Connecting to Nature, Animals and Country

Our disconnection to nature leaves us vulnerable – to overlooking its value, what it means to our mental and physical wellbeing, what it means to enjoy nature as an equal and not as a conqueror. If we are unable to make this most basic of connections, where does that leave our connections with each other?

Living in lockdown has been tough for many of us. With our outside time reduced to taking out the rubbish, getting groceries, walking to the mailbox and short strolls around the neighbourhood, we’re craving connection with nature more than ever.

And keeping our connection with nature is so important. Studies have shown that nature is good for mental health – it can reduce stress and anxiety, and elevate your mood even if you’re only looking at a beautiful photo of nature.

Aboriginal people have a special connection to their Country. They believe that everything on Country is connected: the people, the land, the sea, and all its animals and plants. This connection is both spiritual and physical.

In First Nations kinship systems, individual people can be linked to specific animals through their totems.  Each person has a totem. Totems can be animals, but can also be lands, waters, or geographic features. 

Totems create a network of physical and spiritual connections between people and the world. First Nations people  learn more about their totems as they go through life. An individual is accountable to their totems and must ensure they are protected for future generations.

First Nations people who have an animal totem have a responsibility to look after that animal.  For example, if someone has a kangaroo totem, they have a unique connection to kangaroos and have a responsibility to look after them and maintain that connection. The way that an individual does  things like ceremony and hunting would be defined by their totem; a totem may prescribe a responsibility to learn particular songs, dances and stories.

Through totems, First Nations people keep a strong connection between animals, people and Country. 

In this course we will actively engage with our place in the universe. For example we will take the time to determine

 What this place looks like?
 What sounds we can hear there?
 What it smells like?
 What it feels like?
 If you had to describe this place to a friend, what would you say about it?
 How you can care for it?
 How would you feel if it were damaged or destroyed

and by connecting and undertaking creative projects share so much more!

Make a pact to connect with nature today. Lets see what we can do together! Contact heatherblakey at fastmail dot fm for more information about joining a free, small, creative cluster that meets via Zoom.

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