Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations
Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey
Chapter Sixteen: Quickening, Patience, Suffering (David W. Jardine)
Quickening, Patience, Suffering david w. jardine a f o r T u i T o u s e - m a i l e xC h a n g e Jodi [Latremouille]: Hi, David, I was reading The Spell of the Sensuous (Abram, 1996) and was reminded of that paper you sent us a couple of weeks ago. There is a pas- sage about the Australian Aboriginal tradition of “songlines” or “ways through” the continent, meandering trails, auditory route maps that are composed of a melody with various verses to be sung in different locations. It speaks of the Dreamtime Ancestors, while chanting their ways across the land, depositing a trail of “spirit children” along the trail. They are described as “life cells,” children not yet born; they lie in a potential state within the ground. When a woman is pregnant, the actual conception is thought to occur with the quickening, when she steps on a song couplet in the earth. So the spirit child “works its way into her womb, and impregnates the fetus with song.” Wherever the woman find herself when she feels the quickening—the first kick within her womb—she knows that a spirit child has just leapt into her body from the earth. And so she notes the precise place in the land where the quick- ening occurred, and reports this to the tribal elders. The elders then examine the land at that spot, discerning which Ancestor’s songline was involved, and precisely which stanzas of...
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