a bundle of prayers and offerings she had convened for me to carry to Findhorn. Now, with a full larder, it was time to go.

Coming Home to the Stones
During the New Story Summit (NSS), I had an experience and was shown one way to contribute to healing the legacy of the persecution of the healers—an action specific to releasing the memory that had been held in the rocks, the moss and stones within the Earth body in the land near Findhorn. During this download I was sitting next to Pat McCabe, Diné yelder (young elder) also known as Woman Stands Shining, who was instrumental in the ceremonies that took place during the NSS, and also carries a strong prayer to be part of healing this legacy.

As chance would have it, when I arrived in northern Scotland, she was there to prepare for several ceremonies with a similar intent that will take place in Europe this spring. She and a colleague picked me up at the airport. We went immediately to a nearby stone circle. Though still dizzy from the travel, and perhaps in part because of this altered state of exhaustion, it was there that I first understood the purpose of liberating the memory of the traumas. I had not, to that point, asked why this liberation was being called for—a small miracle in and of itself for those who know me.

The first thing I noticed was that I felt a deep welcoming from the stones— a warm, full welcome, as if I were a long lost relative, family member, even a daughter of the land. It was palpable and filled me with joy and curiosity. I sat on the edge, walked the perimeter and eventually entered. And the knowing was there:

The purpose of releasing the memory is to again be able to access the memory of what is known behind, underneath, before this one; to gain access to the healed picture, the ancestral memory of our unbroken line of connection, to a way of knowing that evolved over countless generations of living in deep connection with place in the European ancestral lands and is remembered both in those lands as well as in the European and the Western diaspora.

Pat and I talked late into the night, and witnessed that there is a momentum growing with all of this, that we are but one wave of many contributing to healing this legacy. It is truly a gift to be part of, an honor to have carried the prayers of many, known and unknown, with and as part of Beyond Boundaries, as a witness to Findhorn and the unfolding of the New Story Summit, and the many connections coming through that work as well as others. I am deeply grateful that this memory may return and be remembered as part of the new story… and that we can all contribute to this continued unfolding.

Final Preparations
Before I arrived, we scheduled four days for the final preparations, honoring the elements, and what each steward knew remained to be done. This included a ceremonial fire, time with the Scottish sea, a synchronized meditation and conference call with the wider New Story Summit and Earth Treasure Vase communities, burial preparations and more. Each day, we met in the Community Center, and listened for how to proceed.

Fire in the Valley
For my personal offering, I was to place the ashes of The Hammer of Witches in the vase. When the knowing to do so came, I knew very little about the book and had only heard it mentioned once by Sabine Lichtenfels at the Global Love School in Tamera. As it turns out, it was originally written in Latin by a German author, and was key in establishing the logic behind the witch-hunts and trials. This same logic would later be used to fuel the fires of colonialism and validate the methodology of force, domination and conquering of countless Indigenous lands and Peoples that characterizes Western expansion. These histories are deeply connected and their legacy continues to ripple, every day. I brought the book to Scotland with the intention to do the fire there. But where?

“This history, especially for western women, is an unhealed collective wound we still carry and resonates deeply with the suffering of Indigenous Peoples worldwide as colonialism and the Church inflicted their dominance over the Earth.” – Cynthia Jurs

For many years, Marko Pogacnik has worked with the lands near Findhorn, studying the energetic landscapes and guiding landscape healing, including at Cluny Hill, one of the primary sites where the hunts and brutal killings took place. We knew we needed to go there as part of the preparation so the team brought in Katharina Brocke, a long-time collaborator with Marco and one of the locals most knowledgeable about the area. She would become my fire guide, bringing us first up a spiral walkway to the top of a hill, then to a valley, where we knew to go. As we reached the valley floor, I saw the place where the fire was to occur. Though we had not planned to do the fire there, we did bring the materials with us. I went to gather them from the car. A European Robin greeted me at the threshold gate, entering my path, bringing me pause, asking me to pay even greater attention. Later as we left through this same gateway, the robin would come again, flying close, back and forth, opening and closing the threshold as we left with the ashes in the final moments of daylight.

I returned with what we needed. Dürten and Katharina were there waiting, two ‘’yelder’’ women standing as pillars of witness, holding space and anchoring the preparation and execution of the fire. I carved the Earthen bowl, the space for the fire, lined it with beauty from the forest, and prepared the fire—small, beautiful, just enough to do the job. We lit it with sparks from a flint and steel fire kit. Fire lit, The Hammer of Witches rested on a tree stump, in waiting. For some time I could not approach it. The weight of its legacy pressed on me like a falling brick wall. It was hard to focus under the pressure, the memory, the field of consciousness represented by that book, the rationale for centuries of unspeakable violence against healers, women, Peoples and the Earth itself. Katharina stood between me and the book. She guarded the gate. She helped me to gather myself. I got still, empty, resolute. With pure intention, I picked it up and was able to bring it to the fire. We honored what had been; we said thank you. And brought it to a small fire held in the wetness of the earth. It burned in sections, whole eras at a time, pages torn from the memory of the West. When the book was no longer a book, there was ash mixed with fire. It burned for enough time. Then, it was finished. The Earthen Hearth restored to wet, moist ground; we left the area better than we found it, and took the ashes to offer to the vase.

Full Moon Meditation
On the eve of the burial, we hosted a synchronized meditation and first-ever global Earth Treasure Vase video conference call over Zoom technology, widening the circle of attention to include many from the New Story Summit and Earth Treasure Vase communities. Cynthia led the meditation from her home in New Mexico and callers joined in from around the world. Those in the room made offerings first, and then we spiraled out around the globe, receiving the gifts of each caller. As virtual offerings were made, we added seeds from the land to the Vase as symbolic offerings.

In a follow up email, Sara Trevelyan, one of the four vase stewards, said it best: “It was an incredible achievement to be able to connect our presences around the globe in such a direct and engaged way. All of this flows into the Earth Treasure Vase here at Findhorn and will empower and support its placement in the earth this afternoon. The impulse and inspiration of the New Story Summit was very present in our gathering in a way which honors each one of us at this time, the global community and the earth… May all the seeds flourish and may peace deepen and grow between us.”

The Burial

The day of the burial, the weather was gentle, beautiful, and unusually sunny for the time of year. We four met again in the Community Center for our daily check-in, and asked together what more might be needed in the final hours. Near sunset we would gather in the Original Garden for the last round of offerings, and there were a few hours left. The details were clear and easily accounted for, so we focused on the “double-booking”—there was a Findhorn co-workers meeting at the same time as the burial. Was this a conflict? How could we connect the intentions and include others who were attending to the day-to-day needs of the community? With a flash of inspiration, we found a way through, and had just enough time to bring the vase to the opening of the meeting. With no available car, we stood in the runway reconsidering our last-minute impulse. In that exact moment, a man approached Dürten for a signature on a check; he had a car on hand, and was happy to provide us his chariot. At the meeting, over 100 Findhornians added their prayers and offerings to the vase, widening the circle once more. We returned to the quickening of the final hours.
In the garden, we four met again and sat in a circle of gratitude for all that made this possible. We met at the sacred stone, and there we opened the vase one more time; I added all that I had brought from California, the offerings and stories both. Sara led a final meditation with the 20 or so people who gathered— one last circle of offerings. Craig completed the burial site by digging a hole three-feet deep by one-foot wide, in the part of the original garden left for the elementals.

Prayers and final preparations made, the time had finally come. We sealed the vase in the way prescribed, dripping hot wax on the cords, and on ourselves as we learned this process together in the dark. We enclosed it in the beautiful ceramic vessel Craig had created, a phoenix on one side and dragon on the other, and sealed that, too. Then, we made our way together to the burial site. We worked in concert, spoke little, laughed some. We looked down the three-foot hole, gave thanks and began to fill it. First, Cynthia’s homegrown herbs and flowers, then layers of flowers from the Findhorn lands and gardens, water, ashes, rocks, moss, stones, more prayers, song, and finally the vase, and Earth to cover it all. At that exact moment, people all around the world gathered and attuned from their places, offering their part from where they stood, including Cynthia, who traveled to the Cave of the Winds at the center of the ETV mandala above Los Alamos National Laboratory. A global community planted the seed of these prayers. We did what had to be done. And so it was.

Disappeared in the Wild Edge
The next morning, I returned to give any final attention needed at the burial site, only to find there was no trace of the events of the days before. The vase disappeared into the wild edge of Findhorn. Our work was done and the work of the vase just begun.

Rerouted by My Ancestors
The journey home was unexpected and kept me in Scotland longer than planned. Heathrow International Airport could not keep up with the usual pace of travel due to a thick London fog, a huge opaque cloud pattern that disrupts the ability to see. I took the days of canceled flights to slow down, enjoy the continued hospitality and take in all that had happened. Then, I knew it was time to go and made my way to the airport. By then more and more flights were being canceled and the woman at the desk looked at me squarely and said, “There is no way to get you home.” I had researched all of the flights departing from this tiny airport in northern Scotland and there was one route that stuck with me: The route that followed my ancestral migration: Scotland to Ireland to Chicago and finally California. I pleaded that she would please try this route. She said it would not work, that she had tried it for others, but obliged. To her complete surprise, it did. She did not understand why it worked, but it did. She looked at me with a grin on her face and said, “You are the lucky one today.” I replied, “Luck of the Irish.” We smiled. It was time to go home.

And now…
As I understand it, once the vase stewards have finished preparing burying the vessel, their duty is done, but the relationship is only beginning. The Findhorn Vase will continue radiating each of our prayers, honoring and anchoring the healing knowledge of Findhorn, remembering the New Story, and healing the legacy of power over that included the persecution of healers.

Ode to the Earth Treasure Vase

By Sharon Shay Sloan

Earthen clay molded by human hands,
Shaped into a vessel for prayer
Longing to meet its purpose.
Christened on the altar of the
New Story Summit:
Global community; prayers and action.
One calendar year; 13 moons,
Four stewards, four directions united by a common task,
Weaving a tapestry of belonging to a new story. Remembered.
Gifts dressed for eternity, given wholeheartedly: Offerings of leaves,
seeds, rings, waters, memory, human hairs, animal hairs, earth,
image, story and ashes. So much more. Seen and unseen.
And you, dear ones, who wept silently and for so long, keeping the
balance, keeping memories at rest: Rocks, Moss, Stones, thank you.
Full. Ripe. Ready. It is time. Beauty before, behind and within.
Protected on one side by a dragon, the other a phoenix.
Buried three feet deep, resting on flowers.
Disappeared into the wild edge of the
Original Findhorn garden. Place of great pumpkins.
Radiating memory: There is a new story.
There is a healed earth.
Healers are holy.
We are these.

Memory Returns

By Sharon Shay Sloan

Spiral hillside, walk to the top.
Here, a view of the place: Cluny Hill.
The memory of years forward and back.
The call to go down, down, to the heart of the Valley,
Through the back trails, winding gently, down, down, down.
Beauty of autumn, red of leaf, wet of day.
Scottish moss on the ground and in the trees.
There it is: The place of fire.

A circle seen in the ground, an earthen bowl ready to be carved.
7 maple leaves , sipapu below holding water, prayer, offerings for the gifts to come.
All the while there you sit, The Hammer of Witches, guarding the gate—
A gargoyle of mind; a scepter of palate.
I have not read you but you have been read to me a thousand times,
Read in backs turned on the healers, the Earth herself, destruction called progress flourishing in your shadow
Read in the image of human beings set to the backdrop of an inhumane God.

Yes, your memory lives in our bones, but not the hollow
There is a memory behind yours.
This is the memory I seek.
The becoming, the liberation of what lies underneath, behind, outside of your palace of reason.

Thank you for what you have given us.
Thank you for the gifts of your harsh, absolute reason.
Honor. You. For what you have given to the evolution of consciousness.
How am I to know? Who am I to judge?
I cannot burn you until I can love you. And approach you with all of me.
And so I do. Two elder women stand guard at the gate.
We say goodbye, offering you to the fire with two hands, two feet, two eyes, and one heart.
You go in sections, whole eras at a time, pages torn from the memory of the West.

Simple fire, small fire, gentle fire.
Thank you. The book is gone.
Ashes remain.
Memory returns.

Sun is setting, and time is running out.
Robin guarding the gate, red breasted, small, gentle, generous. Approaches us.
Back and forth across the threshold.
Ashes in hand, we have the offering.
The way is open. It is time to go.


Monday Mindfulness Meditation