Written by Gary Wonning
Ubirr Rock is a sacred monolith in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia.
Ubirr Rock has several natural shelters that contain a collection of rock art, some thought to be tens of thousands of years old. The art depicts creation ancestors and animals from the area including barramundi, catfish, goannas, long neck turtles,wallabies and kangaroos.
Some of the paintings can date back as far as forty thousand years, with most having been done about two thousand years ago and many have been repainted several times.
The main gallery contains many examples of x-ray art and is probably the most photographed. Also is seen paintings of white men and Mimi spirits ( extraterrestrials) , so thin they can slip in and out of the cracks in the rocks.
A painting of a Thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, can be seen at the northern end of the gallery. This tiger has been extinct in the area for about 2000 years, and attests to the antiquity of the paintings.
Rainbow Serpent Gallery
This is a woman only site, and is the most sacred site at Ubirr, although this rule is often relaxed for non-indigenous tourists. This is the spot visited by the Rainbow Serpent or “Garranga’rreli”, during her path across the top end of Australia, during the Dreaming. As she crossed the land, she “sang” the rocks, plants, animals, and people into existence. This path, or songline is still a sacred path to the indigenous people who live in northern Australia.
From the top of Ubirr rock there is a panoramic view of the flood plains and escarpments.
It is from this idyllic view I experienced my most profound spiritual encounter.
Exiting from the bus that brought me here, I left the main trail and began walking around the back of the rock and started climbing the 100 ft. vertical wall, all the time carrying 40 lbs. of camera gear on my back.
As I began my ascent my reality began to change, I was no longer an American photographer visiting Australia, I was transformed into a native carefully climbing a vertical wall, placing each hand and foot in a strategic place, never pausing, but slowly climbing upward as I had done many times before. Always finding a tree, root or rock ledge enabling me to continue my climb, never pausing but slowly climbing upward in my search for truth.
Reaching the top of this sacred Shrine in the middle of some of the most isolated land in the world I began to feel overwhelming love and peace and a sense of being home, I had returned to the Land of Oz.
As I lay on this sacred monument my mind began to pass through the veil of time, into a place from whence all things are seen, back in time, back to a previous millennium, back to the birth of Australia
I felt my consciousness leave my body and rise high above the earth. Looking down I could sense two realities, I had a sense of being high above the earth and looking down upon my lifeless body lying on the rocky cliff, I could observe a bird walking on my right arm, at the same time I was the lifeless body on the cliff, feeling and sensing that same bird walking across my arm.
As the land rose from the sea, the mountains began to form high above the plains; the Rainbow Serpent began to transform the land into a new world called Australius.
I suddenly re-entered my body and came back to the present reality, slightly dazed about what had just taken place. Gazing into my camera close by, I knew that someday when the time was right, I would write about this event.
Upon my return to the bus, Mark, our Aborigine driver informed me that I had been on sacred ground, where no one is allowed without permission. There is a $5,000 fine for that. He then looked at me, winked and said” But you had permission!”
Needless to say, the trip back to Jabiru was quite an experience, I felt like I was coming down from a tremendous high, someone remarked and wondered what I drugs I had taken. I have never taken drugs in my life, but there is nothing that could equal this feeling. The rest of the day I was rather worthless as I tried to absorb what had just transpired! I had been told several months earlier that July 7th would be a special day, being in the outback, I hadn’t even realized that today was July 7th, until now! How interesting, July 7th is the day of the Roswell crash, 42 years to the day!
What a perfect ending to our last night of camping, day broke with a Wallaby sauntering about our camp site.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
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