Monday, October 23, 2006

Boorganna (Part II)

After viewing Rawson Falls from the specially constructed viewing platform (see Boorganna (Part I)), Mum, George, Yonni, and I continued down to the bottom of the gorge so as to take in more of the beautiful views of Boorganna Nature Reserve and explore the area at the base of the falls.

Observing the falls, I couldn’t help but notice how this ever-changing ribbon of water descending from above, seemed to be like some kind of spirit alive and very much present in this special place.

Perhaps it was just the effect of the water falling from such a great height which gave Rawson Falls such a strange and beautiful quality. Or maybe there is another explanation for the other-worldly figures and faces that could be discerned, not only in the wispy plume of cascading water, but in many of the nearby rocks, as the photo below illustrates.

Maybe some people would be freaked out by such things, but I felt quite at peace and safe in this beautiful place. In fact, being there reminded me of the insights contained in two books I've recently completed reading.

In A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong notes that, “The earliest mythologies taught people to see through the tangible world to a reality that seemed to embody something else. But this required no leap of faith, because at this stage there seemed to be no metaphysical gulf between the sacred and the profane. When these early people looked at a stone, they did not see an inert, unpromising rock. It embodied strength, permanence, solidity and an absolute mode of being that was quite different from the vulnerable human state. Its very otherness made it holy. A stone was a common hierophany – revelation of the sacred – in the ancient world” (and, I would add, in the spirituality of many contemporary indigenous peoples around the world).

“Trees, stones and heavenly bodies were never objects of worship in themselves”, writes Armstrong, “but were revered because they were epiphanies of a hidden force that could be seen powerfully at work in all natural phenomena, giving people intimations of another, more potent reality.”

In his book Karingal: A Search for Australian Spirituality, Rod Cameron similarly notes that, “Australian Aborigines believe that the Spirit People, the creative spirits of the Dreamtime, still live, [and that] after their epic wanderings during which they blessed the land with fertility, they retired to caves and to other sacred places to die. Their bodies are represented in the features of the sacred sites but their spirits still live and are creatively active.”

Cameron admits that for some people, such beliefs may seem strange. But he is adamant that for Christians, this shouldn’t be the case.

“As Christians we frequently call upon the saints for help,” he says. “We [. . .] live in communion with the saints who are still involved with us in creating a better world. Just as God’s creation is on-going so is that of the saints. The entire action is one single display of creative power emanating from God. It is all within one movement of the Holy Spirit.”

I’ve long believed that all of the earth is sacred, that it is infused with the creative and transforming energy of God. But Boorganna felt especially sacred.

Is it any wonder I that felt compelled to remove my shoes and tread barefoot on this hallowed ground? And, later, to dispense with my outer garments and immerse myself in the holy waters of this place?

Above: Upon our return to the car park of Boorganna Nature Reserve, I was befriended by a dog from a neighbouring farm!

Above: On our way back to Port Macquarie, we paused for refreshments at the Blue Poles Café and Contemporary Art Gallery in Byabarra. From left: Yonni, Dad, George, me, and Mum.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Boorganna (Part I)
Rocky Beach
A Spring Swim
Pacific Skies
Alva Beach
Coastal Views
Bago Bluff
A Solitary Ramble
In the Garden of Spirituality: Rod Cameron.

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