It’s Time to go Home: Karta is Waiting
By Steven & Evan Strong
After some considerable time spent addressing other concerns, I found the chance to finally return to what has always been my favourite genre of Original archaeology: the marked and magic rocks. Of recent times we have been involved in so many other avenues converging at the same intersection, and have barely kept up. But finally there is some light at the end of the tunnel offering time to pause and indulge. Both a curse and blessing, these rocks are as unforgiving as they are an inspiration. From the very beginning of this journey into days long gone they have been with or near me, and because of this proximity, are always major part of our life.
I was three sentences in with five rocks ready to begin their introduction, and from the time Evan mentioned I had to ring Christine, I just knew that the little written was all there would be for some time. The question she asked was as much an inquiry as it was a direction, verging on an ultimatum. There have been many times when we have made it clear these rocks must go onto sacred country at Karta, there is no secret there, but amongst the plans for the future there never has been a specific date, or even a general time frame.
‘Biting the Hand That Feeds you’
The rocks have been more than forthright in declaring their intentions to be housed at the island, and no less than graphic in voicing the disappointment of those who were not chosen to remain last year. After attending a culture gathering at Karta it was agreed that although lacking in safe storage, a small ‘advance party’ of twenty odd rocks would stay at the island and wait for the return of the remainder, once a secure display was built.
Of the original number I still had well over a hundred to take back home, and after catching an evening flight to Sydney, it was too late to reach Ballina/Byron airport and I had to stay at a nearby hotel that was very close to the airport. The accommodation was very basic with a price tag punching well above the quality of the room, it mattered little. It was late and two bags full of rocks and one very tired porter tried to get some sleep before catching the early morning flight up north.
I didn’t sleep well, with so many rocks in the same room it was never possible, but at least I did get time to rest and reflect on the gathering and the events unfolding. The airport was less than a kilometre from the motel, which was an intentional blessing. Knowing that both bags weigh 35 kilograms and was primarily full of rocks, as was my carry on and every spare pocket, dragging my rocky load across bitumen roads and concrete paths for less than ten minutes was still a bit of an effort, but nothing too taxing.
The only agency not factored into this equation were two bags full of less than content passengers who were much happier laying on the earth at a place without jets and concrete, and felt compelled to make sure it was made very clear they had to find someone to hold and fall responsible. I stood at the road just outside the motel trying to pick a gap, owing to an extra load of about eighty kilograms of rocks spread throughout two bags on wheels and one on the shoulder, it took some time before a decent space between the early morning traffic was sighted.
My initial preparations were promising, both wheeled bags were at the kerb, the shoulder bag flung back and up ahead the driver of a large truck could see I was readying myself for the fray and nodded as if to gesture take the first step. I could see the truck had slowed, and moved forward with all three bags leaning back, nicely balanced and moving at an adequate pace.
Then as my left foot rose with the intention of moving past the middle painted white line, it was pulled upwards and in doing so clipped my other leg. For a millisecond nothing was touching planet earth, all four limbs were air-borne, but the descent was far from elegant. As I fell forward I remember glimpsing up the road to check on the approaching truck, as quick as the glance was it was comforting simply because the driver was already intending to brake and simply added a lot more pressure, which meant at least I wasn’t going to be squashed. But the bitumen is not an accommodating substance to rub skin against. As I began to fall I knew instinctively my legs could not re-balance in time. What was not a promising change in circumstances was the shoulder bag full of some cylcons, of which one is decidedly fragile, had swayed forward as I tripped and would be the first point of impact as things currently fell. The solution was simple, instantaneous and took nigh on a month to heal, my right hand and palm was thrust forward.
The good news was the rocks did not touch the road, my right palm slid close to half a metre along the bitumen and absorbed all the force, and quite a few tiny bits of rock as a souvenir. The truck pulled up half a metre from where I fell and rose, the bags were undamaged as was 98% of my outer packaging. I left an evenly spaced line of half a dozen drops of blood running across the road as a departing gift and a thankful nod to the driver, once reaching the other side of the road I rummaged through one bag looking for a hanky. It was used, but right now my first aid kit was down to my fingernails scratching out slithers of gravel and bitumen and ramming the soiled cotton bandage against a lot of blood and exposed flesh.
I also had the opportunity to retrace my steps and semi-steps and question how I could possibly be that clumsy. It was like a slow motion replay of a sporting highlight, but without the elegance or poise, simply because my ankle was tripped or grabbed and the culprit was not the other limb, nor was any other part of my body responsible. I felt my ankle being knocked as it rose and cannoning into my other leg at such a force that it also lifted off the ground. If I had one leg still firmly standing, I would have stumbled but never careered head first towards the surface of tar and tiny pieces of gravel. I was pushed, and as much as the next part of this explanation sounds so odd, perhaps outrageous is a better fit, we have no choice to call it like it is in declaring that the rocks did it. Annoyed, disappointed, irrespective of the logic and concerns for security and safety, they knew of the only person who was directly responsible and he had to be punished.
My right hand was a mangled mess, it took nearly a month before I could grip a tennis racquet. The pain was a constant reminder that these rocks had found their home and will most certainly return.
Two Reasons (Plus one) for the Eviction
As much as I am as attached as I am wary of these ancient signposts/devices, there is a responsibility to care and protect which remains our first priority. When on the island the Culture Centre’s tenure was insecure, Christine had been legally evicted and the gathering was meant to draw a ‘line in the sand’ and reclaim Ramindjeri heritage.
During such uncertain times, with no display unit constructed, it was agreed that the main body of rocks had to remain hidden on our farm somewhere in the rainforest. It has to be understood these rocks are of the past and stationed in the present and have never stopped. Their powers and capacities have not waned over the years and is still there if called upon. And it is that inherent ability to react with humans at levels rarely activated that is the final piece in this Cosmic jig-saw. There are words, songs and ceremonies demanded before entry, but they will come.
Once returning to Karta at the Culture Centre, any unresolved issues such as these will come to pass. Now that the future of the Culture centre seems secure and first obstacle has been removed, it is time for these rocks to come out of hiding and stand as one unit at one location. Now that this coast is clear, it would seem that outside a lack of funds there is no other hurdle to negotiate.
Well, to be honest, there is a third complication to clear. It has been five years since Ros’ Rock 1 took up residence at our farm, and from that first introduction that rock, along with close to two hundred others, have never been more than a ‘stone’s throw’ from us. Over the passing years there has been far more grief than joy, undeniably the distress and pain has overwhelmed the brief moments of positive offerings, but despite the inconveniences so much has been learnt or absorbed. What lays within and on the surface of each rock is the wisdom of the ages and the full scope of a narrative that resonates to one eternal theme: as on top so below. Men and women of a pedigree unimaginable today, sung and blessed these rocks and here I am, a thousand rungs further down the ladder, holding the keys and answers to everything. At the time of writing, many Elders insist I am the only person allowed to touch these holy treasures, such is the bounty of blessings within, and conversely, many have the power to harm, destroy and kill as they see fit.
These rocks have caused so much havoc and chaos it is nigh on impossible to recall every negative incident and ambush. They can cause the malfunction of airport security, make cancer, heads ache, hearts palpitate, people collapse, manifest a “crushing feeling” and, if so inclined, kill. And, to this tally I am not including the afflictions and profound disturbances created by the three most negative and somewhat evil rocks in the ensemble, who are always on the ready to tempt and enrage. The rocks have no concept of compassion when their understanding of protocol is breached, relying solely on codes and regimes before Cook sailed up the east coast and raised the Union Jack. They come from another time, when the mystical dominated and still have trouble controlling their frustration and dismay.
I literally have the whole world, past, present and future, in my hands, and now after all the trials and tribulations where we are finally acquainting ourselves with their ways of understanding and how not to offend or get hammered for doing so, the Ramindjeri feel the time is right for all the rocks to stand together. There is a bond formed, not of my choosing or control and it is undeniably invasive, but nevertheless, the rocks know me and I them.
The Divorce Papers Have Been Served
Irrespective of what we shared, the rocks were never meant to be in a relationship with one person to the detriment of billions. Hidden out of sight at a location far from everyone bar myself, in one respect this arrangement is no different than being purchased by a private investor to be viewed in private. Our motives and intentions are worlds apart, but the denial of access for the public or proper people cannot continue. For those of us residing in these turbulent times, where people are realising that the mechanisms and conditioning of today is false and manipulative, Old Wisdom is the only way forward. These rocks are the embodiment of the past deeds and our future redemption. Their truths must become public property under the custodianship of the Ramindjeri on a holy place. Karta (Gateway to the Heavens: Blessed those who Listen).
The legal manoeuvres are finished, the Keepers are ready, willing and able, and I will have deal with my separation crisis and the love, hate, hate, hate relationship and accept a formal separation, but will negotiate a clause maintaining visiting rights.
The Recurring Spanner in the Works
The plan is to build a permanent display with each rock separate and resting upon the earth or wood. On each side at least a metre from the rocks will be a deep trench of concrete with bolts that connect to clear arched see through material, which can opened during supervised viewings then secured and bolted at night. Videos, notes, reference material, a photographic gallery and three-D replicas of the original rocks are but some of the potential accompanying extras.
The Culture Centre’s problem is there is no money coming in, not one cent from any Government agency will come our way and every person involved is an unpaid volunteer. The cost of building such a construction is expected to be around $5,000, and our current balance is just under $0,000.
If and when that financial shortfall is met, we would set aside times each week when members of the public could view, inspect and discuss. On other occasions secret activities and sacred ceremonies would be conducted. Either way it is a win-win situation, in that the rocks can begin to function and interact with both the general public and Original rituals.
Money, is such a curse and blessing, but right now both the maintenance of the Culture Centre and construction of sturdy housing for the rocks are dependent on an injection of funds that is not on our books. It is for that reason this article was written, we have a national treasure without a place to stay and display and unless good people can assist financially, the rocks will remain hidden in the rainforest.
We made approaches to both the National and Australian Museums regarding storing all the rocks on the island with their involvement as a junior partner, and it was no surprise that the same response from both institutions was a blank wall. We may be wrong, but suspect if the display was offered to be held within their walls in an air conditioned room under neon lights there would be more enthusiasm shown.
Investing in Humanity’s Future
Of course, for any that are inclined to help fund such a noble venture, they will be invited to the rock’s public debut on Karta. We see this as a two-day event, the first to be set aside for sacred business, the second will offer the opportunity for those members of the public who have assisted to stand beside us and the rocks.
We are not asking for charity or sympathy, but are calling on others to join us in resurrecting Old Way sensibilities and settings. Every financial contribution, be it ever so humble, entitles the donor to respond to Karno’s call for “holy warriors” and become part of an Original movement (Wirritjin-Black-fella White-fella Dreaming) that was how it was in the very beginning, and will be very soon.
Remember this, if the spiritual ethics do not become part of daily life, we are doomed. Once the rocks are placed in the correct formation on this sacred portal at Karta, repercussions will flow and the Spirits of the Land will have a voice that can be heard throughout the lands and all places in between. But regrettably, this can only happen once the security of the rocks is assured. Past that point everything is possible, before that point so much is horrible.
It has come to my attention that whenever an article goes up about the Ramindjeri recently, there are a vocal few who attack the morals and ethics of the writer and those defending the island. As is normally the case these days, the people who are critical are mainly Original. This internal strife is so much of an insidious pattern that evolved out of the clever colonial strategy of divide and conquer, and serves to marginalise every Indigenous group on the planet.
Critics have every right to air their views, although I do question their choice to be so personal, public and often so angry. Abuse from a distance without facing the person accused is not the Original way and says more about the angry respondent than those accused, but in our case it is a waste of time, effort and cursing.
I detest all forms of electronic communication, hate computers, never read face book, twitter or even our web site. I cannot use a mobile phone correctly and refuse to find out how to operate the device. Therefore, any stinging criticism with clever arguments and aggressive intent will never reach its target. I just don’t care, I will never see it or hear about what is written on any electric post, it is an absolute waste of your time putting up any comment unless sent through my mail box.
You would have more success writing letters to Santa Claus than attacking my motivations. Whatever criticism offered, no matter how aggressively packaged, will be no worse than what has already been delivered, many times before. And that has had no effect so far and nor will it. I will not make any reaction or bother to respond, as I have more important matters to attend to like breathing and watching the grass grow.
May I respectfully suggest that wallowing in anger and negative thoughts is very harmful for the person creating this mire. It will cause distress to the soul of the person initiating these invectives and rarely influences any they hope to persuade, simply because yelling while in the gutter is never a good look. Becoming angry has an immediate impact in the body, adrenaline is pumped, hormones surge, the heart beat increases and a fuse is about to be lit. A safer diagnosis is to accept that people will not always hold the same opinions and truths, and when they behave in a way that upsets, take a deep breath and calm down, then mindfully walk away and allow them the right to be wrong, or right.
Either way, in my case, I will never hear or see any criticism and care nothing for what is alleged. What is fifty times more important is finding the right home for the rocks, anything else is irrelevant.
- GO FUND ME:-
Calling all to stand with me in solidarity with the Ramindjeri tribe of Kangaroo Island. Their legacy is ‘Wirritjin ~ Spirit knows no colour’ and is seamlessly aligned with the philosophy of ‘Ubuntu – Unity in Diversity’.
The Ramindjeri are under threat of losing their land to the Indigenous Land Commission since their Elder Karno Walker passed away a short time ago.
Please donate, share this campaign or write to me and tell me how you would like to get involved. One Love!
By Louise Clarke
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