Listening to the Land and listening to indigenous elders has, since the founding of the Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network in 2008, been an integral part of the vision of the network. Four times a year, in conjunctions with the seasons, we walk sacred places on the Peninsula.
The walks are coordinated by the interfaith network and led by Gunditjamara elder, Uncle Lionel Lauch, who has permission from the Bunwurrung elder, Aunty Carolin Briggs, to lead the walks. Our walks always begin with an introductory talk, a walking meditation, explanation of features of the land and bush tucker, a sitting meditation and afterwards a shared vegetarian lunch.
Last gathering was Saturday the 14th May in the lush forest of Green’s Bush on top of Wonga (Arthur’s Seat). Despite very wild weather 55 people, including 7 children, from all around the Peninsula and beyond gathered to walk and listen to the land and to the wisdom of Uncle Lionel. We gathered in a circle as is our custom, acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and moved into a quiet listening space. Uncle Lionel explained the significance of the land we were walking and led us on the walk. Along the way, Uncle Lionel talked to us about plants and natural features and he showed us many plants that Aboriginal people used to eat. When we came to an opening in the forest we sat down in the soft rain listening to Uncle Lionel playing didgeridoo followed by a 10-minute silent meditation.
Following the meditation, Uncle Lionel showed us how to throw a boomerang and all the kids and some adults had a go. We finished the walk where we began in a circle expressing in one word what we had received and giving thanks for the earth and for Uncle Lionel. After the official closing most people stayed and shared a vegetarian lunch in the beautiful forest. There is a real sense of community developing around these walks and people expressed their enthusiasm to bring more people to the next walk.
Reverend Hans Christiansen