It has been a strange month so far, working in the early mornings and night times from a desk on the other side of the world. I'm visiting family in Australia and tending to some important family relationships.
I love my work, so the work itself always feels like nourishment, however the hours are lonely. I miss my UK family and I'm feeling pretty exhausted.
The beautiful opportunity in these awkward timings of course is, I get to spend precious real time with my people during the daylight hours.
A vanishingly rare treat and one it is impossible to put a price on.
England is feeling more strange to me than ever at the moment: politically especially, but also culturally, so it also nice to take a breather from that.
I have been doing a lot of reflecting on lineages, ancestry and how colonialism impacts us and it has lead me to be increasingly drawn to applying the learnings to the country of my birth.
There is a lot of repair work to be done here and still a lot of toxic shame and overwhelm swilling around the place.
The huge damage that has been perpetrated upon the indigenous stewards of these lands and waterways is a deep and multi-layered trauma.
The 'discovery' of this place by Europeans some 240 years ago when it's inhabitants had existed successfully and uninterrupted for some 60,000 years previously, has yet to be metabolised - and upon the death of the Queen, it raises yet more questions.
To me this repair work feels like Soul Retrieval. And it is also - as my work with Amber McZeal is revealing - about lineage repair.
How much do you know about your own ancestral lineages? How far back might you need to go before you can connect with an intact ritual practice and mythological foundation for a healthy Earth honouring and Life honouring approach to things?
This seems to me to be one of the most urgent needs of our times.
In light of this, before I get on to my offerings, I thought I'd share a a few recent encounters.
Below is a photo of me with my maternal grandmother Joyce Voysey. She is 94 and a huge inspiration for me. Sitting beside her and hearing her stories is a deep well of inspiration.
We thought we'd never see each other again.
Her own lineages go back via Scotland and then to Vikings. And the name Voysey (my Grandfather's name) is a Norman name and originates from Vassy in Normandy, which was originally, a Viking colony. So through my mother line there is a lot of Viking going on.
I've always been much more drawn to the Norse Myths than the Saxon ones.
Perhaps this is why.
Anyway, here we are eating fish and chips by the ocean near her place.
And then I met Gadija.
I was passing through Sydney a few weeks ago, via Circular Quay.
Uncle Gadija was singing a Ceremonial song which stopped me in my tracks - literally. Just his voice and clapping sticks. I had to be still for a moment to be present to it - let it come in. I felt a physical rush of energy as I listened to it and found myself suddenly inside an experience that felt like a combination of recognition, longing and grief.
I got him some money then we sat and chatted.
He shared stories about his life and the old ways.
It was a Creation Song he was singing, from his people up north.
He has an eye condition which means his eyelids can't open. To see, he needs to hold the lids open manually with his fingers. It is really rare apparently and he says the doctors don't really know what to do with it.
Before his eyes started playing up, he travelled all around the world bringing the old ways to people through Ceremonial song.
His wife's people are Eora, from the Walamadagal (what is now around North Sydney). He speaks 5 languages: two indigenous: his mother tongue and his wife's language, then he was forced to learn German and then English.
He said most of his people speak at least 4 languages.
This place, he says, Circular Quay, was a men's ceremonial place and around the corner at Barangaroo, was a women's place.
He also said that around the corner, where the Opera House now stands was a fishing place. 'like a market, but not how you white fellas do markets' he said there was a something like a menu that told you what fish was in season and which fish wasn't.. which ones you could take and which ones you needed to leave.
When the Europeans came, the first thing they did was put cattle on the place, so it quickly destroyed the ecology of the fishing, from all the methane in the soil and water.
I said - 'how have white folks got it so wrong?'
He said, 'your traditions are broken maybe.'
I feel the truth of that.
He said one of the things that he feels sad about is that the young ones don't do their learning from stories any more, they do it from books and movies, 'which shuts down their vision... you can't connect to the old ways through books.'
I said 'my name is Rachel' and I thanked him for his stories.
He said, 'My English name is Les, but my skin name is Gadija'
I said my family name was Blackman and he laughed so hard he nearly fell off his stool.
I asked him how he would feel about having a photo together. He said people take photos of him all the time and I said, 'yeah, but if you could choose, would you really want to have a photo taken? or would you rather not?'
He said 'well its probably ok, because I'm not wearing my ceremonial makeup at the moment'
I said, 'ok, how about I take a photo of us and if you don't like it, I'll delete it. How does this sound?'
'Sounds good', he said.
So I took a photo and showed it to him.
'Good photo!' He said immediately. ' That's a good photo!!' he said.
And he laughed.
I reckon it is a good photo too.
writings on states of being, being in a body and being human.