I came to Australia for various reasons, but as I know now, one of them was to connect myself with the shamanic, Aboriginal spirit that pervades the country.
Wanting to follow the healing paths of the ancient tribes, I found myself one day in a van with three other volunteers (totally illegal in Australia to have four, not just three people in a van) from the yoga centre in Wentworth Falls, all ladies, Angie, a truly inspiring character, driving while dancing and singing to the Latin-American music that was playing loud in the car and the rest of us joining in, as we were heading to the complex of Jenolan Caves where the Aboriginal people used to heal their sick in the miraculous waters of the cave system and the Blue Lake (DUMBIDUMBI), fed by 4 rivers flowing through the mountain.
For thousands of years, Aboriginal people came to Jenolan Caves to bathe in the pools of Nadyung (healing waters) though a visit to these often involved a long journey from homelands. They penetrated the caves as far as the subterranean water, carrying their sick to be bathed in the water, which they believed to have great curative powers as it contains dissolved minerals.
Aboriginal people drank the waters for stomach ailments. After bathing, skin complaints would disappear. Some also believed that the crystals in the caves themselves possessed healing powers, especially for spiritual wellbeing (much the same is believed today by many non-Aboriginal people) and were used in men-only ceremonies (water itself in the Aboriginal culture is considered a female element).
I was sure that our “healing quest” as I called it, would be blessed in all respects. And it was. Not only did we get away with being four of us in the van, but we also encountered friendly wallabies on the way who would let me take selfies with them and pat them. We dipped our legs into the healing Blue Lake without being harmed by or harming the platypus species living there and then got a proper cleansing bathe (all naked) in the falls below the lake.
The healing quest in search of the ancestral connection to the native people turned out to be a deep spiritual journey to the higher self as we experienced the ritual bathing and cleansing as a reminiscence of the healing rituals of the Aboriginal people.
We also visited one of the caves and our guide was splendid and allowed me to put my healing crystals and my mala for a short while into the cave waters.
A day later there was a regular drum circle happening in the yoga retreat centre. All of us four ladies were present and the atmosphere was amazing. I believe it was due to the fact that we were charged with the boosting energy from the caves. When the circle got to the point of producing sounds, I spontaneously started singing “Love, love, love” repetitively, yes that very melody from the renowned The Beatles song and it felt damn good as people were joining in with their sounds, all of which climaxed to an amazing rhythmical chant.
As I was standing in the circle, listening to the music we were creating together, I felt lifted and grounded at the same time and there was so much love swirling in my heart, and I made a very special decision: to go and dine with the people from The Yellow Deli (yes, the Twelve Tribes), mentioned in one of my previous articles here.
I liked the staff in the café in Katoomba, I liked the café itself, I loved the food, and when I met Himanschu (an intriguing man with Indian roots who would sometimes come and help with various things at the yoga centre) who once volunteered in the café and became a friend to the people in The Yellow Deli, I was very much inclined to go their Friday evening Sabbath celebrations, just to observe, perceive and make up my own mind about things rather than read all that creepy stuff on the internet, be prejudiced and judgemental. Himanschu spoke about those people with such a genuine feel (mentioning how they were all about unconditional love rather than anything else and how they helped him a few times) that he truly got me interested. And the drum circle moment nailed the decision for me – just like that, out of nowhere.
So, on a Friday evening after the free-of-charge Iyengar try-out class in Katoomba I found myself strolling down Bathurst Road in the rain towards Balmoral House with two of my friends from the yoga centre. We were not bringing anything, but ourselves, as we were instructed. After we rang the doorbell, the door was opened by Shelem, a middle-aged, smiling, kind woman, who I shall never forget as I truly value her and appreciate her as a person.
We were led – through a clean, quint, big house – to a large living room connected with the dining hall, where there was live music playing, where there was dancing happening and were people greeted us by a hand-shake or a smile, offering us the most amazing fresh juice I ever drank. Everything had a slightly rustic, vintage, time-honoured touch, the furniture, the clothes of the people, their headbands, their folk-like dance in circles and their traditional songs of worship whose lyrics swirled around Jashua and Israel.
My friends and I were invited to try the dance too, which we did – but the steps seemed rather complicated for me. After a while the music and the dance gave space to testimonies, whoever wanted to speak, spoke. Maybe I was lucky to be in a good group, don´t know, but seriously, the things those people mentioned in their testimonies seemed alright to me and refined and sincere too.
Afterwards, all the guests were introduced (and there were quite a few of us actually that night) and we were seated by three big massive wooden tables, my friends and I all at the same one with three nice ladies who kept us company for the evening and a gentleman, a husband of one of them. A grilled fish was served with veggies, preceded by bread (which I normally don’t eat much, but this one was awesome) and butter and followed by carob and peanut bliss balls served with dandelion tea, all home-made and delicious (actually, those balls were the best I´ve ever had and my passion for them as well as for the tea must have been obvious, since Shelem gave me some of both to take with me as I was leaving).
Now, the group has faced global criticism for its views on race, homosexuality and child discipline teachings. I don’t know what is happening inside the group, hidden from the eyes of the outsiders. But I am not here to judge. I went to the dinner to simply see a bit for myself and ask questions. All of which were answered. With sincerity and to my satisfaction. There were no prevarications, no equivocations. All I felt when talking to those people was love. Unconditional. Perhaps our believes are different, our lifestyles certainly are, but what we had in common and what was most important for me to leave with a smile on my face, appreciation and thankfulness, was the genuine love for the world and its beings which was pervasive. That was enough for me as a visitor.
To summarize simply my one evening experience in the Balmore house, I will go with one thing I have seen written down by a woman from this community: “One Day it dawned on me that He was a Spirit and that He desired a body to manifest His love through. I stared into His face reflected in the faces of those in the circle around me. He was expressing His love in a tangible way through them.”
As my friends and I were leaving the place (driven back to the yoga centre by one of the gents as it was raining cats and dogs and the fog was as thick as it can often be in Katoomba), we felt loved and loving.
Even though I would not be able to give up my way of life for the one they share, and I don’t even want to, I wish goodness and blessings to these people. And I don’t care what the media say. The media can make a jerk out of anyone. I would rather experience for myself than go with what google said…
Last but not least in this text packed with healing and love:
I have a dream… I have a dream that one day everyone understands that we are all connected… that one makes no sense without the other… I have a dream that one day there shall be no hatred, no feeling of injustice, no genocides… I may well be naive but there are miracles happening… like the one I saw as I walked into the Newtown, Sydney Community Centre – there was an apology recently displayed, an apology to the Aboriginal people of the country for all the hardships and genocides that have been wrought by the non-Aboriginal people of the country. Harm WAS done… but it might as well breed compassion and love into the present instead of more pain and fear. The dreaming IS rising, through the world connecting, not parting. May we self-heal through healing the world around us. Each realisation of “the man in the mirror” counts…