Written by Gary Wonning
This is part one of a three part series.
It had been a month long adventure.
After spending a month in the outback of Australia learning the aboriginal ways, I had seen and learned things I had never even imagined could exist.
Even though we were looking forward to going home, the highlight of the adventure was yet to come.
Gallivanting around in the outback for over three weeks, time had become irrelevant, I never realized it at the time, this was July 7th , 1989. Before leaving home, it was revealed to me that this day, July 7, 1989 would be a special day.
At the prompting of our aboriginal driver, begrudgingly, I decided to take a look at one more Aboriginal rock art site on sacred land.
We had seen a ton of sacred sites over the last thirty day, the last thing I wanted to do was go see another one, after awhile, they all begin to look alike.
After giving it some thought, I changed my mind and decided to go, I probably wouldn’t get back this way anytime soon.
As the bus traveled along the dusty dirt road leading to the site, I began to feel as if I was entering another dimension, I no longer felt I was part of the group of photographers on the bus.
As the bus screeched to a stop, and ignoring the sign about entering sacred aboriginal land without permission was punishable by a five thousand dollar fine, I walked around to the back of Ubirr Rock, the home of Namarrgon, Lightning Man, and began the steep ascent.
Namarrgon is the name for Lightning Man, a dreamtime figure who signals the arrival of the Wet Season in the Top End of the Northern Territory.
With electric power striking from his ears and his toes, Lightning Man tells Aboriginal people when the time is ripe to pick bush tucker, like the Kakadu Plum.
But his forces are strong, and caution is needed. Simon Badari of Oenpelli in Arnhem Land explains how the story has been passed on from the elders for generations and generations.
Finding hand and foot holds on the nearly vertical wall was familiar to me, I ascended the cliff like I had climbed it many times before. I was no longer an American photographer, I became an aborigine in search of great truths.
The view at the top was exhilarating, I sat my camera equipment down and lay on the flat ancient edifice.
Soon, I fell into deep meditation and entered an alternate reality.
Slowly my spirit left my body, and hovered above it. I envisioned a white dove which had come to rest on my right arm, I could see it while I was hovering above and feel it simultaneously resting on my physical body.
The last few weeks, the aboriginal elders had told many stories of creation, how the Rainbow Serpent had created Australia and the aborigines themselves.
There are similar creation stories around the world, each culture has it’s on version of the same story.
In my own eyes, or my mind’s eye, I began to see Australia being created from the sea. As I watched, the land arose above the sea, as the waters flowed off the land, the mountains appeared first, then the lower elevations appeared.
Soon, the Land of Oz was whole, ready to accommodate its inhabitants. Creation was complete, at least this part of creation.
Deep down inside, I felt this vision was true but how did it all come about,? Was this really the creation or an event that may have occurred later, and did it coincide with the story of Noah and the flood, it is well known that every culture also has a story of the flood. Could it have really been a worldwide event?
Even though the time of Noah’s flood as told in the bible doesn’t correspond with the ice age, I have always felt the flood occured at the time of the retreat of the ice glaciers.
There are over two hundred fifty legends around the world of a catastrophic flood, it couldn’t have been localized, it had to be world wide, but how?
Was the time of Noah four thousand years ago like many believe or could it have coincided with the end of the last ice age nearly twelve thousand years ago?
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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