I was up with the sun this morning and watched the moon disappear into the brightening blue sky. It made me cry, but then I remembered it was only on a journey to the other side of the world and would come back again tonight. I've been recently contemplating relationships between men and women, and have been challenged in my coming to understand not only Aboriginal culture, but my own as well.
Uncle Bob and his beautiful wife Barbara joined me outside and we spoke of dreams. Two stories were recalled that have grounded me in peace and awe.
In the ancient times women held the highest law and were the most powerful beings- holding sacred lore, which they kept in a dilly-bag. They came to a pool of the Rainbow Serpent, a place which is so sacred that no one must disturb it, and to swim in it would be unthinkable. The women, so drunk on their power, disregarded the law and were laughing and splashing, and cleaning themselves. The Rainbow Serpent saw this and made them blind and deaf to the men coming up to the pool where they had left the dilly-bag hanging on a tree... so the men took it and became the holders of sacred power. But now the men are going down the same path,
so who knows what will happen next in the balance of power.
My first response was to be angry somehow, but what's the point of that? because then you lose the lesson. The lesson is humility- and if you take away your attachment to the ego, and wrap it with love, then it is a lesson that doesn't sting, but instructs.
The wind continued to blow as Uluru became more vibrantly red in the rising sun, and the spicy scent of the gum trees surrounded us. Out of a moment of stillness, Uncle Bob began another story:
Up in the top end of Australia there is an island with an abundance of the best seafood and
plant-life, but it is only accessible at what is know as "King Tide", or again in the full, still time before the water begins again to recede. The whole tribe goes across and spends the day collecting crabs and fruit and other delicacies of the sea, but one member is in charge of watching the time, so everyone can leave before the strait becomes impossible to cross. When the tide comes in, the island vanishes, so there is no other choice but to go into the water. Sometimes, people are greedy, and don't heed the time, wanting to find just a little more food or supplies and the entire tribe can only wait. At this point the water is rushing in and everyone must wait until it becomes still enough to cross- but it will be deep, almost over some people's heads.
During this time, rafts are made out of dried pandana trees and paper-bark for the women, children and food. When it is time to cross, the men form a "V" with the strongest hunter at the front and the women and children in the centre, the most protected spot, then everyone begins the journey across.
At this point I feel the energy at the table shift to one of profound sadness and grief, but also an amazing sense of love. Tears flow for all of us as Uncle Bob relates the end of the story.
The end of the formation is where the elderly people and animals cross. They choose this position, because when the water is that high, and dusk begins to fall, the crocodiles are everywhere. Everyone knows that the crocs take those at the back of the line, and the old ones choose to make that sacrifice for the whole group, the whole family. When everyone makes it to the other side, there are one or two missing, the old ones who offered their lives.
Then Uncle Bob said, "These are the people who raised me".
The wind continued to blow and tears washed our faces, and then we smiled and got on with the day. I'm humbled and grateful to be given the chance to understand unconditional love.