Acknowledging Country: Listening to and Speaking your Place: one day writing course
I also offer this course online and by request – please email me mayawarby (at) gmail.com for more information.
“We cry for you because you haven’t got meaning of in this country. We have a gift we want to give you. And it’s the gift of pattern thinking. It’s the culture which is the blood of this country, of Aboriginal groups, of the ecology, of the land itself.” – David Mowaljarlai, Ngarinyin elder
This Writing Course aims to facilitate opportunities for profound connection to place and to history with which to ground your words, enrich your understanding, and to grow your ongoing connections to Country. It will be an intimate group in Maya’s home in Warburton, and includes time spent outside with Country, sitting by Birrarung, the Yarra River. A simple lunch and dinner will be provided.
The focus will be an exploration of the new Australian ritual of Acknowledging Country that for the last decade or so has taken place at the start of public gatherings. This ritual has emerged at a vital cultural moment, with the growing awareness and acceptance of Australia’s violent conquest history, and greater understanding of the ongoing impacts of colonial culture on both Aboriginal and settler cultures.
This course was first developed for the Jung Society of Melbourne, and so the thinking of Carl Jung underpins the approach. As both therapist and cultural agent Jung held space for difficult questions and saw the deeply personal as necessary for cultural and political transformation. He brought awareness of the archetypal realm (pattern thinking) and of Anima Mundi – the soulfulness and animacy of earth.
In the spirit of Jungian processes, the investigation will take a depth psychological approach to researching and creating your own Acknowledgement of Country. We will be using a tool Jung developed, Active Imagination, to sense and dialogue with Country. You will be invited to deeply, personally, and somatically engage in the practice of Acknowledging Country through invocation – speaking aloud to animate Country, and listening for words that feel true and real.
At the same time, we will respectfully engage with a range of profound and generously gifted Aboriginal cultural materials. These will help us shape a meaningful and appropriate Acknowledgement to speak aloud at relevant occasions.
Country is an Aboriginal English word meaning both the visible and invisible word around us; people, plants, animal, landforms, weather systems, the animate spirit that infuses us all, the stories and the web of relationships between us. To acknowledge Country, then, is to acknowledge an alive, sensing world. The implications of this are enormous, with the potential to disrupt the de-animated worldview that underpins the colonial paradigm. – How might we fruitfully and respectfully engage with this other way of knowing, and learn the responsibilities and connections of deep belonging?
The course also covers:
Returning to the Roots: The European tradition: including Goethe, Jung, and the deep and hidden history of faerie, otherwise known as nature connection.
Re-enchantment: tradition and the power of the spoken word. Guided writing exercises and tools for engagement with body, history, soul and soil.
Rooting in Ancient Earth: The Aboriginal tradition. The Gift, the meaning of Country, Dreaming and Dadirri, (Deep Listening). Guided writing exercises and tools for engagement with Country.
Speaking your words: a whole group sharing of experiences and acknowledgements.
This work is grounded in learning from Aboriginal and Indigenous people, too many to name, but I particularly wish to thank Tyson Yunkaporta, Yin Paradies, Jack Mitchell, Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Ian Hunter, Joy Murphy Wandin and Dave Wandin for inspiration and encouragement.
Maya holds an eco-psychological niche few do in our culture. Grounded in her own deeply embodied practices of belonging to place, community, and full-bodied self, Maya curates powerful and nuanced spaces for connection through writing, movement, storytelling and other imaginative and ceremonial modalities. – Claire Dunn
It was a privilege to journey through this complex terrain with such a skilled and humble teacher as Maya. Offering a vast array of personal research, experience and diverse resources, she also brought courage, curiosity and a willingness to continue her own learning. The space was held with love and care, and in the final sharing it was clear that all the participants had really grasped new ways of understanding what is really meant by the living, breathing term ‘Country’. – Emily Coats
This course resonated with me in many ways. It allowed new connections to ideas, but more importantly connection to the rage, the guilt, the despair and the quiet hope of reconnection to a lost way of being, a deep ancestral pattern that still exists within and wants to be enlivened again. – Jackie Warrick
With deep thanks for visionary, courageous leadership. – Kerryn Combs-Valeontis
This course has been the nurturing ground and protected space for exploration and renewal … A place of rich silence and deep listening. It has connected me to my roots. I am made whole. Not for me alone. But for the future – Bob Cvetkovic
Price – sliding scale between $90 concession -$190 waged
To book email Maya at mayawarby (at) gmail.com
Please bring a small food contribution for lunch or dinner.