Here’s a personal insight into one of Australia’s bright sparks, Aborigine, Gerry Bostock, playwright, healer, teacher and mystic. We are pleased and proud to be able to publish his story here, not only for its inspirational value, but also because we are keen to promote knowledge of Australian Aboriginal spirituality in this magazine.
For those of you who want to know the ins and outs of things, my English name, that is the name most people know me by, is Gerry Bostock. I am also known by other names, tribal names, but I only use these on special occasions or when I am with Aborigines in tribal areas in Australia or with indigenous people in other countries.
I was born at Grafton, in NSW, in 1942. My mother is a Bundjalung from Nymboida Aboriginal Reserve, west of Grafton. My father was of the Mulunjali tribe at Beaudesert, in south-eastern Queensland; the Mulunjali tribe is part of the Bundjalung Nation.
The Bundjalung Nation is made of a number of different tribes and clan groups. We are a people who still speak our language and carry on ceremonies, despite what some non-native anthropologists and missionaries may say. We also supplement our diet with seafood and wild game, even though we live in a modern environment with the drudgery and lifestyle of 20th century living.
The Bundjalung used crystals to trade with other tribes as well as for use in the ceremonies they held at high-energy grids and vortices. Many of our ceremonies such as Initiation (Manhood) Ceremonies and other sacred rites were performed in Bora Rings, which are similar in design to the Native American Medicine Wheel and the Celtic Cross. To show others who they were and where they were from the tribes and clans participating in the ceremony placed ochre Churingas (sacred objects) and crystals in the Bora Rings.
In my father’s day, most Aborigines in NSW and Queensland lived on church missions and government reserves, similar to the Indian reservations in North America. Aborigines who lived in such settlements were subjected to the whims of the state and church officials who administered them. Many of the Aborigines who lived there were under-educated and encouraged only to spell their name and count to 100. Most of the men were farmed out as cheap farm labour and the women as domestic servants. Under the Aborigines’ Protection Act, State officials could take the children away at any time, with or without their parents consent. White Australians commonly referred to this as ‘nigger farming’. The children taken were sent to government institutions and labour training schools; younger ones were taken to state orphanages and adopted by white middle-class Australian families.
My father refused to raise a family under the conditions that existed on church missions and government reserves such as Box Ridge Aboriginal Reserve, near Coraki, on the north coast of NSW, where my mother’s family was then living, so he moved off. He worked as a labourer and seasonal fruit-picker before getting a more permanent job with the NSW Department of Main Roads. This meant the family had to move around a lot and many of us were born in various parts of the State. Being the youngest, I was raised by my father’s parents at Tweed Heads, on the far north coast of the State.
During the period I spent with my grandparents I learnt many things, particularly about spirituality and healing. My father’s family were very psychic. My uncle Harold, Dad’s brother, was a very gifted clairvoyant and could see future events in such detail we knew what was about to unfold before it happened: sometimes several days in advance. Another uncle with a special gift was Uncle Bindi. Uncle Bindi was actually my father’s cousin who had been raised by my grandmother when her sister died. Uncle Bindi used to “throw the bones”. He had a small bag containing an assortment of bones. He would shake the bag and cast the bones upon the floor to forecast future events. Whether they were human bones or not, no one would say, but I was always taken from the room when he was using them. Perhaps this was for my safety in case any malevolent spirits came through.
Some of my grandfather’s friends spent their last earthly days living with us. They, like my grandfather, were ‘cleverfellers’ (shamans). They would sometimes teach me what they knew. Sometimes they called other friends to do the teaching. Many years later I learned that most of my teachers had passed over (died) before I was born. One of the things they told me was that I would forget much of what I was taught, until the day I was ready for it, ready to accept it.
I spent many years running away from the inevitable. When my grandfather died I went back to live with my family. After World War II my father got his first permanent job in Brisbane. I went to school there and stayed with my family until I joined the army when was 19. I left the army in 1970 after serving nine years, including overseas service. I then moved to Sydney where I got involved with the Aboriginal community in Redfern. I became involved in land rights issues and was one of the founding members of the Black Theatre. I became a poet and playwright and also got involved in other Aboriginal organisations and was a member of the first Aboriginal delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China in 1972. Later I got interested in filmmaking and became a documentary film producer and director.
In 1984 I went to the Tashkent Film Festival in the then Soviet Union to accept an award for ‘Lousy Little Sixpence’, a documentary film about the Stolen Generation that I co-produced with Alec Morgan. On my way to the festival I lost my briefcase in London. It contained an original film script I was working on. After the festival I returned to London and continued searching for my lost film script, but to no avail. While in London I spent a further six months doing research in the British Museum about Aborigines and colonial Australia.
After I returned to Australia I spent the next few years working in television and doing corporate videos (training films) for the private sector. I also taught Aboriginal Studies and Media Studies at tertiary institutions.
One day, while I was at the beach with some friends, I came upon a film editor I knew. He told me he was leaving Sydney in a few days and moving north to Byron Bay. He told me he had been cleaning out his house in preparation for the move when he found a copy rough draft of one of my film scripts. He only lived a short distance away so I went back to his house with him. The “rough draft” he had was a set of hand-written index cards showing the complete scene breakdown of the film script I had lost in London!
I knew this was a sign from Spirit and decided not to dally any further. I got a map of the state of NSW, took out a pen and closed my eyes and took a wild stab. The place I had marked on the map was the Thirlmere Lakes, twin freshwater lakes near the town of Picton, NSW, about 80 kilometres south of Sydney. I packed the index cards into my camping gear and went bush.
I camped by one of the lakes for a few days and was ready to go to work. I sat by my campfire, notebook in hand, but every time I took up my pen a willy-willy (small spiralling wind) of dust would whirl about me and make it impossible for me to concentrate. I moved into the tent I had erected by the waterside; perhaps being out of the wind was what I needed. This, too, proved unsuccessful because the willy-willy began rattling the tent and I was forced back to the campfire. I decided at last to change the location of my camp. A dirt road ran by the lake and I thought that if I followed it I might find a better campsite. I dismantled the camp, packed my gear and drove off.
After driving for about two kilometres I saw a cave in the bush. It was only a short distance from the road so I stopped the car and went off to check it out. It was more of an overhang than a cave but it seemed ideal for what I wanted. There were two parts to it. The front section of the cave was large enough to accommodate about 15 people sitting down. The other section, which was off to the side, was a smaller area where two people could sleep quite comfortably. I went back to the car, unloaded the gear and took it to the cave. I then went into the town of Thirlmere, some five kilometres away, to replenish my dwindling supplies.
When I returned from town I drove down the road looking for the cave but I could not see it anywhere. That puzzled me. The terrain looked familiar and I drove down the road several times but I still could not see the cave. It had rained a few days before I came bush and the side of the road was soft. This being so, I began looking for the tire tracks showing where I had parked when I first unloaded the car. I found the spot, again parked the car and got out. There was still no trace of the cave, yet I knew I had seen it from the road before unloading my camping gear. I decided to go searching for it. I had to fight my way through dense undergrowth but I finally found it. Everything looked exactly the same at first: the cave was as I remembered it; my gear was where I had left it, yet there was something different. Then it struck me! The denseness of the bush had changed. It was as if I had gone through a ‘time warp’. When I first arrived at the cave to dump my gear, the bush had been less dense, which was why I could see the cave from the road: now the bush was thicker and more overgrown.
Was this a lesson from Spirit? If so, then there were many more to come.
I lived in the cave for about nine weeks. I had given up trying to re-write the script because of the unpredictable willy-willy. I was content to read and re-read the index cards and get the story and characters firmly etched in my mind.
Some friends stopped by occasionally to see how I was faring and to express their concern. They thought I was off my rocker but they didn’t try to discourage or dissuade me.
The cave was somewhat isolated and if I wanted to go anywhere other than nearby I would have to drive. One of them even dropped off a bicycle to save on petrol costs.
One late afternoon I was riding the bike back to the cave before it got too dark. I noticed a beautiful, golden glow all around me.
“What a beautiful sunset”, I thought. I looked over to the sun but to my surprise the sun was already below the horizon. My left-brain now kicked into gear.
“Well, is it the moon?” I looked over my shoulder, looking for the moon, but the moon had not risen.
My left-brain went into overdrive. The light had formed an amber arc around me. It was as bright as a spotlight and kept pace with the speed I was travelling. I glanced off into the bush and saw that it was quite dark, except for the light surrounding me. If I moved the bike to dodge potholes the light also moved. I looked skyward to see if there was a police helicopter trying to spot drug crops in the bush. No luck. At that moment I would have been pleased to have seen a beam coming down from a hovering UFO and again glanced skyward. It was then that I noticed the strangest thing of all: the arc of light had no beam, no apparent source. And then it struck me! The light was coming from within me. My entire body was glowing with it.
That evening I had a dream. I dreamt I was with my Aboriginal teachers once more. They asked me if I was ready to accept my true path, the path of a healer. I said I was. They seemed pleased and asked me to remember all of the things that had happened to me in my life and how those events had led me to the cave. As I recalled my life, I remembered how certain experiences I had and the different people I met occurred at times when I was straying from my intended path. All had influenced me and given me direction, put me back on track. My teachers then asked me to recall all they had taught me many years before. The knowledge came flooding in. They then began further instruction. They taught me about healing with love and light, with crystals and with energy. They taught me how to feel the energy of the environment and how to channel that into a person needing healing; to feel the energy coming into and surging through my body and to also feel it going out. What stood out most of all was the heat. My hands became like the hot plates of a stove. I was shown several people who needed healing. I placed my hands upon them and their bodies vibrated with intensity as the energy surged through them.
When I awoke in the morning I knew the dream I had was not just a dream. I believe the Aboriginal teachers who appeared to me in the cave took me into another dimension; to a place where linear time, time and space as we know it, has no meaning. I felt my body. I knew something had changed but I was not quite sure how or to what degree I had changed.
I returned to Sydney after spending nine weeks in the cave. As far as the film script was concerned, I completed a new draft of it within two weeks of my return. The script never developed any further because I do not believe it was meant to. It was merely the means of directing me toward my true path. I continued to work in film and television but I was more interested in healing.
Not long after returning to Sydney people came to me seeking healing. I did not advertise nor did I give any indication that I did healing work, yet people came. I believe that Spirit sent them. When I placed my hands on someone in need of healing my hands became incredibly hot, exactly the same as the cave dream. I noticed that the energy became more intense as time went on.
Share this post