ANJEA is an Australian Aboriginal fertility Goddess. She is an animistic spirit known to the tribesman of the Pennefather River, Queensland, Australia that is located on the Western Cape York Peninsula.
Not much is known about this Goddess or spirit. I happened to come across her when researching Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Goddesses. I followed up with numerous inquiries including a member of our local indigenous community and spoke to a curator at an Aboriginal art gallery, and no one had heard of her.
The story I stumbled upon says that when a child is born it is believed that a piece of a newborn baby’s spirit remains in the afterbirth, so it is the custom for the Grandmother or Godmother to take the afterbirth and bury it as soon as the cord was severed. The placenta was collected for a ceremonial burial as it was considered sacred. It was then buried in an unspoiled place usually near running water, in the sand or on the banks of a river so that the energy of Mother Earth could keep the placenta pure.
The Grandmother or Godmother built a structure of twigs and sticks, arranged in a circle and tied together at the top to form a cone, like a small teepee, to mark the spot. When Anjea sees the marker she carries the spirit away and safely places it in a hollow tree. It is left there until the person whose spirit it was originally dies, and then it is time for the new child to be created. Anjea does this by mixing the spirit with mud to form a baby. The clay infants are placed into the womb of future mothers.
Anjea is not only a fertility Goddess but she is also considered an Earth Goddess and she is honoured her for her creative and giving spirit. She reminds us of the sacredness and deep history of this ancient land that we inhabit; a land that is currently threatened by extensive mining plans. The government intends to approve up to 50,000 gas wells for fracking in the state of Queensland alone! This is frightening to say the least. The evidence clearly shows us that it is dangerous and unethical with far-reaching consequences that are disastrous for the environment and for all species that inhabit it.
The following painting of Anjea is a prayer in paint for the protection of this sacred land. Through remembering and re-imagining the forgotten spirit of this indigenous goddess I hope to inspire others to think seriously about how important it is for us to protect and respect this land like it’s traditional owners who lived in accordance with Kanyini; an Australian Indigenous word that is the principle of connectedness.
Caring for and taking responsibility for the earth and all her beings underpins traditional Aboriginal life. Kanyini is a connectedness to tjukurrpa (knowledge of creation or ‘Dreaming’, spirituality), ngura (place, land), walytja (kinship) and kurunpa (spirit or soul). You do not need to be an indigenous Australian to live by the principles of Kanyini for nurturing, caring and practicing unconditional love and responsibility for all things should be at the heart of humanity.
This following prayer appears as an excerpt in the painting and is included as a dedication to the late Uncle Bob Randall, Indigenous elder who inspired others to return to the earth; to oneness:
“To Mother Earth: I acknowledge with love and appreciation the care and unconditional love you provide for all living things. May we be led to understand this; may your ways of unconditional love for all life be our ways, that we live this each moment of our life.
To Mother Sun: I acknowledge the light You share – living as a light of love, peace, understanding and honoring each and every one of us throughout the world. May we understand your light as life that relates us to each other as family so we can be led to love each other and all living as family. May we develop ways like you, loving without judgement that we can live love without conditions. May we learn from you to shine our light from within, in service to each other and all living throughout the world to the best of our ability.
To all of Nature: I acknowledge and honour the life you give. The Air we breathe that gives us life, The Water we drink that gives us life, The creatures we kill that gives us life. The plants we take from earth that gives us life to every living thing I may have not mentioned that gives us life I acknowledge you with appreciation and love.
To all Peoples of the World: I acknowledge and honor each and every one of you. May we each be responsible for the well-being of each other and all living in the ways we think, speak, and act towards each other each moment of our lives. May we communicate with love.
May we action our interactions with the qualites of love- compassion, patience, humility, kindness, generosity and caring- to know and understand each other.
May we be love and peace, respecting the cultural beliefs of each other, that we may live with love and peace always.
With love, I offer this prayer in the name of all that is sacred and holy.”
Indigenous earth wisdom has much to teach us and Anjea reminded me of that. She also confirmed that I must continue to work in the way that I know how, which is through the power of image, to raise awareness of the earth’s plight.
I am painting for the eARTh.
Jassy Watson, who lives on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland Australia, is a Mother of four, passionate organic gardener, Intuitive/Visionary & Community eARThist, Teacher, Intentional Creativity Coach and a student of Ancient History and Religion at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the Creatress of Goddesses Garden, Studio & Gallery; a school for the Sacred Creative Arts. Jassy teaches regular painting workshops in person, nationally and internationally, and online based around themes that explore myth, history, earth connection and the Goddess. Regular creative events and presentations are also held that have included visits from international scholars, artists and musicians. You can see more of her work at www.goddessesgardenandstudio.com