Panier of Plenty


Unicorn in captivity. The true significance has been lost...

Unicorn in captivity, the true significance lost…

As I discover the many layers of history in this region – the
Pyrénées Orientales – I recall a recent conversation with an
archaeologist from Alt Empordà, just across the border in
Catalunya Sud. I showed him symbols from Aboriginal sites in
Australia, and he confirmed that many correspond with the ones
found here. Yet the connections are lost; physical traces remain,
but there is no other record that aids in the transmission of
their meaning. In comparison, this ‘connaissance’ is alive in
Australia – a living spiritual legacy, which has survived any
attempt to sever its peoples from their roots and now permeates,
as many share the ‘consciousness’ that resonates.

Travelling with Spirit Safaris in the Northern Territory, I found
myself at the home of Bob Randall of Mitijulu community, Uluru,
an experience that has remained deeply etched at a level of being
which renders words inadequate. It was an exchange, on a ‘soul’
level, where everything falls away and only the truth remains
– the connection that we share as part of life revering life –
transcending culture, or beliefs, or any outer differences,
for this can only be described as an inner knowing: universal
recognition of the meaning of why we are here, and what must be
done to ensure ‘equilibrium’. Barriers dissolve in this state,
which resembles a ‘multidimensional consciousness’, as if
everything in existence is revealed.

I have been brought back to the insights of Uncle Bob’s explanation
of Kanyini, the four principles of interrelatedness, and how they
can be applied here, on the border of France and Spain, where one
belief system has been superimposed over another for millennia,
and meaning or traditions either lost or deliberately obscured.

So many of the dates on the current ‘religious’ calendar owe their
origins to another time when the natural world and its laws were
alive in people’s hearts, and forgotten, only fragments remain.
Fraying threads, in terms of feeble connections that can be made
as rituals or celebrations are traced back, and stitched with
guesswork, which in turn becomes ‘accepted theory’ as historians
embrace what is hypothesised to explain physical evidence.

Documentaries recreate mysterious stone age rituals as our
ancestors make offerings – this much we have pieced together,
as we know that there was a great deal of reverence for what
was ‘taken’ as something was ‘given’ back to the earth in
return, thus completing the circle, or cycle that holds this
natural law in place. Yet here we are, in modern civilised
Europe, exploiting the world’s resources in the name of the
economy we are all reliant on, as globalisation has meant
staking claims not only on familiar territory but those of
others: of tribes; of the ancestors of many peoples; of those
who rely on their environment to sustain them yet are forced
into change as it is compromised, for the same principles apply,
no matter what our race, creed or religion. They underpin what
we know on a deeper level but have forgotten – the wisdom of
our ancestors that has been severed as migration parted many
from their cultural roots, their families, their homelands
and stories…

As one of a generation who grew up in a ‘colony’, I have few
threads with which to weave if I start with myself at the
centre and let them radiate out, connecting me to those who
began their lives anew, separated from all they knew. Even
though we all weave a multicoloured picture based on what
we know, there are much richer threads that bind us together
and infiltrate our lives; whether we know them as songlines
or a family tree, they are rooted in nature, as the many
elements that sustain us – the four necessities for life
that cannot be denied, as we ‘require’ them, for without
these forces we cannot exist, yet have we forgotten their
importance on our list?

Water, from our rivers or a natural source; yet they are
diverted, dammed and far from ‘flowing freely’ as we buy
rights for usage and depend on rainfall. Giving back our
time, perhaps we help clean them, or in our own way make
an effort to restrict our consumption, or direct awareness
to ecosystems threatened by industrialisation. Yet how far
are we from having our own supply, if we are living in a
city and there is not one nearby? In the past, it was natural
to settle near water – communities evolved around this precious
resource. Now, as we turn the tap, how often do we consider we
are ‘removed’ from what is an integral part of our nature?
Mesmerised by its flow, we are reminded of how all things
change and grow; a primal force it speaks to our soul,
which is why we ‘seek it out’ for enjoyment, gravitating
towards it.

Air, we breathe, with whatever it contains, for most particles
are invisible. We acknowledge ‘fresh’ is better, for when in
pristine wilderness we feel energised and ‘more alive’ yet
have settled for less if far from nature, commuting in traffic
or working in air conditioning. Removed from this vital source,
are we lacking a power that could be ours? Filling our lungs
with filtered air and pollution must have long-term effects;
the evidence is there as it accumulates in our atmosphere,
the one that we need – we cannot be separated from the air
that we breathe, the air that is purified by trees.

We understand chemical processes and how some of nature functions,
yet look at effects, or impact, as if they were something apart
from our lives – influences that may touch us but not integral
processes. Man’s relationship with nature is one of domination;
that it is there to serve our needs and can therefore be
manipulated to provide whatever we decide, giving an income
as we harness these ‘natural supplies’. Ownership goes hand
in hand with the right to develop parcels of land. We buy,
then take, as part of an agreement with whoever has staked a
claim to territory, for every domain has an ‘owner’.

Imagine if the entire world map contained all the names of
those with interests – with a piece of their own – along with
governments, and ‘enterprises’… could we picture the same from
a different perspective, mapping each river and tree that has
a right to be protected? Giving claims to each species, down
to every ant – to all those who already use the terrain. Air
space to the birds, that recognises migration, and fishing
rights that protect their stocks as they fly in on vacation
– and equal shares to every indigenous population… “This is
where the buffalo graze”… ”Here we can see elephants gathered
around water”…

Instead of diverting nature’s course: we make the decisions
and they are forced into adaptation as habits cannot be
sustained and deforestation changes their habitats…
“You must leave your homes”… without a title or papers to
present, or legal representation they’re ‘out on the streets’
that have encroached on wilderness as ‘civilisation’ takes
over and leaves a trace, that is soon obscured as memories fade.

“It is simply part of evolution,” we might exclaim. “A natural
by-product of consumption as we feed the world’s growing
population,” are the claims. Progress cannot be denied,
“To manufacture, to fill our desires, we require lithium in
great supply.” Water is an essential for industry; commerce
turns on its wheel, and agriculture provides yields to fill
quotas – demand is high on the world market. Yet who is
sitting behind the wheel; what drives the giants that supply
our every need?

If it’s water we want, we can buy it in plastic bottles, as
pure as the source it comes from, packaged for our convenience.
Bringing all the goodness of nature, and minerals, right to our
dinner table, to accompany our fine fare, taken from a location
that has been specially chosen for its ‘natural commodity’, as
a price is paid for the exchange. Buying an essential for optimum
health, from money gained by working or selling our expertise:
an exchange of labour and energy for what we need. Not for a whim
or fancy, but for something that is ‘ours already’.

Born, as part of nature, on earth, we are reliant on what is already
there to nurture us; it is not by chance that the optimal conditions
exist to ensure our survival, for life looks after its own in this
kingdom and maintains the ‘right balance’ that allows us to thrive
– the elements that sustain us as we grow and prosper alongside
the other ‘brothers and sisters’ who share the environment that
allows us to be here. We are a small part of an interrelated
system – one ‘species’ who participate in evolution, where each
and every ‘participant’ has a natural obligation. The rules or
laws of nature are simple: ‘All that every organism, insect,
creature or human needs to survive is freely provided. In return,
everything that is excreted or discarded is reused’.

Everything ‘returns’ to the earth in another state, to be converted,
as each and every cycle or process cleans, clears and purifies,
recycling the essentials. A tree loses its leaves and provides
humus for the forest, in turn containing moisture which feeds
communities, yet also evaporates, eventually falling again as
rain – everything cycles as even ‘impurities’ are taken care
of and CO2 becomes oxygen – there is no defect in this system
of optimal management, the only question is, can we apply it
to our own lives?

If our footprint can no longer be blown away, how can we rectify
the systems we’ve embraced, to bring back balance? Not only are we
‘dependent’ on ‘suppliers’ for our survival, we’re trailing all
the baggage from experiments and ‘science’, having already left
a ‘great impact’ on our environment, that is not a home or
playground, or something to be acquired, merely part of the system
that exists to support us, serving in the role of ensuring
‘continuation of all species’…

And as we cannot be separated from that which is there to sustain us,
we each have a role to play, just as every part of ‘nature’ has an
allocated task, whether breaking down organic matter or planting
new seeds – ensuring continuation is of the utmost priority. Looking
after what we have, appreciating and giving thanks for all that
exists just to meet our needs, as we pick up the threads and become
conscious of what needs to be done, for this is the gift given to
our species… intelligence, the ability to reason, the power to
observe consequences, and to use rational thought to find solutions
in line with ‘logic’ and our finer faculties; the attribute we
call ‘conscience’.

Attuned to what we ‘know to be true’ we receive signals that prompt
us to act – to stand up for what we believe is right because we feel
it in our bones, in our heart, or with all of our being… like a
natural force that guides us, beyond any definition or meaning.
A prompting, a nudge, gut feeling or intuition… a calling, or visions,
or niggling emotions…

Nature takes care of her own, overseeing the functioning of the
whole – directing skills and encouraging – yet we do not recognise
or encourage such musings. How do birds know to migrate… it is
programmed in and physically explainable… yet how do we ‘navigate
through life’… do we follow our instincts or popular opinion?
Do we turn a blind eye, or live to nature’s principles? Are we
victims or dependent, held on a treadmill? Or picking up the
pieces, determined to make a difference and reweave the threads
that hold together ‘all of creation’ – for the tapestry of life
is self-sustaining.


Kanyini is a 2006 documentary film which explores the philosophy
and the life of Bob Randall, an Aboriginal man who lives beside
the world’s greatest monolith, Uluru, in Central Australia.
He is an elder of the Yankunytjatjara people and a member of
the Stolen Generations. The film, directed by Melanie Hogan,
is based on Bob Randall’s own personal journey and the wisdom
he learnt from the old people living in the bush. Bob tells the
tale of why Indigenous people are now struggling in a modern
world and what needs to be done for them to move forward.

Kanyini is a Pitjantjatjara word meaning interconnectedness;
to care for, to support, to nurture, and to protect. There are
four pillars of Kanyini: belief system, land, spirituality
and family, through which aboriginal people connect to their
place in the family of things, wholeness with all that is.

A story embroidered on A tribal robe that tells a strory, found in a second hand store in Tasmania...

A story embroidered on a tribal robe, found in a second hand store in Tasmania…

Intricate connections, yet what are their origins?

Intricate connections, yet what are their origins?

This entry was published on January 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm. It’s filed under Animal Protection, Animals, Catalan, Culture and Arts, Environment, Europe, Expat, Forest, France, Garden, Healing, Health, History, Landscape, Languedoc Roussillon, Life, Nature, Philosophy, South of France, Spain, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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