Listening to the Land and listening to indigenous elders has, since the founding of the Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network in 2008, been an integral part of the vision of the network. Four times a year, in conjunctions with the seasons, we walk sacred places around the Peninsula.

Green's Bush

We are all nurtured by the land and we all receive life from the land. There are many cultures and many religions but there is only one earth that we all belong to. The land is sacred. The land inspires us. The land’s beauty and majesty moves us in awe, wonder and reverence.  Yet we often treat the land as an object instead of an integral part of ourselves. The Listening to the Land walks seek to bring people from all religious and spiritual backgrounds together to connect or reconnect with the land and to be moved to care for the land.

The walks are coordinated by the interfaith network and led by Gunditjamara elder, Uncle Lionel Lauch, who has permission from the Bunwurrung elder, Aunty Carolin Briggs, to lead the walks. Our walks always begin with an introductory talk, a walking meditation, explanation of features of the land and bush tucker, a sitting meditation and afterwards a shared vegetarian lunch.

Last gathering was Saturday the 14th May in the lush forest of Green’s bush on top of Wonga (Arthur’s Seat). Despite very wild weather 55 people, including 7 children, from all around the Peninsula and beyond gathered to walk and listen to the land and to the wisdom of Uncle Lionel. We gathered in a circle as is our custom, acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and moved into a quiet listening space. Uncle Lionel explained the significance of the land we were walking and led us on the walk. Along the way, Uncle Lionel talked to us about plants and natural features and he showed us many plants that Aboriginal people used to eat. When we came to an opening in the forest we sat down in the soft rain listening to Uncle Lionel playing didgeridoo followed by a 10-minute silent meditation.

Following the meditation, Uncle Lionel showed us how to throw a boomerang and all the kids and some adults had a go. We finished the walk where we began in a circle expressing in one word what we had received and giving thanks for the earth and for Uncle Lionel. After the official closing most people stayed and shared a vegetarian lunch in the beautiful forest. There is a real sense of community developing around these walks and people expressed their enthusiasm to bring more people to the next walk.

We are hoping to have our next winter Listening to the Land walk on the 6th August but the locations has yet to be decided. For further details see or ring Reverend Hans Christiansen on 0406 243 783.

Reverend Hans Christiansen, Mornington Peninsula Interfaith Network

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