Imagine for a moment living a life that is deeply attuned to the earth’s energies. You walk the land feeling the ancestors of the past, present and future. You can feel if they are satisfied or troubled. Their feelings affect how you and your mob feel. The natural cycles of the animals and land are familiar to you and you observe these in every moment to discover upcoming changes. The plants call to you when you need medicine, and some animals portend death.
With this level of depth of awareness you KNOW when you’re about to enter another mob’s land. You can feel the barrier of a warning that you are not to continue further. It feels like fear.
And then, a traditional owner comes towards you and WELCOMES YOU TO COUNTRY and it suddenly feels okay to walk their land.
Recently, Welcome to Country has become a way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to acknowledge Traditional Owners of the land before meetings, functions, university lectures and presentations of government and other organisations. This is a way for people to acknowledge and pay respect and helps to increase awareness of Indigenous people and their culture.
“I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land both past and present.”
As I was driving through different lands I adopted my own acknowledgement deepening it according to my own beliefs,
“I acknowledge, respect and honour the traditional owners of the land past, present and future. I acknowledge, respect and honour the spiritual custodians of this land. Thank you for letting me drive through your land.”
Recently I’ve experienced a welcome to country on sacred land.
An exhilarating feeling walking this land…
An Elder leads the way to the sacred site. I can feel an upbeat, happy feeling that someone is watching. There’s a constant grin on my face and I feel joyful.
“There’s someone watching us,” I call out.
“Yah”, he answers. The ancestors are.
This land has native title and has been cared for by the family over generations. The ancestors definitely feel very happy and satisfied here. I’m lovin’ this vibe!
Uncle stops to hand me a seed. However, just a few minutes before I heard in my mind that I may not touch anything until I receive a Welcome to Country. You see, I usually touch things as I walk – termite mounts, burnt bark on trees, pebbles, large boulders – I love the feel of the land. Yet, a stern voice told me not to – so, with respect, I didn’t.
I tell him I can’t touch the seed until he performs his Welcome to Country.
He nods and continues walking.
As we approach a gate I feel an energy shift.
He walks through the gate at his usual speed. I slow down. The energies are very big here, and I feel a need to tread with respect and care.
He turns to see me standing still, and acknowledges for me to continue.
Before I do I feel a need to touch the ground with my bare hands and feet and pay my respects. I walk in bare feet to him.
He performs his traditional welcome to country. A small amount of water is dribbled over my head and he blows (or breathes in) air.
I’ve been WELCOMED by an Elder.
We then walk through the sacred site. It feels okay for me touch and feel the land now. I sit under a hanging boulder, touch the bark on trees where it’s been carved, lick the rocks (a habit I picked up a few years ago), and fascinate on the different shapes of the land. It feels like heaven here. In this sacred space. The energies are uplifting and serene. I feel a deep peace and joy.
It’s time to go. I don’t want to leave yet. It feels too good here.
We give thanks to the spiritual custodians and ancestors, and say our farewells.
Uncle tells me I can go there myself now. He hands me the seed. <grin!> “Women used these seeds as clothes pegs.”
Uncle tells me I’m welcome to go to that sacred land myself now.
I’m feeling very blessed to have this experience.