Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dreaming the Earth Poster

The Secret of Dreaming, Quilt by Peggy Williams

(Based on a poem by Jim Poulter from his book, The Secret of Dreaming, Templestowe: Victoria: Red Hen, 1998. The poem, in turn is based on an aboriginal creation story,)

Once there was nothing but the Spirit of Life (The Great Spirit); and in the mind of the Great Spirit, a dreaming began. The Spirit dreamt of fire, and wind and rain, earth and sky and land and sea.

The Spirit grew tired of dreaming, but wanted the dream to continue and so he sent the secret of dreaming into the world to the Spirit of the Barramundi (Fish) who dreamt of waves and wet sand, but did not understand the dream; Barramundi wanted to dream only of deep still water, so he passed the secret of dreaming to the Spirit of the Currikee (Turtle) who dreamt of rocks and warm sun. But Currikee did not understand the dream and wanted to dream only of waves and wet sand. And so it went from Barramundi to Currikee to Bogai (Lizard) to Eagle to Coonerang (Possum) to Kangaroo. Each animal wanted to dream only of his or her own reality and so each passed the secret of dreaming on.

Finally, after the secret of dreaming had been passed on, it returned to the Great Sprit who then dreamt all the dreams and also dreamt of music, dancing, laughter and children. The Spirit dreamt that all creatures were spirit cousins - each in all and all in each. As long as we honor that Great Spirit's ongoing dream, the secret of dreaming is safe.

Why the Crow Is Black, Quilt by Carol Switzer

One day, a crow and a hawk went hunting together in the bush. After traveling together for some time, they decided to hunt in opposite directions, and, at day's end, share the spoils of their hunt. About noonday, the crow arrived to a lagoon, a haunt of wild ducks. 

The crow prepared to trap the ducks. He took a long piece of hollow reed through which he could breathe under water, and tied a net bag around his waist for the ducks he caught. He submerged himself in the water, breathing through his reed. Without making any sound or movement, he seized a duck by the leg, quickly pulled it beneath the water, killed it, and placed it in his net bag. In a short time he had trapped a number of ducks so he left the lagoon and continued on his way until he came to a river. The crow was so pleased with his success at the lagoon, he decided to spear some fish as well before returning to camp. In a short time, he hurled the spear, and his unerring aim was rewarded with a big fish. The water was soon agitated by many fish, and the crow took advantage of this to spear many more. With his heavy load of game, he headed for camp.

The hawk was less fortunate in his hunting. He stalked a kangaroo for many miles, but lost sight of it in the thickly wooded hills. He tried to fish the river, but the crow had made the water muddy and frightened the fish. Again he was unsuccessful. At last he decided to return to his gunyah (camp) hoping the crow would have some food to share.

When the hawk arrived, he discovered the crow had already prepared his food and eaten, and had not saved anything for him. This annoyed the hawk, so he approached the crow and said: "I see you have had a good hunt today. I walked many miles but could not catch even a lizard. I am tired and would be glad to have my share of food, as we agreed this morning." The crow accused him of being lazy which made the hawk very angry. He attacked the crow and for a long time they struggled around the dying embers of the camp fire, until the hawk seized the crow and rolled him in the black ashes. When the crow recovered, he discovered he could not wash the ashes off. Since that time, crows have always been black.

Goolahwilleel, the TopKnot Pigeons, Quilt by Heidi Sandkuhle

Young Goolahwilleel used to go out hunting every day. His mother and sisters always expected that he would bring home kangaroo and emu for them, but each day he came home without any meat for them. They asked him,"What do you do in the bush each day, as it is obvious that you are not hunting?" Goolahwilleel said, "But I DO hunt each day." "Then why," they said, "do you bring us nothing to eat?" "Tomorrow," he said, "you shall not be disappointed--I will bring you a kangaroo."
But his mother and sisters did not know that everyday, instead of hunting, Goolahwilleel had been gathering wattle-gum, and with this he had been making a perfect model of a kangaroo--complete with tail, ears, and paws. So the next day he came towards the camp carrying this kangaroo made of gum. Seeing him coming and carrying the promised kangaroo, his mother and sisters said, "Oh, Goolahwilleel has kept his word, and now brings us a kangaroo--pile up the fire for tonight we shall eat meat!"

About a hundred yards away from camp, Goolahwilleel put down his kangaroo made of gum and leaves, and came up to the camp. "Where is the kangaroo you brought home?" his mother asked. "Oh, it is over there." And he pointed towards where he had left it. "Where is it?" his sisters cried. "We don't see any kangaroo." "It is right there." said young Goolahwilleel, again pointing to where he had put it. "But all there is is a kangaroo made of gum and leaves." "Did I not say that it was made of gum?" asked Goolahwilleel. "No, you did not." they said. "You said you were bringing us a kangaroo." "And it IS a kangaroo--a beautiful kangaroo that I made all by myself!" And he smiled quite proudly to think what a fine kangaroo he had made.

But his mother and sisters did NOT smile. They seized him and gave him a good beating for deceiving them. They told him that he should never go out alone again, for all he did was play instead of hunt, even though he knew they starved for meat. And so for ever more, the Goolahwilleels went together in flocks, never alone, in search of food.

Wayarnbeh the Turtle, Quilt made by Winnie Roumimper

The Turtle man was out gathering food when he saw the lizard man's wife named Oola and her three children digging yams. Wayamba decided he would like a wife and family, so he took them home. When Wayamba's tribe saw what he had done they were very angry. They approached the Turtle man and said, "You are going to be punished for this." and the Turtle man laughed. Early next morning he saw the fury of his tribe as they showered him with spears.

Wayamba chose the two biggest shield that he had , one slung on his back and one on his front. As the spears came whizzing through the air, Wayamba drew his arms inside the shields and ducked his head down between them. Shower after shower of weapons they slung at him and they were getting closer so that his only chance to get away was to dive into the creek, and the tribe never saw him again. But in the water hole where he had dived, they saw a strange creature which had a plate fixed on it's back. When they tried to catch the creature, it drew in it's head and limbs. So they said, "It's Wayamba." And this was the beginning of Wayamba or Turtles, in the creek

How the Stars were Made, Quilt by Marina Rosario

This quilt was based on the story, “Rolla-Mano and the Evening Star”
Rolla-Mano was the old man of the sea. The blue ocean, with all its wonderful treasures of glistening pearls, white foam and pink coral, belonged to him. In the depths of the sea, he ruled a kingdom of shadows and strange forms, to which the light of the sun descended in green and grey beams. Here and there were patches of sea grass, fine and soft as a snow maiden's hair. In the shadow of the trees lurked a thousand terrors of the deep. In a dark rocky cave, a giant octopus spread its long, writhing tentacles in search of its prey, and gazed the while through the water with large lusterless eyes. In and out of the kelp a grey shark glided while bright-colored fish darted out of the path of danger. Across the rippled sand a great crab ambled awkwardly to its hiding place behind a white-fluted clam shell. And over all, the long, brown arms of the sea kelp forest waved to and fro.

One day Rolla-Mano went to fish in a lonely mangrove swamp close to the sea shore. He caught many fish, and cooked them at a fire. While eating, two women approach him with lithe, graceful, beautiful bodies and in their eyes was the soft light of the dusk. When they spoke, their voices were as sweet and low as the sighing of the night breeze through the reeds in the river. With the intention of capturing them, Rolla-Mano hid in the branches of the mangrove tree, and, when the women came close, he threw his net over them. One, however, escaped by diving into the water. He was so enraged at her escape that he jumped in after her with a burning fire stick in his hand. As soon as the fire stick touched the water, the sparks hissed and scattered to the sky, where they remain as golden stars to this day.

Rolla-Mano did not capture the woman who dived into the dark waters of the swamp. After a fruitless search he returned to the shore and took the other woman to live with him forever in the sky. She is the evening star. From her resting place, she gazes through the mists of eternity at the restless sea--the dark, mysterious kingdom of Rolla-Mano. On a clear summer night, when the sky is studded with golden stars, remember they are the sparks from the fire stick of Rolla-Mano, and the beautiful evening star is the woman he captured in the trees of the mangrove swamp.

Kookaburras at the River's Edge, Quilt by Marie O’Kelley

Kookaburra, one of the wives of Googarh, was the mother of three sons, one grown and living away, and other two only
little boys. Their camp was near a goolahgool, a water-holding tree, of the iron bark or box species where they obtained water.

One day, Googarh, the iguana, and his two wives went out hunting, leaving the two little Kookaburras alone at camp. The hunters took water for themselves, but left none for the children, who were too small to get any from the goolahgool for themselves, so nearly perished from thirst. Suddenly they saw a man coming towards them who turned out to be their big brother.

When he learned his mother had left his little brothers to perish of thirst, he decided to punish her. He climbed the goolahgool and split it in two causing the water to gush out in a swiftly running stream. Soon the little fellows quenched their thirst and then, in their joy, bathed in the water, which grew in volume every moment.

When the hunters finally returned, they tried to cross the rushing stream, but it was too deep. They were soon engulfed in the rushing stream, drawn down by the current and drowned