raven song

February 25, 2010

New Dreaming

Sitting in a train reading a book ‘bad dreaming’ by Louis Nowra. Background reading for my role as a facilitator (2008) in an indigenous men’s summit in the MacDonnell ranges in central Australia at Ross river, home of the Arrente people. I was to facilitate workshops on family violence and Louis Nowra’s book told some of the stories around that, sober reading signs of a culture in trouble, a deep wounding.

I sitting on one of two parallel benches facing each other with a big floor space in between. Reading away, therainbow serpent train stopped and an Aboriginal man got on carrying a twelve foot carved wooden Rainbow Serpent. He lay down on the floor between us. The Rainbow Serpent is one of the most important totems in Indigenous mythology. A  creation being inhabiting water holes shaping and creating new landscapes, creator and destroyer.

We chatted for awhile till he got off with his carving. What was that about I thought, pure coincidence or  Jungian Synchronicity – best to let that intriguing question sit for awhile.

What wisdom or insights could I bring to this indigenous gathering? – From my own experience and this new reading, emerged a complex and deeply troubled story. I had no preconceived ideas/solutions to bring, it would be arrogant to do so. I resolved to bring an empty mind, compassion and wisdom, and just listen.

In thinking again of the Rainbow Serpent, a strong message came ‘we need new dreaming’. Dreaming is the story, vision and practice that guides the lives of Indigenous people. It comes from the parallel spirit world and applies to all people in relevant tribal groupings. It is law, custom, song and dance. It has serious power and is part of the soul story and essence of meaning. If existing dreaming was struggling with current troubles maybe a new dreaming was needed. What that  was or who would bring it I did not know. I did know that the words of politicians and ‘experts’ and new laws were not the answer. We are given an  energetic clue to this from the music of, Gurrumul Yunupingu released in the same year, 2008. The CD titled ‘Gurrumul’ for me holds the power of song dreaming gurrumul with mikeespecially the first song ‘Wiyathul’. Gurrumul won the world music aria award in 2008. Listen to Gurrumul in itunes better still buy his cd. Lots on youtube as well.

So maybe there is a new dreaming on its way, Gurrumul singing it into being. Maybe their is a new dreaming on its way for all of us in Australia,  a new song emerging from deep down. More in later postings.

Note:This is just my story. I imply no particular knowledge of Indigenous culture, or presume to be giving advice. New dreaming I realise, two years after these events, applies to all of us. Maybe a gift from the ancient elders for all.

Hello Don

Raven Song – Paddy Murray



  1. Lovely Paddy Raven. Sing on!

    Comment by Mardhi Reid — February 25, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

    • Thanks Mardhi, will continue to sing. Can you give us an example of new dreaming that you see, or a possability of a new dreaming. Paddy

      Comment by raven song — February 27, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  2. Wel said Paddy, I do not feel the dreaming should be or is supposed to be locked in the past. I have had eders say to me. That white folk often romanitcaly want to trap indigenous teaching into the past, with nothing new being accepted or seen as authentic, other tradtions are allowed to grow into the present and evolve, so too indigenous tradtions.
    And so yes lets dream a good dreaming for now

    Comment by Anthony Ashworth — February 25, 2010 @ 6:13 pm

  3. Paddy, I love the courage displayed in going North to talk about family violence with indigenous people, and the decision to go with an open “beginner’s” mind. Also relate to Anthony’s point of view of not “being locked in the past” or having some idealised, romantic notion of Aboriginality. It would appear that our indigenous brothers and sisters are as varied and unique as other Australians, but have access to the idea of “dreaming” from which all of us could benefit and possibly contribute. Recently came across a blog from Earl Hipp in the USA who befriended a recent refugee from Sudan and his family, having moved to Minnesota in the depths of winter. Earl, after having provided some winter clothes asked what else he could do for him the reply was “Can you teach my son (in this new culture) how to be a man?
    Not sure why I contributed this, but it does illustrate one of the things in common all cultures face:how to appropriately teach their young people what is involved in becoming a man or a woman in present day society.

    Comment by doug — February 25, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

    • Yes Doug Earl Hips story is powerful. The sort of question ‘can you teach my son how to be a man in your culture’ is like a sword that cuts through a lot of shit to reveal gold. I suppose the question for me is ‘what is a new dreaming, for me, my close relationships and my community’ and ‘what is the alchemy of new dreaming’. Doug can you give us your thoughts on some new dreaming ideas or realities that you know about????

      Comment by raven song — February 27, 2010 @ 9:45 am

    • That statement of “Can you teach my son to be man in this culture” It really resonated with me powerfully. Yes it cut right though to my core.
      Can I teach my own son to be a man in this culture ? Have I even been able to teach myself to be a man in this “new culture” of ours, and that sometimes seems so foreign to my soul and my soles. So much so quickly, my son can hardly believe me when I tell him, when I was his age, there were no computers, computer games, mobile phones and no Internet. I’m not sure my father knew how to teach me to a man in this new culture , I’m not sure his father knew or his before.
      When I begin to think of a New Dreaming, I feel almost frozen in the headlight, I need to feel the dreaming, not think it, dreams come from down under in our sub-conscious, often mysterious and needing interpretation as to real meaning and significance. The earth, our primal mother earth is for me the source the dreaming, my new dreaming calls me to walk the earth bare feet and naked where I can, this is almost the only time I feel really connected.
      On the radio yesterday they spoke of a 6 day Christian pilgrimage walk, in Victoria ? A journalsit asked what’s in this walking business, and the reply was something like.
      “Only when walking in ther landscape do we feel our own smallness in the immensity of nature and god ”
      On a recent men’s retreat, we walked consciously and very slowly bare foot and naked in the forest, it was primal and old and I really felt myself and I really felt the land.
      I read lots of book and have done a lot of self development, and I sit at the feet of masters, however I begin to know that the earth is a real and profound teacher for me, if I slow down enough to connect and to hear what she has to say.

      Comment by anthony — March 10, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  4. I love your work – reading you is the next best thing to being with you. The way I see it is “There is no ‘them’ or ‘us’ … just ‘us’.

    Comment by John Moulang — February 25, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

    • Hi John, Yes just us. Them and us are just the creation of barriers, that inhibit progress. John I would like to share with you about something that you said recently that has stuck with me. You commented ‘you cant teach people to build a wall, you can only teach them to lay bricks and then they can build a wall’. If new dreaming is the wall what are its bricks and the skills to lay them??. Any examples of new dreaming that you know??

      Comment by raven song — February 27, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  5. Lovely to see this Paddy. You are a wonderful man.

    Comment by Rob Dalton — February 26, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

    • Thanks Rob, encouragement waters my vege garden, so that I can bear more fruit. What new dreaming do you know of or think about, you, relationship, community ??????????

      Comment by raven song — February 27, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  6. testing follow ups

    Comment by zima blue — February 27, 2010 @ 10:09 am

  7. Keep on blogging!

    Heard that wonderful Gurrumul song in the car the other day… what a wonderful song for Wadda. The song sings anything into being. We’ll be missing you Paddy. Think of us thinking of you.

    Comment by Dick — February 27, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

    • Yes Dick Gurrumul’s songs are extraordinary. It created a sense for me of how different indigenous people experience their world and in a beautiful way. If you get the cd you get the chance to read the music in the yolgnu language and English. I will be thinking of yuse guys in Wadda. Say hello to the Waddamanna man for me. Paddy

      Comment by raven song — February 27, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  8. Thanks for this thought Paddy. I have no sense of a new dreaming, but in my ‘not knowing’ there arises a possibility. Some times we make the space and sometimes we fill it up. Thanks for making the space.

    Comment by David Mathes — March 5, 2010 @ 8:07 am

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