“Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of madness, tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be time – but you must not speak its name.
Tell me a story of deep delight”
~ Robert Penn Warren
By Catherine Austin Fitts
Spending time in Australia has been on my “must do” list for quite awhile. When I lived in Hong Kong, I worked in a nightclub that catered to a cosmopolitan crowd – many were Australians. They had the greatest sense of fun with a can-do spirit. Although I have traveled to New Zealand several times, this is my first time in Australia.
Over breakfast at the airport, Jason began my education in the magic to be found in the Australian Outback. Then we made our way to the domestic terminal and flew directly inland to Yulara in the Northern Territory.
I head straight to the room. Looking out over the clear blue desert sky and the eucalyptus trees filled with leaves dancing in the wind, I prepare and record my “Money & Markets” segment for the Solari Report and then head down to the dining room for a buffet dinner.
It is hard to believe that there is a five star resort in a place this remote. But here it is – the food is fresh and “out of this world.”
On Friday, I am up at 4AM for the Solari Report round up – no matter where I am in the world, our team’s meetings by bridge call or Skype are the heart of what makes us tick.
Then off for “Desert Awakening” – a group of us pouring into a shuttle bus in the cold morning air and off down dirt roads while our guide, Sonja, watched feverishly to make sure she did not run over an occasional kangaroo or dingo. After much bouncing, we arrived on a special hilltop for a 360-degree view, including Uluru and Kata Tjuta, at sunrise.
For me, there is nothing more beautiful than sunrise in the desert. I love the ocean and the mountains, but the desert has always been in my blood. It holds a special calling for me.
We could see approximately 200 kilometers in all directions. On one side of the hill, the sun arises as an intense golden ball, shooting out a spectrum of colors as the desert comes alive before you. On the other side of the hill, there is a blue and pink coloring. Sonja explains that at these vast distances, we are watching the Earth’s shadow on this side.
Sonja is from Papua New Guinea and is very much in love with the people and land of this place. We enjoyed briefings throughout the day about the Anangu and their history, culture and art as well as about life on the land in the Australian Outback. Sonja explained that as many as 400,000 people visit Uluru each year – which is remarkable as the weather is comfortable only during April to August. In the warmer months, temperatures during the day rise to 110-120F and the flies are said to cover your face like a blanket.
We drive around Uluru, stopping to visit the cultural center and various sites to learn about the geology and fauna. Sonja regales us with stories that the Anangu tell which pass on their history and culture as well as desert survival skills.
Everything in the desert is about optimizing energy for survival. The Anangu rise early and stop working in mid-morning, conserving energy to begin work again in the late afternoon. Story after story communicates their survival skills – including how to find and preserve water in the desert.
The Anangu say that Uluru has a special vibration or energy and Sonja says that scientists have confirmed this. So many scientists have come to study it apparently, that the Anangu no longer allow samples to be taken.
There is indeed a unique energy in this place. The sky is blue, the way the sky used to be many years ago in America. The trees are untouched by environmental pollution. The air is clean. And the whole place feels alive and fresh.
We return to Sails in the Desert and head over to the town square for lunch and to arrange a helicopter tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta on Sunday before we leave.
After a peaceful afternoon and a long nap, out we head to Tali Waru in the Desert – dinner on the same hilltop that we visited that morning. This time we watch the sunset, enjoy a four-course dinner (each with a sampling of fine Australian wines).
The Voyager management runs a national indigenous training academy. Our servers are young men and women from indigenous cultures around the world who are learning the hotel and hospitality business here. The entire evening is orchestrated by this international group of young people – from the chef to the waiters to the sommelier. The service is five star but with a charm and character that is hard to describe. Something magical is happening here.
After dinner, we move down to a campfire below the hilltop to hear the stories of the stars.
I have often heard of the beauty of the stars in the Southern hemisphere. Jason, in jest, says that Australia has stolen all of our stars. Even though I live in a remote area where the night sky is full of stars, I have never seen anything like it – the Milky Way is laid out before us with Orion and the Pleiades to the right and the Southern Cross on the left. Our storyteller, Tim, tells us stories of the “Creation time” and draws out an Emu, the large Australian bird, in the stars.
Our dreams were deep and rich that night.
I’m up again early the next morning for the long trip on dirt roads through several cattle stations and into a southern portion of Anangu land to visit to Cave Hill.
This time Luke was our guide and we grilled him with questions about life in the Bush and why, after traveling to the city, he always returns to the Bush. After crossing the Curtis Fall cattle station, Luke suddenly slows the car. There are two pink cockatoos in a tree by the side of the road – a male and female.
Truly, I have never seen more beautiful birds. We start up again and they fly along with us for a minute or two as we speed along the road.
We cross once again into Anangu land and suddenly that sense of powerful peace returns. Luke explains how remote our current location is: when the International Space Station passes over, it is closer then any city.
We arrive at Cave Hill and climb up to a series of caves filled with Aborigine art as Luke and Jason tell the stories of the “Creation Time” that the Anangu have passed on to them. This includes the story of the of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters.
Jason was here eight years ago. He points out that some of the most important pictures telling the Creation story have been painted over. Luke comments that the Anangu are sensitive to the controversy they invoke.
There is a moment of sadness. In Iraq and throughout the Middle East, antiquities are being destroyed and stolen. Throughout the world, history is being rewritten and suppressed. How bad it must be if the Aborigine people feel that to protect their heritage they must also cover it up.
Returning to the camp below the caves, Luke cooks up steaks and onions on the campfire as the stories and talk continue to flow.
Then off for the long road back to Sails. We stop along the way to view Atilla. Luke explains that Atilla is 750 million years old – hundreds of thousands of years older than Uluru. Again, you feel as if you are in the presence of some great power, some mysterious history. Apparently, soon after Atilla was discovered by the English Australians, it became part of the Cattle Stations and not easily accessible to tourists. Which is odd – it looks like a very powerful place.
Upon returning to Sails, Jason and I park ourselves in huge lounge chairs by the pool and connect stories of the “Creation time” with so many other stories – from other places, other cultures, other worlds – of ancestors who come from the stars. We discuss the stories of the Dogon people of Mali about the dog star, Sirius.
It is astonishing to realize that some people pay as much as $400,000 to receive an Ivy League education delivering a story of the Creation Time which is complete gibberish. We grow up believing that we came from monkeys in a world without “starlight and great distances.”
Better to use the money to come to the desert in order to learn that we are made of starlight. The Anangu say that we are each a fractal of the universe – of the Milky Way and of the stars – which is completely within us.
After dinner and good night’s sleep, Jason and I take off for a helicopter ride over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Once aloft, it is remarkable to watch how the three sites line up perfectly in the desert: Atilla, Uluru and Kata Tjuta. What can explain such symmetry?
The beauty is breathtaking. Not even the thud of the helicopter blades can interrupt the sense of peace and knowing.
Listen to the ancient stories. These stories tell truths not found in edited texts and books.
We are made from the water of sacred places. We belong to a people who have traveled great distances and have a great destiny.
That destiny unfolds before us. It beckons to me and to you.