The Living Universe

Conditions of Sun and Shadow

By Freya Secrest

Knowing of my interest in trees and nature, a friend gave me a lovely book this Christmas, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben. In it Wohllenben shares his experience in forestry, and as a manager of an ecologically friendly woodland in Hummel, Germany. His stories illuminate the lives of trees and other observations of the interconnected ‘social’ and ecological dynamics that help a woodland thrive. It includes many thought-provoking discoveries but one in particular struck me as I was reading:

“Scientists have determined that slow growth when the tree is young is a prerequisite if a tree is to live to a ripe old age.”

Wohllenben's supporting facts for such a claim were enlightening. “Under natural conditions, trees of 80 – 120 years are no thicker than a pencil and no taller than a person. Thanks to their slow growth (brought about by growing in the canopy shadow of the larger/older trees), their inner woody cells are tiny and contain almost no air. That makes the trees flexible and resistant to breaking in storms. Even more important is their heightened resistance to fungi, which have difficulty spreading through the tough little trunks.”

I am struck by the idea that shadow and growing slowly contributes in an important way to the health of the trees. I wonder if this principle applies to humans as well. How might slowing down deepen our vitality? How does embracing all of our life’s conditions – sunny and shadowed – strengthen us? What might this mean for us as individuals and how can we flow with our life systems to allow for the most resilient conditions of self in meeting our future?

Several years ago I wrote a short essay comparing the slow food movement to a “slow spirituality.” I noted then that the slow food movement advocates attention to the natural and essential qualities of food. A cook highlights those qualities by taking the time to purchase fresh, local products and then draw out the inherent nutrition and flavor through thoughtful preparation and presentation. A Slow Spirituality suggests that we focus on the inherent and essential qualities within ourselves and honor the natural field of life experience that molds those capacities. We can then direct our time and choices to bring our uniqueness into mindful service through our lives.

What is interesting for me to notice is that whether it is in the woodland forest, in the slow food movement or in ourselves, there is a delicately balanced interconnected system that facilitates the overall field of health. Slow or deep growth is not a single intention that limits focus, but a widening embrace that accepts and includes. All of life grows as part of an interconnected ecology that includes sun and shadow, soil and water, limits and opportunity. When we embrace the full range of our life experience with a respectful attitude, we are like the mature and shadowed forest community that prevents young trees from growing quickly. It is when we engage the whole system of interconnected life experience that we develop the most strength, vitality and sense of fulfillment. Slowing down to listen to, honor and participate in this interconnected field – the subtle and physical web of consciousness that is the wholeness of our planet – may have actual structural implications for each of us as it does in the health of the trees that Wohllenben observed.

The shadow of a dense and diverse woodland community slows growth and creates a condition that strengthens a tree’s core and contributes to its longevity and to the overall health of all trees in the forest. I find myself considering what conditions encourage me to grow "in", densify my core, and slow my one-pointed movement to build flexibility, strength and vitality so that I too contribute to the overall health of my community.

There's still time to join Julie Spangler and Susan Sherman, with guest David Spangler, for  Journey Into Fire. During this six week online class, we will explore our unique, human journeys and practical ways to experience the sacredness within.  For more information or to sign-up, click here.

The Scent of Sacredness

By Freya Secrest

mock orangeMoving to the Midwest, as I shared with you last month, has me looking around my garden with fresh eyes. Just identifying the plants in my new Michigan backyard has brought a number of delightful surprises. One recently was a large shrub I could not recognize. It was mature, tall, and lanky – having grown up in the shade of a maple. But I couldn’t quite place it from just its leaves or shape. I watched it slowly come awake in the spring and then walked out one morning this summer and was delighted to see it had started to bloom. I was still unsure of its identity– until I smelled its flowers. The fragrance instantly brought forward its name – Mock Orange! I loved finally recognizing this old friend who I only knew previously as a vigorous, but more managed, princess. Growing in the shade without as many blossoms as the one in my northwest garden, this Mock Orange still clearly and fully brought forth the fullness of its unique signature in the perfection of its shape and fragrance.

When next I picked up Dorothy’s Seeds of Inspiration, it fell open to this message from the Mock Orange:

We are here before you think of us. We are always with our plants. We are attached to each little charge because we love to see it grow, have the keenest delight in being part of its development out of nothing into a perfect example of the pattern we hold. Not one little pore is out of line. Out of the elements we carve and unite, and carve again a living example of one design of the Infinite Designer.

And what fun it is! Holding each little atom in its pattern is a joy. We see you humans going glumly about your designs, doing things without zest because “they have to be done,” and we marvel that your sparkling life could be so filtered down and disguised. Life is abundant joy. Each little bite of a caterpillar into a leaf is done with more zest that we sometimes feel in you humans – and a caterpillar has not much consciousness. We would love to shake this sluggishness out of humans and have you see life as ever brighter, flowing, more creative, blooming, waxing and waning, eternal and one.

While talking to you I am also peacefully promoting growth in the plant.  All over the world wherever I grow, I hold the wonderful designs for each plant to confirm. Maintaining life in countless places, I yet remain free, utterly and completely free, because I am the life of the One. How I rejoice to be alive! I soar to highest heaven, I become part of the heart of all. I am here, there and everywhere, without deviation holding my pattern of perfection. I bubble with life. I am life. I am One and I am many.

I have leapt lightly into your consciousness. I bow out, glad to have been with you, glad that you have appreciated what I have said, and still more glad to be back in our world of light. Think well of us, think of us with light.

MockSuch a delightful synchronicity! It makes sense to me that the amazing aroma of a Mock Orange that is so beloved and distinctive could only come from such a spirit of joy and zest for life. For how else could such a fragrance arise? "Nothing comes from nothing", as the song says; the essence of a being reflects through all parts of its expression and what more natural source than joy for such an evocative scent!  

Unlocking our sense of smell and all the information it holds for us is a frontier that has been associated mostly with perfume and cooking, not(for me anyway!) with the mystical. It is thought-provoking to consider how fragrance is sourced from the quality of being that underlies its chemical formula. Smell is one of our interfaces of perception with the world, perhaps it could be more seriously considered as one of the voices of the subtle. It is a language which draws together so many layers of information for us as we step to discover those realms.

And it is not just flowery smells that inspire and express those mystical roots. The sweat of hard work and effort is an earthy smell, honest and grounded in itself. The tang of ocean, the freshness of laundry dried in the sun, the bitter hit of some herbs……the Sacred takes shape in a multitude of scented expressions and our noses are placed front and center to interact with them.

As we work more from qualities such as joy and gratitude, hope and courage, we too mix together a unique blend of presence that wafts out as a fragrance. Not all noses are equally tuned to its frequency but it is there as a gift of our sacred self, a gift of uniqueness carried by the wind, adding its note to the harmonies of the world.

I am inspired, humbled and definitely committed to strengthening the fragrance of joy my newly discovered yard-mate has brought into my life. I would love to think I could create similar delight with my own scent.

Journey-Into-Fire-Cover(120x185px)For an exploration of the sacred at the heart of our incarnation, join us for a free Teleclass on August 28, 2016 – 7:00 pm Eastern / 4:00 pm Pacific. Then, from September 12-October 16, join us for “Journey into Fire” – a five-week online class exploring ways in which we can discover our inherent sacred fire and learn to fully shine our “star” essence into the world. Click here for more information or to register.

Connections with Salad and Rhubarb Pie

By Freya Secrest

I have been enjoying fresh rhubarb pies this spring with rhubarb from my new garden – a gift from the former owners who planted and tended it before me. And to me it is such a treat – I was delighted to find the shoots when I uncovered the garden after the winter snows melted, careful to pull back the overgrowth of mint that surrounded it and committed to support its growth with some manure and mulching. Now the pies are a treat to make and share with others.

As I sit down to write about our Living Universe having just come in from tending my garden patch, I thought to share some of Dorothy Maclean’s early garden messages. I looked first for a message from the Rhubarb Deva and found this reminder of the contribution we humans make when recognize and appreciate our connectedness with the subtle life in our plants:

freya's rhubarb(1)

Whenever anyone contributes their attention, their feeling to a plant, a bit of their being mingles with a bit of our being, although unknown to you, and the one world is fostered. You humans are all very linked to us but until you give recognition to these links, they are as nothing and remain undeveloped. The plants contribute to human food and give of themselves and this also builds links, tangible ones, which though of the past, come into the present if recalled. This is one great use of memory, to recall the oneness of life.   

I am thankful for this timely reminder of what a difference my attention can make. It is easy at this busy point in the gardening season to be thinking only of tasks and checking them off my “to do” list without linking those tasks with an awareness of the wider physical and subtle ecologies within which they take place. Taking a moment for appreciation I reestablish those links, adding to the flow of vitality in my garden and contributing to the flow of connectedness and love that fuels all life.  

Linking with the inner realms of the nature world is really not more complicated than using our thoughtful appreciation. The devas continually point out that when we direct our attention to recognize our connectedness, we strengthen the very fabric of life for the benefit of all. It is too simple for us to believe it makes a difference, but it does. They brought this theme out again and again in their communications with Dorothy as in these two messages from the Lettuce Deva:

…We are very glad to have helped with your salads and, indeed, it has been a pleasure. These are not idle words; it is a great pleasure to have a word of thanks. I do not think that you quite realize how when you say ‘thank you’, you reach out into our world and add to your own benefit. Vital contact is made between our two realms, though you may feel nothing at the time. Let us long continue to bring increasing joy to each other.

….We would remind you that human help and thought, via both heart and mind can greatly influence plants. Humans can actually provide life force, which the little devas can turn into plant life. Limitless worlds can open up from this.

And a further thought from the Tomato Deva:

…Your feelings are powerful and that power directed to the plant can be used by us. We are different. We have our feelings all wrapped up in our work – our plants. But you of your own free choice can feel for something which need not concern you, and the fact that you so choose is a gift of power to us. We all share in the one life and bring it down into manifestation in our different ways. Life, force, power, you can send it to us and we pass it on too.


The Findhorn Garden was certainly one demonstration of the difference human appreciation can make, but these lessons and experiences can be applied in any garden. An attitude of gratitude in our daily lives creates a connection with the livingness of the world. When we use our memory to recall the oneness of life as the Rhubarb Deva suggests, the links we establish widen our sense of joy, health and well-being, and flow back into our own life, strengthening our possibilities of creativity and fulfillment.

The growing season is just coming into its fruition with mid-summer only a few days away. I invite you to offer your appreciation to your subtle garden colleagues as you enjoy the bountiful berries, fruits and vegetables you eat over the summer. Build your links with the life of our world through appreciating the color and texture, smells and tastes of the produce you harvest or bring home from your farmer’s market or grocery store. Add your voice to the celebration of the Oneness of Life.

In the Spirit of Dancing Shoes

By Freya Secrest

A delightful part of my understanding of a Living Universe is that there are no boundaries to Life; the vital spark of sacredness moves through everyone and everything. But how far does that really extend? In my own experience and for others such as Dorothy Maclean, it extends even into the man-made world.  Here is one of Dorothy’s early (unpublished) meditations from her inner guidance:

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-feet-walking-rocks-creek-1-500x333(1)Now, you would tune into the spirit of shoes…a spirit with many facets. Dancing shoes take a bow before you. Work boots plod before you – Chinese clogs, athlete’s flying movements, high-heeled daintinesses. Can it speak? Oh, volumes! A shoe serves so many purposes – and without thanks! Shoes protect, make possible your movements, warm you, conduct the earth essences into your body and back again, give you color, finish the outward whole.

Give thanks for your shoes. Next time you polish them, think of them as living things and be grateful. This is a tiny aspect of your life which you take for granted. Take nothing for granted. This is part of My divine life, serving you. Mankind has use of all God’s gifts for your purposes, but when you give thanks in the doing, the Spirit of Life itself is lifted.

By appreciating the role each thing fulfills, its form and function in the world, and the energy that went into its making, we open the door to the mysteries of an inter-related, living universe. It is not a mystical, energetic fantasy but practical service appreciated in its relationship to the world that introduces us to the heart and soul of an object and establishes its livingness. As Dorothy’s message points out, even man-made things like shoes are part of this livingness of our universe, bringing their uniquely created purpose into action, action that enhances the flow of all life as it moves in the world.

We as human beings can enhance that flow of life but it is a role which we are now only beginning to understand. Our attention, directed toward an appreciation of the form, pattern and purpose in the things around us, energizes the life force in the world we touch. I remember one experience I had with a cherry wood floor my husband and I installed in our home. After the installation was completed, I was sitting on the couch and admiring the floor – its color in the sunshine, the pattern of the wood grain in each board. I felt uplifted by its beauty. For a moment I felt my spirit of appreciation was received and returned. There was a blessing exchanged that enhanced both the floor and myself. Over the years the floor was often noticed and appreciated, touching many who walked in that room, and it continues to add a glow of beauty to every family gathering and meeting held there.

It is not hard to appreciate beauty, and not a big step to appreciate those things we find useful or delightful as an expression of the sacredness of life. By so doing we enhance the flow of aliveness in our world.  Who would think it could be that easy?

Would you like to explore your energetic partnership with our "living universe"? Refine your skills of subtle perception and connection? Our six week online class, "Working with Subtle Energies", begins on May 9. (There's a free teleclass on May 4.) Click here for more information or to sign up.

Cedar of Lebanon

Meditation by Dorothy Maclean, Commentary by Freya Secrest

One of the things I love about reading Dorothy Macleans’s deva messages is that they allow me to participate in the fullness of the experiences they carry. For me the words create more than a mental image; they convey a quality of being which is deeply nourishing and instructive. In this way they help me to widen my own ability to embody the qualities of which they speak. When I move into the felt sense of a communication in this way, ideas such as "joy" or "grounding" become rooted in a physical, loving connection with my world and all are enriched.

Dorothy’s messages from the trees especially offer an experience of peace and balance that is so valuable to strengthen in our world at this time. The following two communications were recorded during a visit she made in 1972 to Attingham Park, an estate in Southern England.  As do all her messages from the devic kingdom, they offer us an invitation to recognize our brotherhood on behalf of the planet.  -  Freya Secrest


Cedar of Lebanon, Warwick Castle Grounds by M_Eriksson


 Cedar of Lebanon- Peace is what we give you at the moment.  You humans are all of a dither with new energies and we would counterbalance you. Peace and stability; you find that and then build.  It is no use building on foundations that would crumble; it is no use building on wonderful new ideas unless you can ground them.  We do not mean that they should be grounded with old ideas, but on the inner peace and stability which is deep within.  As you make some action without, there should be more action within - in fact, the within should come first and that is just the trouble with so many humans.  See how our enormous limbs are balanced in peace.  When the storm comes, we go with it and keep the balance.

The mind world of humanity is bursting its seams.  Let it burst.  Many ideas will be bubbles that will come to nothingness.  That does not matter; keep your roots in peace, and experiment.  Experiment until you find that which comes through perfectly.  As a baby learns to walk, learn to walk in your new world with a conscious link to peace within.  This is our particular message now.

Cedar of Lebanon - Many lives come and go, and still our power goes up to the sky and down to the earth.  This is the power of the Almighty of which we are caretakers in this moment of time.  Our serene strength stabilizes and makes upright whatever comes to us in openness, for we are living matter, fashioned from the elements, and we are kin to all life.  You and I are blood brothers, made from the same substance, each fulfilling our destiny on this planet.  I contain you in my towering strength, and you contain me in your towering aspiration.

You humans are despoiling our power on earth, interfering with our destiny.  In the process you are learning of your own destiny. We hope that proudly you may take it on, and enrich the earth as never before.  You can enrich it with your enlightened love.  

We can love together and be free together, for although we are tree and human, we are much more. We are representatives of divinity, and we never end through the endless ages.  We go on from strength to strength, each in our own way. Let us be one in that universal Power of Life.


For these and other tree meditations from Dorothy Maclean, please take a look at Call of the Trees, available in the Lorian bookstore.







Opening Possibilities with Our Attitude

Meditations by Dorothy Maclean, Commentary by Freya Secrest

 “As you bring your problems to Me, they are solved according to your attitude.  If you bring them to Me as a duty, yet keep a tight rein on them, holding them in mind and weighed down by them, you keep them with you.  They cannot be resolved unless you let go of them and let in an attitude conducive to the joyful solution of them.  Lightness and love are absolutely essential….” from Wisdoms by Dorothy Maclean

When looking for deva messages that speak to my practice of Incarnational Spirituality to share with you this month, I found several that highlight the ways I am learning to reframe my attitude and choose,  again and again throughout the day, to live into the sacredness of my life.

Central to my inner experience of the sacred after times of silent attunement or moments of wonder and awe is a sense of connectedness. I look to give that sense the room to ‘bloom’ in my daily life by initiating the attitude of joy and appreciation that Dorothy’s messages point out. I find this invites and unfolds the Sacred in everyday ways that on my own I could never imagine into being.

My most recent experience of this practice has come up due to a recent move back to the midwest.  There are many details to juggle to transfer the many structures of support, like bank accounts and driver’s licenses, and new ones to set in place, like snow removal and car repair connections. Such tasks can use up much time and generate frustration in me. When I make my first step in these tasks with my attention on cultivating a joyful attitude, I have noticed my sense of overwhelm is lessened and a response of connectedness meets me as I move through my tasks. When I can hold this attitude, 'solutions' come up alongside any ‘problems’ and I have greater ease at making any needed adjustments.  Attention to attitude helps me make the space for new possibilities to emerge.—Freya Secrest


Rows of us, like the spikes of the plant, seem to be calling you to come up, to leave the denseness of human life and join our gaiety and movement.  Don’t you see that all of life can be enjoyed in this spirit; don’t you see that your gloomy view of anything is but an unnecessary weight having no reality except in your mind?  We know well that when you are born on Earth you are plunged into levels of world thought which are dinned into you until you accept them as natural and even argue that anything else is unrealistic, but now at this time we add our voices to urge you to look up, rise and only accept into your consciousness that which is good.  Accept your problems as something delightful, a game, happy events from which new awareness comes, for such they are in reality.  Let them lift you up instead of weighing you down, for indeed that is why you have them. 

lavender(1) There is an answer, a way out, to all that befalls you, and it is up to you to find it.  You won’t find it if you look for it on the same level which presents it; it would not be a problem then, it is only a problem because your awareness is confined and caged.  But the problem is an opportunity to extend yourself, to let in more light, to rise and enjoy more of life  Someone else may point the way for you but the problem is one of your consciousness and one which only your consciousness can solve.  You cannot blame anyone else – that is, and be accurate – and its solution depends on your movement.

This is the sort of things we see so clearly in humankind and which you often see so clearly in another, but remember it applies to yourself.  When you find yourself in a difficult situation, rise and laugh at yourself, keep the touch of lightness and that in itself may show you the way.  Be grateful for the opportunity for growth and movement.  Don’t bemoan your fate and pass on negativity, find and spread the light.  Life is a pattern of growth and expansion of Light and Love; act on it as such and transform your world.  You humans and we angels are of one substance and we take every opportunity to emphasize this, to bring a spark of light to your life, as we do to the life of a plant, and to join our worlds with yours in joy.  We do love all life so much, and so will you when you rise and see that all is very well.  In your attitude is the way; rise and find the way." --Lavender Deva from Seeds of Inspiration by Dorothy Maclean


For more inspirational messages by Dorothy Maclean, please visit Lorian's Bookstore.