Departure: caretaker’s diary

On departure day, as I watched the group prepare to leave, they packed nothing at all. They took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear: their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string containing personal effects such as churingas (totemic identity badges); their Wood and Grass carrying bowls, coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies; their custom-made digging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps; beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased.

Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. I remember how strange theses names were to begin with, but how now they have become the objects they describe. They are so beautiful, so practical and of course hand-made using only the materials the Desert provides.

If only you could have been there to see them go. Ninija’s tribe, leaving the disorganised collection of tin-roofed huts, each with its rubbish heap outside. All naked and all barefoot, now all indifferent to white man’s comfortable way of living!

They are mostly advanced in years, weakened by a cultivated dependence on ‘Easy’ supplies of ‘civilised’ bags of white sugar, flour, pre-packed snacks, tea-bags. Modern medical assistance and intervention was forced on to them at the settlement; their own natural remedies and healing practices kicked aside as voodoo.

Ninija, leading the exodus, tall and broad. Her strong frame stooped to carry the extra weight gained as a result of unaccustomed starch and lack of exercise. Her hair a flaxen thatch cropped short by sharp ‘white fella’ scissors. She carried a large Grass dilly bag slung over one shoulder, a digging stick of the Pelican clan across the other. And held loosely down by her thigh the perfect wooden cylinder of her treasured Bone coffin, decorated as distinctively that of a Traditional Landowner. This would soon contain the precious remains of her son ginger.

At her side was small gina, her granddaughter, ninija’s successor to be. She was strapped up with her own digging stick of the Porcupine clan. Her grandmother’s coolamon, carrying bowl, balanced perfectly on her small head. Gina spiked the sand as she walked with a black tightly furled umbrella, outsized for her, its crook and ferrule of lacquered wood now flaked by strong Sun.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was joined occasionally by competing Kangaroos. On one side they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. I had been so surprised to come across wild Camels in the Australian Desert. Apparently, they were once imported by Arabian explorers and have now become naturalized. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow Wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to the full Moon.

The shimmering tribe was walking away from civilization, from ‘security,’ from ‘safety,’ without compasses. Away from health care and education. Away from the culture of ‘the thinking’ stuffed with words and ideas.

Following them, at some distance, was the party of newly arrived white workers adorned in multiple protective layers. They were led by the tall blond rifca in her loose-fitting blood red dress. Rifca. She was to help in much greater ways than the practical work of building shade shelters assigned to her and her group. Like me, she was to become a link between ancient Desert knowledge and wisdom and modern People. But that’s another story for another ‘here’ and ‘now.’

To read more of my extraordinary experiences with Australian indigenes, please read my book: Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day

http://youtu.be/8Tc7XuC U38k

                                               images courtesy of Linden Thorp and megapixyl.com

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BaBA (2010)

Cover Picture

BaBa (2010)

The chanting to a desert god, unidentified but certainly made of sound and sand.

The tenderness of absent fingers playing with both grains and vocal vibrations.

The desert is the constantly metamorphosing place of awe and the work place of the visible and the invisible as one, and the man and the woman and what they can create whether bodies turn away or face, are the faint scribbles on its back.

There is the pain of digging ruts into the eternal change to grow sustenance to feed deceitful flesh in each legato phrase, wobbling in the overtones, as the unknown god asserts its sacredness. And the vessel to hold the spirit in gelatin failing to trust that food can be manifested in sound, squeezes away the life she has pushed out of her.

Then the dark clouds ruffle the volatile fabric, and the chanting and the murdering pause long enough for a blink of the human eye and the need to sit the silent twin in a vertical grave to let the spirit back out from where it jumped in.

The reed has its own percussion like the human voice. But can its brittleness convince blown hot air spiked with poisonous gases better than flesh can?

The silence of urges to make more, to bring more vessels to fill, to drop them into the planet trust without warning.

The labour is short, the diagnosis of birth imprecise, and the produce slips out smoothly. There is no water to waste in cleaning away blood and the puss life needs.

No water, but there is sand to brush and grind it away.

Directors: George Inci et al

Writer: George Inci

Cast: Aisha Bhiet, Beatrice von Moreau, George Inci

German/Morrocan

Embodiment

erotic

The erotic burns images into our soul. Or does it simply mirror them? This happens at an unexpected moment when an image, word or sound ignites a deep feeling completely out of the blue. It takes us by utter surprise, the body reacts without the mind’s interference, and we just know it is a pure and ancient event. It is like falling in love with a stranger or recognizing our life-partner or a relationship from another lifetime or dimension. It is a moment when real sincerity burgeons and we make contact with ourselves outside the restrictions of social structure and norm, beyond all the layers. This is our true nature. It is feminine, yielding, at peace naturally. It is transformative karma if we can allow the feelings to fly. 

It is sad and shocking that in a developed world dominated by masculinity and competition the erotic has become enmeshed with sex and pornography, the consumerisation of human feelings. Eros is the god of true love, of the coming together of two souls. Strong feelings often lead to demonstrative behavior – standing up and shouting, murder, betrayal, the giving of oneself totally, suicide – but so what. Why is the human body and its ability to merge with another so shocking? It is reduced to an object by the constant witness that polices the intellect arm in arm with the Law and Organized Religion.

Suddenly an apparition in a film brings tears to my eyes, my throat tightens and my heart beats rapidly. I cannot believe it is me shedding tears watching a screen in a comfortable seat. She is a middle-aged widow dressed in chic Chanel black, hair coiffured immaculately, stocking seams straight, sipping at champagne, and behind her is the heals of the Eiffel tower.

A man she doesn’t know walks towards her to look at the view and her. He gets closer and they strike up conversation briefly, he lighting her gold-filtered cigarette though he doesn’t smoke. Then she gives him her card with long coral-lacquered fingernails, and tells him to ring her any time after 5:00. He is mesmerized and so are we as we watch. We know nothing of either story except their suffering and isolation which has attracted them to each other.

His visitor status in Paris is nil – living in a filthy cheap hotel, all his possessions stolen from him while he slept on a bus, and forced to work for his keep for the owner as a night-watchman. His whole purpose is to see his young daughter again after his mother has brought a restraining order against him so he writes a perpetual letter to her and stalks her. But one day he takes up the woman’s invitation.

Roles are reversed and she makes all the moves in the hallway, dangling kisses which disintegrate him, undressing him, confronting his habitual domination and taking him. She holds him back with the force-field of her eyes while revealing his erect flesh to the brush of her lips, unconditionally releasing his pent-up seed and then bathing him lovingly. There are neither questions nor answers, no parameters based on time or space, and the social conditioning is a priceless vase dropped on marble from a great height.

Two foreign angels are released from their tight protein ropes in the City of Light. They allow each other to fully embody their divine essence in the dark apartment, and all the synthetic layers, the spots and spores of differentness planted by urbanization, drop away.

They are Greek gods of love just like Eros and they can walk around among us.

erotic 1

 

valid-lit-logo

Letter to the people of the developed world from Ninija

native

Dear rifca and team,

If we had met, i may have looked like some kind of naked white wild man, caked in red mud, squatting in a decrepit hut in remote desert scrubland. ninija and her people always call us ‘white-fella ghost,’ as you probably know. And you may think that I am trapped here in the Desert just like lumaluma was. ‘lumaluma?’ That’s another strange name the Desert people have for white skins, but especially those who exploit ninija and her people.

ninija, as traditional landowner of these Lands, which stretch further than the human eye can see, was almost torn out of them, as you’ll see in her story. Actually, roughly translated, ‘lumaluma’ means ‘money-money’ in their ancient tongue. However, ‘wild white man’ or ‘lumaluma,’ neither name applies to me: in fact, very far from it.

ninija and her people all left the settlement some time and day before ‘right now’ and ‘right here,’ on the evening of the twelfth day and The Djang. it was full Moon, a highly auspicious signal. we couldn’t notify you of this, and i can’t tell you when it was exactly.

Today, i decided to come inside this clammy hut to get my last experience of being in ‘white-fella’ Lands before I leave too. i should explain this key phrase so vital to life out here. ‘The Lands’ is the term used by ninija to represent not only the physical country belonging to their tribe, but also its spiritual dimension. They consist mainly of Stories, Legends, and the Tribal Laws.

‘The Lands’ having other dimensions apart from the physical may seem a strange notion at first, but ninija’s story will explain this beautifully. She officially entrusted it to me for safe-keeping just before she departed, exactly as the Moon started to rise, certain it was time the world knew about it and that you rifca would make sure it did. she knew you would come in your red dress, referring to you as ‘red-dress woman.’

So, standing behind the Fly screen inside this clammy ‘dog-box,’ as these temporary shelters of concrete and tin are called, for the very last time, i recall vaguely how it used to be home to me. ‘Right here’ and ‘right now,’ as i look through the dusty mesh, it seems that i have always looked out at the vast blue Desert Sky and the red Ochre of the Land below it.

The two are held together by the dark outline of the huge Casuarina Tree, which ninija’s people so cherished. They insisted on making their settlement around it, and i can still see them all staring in wonderment up into its muscular Branches, especially so at the meetings of the Elders which were convened at its massive base.

Then, somewhere in this rectangular frame of the mesh that I stare into, there is me. My pale eyes and white skin reddened by the colossal heat, my unkempt hair and fuzzy beard strained through the thousands of minute wire cells to become part of everything outside. Then, everything outside is filtered back to become part of me. One moment, i become the strong Tree and the stunning blue and red, and the next the Sky and Earth somehow take on my pale strangeness. There is no separation at all, and there is no beginning to my gazing and no end to it. ‘Right Now.’ ‘Right Here.’ ‘Now.’ ‘Here.’ On and on. i personally call it total ‘integration.’ ninija taught me how to do it.

Outside, as I look from one rubbish heap to the next, it nowadays seems bizarre that the ‘developed’ human species has a compulsion to collect material objects. Then, to sequence and sort them, arranging them in heaps like these, or on shelves, or inside custom-built drawers and cupboards, in albums or boxes. With time, the collections become the entire identity of the collector.

In fact, these rubbish heaps exist exactly because ninija and her people have no use for disposable material goods. They snatch them with no sense of gratitude, initially aroused by their novelty, attracted by their unaccustomed colours and textures, by ‘toys,’ ‘culinary aids,’ paper goods, textiles, plastic fashioned into shapes. Then they pass through their fingers and discard them. In this way, the heaps of mixed ‘civilized’ gifts accumulate inside and outside their uninhabited dog boxes. They very quickly discard those too.

ninija told me that she could not stay inside the dog-box allotted to her by her benefactors because she was made separate from Sky and the Lands. In fact, I would say that not one of these provisions made for her and her people by the ‘white-skin’ colonists, are of any value in their traditional lives out in the Desert.

On that night of their departure, on my way back from the disposal of my own data collection in the ‘civilized’ rubbish heaps, i made my final walk around the deserted settlement. I looked up into the massive Casuarina Tree, its strong arms holding up Sky and balancing Moon, its roots gripping Earth. i stared out at the wind-disturbed remains of the sacred Burial Grounds built entirely out of Sand: the purification trenches, the Dreaming mounds.

i climbed on to gina granddaughter’s evening hillock where she used to howl at the sunset each day, and I sat up on ninija Rock by the Water hole and lumaluma’s hollow, the highest point in the Lands. it was from here that ninija as chief could carry out her duties as overall keeper of the Lands.

‘Traditional Landowner ninija – sole keeper of the Stories, Songs and artifacts of her people and her Lands.’ That is her full title. Now, she has gone to find another Rock deeper inside her massive Lands, which stretch across the hottest area of the world. There will be new Stories and Songs to record about her journey, but not by me this time. i am no longer an observer, and you will probably not be able to find us in the interior. i must warn you that you and your team take your life in your hands walking into the roaring furnace of the interior without Totem initiation or Dreaming protections.

On departure, as i watched the group prepare to leave, they packed nothing at all. They took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear: their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string, containing personal effects such as churingas (totemic identity badges); their Wood and Grass carrying bowls, coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies; their custom-made digging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps; a range of beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting both for children and women; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased. Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. This is the local terminology, which you may not be familiar with. i remember how strange theses names were to begin with, but how now they have become the objects they describe; no other interpretations are needed out here. They are so beautiful, so practical and of course hand-made. (2839)

For my part i, like ninija and her people, have discarded the baggage I do not need. Need is so often an illusion. ‘Right Here’ and ‘Right Now,’ i am certain that all i need can be found in the Vast Hot Desert. No, i’ll go further and say i am completely sure that ‘the Lands’ will provide everything. Today, from my strange position between worlds, i can never ever forget their departure. it has for me the quality of a fantasy, the first-hand experiencing of a fable or myth. There was no need for ‘goodbyes,’ only the silence of real trust.

Looking around inside this dark clammy dog-box, i remember so clearly when i first arrived at the settlement ‘back-then.’ i would sit in the boiling evenings surrounded by all means of gadgets and potions to keep my tender skin safe from the Desert ‘greedies.’ Then the Wet season came and flooded out my dog-box, ruining my transmitter. No further supplies were delivered.

It was when i was utterly consumed with my mortality, not any longer daring to step outside, that i began to speak in my dreams. At first my dry lips seemed to be talking to myself using strange unconnected strands of language. i became quickly persuaded that i was in the early stages of malarial madness. But then i realized that there was someone else involved. i was dumbfounded when I immediately got an answer to a question i asked myself, searching wildly in my four clammy corners for its provider.

Soon, after this mystical dialogue with ninija had begun, my aids to protection from Desert assaults did indeed run out entirely. Then one strange night, besieged as usual by armies of Flies in here, i inexplicably removed all my clothes, opened this Fly-screen door, and walked outside. To my amazement, i no longer compulsively swatted or cursed the winged squadrons. i was no longer repelled by their persistent tickling and foraging for moisture.

Outside, Moon welcomed me and banished all fears of poisonous Snakes and pernicious Spiders. i was given permission by the Great Mother to be a naked and innocent creature, without collections of possessions or status. i no longer had any use for sensual cravings, and suddenly my heart and mind were empty of their stuffing of pictures and words.

i stood there with my bare feet dredged in Desert dust turned blue by the moonlight, shrouded by Insects for which bared white flesh was a new sensation. i was empty and yet full. Instead of images, many of which had been planted there by the media throughout my life, the battery of my being was charged with Desert, Earth, Air, Sky, and Moon.

That night, quite soon after stepping naked outside, ninija arrived and led me, without any verbal instructions, away from the settlement. she turned left and right ahead of me among interminable thickets and Mulga scrub, as if obeying invisible signposts. Her broad back was dark blue in colour as we walked quickly. Then, beyond the hillocks of Spinifex Grass, which she and her people called ‘Yellow Hill,’ we went on to a collection of large holes dug into the ground. They were deep and smooth-sided.

ninija turned and pointed at one, and i knew to climb down into it. she slowly lowered her strong body into the hole to straddle me, her cheeks swelling and emptying rhythmically, her eyes closed. Then she began to produce long rivulets of saliva, which silvered down the narrow cleft between our bodies into the bottom of the hole, reaching blind arms below us to knead her mouth fluids with the skin of Earth to make paint.

Then her black eyes opened and penetrated my blue eyes as she brought her fingers close to me and began to paint the traditional patterns known as ‘clan lines’ on my naked body. she made what looked like Fish or Reptile scale shapes which ranged down my chest and thighs, and a huge tooth-filled jaw line across the width of my collar-bone. As she painted, she unexpectedly pronounced the words ‘Baru, Crocodile!’ Finally, moving to my head, on my cheeks she painted Baru’s tiny hooded eyes, and on my chin, his ovoid nostrils. i shuddered.

She directed me to lie face-down in the clay grave. Then i felt her strong fingers marking bigger scale shapes across my back, and Crocodile’s thick spine in line with my own.. i demanded to know why she likened me to a Reptile, exactly what type of Crocodile i was, and so on. But she remained immune to my talk. After a time, the realization of how inappropriate words and thoughts were on this occasion slammed into my mind, and i was silenced.

When she had completed painting me she told me in broken English that the Great Mother had shared my soul with Baru, Crocodile. That i must go and watch and care for my scaly brother and sister ‘Totems’ down by Green River. Baru, Crocodile Man, according to the Dreaming myths, created Fire with the friction of his tail by accident one day during a ritual.

my clan lines painted, ninija left me in the strange blue light of the Desert clay hole. i had only ever seen pictures of Crocodiles, and most of them were in zoos! Everything was to be transformed after this night. (2166)

To explain further, as you probably are aware, ancient peoples live so closely with Nature that when babies are born they are immediately associated with a particular animal or natural object or phenomena like weather. That then becomes their ‘totem’ or emblem, and they become the caretakers of it and are strongly spiritually linked with it for their entire life. In this way, they can protect and nurture their natural environment.

Baru. me. i have been down to Green River day after day, often sleeping there, always within watchful distance of Crocodiles. i have even learned to swim with my brothers and sisters. they are pleased to see me, their tails waving rapidly.

it was quite soon after i started my wordless dialogue with ninija that she gave me sole custody of her special Story. This was a supreme act of faith. she knew in some deep way that she could trust me to be her representative to the developed world. Although, she and her people had no reason to believe in modern men of european descent, or in anyone with vaguely white skin.

As a result of this amazing process of piecing together her Story, i believe now that a Story is a precious jewel found by accident in a pocket. it is to be brought out again and again, gazed at closely, breathed on and polished with a silk scarf, then secreted away once more in the darkness. i marvel at the change in me as these words tumble out. me-the academic, the one who once detested anything ‘made-up,’ and craved the facts and proofs.

ninija says that Stories are made of pure Sun and Moon, without time, without space. she insists that they live deep in the veins, the soles of the feet, far behind the eyes, and that their energy is indestructible.

ninija knew that i must communicate her story through the elaborate means of the written word. First i must find enough pens, spend hours at my notebooks reviewing and correcting, attempting to pin down ‘the Lands’ on white-fella’s paper. she giggled, calling my spiky handwriting, Running Ants. i meanwhile envied the simplicity of being able to commit everything to memory as she did and her ancestors before had always done.

you will also have noticed by now in my letter that natural phenomena and anything connected with glorious death or Djang always start with a capital letter, and humans and anything made by them with a small. ninija insisted on this to show respect to the Great Mother and Father Earth. she hit me hard on the head with her digging stick when i suggested we must start all sentences with a capital letter. she was adamant that if her name or any unnatural thing began that sentence, it must be small, and this included ‘you’ or ‘i,’ or pronouns of any kind.

If only you could have been there to see them go. ninija’s tribe, leaving the disorganized collection of tin-roofed huts, each with its rubbish heap outside. All naked and all barefoot, now all indifferent to white man’s comfortable way of living! ninija, leading the exodus, tall and broad. her strong frame stooped to carry the extra weight gained as a result of unaccustomed starch and lack of exercise. her hair a flaxen thatch cropped short by sharp scissors. she carried a large Grass dilly bag slung over one shoulder, a digging stick of the Pelican clan across the other. And held loosely down by her thigh the perfect wooden cylinder of her treasured Bone Coffin, distinctively that of a Traditional Landowner, containing the precious powdered thigh Bone of ginger son.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was joined occasionally by competing Kangaroos. On one side, they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. i too, as I know you will be, had been so surprised to come across wild Camels in the australian Desert. Apparently, they were once imported by arabian explorers and have now become naturalized. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow wings through indigo Sky, muttering to full Moon. The shimmering tribe was walking away from civilization, from ‘security,’ from ‘safety,’ away from Health Care and Education, and from the culture of ‘the thinking’ stuffed with words and ideas.

Before the Desert and ninija ‘back-then,’ i was a human camera. i was an archivist, and a repository for captions. ‘Say it. See it. Say it. See it. Check it. Now prove it!’ After arriving here, i soon stopped looking and listened instead, and so slid into my rightful place. Now, if i cease listening to the Universe for an instant, ninija strides into to my mind and elbows me roughly in the ribs. she strictly guides me back from the needy eye, and from the very needy ‘i’ of my ego.

Communicating with you is the final thing keeping me here at the deserted settlement. The manuscript is carefully secreted, wrapped in Grass and Paper Tree bark, deep inside the base of the massive Casurina. Beware of Gina-ganddaughter’s porpcupines fiercly guarding the tree! There will be no corrections. No critique. No rewrites. No editorial whims. That is it. i will not be at the end of a telephone to negotiate this and that, a capital letter here, a new paragraph there.

That piece of white-fella’s business completed, i will now set off in the same direction as the tribe went, through the Buga Hills. i will vigilantly watch for ninija’s Fires and make my own to let her know everything is accomplished. In this way, she will guide me to her and i will be with her forever.

Take care ‘right there’ and ‘then.’

day and night beings

INTEGRATION

sky phoenix

 The following will be interspersed with the indigenous voice of an Australian tribal leader.

Putting aside the man-made lenses of ‘time,’ ‘space,’ ‘race’, ‘gender,’ and ‘money,’ and so on, is the only way to integrate into life’s true course. This is how we can best begin to repair the damaged links of the broken chain of existence, as we perceive it. The human race has interfered persistently with what is natural, almost insisting on creating its own reality and then imposing it on others, instead of listening to the truth and staying put. We have traditionally searched outside for our sensual satisfaction and the realisation of dreams, when all the time the glories of our human existence lie inside, deep within our divine spirit.

We have therefore become disintegrated beings because we block what is natural, always choosing to ‘live’ indirectly, vicariously, or ‘outside’ reality in our minds, our noses pressed up against the glass. We were given life 2.5 million years ago, secular or sacredbut why do we still utilize so little of our cerebral potential (10% maximum) and fail to realize our divine potential. We claim that we are ‘civilized’ when we lie and cheat, abuse and kill, suffer and seek revenge so readily.

Given the passage of so much time since our birth, is it reasonable to assume that we are handing down the information and knowledge needed to improve and develop us? Or are we unable to access our immense resources because we have lost the skills and tools to do so? We mostly defer to one crude tool only, the intellect. Is this why we are swallowing our pride and seeking the help and ingenuity of indigenous people whom we once pronounced ‘savages’ to live in a way meaningful to the planet?sound

In our present state, it seems that we may never repair the conceptual ‘circles’ and ‘cycles’ and ‘phases’ of universal energy we have adopted to try to understand it. The irony is that we were never meant to understand it, just accept it, integrate with it, because our personal energy is already a component part of it. The leaves of a tree do not question their existence.

We are already on the inside if only we looked directly, but education in the developed world is designed to develop individual intellects, to produce leaders and hierarchies, to control. In contrast, day and night beingsindigenous people in their traditional lives are always inside looking out; they are active participants in the centre of a universal reality. They stand in the eternal stream of energy, both visible and invisible, and in their natural, uncorrupted state, they are entirely accepting and consequently wise. There are no choices for them because they are finely tuned to something far greater than the human ego.

ninija, traditional landowner and spiritual leader, says:

White-fella they come before, talking on and on. They tell ninija what ‘best.’ We not understand ‘best.’ We not choose. We no choice. We just. White-fella choose, count, talk and point with long-long white finger.

By way of an example of this ‘disintegration’ mentioned above, we outsiders can visualise beautiful things in immense detail by virtue of our superb memories. Beautiful flowers have been immortalised by photographs, and works of art, and are also smoking togetherquickly recalled. Thousands of images are stamped onto our memories, in fact, so there is no need to go to find the real thing. Indeed, even if we do encounter the real flower, it may be in a contrived garden and we may compare it with those in our mind collections. We are addicted to recalling its name, both common and scientific, its country of origin, the soil and climate type it prefers, as well as its use as a motto or symbol, its rarity and health benefits, and so on. So, we are rarely experiencing the flower directly, but instead through interpretations or representations.

Add to this that the species has probably been transplanted from its original site, changing as it adapts to a new environment, and is analysed in great detail so we know its every characteristic. No stone is left unturned in the present world it seems so that the drive to make all waitingthings common knowledge is at its height. Traveling to remote places to bring back mementos is applauded, and now the Internet is at our disposal to further accelerate these global trends. Indeed, we have become inveterate consumers with the means to go anywhere and everywhere to acquire whatever takes our fancy.

Indigenous peoples in their traditional state ‘own’ nothing except what they can custom-make from raw materials provided by the Earth. Here is a description of what the tribal members I helped to move from a state settlement back into their traditional lives were carrying as they departed into the Lands in the very center of Australia.

…they took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear. Their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string, containing personal effects such as churingas (totemic identity badges). Their Wood and Grass carrying bowls,  coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies.  Their custom-made digging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps. A range of beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting both for children and women.  And perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased. Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. All bone coffinshand-crafted and customised from Desert materials.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was occasionally joined by competing Kangaroos. On one side, they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to full Moon.

They most probably will die if they leave their Lands for any length of time, especially moving into synthetic, urban environments. Following is a description of the experience of ninija and her granddaughter gina, going to ‘white-fella’s city’ to collect the body of dead ginger-son. lumaluma is the ghost of white-fella who comes to plague ninija to be his concubine, all the time distracting her from her duties to officiate at her son’s Burial Ceremony. The Djang is the Djangthe greatest of all rites of passage for their people. (Notice the writing convention of all things belonging to Mother Nature are capitalised, and all those to humans are in lower case. ninija insists on this to show utter respect and gratitude)

When we bring ginger body back to Lands from city, lumaluma, he follow us. He bring him terrible sounds with him. Car. Truck. White-fella whirring engine. Many many people loud. i think i stop breathing because i not hear my own lungs crinkling shut then open again. i not hear lovely sweet flapping sound of just-knowing – lumaluma he call it “waiting.”

And smell? Smoke! They fill Sky so it like white night. i breathe fast because white night sting if it inside me. i pant like Dingo. i look out but only see white-fella wall, wall, and more wall. wall bigger than ninija Rock or Buga Mountains in Lands. wall and roof so I not see Sky. I cannot run without big hard concrete stop!

Camera photo lens with shutter. Vector EPS10

Camera photo lens with shutter. Vector EPS10roof so I not see Sky. I cannot run without big hard concrete stop!

In fact, knowledge of something is an indirect way of ‘knowing’ it. It stimulates our intellects and memories, but it is not reality. The phrase ‘snap-shot’ has become popular in recent years to describe how our minds are continually opening camera shutters, recording, archiving, attempting to make everything we encounter permanent. We are image consumers with very little need to turn away from our fantastic internal collections. But, so and is then imaged and archived for our collections. This habitual activity always pulls us back to our minds where everything is convenient and controllable. How can this be reality?

This is how I felt before I went to the Desert and encountered ninija and the Dreaming, and before ninija became my spirit guide.

Before the Desert and ninija ‘back-then,’ i was a human camera. i was an archivist, and a respository for captions. “Say it. See it. Check it. Now prove it!’ After arriving here, i soon stopped looking and listened instead, and so slid into my rightful place. Now, if i cease listening to the Universe for an instant, ninija strides into to my mind and elbows me roughly in the ribs. she strictly guides me back from the needy eye, and from the very needy ‘i’ of my ego.

Another aspect of the integration/disintegration mentioned above involves the concept of time. Indigenous peoples use only the moon and sun to regulate their days and nights, so they never wait, recover/change gear, or smoke a cigarette or swig time concept alcohol to help them to overcome the ordeal of living. Rarely do they become stressed by external pressures as we do, counting the seconds ticking on. They move smoothly from one instance of their life to the next, listening for their roles, so there are no concepts of work or leisure, etc. There is nothing else except seamless immersion in what the Earth and Great Mother Nature, their totem group, and their fellow tribesmen need. There is no media, but instead the songs and stories of celebration and morality, which are handed on orally and need no interpretation because they are concrete.

spaceThere are no gaps in this integration into their natural life for thinking, or planning, for speculation or analysis, for exaggerated emotions. So the idea of ‘time’ and its measurement has never been born. By comparison, modern urban dwellers continually seek  stimuli, and understandably are rarely connected into their own hearts and sincerity.

The original energy source of modern urban humans is permanent and indestructible, as it is for indigenous peoples, but we moderns have become compulsive archivists and rebuilders and therefore have damaged it. Surely, it is not possible to compartmentalise and analyse such sacred energy as we do: rice paddyConcepts and theories will never heal the diseased flora and fauna, rebalance the planet or prevent us from destroying each other. These interferences and interruptions in what is natural, fueled by human hubris and synthetic, excessive emotions, have turned us into an invasive species, a common garden weed, an alien. Shockingly, we move around intently seeking pleasure and status, and the fulfilment of our desires and wishes, almost exclusively to any other concerns.

We are also frantic to achieve something notable before our visible life ends and we become invisible and, as we see it, powerless. Whereas those who protect the natural environment and never ‘die’ have no white fella ghostsstatus, find contentment and pleasure exactly in the natural world, and live in the moment. They never hanker after tangible signs of their existence or use filters to alter their perceptions, change their mood, forget or bury the things that are distasteful or brutally honest.

We are all animals and yet we diverged from animal species as our brains developed. We wanted to be different, standing on two legs instead of four, reaching for the best fruit at the top of the tree instead of groveling for grubs. In this divergence, we lost touch with our instincts and intuitions, refusing to fit in with the natural order, and went all out to exploit the world’s resources for personal, religious or national gain. In so doing, we needed to stamp out the traces of ancient and indigenous cultures, as they presented an obstacle to our betterment. This was when we broke the virtuous circle, becoming determined to create eternitysomething entirely new. And because we turned our backs wholesale on natural wisdom, we were forced ironically into a ‘survival’ mode, using trial and error, making fatal or fortunate mistakes, and supposedly learning from them.

This crude hubristic way of living is epitomised in the Greek legend of Icarus, whose father Daedalus made wings of feathers and wax for them so that they could escape from their peril in Crete. Daedalus warned his son first about complacency, and then of hubris about their flight, demanding that he follow his flight path, neither too high nor too low. However, Icarus disobeyed and flew too close to the sun, which melted his wings and Icarusplunged him into the sea and he was lost. Icarus had become oblivious to the natural laws of balance and harmony, and so he lost his human life. Such pride and ignorance has been and will continue to be our downfall or nemesis as a species. It compromises our potential and creates suffering for the majority of inhabitants of planet Earth.

It has frequently been pointed out by religious and spiritual wisdom that ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and yet we constantly think we can invent and innovate, throwing out what already exists. Our motivation is often power, recognition, money and worse. And while we are investing all of our precious life’s moments in this ‘progress’ pursuit, ancient peoples are absorbed in being the stalwart custodians and protectors of reality. They are single-mindedly devoted to preserving, blending in, and living in awe of what already exists. Without a doubt, radical change is needed inside our minds, but not in the natural world. Our leaders need more awe 2wisdom to be able to work in equal partnership with what is natural.

In hindsight, it is easy to see that it is absolutely not necessary to make devastating often fatal mistakes, rushing blindly into situations and taking over officiously. We ‘developed’ people are constantly end-gaining, striving to reach goals which are often arbitrary in terms of the planet and the natural world, not to mention our spiritual well-being. As indigenous peoples and the enlightened will tell you, there actually are no ends as there are no beginnings. Existence is one eternal circle.

So, why can’t we use our higher minds to innovate and extemporise to enhance what already exists, rather than sweep it under the carpet? We can effortlessly stay in the universal circle in harmony, integrated and eager to gather wise beings around us. After all, rash acts spring from rash scentthoughts produced from our lower minds; whereas wise and considerate thoughts emanating from our higher minds, our true and divine origins, produce wise and balanced acts. Thoughts are after all acts in rehearsal.

In contrast, in their traditional lives Australian aboriginals are fully integrated. They flow with the tide of reality not against it, and so are absolutely ready to catch any ball that may be thrown to them. For them, there is no meta-reality, no perceived reality, no personal interpretation, because they are reality itself. They absolutely embody their Dreaming Lands. They are their feelings not simulacra as we are. But above all they are love and respect and awe for each other, and for the forces of nature and the Universe, which they consider to be their loving parents. They just embody what is – never thinking or speculating, selecting or deciding, always subjective (or submissive) to and fully aware of their divine origins. That’s why they easily die or succumb to outside influences if they are removed from their Lands.

They are part of the Dreaming reality at all times, fully integrated, and not at all separate.  They are immersed in what is known as the seamless ‘here-and-now.’ The arrogance of ‘civilized’ people tears them out of their own origins, their Lands, and leads them to pursue life for gain and power, always at a distance from reality, and often insincerely. They are rarely submissive, and if they are, Dreaming visionsthey are often viewed negatively by the mediocre majority and feel a sense of shame.

Right now, in this 21st centu ry world, the traditional existence of peoples of the Lands is about sustaining life in harmony with the environment which has been provided entirely due to the kindness of the Creation Heroes, as it has always been. The Dreaming Lands that embrace them indicate all they need to know for their spiritual elevation, and when they are ready, their spirit is released from their human vessel into the sky at the Djang, the most longed for Burial Ceremony, where they go on traveling in spirit form to learn more lessons.

ninija longs to tell lumaluma just how much her people are in love with death, but she daren’t. How they are in love with always moving on to what comes next in the grand plan, in love with travelling on in the eternal Sky. Each of them has a unique part to play, a particular mission to execute. They never worry about what might happen next, or had happened before. She knows civilised people see death as suffering and something to be afraid of. But to the Desert peoples the moment of death is the glorious culmination of their physical lives when their Spirits are released. They adore ‘death’ eternally as if it is a physical presence like the Spirit of Fire or Water. Instead of looking for the where-when-who-why-what-which of death, they just-know or hear its gentle watching over the deadapproach. They are rarely shocked at its arrival. Then, when the Djang arrives and the whole tribe celebrates their release in the Spirit World, pure joy consumes them.

Even in death they are not separate: in fact, they mostly long for the glories of death so they can go on to the next stage. They are listening people, aware of their intuitions and a multiplicity of ways of seeing into invisible realms. This deep flawless awareness creates a sophisticated consciousness which we developed peoples have almost completely lost touch with.

Because they do not think or speculate, or invest in the products of such intellectual processes, their spirits are not trapped like ours can be in the developed world. We can become stagnant, our goodness corrupte may alsobecome vulnerable to strong pressurization from beliefs imposed on us by others, such as religious, political or cultural, easily losing our sense of self-honesty and sincerity. Indeed, we are weakened by intellectual processes and imprisoned in a synthetic reality.native

Perhaps if we can keep in mind that our energy has taken on other forms in the universe, in the vast invisible world and eternity, so there will inevitably be ‘imprints,’ or ‘traces’ – call them eccentricities or idiosyncras – which may cause us to become either confused, or else fixed, or perhaps liberated. We need to remain supple, moving or flowing with life to avoid friction, to avoid fixing our characters or our views. If we release our grip on the visible, the flashing pictures, staying still and quiet and not struggling, we will open to other more subtle influences in the great silence and stillness. Indigenous Australians may stand entirely still on one leg on a high ridge for many hours. They are becoming one with the rock, sinking down into their native element Earth where they are utterly content and at rest.

balance 1Our arrogance, a product of the mind, has led us to see permanence in the world when in reality every atom is ephemeral, a mere flash. In truth, we are pure energy taking on a temporary human form to enrich our greater spirits and those around us. Our mission is to blend with the cosmic and universal energies of the universe, and of the invisible world. It is scientifically attested that energy flows where it will or is needed, so if we put aside our hubris and complacency as Daedalus recommended, we will be able to find balance and recognize our true mission. This is real freedom, not the synthetic free will which bamboozles us into thinking we are free when we are in fact prisoners of our own distorted minds.

The intellectual pursuit of Science also has unearthed the concept of DNA from which we can trace back our origins to 150,000 years ago on the plains of Africa. However, persuaded by the fragmentary view of scientific enquiry, we are great motherconvinced that only cutting edge, exorbitantly expensive instruments can measure this DNA. Be assured that we can learn to discern it the way the ancients do at no cost if we simply listen . Listen to our imprints laid by our ancestors and related spirits – a trait of our great-grandfather’s penchant for plants, a tendency towards cuisines or environments/cultures other than ‘our own,’ a talent or skill, passed down through energy configurations and cell constellations. We may dismiss these as fancy or imaginary, but that feeling or sense of some different presence other than what we fix in our minds as constituting ‘self,’ is a remnant of our discerning or divining powers. These are messages to help us to become integrated, to make us stable, content, fulfilled during this brief human sojourn.

It is asserted by scientists also that we were able to survive successfully as a species because we had sophisticated brains divine sparkskills. This enabled us to create the concepts of time, and so it is that ‘the past’ and ‘the future’ have captured our attention to the exclusion of the ‘now.’ The past and the future are illusionary: animals and plants do not have such a way of classifying.

Perhaps at this moment of cerebral sophistication in our evolution, we were able to outwit slower and less adapted species and so overtake them, but then our new consciousness made us arrogant, we ceased to listen to the natural laws, and wanted to replace everything in the name of progress. A concept of the future may be ingenious and effective in the short-term. However, it is evident now that even with scientific and technological advancement and all the measurements of environmental deterioration and the predictions of our ‘future’ decline, we remain arrogant and evasive about it. We apparently have not learned anything from the shocking mistakes we have made and consequences we have generated, and continue to make.

Cause-and-effect is perhaps a more useful model than ‘the future,’ in that every thought and its action creates an effect. It should not concern us in an intellectual way where and when that effect may be felt, but it does. Instead, we could focus more or making all our thoughts and actions positive and infused with the goodness we are endowed with naturally. That spirit made fleshrequires being ‘here-and-now’ always, like indigenous peoples, so that we can embody the abundance of love, compassion, humility, generosity and so on. We could work to extend them to those around us and to our environment, becoming custodians rather than capitalist hit-and-run types. Foresight is a wonderful tool at our disposal, but if the motivation to use it is dubious or entirely self-interested, then it becomes a dangerous weapon.

Two words in common currency in environmentalism are ‘ survival’ and ‘sustainable.’ We have tended to view desert life or indigenous life-styles as a hand-to-mouth ‘survival,’ always judging based on what we see. It is true that living close to nature is hard and we moderns have been weakened by our self-cherishing to the point where we would probably not survive in such a situation as indigenes can. But even though sound 2‘traditional’ life may look hard – nakedness may seem ‘savage’ and prone to misunderstandings, dirty fingernails and outside latrines unsupportable – it is certain that such lives are carefully controlled to maintain harmony and the thriving of all species. There is no sense of ‘self’ or personal needs: those come second. The environment, if respected, will always provide enough if not always the abundance which our insatiable minds crave. It is we modern urban dwellers who are surely the ‘survivors,’ lost in the wilderness of our negative realities, and of scarcity and lack. It is these realities which drive us towards greed and pre and post-posthumous acknowledgment and even glory.elders

‘Sustainable,’ on the other hand, is in origin ‘to hold from below’ implying stability, steadiness and acceptance. It is indigenous peoples who hold the key to sustainability, and it is certain that if we do not show respect and refrain from interfering with natural order, they will outlive us, returning to their place we invasive capitalists ousted them from.

Much of this way of seeing is based on my experience living with a tribe of aboriginals returning to traditional life. The adult members had either been taken or tempted away by white settlers to a convenient modern way of living, to money and work enslavement, and eventual death as victims of drug and substance abuse. The painting clan lineselders and young children had remained quietly in their settlements, weakened by convenience foods and alcohol, the children by white-fella education and concept-making to prevent the development of spiritual elevation and desert skills. Then they received a sign in the Dreaming Lands to move out of their inappropriate settlements and walk back slowly into their traditional lives deep in the South Australian Desert to resettle in their Lands once appropriated by the Government and Multinational companies.

I experienced, though briefly, what life was like without concepts, and was initiated by the tribal leader as a custodian of their stories and wisdom. It has therefore become my mission to convey her messages for sustainability to urban civilizations.

Version 2

You can read ninija’s story in ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day,’ Strategic Books, 2013 PB, 2015 epub., to get a taste of desert integration and wisdom. I wrote this article Integration in response to David Suzuki’s article in the Vancouver Sun, Aboriginal people, not environmentalists, are our best bet for protecting the planet. June 8th, 2015, link: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/David+Suzuki+Aboriginal+people+environmentalists+best+protecting+planet/11112668/story.html

Moment 6: departure

 

waterhole

On my way back from the disposal of my own data collection in the ‘civilised’ rubbish heaps, I made my final walk around the deserted settlement. I looked up into the massive Casuarina Tree. Its strong arms holding up the Sky and balancing the Sun: its roots gripping the Earth. I stared out at the Wind-disturbed remains of the sacred Burial Grounds built entirely out of Sand, the purification trenches, the Dreaming Mounds. I climbed on to Gina granddaughter’s evening Hillock where she used to howl at the Sunset each Day. And I sat up on ninija Rock by the Water Hole and lumaluma’s hollow, the highest point in the Lands.

stories 1

It was from here that ninija as chief could carry out her duties as overall keeper of the Lands. ‘Traditional Landowner ninija – sole keeper of the stories, songs and artefacts of her People and her Lands.’ That is her full title. Now, she has gone to find another Rock deeper inside her massive Lands which stretch across the hottest area of the world. There will be new stories and songs to record about her journey, but not by me this time. I am no longer an observer.

On departure day, as I watched the group prepare to leave, they packed nothing at all. They took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear: their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string containing personal effects such as churingas (totemic identity badges); their Wood and Grass carrying bowls, coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies; their custom-made digging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps; beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting; and perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased.

hollow log coffin

desert tools

 

Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. I remember how strange theses names were to begin with, but how now they have become the objects they describe. They are so beautiful, so practical and of course hand-made.

If only you could have been there to see them go. Ninija’s tribe, leaving the dis-organised collection of tin-roofed huts, each with its rubbish heap outside. All naked and all barefoot, now all indifferent to white man’s comfortable way of living! They are mostly advanced in years, weakened by a cultivated dependence on ‘Easy’ supplies of ‘civilised’ bags of white sugar, flour, pre-packed snacks, tea-bags. Modern medical assistance and intervention was forced on to them at the settlement, their own natural remedies and healing practices kicked aside as voodoo.

Ninija, leading the exodus, tall and broad. Her strong frame stooped to carry the extra weight gained as a result of unaccustomed starch and lack of exercise. Her hair a flaxen thatch cropped short by sharp ‘white fella’ scissors. She carried a large Grass dilly bag slung over one shoulder, a digging stick of the Pelican clan across the other. And held loosely down by her thigh the perfect wooden cylinder of her treasured Bone coffin, distinctively that of a Traditional Landowner. This would soon contain the precious remains of her son ginger.   churinga

gina

At her side was small gina, her granddaughter, ninija’s successor to be. She was strapped up with her own digging stick of the Porcupine clan. Her grandmother’s coolamon, carrying bowl, balanced perfectly on her small head. Gina spiked the sand as she walked with a black tightly furled umbrella, outsized for her, its crook and ferrule of lacquered wood now flaked by strong Sun.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was joined occasionally by competing Kangaroos. On one side they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. I had been so surprised to come across wild Camels in the Australian Desert. Apparently, they were once imported by Arabian explorers and have now become naturalized. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow Wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to the full Moon.

pelicans

The shimmering tribe was walking away from civilisation, from ‘security,’ from ‘safety,’ without compasses. Away from health care and education. Away from the culture of ‘the thinking’ stuffed with words and ideas.

Following them, at some distance, was the party of newly arrived white workers adorned in multiple protective layers. They were led by the tall blond rifca in her loose-fitting blood red dress. Rifca. She was to help in much greater ways than the practical work of building shade shelters assigned to her and her group. Like me, she was to become a link between ancient Desert knowledge and wisdom, and modern People. But that’s another story for another ‘here’ and ‘now.’

walking away

Wisdom Tip: Australian native tribes have been ‘civilized,’ cleaned up and taken to white-fella’s cities. But many of them have decided to go back to their Lands and traditional life. This story begins when ninija is leading her people, young and old,  back into the depths of the Lands where white-fella cannot survive. They carry only their precious handmade tools fashioned from desert materials, having discarded all white-fella’s gifts in heaps at the settlement. They have no fear. They are sure-footed in the knowledge that the Great Mother and Father earth will provide for them if they take care of the Lands, the songs and the stories.