Around the time of studying Mangamai’bangawarra (Indigenous Science) at university, I mentioned to my mother how amazing it would be to visit Central Australia, to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and to experience what some describe as the heart of Australia as a continent. And thus our girls week away was born. As we live in different states it becomes very difficult to spend quality time together, as lately visits to my home town seem to be centred around health scares and funerals. Sad, but it’s true.
I have found my practice since beginning this degree to be focusing more and more heavily on Australian spirituality, and find myself slowly leaving the practices of British and European Druidry behind.
For example, it’s all well and good to understand that the Oak is of great importance to the British Druids, but here where the landscape can change dramatically within a days drive (and change multiple times) the equivalent of the Oak too changes depending on the region.
As you do with holidays, you have this idea in your head of what it’s going to be like, how much time you’re going to spend in certain places, what you’re going to do, and as a Pagan you generally think, “I wonder if I fit a ritual in somewhere to give honour to the land I’m visiting.”
We only had one day at Uluru (two half days) due to the tours we had been booked onto, and the travel time allowed, so it is definitely a place I will be revisiting. And visiting as a Pagan, you may find that any idea of holding ritual on that land goes out the window the moment you disembark from the plane.
Uluru is “Sacred Space” in every sense of the word.
The energy of this land was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was ancient, and powerful, and unique, and focused. I felt as though I had to watch every word spoken, every thought, every action. My mother commented on how little I was speaking, and it was because I felt…I guess the closest comparison is being in Church, and that comparison really doesn’t do it any justice.
The energy didn’t make my hands buzz, and I didn’t feel it in my feet as we followed the tour guide around – I felt it in my entire being. This is Sacred Space, this is Sacred Land. It will not only tell you that you are a visitor, but it will remind you time and time again that you are a visitor to this land deep within. You will know this in your core.
This land made it known that it not want my rituals or rites, that it did not want gifts of apple, or little gems, or anything of the sort. This land has a purpose, and it’s purpose has been carried out for millennia by it’s original custodians. It will tell you that your gift to this land is through treating it with respect, through leaving nothing but your footprint in the red dirt, and through honouring and acknowledging that this land is Sacred.
I found visiting Kata Tjuta to have the same sort of energy – this is Sacred Space. Although, while we’re allowed to know some stories surrounding Uluru, stories of Kata Tjuta is held as sacred by the local communities.
Given that both Mum and I are sporting knee issues, and the wind was ferocious, we did not complete the full walk at the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta, nor did we attempt the base walk at Uluru.
Uluru and Kata Tjuta were absolutely amazing, and if you haven’t been it’s definitely somewhere to add to your bucket list.
However, you must add a trip to Kings Canyon as well. It was unanimous that this was our favourite part of the trip. Uluru was amazing, the accommodation was wonderful and the tours were fantastic, but it’s definitely somewhere that it’d be preferable to have your own car and visit in your own time. Keeping an eye out on the time as you need to be back at the bus does put a damper on things.
The landscape changed on the drive from Uluru to Kings Canyon. It’s not a short trip, and adding a pit stop or two stretches it out further, but between the amazing accommodation, the phenomenal dinner at Carmichel’s Restaurant, we couldn’t not pick a favourite.
What struck me was how the energy of the land changed. I went from someone who was relatively quiet and choosing careful words to someone who could not shut up.
While the energy of Uluru and Kata Tjuta was very much Sacred Space and (for lack of a better word) demanded that it be respected and honoured, Kings Canyon in comparison was like a child on a sugar high who wanted to hug and welcome everyone that visited.
The energy was buzzing through my hands, through my feet and up my legs. The flora and fauna on the Creek Walk was spectacular and in bloom (they had had a lot of rain) and our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable. Again, due to knee problems we oopted out of the Kings Canyon Rim Walk as we knew our knees could not handle the initial incline (over 500 steps! And down again!) But we saw the desert pea, which I have only ever seen on stamps, and mistletoe and holly, and ghost gums and blood gums…I felt as though I was in heaven. Of the entire trip, within Kings Canyon is where I felt most at home.
The final leg of the trip was spent in Alice Springs visiting local attractions. For those who don’t realise the distance, it was over 7 hours (including a lunch stop) to drive from Kings Canyon to Alice Springs on sealed road.
We visited the Royal Flying Doctors Service and the School of the Air; went to the Desert Park and got followed by an emu, we watched a Community Member speak about traditional weapons and tools. At the Reptile Centre we saw various reptiles of the area, and I got to see the snake that is of the Rainbow Serpent mythos. Then one day we just did whatever – walked into town, read tarot, had a swim.
We also took a selfie each place we visited.
I have never felt energy like that of Uluru before, and I am so honoured that I got to not only experience such a place, but got to experience such a place with my Mum.