Athenapallas's Blog

October 25, 2010

WHY I SWAPPED MY HELMET FOR A GORGEOUS HAT

Filed under: Modern Athenas — athenapallas @ 5:23 pm
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When a stone tablet arrived with an invitation carved in it 

to watch a famous national race where the women wear beautiful hats,  

I decided that I would accept the invitation

and leave my helmet on  the peg for a while.

It is onerous always to be  ready for battle. 

 My helmet gets very heavy and there is not much call these days 

for helmeted warriors whose main skills are with the sword, spear and shield.

The last time I went to such an event was  in Olympia  Greece over 2500 years ago

and I was not actually invited even though my father Zeus was a major sponsor.

Goddesses, women and slaves were forbidden to watch the Hellenic men compete

in foot races, discus and spear throwing, and horse races. 

The pride of Greek and Spartan manhood competed in these events

 and as was the custom of the time they were naked so all could see their muscled splendour and manhood. 

I being the cagey goddess that I was usually changed myself into a man and attended but I knew if I was caught and I could not escape in time I would be thrown from a nearby cliff as was the custom. There was one exception however.  In  767 BC the mother of  one of the most famous sporting heroes  disguised herself as a man to watch her son ride and run to victory. If he had not won her life would not have been spared. 

But where to find a substitute for my trusty helmet so I could attend this 21st century race of races known as

THE MELBOURNE CUP?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I consulted my friend and rival  Aphrodite who had beaten me in the most famous beauty contest of all time.

She  was still smarting at losing the contest to that bitch Helen of Troy so she  gave me a bum steer and sent to me to large store where ready-made hats hung sadly on hooks and no-one was there to advise me. I was not used to such treatment and even I could see such hats were not fit for a mortal let alone a goddess.

Where the Delphic Oracle Sits

I consulted the Delphic Oracle  and it told me that               

I would need to find a rare person called a milliner

who was trained in the ancient skills of hat making and

who would design a hat specially for me

-one that would draw all eyes my way.

I took this wise advice and headed for

 Philadelphia Philpot Hat studio to meet the famous Wendi.

Vibrant, red-haired and full of fun she soon had me relaxed and hopeful that she could design and make a hat fit for Athena the Warrior Goddess of Ancient Greece.

She showed me many examples of her art and materials and together we  decided on three possibilities.

When she had finished making the hats I returned to try them on.

I gasped when I saw the first one.

This was celestial indeed.

Not only mortals but 

the goddesses of Mt. Olympus would

be so envious and all eyes would be on me as I paraded

before the multitudes. 

Surely this was the one to wear.

But wait there were two more to go.

I could hardly believe my eyes. 

This hat was completely different.                                                                                                                                                

My face was not hidden behind a veil and the top hat

design was fit for a god as well as a goddess.

What to do?

How could I choose between them?

I was about to make a choice when Wendi reminded me there was one more.

Maybe it would be even more outstanding than these two.

                                                                                                                                                                      

This one was so exquisite it took my breath away and the colour was the colour of

the rarest flowers that grew on the islands of the Aegean.

I was so overcome with the beauty and originality of these hats that suited my fine features so well that I decided to take all three of them. I couldn’t wait to return to Mt Olympus with my spoils. Maybe just maybe I would invite  Aphrodite and Helen to accompany me to the race next week wearing one of these special hats.

That could end centuries of conflict as we sipped champagne, placed our bets and tried to spot the most  handsome gods among the other spectators. We wouldn’t worry about other hats. Ours  would be the talk of the town and the heavens.

Thank you Wendi Wonderful Goddess of Hats.

( images on this post are copyright 2009 TorunnMontazi)

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October 3, 2010

ATHENA CONSULTS THE ORACLE OF LEICHHARDT AUSTRALIA

Filed under: Athena's musings — athenapallas @ 10:48 am
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 A new Athena is emerging from the rubble of her former persona. Leaving justice and the arts behind she is  experiencing  the arts of witty discourse, sensuality, healing, and JOY

Aphrodite eat your heart out.  

And as for Odysseus she is sick of trying to guide him on  his tiresome journey home to Ithaca. 

‘Why don’t you just stay another seven years with that vacuous bloody goddess Circe,’ she yells at him. 

She wants to leave dark Greek tragedies behind and  hone her comic skills by reading the black humour of Ronald Dahl and Aristophanes (an ancient Greek poet and playwrite). 

And how did she leave all this behind her?                          

The Oracle of Delphi Sat Here

She consulted not the Oracle of Delphi  

but a modern Healer and Oracle 

located in the heart of Italian Leichhardt. 

Deep into her obsessions and tragedies she woke one morning hardly able to move. Should she consult one of her learned psychics or medics? They were too far away and she was bored with their endless dancing around her, too afraid to offend the mighty Athena. 

She had the card of a massage therapist, an expert in some sort of esoteric Tibetan Reiki, 

no doubt preceding the era when she reigned supreme. 

She struggled down the street and demanded an audience. 

He emerged from his cave with the deep ringing of Tibetan bells following him. 

She looked up from the seat she had managed to fall into, her eyes lifting from his strong legs to his crotch, torso and noble head to make eye contact. He looked deep into her psyche, commanded her to stand, took her by the hand and led her into his cave. 

As she sat on the bench he still held her hands and her gaze. She looked back without averting her eyes- after all she was the Warrior Goddess of Ancient Greece

‘You are a powerful woman but your grief and fears are splitting you apart. Your body can’t support you and is as twisted as your mind.’ 

She nodded. Why had no-one said this to her before? She told him her body story but he saw into her soul and her ancestry. 

Lying on the bench his skilful strong hands untwisted her  as the aromatic perfumes and the resonant sounds of  his bells cleared her mind of all the mean-spirited, fearful and doubting self talk that was consuming her. 

She floated somewhere between Elysium and Hades 

Santorini Greece

her powers becoming concentrated into the gift 

this beautiful Apollo was bestowing upon her. 

No-one had dared to touch her or speak to her like this before. 

She would have cut them down with her sword or

thumped them with her aegis if they had.

She bravely submitted to the pain of the untwisting as she told him of her great rage that had entered some large black and white birds attacking a man and his son in a nearby park, but sparing her and her female descendants. 

He did not think this strange and understood her panic. She wept and wept  her fears and griefs away. 

She returned to him later in the week laughing, muscles sore, but untwisted in both body and mind. 

He greeted her as he greeted all came into his cave, regardless of gender, race, age, sexual orientation or physical condition, with the  respectful affection of his warm embrace. He is able to contact each person’s fears and self-loathing and convert it into joy as they lie suspended from their woes, learning to become free and fully alive again. His wicked sense of humour is unleashed if you are up for it or he is as gentle as a lamb. When Athena thanked him for his help he told her it was she who had done the healing.

His cave is dark, warm and safe full of the most gorgeous smells and sounds but it is Apollo himself, the proud joyous Oracle of Leichhardt who heals all who enter there in with the spirit of healing in their hearts.

Athens Greece

September 28, 2010

Melting Aphrodite, Eros and Growing Old Disgracefully.

Filed under: Athena's musings,Modern Athenas — athenapallas @ 10:02 pm
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Athena stared at  the  melting statue of Aphrodite in horror 

 Only half of her face remained intact an arched brow,

a high forehead and the end of a once handsome nose.

 Her mouth sank into oblivion as did her chin,

and rough tears scarred her cheeks.

The drape of her gown covered fallen breasts

which had once been proud and firm.

Her waist was no more and her hips slid down to her legs

hardly more than a fusion of whatever material the sculptor had used to fashion his creation,

a cruel mirror image of what happens to  even the most perfect female body. 

When this excerpt  was read to a group of older women writers it provoked a discussion

which revealed the full extent of the grief and anger women can  feel as they age.

 It is not simply the grief of vain frustrated women  but of  intelligent vibrant older women living in a society

that puts so much store by how women must look to be attractive and successful.  

As a result older women walk along the street like invisible ghosts.

If a male is coming towards you they do not make eye contact unless they are under six years of age and mostly they do not move over to their side of the pavement, so you do, lest there is a collision.

Older women flock to book clubs, singing groups and ballroom dancing where even an ordinary boring little man can be feted as a hero. In the choir if a male turns up, even if he has curly nose hairs the ladies clap him in.

In the book club the sole male can dominate the conversation while other more interesting contributors are ignored.

At the RSL  dance time older men, even those who need walkers to get into the building,  can take their pick from the many women of all ages who love to dance. Older women who are great dancers can find themselves as fading wall flowers,  a  uniquely harrowing experience for women who were great lookers in their youth.

So how can older women come in contact with good male energy, when the pool  of unattached men gets smaller and smaller as you age,  and  where can older women  find male companionship or even an occasional roll in the hay?

You can widen the pool by going younger but if you do you run the risk of being stigmatised as one of those awful coogars as well as catching all those nasty modern sexual bugs.

Your young lovers can be the men that younger women have rejected as not being suitable husband material

 not good-looking,intelligent,successful, sensitive,erotic etc etc enough .

If you are into educational makeovers then you could take on one of these younger men

and have some fun but beware you can never be seen in public

and eventually he will go to younger and  more fertile pastures.

You could steal another woman’s husband, partner or lover,

after all many men love to play the field and are turned on

by what they think will be a

desperate erotically charged older woman.

Keeping up this mirage can be exhausting and there will be some nights

when it is all too  much and all you want is to don your flannies and  sink alone into your large snuggly comfortable bed complete with chocolate, fluffy dog or soft toys, I-phone music, and books books books!!

And if by chance you mange to meet a  randy widower at his wife’s funeral who comes on to you(don’t laugh it’s happened) beware you may find out  you need to make up for all the deficiencies of the first model as well emulate her great virtues. And if you survive this late life coupling you may find yourself caring for an older man who does not age as gracefully as you and whose grown up children are absolutely delighted they don’t have to worry about poor grumpy old dad anymore as long as you sign an agreement not to take their inheritance.

So for attractive, intelligent, agile, warm-blooded  older women

what is the answer to the disappearance of male energy from your life?

Withdraw thankfully from the futile chase and accept and celebrate who and where you are.

Surely not you say!                         YES I DO!                                                                                                 

Fill your life with family, friends, travel, some form of exercise 

such as yoga, pilates, tai chi  (avoid lawn bowls at all costs)

but climbing this mountain in Meteora Greece may be too ambitious;

creative and/or educational pursuits like writing, painting,

learning a language, ecstatic dancing, 

or sculpturing your own version of Aphrodite;

good works and/or political action, like feeding the homeless, greening your neighbourhood, becoming a mentor to troubled young women, signing petitions, attending council meetings;

and  last but not least some form of spirituality that honours you and your life path.

THEN watch yourself blossom even as you face the inevitable crises that life/death will throw your way

(don’t take to reading the Obituary columns).

And as you love yourself more and value the sisterhood of women some positive male energy will be attracted to you. It may be in new and better relationships with a brother, cousin, son, son-in-law, grandson,neighbour, blogger, fellow walker or it may be with a stranger with whom you stop to talk (preferably not the local bikie gang chief)  or the person you meet in your charitable activities, (but remember charity does not mean taking him home).

And all of this will enrich your life so that eventually you will wonder

Meteora

how so much of your time in the past was given over to

the imaginary other who is no more.

And DON’T PANIC if you still can’t give up the fantasy

 of the perfect  male lover/companion

you won’t find him in the monastry at Meteora but

you just may find him hiding under a toadstool in the bottom of your garden!

After writing this post I was walking my dog singing all the gospel songs I sing with the Acapella Group, Jonah and the Wailers. Suddenly a man  stopped  as I was passing, his face transformed by the most beautiful smile as he looked at me. Nothing was said. But it was a moment when his maleness met  my femaleness and it felt so good to be alive and well in this great city of ours.

My dear twin brother would say ‘that silly man smiled at you because he thought you were stark raving bonkers’.

And maybe he’s right.

September 5, 2010

BLACK ATHENAS IN THE DESERT AMPHITHEATRE

Amphitheatre At Delphi

 

I was not sitting in  the carved seats of the Amphitheatre of Delphi 

 I sat in mortal form wearing boots, pants, and my trusty Akubra helmet 

with my goat’s skin backpack on the seat beside me.                     

I looked down at the depths of   a valley which was carpeted 

with spiky green  spinifex

I wondered how I came to be so far from my ancestral home 

in this vast southern continent.  

Long before the Bronze age of Homer this land was inhabited by 

some of the first peoples of the earth  

The splintered steps and paths of the   Amphitheatre  were not carved by the artisan slaves of Delphi but 

 by the elements and violent actions of the earth                

Desert Amphitheatre Ormiston Gorge

 

millions of years before my father Zeus was conceived. 

As I sat here I watched  a ghostly platform 

rising in front of me. 

Instead of Pan pipes playing in the background 

I could hear the sound of rushing water at the bottom of the Ormiston Gorge. 

And then out of the mists of antiquity figures of the Gods and Heroes appeared before me. 

Odysseus, Hermes, Apollo, Persephone, Aphrodite, Achilles, Poseidon, Calypso, Pericles, Eros, Heracles and more. Then I saw Athena the Warrior Goddess with helmet, robe, aegis and spear. 

I looked behind me and on the top of the gorge I could see a group of black women gathering. They were singing in language more like a wailing, a kind of continuous cooing with edges of joy shining through the power of their song. 

They were doing what they had always done like their mothers and grandmothers before them through the long sorry story of the last 200 years. I, Athena, so far from my Temple in Delphi stood to salute these Black Athenas

The sky opened above and  I saw not my father Zeus but Gaia,  the Earth Mother who possessed the secrets of the Fates and whose Oracles and Secret Places were older and more powerful than those of Apollo and other male deities….. 

This was why I was here in this extraordinary place to meet the powerful descendants of these women, traditional owners and custodians of the land  like Mavis pictured here with her beautiful baby Tyrene. 

August 27, 2010

ATHENA RETREATS TO SANTORINI

Filed under: Athena's musings — athenapallas @ 9:15 am
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Athena is weary. She has been scheming and working on Odysseus’ behalf

to help him on his epic journey back home to Ithaca. 

She fought beside him in the Trojan wars,

she sent a dream to Nausicaa to give her the idea of doing  her washing

at the river on the day Odysseus landed at Phaeacia;

she gave him supernatural good looks to ensure Nausicaa would obtain a boat for him to return home;

she begged her father Zeus to help him,

‘Olympian Zeus have you no care for him in you lofty heart?’

She caused Calypso to release him after seven years of imprisonment on her island of erotic delights and persuaded her  to give him the means to put to sea again.

She wants to get far away from the Homeric haunts of the Ionian Islands   

 so she has come at last to Santorini

formed by a cataclysmic volcanic explosion

long before Homer told his tales to passers by.

No one knows her here and there is no trace left

of her stay beyond  a little known path along the cliffs

where if you are observant you can see her foot prints.

Like the thousands who have come to this spectacular island

she watch its sunsets in awe.

She finds a cave long since abandoned by its inhabitants

and here she sleeps dreaming of the time when she might welcome Odysseus home.

Then as she feels the ground beneath her  heave in yet another attempt to stop her,

 by her angry Uncle Poseidon who hates Odysseus,

she  knows she has to leave to continue her own Odyssey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Before she goes she takes one more look at the sunset     

 that will  become the hallmark of this island

 in the centuries that follow drawing thousands

of modern travellers to the shores of this

magic place.

July 31, 2010

DESERT WRITERS AND FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS OF WRITING

Filed under: Modern Athenas,Novel in Progress — athenapallas @ 8:38 pm
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 In the West Macdonnell Ranges of Central Australia our writing guru Jan Cornall taught us these 4 noble truths:

  1. WRITERS WRITE
  2. WRITING IS A PROCESS
  3. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOUR WRITING WILL BE UNTIL THE END OF THE PROCESS
  4. IF WRITING IS YOUR PRACTICE THE ONLY WAY TO FAIL IS NOT TO WRITE.*

At the finale to this wonderful week of learning, writing,                      

Desert Writers Walking

exploring country, listening to the stories of traditional owners  

and visiting  secret women’s  places,  

we presented our work at  the Desert Writers’  Festival of Hermannsburg .   

While it was good to realise that as writers we cannot fail and that the process is the truth,  

the power of our group experience combined with the talent of  eight extraordinary women to produce some wonderful examples of writing in a variety of genres including film script, biography, poetry, haiku, memoir, short story and novel. 

Athena was  asked to present a short precis of her latest                  

Desert Writers Listening

work in progress, Digging Up the Dead   as  well as to read 

 a scene she wrote under the  mesmerizing influence 

of her desert writing experience. 

But  be warned, as noble truth no 3 asserts, 

this may bear no resemblance to the finished work! 

Digging Up the Dead

Athena Pallas, nicknamed Pal,  is a very unusual Diviner  who is summoned  in 1992 to Yungaburra, a small mining town  in Queensland, by David the mine geologist. After the death of Gary, the blast engineer  in the open cut coal mine, and with the coal running out on top, the mine bosses decide to go underground to extract the rest of the coal left in 1972 when a gigantic underground explosion sealed the mine entombing 12 miners. Alice,  Gary’s girlfriend and the  daughter of George  one of the entombed miners joins Naomi, an Aboriginal elder concerned by  the mine’s desecration of sacred burial places, to help Athena  find out where and how the miners died and to stop the re-opening of the mine.  David, Alice and Naomi have a secret ally who is funding Athena’s assignment and gradually other townspeople like Stan the wily newspaper editor and  Edgar the enigmatic Mining  Warden are drawn into the events that follow. 

Mysterious signs and happenings lead Athena  to think she may be the mortal manifestation of Pallas Athena, 

Desert Writers Climbing

the Warrior Goddess of Ancient Greece, or

that  someone or something is trying to drive her crazy. 

In any event she will need all of the powers of this goddess

as well as those of ancestral Aboriginal spirits 

 to complete her mission and defeat the mine…….. 

As  the plot thickens Athena has a vision of herself at the Gateway to the Underworld where she engages in mortal combat to save George and learn from him what really happened underground in 1972. 

……An enormous roar came from the depths of the tunnel like the explosion George had described but I knew that this was no mine explosion because although loud it did not bucket us with a fiery gaseous wind.  

However I knew we were in trouble when Cerberus the guardian dog  of the Underworld sprung into our presence and sat defiantly on his haunches in front of  us. 

Up close he was a terrifying sight. With three huge heads all with vicious white teeth he reminded me of  the jagged jaws of the continuous mining machines that tore out and swallowed the coal before spitting it into the shuttle cars.  

Here the similarity ended for I could see  the end of his serpent’s tail between his legs and there were innumerable snakes attached to his body.            

Nicholas Guarding Desert Writers

The snakes and his tail were deadly 

if you were foolish enough to  touch them. 

I threw my aegis shield over George to try 

and protect him from the pernicious poison I knew the Dog had in store for us if I defied him and tried to enter the Underworld. 

Cerberus seemed to be able to read my thoughts for suddenly there was a swishing sound and movement of the air in front of me. One of the Dog’s heads moved towards the sound and then the head flung itself towards us. 

I grabbed my shield to stop it before I realised it was detached from its mighty body as if it had been decapitated by an invisible sword. The hideous head fell useless at my feet, but I knew that even a two-headed Cerberus was a formidable opponent. 

Before I could think of a plan, his whip like serpent’s tail flashed out from between his legs and caught me on the side of my head. Without my helmet I would have been showered with the most toxic substance known to the gods-capable of immobilizing whole armies let alone  one woman, albeit the Warrior Goddess and daughter of Zeus. 

Recovering from this close encounter with Cerberus’  tail I lost sight of his heads for a moment and he leapt towards me with all his remaining teeth bared. I cried out: 

‘Zeus, don’t leave me, I have much to do in mortal realms. I must return above.”  

As I yelled these word another decapitated head hurtled towards me………. to be continued maybe …..

The audience clapped enthusiastically when she finished reading this scene but now the writer is left with the task of working out what on earth this means both  for Athena and the story! 

She will keep you posted maybe…… if she survives… 

*From One Continuous Mistake, The Four Noble Truths of Writing by Gail Sher

July 30, 2010

ATHENA AND THE GHOSTS OF HISTORY

Filed under: Athena's ragings — athenapallas @ 5:28 pm
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THE SERMON OF HERMANNSBURG JULY  2010

Athena mounted the pulpit of this historic church and this is what she said to the ghosts of the past, present and future.

 I, Athena, The Warrior Goddess proclaim this to be a special place full of enormous power and inspiration emanating from the cataclysmic intersection of three cultures and Peoples: the Evangelical Lutheran Missionaries, the Expansionary European Settlers and the Aranda People of the West McDonnell Ranges of Central Australia.

 All three groups required courage and endurance to survive in this, one of  the oldest and driest continents on earth. And in the violence of their meeting a fire was lit whose flames can still sustain us or consume us if we do not listen to the message that this brings namely:

The Land is everything and  without it we are lost.

With no knowledge of  the  land we are doomed,

and if we approach it with ignorance and greed

we will die and our descendants will be cursed and the land will no longer support us.

From our connection to the land comes our humanity and our spirituality.

THE LAND IS US AND WE ARE THE LAND.

 In the  heavens ancient Gods may reign and fight among themselves but here on earth the mortals must collaborate and co-operate if they are to survive and flourish.

Pastors standing here in this pulpit may have raged about the wages of sin and declared the Glory of  their God but they also grew to respect, sometimes to their detriment, the power of Indigenous Dreaming and the intricate web of relationships between the landscape, the flora,  the fauna and the peoples of this land we call Australia.

I, Athena salute this sacred place and humbly thank all who have stood here before me.

July 12, 2010

WALKING IN THE STEPS OF DESERT HEROES- Macdonnell Ranges Central Australia

This is Nicholas 19 year old lawman of the Arunda people and  Indigenous guide for the Desert Writers Into the Blue Creative Walk   in the West Macdonnell Ranges of Central Australia   a modern unsung hero befitting the NAIDOC  2010 theme of closing the gap through celebrating our unsung heroes.

And this  is the story of the amazing relationship between Nicholas’ family and the family of Pastor Carl Strehlow, the Senior Missionary of Hermannsburg, the first Aboriginal Mission in the Northern Territory, established by the Lutheran Church in 1877 on Western Arunda traditional lands.

The  story is narrated by Nicholas’  grandfather Herman Malbunka and the first part is  about his grandfather Hesekiel Malbunka, a senior Western Arunda man, a lawman of his country and the friend and cultural mentor of Pastor Carl Strehlow. An unsung and sung hero as the story will demonstrate.

 When Pastor Carl became fatally ill Hesekiel was sent to Alice Springs to send a telegram for help.

Hesekiel knew how critical his task was, he needed to act quickly. Once out of sight of the Mission and other people, he pulled out a lump of soft grass.

He sung that grass to act as the sun and stay high in the sky, for him to complete his journey in the daylight hours.

Hesekiel completed his song and then put the grass in a high fork of a tree and travelled overland by INKALAKA (foot  walk) using the power of song to move through country in record time.

He sang just three songs chanting rhythmically in his mind,his sacred songs learnt through the law.

He walked an incredible 250ks  in two and one half days. On his return he removed the grass in the tree and returned to the Mission compound.

Ted Strehlow Carl’s son said this was faster than our horses would have been at that time.

Ted Strehlow and Gustav Malbunka, Hesekiel’s son were born on the same day 6th June 1908.

One day when only boys they were  down at the Finke River playing. Ted dived in and hit his head on a rock temporarily knocking him out. Gustav dived in and pulled him  up onto the bank saving his life.

Carl had saved Hesekiel from a notorious policeman some 20 years earlier.

Gustav had now saved Carl’s son, these families had strong bonds of friendship, they were friends for life.

Herman Malbunka Narrator (From the Occasional Paper 4 2005 Strehlow Research Centre)

Now Herman’s grandson Nicholas, an initiated lawman works as a guide taking people into his family’s lands and the lands of others Western Arunda people.

He is in some ways a typical teenager full of mischief and fun        

but in others he is different.

He walks tall, he notices all that is happening around him,

he takes his responsibility as a guide seriously,

imparting information where it is appropriate

and sometimes keeping quiet.

He is kind and thoughtful to older white women

who must sometimes seem slow. 

He laughs, sings, dances and jumps for joy a lot of the time.

He took himself all the way to Adelaide to complete his secondary education so that he would not return to his people to get married and have children before he was 20 years old.

‘I will do that later’, he said, ‘maybe when I’m 24. In the meantime I want to work, earn money and learn new things’. 

In the course of several conversations during our desert walk  he said things like:

Our family and our people love and respect the Lutherans,

they worked   hard to help us,  

they saved our lives and stood up for us against the government and others… 

They helped us get back our lands and

they brought us the Word of  God but did not interfere with us.

We have a new church now but some of our people have forgotten.

 Our family will never forget.

There is another side to this story. Although the missionaries here did much to save the people as they fled from massacre, drought and disease,  in the single-mindedness of their Christian beliefs of that time, ancient sacred places were desecrated. Mudgooroo in his dictionary of Aboriginal Mythology reports the Christian exorcising of  the main keeping place of sacred objects (tjuringa)  at Manangananga cave two kilometres from the Mission in 1928 and that sacred objects were sold to tourists and Anthropologists at a shilling a time. But apparently  in the 1950’s there occurred a tribal revitalisation movement which saw the re-sacralisation of the  Cave. And by the 1970s the sale of sacred objects and songs was at an end.

July 6, 2010

ATHENA IN THE DESERT

Athena has just returned from an amazing  journey through the Macdonnell Ranges of the Central Australian Desert,  which stretch 400 kilometres on either side of Alice Springs . A life changing event for the Warrior Goddess as she met Ancestral Spirits,  a modern Aboriginal Law Man and Senior Traditional Owners of the lands where she alighted.

In the coming days/weeks she will post photos and stories that she gathered in the company of an extraordinary group of Modern Athenas/Writers led by Jan Cornall performance poet, composer, writer and teacher and Raymond Hawkins  a Modern Hermes of Into the Blue Creative Walks   and  a young  Aranda Law Man Nicholas Williams.

A sample of these posts include the following:

Dog Rock Python-The Desert Oracle                                         

Charioteers of  The Pound

How a Meteorite and a Baby Formed a Landscape

Friends For  Life- an Aboriginal Miracle.

The Amphitheatre of  Centralia

The Four Noble Truths of Writing

Athena’s Sermon from The Church at Hermannsburg

Listening to the Rocks of Ormiston

June 24, 2010

A MODERN ATHENA BECOMES PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

 

Athena, the Warrior Goddess, can’t take credit for what has happened over the last 24 hours but she  did ask her father Zeus not to desert the mortals and it seems as if his lightning bolt has created

an unprecedented event in Austalian political life.

The former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected by the people of this bright new democracy with such high hopes, has been  removed by his own party during his first term in office and such an event  has not occurred here in the last fifty years.

And his successor is Julia Gillard,  the first woman to become Prime Minister and  today she was sworn in by a female Governor General, another first.

The women of this country, whatever their political views, could be excused for cheering loudly.

ANCIENT DEMOCRACY

Democracy in the glory days of ancient Greece was  the pre-cursor to all modern democracies, and was a system of governance where the people could give

 ‘wise counsel to the state and where every man was free to speak out and be equal to the other’.

These principles still apply and much was spoken about them today, except in 2010 ‘the people’ include men and women, and no-one in this country is excluded from participating or indeed becoming the country’s leader.

LEADERSHIP

The ancient Greeks required of their leaders a  form of self-mastery that included  the Delphic  principles of Know thyself and Nothing in Excess. Knowing one’s self is fundamental to understanding others and communicating  effectively with them. And having the will and  the skills to do this is essential to learning  about oneself. Nothing in excess means aspiring  to have  balance in one’s work and personal life that is the opposite of,  for example, obsessive attention to detail or distrust of subordinates’ and colleagues’ ability.

COMMUNICATION and CONSULTATION

 Kevin’s communication style was ponderous  and sometimes impenetrable. Julia is a clear and concise communicator who can make sense of complex issues and who can use humour and self-deprecation to get out of sticky situations.

Kevin was exclusive  and  he alienated important allies by failing to consult and use the talents of his cabinet, the Caucus and his Parliamentary colleagues. 

Kevin dived obsessively  into the entrails of government, trying to be across every detail, failing to delegate where appropriate and thus creating a task for himself that even Heracles could not handle.Three hours sleep a night does not lead to coolness under pressure, and there is little time left over for the internal reflection so critical for clear thinking and powerful communication. It has been said that despite Kevin’s great intellect he did not acquire wisdom in his time as Prime Minister.

Julia has  made a  point of articulating this difference in leadership style her acceptance speech as Prime Minister, committing herself to inclusiveness, using all the talents of her colleagues, and consulting widely  before  important decisions are made, a style  honed  throughout her political life.  

Her first action as Prime Minister was to open the door to negotiations with the Mining Industry  and  to wide consultation with the community about an Emissions Trading Scheme which she vows will happen. She also demonstrated a  clarity of expression and a forceful consultative approach in her deft handling of barage of questions from the press.

During Kevin’s  final speech he began  to obsessively  list  all of  his achievements  which seemed to  be some sort of defence against the shock of what had happened, almost as if  he were saying,

‘I did all this and still it was not good enough?’

 And so for the first time his ever-present  smile disappeared      

 and we saw  frozen emotions trying to break through.

No-one who witnessed this it could fail to be moved.

 Here at last we could really see him and empathise with him and his family.

 

 

WARRIOR OF WORKING FAMILIES 

Now we have a new Prime Minister, a brand new modern powerful Athena, a brave and loyal woman, a weaver of relationships, a spinner of a new narrative in our political life who approaches her role as Prime Minister with ‘humility, resolve and enthusiasm’

Athena  the Warrior Goddess will watch over her and champion her cause both here and on Mt Olympus.

Julia will need the guile, wit, courage and endurance  of that other hero, the  mighty Odysseus, to overcome all the trials and obstacles she will meet along her way. The first  one will be convincing the people of the nation  of her commitment and ability so they can trust her to lead them into the future.

Zeus and all the Pantheon of Ancient Gods wish her well and counsel her to keep her faith  in herself strong

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