Uluru: Gratitudes & Farewells at the Red Centre by Kate Brunner

Fearless LoveIt is one of the challenges of choosing this migrant expatriate life to be dependent upon the current job and the willingness of your host country to give you a temporary home. When the job ends and the host country terminates your work visa, it’s time to move on– sometimes without much notice. As our abrupt departure from Australia marches steadily closer, I am reflecting on lessons and experiences my heart carries within me from this place into a new, as yet unknown, chapter of my life.

Over the last three years, our family traveled a great deal all over the eastern half of Australia in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT. But before we left, my husband and I felt we needed to make one last Australian pilgrimage together- just the two of us- to the Red Centre. All I knew was that I felt a powerful pull to visit Uluru before returning to the US. What I experienced became an emotional farewell ritual to this Country that will always have a place in my heart. Continue reading “Uluru: Gratitudes & Farewells at the Red Centre by Kate Brunner”

Lest We Forget: Jeannette Rankin, the ANZACs, & Me by Kate Brunner

Kate BrunnerJeannette Rankin, the first American woman elected as a federal legislator, is probably best known in mainstream American history, if at all, as an ardent pacifist who voted against American military action in both WWI and WWII. I still remember the first time I learned her name. It was the same day I first saw her face. I was on a tour of the US Capitol with the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls Nation Class of 1995, while spending a week participating in a mock Senate; one of two young women serving as Girls Nation Senators from Virginia.

Looking up at this bronze visage of my American political foremother for the first time, I was awed by even the briefest summary of her accomplishments. I immediately admired her conviction and her place in the history of American feminism. But it took two more decades, four years of service in the US Army, and moving halfway around the world for me to take her down off that marble pedestal and realize what she may have felt the moment she stood on the floor of the US House of Representatives in April of 1916 and declared, “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war. I vote NO.”

Here in Australia, the end of April means ANZAC Day- a day this nation, who has never declared war on another, pauses to remember and honor those who still paid war’s ultimate cost. ANZAC Day is held every year on April 25th– the anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915 and the start of an eight month campaign in which the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) took staggering losses. Australia & New Zealand went on to suffer the devastation of almost an entire generation of soldiers during World War I. Almost 65% of the all-volunteer ANZACs who deployed during World War I  went missing, suffered injury, illness, captivity or death.

The impact of these grim statistics still reverberates throughout the culture today. ANZAC Day corresponds somewhat to Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day in the United States, and yet, from my American, veteran, & expat perspective, it is so much more. It is a day held in sacred trust by an entire culture- not for barbecues & pool parties, but for ritual & remembrance. As a Pagan, I also believe it is no mere coincidence that this observance falls so close to the Southern Hemisphere’s Samhain- another sacred day for honoring one’s ancestors and the dead. These facets of my perspective combine to produce the view that ANZAC Day and its cultural rituals are part of Australia’s inherently deep magic. Continue reading “Lest We Forget: Jeannette Rankin, the ANZACs, & Me by Kate Brunner”

Ode to Mum – Source of My Being by Jassy Watson

For the Love of Gaia Jassy WatsonLately I have been contemplating my ‘source of being’. I had always assumed it was my connection to the earth. It is this of course, but my revelation came when I realised it was the connection to my mother, and my connection to her mother – me as mother, and not just my birth mother, but all mothers. The earth as mother, the universal mother, cosmic mother. All of them, my source of being.

My memories of growing up start from a very young age. In fact, so young, I have vivid memories of being born. I remember being breastfed and the smell of my Mum’s skin which was such a source of comfort. Thinking about my source and having these early memories re-surface has come at quite a pertinent time of  the year, considering that it is Beltane in the Southern Hemisphere, and Samhain in the North. At Beltane we celebrate the coming summer with fire and blessings of fertility, life and abundance. While at Samhain we are remembering our ancestors, those who have passed and loved ones who are still with us. Yesterday, the 31st, I flew from Australia to the USA  and I have been able to experience both transitions. This following poem and accompanying artwork represents these polar opposites;  birth and death. More importantly, it is an ode to Mum.

Continue reading “Ode to Mum – Source of My Being by Jassy Watson”

Goddess Communities in Australia by Patricia Rose

Australia has a very diverse and rapidly expanding number of people for whom the Goddess, however She is understood, is significant. The 2006 census revealed that there were over 30,000 Pagans or followers of other earth-based religious traditions in Australia and, given the way in which religions are classified in the census, this is undoubtedly a serious underestimation. We await the findings of the 2011 census with great interest.

Prior to European settlement in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples followed their own rich spiritual beliefs, which were based on the forces of nature, a reverence for the land and its creatures, and the influence of ancestral spiritual beings. Recently, non-indigenous Australians have become increasingly interested in the indigenous connection to the land and indigenous spirituality.

While it is important not to appropriate indigenous culture, Goddess women and men in Australia are keen to express their spirituality in ways that are relevant to this land and to the Australian culture. We recognize the need to become more attuned to the ways of Australia, to her seasons and her natural cycles, and we can learn from the experiences of indigenous peoples, garnered from millennia of living on and with this land. Continue reading “Goddess Communities in Australia by Patricia Rose”

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