Published: November 18th 2011September 17th 2011
Uluru has been deemed sacred for thousands of years by the Anangu, the Aboriginal people in the red centre of Australia. Many spiritual vortices emanate a solid resonance that strongly grounds you with the red, first chakra hues, ubiquitous in the rock and dirt. The grounding force roots you so deeply to the land, that you feel the connection to an ancient place in time and space. The geological & spiritual dimensions are infinite, with multiple ways to experience this iconic landmark.
To allow myself time to integrate the intensity of experiences that awaited me, I reserved 4 nights & 3 days at a hostel in Yulara, a community for visitors at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. After a 6-hour bus ride from Alice Springs, I got on the shuttle to spend the afternoon & sunset at Uluru. To see Uluru for the first time is one of those experiences that you never forget. It truly is surreal, feeling as though simply through Uluru’s presence, you are transported to a mysterious time & place. I could feel its ancient roots ground me into a deep dimension, connected with ancestors & lost memories from the universal mind.
This monolithic landmark stands
alone as an inselberg, literally an “island mountain” as a vestige of an eroded mountain range. It’s solitary, megalithic presence is almost intrusive on your senses, standing at 345 m high, with a circumference of 9.4 km. Secretly, it is a part of an underground mountain range, submerged 5 – 6 km below the earth, including Kata Tjuta & Mt. Connor nearby. The sandstone & feldspar, with iron-bearing minerals, oxidize to create the looming red presence. Uluru’s unique geological feature is its homogeneity of the rock and lack of jointing, leading to minimal development of scree. This feature is what lead to its longevity and survival, while the surrounding rocks eroded away.
Uluru is sacred as the homeland to the Anangu, Aboriginal people. On my second day, I did a morning walk & an afternoon/sunset walk with Anangu people, planned through an Aboriginal organization. I wanted to connect with the Aboriginal dreamtime stories of Uluru & learn more about this ancient, rich culture in their indigenous environment. After watching the sunrise over Uluru, I went on a morning Liru Walk, lead by an Aborignal man with an interpreter from the Cultural Centre to the base of Uluru. As we
walked along, he demonstrated how to make spears and the coolamon from tree trunks (carrier balanced on top of head by the women). There was an eclectic array of flowers along the way sprinkled on the red dirt. This year the red centre had the most rain it’s had in 50 years, so the mulga tree groves were brightly embellished with flora such as lavender, honey grevillea, stuart’s red pea, & pink everlastings.
In the late afternoon & evening I went on the Kuniya Walk lead by an Aboriginal woman to explore the environs for bush food and medicine; plus, learn a dreamtime creation story. This is when I discovered my favourite enclave of Uluru at Mutijulu waterhole, where there cross-pollinates a plethora of inspirational sites. Immediately, I felt a serenity & silence so empowering, that my mind could only function quietly in deep contemplation.
As we walked, the Aboriginal Guide told the Dreamtime story about the Battle of Liru, a venomous snake and Kuniya, a young woma python snakeboy. Long, long ago during the Creation or Dreamtime Period (Tjukurpa) the Kuniya or snakeboy was ambushed by the Liru (poisonous snakes) & killed by spears. The spears that
missed made holes in the Uluru rock that are still there. The boy’s aunt was so upset that she killed one of the Liru with a blow to the head. The blood flowing from the head of the dead Liru can still be seen. This is just one of many other Aboriginal creation or dreamtime stories about Uluru, that explain the unique, physical features of this natural monument. Interestingly, while observing the landscape of this story, we discovered a large monitor lizard camouflaged almost vertically alongside the canyon wall. He remained there as a silent messenger of stillness for us all to perceive & enjoy.
As we walked and talked, the Aboriginal lady and her interpreter picked samples of bush food & medicine, collecting them in the coolamon. We observed the ochre paintings on the canyon walls, learning that concentric circles indicate a waterhole & the yellow flower, the honey grevillea. By the end of the walk, the coolamon had grown into a colourful cornucopia of foods. We sampled the desert peaches & figs that were very tasty, yet smaller and less sweet than the ones I’ve eaten from home. The desert inspires the natural kingdom to be creative
and resourceful with food, based on survival needs. Gluttony just doesn’t belong in this environment. I was beginning to notice that since my arrival at the red centre’s desert, my appetite was minimal, as though some instinct is triggered by the frugal desert to ration food and water. We ended the day with my second sunset viewing at Uluru, which was even more muted than the night before, due to the bush fire haze. I was beginning to acknowledge my disappointed in the gray skies due to the haze, and accept that I may have to miss out on the luminescent, red reflections that Uluru is known for at sunset.
The next day was a whirlwind starting off with a helicopter ride over Uluru, accentuating even more the disproportionate protuberance of Uluru & Kata Tjuta from a seemingly flat, endless spinifex landscape. In the afternoon, I went on a walk to Walpa (meaning “windy”) Gorge at Kata Tjuta. From the same underground mountain range as Uluru, Kata Tjuta is also called the “Olga’s” or “many heads” due to its dome-like sandstone formations. In my walk we followed a path along a peaceful stream through the gorge between 2 sandstone
domes to a grove of spearwood trees. The unique ecosystem at this area grows plants that exist nowhere else in the world. I don’t mean to undermine the magnificence of Kata Tjuta because it is as spectacular as Uluru in its own unique way. However, I just didn’t spend enough time there to connect with it, and therefore, my ink well is not deep enough to write anything of significance.
Finally, on my third sunset viewing, I was blessed to see the renowned sunset, illuminating Uluru’s primary red spectrum of light. The winds had shifted, blowing the bush fire smoke away, leaving clear skies for a bright sunset. This made it possible for Uluru to reflect its bright neon red lights, about 10 minutes before the sun sinks below the horizon. These fleeting moments are a portal in time, opening a glimpse into eternity, when the sunset ignites Uluru into electric rays of red dreamtime. This perfect storm of circumstances synergistically creates a visual effect so stunning & bright, that you stand in disbelief. Such beauty seems only possible in supernatural realms. However, my pictures are a testament to how real the beauty of Uluru truly is at sunset.
The culmination & highlight of all my experiences at Uluru was my 3 hour, 10 km Walkabout around the base of Uluru on my last day. To explain it prosaically in a linear way is not congruent, so I have included the following:
Excerpt from Dreamtime Journal & Poem:
My walkabout around Uluru unfolded naturally into a vision quest, and the meditative surroundings pulled me deeply into a rhythm that flowed freely with nature. As you walk, you can feel the songlines flow through your stream of consciousness, out into the ocean of oneness… Each step is a breath in & out, connecting you deeper & deeper to a surrendered movement & path. You feel the vortices expand your magnetic field and lure you into another world, where the past is deeply present, as you cross over into ethereal realms of higher forces, empowering you to excavate the deepest wellspring of being. These roots ground eternity in one solid resonance of infinity, compressed in time like an infinitesimal black hole. The geological fusion of stratum echo the winds of erosion. Creative forces inspire the air with a dance between rock, colours & light. The ancestral light is
all around you, while the past, present and future are one. You realize the eternity of a moment when you are so deep in it. These lithospheres remain here to remind us of our infinite dimensions and the layers of consciousness, from which we manifest. The animals, birds, flowers, rocks, springs & trees all have spirits, with emanations connecting us all into an interconnected web of being. Nature is the universal force that integrates everything into wholeness. A natural spectrum of primary colours enlightens the darkness, grounding you on a path, where the songlines resonate with your essence. Intuitive senses perceive every vision, smell, sound & feeling as an omen of truth. Visceral spirits disintegrate boundaries into a beautiful abyss. Listen to the winds to sing yourself into co-existence. The red rock formations are spindrift chimerical creatures of creation stories. To walk the circle connects the beginning and end, like the cycle of life from which we endure, eternally. The wild beauty bathes the skin with breeze of overtures called by the winds, where the sky and earth become your heralds of wisdom. Creative visions open the portals into eternal realms of Red Dreamtime. Palya…
Uluru Red Dreamtime
There’s an Aboriginal songline, a sky journey
Through the Pleiadian star stream
Into a constellation of light, illuminating
Footprints of our ancestors across the land
From ochre dawn to dusk,
With high noon at heart’s centre
As a vortex of infernal infinity
Along dreaming tracks for a walkabout…
Alone, in a sea of spinifex
& red winds of light on a secret bedrock The lonely inselberg endures
Morphing shapes of time…
Sandstone, feldspar & quartz compose
Anangu songs of minerals & rocks
Carved by creative winds & water
& painted with the palette of iron
As the Epitaph for a sanguine dream,
Embedded deeply in lithospheric dimensions,
With shadows of rust composition.
Ephemeral stratum of time
Roots eternity into the moment
W/ancient layers of infrared colour…
Deposition of sedimentary remains
From millenniums of rainfall in
Alluvial fans & fluvial channels
Reflecting the spectrum of time
From horizontal to vertical strata
Connecting Sky & Earth.
Landscapes of chimerical beings
Shapeshift into the sky…
With petrified waves of stillness
& creatures that die screaming
Into the eternal night,
Transformed into fossils & rocks
Sculpting ancient spirits of stone.
Ethereal instincts procreate spirits
With desert fauna of red kangaroo
& reptilian cold blood,
Below the rainbow clouds
Of lavender, honey grevillea, & Stuart’s desert pea.
Mulga dreaming boomerangs & spears
Bludgeon the air’s viscera
Spilling bloodwood’s red sap…
With desert oak for sun’s shadows.
Spinifex is a serpentine labyrinth
Of venomous semen, creating death
For bush medicine of desert bloom.