The Meeting Place Of Toowoomba
Our small group arrived at one of our sacred places just to the south of a place we called Toowoomba, there seemed to be other groups there also, and it was unusual, that it was suggested that our stay would be for at least three full moon times, plus a little more, this to us was strange as we were very loathed to stay anywhere for long. In our ways, the old stories of the evil beings that would find us and try to hurt us, as they did in the before times.
Toowoomba was just there, it was a circle of stones out in the middle of no place, but nearby there was plenty of water and a good supply of food to be found, so it was just the surprise of the time we may spend here that puzzled us children.
The old ones would just shake their heads at us and say that it was for us to do, and not ask of the elder’s things that did not concern us.
It was a little different for me at the meeting place we had come to, as I had been taught differently from the other children ever since I could remember.
My teaching was arranged by the Great Mother of our group who took it upon herself to teach me things that the other children could not be taught, and I was not allowed to meet them except in passing and this was kept to the shortest of time.
The great Mother was very strict with me, and taught me all the ways of survival in the outback, and the stories of our beginning before the dream time that we all knew of.
I was taught how to live off of the land, how to find the sweetest water, food and how to protect myself from all sorts of physical or otherwise evil spirits.
Mainly how to cover long distances alone, and with as little supplies as necessary.
Finding the sweetest water was one of the tasks that was most practiced, and the Great Mother would tell me, that with the sweetest water a man would survive most of the attacks of all evil spirits.
It was during the start of the new sun of my fifteenth year that there seemed to be an urgency in the training that I was being given and it was not long after then I learned of why I was being taught so.
The Great Mothers Talk
The Great Mother called me one day very early, and walked me to the sacred stones, they had been here since the dreamtime and beyond according to the stories I had heard, or the talk that was whispered by the elders.
The stones stood away from our gathering of shelters, on a grassy area that seemed to hold them as if forever floating on a green lake.
This was the first time that I could ever remember, of a child ever going to the Sacred Stones.
The Stones seemed to form a circle and in the centre was a carved stone that appeared to have all the spirits of our ways carved into its body, dominated by the Great Serpent that stretched from the top to the bottom, in its coils it held all the other spirits that I knew, this seemed to make me shiver as if expecting them to be cross with me for being there, the Great Mother touched my arm as if to say it is alright you are with me.
To the sunrise side of the Great Stone was a flat stone embedded in the ground as if to form a table, as it was holding a large wooden bowl that was full of fruit, at the back of the stone there was a small staff of wood, with carvings on, of the serpent spirit and other little creatures I could not make out, it was held by the stone as if it belonged to it. The Great Mother sat by this stone and asked me to sit with her, then she proceeded to relate as to why I was there, and what I had been trained to do.
The great Mother related this to me, that many Moon years ago even before the dreamtime our people had lived in an area many days travel from Toowoomba to the Southwest, in a valley that had everything the people needed.
There were plenty of animals and fruit and most of all a lake of sweet water that held all our needs.
One day a terrible wind serpent came out of the north, it breathed it dust ridden breath on our people and devoured all the soil from the valley there, its head covered the sun, while its tail lashed the ground, thrashing around in the valley as if trapped there, it then seemed to die as if killed by the sun yet in dieing it dropped all of its soil and rubbish from its very soul into our water, this caused them to turn red with its blood and bitter from its fury and anger that it could die at all.
The Great Mother of our people at that time went to the sacred stones we had there to see if she could find the answer to our troubles.
For four suns she was there, returning with the staff that you now see in the stone, and a new dream talk not heard before, that made our people leave the valley and wander as we do today. She told us that we were to leave the valley, find the great river to the side of the morning sun, and then we were to follow this river to its source until the Great coloured Serpent would show itself to us. There we should build another sacred stone circle as you see around you today.
From this place a son born on or near the night of the new moon, nearest to the day of the highest sun would be chosen then trained to take the journey to the land of Yantarra where we use to live, to check the waters of the lake to see if they were still bitter.
At the rising of the new moon of the fifteenth highest sun the man boy would carry out the ceremony at Yantarra as the new moon spirit bathed in its waters.
On this day also the gathering at Toowoomba would select a new boychild to be trained as you have been trained, until one day the returning man child would show the people at Toowoomba that the waters were once again sweet.
On his return to the people here, the man-child would at the rise of the New Moon Spirit find a young girl of the same years, at the Sacred Stone.
Should the waters still be bitter he was to leave the sacred place with the young girl and never return, leaving behind the staff of the people of Toowoomba for the next man child to make the journey.
This the Great Mother told to me had been taking place in the Toowoomba people for longer than the dream memories of all the great mothers before her, she did not know how many were living in the spirit world from those days gone.
The End of My Training
The training of myself now all seemed to make sense and mean so much to me, that I had been chosen to carry out such a sacred wonderful task for the people of the Toowomba.
From that day the training was made much harder, away from the rest of the people we were with. I was told that now I knew of my task it was forbidden by the old ones for me to even set eyes on any of my people, or be a part of their ways, such was the importance of the task the Great Mother had chosen me for.
The great mother spent many days with me now as the time approached for my task, going over and over the correct things that I was to do for the future of both my people and for the survival of me to carry out the task and for the life after if the outcome was against my returning to my people.
Each touch of paint, each ritual dance that had to be done, was practiced until I was perfect in all its aspects, with the true meanings held inside my mind and my body to be in perfection to the ways of our spirit people.
It was that each of the earths spirits had to be held with the honour they deserved of us and asked to help our people to be able to return to our land, and it was up to me a mere man-boy to carry out these tasks for the people of Toowoomba.
The day of departure came with a final visit to the Sacred Place. Here I was at last holding the sacred staff of Toowoomba in my hand, with the food of the earth and the sweetest water from our hills, for me to start out on my journey. I was also given a small bowl with the instructions that it was only to be used to test the waters of Yantarra, and it was never to return to Toowoomba if it was touched by the evil of the bitter waters, it was a carved bowl in the style of Toowoomba’s spirits, more likened to a flat drinking cup but the carvings were of the finest with the final blessings of the Great Mother I set out.
Early Days and the Mooney River
Keeping the highest Mountain on my left hand side as told, I turned my back on the Sun spirit that was rising from out of the hills; I started out on my journey to Yantarra.
The highest mountain that guided my first few days had looked out over the land where my people would gather each year, for all the time that we made this our new sacred place.
During the next few days the journey was light and uneventful, as the sun spirit pushed me on each morning, and then shone in my eyes in the evening as if to hide the path that the Great Mother had told me to take.
It was on the evening of the second day that as the sun spirit teased my eyes that I came across the first stream, I had been told that this was the early twisting silver of the birth of a great river spirit that ran to the south in ever increasing strength.
I climbed a small tree to look out to see where my new direction would take me and the sort of land to cross; as I looked I became aware of a noise.
I searched my memory to no avail to find something to match the sound.
Fear crept into my spirit as I became aware that the stream had dust rising from its bed, as if a large creature had raced its course.
The noise became a feeling, with the tree moving softly as if to imitate the feeling.
The streams bed became alive, just as if it could hear the Snake dance of the old times and was trying to imitate it, the dance of the old people of Toowomba, making the pebbles shake from side to side, where the water use to dance in its silver birth.
Only when I hit the ground having been thrown out of the tree did I realise my fear.
Stories from long ago etched in my mind about when the Great Earth Spirit played sometimes, where he would move the mountains, close the valleys, and making the hills, so that you would never forget how he made the earth.
I would now never forget the power of the Earth Spirit, as he had taken the power from me so that I could not move my legs, they just refused to move, and he made my eyes just stare in fear of his strength. My mind watched through them as clear as they had ever watched, and in doing so seemed to slow everything down.
The Great Mother told me of this, and that it was rare for the people who walked the earth to be given a chance to see the Great Earth Spirit at play.
There had been many stories from the dreamtime, of how, many people and whole places would just disappear, and never return when the Great Earth Spirit played.
I watched the now dry stream bed dance, each stone twisted itself, throwing loose any dust that dared to cling there, as it danced with the others, the centre of the stream trembled as a dark line appeared along its length. The line grew, as the stones on either side seemed to throw themselves at it, only to tumble into the nothing that grew there.
The nothing grew forcing the sides of the stream to abandon each other, while the stones still seemed to try and jump the ever widening gap, hanging in the air for what seemed an age, only to plunge into the nothing that twisted and grew.
The small plain was dancing, losing the distant hills as it shed its dust to hide the sun.
The Great Earth Spirit continued to play, then moved the hillside, moved it with a great gentleness in a smooth, careful beauty, as if to keep it in one piece, onto the plain.
The plain seemed to sink with open arms as if to embrace the move, the roar of the earth agreed.
I Yarra now stood and was able to take everything in, as there was nothing I could do or wanted to, with such a strong spirit at play.
The Great Earth Spirit seemed to know that I was there, and continued to play although seemed to have become tired of this game.
As if not wanting to become destructive the Earth Spirit carried on, I watched the hillside settle on the plain as if it had always belonged there, then water burst from where the hillside had been to form a small lake as if to cover the scar left by the move. The stream shook itself, and as if realising that to hold water there must be no gap in the middle of its shaking bed. It started to gently seal the gap, the sides reached out to embrace each other, the gap became a line once more then disappeared in the seeming laughter of the pebbles as they bounced against each other, and were once again washed by the dancing waters from the new lake. I became aware of the silence first, then realised that the Great Earth Spirit had stopped playing, then the creatures started to fill the silence with the noise of life.
Shaking myself and moving to find out if I was still there, I once more looked at the area around me.
“Had I been in a dream state”? I pushed at the tree as if to say “I am here”! then realising that although this was a beautiful creation, I had an important task to complete, I picked up my few belongings and turned to the South following the now growing stream.
I followed the Money River to the south, this part of the journey was wonderful as there was plenty to see and eat and the water was sweet. The way the surroundings looked after me was great and I covered plenty of distance each day. Great patches of gum trees spread for hours, sometimes flooding the way I wished to go, but not holding me in their arms to slow me down.
Animals in large numbers Koalas hugging the gum trees in their day sleep, kangaroos in groups feeding quietly on the grassy areas between the stands of trees, where they would glance up to see what sort of creature it was that crossed their paths, that didn’t stop to eat as they did.
The birds were there as the Rainbow Spirit in their colours flying and playing with the warm air as they chattered and flew about, green Budgerigars and the Cockatoos by the hundreds making noise, that if I tarried may have been a little to much to listen to.
The budgerigars in their flocks of bright green seemed to make the grass seem dull as the grass slowly waved at the sun.
I was truly filled to the brim with the joy of travelling through such a lovely area.
This was one of those times in a journey that the Great Mother said I would feel as if the Spirit of the world was pushing me on, where I would feel only the good things and the earth would be my cradle.
The river journey
The stream grew into a small river as I followed its course, and at the next fork as the Great Mother told me, I turned my back to the new Sun and with my own spirit guiding me I carried on to where there would be two lakes.
It was two more days before I reached the two lakes, they were beautiful and they seemed to give me a peace within myself that rested my spirit.
As the Great Mother told me I took a course between the two lakes and there as she had said was a pile of stones that at a certain angle seemed to form the shape of a hand with a finger pointing outward, this is pointing toward our home Yantarra where you have to go.
At this point I would travel on until I reached the Great River that was flowed from the north, I was to follow this river until its Spirit was joined by another where they would play, this I did and what a sight there was to greet me.
The Great river spirit shouted its strength to the sun spirit, as it as it threw itself at the great Earth spirit as if to break it. Here the Sun spirit joined in the fight, it formed an arc over the two that fought there as if to bind them together, a beautiful arc that held all the colours there were, a shimmering rainbow as if to say to them both no matter how much you both fight I will hold you together.
This place seemed to give me an understanding of the strength of the spirits and a comfort in knowing that they worked together for all time.
Three days had passed in reaching this place, where I gave thanks to mall the good spirits for their kindness in looking after me that only walked upon the Earth.
After resting and gathering some food, and of course finding the sweetest water I turned away from the River.
This was the beginning of the sixteenth day, and as told on this day I once again turned away from the rising sun spirit and travelled on toward the distant hills.
I travelled for a few more days in the quiet over a rolling plain here and there clumps of trees seemed to say we are here to break up the dullness of your ways, it seemed to take days before I reached a rise in the ground that had hidden a great river from me, there spread in the arms of the dying sun spirit was a large river that had been told to me.
I was very close to the allotted time that I had to carry out the journey to the Bitter lakes of Yantarra.
Here the River Spirit seemed to have divided the land as far as I could see, into this tree spotted place I had just travelled, to one of just rolling grass, that seemed to eat at the very home of the Sun spirits resting place in the distance, this was where I had to go across this great expanse of flowing grass.
The Great Plain
Having crossed the river, there opening up before me was the great grass plain that had just the odd stunted bush poking its intrusive head through the flowing grass.
I carelessly thought that it would be easy going now as I headed out onto the grass, after a few moments I realised that the grass that flowed with the breathing winds was rougher than I thought and just wanted to drag me down into the realms of the earth spirit. I became very worried and stressed, as this, if it held my ways would stop me completing my journey on time. It took a few moments more before it seemed that the Great Mothers voice seemed to mock me, as she had told me of theses places, and what to do. Yarra you must follow the creatures ways to cross the great grass plain you must follow the creatures that hug the earth spirit in their search for water.
I recalled these things and searched around for the trails that the creatures made as they crossed the Great Plain in their quest for water, had I not been in so much of a hurry I would have seen them as they opened up at the waters edge.
The creatures always walked close to the Earth Spirit and over the years even the grass would not dare to try and hold them even to the extent of not trying to grow on their pathways that were as ribbons across the plain. I found one of the ribbons and set out across the plain, this time the grass seemed to bow at my passing as if fearing to touch my ways.
Most of the time now I would keep the sun spirit at my back to push me on in the mornings as the ribbons unfolded. At times the path would fade into the clinging grass only to give way to other trails. There were places where the grass would retreat from large areas of stony ground, where it seemed frightened to venture, holding back at its edges, rough and tumbled as if there had been a conflict between them. As the day drew itself into the night I found myself drawn to a high area where the grass feared to go. The rocks here were small at the edge but becoming larger with strange hump shapes, there even further onto this space was a very large rock with its reddish hue, that had great dimples carved in its face, they seemed to call me to take shelter there for the coming night, so having gathered some of the tumbled grass, I placed it in one of the great dimples there I was held so snug and sleep came with its own dream time.
Dream Time Journey
The Sun Spirit came bounding out of the grass, which very quickly woke me, as I gathered up the grass from the rock and made clean the dimple that had held me so gently as if I had never passed that way.
I now climbed to the highest point of the large rock, and turning my back to the Sun Spirit, I searched out across the boulders and into the distant places.
My eyes at first could see nothing as if still held in the dreamtime then the sight leapt across the distance as far as it was possible to see. There standing alone was a pointed hill and I knew this was where I had to go, as the Sun Spirit played with the distant hill I started out. Keeping the Sun Spirit at my back I slipped down the rock then on into the land where the Sun Spirit was devouring the darkness much, much faster than I could travel. My eyes seemed to see something in the distance as I moved but never very clearly as if a memory of times gone, as I travelled the odd berry would jump into my hands from the bushes as I passed them by, and little nourishing things seemed to appear in the same ways after a little stoop as if to accept the gift from the Earth Spirit. My movements at this time seemed to be dream like, floating across the plain occasionally stooping as if to honour or caress the Earth Spirit as I passed.
The days on the plain brought out the Kangaroos, in their groups, pausing in their tracks flicking ear forward as if in saying “Hello Manboy” they would stand unconcerned of me knowing that my journey would not give me time to hunt or wait for food such as them, thus my presence was accepted, just as a passing breeze and then forgotten, as they found another morsel of food for themselves.
Later that day the pointed hill now just a little to the left but still quite a way off seemed to make my eyes jump and smile with the knowledge, and felt as if the sight had sent a message to my legs to turn me in that direction.
This time the grass no longer tried to hold my feet it seemed to have given up that way and receded into the soil only now and then poking its tufted head above the soil as if to remind me it was still there and part of the Great Earth Spirits world.
Here the animals were fewer as there appeared to be more bare earth, creatures changed into scuttling creatures that hugged the earth as if fearing to grow tall here, they would just sit in the light of the Sun Spirit and bathe in its warmth, strange as here it was a lot warmer now, and the reddish soil held no fear of the grass.
Here the red soil would play with the sand and wind in its warmth as if wanting to fly as the birds and flow like the rivers. The grass seemed to have given up its fight for any of this realm.
The plains land gave way to a narrow gorge, this sent a shiver through my spirit that made me pause in my step without a reason of why that I could recall, then as I came closer to the place I became aware of why.
The Great Mother had given very strict instructions for this part of the journey, this was where I was to cross the land of the Devil Spirits the very same that had taken our homeland from us those many dreamtimes ago. Here by day the Sun spirit held everything in its daily grasp, only giving away to the more gentle touch of the Moon Spirit in the sleeptime. This part of the journey was the hardest and I was told that to do everything with great care or I would be no more, so I spent a little extra time finding the things needed for the next part of my journey. I was to find the sweetest water, and to find, as much food as I could carry with ease and the food was to be of the kind that would not take up the bitterness of the sand place ahead. This is where I would need all of my strength, as the ability to overcome the devil spirits that lived in the places ahead, would be a great challenge to my body and spirit.
I realised that I would need quite a little time to gather all the things that I needed but went about the tasks with a gentle purpose helped by the trust of the Great Mother and her ways. It was some time later as the Sun Spirit gave way to the Moon Spirit, when I had completed the tasks needed for me to carry on, yet there was another task to do before the night could gather me to its arms.
I built a fire, and used the colours of the earth to make me as one with the creatures that dwelt there, and to give a thank you to the Earth Spirit, that he had held my ways for this journey, and that he would find it within his way to hold me above him for the times that I would be walking upon this path of danger, here I danced one of our long told of movements to his honour, as the Moon Spirit caressed his form.
I had painted myself with the Great Spirit, which has always had the main part of us, also the Moon Spirit to watch over my dark times with her many eyes
I danced to the Spirits in thanks, for the safe journey they had allowed me to make since leaving Toowomba, I also thanked them, for helping me to travel in their presence for my people, and that they would hold me close for the rest of my journey, protecting me from the evil ones that held this place ahead of me. I asked them to find it in their ways to give me a mere manchild a helping hand in the tasks to do.
On checking the Moonspirit as it arose from its sleep and reached into the heavens I noticed that it was a lot weaker in its form and was getting older, this gave me haste as I was to be at Yantarra before the death of this moon and to check the waters at the birth of the new Moonspirit, mindful of this I completed my thanks to the Spirits and slept as a baby in my own dreamstate.
I started early the next morning before the Sun Spirit could seek me out to try my will, as I knew it would. During the evening after the dance before I slept I had covered most of my body with the Earth Spirit colours also with the old spirit signs that the Great Mother had taught me to do several times, there were extra colours, told to me that would protect my eyes from the spears of the children of the Sun Spirit that played games, these colours would dull their points so that they could not take my vision.
This was the rule of things where the Great Earth Spirit and the Sun Spirit were continuously at war with each other, and between the two there was a great area, which they used as a battlefield, and it was well known that in the desert, the Sun Spirit is the master.
The Sun Spirit chased me for two whole days, jumping out of the darkness of the dying Moon Spirit, as if they all shrank in fear of its being, I carried this fear as it poured its hot breath on my head. The Wind Spirit seemed to drag heavily, seeming to swirl slowly around carrying the heavy breath of the Sun Spirit to push me from all sides. The Sun Spirit as the Great Mother said would push at my soul and try to attack my spirit through the top of my head. I was not to look at its face during the times I was walking toward it but rather look away, or the Sun Spirit would seek out my spirit and make it live in a great red darkness, this was the reason that at its strongest I would hide from its look as it searched the sand for me.. I also became use to not looking at it during the times that it looked into my face after it had reached its highest time in the heavens. Even my water after the first day seemed to take on a taste of the Great Evil one as it became warm from the Sun Spirits look, I used it only to wet my lips and mouth for as long as I could hold the evil ones breath in my mouth.
The Great Earth Spirit became so hot under my feet that you would think I would move faster to stay for less time on its back but no, it only made my steps shorter.
To move fast was like leaning on a large hot boulder, nothing gave way, I had to push the Wind Spirit aside, but as always here it clung to my skin as if painted there.
The second day was much worse and even hotter as if the night had not had time to let in cooling air, even the aging Moonspirit seemed to wander the sky where the usually bright eyes of the night were dull and shaking in fear.
The rocks would even ripple and dance as if bending away from the breath of the Great Sun as it played with them.
I was beginning to weaken, my own spirit wanted to shrink inside closing itself into a dark shell. As the Sun Spirit slowly sank away into the second night I was finding the journey becoming so very heavy as if I was walking over the edge of a pit. The evening came so fast before I realised what was going on, then an awareness came over me creeping into my spirit, as a strange almost forgotten feeling of a cool Wind Spirit Brushed my body. And there before me in the fading light of the dying Moonspirit was a valley, I crept under the shelter of a large boulder and fell into the dream times of my own sleep.
Awaking the next morning I realised that I must be at the valley that led to the small lake of Yantarra, which was also the name for the whole area.
In all there would be three lakes in the area the one that was important to the Toowoomba was the centre lake that had held our people in a good life for times gone by to the dream time. The great Mother had told me that after the visit of the Serpent Wind there had been no signs of the other two gatherings of peoples that had lived by the shore of the other two lakes.
Our people from that time till now, had wandered as they were told to do, so that the Serpent Wind would not find them again until the waters were cleansed.
The Toowoomba had left the area after a week of searching and when the first Great Mother had returned to our people. I knew that I was within a few hours travel of our old homeland and it lifted my spirits to a high that was wonderful. I busied myself to find sweet water here, and to find food for the rest of my journey, which took longer than I first thought as it was quite a distance, I think that to just be in the valley was a little to much for me at that time after the desert crossing.
The journey took the rest of the day and it was the evening before I had reached the site of at the end of the valley there by the light of the dying Moon Spirit, there I greeted the place of the Toowoomba, then I lay down to join the dream sleep people that crowded my thoughts.
The Land of the Toowomba
I just couldn’t believe it after twenty four suns I had made it to the land that the Toowomba had left all those times before. Ahead of me stretched the valley, that matched the dream valley that the Great Mother had described to me, and I had two day to find the sacred stone circle of those people used and that none of my own people had ever seen, but had only heard of in the talks around the fires of the dream times when our people would not wander as they do today, but live in peace with the Great Spirits that they loved so much. The Great mother herself had only been passed on the story from the previous Mother that now was in the Dream times where all people go when they have ended their journey here.
I just sat there taking in nothing and to proud to be other than in awe of the place I was at, I thanked the Spirits for allowing me to be there at all and I felt their presence in the trickle of water that dampened my cheeks as it travelled down through the painted patterns of our Spirit people. The tears seemed to betray the inner spirit of the boy and change him into a man, a man that was close to the Great Spirit in all things.
The valley stretched away to my right, barren and dry, with a few bushes in attendance, more of an insult to trees, as the grand trees of Toowomba were a blessing to the work of the Earth Spirit.
Across the valley floor two children of the Wind Spirit played with the earth, twisting and turning around each other, then embracing each other they seemed to throw themselves at the Sun Spirit who brushed them aside and scattered them to the four corners of its domain. I decided that it would be better to walk along the top of the valleys side, as this would give me a better view, and would make it easier to find the Sacred Place of Yantarra. The picture of what the Great Mother had told me was held in my mind and it just needed a match to be found as I searched the valley floor.
I also feared that to walk on the Valley floor would leave me open to all the evil spirits of the years gone by that in my mind I could see there. As my food and water were low I would have to see to this task first, with the memory of the Desert Spirits still sending shivers inside my body. Shaking off these bad thoughts I hurried on.
There in front of me was a place where the valley walls seemed to reach out for each other and the valley turned a little to the right , so I climbed up onto a large rock to be able to see past the curve. It had taken me a long time to climb up to see what was there. The Sun Spirit seemed to grow angry with me and started to push me down, though today my own spirits were high so the effect was a lot less but still felt, as no one can ignore the push of the Sun Spirit.
On reaching the outcrop of stone I sat in the shade for a while to regain my thoughts, all the time I was going over the tasks that had to be carried out once I had reached the sacred place, thinking of the things to do as the old Moon Spirit lived its last few hours. There after the curve just as I had been told the floor of the valley spread out and at the far end was a large lake glistening in the light of the Sun Spirits glow.
There I was, looking for the rock shapes that I was told would be there surrounding the sacred place, and as the Great Mother said they would, they stood out from the Earth Spirit in a greeting and seemed to say “Welcome home Manboy Yarra”
It was just to much, as tired as I was I could not hold back, my own spirit which held me up always, gave me something extra in what seemed to be boundless energy.
This made the distance to the sacred place appear to melt away into droplets of dust falling to the earth behind me.
There I was standing at the edge of the sacred place, I will hear the cry of my spirit for always as it welled up from within my frame, as if the whole world was listening at that moment out it came from within me “I Yarra of the Toowoomba Am Here” it echoed through the valley and out across the lake, leaving my spirit full.
The Testing Time
The two days of preparation and waiting, not that I had much time to wait, as the tasks to carry out were many. This kept me a state of near dream sleep, as my mind kept running over and over all the things that the Great Mother told me had to be done.
The long exacting sequence of what to do came to me in waves as I went over and over them with my spirit helping me.
The first of the days was taken up with the preparation for the death of the old Moon Spirit. I spent half of the day clearing up and preparing the sacred circle as you can imagine that after fifteen long suns it would need some attention, and it had seen many battles between the Earth Spirits and all the others that played here, they would never clean up the mess they made as they fought each other, or just played, only the visit of the Manboy each time would do this.
I set about the task and cleared an area for about fifteen paces around the sacred circle. In a sheltered spot a little way off, where only shadows played, I placed, all the articles needed that I had, or found, that the Great Mother told me of, to complete the tasks for the coming nights and days.
One of the most difficult things for me to find was all the parts of the Great Earth Spirit that were to be used to make the paint my body would need, as the Earth Spirit always hid these all over the earth of the valley.
Sometimes the Great Earth Spirit used the plants to hide the colours in, so it seemed like I spent hours scrabbling amongst the rocks and plants before I could find all the things I needed for the coming ceremony, it came from the old times when there were great battles so I had been told, when the Earth Spirit would have battles with the Wind spirit and tiny pieces would fly off and be scattered among the rocks and some times taken up by the plants as food, the Wind spirit would use the rain to beat at the Earth Spirit sometimes the rain was as hard as rocks where the Wind Spirit had taken the water so very high before throwing it at the earth.
Around the Sacred circle I prepared a fire for each moon that came as the Earth Spirit went about its tasks making things live and die as was the run of all things where they had a span of ages, this meant that there were thirteen fires to prepare as this was one age of our life, as the sun would reach for the highest point over and over again.
During the late time of the day I prepared for the Old Moon Spirit painting myself with the colours of respect for the old Spirit, as there were questions I needed to ask of it in its dying times.
The old Moon Spirit raised itself slowly that evening, this was the start of my first dance, which was to thank the Old Spirit for looking over the lands that the people from Toowoomba had left and how I was sad that this moon spirit would soon give way and be reborn as a new spirit.
With great reverence I asked the old Moon Spirit if he could ask the new spirit that was to be born if he could bring with it the purity in its light to bathe our lake, so that the waters would once again be made pure for our people, then they could return to our old land, and once again be as one people, not wandering the earth as we did.
This would remove the bitterness that had kept our people away from being at one with themselves.
The Old Moon Spirit died and finally fell into the Great Earth Spirit that always claimed back all things, but as we know it would send out a new spirit soon.
I hoped that the new spirit would bring with it a new beginning for our people.
I could only wait, with my spirit in turmoil, racing thoughts grappled with the dream state I was trying to achieve, until finally the dream state made a peace with my spirit.
Final Days at Yantarra
The following day seemed to be very long, although I had several tasks to carry out; once again the dread came over me, were the waters going to be pure for us.
“What if the waters were still bitter”?
I dare not look toward the lakeside where the water lapped at the land, just a few paces from the sacred place.
Tonight as the new Moon Spirit would rise with my blessings I would then find out if the Spirits had seen fit to make me Yarra the first to return to the people of Toowomba for good. From the time that the Sun Spirit was at its highest I started my task of painting with the greatest of care. All of the sacred signs on my body which at home I had seen most of them on the bodies of our men folk who would do so for other reasons, and in praise of all the Spirits at one time or another, but not all at the same time and not in so many beautiful colours, it was told that to use the Rainbow was forbidden now I knew why it was as if it was the ultimate praise for the Great Earth Spirit and only to be used as I was doing so. I Yarra would carry the complete Toowomba Spirit paintings with me seeking the forgiveness of all the spirits in the hope that they would all come together to make our water new again.
The small bowl that I had brought with me from Toowomba was also carved with the great Spirits it to had to be finished in the colours of them all as told by the Great Mother. This bowl was taken from the great trees that had been part of our life here those many years before, at a special time not known to me, it was to hold the water from the lake for me to test after the birth of the new Moon Spirit s welcome dance. It also was carved with great care in those times with the faces of the Great Spirit and of others that were only whispered around the fifes of the evenings with the older ones of our people. It was strange how after all the colours had been put on these things they appeared as if they were made of the Rainbow that was the Great Earth Spirits way of telling us he was at his very best and when he was so very strong and of course we would say in quieter tones as his most beautiful. I had now completed the tasks that the Great Mother had told me of and once again checked on the thirteen fires that were laid out to see that their spirit had not become dull, finally I lit a small fire a little way off from the sacred circle, all was ready.
The Sun Spirit had just gone to rest and the darkness gathered around me once again then I knew it was time to begin.
Taking a burning brand from my fire I danced to each fire in turn starting with the fire nearest the lakeside, around and around each fire until they sent out their red sparks upwards to the spirits, then I summoned each spirit one by one to help me in my work.
With the old dance of welcome I sent my thoughts reeling upward and out to them, then the dance of thanks to them for all the times they had helped the people of Toowoomba. There in the direction of Toowoomba was the new Moon Spirit coming out of the Great Earth Spirits resting place. As the new Moon Spirit rose up into the sky I took the bowl from the circle and went to the lakeside, there I let the life waters of the lake spill into its centre, then returned to the sacred place, placing the bowl and its contents on the flat stone where the staff of Toowoomba now rested. Then as the new moon spirit released itself from the hold of the Earth Spirit I lifted the bowl to my lips and tasted the waters.
The taste of the evil spirits took me by surprise, but I knew what I had to do.
Not letting one drop of the vile liquid out, I returned it to the lake, and taking the now defiled bowl I threw it on the fire I had made to light the other fires, where I implored the spirits of the fire to consume its evil. The fire seemed to take great delight in its task and ate the bowl with its vile dampness; quickly changing it to sparks that leapt out into the darkened night.
I returned to the centre of the sacred place to dance the dance of cleansing for the Manboy Yarra and to ask forgiveness of all that had gone before, for taking the evil liquid into the circle of Toowoomba. This dance was from my spirit and asked only of me that I be forgiven in not being the one chosen this I carried on till the tiredness came and I could dance no more, and hoped that I was forgiven in my ways. I removed the staff of Toowoomba from the sacred place in what I could only think was a dream sleep, and then fell exhausted in the warm arms of my own fire to join my own dream sleep. The paint on my face felt strangely streaked as if the parts of the Earth Spirit I had used were trying to return to the Spirit there. The dream sleep closed over me.
The After Days
The Sun Spirit woke me the next morning into a world that seemed to say Yarra you have failed, “Look around you Manboy of the Toowoomba, this place is still in the hands of my evil ways and I still enjoy your waters and this valley of mine”.
I looked around the sacred place, the stones seemed to have shrunk into the earth and were a lot smaller than I remembered just last night, and even the Staff that I had brought all that way appeared to have a sad look on the faces of the carved creatures.
The dead fires with their blackened eyes just stared without seeing me, or for that matter anything at all. This is how things seemed to be for me that morning, feeling that the whole journey had been in vain and that I was a failure, I was searching for a reason within myself, and there found that I still had plenty to do before my task, given to me By the Great Mother could be completed, I had to return the Staff of Toowoomba back to my people so that they could carry on with their ways.
Only when I had replaced the staff back into the stone at the Great meeting place at Toowoomba could I begin my future, so I turned my back on the sacred circle of long ago and headed toward the rising Sun spirit as it claimed the earth back from the night.
The first few days of the return journey were the worst things in my life as the spirits within me were weak and the ones outside of me that wanted to crush me seemed to be even stronger. The spirits of the desert, had not as yet forgotten, him that only walked the earth, it was such that I travelled by the light of the new Moon Spirit for those first few walk days. Helping me to not have to worry about the sun spirits attack on my eyes and the other spirits attack on my whole body I managed to cross the Great sandy place with no worries. During the day I hid from the Sun Spirit and rested this lifted my spirits so much that on reaching the other side I felt light and happier than for a while thinking of my future without my people there to guide and protect me. The plain danced under my feet and the trails that I had to follow to cross it were easy as if they had been put there just for me it soon lay in a dejected carpet stretching out behind me. By the time I reached the two lakes my spirit was so well that I took some time to swim and play with the Earth Spirits great gifts. Having reached this safer place I thanked the Spirits with one of the old dances that was for the purpose of being thankful and happy that such as me Yarra could walk with them and be held in their arms. Days past by and as the distance travelled increased I found more time to take in the love of all the things around me where they wanted only to feed me and hold me safe for this mere Manboy who walked with the Great Earth Spirit.
I had time to watch in awe of where the two rivers met and fought over who should carry the waters away and crashing around to try the strength of the Earth Spirit , that as usual hung a rainbow over them just to say that he was the one that held them as they were his children.
The Middle Journey
The river Journey gave me more time to reflect on my own things and time to find the spirits within myself and the ones that ruled my ways, yet the reason for the continued presence of the evil that I had found at Yantarra was strange to me but in its strangeness was fading into a corner of my thoughts as time does so well.
I began to live by the ways of the creatures I saw each day as I journeyed on, in the arms of the great trees I would rest as the darkness took each day, by now my spirit was full and at peace with the Great Earth Spirit.
I reached the Mooney river, and I was so happy to see it there glowing as it did for me tears trickled down my face for the love of just being. I lit a fire that evening and once again by the growing light of the Moon spirit danced for all the Great Spirits that ruled the Earth and all things that had been good for me, it was a lovely time in my journey. All I had to do now was to complete my journey for my people, and although this brought a tear to my eyes, it was of acceptance rather than loss of our before times that the Great Mother had told me of. I thanked the Moon Spirit for looking over me as I danced and during my dream times with the help of the eyes of the night.
The night was so beautiful, its eyes filled the sky, my spirit knew that no harm would come to my ways if I trusted them as I did, and with this thought stirring my spirit I drifted into the dream times.
The tree that had thrown me to the ground on my outward journey seemed to beckon me over once again, to look at the world where the earth Spirit had played that day. All I could do was to sing his praises, as there after the passing of one moon time was the valley as if it had always been there. His game had made something of beauty. A low hill with a small lake, that fed a stream that danced on its way to the Great River, even the animals and birds had moved in and made it a home. Such a place filled my spirit with all good feelings, lifting it higher than I could remember, and for this I gave thanks to the Great Earth Spirit, for allowing me to be a part of this new place. I tasted the waters from the stream he had made that sprouted from the new hill and it was the sweetest water there could be, even the Great Mother would be pleased. This thought brought me back to the things that I must do and to continue with my journey to the sacred circle of Toowoomba.
The high mountain seemed to welcome me back to the land of Toowoomba. I could see it gleaming in the face of the Sun Spirit away to my right as it helped me rejoice on my return and I knew it would watch over me during the last few days as it had done for always. It was most important that my arrival at the Sacred Place of the Toowoomba was to be at the birth of the New Moon spirit. This time I could paint myself with my own design, the only part that had to be correct was the Great Serpent this had to start with its head at the centre of my chest. I used some earth signs that I had seen on the journey, the prints of the tiny creatures feet as they had shown me the way and the eyes of the birds as they watched over me, and other things that had given my spirit a lift over the time I had been away.
The evening of the birth of the new Moon Spirit was here, the evening had just swallowed the Sun Spirit and my excitement rose as I cautiously approached the Sacred Place. Holding the staff of the Toowoomba out in front of me with both hands as if an offering to the Spirits I entered the circle. Someone had been busy as there was the thirteen fires burning and dancing as if to say welcome back Yarra of the Toowoomba. The light from the fires lit up the area as I entered the circle but it was a few moments before I could see. There sitting at the Great stone was a girl as the Great Mother had told me there would be.
The girl looked like a dream girl, appearing to flicker in the lights from the fires, my spirit made my eyes so bright and moist as I saw her there.
The girl was there for me this was our future.
I placed the staff of the Toowoomba into its stone and turned to the girl, whose eyes seemed as moist as mine. Later I found out that she had been crying from fear of the Sacred Place as the only other person that was ever known to go there was the Great Mother and although being trained as I had been the visit this time to the circle had been at night before the New Moon spirit could reach out of the Earth.
I held out my hand to the girl as she rose in the knowledge of what to do, then we both left the Sacred place, out into the gentle warmth of the night away from Toowoomba. The next morning the Great Mother would find the staff of Toowoomba in its resting place, it would then be kept by the Great Mother until the next Manboy would be asked to make the journey to test the waters. She would let the elders know that the waters were still evil, and that there would be no return this time. The training of the next two children would be started as they were born within this moon time.
Having left the Sacred Place we walked with the New Moon spirit seeking out each others ways and feelings, letting our spirits mingle as we would grow together, relating to each other the before times of our training and my journey and its consequences. Tara was the girl, and after I had told of my journey, she let out a run of questions all about the new place that had formed at the Mooney river where the Great Earth Spirit had played and thrown me out of the tree, at this she laughed and was lightly scolded for doing so in a fun way.
It did not seem strange to either of our spirits that within the week we arrived at the new valley, and there we set up our own new life together.
The Valley area is now named Tara so I wont need to tell you why, except that it is here that our spirits finally became one, there we will stay until the Great Dreamtime calls