Bunjil’s Country

I am reblogging this post from my old blog “Art and Life” in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/earth-2017/

Black wattle and native grasses whisper together as I arrive at the caves. Australian ravens fly past with heavy wing beats, the only sound in this silent land. The hand of man has barely brushed this place.

I follow a rough track defined by lichen covered lava stones to a place where the surface of the earth suddenly yawns open in the black gaping maws of the lava tube caves. The tangled vegetation and steep rock walls make it impossible for me to venture close.

I have never been to a place like this before and I am suddenly aware that the land beneath my feet is riddled with voids and vast, empty channels. A raw creative energy is encoded in the stratified rock walls. The powerful forces that created the Earth  are writ large.   I can easily imagine surging, spitting, molten lava pouring across the land some 30,000 years ago then cooling to form the caves.

The ground I stand on is both dense and porous and I have a sense of the planet as a living organism.

The Dreamtime stories for this part of Australia say the land is an embodiment of the creator being, Bunjil.  Bunjil is the land and the land is Bunjil yet Bunjil is also a spirit being who went to live in the stars after creating land. At the same time his spirit is here now and sometimes takes the form of an eagle. These ideas are hard to grasp with western thinking yet there is sense of a living presence in this country. It comes to me that I am standing on the body of a creator being yet at the same time I am walking within that creative power.  I am breathing it in with every breath I take.

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Two hours drive to the north east one of the few examples of Aboriginal rock art in Victoria can be seen at the rear of a rocky overhang.   The painting is thought to be some 3,000 years old and depicts Bunjil as a man.  His two dingo companions stand beside him.

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Here the  ground  is baked hard by the sun and the wide flat rocks under my feet are like the sun bleached bones of the Earth.  Massive boulders are scattered all around the exposed hill side.

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To walk around this place is to step back in time – or perhaps, more accurately, it is step out of time – the ancient energies of The Dreamtime are strong here.

Bunjil is present.

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