In the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness Matthew 4:1-11 (= Lk 4:1-13;) Jesus follows a mysterious yet compelling calling to radical, wilderness solitude. He fasts. He lives in the wild. He wrestles with spirits. Jesus’ desert retreat seems strange to our 21st century ears (wait, no wifi??) and has consequently been ignored, spiritualised or psychologised in most Christian interpretation.
It echoes, however, of an ancient practice that is quite intelligible to indigenous peoples the world over. Largely lost to contemporary urban cultures (like Paddington), this tradition survives still among most land-based tribal peoples. Among Aboriginal people it is referred to as “going Walkabout,” what elder Guboo Ted Thomas describes as the “renewal of the Dreaming.”
From July 1-8 Geoff will lead (accompanied by Nick Broughton, Kate Stevens and Jess Lyons and 14 others) a Spirit Journey: a 7 day 4WD desert journey co-led by John Cavanagh, an Eastern Arrernte elder and traditional healer, travelling across his ancestral lands.
We will be travelling in a small convoy of 4WD’s meandering through breathtaking East McDonnell Ranges and stopping to experience the deep tranquility and spiritual connections that this remarkable country offers all Australians. John will open the country to us, sharing stories of both the Dreaming and of his families experience growing up and working on land that has been incorporated into settler Australia but which remains Aboriginal. We will sit under the stars, camp in creek beds and around the campfire share our stories and reflect on our experiences.
Together we will experience the gift that this land presents to us and find a new sense of community as we travel its ancient paths.