Dreamtime and the Return of the Sacred, Part II

We are continuing our meditations on the return to Source and therefore to Creation, thus the recovery of the Sacred. 

Eddie Kneebone (d. 2006) was declared Wodonga Citizen of the Year in 1999. In 2001, he received the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for his work on reconciliation. His artwork is displayed on a Gateway Village riverside walk, while the Wodonga Institute of TAFE has an Eddie Kneebone Art Gallery. Image from a Facebook memorial post by the Wodonga Council.

Yesterday I introduced the Aboriginal teacher and activist (now deceased) Eddie Kneebone.  We continue exploring his interview on Creation Spirituality and the Dreamtime. Speaking of the cosmos, he continues:

During the daytime we can look outside and we see trees, birds, rivers, the wind in the clouds and the sunshine.  This is the environment that is revealed during the daylight hours, that we take for granted. 

But at night the other half of our environment is revealed—the universe.  Every clear night we can look up and see millions of stars.  That is also a part of our lives.  It is an important part of our lives that we forget about and don’t include in our way of thinking. 

“Contemplation” Photo by Howard Ignatius on Flickr

Notice that when he is talking of the environment he is talking about the cosmos.  Cf. Thomas Berry: “Ecology is functional cosmology.”  Notice how the night time offers a special visitation of the universe, a special revelation.

In Aboriginal spirituality, however, it certainly was included.

We look up and see the stars shining above and say ‘They are the bright suns and around them there are planets—possibly with people that we will never see.’  The Aboriginals looked up at night and they didn’t see the stars—they never saw stars.  They only saw the campfires of their ancestors on their journey.  The bright stars were the ancestors who were not long gone; the dimmer stars were the ancestors further on the journey.

Campfire generations. Photo by Alan Chen on Unsplash

They imagined that the ancestors sitting around their campfires were looking back and seeing the campfires of the living, physical, Aboriginals at their own campsites.  The Aboriginals looked up and really believed that their eyes could meet.

So for me, Creation Spirituality, as Matthew Fox talks about it, is like the Dreamtime in the way that it brings the entire cosmos onto our lives, making it a part of us, and us a part of it. 

“Upper Wentworth Falls as viewed along the National Pass walking track in the Jamison Valley, near the town of Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, Australia.” Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Notice his emphasis on microcosm/macrocosm as the natural state for humans.  Cf. Thomas Aquinas: “The greatest thing about the human being is this: That we are capable of the universe.”

He said that he was taught to look to the church for God but this is how he sees things: “Man created the buildings that he calls churches, God created the world.  If I look for God then it will be in the environment that he built.”

A few years later I invited Eddie to our program at Holy Names College and he brought two large duffle bags with him—one full of boomerangs; and the other of paintings.  To be continued. 

See Matthew Fox and Catherine Hammond, eds., Creation Spirituality & The Dreamtime (Millennium Books), 1991, 93f.

For Aquinas statement on the universe see Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, 21  and also pp. 9-32.

Banner Image: “Uluru at Twilight with Saturn Rising.” Photo by Stefan Buda, 11 June 2017. On Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do we “look for God in the environment that God built?”  What is holding us back do you think?

What follows from Aquinas’s teaching that “the greatest thing about the human being is that we are capable of the universe?”  Are we taking advantage of that greatness?  What holds us back?

Recommended Reading

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Your Music Your Way Summit

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