Posted in Art and Healing, Artistic Almshouse, Artistic Midwife, Aussie Birds and Animal Wisdom, Purveyor of Creative Stimuli, Resilience, Romancing the Creative Spirit

Shedding Light on Aspects of the Lives of Ancestors

According to ‘Wisdom of the Australian Animals’ when a saltwater crocodile silently watches you he is not only thinking of tonight’s dinner but this powerful creature is also asking you to look at family secrets and to allow aspects of the lives of ancestors to provide some illumination.

At a time when I have been looking at ancestral wisdom and actively working with life stories, I was a little taken aback when a woman, researching the life of my great-great-grandfather, George Watson, and his brother John who were prominent mercantile shipping personalities in Hobart in the early 1800’s, contacted me.

Her enquiry, along with the crocodile’s nudge, inspired me to take another look at the lives of these ancestors. Given that I do not have a seafaring bone in my body I cannot even imagine life as the captain of whaling ships.

However, I do live in a house in George Street which has glass doors with images of Blue Gum Clippers of the kind they built in the Battery Point Ship Yards in Hobart.

Clearly, I am on notice to look at these ancestors again. Perhaps there is something, not only in my great-great-grandfather’s spirit of adventure but in his work with convict lads, that will guide future work and creative projects.

Posted in Heather Blakey

Mah Meri Tribe Celebrate Ancestors

The Mah Meri tribe in Malaysia, is a small minority of the country’s population, where people celebrate the death festival by remembering their ancestors. It’s a day of dancing that’s steeped in tradition. The photographs are spectacular!  Such a rich tradition!

Malaysian villagers give thanks in an ancestor-worship ceremony.

Members of the Mah Meri tribe don their intricately-carved masks and perform the historic Main Jo-oh dance for the annual Ari Muyang festival in Pulau Carey, 90 miles from the capital Kuala Lumpur.

The local people use the festival as an opportunity to offer prayers and blessings to their forebears, as well as thanking ancestors for good fortune in the past and hoping for future prosperity.

Each family will have built their own altar, or panga, to their ancestors not far from their house, which is loaded with flowers, incense and food the night before.

The mixture is then burned, the smell of which is believed to alert the ancestral spirits to the gift.

The date of the festival changes every year and is influenced by the lunar cycle. It is also thought by some the date of the ceremony is delivered to a village elder in a dream by the spirits of his ancestors.