Up the hill a bit from Omeo in eastern Victoria is Angler’s Rest and the Blue Duck Inn. The road up the mountain is winding and picturesque, not so much for the grand vistas but for the amazing roadside rock formations. They are quite distracting and I would assume troublesome with falling rocks cheerily making their way onto the road. This road is closed in winter due to snow and it makes you wonder how the hamlets beyond the Blue duck get by in the coldest months. They have their ways I suppose, but that is not what this story is about.
Nor is the story entirely about the lack of fauna – native fauna at least. I reckon at dusk there were 6 deer for every marsupial I spotted. Deer may be better suited to the harsh winters – and I imagine wallabies and roos move up and down the mountain with the seasons but this was summer. Birds seemed to be in short supply too with the kookaburra being the only one I can recall with any clarity. That is not what this story is about, although the changes wrought by the introduced deer do have parallels with some aspects of this story.
The story does have a role for the midnight visitor who tramped the full length of the Blue Duck’s timber verandah although I suspect their role played in the past was more central to the district’s history. Every step taken seemed sterner and heavier than the last, increasingly loud and almost deafening in the stillness of a bush midnight. I simply lay quietly listening for what would happen next. The caretaker’s cabin door opened and she speculatively called out “Who’s there?” Of course there was no answer. When we spoke about this a few days later, her concern was apparent:
“I could make out a shadow, but they would not answer … nothing like this has happened before”.
Driving down the mountain to Omeo for supplies the morning after the midnight visitor a faint red translucent smear appeared above perhaps 50 metres or so of tree tops in the valley. It is difficult to assess the dimensions precisely. Such apparitions are nebulous by nature and do play tricks with our depth perception. Still, it didn’t concern me as I do see things occasionally. Quite simply, it was there, I slowed the car and gradually the colouration dissipated into the more usual sky blue. I didn’t think too much of it except to acknowledge its presence and show gratitude for the interesting experience. Linking it with the midnight visitor did not occur to me at the time.
Later that day I took some time out in the cabin to offer a distant healing for a client who was having a particularly tough time. Sitting in the cabin with a little music, everything proceeded as usual for a distance healing.
Reiki’s gentle flow is usually quite cryptic requiring some attention to notice its movement through hands, feet, head and body. As with anything, practice will enhance one’s ability. To experience the energy this day was to be gradually immersed feet first in an effervescent spa. I imagine the sensations produced by being lowered naked into a body temperature bath of effervescing salts would be a pretty close approximation.
After a particularly powerful message from the client’s Higher Self, a crystal clear energy rose through the floor. Into and about my feet it flowed up into and about my body thrilling the skin as it passed on its way to my crown and beyond. It lifted me from the chair, or rather I could no longer feel the chair under me. The energy, which I have since termed The Graces* is cleansing to both practitioner and recipient. The Graces are energising and uplifting to one’s spirit. (* Named for a North American ‘slave’ girl who had appeared to me a few days prior. At the time she would not speak so I called her Grace. Grace, or rather Daisy, has corrected me since :-).
As reiki practitioners we are taught to be the observer and narrator during a healing as we channel the healing energy. Reflecting on this Graces experience, and their appearance in later sessions suggests that there is something special about those particular healing situations that seems to draw the practitioner more deeply into the healing. It appears the Graces bring practitioner to become an active part of the healing at which point you sense all, you are as one with the healing, the healed and their supports. You are the perfect channel for that healing and the clarity is crystalline. Clients during treatments when the Graces appeared all have one thing in common – a strong affinity with peoples of the land whether they be Aboriginal, Māori, or Native American.
For some time now spirit visits me, most often during a solo Reiki session or in that place between here and sleep. Usually they were tired, lost or confused and somehow found their way to me assist in completing the ascension process. Each visitation is unique, the participants hailing from different times as far back as the Napoleonic wars. They came as men, women, children and sometimes energy. They arrived as individuals, couples, family groups, even train loads of troops from the American Civil War. There were common themes: conflict of one sort or another and violent death. War will do that, but so will bigotry and fear. Some came to look, others came for assistance.
Most often the assistance took the form of offering Reiki to calm and bring forth their story. Asking if there is someone who they might like to accompany them on their journey didn’t always bring a positive response, but those who did answer positively were greatly pleased to see those who they had asked to see. When content they would literally ride a light beam, walk off together or dissolve. You could never be sure exactly what would happen.
Occasionally a guide appears. Daisy Turner was – is – such a visitor. A 12 yr old girl, daughter of freed slaves, from the civil war America era, dressed in a simple, spotless white tunic. Daisy is a guide that rarely says anything which is an interesting quirk for a storyteller. Understanding one who does not speak can be a challenge for the earthbound and is of course part of the guidance. Daisy is one of several speechless guides who remind me I might need to speak or think less and listen more. The guidance is to soften my gaze so I may see more clearly, and to listen to the energies around me, the stories of others, and perhaps to my own.
According to a marker at a scenic outlook on the Alpine Hwy, upwards of six thousand Aboriginal caretakers of the Omeo valley and district were murdered and driven off their lands by occupying white settlers, miners and cattle barons. ‘Settlers’ is a strange choice of word. We can be reasonably certain the original caretakers of this land and any other land were anything but settled with the arrival of the white man and their penchant for ownership and fences. As for the cattle barons, perhaps a better spelling would be barrens – because they leave barrens where once was open forest.
Sometime after the Blue Duck visit, starting a personal reiki session bought me the image of a battle between aboriginals and settlers on a creekside camp site. Calling the situation into a Reiki energy ball transported my entourage – two aboriginal guides, and two Māori warriors – to the edge of mayhem. Yelling, barking dogs, very distressed horses trumpeting their displeasure. Gun smoke, shots being fired, spears tracing a deadly arc … Perhaps 8-10 whites and 20 or so indigenous people were locked in battle. Somehow from somewhere a roar of “Stop!” halted the mayhem. The startled combatants all turned to us and seemed to ask: “Who are you?”. Then resumed the battle. Bewildered, we withdrew. Joker’s Flat popped into my head.
Joker’s Flat lies along the Big River above Angler’s Rest. Big River lies deep in a valley and in places could almost be called a gorge with high rocky cliffs. Joker’s Flat is just that – flat, the battle witnessed took place where the river was held in check by a steep rock wall on the eastern bank. At least there was an indication of the general area. The battle did not take place at the Joker’s Flat where there is now stream side camping but somewhere nearby would be a reasonable guess.
The next evening calling the situation surrounding the battle into a reiki energy ball transported us to a smaller conflict 7-8 indigenous peoples and 3-4 whites. Noise. On arrival the Māori warriors disappeared leaving the three of us to shout in our various languages: “Enough!” The battle stopped. Again everyone looked at us briefly because their attention was drawn to the three Māoris now standing between us and the combatants. The warriors had been joined by a Māori woman, presumably an elder, in full ceremonial robe and carrying a large palm leaf that she caused to tremble and shake.
Astonished, the whites moved away not to be seen again. The Aboriginals held their ground as the woman moved towards them singing and offering them the palm leaf. An aboriginal elder stepped forward and accepted the leaf from the woman, replacing it with what looked like a woomera – it was difficult to make out. Thereafter he turned and walked across the river and disappeared into the rock wall closely followed by his family group.
People of the land returned to the land assisted by another people who identify strongly with place, with the land. When all the aboriginals had returned to the land, the Māori woman turned and walking towards the warriors, disappeared into the ether.
My part in this story was been laid out over nearly 3 years beginning in December 2015 with the first the appearance of Daisy. Next was the the trip to Omeo and the Blue Duck. It has taken another year to recognise all the elements and understand what they represent and the relationships between them. Daisy’s ancestors represent a dispossessed and relocated people of the land from Africa. The battles between Aboriginals and settlers could date back to 1835 or so when the first cattlemen began pushing their herds onto the slopes above Omeo and forcing the aboriginals out. I imagine the boots on the verandah of the Blue Duck to be those of a cattleman from the 1800’s. The red smear I fear is an artefact of the indigenous lives lost, and the Graces carry the healing energy and unsullied spirit of the mountains and the 40,000+ year old culture of its inhabitants.
The Māori are a very spiritual culture with just as strong a connection to place, the land, as the aboriginal Australian. The young man who received the distance healing is Australian, has New Zealand heritage and resides in New Zealand. He has the greatest respect for the Māori culture even though he is of European descent. That connection with place he feels appears to have connected the spirit of the mountain with the Māori spirituality through the distance healing in some way. It seems when the people of the land here needed healing to let go and return to the land, the Māori were able to assist.
Daisy visits occasionally and I suspect will open up, being the story teller Daisy Turner. Passing at the ripe old age of 104 (1988) I’ll wager there is some wisdom there. The Māori warriors stand at my door each night. The Aboriginals stand at a distance keeping watch. They never speak, but will invite me to sit and watch the fire or listen to the stars on occasion. I have no idea what I do to deserve such attention but they are a comfort in the dark teatime of the soul one sometimes endures.
The last few weeks have been a trial. The danger to the Djab Wurrung** Birthing Tree is the latest in a long series of ecological and cultural acts of vandalism that beggar belief that have caused me to finally share my experiences nearly a year on from working out the links. Uluru, Adani, Amazon, Darling River, the Great Barrier Reef, land clearing in Queensland and NSW, continued logging in Victoria and Tassie the list is seemingly endless. With the knowledge we have now there is no excuse for these acts. None. Period.
(** I suggest reading this article on the birthing tree)
I suspect the Blue Duck is built on or very near a site of significance if not a sacred site. But how would we know? Anyone who had that knowledge was murdered in the latter two thirds of the 19th century.