This week BJ Long travelled with ‘I am a Circle…’ to perform her one woman show ‘I am a Circle…Part 1 The Yggdrasil” and to facilitate the workshop ‘Women Finding their own Voice’; with the Magnificent Women of Monto, Central Queensland, Australia. Her story circles around her rich encounters on the Central Queensland country road; a road trip she was initially hesitant of taking by herself. BJ ponders days of past and the country way she observes the beauty that finds a parallel between the Australian Bush and the Countrywomen women who live in farming community. The resilience and strength of the country women are revealed and BJ facilitates initiation through circle work. It is here on this powerful August weekend in an ancient hall that circle of sisterhood came together as the Maiden, Mother and The Crone. While the old stories were remembered it became clear that by practicing women’s business there is access and opportunity for greater wisdom and support for women in community as opposed to isolation. With this knowledge came the opportunity for each woman to tap into their own unique voice.
“When I enter the Australian country women’s domain I am in awe of their strength and resilience. From my perspective, these women seem to echo the landscape they dwell in. I am by no means placing all women under one umbrella but there does seem to be a robust thread that weaves here. There is a strong element of Warrior Woman, powerful intelligence and wisdom in alignment with Mother earth, and impressively, appreciation and pride of their civic duty in community. I can only imagine what it was like not so long ago when there was no access to technology, that treasured children were sent to boarding school at high school age (still happens), when farming practices were very different and the patriarch ruled. Even though church, school and community events are a great motivator for socialisation, and food and sewing provide circles of sisterly support there is still isolation. Even with the availability of technology a fraying meandering thread weaves everywhere for women … this is why I have been inspired to carry the ‘I am a Circle‘ message…to women everywhere.
I was anxious about driving 7 ½ hours to Monto by myself. This distance in a car was something I was not used to, and travelling alone…but I did the distance as the women of Monto drew me towards them energetically, they had put out the call, they had spun and drawn the thread towards them and I have returned feeling refreshed and my perceptions widened. I have learnt more from them and the experience than I could imagine.
It became clear very quickly as I began my venture on the road deep into bush country, how much I had overlooked but recalled my bush bones, the friendly thumbs up by the lollypop roadside workers, the proud eucalyptus trees, the sky with white voluminous clouds stretching the breadth and depth of landscape. Easy riding stockmen navigating cattle across the road…best known as a country traffic jam. Eagle nests woven wildly but meticulously perched at the pinnacle of many a great tree whose trunks occasionally were swollen with syrupy bellies. And as I drove Sulphur crested cockatoos rode their wind dance. The windmills, beacons, from time to time remind me of the scarcity of rain, pumping bore water from deep veins below the hills that roll on and on and on and on.
I did keep my eye on the road if you were wondering ….
The pit stop comprises of a quick wee then a multi grain, salad sandwich stained with canned beetroot washed down with, surprisingly, good coffee and fresh water. Snippets of conversation caught from locals about, long drives to hospital…. Or how “This is nothing, try driving across the Great Nullarbor in this little car!” And if in greeting, thick, winter nighties flap their arms in the breeze front of country store. And once entered linoleum creaks reminding me of neglected and forgotten wooden floors. RM William boots alongside camel, cotton flock, country pants are on display that every smart countrywoman wears, as a staple; on many occasions. Wares include pots and pans, reams of ribbons, coloured thread and buttons alongside country buckles and belts…as well as selected items usually only attainable in the ‘big smoke.’ This is the land of count your pennies, take nothing for granted, my opinion in politics count and we know how to hold our beer and a party. Gossip in small country town, I’ve been informed on good authority, is, ‘if you fart at the beginning of the block you have shit your pants by the end of it.’ Haa Haa… Yes and news travels fast on the country telegraph… this land of raw honesty and great humour.
While in Monto, I was interviewed by the local newspaper reporter, he was mindful not to mention anyone’s name and asked my opinion. One of the community had come in (a male), and pointing to the article that publicised the ‘I am a Circle’ event the week before, made comment along the line “ Well this ‘new age stuff’ coming into town cant imagine that’ll go very well” when asked to comment, I replied “ I don’t think that man knows the women of Monto very well.”
This weekend was our time as women to honour the divine feminine and heal the matriarchal line. A lot of focus has been given to the patriarch and as women, we have often been complicit because we just haven’t known any different or the difference… I have been Guilty, guilty, guilty in the past because I didn’t know either.
The women I performed and presented to were wise elders (Crones), Mothers and Maidens…I wasn’t telling anyone anything new but there was enlightenment from a different creative perspective. Everyone was asked to remember, including me. Remembering, I believe in this context, means to connect with our intuition, the seed of our innate feminine truth. Monto has and took the opportunity to bring Maidens, Mothers and Crones together to explore Women’s business. It was a time to safely talk, sing and play. Our rhythms as women are different there is nothing ‘new age ‘ about this in fact we have been here since the beginning of time as has Women’s Circles. We enjoyed reclaiming the old stories; we laughed, cried, allowed ourselves to communicate in an honest and transformative way. At times that took a little encouragement and un-pealing because sometimes our opinion or belief in ourselves has not been tendered. We didn’t talk about men, at all, even though we honour and love those male figures that appreciate, encourage and respect us. Monto Women watered and fertilised their inner garden and they were Magnificent!
To improve and grow all comes from within but at times requires responsible mentorship… it is my belief the benefits of the ‘I am a Circle’ work is for everyone in community as its message resonates with the women in community…and we all know how special women are…
Most profound were the loving hugs of gratitude from the elders, the sense of deep responsibility from the Mothers to make this happen and this is what really touched all of us… the Maidens young yes and our future who courageously gave themselves permission to remember the stories and sing them anew.
I am a Circle
I am Healing You
You are a Circle
You are Healing Me
I want to thank my host family Melissa and Scott Dowling and their children for welcoming me into their loving home. To Carly and Melissa for their co creation in the ‘I am a Circle’ event and for taking the leap of faith…I know the Women of Monto honour you as do I.
BIG LOVE BJ
Link to BJ’s I am a Circle… interview ( please scroll down the page) with Melissa next to a Billabong(Lagoon) on her property in Monto