Sometimes You Need Right Timing

“Sometimes my successes come quickly and at other times they are terribly slow to arrive. It is not my place to determine the speed at which they arrive or if they arrive at all. My place is to keep forging ahead no matter what.” 
Craig D. Lounsbrough

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I’ve been working on my memoir for a while now. I started it after many of you asked me to keep telling the story of my time in the Kimberley and of my Aboriginal Aunties.

I’m up to my eighth draft now, and I’m fairly sure this will be my final one. This week while I’m mostly in bed recovering from the flu I am making these last few changes. I’d been hoping to be working on it at a writers retreat this week, but I didn’t make the final cut. I would have been too sick to go anyway. Funny, that.

I’ve tried to get this thing out into the world a few times now, and it has never flown. Each time, after the rejection, I have let it sit for a while and then have reworked it. Each time it has changed quite dramatically.

I’d decided that no matter what happened with this latest opportunity that I would complete the draft and then send it on. When I began this latest edit a few days ago I was sure I knew what my story was about, what the themes were and what needed to be changed. And then I had a discussion with my sister. As we talked about family and history I suddenly understood that this draft was missing a major message – something one of those wise Aboriginal women had shared with me which had changed everything I thought about myself. I saw that if it could change everything for me it would do the same for many of you. Some truths are universal like that.

If this draft had not been delayed I would never have reached that critical realisation.

So I’m trusting in right timing. I’m trusting that every rejection and hold-up was needed to shape the story it will become. I’m trusting that very soon it will be time for this story to be born into the world.

Has that ever happened to you? That the timing was all wrong until suddenly it was right. Looking back you knew that every disappointment was okay because now you were exactly where you needed to be.

I’m so looking forward to sharing my story with you. Wish me luck as I labour through these last changes!

Much love to you, Nicole  xx

Last night I Dreamed of Owls

Image by James W Beck

Image by James W Beck

“I love the silent hour of night,
For blissful dreams may then arise,
Revealing to my charmed sight
What may not bless my waking eyes.”
~ Anne Brontë, Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters

 

Last night my dreams were all of owls.

The night sky was filled with them.

They watched me from every tree.

They followed me wherever I went.

I was not frightened of the owls. Instead I felt that finally I belonged. Their watchful observation made me feel safe.

Dream after dream, there they were. Eventually I flew up into the night sky with the owls. Auntie was there. My old Grandmothers too.

We flew through the dark night, watching the world below us. It seemed the most natural thing in the world.

Image copyright - David Tipling

Image copyright – David Tipling

I woke briefly, feeling happy.

My last dream was not of owls but Wandjinas – the great spirit beings of the Kimberley. I cannot remember how it ended. Only how it began.

This morning I can feel a shift inside me. I have a sense of waiting, of anticipation. There’s no hurry, but I know with every cell in my body that something is coming.

That’s okay.

I’m ready.

And Then It Was Done…

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“When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live.”Greg Anderson

 

Since early this year I’ve been hammering away at a memoir. I started writing it because you, dear readers, suggested that it was the thing you most wanted me to write. It’s all about my time in the Kimberley, and how that has shaped me.

‘How easy could it be?’ I thought, when I first started writing. I truly imagined I’d just throw a few words onto the page, and then a few more, and then it would be done. I did not expect that in writing about myself I’d have to face so many demons, drag up so many unwanted memories, or need to do so much self-reflection.

Easy? It’s the hardest thing I ever wrote. Dripping those words onto the page has been excruciating. And it has slowly taken over my life, these past few months.

But now I’m done.

I finished it yesterday afternoon. Hooray. I hope that one day soon it shall be a proper book, and that you will be able to hold that small part of my life in your hands.

Thank you. Without your encouragement, this manuscript would never have come into existence.

Much love and hugs, from a very tired but happy Nicole xoxo

The Owl and the Banshee

Banshee by OmniscientNerd

Banshee by OmniscientNerd

“Fairies in Ireland are sometimes as big as we are, sometimes bigger, and sometimes, as I have been told, about three feet high.” 
~ W.B. Yeats

 

As I have been writing my Kimberley memoir, tumbling words onto the page at all hours of the day and night, I find myself I need to talk again about owls, and also about fairies.  I present this information to you only as story, as interesting background.

Although it might be more…

In modern times we often think of fairies as tiny winged creatures, flitting through the flowers and amusing animals and children. But once, fairies were considered to be a race all their own, some larger than humans, some human sized and similar in form, and some quite small, perhaps just a few feet high. They were closely associated with nature and the supernatural, and were considered to have ‘magical’ powers.

Fairies are woven through my family tree.  Really.  When you track back into ancient Irish, Norse and Scottish genealogies the lines start to become blurred between legend, mythology and fact. This is especially true once you start to weave in the fairy folk to these earlier branches of the family tree.  It was once accepted that fairies walked among us, lived in certain places, and married into the lines of the Ancient Norse, Irish and Scottish Kings, from whom I am descended.

It is also believed that some from the ancient family lines, whose blood shares fairy energy, reincarnate over and over, maintaining the ability to connect with the ‘fey’ – the fairies and other creatures of those ancient times – creatures not human, and in their own way, magical.

Each of the great ancient families of Ireland has their own Banshee.  Banshee is Gaelic for “fairy woman”.  Bean = woman, sidhe (pronounced shee) = fairy.  In Irish mythology, the appearance of a banshee foretells impending death in the family. She may appear as a pale old woman with long hair who keens and wails – the banshee scream. She may also be a beautiful woman.  In Norse and Scottish mythology, (whose ancestral lines complete my own) banshees are also given attention, and are believed linked to specific families.

For some of the ancient families an owl or a raven will also appear to herald a death, or as a portend of a coming event of significance.

Image from Flickr

Image from Flickr

In 1776, some of my family line, a party of young people, went to a friend’s house for the evening while the father of one of the girls, Harrison Ross Lewin of Fortfergus, was in Dublin on business – a journey that necessitated five days travel and many stops. The young people walked to their friend’s house and spent a pleasant evening.

Here is their story, as recounted by Thomas Johnson Westropp in his book  A Folklore Survey of County Clare.  

As the party returned under bright moonlight, they were startled by loud keening and wailing from the direction of an old church ruin. When they drew closer to the ruins they all clearly saw a little old woman with long white hair and a dark cloak running to and fro on the top of the side wall, clapping her hands and wailing.

The young men, leaving the girls together on the road, sent some of their number to watch each end of the building, and the remainder entered and climbed up on the wall. The apparition vanished as they approached the church, and, after a careful search, could not be found.

The party, thoroughly frightened, hurried home, and found their mother in even greater terror. She had been sitting in the window when a great raven flapped three times at the glass, and, while she told them, the bird again flew against the window.

Some days later, news arrived from Dublin that Ross Lewin had died suddenly on the very evening of the apparition and omen.”

Both Banshees and Owl visitations are well documented in my family history. Indeed my maternal grandmother saw an owl before her own mother passed, and shortly after the passing of some of her beloved aunts.

My mother, sister and I were also visited by owls shortly before or just after my maternal grandmother died.

Owls sometimes come heralding change or the opening up of metaphysical skills and abilities.

Why am I sharing this information with you? What might it have to do with my time in the Kimberley?

It’s all about the stories.

I promise you, although these various strands – the Owl and the Orchard Man, the Kimberley Owls, the spirit lady from my family tree might seem so impossibly far from each other, eventually all of these puzzle pieces begin to fit together.

Puzzle_Pieces_by_nighty_stock♥ I would also like to publicly acknowledge and thank my sister, Simone, for her tireless work, endless dedication, countless hours and exacting research in her ongoing investigation of our family tree.

 

The Rock, the River and the Mountain

Prayer Flags at Thorang La Pass, Nepal. Image from Budget Your Trip

Prayer Flags at Thorang La Pass, Nepal. Image from Budget Your Trip

“…your memory is a warm stone hidden in my hand I’m always turning over…”
~ John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
~ T.S. Eliot

 

My friend Sally travelled to Nepal last year. Before she left, she asked if she could bring me anything back.

“Just bring me back a stone off the ground,” I asked.

And she did.

It’s not just any old rock. It bears the impression of an ammonite, with perhaps a piece of this once beautiful animal still clinging to the silky blackness of this stone which feels so soft and comfortable in my palm.

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The metaphysical properties of the ammonite are all about healing and spiritual growth, helping you travel down or expand out upon that spiral path of soul growth to understand the essence of who you are. It is considered an important ancestor stone for linking you to past lives, and those souls who have gone before you in your family lineage.

As a healing stone ammonites help you to recover from major trauma or illness, systematically reducing problems and strengthening stamina, energy, vitality and flow. They are also said to increase prosperity and abundance.

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But none of that is important. What mattered was how this stone made me feel.

As soon as I held it, it was as if I had been wrapped in a blanket of comfort.

I set it aside while Sally and I drank tea and ate fruit cake on the veranda. But when she left I picked it up again. Immediately I felt a weariness. My head nodded, my eyes would barely stay open. Although it was late afternoon and not yet dark, I decided to lie down on my bed before dinner and listen to the sound of soft rain falling on the roof and the leaves outside my window.

It took little time for me to fall into the deepest sleep, and I did not wake until fourteen hours later, finding myself still clutching the stone.

As I slept a wonderful journey unfolded in front of me. I was asleep in a painted wooden barge, nestled on a pile of silken pillows and elaborately patterned rugs. My hair lay in waves upon the pillows, and my hands were crossed over my chest. I looked so peaceful. I felt so peaceful. The boat was being slowly carried by a current down a wide, muddy river. Snow capped mountains surrounded us, and strange towns I have never visited, there were prayer flags fluttering in the breeze, funeral pyres alight along the shore. I know this because I was above myself looking down.

The Lady of Shallot by John Atkinson Grimshaw

The Lady of Shallot by John Atkinson Grimshaw

“Dis not your river,” said a voice beside me. I turned my head slightly. Auntie!

“No worries. Stone show you its river. Only one it knows. But all dese rivers go same place. Same-same journey. Feel nice, hey?”

I was overjoyed to see her, and to have her soft, warm hand in mine. I began to cry and my tears dripped down from my cheeks and nose into the river below, leaving little iridescent sparks in the water.

“Dat you, dead one time,” she continued. “Just memory now, but still you. You dat lady inna boat. Rock show you. Your old-time grandmothers, dey remember too. All dem sleeping in same place.” Auntie began to giggle. “Nice warm feet,” she said, nudging my arm. “Not me. I got no good shoes for dat place.”

I looked down at myself in the barge again. From under the ends of my cloak peeped two fur-lined boots.

“Am I going to die?” I asked her. I wasn’t concerned. Just curious.

We were flying away now, and the river became smaller and smaller as we left it behind.

“Nah, your life already hard!”

That made both of us laugh.

“Just dat part of you not needed now. Dat die and go away. You be sad, dreams all dyin’, friends all goin’, but after that okay again. No more friend like dat. Dey no good. But you got plenny true sistas. True fellas. You not be too lonely.”

I knew it was right. And it did make me sad. All those cherished dreams letting go. All those parts of my old life.

Auntie made a clicking sound with her tongue. “Not dis life for dem tings to happen. You can’t be dis ting in your head you thought you could be, and be dat ting too. Only be dat ting now. Also, time for other Grandmothers come together with you. Big job ahead. Tell dat story now, girl. Good times coming.”

We kept flying North. The earth curved beneath us. The air grew chill.

“Make dat husband take you shopping. Need a big warm coat. Need proper shoes. He not enough keep you warm.” She gave me a cheeky grin.

I felt a tug, and looked back. Way back behind us, in Australia, I saw a light. It glowed red, but dim. There was hardly any spark. I was engulfed by sadness.

“Dat your soul-sista,” Auntie said. “Sista-cousin to you an’ your true sista. Dat girl hanging in there. She get through somehow. Her job not done yet neither.”

I nodded. That was good news for our friend, who is desperately ill with, I am sure, a similar condition to me.

Ahead green fields and a fairy mound came into view.

“Am I dreaming this?” I asked.

Auntie howled with laughter. “I spirit woman,” she said. “How else I gonna see you? Ain’t no car take me. No walk to your house. No, sista. We got dis place here in da night sky. Dat our meeting place now.”

Waterholes by Alison Munti Riley

Waterholes by Alison Munti Riley

Eating the Sun Meditation

Malcolm Jagamara - "Inapaku dreaming"

Malcolm Jagamara – “Inapaku dreaming”

“The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious–the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ~ Albert Einstein

The next installment of my Kimberley Story

One of the most nurturing and empowering meditations I know is the practice I call ‘Eating the Sun’. I use it for energetic cleansing. I use it for physical healing. I use it for emotional and spiritual healing. I use it to recharge my batteries. I use it when I’m burdened and my soul aches.

It was taught to me during my time in the Kimberley by Little Auntie, with some help from Grandmother. Although it is a powerful practice it was many years before I came to appreciate just how powerful it is.

One time Little Auntie and Grandmother came to visit, waiting in the shade while their old truck was repaired by the Aboriginal stockman and our station mechanic. Their truck was always in need of repair, and the stockman was part of their extended family so they often stopped by.

I was inside on the phone, talking with a family member who was going through a very hard time back on the other side of the country. It was painful, being separated by so much distance, not being close enough to give them a hug or to play a bigger part in their lives. It made me miserably homesick.

When I came and said hello to the two old aboriginal ladies, Little Auntie took my hand in her thin bony ones and closed her eyes for a minute. As she did she made a strange humming sound. When she finally let my hand go she beckoned me to follow her.

Grandmother came with us, translating Little Auntie’s muttered greeting. “Big time sad you are. Dis no good. Heavy, heavy. Dis sadness you take him from dem other fellas. Take it in your own skin. Make dem feel better. But it sit in your body, make you sick. Little Auntie show you proper good medicine fix you up.”

Grandmother held my sweaty hand in her cool, dry one and we walked behind the diminutive figure of Little Auntie as she led us out into the paddock until we were standing under the blazing sun.

The tiny Elder motioned for me to take my boots off. And then she guided me with her hands until I was faced directly into the sun. Her leathery hand reached up, gentle as a feather, and closed my eyes, tilting my head until the heat and light penetrated my closed lids.

Image from Miraja

Image from Miraja

We stood silent for a minute. I became aware of the sun, there beyond my closed eyes. I could see it as a ball of light. The colours blazed behind my lids as a swirling mandala of reds, purples and orange. It was beautiful.

Little Auntie began to speak in her whispery-thin voice, with Grandmother translating.

“Let that sun fill you up. Feel it on your face. Feel her power come in you.”

I stood there and surrendered to the Light. As I did my body sagged with relaxation.

“Under your feet is country. Country your mother too. Get strong wid your feet. Get dat strong connection to country. Feel it like dem big roots of a tree going down down, long way into the ground.”

Image from Heiko Gartner

Image from Heiko Gartner

I did that, and slowly I began to become calm and centred.

“Now open your mouth. Eat up dat sunshine. Swallow it down into your belly. Let it burn up all dat sadness. Let dat energy fill you up till no more can get in.”

It sounded silly. Eating the sun.

I stood there with my eyes closed but I couldn’t understand how to eat energy.

Someone lightly smacked my arm. Little Aunty chastised me in a way that needed no translation. Self consciously I opened my mouth and found that I literally could eat the sun. I could feel that golden light as I swallowed it down.

She made a small self-satisfied noise as I kept eating up that sunshine.

“Now breathe out all dat sadness, all dat dark and sick place inside you. Breathe it all out and fill up with plenty more sun. Don’t you worry. Country, she take dat bad energy from you and soak it all up. Heal you and make you strong from two mothers, Mother Earth and dat good Sun.”

I breathed out, visualising wispy grey smoke leaving my body to be absorbed into the earth. The heaviness left my heart and I felt stronger and more peaceful.

Image by Justin Maes

Image by Justin Maes

“Remember say thank you!”

I offered up a heartfelt prayer of thanks.

Later, we came back to the station and drank sweet tea and ate some of Cookie’s homemade cake.

Grandmother smiled and patted my arm kindly. “We aboriginal women, we can heal dis in you. You dat ting. You can heal dis in others. Use your hands. Use your heart. Take dat pain or bad feeling or sickness and put it in your own body. But you gotta know how to clear yourself. How to heal yourself and get dat good energy back. So eat dat sun. Now you know how, eat dat sun, okay? It’s plenty good medicine.”

And she was right.

It’s a simple meditation. Here’s a summary for you:

  1. Face in the direction of the sun. Even on a cloudy day this still works. With closed eyes you can tune in very strongly. You don’t even need to be outside. You could face a window in direct light. But if you can, stand on the earth with the open sky above you.
  2. Root your feet deep into the earth. Truly feel that strong and supportive connection with country. Be barefoot if you can, but be practical too.
  3. Drink in the sunlight, drawing it deep down into your belly. Fill your whole body with light. Send the light to the places in your body that need extra healing or energy.
  4. Breathe out illness, sadness, negativity and despair. Surrender that wordless heavy energy. Give it all up via your breath, knowing that the earth will absorb and transmute this.
  5. Fill yourself up with more light, as well as sending it to specific places on the planet, or to others, if this feels right.
  6. In your own way, give thanks for this gift of energy and healing.

You can do this meditation daily, many times a day or just when you need it. And perhaps from time to time, as you eat the sun, think of Little Auntie and how an old Aboriginal woman you’ve never met, from one of the most remote parts of Australia, has gifted you something good and true.

Wishing you joy and peace in your life today.

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia Picture: GETTY

Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia    Picture: GETTY

Calling in Rain

Image from Wallpaper Seek
Image from Wallpaper Seek

“Rain drops are not the ones who bring the clouds.” 
~ Sorin Cerin, Wisdom Collection: The Book of Wisdom

The next installment in my Kimberley Story

Before I tell you about the Fairy Mound, I need to give you some more back story.

If I don’t none of what I write after this will make much sense, so forgive me if I jump back in time again to my days living in the Kimberley.

It was about four months after Little Auntie’s sorry business and I was working back on that Outback property in the middle of the remote Kimberley. The isolation and lack of female company was getting to me, and although I was trying, my relationship was less than fulfilling. I felt depressed and alone, confused about who I was and where I was meant to be going with my life. All of this psychic stuff was unfolding for me, whether I wanted it to or not, and there was no-one I could talk to about it.

The wet season was well and truly over, the tall green grass long ago burned golden brown. There was no rain forecast. From here on in it would become drier and drier still. The mud had turned to dust and the smaller rivers were shrinking to a series of chained waterholes. The dry heat parched everything it touched.

I was alone in my room one hot still Sunday morning when a familiar old red truck rattled up from the river crossing and stopped near the machinery workshop. I peered through the curtains of my room, not feeling like engaging. A group of people tumbled out, talking and laughing, and the Aboriginal stockman and the Station’s mechanic came out of the shade where they had been drinking beer to see what was going on. It seemed the truck needed something welded.

“Where’s dat girl?” I heard a familiar voice saying. It was Auntie. The stockman waved a lazy hand in the direction of my room, and the old lady started walking over.

For a moment I considered ducking out the back door and hiding down in the lee of the riverbank. What was wrong with me? Instead I pulled my hair back off my face and caught it up behind my head with an elastic band, rammed on a hat, dragged on my boots and went outside into the baking heat to meet her.

“Plenny hot, hey?” Auntie laughed when she saw me, all red-faced and sweaty. “Come on. Dey gonna take all day fix dat truck. Get a water bottle and you come along me.”

I really didn’t want to go, but I didn’t know how to say no. I figured we’d be going down to the river to sit in the cool and look for rocks and fossils like we’d done a few times before.

“Alright,” I said reluctantly. I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge and met her at the gate. Auntie immediately set off at a steady pace, walking not towards the river, but away from it. I was dragging my feet before I’d even left the homestead.

We walked for over an hour, not following any particular track. The land was just gibbers (small stones), dust and small flowering grasses and shrubs. There was no shade. I could feel the air sucking me dry. I guess you could have called it pretty if you’d been in the mood. I was not in the mood.

“Here good enough,” Auntie suddenly pronounced, and she sat down in the dust.

I sank down beside her, slurping greedily from my water bottle. I offered some to her and she drank daintily before handing it back.

“Gonna show you sumping. Sumping you can do. Sumping already inside you.” She smiled at me cheekily and patted my leg, leaving a faint orange dust mark from her fingers.

“Why did we have to come all the way out here for you to show me?” I asked. I’m sure I sounded ungrateful. Cranky in fact. Did she even notice?

“Gotta get the feel of dry. Gotta get the feel of hot.”

“Well, we’ve got those alright.” The sun was beating down mercilessly, and I was regretting having come.

Auntie leaned forward, cupping my sweaty face in her hands. “When you gonna stop fighting dis?” She pinched my cheek gently. “Dis one feel good. Special kind of magic. Your old Grandmothers, they knew this magic too. Dat’s why I show you. Cos now all dem family of yours forgot.” Auntie chuckled heartily at this.

She pushed me gently, so that I fell back in the dust. Giggling, she lay down beside me. Then she put a hand over my heart. “Let dat anchor you, strong into the ground. Feel your body close with dis land. Feel it right in your heart. Feel dis place. Feel the power of country. Your country now too. ” When she took her hand away I could still feel a burning heat, different to the rays of the sun.

I tried. I lay there and tried. But I felt stupid and awkward. I was worried someone would see me, although I KNEW there was nobody who would see me.

Auntie clicked her tongue. “What happening in your head? Relax!” She smacked my arm gently. “Try.”

Slowly I calmed down. Eventually all I could feel and think about was the sun.

Auntie started laughing. “You got dat sun?” she said. “Got dat big ball of fire?”

“Yes.”

“Bring him down inside you, right in your chest. Feel him spinning, all powerful. Feel him moving in your heart. Golden. Everything golden.”

That was easy.

Image by Sakura Chrno
Image by Sakura Chrno

I felt as if I was entranced. My limbs were so heavy I couldn’t move them. I’d lost the definition of my body. All I could feel was the earth and the sky, and the sun inside me.

Auntie spoke again, but now it felt as if we were both on a hill, looking down on that spinning sun.

“Let that spinning fella drag the whole sky into you. Keep feeling, and wait a bit. Let me know when you feel lil bit moisture.”

I had no idea what she was talking about.

And then I did.

I got the smell of rain. I got the taste of rain. Not a raging storm. Just a hint of wet. A lick of moisture on a hot breeze.

Inside me I could see the whole sky swirling, like a whirlpool in my chest. Every kind of weather; sun and hot and dry in the middle, but at the edges rain and wind and night sky. Beyond that stars and moons and planets and all kinds of mystery.

Whirlpool Galaxy by Adam Block
Whirlpool Galaxy by Adam Block

I didn’t feel strange. I felt the deepest calm, and an all-pervasive love.

“Go on now. Call dat rain in. Feel it in your body and make it bigger. Grow it real big til rain is all you have, rain is all you see.”

I knew Auntie was doing the same thing, calling in that rain. Her presence lent me a steadiness. With her beside me I was capable and strong.

I called that rain until my entire chest, my body, my mind was filled with the idea of rain. All I could feel was rain. I was rain.

And then I wasn’t. Just like that the feeling shifted, and was gone.

Disoriented I sat up and opened my eyes, expecting raindrops on my skin.

Instead, the sun beat down. I felt so betrayed. So stupid.

“Where is the rain?” I asked dumbly.

Auntie thought this was hilarious. “Girlie, you so impatient. Dat fella rain, he come far, far from here. He gonna take some time.”

I didn’t believe her.

We walked home in silence. Well, I was silent. Auntie laughed, and talked to the birds and the trees, grinning at me any time I looked her way. She was certainly having the last laugh.

Back at the homestead I excused myself and stood under a long cold shower for so long that my skin pruned and my feet became soft and spongy. By the time I emerged the truck had been repaired and Auntie and the others had gone home.

It was stiflingly hot, and the evening brought no reprieve.

About two in the morning I was woken by an unsecured French Door to the veranda banging in the breeze. A change had come through. You could smell the dampness in the air, and the promise of rain. A little over an hour later it bucketed down, and I fell back to sleep to the sound of rain on the tin roof.

When I woke at dawn the skies were clear and my world had been washed clean.

To be continued…

Zebra Finch 84a

Zebra Finches by Richard Waring

Auntie and the Fairy Mound

clootie tree rainbow

Image by Maeve at Lost and Found

“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” 
~ W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems

Another post that links in to my Kimberley Story

Like most stories, mine is not a linear one. It would be so much easier if I could look back over the time since my birth and see the orderly steps and logical progression of the mystery that is my life.

But that’s how it is with spiritual and psychic unfolding. I might hold a puzzle piece for years without knowing where it fits, and then suddenly one day it all starts to fall into place.

On Saturday night, the night of the big thunder storm when we lost power and ended up losing all our telecommunications, I dreamed of Auntie, the old Aboriginal woman who was my spiritual and psychic mentor, for the first time in a long time. She has come to me almost every night since.

Let me tell you about those dreams…

On the first night she took me flying. We left her country, the wild and remote Kimberley, and flew north until we reached the land she calls my ‘Old Grandmother Country’.

I was wearing a big warm coat, lined with the softest fleece. On my hat was a red woollen beanie and on my feet were bright red socks. It bothered me, those red socks. How could I land anywhere or walk around without shoes?

We stopped just above a large old tree with rags and ribbons tied to its branches. I reached down and tied a scrap of fabric too, and offered up a prayer. It was as if I knew what I was doing, and the landscape was familiar – like I was returning to a childhood haunt.

I don’t remember the dream’s ending, but I woke on Sunday morning feeling bright and clear and resoundingly peaceful.

Fairy Mound by Lazzo51

Fairy Mound by Lazzo51

In the next night’s dreaming, Auntie came to visit me again and we flew from my farm to her country with the Black Cockatoos. Then up we went, back to that cold, old place we’d visited the night before. This time we alighted not far from the rag tree, and drank from a deep clear pool of water.

“Good water, dis,” Auntie said to me. “Real sweet.”

I knew that pool. At the time I couldn’t say why. But I knew it as well as if it were in my own backyard.

The next few nights Auntie took me to many locations that have been significant for me since my birth. City-scapes, wilderness, places I used to live.

“Stop lookin’ with your eyes,” the old woman chided me, her warm hand pressed firmly into mine. “Feel dis place here,” she put her other hand over my heart.

Oh… When she did that, warmth flooded my body and my ears felt as if they had filled with blood. Not unpleasant, but still a strange sensation.

Now I could hear whispers. I could see myself, and other people that I knew. I could feel and see the energy and the wisdom of each situation – insights that had never been apparent when I was living those moments. I could hear the earth itself.

It has given me much to think about.

The night before last, Auntie took me flying one more time. Back to ‘Old Grandmother Country’ we went, me with my warm coat and red beanie pulled down snug over my ears. Auntie was still wearing her old cotton dress, barefoot and with naked arms. But she didn’t seem cold at all.

This time we passed the rag tree and the beautiful pool and stopped above a fairy mound. In a heartbeat I was standing on the ground beside it, my ankles sunk into deep green grass.

“There’s a door,” I heard Auntie say.

I looked, and just to one side of me was a low doorway made of stone.

“Go on,” the old woman encouraged me. “Go inside. They’re waiting for you!”

I didn’t feel nervous. I didn’t feel scared. My heart swelled with longing.

I didn’t even wave Auntie goodbye.

Ducking my head I stepped over the carved stone threshold and entered the mound.

To be continued…

Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari

Dreamtime Sisters by Colleen Wallace Nungari

The Gift of Feathers

Wanjina with Black Cockatoo Feathers - Photo by Kim Akeman

Wanjina with Black Cockatoo Feathers – Photo by Kim Akeman

“Now you got your Story, your Spirit no longer lost. That Dreaming inside you make you understand who you are. That Story how you gonna walk this world.” ~ Auntie

The next installment of my Kimberley Story

It was late in the afternoon. The shadows were long, the air had cooled and a light breeze had stirred, bringing with it scents of warm earth and the salt of the sea.

We were still sitting, these old Aboriginal women and I, around the embers of a camp fire. Auntie was right up close to me, and we were back in our bodies. No more flying. But she was still holding my hand in her strong gnarled ones. Auntie kept holding my hand but turned her body away from me.

She said something in language, and a proud elderly woman came and sat with us. Her hair was dead straight, and glossy black, with just a few white hairs showing through. I hadn’t paid much attention to her before now. She and Auntie had an earnest conversation in language, and another old woman soon came over to join them. They all talked back and forth, back and forth, while I sat there excluded. I didn’t care. I was dazed and exhausted.

I found a plastic bottle pressed into my other hand. A wide smile grinned down at me. “Drink some.” I did. It was Fanta, and the warm, sickly orange-flavoured liquid tasted like the most sacred and beautiful thing in the world.

“Dem Elder sisters not all from dis place. Not all speak same language. Dey talk around, talk around; dis tongue, dat tongue, old words, new words. Try find right fella guide for you. Big business for you today.” The woman with the Fanta had squatted down beside me, while the others were talking. She was younger, maybe in her thirties or forties, with coffee-coloured skin and curly hair bleached blonde on the ends.

“How many languages do you speak?” I asked her.

“Four. And English.” She grinned. “How ’bout you?”

I felt embarrassed. I spoke English, and had a smattering of German and Japanese from school. “Only English really,” I answered.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “You lost your languages too. Just like us. Dem old people die and they take language away. Lost to us living folks forever. Dem Grandmothers and old, old Grandmothers of yours, all dem Ancestors, speak only to you in the Spirit tongue now. Speak only in the Dreaming way.” She patted my shoulder kindly. “My name is Maggie. At least we got language together.”

Maggie sprang up from her squatting position. “Auntie is ready now.” She hurried back over to sit down in the circle.

One of the old woman retrieved a thick curled piece of bark from her bag, and placed some green leaves on it. She took a smoldering stick from the remains of the fire and added it to the leaves until it began to produce a thick white smoke. The bark bowl was then passed to Auntie.

Something else was passed to her. A large white feather.

Image from Hiking Fiasco

Image from Hiking Fiasco

Auntie used the feather to stir up the smoke, and while the smoke enveloped me she gently brushed the feather all over me, from the top of my head down to my toes. As she did she sang something under her breath. I became covered in goosebumps. I knew something important was happening.

Then, reverentially, she gave me the feather. As she pressed it into the palm of my hand my head was filled with images of the bird.

“Dis fella your totem,” she said. “Dat your sacred animal, come to guide your spirit. Remind you who you are.” Auntie chuckled and her eyes danced with light. “Dat fella whitey just like you. We give dis fella in honour to your Grandmothers and their grandmothers who kept that family voice even when men took them a long, long way from their own country. Dat why we took you home again just now. With dat flying business. Anchor that home energy back in. Restore your country in here.” She put a hand over my heart and I felt it – that connection to the places she had taken me.

All the women were smiling at me. Smiling with happiness and connection, and smiling with the joke that my feather was white, like me.

“White fella bird is dat messenger. Tell all the people. Tell the big stories. Talk, talk, talk. Always gonna have dem stories, stories people need to hear.”

“You gonna see dis fella everywhere. He not let you forget. Even pictures. Even on the TV. People talk to you about him. Spirit saying, you dat ting. Spirit not let you forget.”

Another feather was passed around the circle to Auntie.

Glossy Black Cockatoo 451-2 (400)

Once again I was drenched in smoke and brushed all over with the red and black feather.

“Dis fella keep you company too. Remind you of your black sisters, up here in dis country. Even when you leave and go far, far from here, dese black fella birds and their yella-tailed cousins will find you. Sing to you and say ‘Remember, Remember,’ No way we let you forget. Dat story in you now. You belong part of our family now.”

“One day you live somewhere, you call dat country home. Smell like dis place. Earth. Sea. But make you happy again. We send all dem black fella birds remind you your promise. Remind you your story. Then you know it’s time. Time to be dat story. Live dat story in your heart. Live your true Dreaming.”

She pressed the other feather into my hand and I saw, not birds, but a lush green country, with tall pine trees and tropical lushness. I heard the mournful cry of the black cockatoos. Tears streamed down my cheeks.

Auntie kept talking, and her voice dropped to a whisper only I could hear. “Dat fella husband you got now, he finished. No good for you. End soon. End good for you, okay? Good for him too. Not be sad. Better man coming. Better for who you are now. You dat ting. Need man who understand.” She hugged me and stood up.

“Let’s go, sisters. Enough now. Tucker time!”

Brown hands reached down to me and hauled me up. We walked back into camp holding hands, bedraggled and dust stained, and as giggly as school girls.

To be continued…

My farm, with the big old hoop pines where the black cockatoos come to sit and sing to me

My farm, with the big old hoop pines where the black cockatoos come to sit and sing to me