On Saturday 9 March 2019 from 11am on the Sun Temple, our Tribal Family will come together to open Esoteric Festival in ceremony; to unite our energy and show gratitude for the land.

The Dja Dja Wurrung Community will be joining us to share and offer a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony including a traditional didgeridoo performance to pay tribute to the traditional custodians of the land in Donald, Victoria.

Following this, there will be a live performance including music, dance and prayer to embody and tell a story of the Circle of Life; life and death, yin and yang, masculine and feminine.

The ceremony is about coming together; uniting the tribe and becoming one. To embody this powerful act, we will be holding a burn which we invite you to put something you would like to release or let go of. The fire and burn act as a representation of death, letting go and shedding of old skin.

Following this everybody will be invited to place a seed into a prepared trench to grow the Grandfather Tree of Esoteric Festival which in light represents birth, life, new beginnings and transformation. As the festival grows so will the tree, it will become a testimony of the festival’s values of community and appreciation of the circle of life, and we invite you to be apart of that history.

All in the community are invited to join us in setting our intentions and ensuring a safe, grounded, peaceful and enriching experience at Esoteric Festival. We will craft a sacred bubble of protection and unconditional love, a space to unite and release and tune into Esoteric’s intentions and the community vibration.

Jida Gulpilil

Jida Gulpilil, a Dja Dja Wurrung community leader, looks forward to Welcoming all people to Dja Dja Wurrung Country for the opening of the Esoteric Festival in March. The Welcome will also include a Smoking Ceremony – “It’s important for us to carry out these type of smoking, cleansing ceremonies because it’ll protect our spirit” (Jida Gulpilil) – where thick, fragrant smoke from a pile of burning gum leaves will cleanse our spirits and let the Ancestors know we are here. Jida will also play the didgeridoo as participants are invited to walk through the smoke to cleanse their spirits.

Jida manages an eco-tour company Gulpilil’s Australia that offers Indigenous educational tours of the Lake Boort. The program features boomerang and spear throwing and lessons in the history, customs and beliefs of the Dja Dja Wurrung and Yang Balug people of the Loddon Plains.

Womin-dji-ka (Welcome)

Words, as respectful and honest as these ones are, can only express a small tribute to the awe, inspiration, empathy and empowerment we feel today for what they experienced to ensure our survival.

The pain, sadness, confusion and unjust hardships they endured and overcame are testaments to the residual present-day health and wellbeing of our Country and our people, their descendants.

What happened during colonisation and the following attempts at genocide challenged and tested our resilience and resistance to the degradation of our land, our culture and our people. We are proud of and honoured by the innovative ways in which they upheld the integrity of our once silenced lifeways, traditions and belief systems.

In a time when their voice was not heard and their stories are forbidden to be shared they persevered and now we have arrived to a new day where the opportunity exists to unveil storied untold.

The strength, and wisdom of our ancestors has enabled us to walk in their footsteps towards our own healing, and walk the path of healing our Country. For this we thank you, our Martiinga Kuli Murrup (Ancestral spirits).

Today we walk our Culture knowing that when we strive for the balance of Bunjil’s creations, for us and for the future generations, you walk with us.

Rebecca Phillips descendant of Caroline Malcolm.