by Meme McDonald
‘Healing that comes from the land carries the power of that land. It is the land then that is the healer. Land not only provides medicine, it is the medicine. In our culture, unless you know the land you live in, the land you walk on each day, you can’t be strong in yourself. If you listen to the mountains, they talk to you and tell you how to survive in them. If you don’t listen to the desert, you will die in the desert. And so it is that you can understand why many Aboriginal people become sick when they no longer have a connection to their land. We don’t own that land, it owns us. Land is our mother. You become separated from the land and you become lost. If you become lost, then you become sick. The same with all of us and with our nation, Australia.’
‘In our way, medicine is most often given to us through story, song, dance, painting and so on, along with the medicine from the plants, from the earth, from the nature where we live.’
Each person is given a totem through which to learn of themselves and their relationship to each other and the world around them. Totems can be plants or animals or natural phenomenon or elements. The story that goes with each totem is sung and painted and danced. It is often through the story of the totem that each person learns to face challenges, or gains powers of observation, or increases their spiritual understanding.