|My Balinese mask that my son bought for me in Bali.|
The Balinese, so my son tells me, believe these masks ward off evil spirits.
I've just started reading, Earth Mother Dreaming
by Scott Alexander-King, which is more of a workbook than a straight forward book that you read, and in the first part of the book is a section titled, "Protecting Your Spirit", where it is stated,
"This journey is not, in itself, inherently dangerous, but it is unknown and just as you would not go out into a jungle or into the depths of the sea without taking some simple protective measures, nor should you start any spiritual journey into the 'super'natural."
Which is good advice, and the above clip reminds me what lurks beneath all those happy surfers out there in the sea near
Julian Rocks, off the shore of Byron Bay,
and why I personally wouldn't risk swimming there.
And on the subject of Byron Bay and surfers, I met Hanabeth Luke at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival and purchased her book about surviving the Bali bombings.
I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it's one of my next books for sure.
|Hanabeth Luke assists Tom Singer outside the Sari Club.|
They settled in Byron in 1989 when the place was shifting from surf-dog town to middle class hippie heaven.
A Byron child, she left home, completed secondary school living in a group house and, between trips to Bali, surfed, waitressed and partied.
At 20 she washed ashore at St Agnes, Cornwall.
She was staying with her grandmother when Marc, a 27-year-old local mechanic who loved playing the guitar, spotted the sun-bleached, independent, exotic surfer.
She taught him to swim.
They returned to Australia to live an idyll in Byron's hinterland.
She was the centre of his world but her world was so much bigger so they returned to Cornwall where he became the exotic.
The relationship faltered.
Hopeful of a fresh start, they decided to return to Australia.
They caught QF397 via Bali.
On the day he died, Marc finally managed to hang 10 on perfect point waves.
Occasionally, when the surf is just right, Hanabeth still rides the longboard they ordered together a lifetime ago.
She also taught herself music, inspired by Marc to keep singing and to honour their love.
One afternoon last week Hanabeth took down Marc's guitar hanging in her Suffolk Park beach shack.
Picking through the opening chords, she softly sings a song from the 1972 surf movie that gave Byron's country soul to the world, Morning of the Earth:
''There's no formula for happiness, that's guaranteed to work
''It all depends on how you treat your friends
''And how much you've been hurt
''But it's a start, when you open up your heart
And try not to hide, what you feel inside.'' "
Angel still searching for piece of heaven
|Hanabeth Luke at the Byron Bay Writer's Festival, third from left.|
It was only because Hanabeth was on the same talk as Steve Bisley that I got to hear her heartfelt story, and decided to buy her book.
When she was signing my book, I confided to her that the bombings and plane crashes were always in the back of my mind when my son was staying there, and she reassured me that Bali was a good place and that it was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
|Recent plane crash in Bali where nobody was killed, amazingly.|
|Nurse Pam Fitzpatrick was wounded (later died) when three shots were fired into a crowded bar in Thailand.|
Pam Fitzpatrick, 26, and her younger sister, Jenny, were at the UP 2 U bar in the popular Thai tourist city of Kanchanaburi when a man on the back of a motorbike opened fire on the establishment.
"The two men on the motorcycle drove past the UP 2 U bar and then the one who was sitting in the back, he shoot to the UP 2 U bar," a Thai police spokesman told smh.com.au.
The sisters had just watched the Australia versus Brazil World Cup game when the shooting occurred.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said Ms Fitzpatrick was "seriously injured" and is in hospital.
Australian's ambassador in Bangkok, William Paterson, said it was unlikely Ms Fitzpatrick would be evacuated to Australia while she remains in critical condition.
"I don't think she's in a position to be moved internationally at this point," he said.
Asked whether the shooting should alarm other Australians travelling in Thailand, Mr Paterson said: "Our view is that this is an unusual and unfortunate event."
Some 400,000 Australian visitors travel to Thailand each year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Ms Fitzpatrick's father, Kevin Fitzpatrick, said he would fly to Thailand today to be at his daughter's bedside. "
Nurse shot in Thai drive-by feud
My friend Tim and his dad would have to fly back later to turn off Pam's life support, sadly.
Tim and I and a group of friends used to do bush-walks together where we walked among grass filled with deadly snakes, climbed dangerous peaks, and did other foolish things without any real serious accidents happening, barring maybe one time I almost got us all killed, but I don't think Tim was on that one.
|What are the odds?|
To me certain things in life seem to be set at crossroads, or terminal points.
Pete Murray CD, chosen blindly that morning before leaving for Byron Bay.
I thought how appropriate the above song seemed, because I do think we make our own way to a point, but that there are certain crossroads or bridges in life that can't be avoided...
that's what I feel anyway.
I saw Hanabeth do another talk later on in the day with another Byron surf legend,
He is 70 years old and still surfing and teaching youngsters how to surf.
I've never been on a surfboard in my life, but I've always admired the surfer's philosophy, that almost shamanic quality to their lives, and that shone through in the talk at the BBWF.
Scott writes about the use of smudging rituals and using talismans for protection from negative forces and thoughts, and I can see the reason behind it, but to me they are like placebos of the mind.
If you think you need them, then by all means use them, and I'm not saying I don't.
I have tried smudging once and found it messy and time consuming.
I'd rather burn incense, if I was going to use smoke, but I would see it more for calming my mind than protection.
Mind you, I love the rituals involving incense when I go to a church, or temple.
The ceremony wouldn't be the same without that sacred smell to me,
not to say it would work any better.
It's not to say that shamanism will take over modern religions, but I think there will be a synthesis of it's ideas into many modern religions as an evolving spiritual practice.
Many people already walk the shamanic path anyway, maybe not even knowing that they do.
I can see glimpses of it already in the ways of Rusty Miller,
Hanabeth Luke, Steve Bisley,
Peter Carey, Micheal Leunig and many other people that I met on the weekend in Byron Bay.
You don't have to wear feathers in your hair and look like the photo above to be on the shamanic path anymore than you have to look like the Pope to be on the Christian path.
The main thing is the inner journey and the journey from and through the heart.
This is the path any good shaman would take -
And remember not all paths are easy or fearless paths either,
it's all about the right balance, I think.
If a talisman helps you across the path without fear in your heart and gives you confidence to do so when you'll be walking it anyway, then so be it.