I recently finished reading a book called We’ve Never Been Alone by Paul Von Ward who is a Christian minister. He is not like any Christian minister I have met before. He writes about what he calls Advanced Beings (ABs).
We should love animals because we too are animals. Living on Land for Wildlife has provided me with some important lessons about nature and the creatures that inhabit it. Animals might share our landscape, sometimes courtesy of fashion or, hopefully in loving kindness, but wild animals are entitled to their own domain and it is gradually being taken away from them. We are losing a precious part of our worldly existence, the pleasure of seeing animals in their own environment. In removing animal habitat, we change the landscape and invite plagues and feral species and we turn passive animals into dangerous predatory creatures. Some years ago, I lived up in the forested mountains of a small town called Warburton. It is a picturesque town, which is today a mecca for tourists. When I lived there it was a timber town and the ancient forests of mountain ash, streams and water falls were being decimated by the forestry industry. One could say, okay, we need timber, our cities were built on forest timber, but this harvesting of timber that I speak of, was being shredded for woodchip and exported abroad. So much timber was taken that it sat on the docks for weeks before there were enough vessels to transport it. Harvesting the timber in gluttonous amounts was not the only problem, it was being harvested from a water catchment area, which provided the fresh water for the City of Melbourne. Battles over this harvesting ensued for years and they are still ongoing. Watching the logging trucks steaming through the town was difficult enough, but when the forest coup was cleared what was left in debris was set alight and burned to ashes. This was the most painful experience of all because every small animal emerged out of its burrow frightened and confused and one had to stand helpless and watch as these creatures tried to find an escape from the smoke and flames. There were snakes, wombats, possums, birds and more, often burned alive. We love our pets, we fight to save them, but how much do we love and fight to save our wildlife? It takes a mass population to hold influence over the multinational industries that destroy our lands. Those who do protest are up against some of the most powerful corporations in the world. We are called the “greenies”, we march in protest, campaign outside public buildings, climb tall bridges to hang protest banners and the rest. We are beaten up, spat upon, kicked, hit and abused, but still we protest. I got too old to protest. I have been protesting since the 1960s. Now I just pray and thank G-d for giving me my own small plot of land so I can have a sanctuary for some of the wildlife. I feel truly blessed and not a day goes by when I do not feel as though I am in my own piece of Paradise and those animals, often thought to be dangerous, live with me in harmony on my land.
I live on Land for Wildlife, just one acre near the south east coast of Australia. Many creatures live here from snakes and lizards to possums and some of the most beautiful birds in the country. It is rolling hills, very green in winter and dry in summer. There is a woodland and a wetlands. The garden is full of trees and beautiful wild flowers with the occasional rose because I can’t live without my roses. It was while walking through the woodlands on the property that I began thinking about the animals in Jewish history. There are many, too many for one painting. Nevertheless, I and decided to gather a few creatures together on a canvas 60 x 80 cm .The work is in oils. It is a reminder to be kind to all creatures.
For decades now nations have being going to war over the need for oil. Almost everything we use in this modern world requires oil. Most mining and manufacturing also requires huge amounts of water. We reached a point in history where we were told oil would peak and it would not be available at a price people could afford. There were predictions of a return to the Dark Ages. There was no mention of the water. We took the water for granted. The apocalyptic oil depletion discourse was truly mind blowing, we all started to collect our plastic and we began recycling it. In rich countries we recycled water with desalination plants, but they are expensive to build and to run. Water across the world is becoming scarce. The cost of water is rising. The fight over oil has become a fight over water. It can only get worse if we in the rich world do not help those who are poor. We will both be at war. This will be the real and final apocalypse. We cannot live without water. How we take our clean water for granted. I have been to places where there was only one well to serve a whole village and the water came up brown and full of sediment. The situation is much worse. The entire world is running out of clean drinkable water. It is happening in places where water was abundant. The oceans are being polluted, the mountains and springs are running dry. We must change our priorities and take care of our world, we must better assist our poorer nations and we must preserve every single drop of water and not waste it on frivolous goods and entertainments. Clean water is a gift. We must honour it.
Any history of the mandala should include Hebrew magic. Talismans were made and sold to clients to bring good luck in love and business. Even the renowned Israel Baal-Shem-Tov, the founder of Chassidism made a living from selling talismans. There were various magical alphabets used including one said to be connected to angels. The texts were often incorporated into symmetrical mandala patterns with circles and suns that had shapes pointing from the centre outward into the universe.