Who is watikanyilpai ?

 

Over twenty years ago, my friend and colleague Jungian analyst Craig San Roque and I were camping out at Yarrapalong, near Yeundumu, in remote Central Australia.  We were being taught some of the elements of  Western Desert Aboriginal  medicine by two wonderful ngangkari (the Western Deserts dialect word for traditional healer), who are now deceased (kumantjai) .  We’d been invited on the basis of some dreams that we had shared with Andrew Spencer Japaljari, another traditional elder.

We slept out under the stars, and Leon dreamt of a huge man (wati), an ancestral being whose job it was to wander about from place to place , taking care of things, nurturing things (kanyilpai) . His nurturance extended across the entire globe.  Hence watikanyilpai, the being/man (wati) who continually looks after/nurtures (kanyilpai) everything.

Many years later, as I look about at the planet, and try to make sense of it and my own life, it seems clear to me that the most central issue for us is nurturance. Get that right at the very beginning, those vital first two years of life, and a generation of more nurturant empathic humans may treat each other and animals and plants and the environment with some kindness.   Get it wrong, and we slide innexorably into global disaster.

So HOW do we nurture the nurturers ?  The watikanyilpai  image inspires me, but it would be really good to get a closer look at the details ? What is he actually doing ?

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