Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The importance of Monash

from the Yanyuwa Dreamtime, thanks to Monash IT
Again and again, in my dreams of the early morning, the word "Monash" was featured. I was on a university campus, but later in the bush, with several different groups of people.
   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.


Astrid said...

Well Robert Moss, let me tell you my dream. I dreamt of my old childhood indian friend. He was asleep underneath a stage. I was standing guard until the morning when people would come to remove him. Then suddenly I was at dog show where all the dogs wore wreaths of flowers on their heads.
When I woke I couldnt shake the feeling I had seen a Mayan hieroglyph of a dog with flowers on it's head somewhere before. I did a google search and came upon the glyph 'Bolon Yokte'. He is a character from their creation myths and there is some suggestion he will be making a return in 2012.
I relayed the dream to my wife who pointed out something I hadn't considered. My childhood indian friend died in a car accident 25 years ago. What's more, after some reasearch, I have learned that it is not uncommon for the Maya to remove their dead relative's remains from 'under the stage' so to speak, to ritually clean them.
Last night, I again dreamed of my indian friend. I was in a room of full people. My indian friend sat in a chair. I was the only one who could see him. He was a ghost.
I'm not sure what the dreams are saying, but I do feel I have a greater appreciation for the concept of the underworld. Because I used to think that was just an imaginary concept. Now I suspect the concept is intricately bound with the imagination.

Jeni Hogenson said...

Fantastic Robert, thank you so much for your dream and the uplifting news that the stories of the people are being nurtured, celebrated and shared. It fills my heart with joy, and yes, it becomes more and more apparent that our dreams need to be shared and acted upon. It seems like my dreams have been coming fast and furious lately. And the stories of all kinds seem to be forming out of many encounters, as if we are learning a new way of talking, a new way of being or perhaps it's my wishful thinking. But I notice it now in a new way - but of course it always was there, some of us just didn't have the ears to hear it.

Unknown said...

ah Robert Moss, what a huge service you offer the world. So bloody proud you're an Aussie!