The Opening and Blessing of 'Julian' the Hermitage

Archer Mountain Community - 12 April 2015

The morning began with thick fog which eventually lifted to a day of brilliant sunshine and blue, blue sky.

They came from afar, Victoria, USA, Iran, Gympie, Brisbane and Villeneuve… neighbours, friends, brothers and supporters. Over 40 gathered to participate in the four-part ritual, Gathering, Pilgrimage, Blessing and Agape.

The opening song proclaimed, “All are Welcome, Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely life!” and then we were treated to a show where we witnessed Julian emerge from theearth over many, many months to be the thing of beauty it is today. We heard of Julian of Norwich for whom it is named and her simple, prayerful and hermetic life walled in beside the church of St. Julian in Norwich, England.

And so began the pilgrimage up the mountain accompanied by the Blessing Songs and acknowledging the first custodians of this sacred land here at the base of Mount Archer, the Dungadai people. And the four elements of Life: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. As we progressed we sang,

The Blessing of God goes before us

God’s grace and peace abound

The Spirit lives among us

We walk on Holy Ground.

as well as the words of Julian herself,

All Shall be well

And all shall be well

And all manner of things

Shall be well!

Slowly the procession wound its way towards the mountain top where Julian sat overlooking the valley and as we walked we listened to the wisdom of Earth, Air, Fire and Water: These are the eyes of Earth

And this is the voice of Earth

said Joseph Campbell.

God is a river, a wild, raging rapids

And a slow meandering flow

sang Peter Mayer.

We heard from the Song of Songs

Awake, O North wind, and come O South wind

and also the great Hildegard of Bingen, Fire of the Holy Spirit

Life of life of every creature…

As this group of pilgrims approached the top, Julian stood out, a red glow in the morning sun, recalling he glow of Uluru in the desert at dawn and dusk. Truly the spirit of our Sacred Land was with us.

Blessings flowed from our mouths and using the elements we had just celebrated, we walked into Julian to complete our individual blessings on this sacred space… flowers, candles, incense, water and gifts were scattered around the interior as we sang the blessing song and the words of Julian of Norwich.

Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya Pine)

My thoughts on the Bunya ...

I have kept these reflections to the relevance they may have to The Archer Mountain Community/Companions.

You will have your own reflections if you would like to research the Bunya some more.

I leave it to each of you to draw your own inferences.


The Tree

The tree itself is magnificent and the sight of large dominant conifers in full rainforest can be a new and unexpected experience. The dome shape of its uppermost foliage is iconic and the massive bunya cones are spectacular.

The greater Araucariaceae family, literally like

something out of Jurassic Park, were distributed

almost worldwide during the Jurassic and Cretaceous

periods, becoming entirely extinct in the northern

hemisphere toward the end of the Cretaceous and now

found exclusively in the southern hemisphere,

survived by approximately 41 species across three genera. Other members of the family include the iconic Kauri of New Zealand , the Norfolk Island Pine and Australia’s other ”living fossil” the Wollemi Pine.

few things say ancient like a Bunya Pine.

It is an emergent species in rainforest and is confined to Queensland, where it occurs mainly between Nambour and Gympie and west to the Bunya Mountains, with a small occurrence in north Queensland on Mt. Lewis and at Cunnabullen Falls.

Although its timber has been discovered to be ideal for use in the production of acoustic musical instruments, its real potential comes in its already ancient role as a human food source.

Like so much of Australia' indigenous history, the true and full history of the Bunya Nut Festivals in South East Queensland may never be known. Stories of celebration and cooperation, finely tuned to the erratic fruiting of the Bunya Pine, which drew thousands of Aboriginal people from as far away as Charleville, Dubbo, Bundaberg and Grafton.

During January of each year, female flowers form in the top 1/3 of the tree while the sausage shaped male cones form below. Around August – September pollen from the male cones drifts upwards to fertilise the female flowers. The cone starts to develop and is ready to drop in approx. 17 months i.e. around February / March.

The tree has an amazing capacity, due to its leaf structure, to trap and condense available moisture, dropping the moisture to the base of the tree.

Each cone has the potential to produce up to 80 new Bunya Trees The leaves and the bark of the tree are very prickly!

The Nut

Apart from the above, it may be said that we are all a bit ‘nuts’, and it may be very helpful to stay that way!

I think, after my propagating many of them, we could have a Bunya Planting Festival in April/May 2017?

The small nut (each one the scale of the larger cone) develops around a soft core, each one attached to the core and to each other – they are individual, sharing the essence.

The very sizeable nut/cone, takes the shape of the tree itself, with it's distinctive flavour and high nutritional value, could be described as the quintessential bush tucker.

Over thousands of years aboriginal people have

gathered from such huge distances to celebrate

when the nut was in season is testament to its value

both as a food and as a unifying symbol of Aboriginal culture. the traditional people and culture of this land.

The nut is 40% water, 40% complex carbohydrates, 9% protein, 2% fat, 0.2% potassium, 0.06% magnesium and contains approx. 32 calories and gluten free.

The nut can be boiled or roasted, and make a great pesto; there are many varied recipes for the use of the nut - savoury and sweet dishes. It is one of the most versatile and useful of all our native foods - soups, casseroles, quiches, pies, pastas, vegetables, desserts, cakes, biscuits, bread, damper, scones, pikelets, pastry, lollies and porridge.

The simplest way to prepare Bunya nuts for eating is to put them in a saucepan of water and boil for about half an hour. Remove from the water and split open while still hot. Remove from the shell and serve with butter (pepper and salt if required). They may be eaten cold, but are better hot.

Apart from the above, it may be said that we are all a bit ‘nuts’, and it may be very helpful to stay that way!

I think, after my propagating many of them, we could have a Bunya Planting Festival in April/May 2017?

Julian Maher

Finally, some words from Julian of Norwich followed by prayer while facing the Six Directions and then the descent back to The Potter’s House for the final part of the ritual, Agape! Food and drink, good cheer and company, stories and connections. Julian stands atop the mountain, a place of hermitage, of openness to all and welcome to those who long for solitude and silence, for immersion in creation, for simplicity and beauty.

Archer Mountain Community

Meditating with TildyAt dawn Tildy trots to the meditation room.

A small bundle of tossed, white curls

ears, nose, tail —

signposts pointing to the sky.

She has her own chair.

We watch as she eyes it carefully,

leaps up, turns around once,

settles into the orange cushion.

Like a conductor

she lifts her chin

looks towards our teacher. Permission to begin. Music leads us. We sink into our breath deeper deeper but some of us hear the clitter of toenails on the floor. Finally called back we blink, wriggle toes and fingers. Tildy is curled on the mat all liquid bones and fluff.

We gather our belongings, slide open the door. Coming Tildy? Tildy cocks one ear. Her eyes open in gentle reproach. You lot go on, she seems to say, I have hours more meditationto get through this morning.Beverley Sweeney (on Meditation Retreat)

Rain – Make up your mind!

Rain- make up your mind! You have been coming & going all day! I have to admit that too often I see you as an a darn inconvenience to my well laid out plans, a dampener on my mood, a downer on my great BBQ . But today I see you as blessing. You fall to earth in droplets, laughing through trees & leaves, gurgling and splashing down on rocks, creeks and drains. By afternoon I see you in a whole new light. The sun peeks through the clouds and I behold a treasure chest – a jewelled landscape as you glisten and sparkle like diamonds on every branch & blade of glass all the way down to the dam. You know you are a curious thing, Rain! What is it you are saying to me? if I could only listen a while… I am water and I play in the form of rain, vapour and ice. I provide snow to the polar caps and home to the polar bear, too!

Jim D’Arcy (on Earth Mystics Retreat)

I swirl freely with frogs & fish through rivers and gullies and bubble forth with delight from fountains. I dance on mountain tops, forests and the odd tin roof. I lie in ponds and puddles waiting for children to jump & splash in me. I give abundantly and joyously to nourish planet earth till it becomes green with envy!!! If you can swim, it is because you once swam in me- in the great oceans. I make up 70 percent of the planet and your body too - You big drip!! I am your life-force.

So for once, throw caution aside - the wind will catch it, forget the barbie, feel my joy and dance to my rhythm in your heart.