I’d felt icky in my own skin, those previous months before going to the Pilliga Forest. Hypocritical. Selfish. Like I was definitely not doing enough to help. I’d been feeling like one of those folk that is aware of the disasters occurring around them, moved by them greatly, but not quite moved enough to leave my cosy corner, not enough to actually put ‘Life’ on hold and act with my time and body.
A few weeks ago, I had the beginnings of a very big inner change occur. Albeit clunky and awkward, I was clearly riding new waves of change, experiencing a new kind of growing pain altogether. Put very simply, my journey of discovery and true heart connection to the cosmology and culture of the first peoples of Australia had finally begun, and it felt rough. That day I began connecting to many indigenous spirits of this land that were asking to use my voice for expression, and the magnitude of what I was and am being asked to feel and transmute is new territory. Not one for taking the plain route, I think Great Spirit chucked me in at the deep end, and although super subtle, the things that were occurring and that I was feeling have started to shatter my current life, sense of self, and future dreaming. Never a bloody dull moment, eh?
Suddenly I find myself off to Biliga, Gamileroi country, racing there in my heart, couldn’t get there quick enough. A calling beyond callings by that rough, dry country with the warrior spirit and a whole lot of pain. Come fast, Fire Mane. We need your help.
What we perceive of and experience in the physical is only the tip of the iceberg compared to what’s really going on on the metaphysical plane. I found myself racing to the Pilliga forest to stand up against SANTOS and their uber-destructive and loathsome coal seam gas explorations. My blood boils at any corporation that is willing to poison Australia’s greatest aquifer, destroy our native animals, turn rivers into boiling, farting gas swamps, sicken children and kill forests. I was ready to put my body, time and energy up for the message of NO, right at the front line. But behind the scenes, my spirit and heart were going on a different journey, one that is only really starting to clear to consciousness now that I’m back, typing this to share it with you.
It was as if five different conversations were going on at once during my week at the Pilliga Push protest camp. Five different fields of healing, five different songlines needing to harmonise, five different dimensions working through each other, all with totally different characters and plotlines. When things got really hot with a very passionate debate with local Aunties, my pal Slim Wolf turned to me and said, “And now the supernatural thriller really kicks in.” The richness of the upset for indigenous people regarding the desecration of the land that they have always connected to as a mother, as their everything, is enough to fill ten billions hearts. It was all I could do to stay true to my own knowing, not to fall to pieces in their desperate plea.
And protest camps are alive with passion. They are a mash-up of all sorts of humans, each with a common cause: to protect Mother Nature from ruthless harm. But that doesn’t mean they are aligned in harmony, and the themes of misunderstanding, suppressed emotion and trauma, sense of belonging or not belonging, difficulty with authority or with self-responsibility, these were all a part of my experience, just as much as the fight against SANTOS. As above, so below. The macrocosm reflects the microcosm. Where inside of us are we not owning our own trashing of the Mother, our own oppression of the feminine, the feeling, the nurturer?
I walked into that camp a total newbie in some ways. I worked at Greenpeace in the London press office for some time back when I was 22 and 23 so I remember how actions happen. I am fully aware of the skill and passion and balls it takes for people to stand up to the ‘law’ and commit ‘crimes’ in order to point to the bigger issues of the corporate crimes against Mother Nature. I came to Pilliga with a skill set that was probably not highest on the list of protest advantages. I can’t abseil. My forté is healing and singing and speaking and championing. And I feel that those skills were definitely needed, way beyond the perception of what they may add to this group of incredible, dedicated, selfless, tireless visionaries. Slim and I did intense work on the emotional plane and on the spirit plane at the camp, knitting bridges of understanding, of masculine and feminine, of compassion and of severity, from the moment we arrived until the moment we left. Yes, I locked myself on to the gate of SANTOS and stopped their machines for a short while. Yes, I banged my drum and stood as solid as I could outside those gates of the destroyers. But I know my magic was weaved in ways unseen.
Connecting with the spirit of Gamileroi country was probably the most potent thing I could have done with that time. As an energy worker and a seeker of truth in culture and community, simply the connection to that land has activated me beyond any of the action in body. I feel that country now. I feel it’s strength and it’s vulnerability. I was blessed to have the experience of meeting a few Gamileroi people and through their passion and their eyes and voices, I could feel their plight. Their plight which has become my plight. Uncle Paul Spearim told me out there that the Gamileroi tribe had the only drummers of the entire nation, and they would play drums made of possum skin in leading their men into battle. I instantly resonated. For I am a defender of what’s sacred. And I will beat my drum and raise my voice, not caring who thinks what, not interested in the philosophical or ‘spiritual’ debates that whir on while our rivers are dying and our children are bleeding.
I was touched, deeply, by the young men I met out there. Young men, dedicated to protecting Mother Earth. Young fathers, musicians, lifestyle protestors, moving from one camp to another, lending their bodies and physical energy to BE the front line. To be the blockade. It showed up the utter ignorance of so many of us that waft between ego experience to ego experience, rarely putting our focus on the community around us and it’s betterment, almost never thinking of the future generations and their inheritance. These men have won my admiration, up each morning at 4am, ready to jump those fences, to risk arrest, to risk attack. Selfless. I felt a resonance with the life out there that I am hard-put to connect with here in Byron Shire. I miss those people, achingly. Salt of the Earth and dedicated to her. I feel the sadness in my heart for having left, and I count the few sleeps until I return to Biliga, attending to only what is vital before going back.
And what do I feel now?
I feel that we are all needed. We must all pull our heads out of the distractions that the systems have set up for us (even the ‘spiritual area’ systems) and we must take a good look around at what is happening to our environment. Thinking that ‘someone else’ is taking care of it is NOT enough. Palming the duty of care for our resources, our precious water, our sacred forests, our indigenous tribespeople and their wisdoms, on someone else is NOT acceptable anymore. YOU are responsible for the Great Artesian Basin. YOU are responsible for protecting the waters that are our birthright. YOU are responsible for making sure that the psychopaths that are running our world GO NO FURTHER. Stop leaving it to someone else! Stop leaving it to clicking ‘Share’ on Facebook. It’s NOT enough.
Have we become so disconnected to Nature that we cannot understand that we are ALL responsible for the Great Artesian Basin? Are we so irresponsible? Has the government not only taken away our power of free-thinking but also our sense of responsibility for our surroundings? Do we even KNOW what land, whose land, which tribal spirit imbues the country under our feet? TIME TO RECONNECT.
We are ALL needed to change the game here. All we need to do is TURN UP. If 4,000 people turned up at the Pilliga, that would make enough media attention for SANTOS to pull out. All we need is PEOPLE POWER. TURN UP to the protests in your city. SHOW UP to say NO. We don’t need to touch the positive as us humans ARE naturally positive. The beauty of what we are and how we create in community and connection to Nature should not be questioned. It’s the areas of destruction that we need to STOP.
- Find out where your closest Coal Seam Gas mining abomination is happening and get out there and protest. There, or in your city. Banners, voices, actions!
- Call your Premier or Environment Minister and COMPLAIN and DEMAND excuses for their utter betrayal of our natural heritage.
- STOP thinking someone else will do it.
- Write articles, make interviews, send emails.
- Remember that not ONE of us is outside this duty of care of our resources. Leaving it to the government or environmental groups is not OK. Your environment is your environment.
I felt a rabid sense of defence when I sat on Gamileroi land. I know that the borders that the settlers put in place here in Australia are ridiculous considering the rich and diverse tribal system that was here before they landed. But what went through my head was, “I was born in this state. This is MY state. This is my land, this is my responsibility. I was born here. This land has supported my whole life and my whole family. I cannot remain disconnected from this truth and its inherent call to responsibility any longer.”
I do hope to inspire you also.
With love, from this fiercely loving, mother’s heart.