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Gundagai, Earth Connection weekend. May 19th and 20th

Steven Guth

The invitation.

I was with the Journey to Infinity people on their double journey around Australia when they passed through Gundagai in March 2000. They had just spent a few days with us in Galong. Gaye Macdonald who runs the popular Gundagai Genesis Centre asked me to speak at her planned Earth Connection weekend early in 2001.

I puzzled over what I could say. As the invitation was for a year away I suggested that I could talk about "The New Australian Folk Soul". I think I had in mind the building up of spiritual forces that I had been experiencing in Canberra over the last 15 years. Surely, the same was also happening nearby in the down river town of Gundagai.

I puzzled over who would be coming for the weekend. What could I offer that would help people? I kept asking Gaye for a profile of the participants.

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Planing the talk.

The Monday just before the gathering I sketched myself an outline. My talk was to focus on place. How people affect places - QUICKLY, by building and living in a location ... and how places affect people - SLOWLY, as the Devas of place set up an image, a tone, a matrix in which people live.

My notes suggested that I should contrast the Aboriginal vision of Australia with the British tradition, which (reconciliation or otherwise) is the social and political matrix which governs the way Australians interact with the land, the plants and the animals of Australia.

The Aboriginal tradition? A dreaming interaction between spiritual beings and people - each aware of each other - keeping a spiritual, ecological harmony between the land, people and animals.

The British tradition was (and still is) extractive - designed to take from Australia and send to the "home Country" whatever could be mined, farmed or killed. We live so deeply on this British tradition that it weaves a spell over us making us unable to focus on its exploitive premises. It is indeed a magic spell. For the Geomancer its workings can be seen in the buildings, locations and ceremonies of inner Canberra.

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The gathering.

We meet Saturday morning in the Returned Soldiers Club. About 50 people. Vince Bulger, a local aboriginal custodian gave a greeting. Although given an hour to talk about the local aboriginal experience Vince was reticent and finished in three minutes.

The atmosphere in the club's function room with its plate glass windows out looking out to the car park was terrible. It smelt of alcohol and beer. In it floated the left overs of war. Pussy sores, anger, fear and frustration. Clearly, here was a place that had been created by people which couldn't help but affect the mood and thoughts of the people sitting inside the heated, sealed space.

Other speakers followed. On bees, On the Winds of Change, On the Southern Cross - which by a strange coincidence is hidden in the plan of inner Canberra. By mid afternoon it was my turn to speak.

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My talk.

I used the overhead projector to show crop circle pictures - yes, beyond any possibility of doubt, cosmic forces do work their way into the landscape. I showed artist impressions of huge landscape sized devas. All drawn in the Theosophical tradition, some from well known books some created by a friend from what he discovered around Canberra... I was succeeding in building up a framework of belief.

I reached out for Vince and asked him about the local aboriginal guardian spirit, who's presence I could feel as a blue haze over layering the room. Reluctantly he named the spirit, "Munja" who lived on Cypress Pine ridge upriver towards Tumut.

With Vince's help - which became less reluctant as he realised people were accepting his statements - I explored the importance of Gundagai as a Dreaming place that linked he hills that encircled it to the Murrumbidgee, which flows slowly down hill from the town eventually reaching Adelaide.

Gundagai was important in British times too. Again it was the river. It was the highest point from which goods - the extractions of Australia - could be sent down river. "The Road to Gundagai", a popular folk song sets into the record of myth the point at which the land journey home with its horses, drays and terrible roads ended and the soft, cool river journey could begin.

I showed a slide of Shiva in her Nataraj form, superimposed on the eastern hemisphere of the earth and explained how his limbs represent the main energy pathways over the planet. These follow the main mountain ridges, peak in Tibet and flow to worlds holy places. I explained how Shiva - the God of destruction and creation - dances, ripping apart the old as he puts the energy in place for the new to happen.

I presented my understandings as to how these Shiva energies which, when they flow, enliven creative and spiritual thought. How this energy is attractive to people and draws the talented to locations to begin new cycles of civilisation.

I suggested that in the last 15 years there had been profound changes in Shiva's dance. The freshest energies on the planet had totally changed direction and now flowed from south to north. Southeast Asia and India now received energies, interlaced with Australian thoughts, rather than the other way around. Australia's eastern mountain range was the main line along which the Shiva energies flowed. Canberra had become a key place in this new development, giving Australia the potential role of becoming a spiritually and culturally important place some time in the future.

These winds were also affecting Gundagai. That the fact that we were here, as a group where proof of that. I asked the question... " What next in Australia, what next in Gundagai? How do we move from here to the future? "

People responded, I suggested meditation as a way to work from the spiritual into the physical. But my answer was as hollow as theirs. We didn't know, we has come to the end.

Surprisingly, the next day was to provide the answer.

Three of us independently, and in different ways, were to get the same answer.

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What to do. The insights.

Ross, from Canberra, awoke at four and received in writing a message about the prime importance of the Gundagai location to the future spiritual awakening.

Ilyanha, from the Gold Coast hinterland had a sleepless night, all to aware of the energies that were trying to make their way from the ground to the sky through her body.

And I, in my morning meditation, visited the Gundagai river flats with its surrounding circle of hills and witnesses the howl of anguish that took place as the dancing elders (who I saw in their huge etheric shapes) shut down the relationship between sky, hills and the river system. Perhaps come time in the 1840's. That howl still lingers in my ears.

It seemed that the weekend was about connecting the dreaming between the surrounding hills, the river flats, the river and the sky. The energy was to plume into the pathway of the Shiva winds racing north from Antarctica. I saw that the Devas, some of great age and majesty needed people. Stuck in the landscape they needed humanity to act out their creative impulse.

It was Ilyanha's job to lecture to the group in the morning. The three of us discussed the situation and decided that she, with Ross's help would do what they could to help the group link between earth and sky. I elected to sit in a corner and meditate, watching over what was happening, try to protect the group and facilitate the energy flows. I asked that I remain undisturbed and that my name not be used during the talk.

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Ilyanha described the situation in intellectual Merkabaha terminology using the concepts of projective geometry and crystaline structure. Slowly, ever so slowly, the energy in the room started to lift from ground level to the solarplexis area. To me it looked as if the room were filling up with a navy blue liquid, which sort of sloshed around the edges.

The energy level raised and fell with the activities taking place. Toning increased the level. American Indian drumming decreased the level. Songs, mostly Hyams had little affect, the "Road to Gundagai" gave a good boost. Some aboriginal figures appeared holding spears, I counted a few times and I think there were five. The group, struggling with its task did a dance - a circle dance in the shape of the figure 8 infinity sign. This helped and the energy finally raised itself tentatively to the throat chakra level.

Coming out of mediation I was asked to speak. Using the white board I drew a 'The Dog on the Tucker Box', a symbol of Gundagai that is world famous. I rubbed out the dog and opened the lid. "That's what we are doing," I said, "The tucker box is the Pandora's box holding the creative energies which have been placed there when the dreaming stopped. The dog, the guardian has been removed. It is now our work to open the lid." As I looked around me at the tired bodies and confused minds I wondered if anyone understood what I had said.

Clearly, the RSL function room with its steel and cement floor, low flat roof and stale air was an impossible structure to work in. We needed a cathedral or a least to get out into the open.

We asked Vince to suggest a suitable area. The best place, he said was ten kilometres upstream where the Tumut and Murrumbidgee rivers met. Too far. So we went to the river flat monument area - it marked the site of the first (and quickly flooded out) township. It also, Vince said, was the location of the local Bora ring.

Parking our cars near the eight metre high pyramidal monument Vince walked a little way and lined up three old man guardian trees. The ring's outline could just be seem as a circular impression in the grass. It could easily be felt. The group assembled, Vince told a man carrying an American Indian drum to leave it outside - please use clap sticks if you want to have a rhythm. And so, in our different ways - singing, breathing, toning, dancing, mime, movement - we all worked at raising the energies from our throats to our heads and the sky above. (We really do need new understanding and new ways of doing Australian ceremonies in Australian places.) I meditated and softly did an etheric dance. I felt contented. People wondered in and out of the ring. After about ten minutes a sort of climax was reached. At this point I counted 32 people in the ring. This seemed significant because it was half of 64 - I have no idea why this should be so.

Well the job was done. We had our picnic lunch near the monument and listened to a farmer telling us about his experiences in improving his health. This light story telling seemed to help ground the work.

How did it all go? Now four days after the event my meditations lead me to the Gundagai river flats with its ring of encircling hills and I sense a plume of energy rising far into the sky. It's still unconnected to the planetary network. Will this need further human involvement? Or perhaps it will all sort itself out on its own?

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Beyond ANZAC Day | Meeting a Deva | Meditation at Tasmania | Meditation at the Royal military college, Duntroon | Meditation at Parliament House | Background to the Theosophical Meditations at Canberra's Sacred Sites

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