on Roy Ashley and Healing
About six weeks ago, I was asked by Liz Thompson, the director of the Sharing Stories project, if it would be possible for me to visit a widely known and respected song man and Elder of the Waagilaak of Eastern Arnhem Land, Roy Ashley. The co-director of the project, Gavin, had recently driven Mr Ashley to a funeral as he holds an important ceremonial position in the singing of funeral songs, which is to say songs to guide spirits to their proper place after they pass away. In that journey Gavin had the chance to speak at length with Mr Ashley.
Mr Ashley's physical health was in rapid decline, and this had been noted by both Gavin and Liz. Both were aware that something of the decline was unable to be addressed with Western medicine.
There was a recognition, in subsequent discussions between Gavin, Liz and myself, of a degree of urgency and so I decided to make the journey in the immediacy, despite being unfunded. Although I was aware there would be no finacial payment for my work, in the preparations for that journey I did make a call to a number of directions for financial support to cover the not insignificant costs of that journey.
There is certainly much more to say on this subject, but the immediate intent of this post is to offer thanks to all those who did generously offer that support. The desired outcome in the immediacy was achieved, with Mr Ashley's condition significantly improved by the time of my departure. Whilst I was there, I asked him to say a few words to those who's contributions went some way towards the recouping of my costs to get to he.
I'll let him speak, then, for himself.
My own thanks go to Liz and Gavin for clearly seeing a need, and acting upon that, despite the lack of a cultural framework to guide the process they were suggesting, and not inconsiderable obstacles to it's achievement. Thanks to they also for their material and emotional support in the process, and their personal commitment to relationship with Roy that informed that.
Thanks to Corrie for her most generous financial support that made the initial booking of flights an easier leap to make, as well as her ongoing energetic support throughout the process. Thanks to Homelands Community, particularly to Lucas and Maya who took my request for support to the community, and their financial and emotional support for the process. Thanks to Karen and the Canadian Jungian community, to Teresa and all the other supporters who live outside of this land, but recognise the importance of Mr Ashley and those like him who hold song and power therein contained, which is intricately and importantly concerned with the health of the Earth as a whole. Thanks to Eric, Carmer, Georgie and Heather and Barry who also contributed in financial support, and to Alison who also offered most generously financially and energetically in support of the endeavour. Thanks to Simon who made the process smoother in his support thereof on a number of levels . Thanks to Phil at Budget Darwin who enabled a reduced rate for our movement around this wide, brown land. Thanks to Tony and Lynda for their material support by way of nutritional medicines for Roy. A thousand thankyou's also to Jo and Ruby, who's commitment to support of me in right action, regardless of reward, allows me the possibility to fulfil my responsibilities for healing in the world.
Despite considerably generosity, some of the costs remain unmet and any further support which can be offered will be gratefully received. A donation button is available to the right side of the page here.
UPDATE: [please note that this link has been removed on account of Paypal's seizure of my all of my funds in my Paypal account months after receiving a few hundred dollars in donations in support of Roy's healing. The reason they purport to have done this is because of "Australian and Global" Counter Terrorism and Money Laundering legislation. I will be writing more of this issue, but will leave the reader to their own conclusions as to the real reasons behind this action]
Obviously the assistance of one man, regardless of how much information he holds, goes a very small way towards addressing the massive health issues facing indigenous Australia. What this small success, does highlight is that there are broad gaps between traditional medical sciences and those offered by the modern Western medical system in Australia, and that those gaps can in some way be bridged by the sharing of other traditional healing sciences. Not only that, it highlights the fact that an effective dialogue regarding these issues is possible between European and indigenous Australia.
I have some time been in dialogue with a French medical doctor who operates a clinic which bridges modern and traditional sciences effectively and specifically for the treatment of addictions in Peru. He has relationship with both the Plant Medicines of South America, and the Western Medical system. He has expressed interest in the possibility of a cultural exchange process between Curanderos in South America and Traditional Healers in Australia. As his system has proved successful for both Europeans and Indegenous people in the South American context, so to does it offer the possibility of a dynamic and ongoing relationship of curing and learning for Indigenous Australians. I have already been in dialogue with a young Indigenous leader and Maparntjarra, who has experienced profound healing on a personal and ancestral level with the aid of the Plant Medicines revered in South America and in a similar context to that to which I am referring.
There is some political sensitivity in an Australian of European descent endeavouring to facilitate processes related to indigenous healing and yet clearly I am in a unique position to assist in this manner as I am recognised as Curandero by colleagues in South America and as Marngitj and Maparntjarra by Elders in this land. Clearly there is much dialogue to be had with other Marngitj, Maparntjarra and Nankari of this land to determine interest in and perceived efficacy of such a program. I personally have been working towards this process from many years, establishing relationship, developing trust, demonstratig capacity and envisaging structure. Slowy what began as a germ of a seed, is taking root, gaining vigour and showing itself as a viable evolutionary proces. That process now needs the support of othes to help it grow.
Clearly the journey I have described above has been a rewarding one on many levels, and a fine indication of the efficacy of cultural exchange. I will be grateful for any offers of assistance received, in whatever form. Contributions received once costs for recent journey have been covered will be turned towards the nurturing of the ongoing process of the the realisation of gathering between traditional Indigenous Healers of Australia and South America with a view to facilitating cultural exchange in the realm of healing.