|from the Yanyuwa Dreamtime, thanks to Monash IT|
Waking, my first association was with Monash University in Melbourne, the city where I was born. I led a one-day dream workshop there a decade ago that was attended by nearly 600 people, giving me a grand sense of validation and a deep measure of soul healing, since I was a very lonely boy when I lived in Melbourne (before the age of 11) unable to share my dreams and experiences of the deeper reality with most of those around me. I recalled that on my darkest days of illness and loneliness, a ruddy-faced older man with white hair would appear to me, in my visions, and reassure me that I would make it through. "I promise you, you'll make it through. And that the day will come when the world will be eager to hear your dreams."
I now know that this older man - a wise and cheery uncle I never had - was my older self (younger than I am now) reaching back to help bring my boy self through.
But - Monash?
Dreams require action, even if only a quick internet search.
So I went to Auntie Google and pulled up the website for Monash University. I was gladdened to see that on the home page they declare, "Monash is a university of transformation."
They feature a good quote from Sir John Monash, the commander of Australian forces in World War I from whom the university takes its name: "Adopt as your fundamental creed that you will equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community."
Then I saw it, on the right-hand side of the "About Us" page:
3D animation helps preserve indigenous history
Excited, I followed the link and discovered that teams of Monash University researchers are helping to recreate the Dreamtime stories of the Yanyuwa people, who live on the southwest coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, using state-of-the-art 3D animation technology.
In conjunction with anthropologist Dr Amanda Kearney of the University of New South Wales, IT professionals Tom Chandler, Brent McKee and Chandara Ung of the Berwick Campus of Monash University have developed the Monash Country Lines Archive website. The project aims to assist indigenous people in the 3D animation of stories combining poetry, songs and language. This is done with great respect; older and younger generations of the Yanyuwa people sit together and share knowledge.
Here is a sample of what they are doing with the Yanyuwa Dreamings:
As I watched the animated clip, and then scanned photos of Yanyuwa teritory, I felt I was slipping back into some of the landscapes of my dream.
I am excited by the Monash project, and plan to learn more about it and to explore whether similar technology can be used to bring alive the Dreamtime stories and "mythistory" (a word I have borrowed from the poet George Seferis) of other peoples.
I am reminded that even a scrap of a dream - in this case a single word - can be a key to interesting discoveries, as long as we are prepared to do a little work with it. Dreams set us assignments.