I was up at the crack of dawn this morning with my family (including 3 Grandchildren) down at the Aboriginal Whale ceremony heralding the first day of spring at Balmoral Beach. This event is part of the Sacred Music Festival being held in Sydney over the next month. The Whale Ceremony was awesome and gave me a new, fresh insight into everything that is being described in Dead Man Dance. A tribal elder (uncle Max) led a crowd of 150 eager participants through a careful ritual in which we had to wait patiently for the Sun (Grandfather) to rise over the horizon:
We then listened to a beautiful "sermon" about the power of the sun, the moon, the earth and the sea and their benefit to all of us. We then were led down onto the beach and were arranged in the shape of a large whale. Then we were given four words to chant to evoke the dreaming spirit of the whale. My grandchildren to begin with were complaining about the cold "why did we have to come here granddad", but after 15 minutes or so they go caught up in the reverential atmosphere of the whole event and came away amazed at what they had witnessed. I now understand much better those scenes in Dead Man Dance where large numbers of Aboriginals are described wending their way around the whale bodies on the beach.
An amazing experience!
Blakeans please see the previous post for your topics on The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - and please go and have a look at the resources on The Book of Job just posted into LEO.
For those doing Twentieth Century Literature here are a few ideas for this week's blog:
CREATIVE: along the lines of T.S.Eliot's Prufrockl (but based completely on your own experience) draft a description of your "Consciousness" and see how this might shape itself into a poem. Capture the contents of your feeling and thinking and see what happens when you try to record it.
CRITICAL: Challenge Mina Loy's conclusions that the only way women can liberatre themselves from the male strangelhold is by surgically removing their virginity at puberty. This could take the form of a direct letter to Mina.
CRIT/CREAT: Based on what you have read and heard this week present a brief synopsis of what you think "Modernism" is.
For those deep into the Australian mid twentieth century chose any of the following topics.
CRITICAL: Give a brief explanation of why you think Judith Wright continues to be relevant to the early 21st century.
CREATIVE: Take a single line from any poem by Judith Wright and use this line as a starting point for a poem of your own.
CRITICAL: Chose any one of the Wright poems in the Pen Anthology and say what it is that you like about this poem.
CRITICAL: What criticisms does Oodgeroo make of Western Society in her poem "We Are Going"?
CRITICAL/CREATIVE: Do Oodgeroo's political statements (in the Pen Anthology) still have relevance for today's Aboriginals?