Yin and Yang and a bit of magic in the Australian high country

2012 is the Chinese Year of the Water Dragon.

“In 2012 the Yang Water Dragon Year starts January 23, 2012 and ends February 9, 2013. The energetic high point of the year is the dragon moon, which is from May 20 to June 18 (new moon is May 20, full moon is June 4 and dragon moon is over June 18. June 19 begins the snake moon, which will set up the energy for the following year, 2013, year of the yin water snake.)” (see http://www.waterdragoninc.com/Feng%20Shui%202012.html )

There were a couple of things I did not include when writing the three parts of “Messages from our surroundings” – so I mention them now as a sort of out-take.

One of the first things known about Warumungu life, ethnographically speaking, was collected by the German anthropologist Erhard Eylmann, who passed through Warumungu country (late 1890s) before the better known 1901 visit by Spencer and Gillen.

Eylmann reported, in his 1908 book,  “ the Warumungu belief is a serpent so high it reached far up into the sky.” (Die Eingeborenen der Kolonie Südaustralien. German version online at http://archive.org/details/dieeingeborenen00eylmgoog)

Spencer and Gillen followed up this trail and actually visited, under escort from the senior men who were their Warumungu hosts, a waterhole located in the low ranges to the South East of Tennant Creek, which is the home of this fabulous serpent.

While the surrounding countryside is – in some sense – associated with the Wurlurru moiety (Fire), the Kingili side (Water) have very important rights in relation to this special place.

The picture I formed is one which draws on a yin-yang model, so in the core of yang you will  find yin. And, I, suspect, vice versa.

It may not make sense when using Western notions of exclusive ownership of ‘blocks’ of land etc but the wisdom which informs First Peoples Ways as been systematically excluded from our ‘modern’ Western thinking over some thousands of years.

We gain some idea of what the landscape looks like to those who have transcendental values which are actually embedded in the countryside when we imagine what it would be like to be in a region which had a dangerous dragon living in a certain area (hill, or den or whatever).

With a little effort we can regain something of a sense of Being in the world which results from such features and which we lack. My guess is this sense was lacking in all those who make their way on an entirely secular walk to the top of Australia’s highest peak  (in comparison to Koories who treated the tops with respect as abodes of special forces). The significance of the country is measured in eithre imperial or metric units – not those of myth  and metaphor.

Other peoples around the world (e.g. Tibet) also hold peaks in special regard. Not least of all of such people, who still have a sense of awe in relation to their surroundings, would be the ancient Greeks with Mount Olympus being home for many of their gods. And we will come back to ancient Greece in a moment.

While I was writing about Blue Lake I had to continually resist the urge to mention the Ken Russell film “The Lair of the White Worm”. My resistance came from a concern that I might reduce the importance of First Peoples transcendental cosmology by making a trite comparison.

In that film an ancient giant creature, the White Worm, resides down a deep cavernous well.  I happened to be checking out Wikipedia for a crossword solution the other day (Thanks French American capital) and it took me to an entry on the old Anglo-Saxon region known as Mercia.

And there I found  some rich pickings about Worms, Dragons and Giant Serpents – both in what is now England and Europe and links to the East (which is rich in Dragons).

The original book, on which the film was loosely based, was written by Bram Stoker. He located his story in Mercia. And he, in turn, drew on an older story of the Lambton Worm.

What is interesting regarding Mercia(and recall the earlier mention of mythic creatures on Coats of Arms) is the role of the Wyvern:

“The wyvern in Leicester’s crest was derived from that of Thomas of Lancaster, second Lancastrian Earl of Leicester. The seal of Thomas, who was executed in 1327, included a wyvern.[35]

A similar theme was later taken up by Bram Stoker in his 1911 novel, The Lair of the White Worm, which was explicitly set in Mercia (see above). The word “worm”, derived from Old English wyrm, originally referred to a dragon or serpent. “Wyvern” is derived from Old Saxon wivere, also meaning serpent (and etymologically related to viper).

The ultimate source for the symbolism of white dragons in England would appear to be Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fictional History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1136), where an incident occurs in the life of Merlin in which a red dragon is seen fighting a white dragon which it overcomes. The red dragon was taken to represent the Welsh and their eventual victory over the Anglo-Saxon invaders, symbolised by the white dragon. However, there is no archaeological or artefactual evidence that the early Anglo-Saxons used a white dragon to represent themselves.


Wikipedia can also provide you with more information on the story of the White Worm, Lambton Worm . book and film (follows link on Mercia entry).

But the link I found most interesting was that on Dragons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons

Here we regain a glimpse of former times in Europe, when something like the Dreaming stories found in Australia also survived.

“The English word “dragon” derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake”, which probably comes from the verb δρακεῖν (drakeîn) “to see clearly”.[1]

The source is http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Ddra%2Fkwn2

It lightly covering these matters we can ponder the role of Rainbow Serpents as part of a global pattern which mapped our cosmos in particular ways. These ways have been sanitised by a secularisation process which removed metaphors from our means of connecting our Being with our cosmic surroundings.

Magic was been taken out of life, and we lead depressingly dull and flattened lives. This flattening is so widespread we believe it is normal – back to the daily grind. No, this is not how life is meant to be – we are dancing forms of energy, fractals of the great whole.

I see that the Year of the Dragon is that of a Black Dragon, said to represent the Chinese people themselves.

How would they interpret the Australian high  country, as seen through First Peoples – Eastern – eyes?

Hark, what is that distance rumbling from deep in the earth. A re-awakening?

What are those indigenous ceremonies connected with Place?

In lieu of Merlin, in the Australian context and with their ceremonies at special places, we have senior indigenous men who act collectively as Wizards stuggling to ensure cosmic balance.

Moon dance 4 June anyone?