By Steven & Evan Strong
* Special Thanks to: Shane Curl (Photographer), Shaunus & The Landowner, & Marigold Sunshine
First up, we wish to praise and thank the two people who sought us out regarding secret rock business. When dealing with sacred Original rocks, whether totally stationary or fully mobile, we never approach and always await their contact and instructions. We never initiate proceedings, and it is only after an invitation is extended that arrangements are then made to either inspect or receive.
What is fascinating when examining the next two additions is that outside being rocks they have nothing in common, serving completely purposes and methods of manufacture. The first offering is all about ceremonies, healing and stone axes, it is a series of highly significant interconnected engravings found on rock platforms. Unlike all of the individual rocks, of which we are the current custodians, there is no evidence of highly advanced technology well beyond the reach of any stone, bone and stick tool kit. Everything we saw and examined is the result of rock-on-rock rubbing and abrasion. It is the dominant type or rock art/engraving in the Sydney/Central Coast Region, and almost always an activity we have made little commentary on, whereas the one intriguing rock recently sent to us via the post is clearly the result of no less than a hardened steel blade and possibly thousands of degrees of localised heat.
So, this report begins with a series of rock-on-rock engravings, although not normally an item we pursue, in this special case an exception to our technological benchmark had to be made. To begin with, one of our colleagues who has been involved with us while investigating archaeology in the Central Coast/Sydney region, sent us a photograph of what he believed to be a healing table. Knowing that he was familiar with the curved healing table near the Kariong hieroglyphs and would never make such a claim lightly, his observation piqued our interest enough to agree to look and see whether Shaunus was correct.
We began this investigation by going down to a creek to be shown a prolific accumulation of axe-grinding grooves. Some were heavily worn and barely visible, others less so and some were quite deep and clear to see. What stood out was the sheer volume, as we had never seen so many axe-sharpening groves in such a concentrated area. At least fifty separate sets of grooves were visible, and if we had the time to clear away the nearby debris and soil, we have no doubt there were more. Our guide directed our attention to a gully about one-hundred metres downstream, and in this depression that ran into the creek was a stand of basalt rocks. That is very unusual as all of this country is sandstone, and finding any volcanic rock is an exceptionally rare occurrence. So, when putting together this basalt outcrop and a series of grooves, assuming this was all about stone axes, as an interim step seemed to be a logical conclusion. But past that it all became more cryptic and often decidedly spiritual in inclination.
Axe grinding grooves
There are two very large deep holes located about five metres from the current positioning of water, undeniably when the creek was flooding water would have flowed over these depressions. But to assume this was a natural outcome of water flowing rapidly did not gel. There is one hole of much smaller dimensions about four metres away and sits in the actual creek, but it less than one tenth the size and since there is a half-metre drop above such a rounded shallow depression, whereas the two larger deeper holes are on a level platform of rock. So, the chances are high that these two cojoined circular pools are a product of humans plying stone tools, but as to what purpose it serves is not clear. The making and sharpening of stone axes, along with potential associated ceremonies means at the very least it is an important site, but normally not something we would report of itself.
However, to begin with we knew nothing of this men’s site and were more interested in something Shaunus described as a ‘healing table.’ And our next stop was about 50 metres upstream and close to 20 metres well above the creek, and this certainly did include a healing table with a bonus of three other constructs. If it wasn’t for the fact, we had been taken to another similar site that served the same function, I would have had a great degree of difficulty identifying the other three shapes/cuttings which were all part of what our earlier guide nominated to be like a ‘hospital.’ In both locations we saw a birthing site, where the woman about to give birth would sit, we also saw what our earlier Senior Park Ranger insisted was a deep narrow circular depression where a mixture of healing herbs and tinctures were crushed then steeped in water for about a week. What did stand out was the first one I was shown close to decade earlier was much smaller, this one was far deeper and wider and would have taken a great deal of time and effort to construct. In both locations an Elder, normally a woman, would gather the appropriate naturally growing medical herbs, leaves and roots then crush them and then let steep in water for some time. She would have to add some water to maintain the same level until the steeping process was completed.
As we had also seen a women’s healing table not just at the ‘hospital site’ but also directly above the Kariong engraved hieroglyphs, this was very much in the same shape and presentation. It is curved depression in the rock that generates a positive energy. That healing table at Kariong is the definite article, I know of dozens of women who have laid inside the curved surface, and all claimed to have been affected in a variety of positive outcomes. Yes, stating that lying on a rock can heal seems a somewhat tenuous and non-scientific process, because what we are claiming is that a rock can choose to generate an energy that can directly impact on humans. But before scoffing or ridiculing, every scientist knows the reverse methodology is a proven measurable fact. Uranium and quite a few other radioactive rocks do also create an unlimited source of negative energy that can actually kill. Such ‘sickness country’ was known of and avoided by Original people, so if some rocks can create negative harmful energy, it only makes sense that in this world of opposites it seems reasonable to assume that other rocks do the opposite.
Both this site and the one seen much earlier had a birthing site, healing table and artificially constructed circular steeping hole, but this site went one step further in the construction of a very large spherical hole of about two metres in breadth and width. Unlike the other three constructs positioned on the top of a huge boulder, this mini cave was hidden below where the rock was sitting in the dirt. It was undeniably not due to any natural process, but as to what it did or how it was approached and interacted with, is beyond our understanding. All we could predict was that as the healing table at Kariong was only the province of women, as is the case with the birthing rock seat at both locations, and it would seem reasonable to assume this was primarily a women’s site, as was the axe-making and grinding site a men’s site.
We need to pause and reflect, as I did when standing on this sacred boulder that was for all and intents the equivalent to what today is called a hospital. Both are stationary locations where construction took place in creating a facility that could heal those suffering through accidents, disease or malicious magic. But one relies on chemicals, radiation and antiseptics while the Original version is all about plants, magic and accessing the healing force of Nature transmitted through its skin: rocks. This site is placed out of sight and earshot of the men’s site down at the creek and caters for women giving birth, anyone in need of natural tonics and medicine and offers one healing table to lay upon, and could it be possible the huge opening at the base is also a place to lay inside under the rock and on the soil. What may also be a possibility is that the engraved healing table might generate one type of energy, while laying on earth and under the rock there is a different type of healing energy and effects to the one above.
Irrespective of whether the critic and skeptic accept that this rock is indeed a massive never-ending accumulation of pure health affirming energy is irrelevant, as this is all about Original truths and ancient beliefs, not the opinion of others. Those who created this hospital believed it was operating perfectly in that it was interconnected with the Earth, Spirits and magic, and because of their truths it is indeed an exceptionally sacred place. It is also highlights a completely different way of identifying, treating and resolving health issues. The best part is, unlike modern hospitals that need electricity to function this rock hospital never stops. The boulder is still pulsating, ready, willing and able, the healing tables will still do what they have always done. And it is because of what it was, and still is, that this combination of two sites is incredibly important on their own, but there is third engraving into sandstone a little further up the creek that needs to be factored in to our first inspection, and any attempt to try and find the ‘big picture.’
What I saw was so unexpected, yet at the same time not without an engraved precedent. There is a well-known site, but poorly understood, that is commonly referred to as the Bulgandry engravings on a rock platform. Amongst this collection of engravings is an identical symbol to that found about 50 metres further up the creek from the hospital boulder. The Bulgandry site is a series of interconnected engravings where the authorities have deliberately ignored the explanations as to what it means in its totality. Both the last full descent Darkinyooong Elder, Aunty Beve and Uncle Gavi Duncan agree that this site is all about travelling through the “Milky Way.”(1) I have heard both of them give a full account of Aliens coming to this planet from a distant constellation, which was never included in the approved commentaries given in captions posted around the boardwalk, simply because any talk of Aliens is still an official ‘no-go zone.’
Irrespective of what the engravings mean, there is one male and another who has a swollen stomach which strongly suggests she is pregnant. There are twelve animals depicted, six are land-based and the other six live in water. And that leaves us with one very large engraving found in the centre and well apart from any other figure, which consists of a circle with a long tail. Upon first sighting and any that followed, knowing that the associated Dreaming story is all about coming to this planet and seeding the Earth, it seemed reasonable to assume with the woman pregnant this represented the male sperm needed to create any form of offspring. Until sighting the exact same figure at this site by the creek, what is engraved at Bulgandry had no parallel or contemporary, but it does now.
What we saw here was the same circle with a tail of almost identical dimensions, and once again since we already had seen this engraving previously, according it the same meaning is logical. Knowing that close-by is the stone hospital with a birthing seat/table, having a depiction of male sperm is in keeping with the general narrative.
This brief introduction does not cover all the potential engravings/markings seen in our first visit, but for now the three sites discussed are sufficient in establishing both their authenticity and importance.
The Cards on the Table
Where to next? The owner could contact the local Lands Council, but right now the Darkinjung Lands Council are busy subdividing land far too close to the Kariong Glyphs and the 4,600-year-old engraved star map (the oldest in the world), with the prospect of more such subdivisions further on. They openly blocked and ridiculed those defending the site, and because of their attitudes and future plans for more land under their control to be also subdivided, they are not the right people to contact. Moreover, the ceremonies and rites of passage associated with this site are long gone and there is only one family who can claim a direct lineage to the full-descent Darkinyooong, and they are in dispute with the Lands Council.
It would seem that this site has no protector or benefactor, but that is not the case. The present-day freehold owner of this land is someone we have met and wholeheartedly support in acting as the custodian of this collective of Original Old Way sacred sites. He has already constructed a series of tracks, boardwalks, steps and paths and deeply respects it significance and only wants what is best and appropriate. In the spirit of Wirritjin (Black-fella White-fella Dreaming) it could not be in better hands, there is no-one but the current owners who should care and tend the sites, they are the right people and these sacred engravings along with the Guardian Spirits are very happy as things stand.
The Second way
We only go on to tribal land when invited, that is a mandatory approach, and that is what happened at this site. Karno also told me when working on the Standing Stones site to treat the people who offer the invitation like I would an Original Elder, their colour was irrelevant in his eyes. We did so then and did so again when on this site found somewhere within the Central Coast region of NSW. That is the first and only way when dealing with locations and sites, when it comes to individual sacred rocks our approach is to again await contact from the person who found or purchased an Original marked or shaped sacred rock. We have never ever picked up and removed any rock on country, and so too we have never bought or bid for a sacred rock.
At this stage of proceedings, as we have been given or sent over three hundred rocks, whenever a new addition turns up, we almost always have previous rocks to compare against, however, the rock just received just doesn’t have anything else close. It is undeniably showing evidence of technology of a high order which is well beyond the capacities of any stick, stone and bone tool kit, but beyond that we are reduced to assumptions and guesses.
Marigold’s Rock 2nd side
Marigold’s Rock 1st side
There is a continuous raised ridge that runs around all four sides of the rock. To this date we only have one rock that has any form of ridging, and it has a much darker black coat while this rock has a light reddish-brown coat. We have no other rock that has this colouration in the coat attached. The other ridged rock has no lines cut into the surface, while this rock has a variety of cut lines. One horizontal cut also runs continuously around all four sides, while other smaller lines are straight and vertical. In what seems to contradict the precision of many of the cut lines, there are no less than 25 quite small incisions that are crooked or sloping. Two triangular sections have been cut out, presumably done so to create an area for the right thumb to rest inside.
The cut lines vary in width from a cut no wider than a strand of hair, to that of a sharpened blade on to rougher cuts that measure up to 5 mms. In combination the cuts vary in depth from barely cutting the surface through to some that penetrate down to the lighter creamy brown base rock. Clearly it is a male holding rock, but past these superficial observations we have nothing to compare against and no verbal or written account from the person who found this rock. What only adds to the questions unresolved, is that the lady who found this rock cannot remember where or when this rock was found.
With nothing more of a substantial nature to assist, all I can add is some intuitive musings that I felt the rock was trying to share. My take is that this rock is meant to be held and was possibly used as a protection rock to ward off malicious magic. I often carry it with my protection rock when venturing outside, and I strongly suspect it is meant to protect and deflect.
What we find as a constant and at the same time an apparent anomaly, is that when it comes to these sacred mobile rocks no less than 95% of the people who ‘find’ these rocks are non-Original women, and most of the rocks found or purchased are male rocks. This is very much in the spirit of Wirritjin, and what needs to be fully appreciated is that the rocks initiated this contact and sought out these women because they were worthy. So too, the gentleman who found and built structures to protect this interrelated series of engravings/constructions, he is also a fantastic choice. As Karno repeated so many times, when we pass over Spirit “knows no colour,”(2) and that is why when these rocks seek someone to reclaim them, they acknowledge the same quality within. It is all about the character and integrity of the person summoned, everything else is merely window dressing.
*** All Photos by Shane Curl
(1): Aunty Beve & Gavi Duncan, Personal Communication to Steven Strong.
(2): Karno W., Personal Communication to Steven Strong.