Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Kulpi Mutitjulu Cave was filled with cave paintings.

Terry and I hiked around the base of Uluru quite a bit. The Kulpi Mutitjulu Cave was filled with faint cave paintings. Young aboriginal boys would be brought to this cave where they watched their fathers hunt. When they were old enough to become men, they would come here alone and live off the land. A short hike up the trail is the only natural water hole for miles. I don't understand where the water comes from since it never seems to rain. A large snake flashed across the trail startling both Terry and myself. Life seems surprising in the outback and yet the area is filled with hints of its dream time creation.

The physical features of Uluru are of great cultural significance to the Anangu traditional owners. The caves and rock formations on the trail relate to the activities of Minyma Kuniya (Woma Python Woman) and Wati Liru (Poisonous Snake Man) during the creation time....

"Minyma Kuniya the woma python woman came from the east near Erldunda. A bad feeling grew in her stomach–something was wrong. She had to go to Uluru. Kuniya created inma (ceremony) to connect her eggs together. She carried them to Uluru in a ring around her neck and placed them at Kuniya Piti. Meanwhile, Kuniya’s nephew arrived on the other side of Uluru. He was being chased by a war party of Liru (poisonous snake) men from out near Kata Tjuta. He had broken the law in their land and they were sent to punish him. The Liru men threw spears at Kuniya’s nephew. One pierced his thigh and many others hit the side of Uluru. One Liru warrior, Wati Liru, was left to care for the injured python man. But he did not do his duty and left the injured man on his own. Minyma Kuniya realised that her nephew had been injured and was not being cared for properly. She raced to Mutitjulu Waterhole and saw Wati Liru high up on the cliff. She called out to him about her nephew, but he only laughed. Minyma Kuniya placed her wana (digging stick) upright in the ground in front of her. Kneeling down, she picked up handfuls of sand and threw it over her body, singing and making herself stronger. She was creating inma (ceremony) to help her confront Wati Liru. Kuniya moved towards Liru singing and dancing akuta–a dance step used by women ready to fight. Kuniya hit him once over the head with her wana. He fell down but got back up. She hit him a second time and killed him. Kuniya then went and found her injured nephew. She picked him up, dusted him off and carried him to Mutitjulu Waterhole. She created inma and combined their two spirits into one. They became Wanampi, the rainbow serpent, who lives in and protects the waterhole today."

This story teaches a traditional form of payback punishment–a spear to the thigh. the punisher must then look after the injured person until they are well enough to care for themselves. It also teaches about women’s intuition and that a woman may use force to protect her children. This is a powerful story, Kuniya is a powerful woman.” Physical signs remain evident in the rock of this ancient confrontation. Slowing down to sketch helped me stop and reflect by 0bserving the serpentine flow of the hills only interrupted by the burnt black trunks of trees and flowing sage.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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