Uluru (Ayers Rock) by Rev. Dr. Roxie Hart
Here's another guest blog I'm sharing, from my friend Rev. Dr. Roxie Hart, founding minister of the Shiloh Spiritual Center in San Diego, who went on a trip to Australia on her own traveling in an RV. To be in solitude at Uluru must have been amazing.
Uluru (Ayers Rock) Sacred Aboriginal Site
Red Center of Australia
By Rev. Dr. Roxie Hart, 2011
Uluru is a remote, and now protected, National Park in Australia. Called Ayers Rock by white settlers in the early colonization period, it was given back to the local tribe and officially returned to its Aboriginal name. It is jointly managed by the indigenous peoples of the area along with the park rangers. Their partnering efforts focus on sharing ancient natural practices and modern land management techniques to preserve the site for future generations.
This famous “rock” is approximately 150 miles west of the only highway that runs North-South, the entire 2,500 miles of the Australian continent. The road is narrow but paved with just one outpost (gas stop) along the way until you arrive at the tourist community of Ayers Rock, built specifically to accommodate visitors.
Otherwise, there are no permanent communities. Beyond Uluru, across the other half of the continent, the roads are dirt, the land very sparsely populated and quite dangerous in its isolation. All of the interior of Australia is the “outback”, but the western half could be called the outback’s “outback.”
The Aborigines traveled throughout the continent—as large as the continental United States—for tens of thousands of years, but built no permanent encampment or village at Uluru because there is little water in this part of the driest land mass on planet Earth.
|Uluru After Rains|
Though I did not see the blessing at the time, I was very fortunate to experience a rainstorm during the long drive to Uluru which resulted in the muddy/messy campground awaiting me, followed by a stormy night that rocked my RV and kept me huddled in my sleeping bag, only to awaken to a very damp and cold morning.
What initially seemed like a huge inconvenience and potential end of my exploration of the “rock” proved to be a huge blessing because it rains so infrequently at the Red Center that very few people have ever witnessed the waterfalls that come off the huge rock and the pools that form for a few weeks afterwards before drying up again. The rapid appearance of tadpoles and blossoming of plants is tantamount to watching time-lapse photography. Within a day, what was dormant, thrives in and around the formed pools.
I wandered with a 4-hour ranger’s tour that loaded my brain with the marvels of the flora/fauna nature of the area and the Aborigine’s spiritual connection to the rock formations and sacred caves throughout. Some caves were exclusively men’s space and other caves were for the women and children. Rituals and rites of passage were performed within these natural dwelling places. (Some sites visible from the path were marked as “no photography allowed” because of their sacredness, however, where one section ended and another began was not clear to me and I may have violated the sacred demand. If I did—I offer my sincere apologies.)
|Roxie at Uluru|
Another amazing blessing resulting from the rainy weather was that many tourists were deterred from walking around the base of Uluru because of the cold wind and muddy paths. This meant that I had the Rock experience all to myself! Though the path was re-routed around areas too muddy to traverse, making it a considerably longer walk than the normal 7.5 miles, it was still an easy trek because of the crispness in the air, rather than the normal oppressive heat that I had expected to find there.
What was most amazing during that adventure was the extreme aloneness I felt—the silence and isolation—and the power of the Rock that beckoned me to visually explore its secrets.
|Uluru at Sunset|
The two days that I spent at Uluru infused me with a sense of the profound relationship the native peoples have with Mother Earth. They intuitively understand how everything is connected and how thriving is dependent upon the respectful cooperation with each other, between tribes, with the sparse plant life and the variety of animal inhabitants. Mostly, I was moved by their intense awareness of the spiritual nature inherent in all life. Their sense of oneness is what the rest of the spiritual community aspires to understand.