Liminal Songlines

Gisela Wendling (Ph.D.) recently moved from a position of Associate Professor at Sonoma State University in northern California to a housewife in Australia, where her husband was relocated. Some women might find such a drastic shift completely disorienting, but Gisela hasn’t lost a beat.

Following her doctoral research interest in indigenous ways of knowing, Gisela is taking full advantage of the remarkable opportunities (spiritual and creative) she now has to dive deep into aboriginal culture. Not long after arriving in Australia, she found herself in the incredibly fortunate position of joining Aboriginal women elders in sacred ceremony deep in the desert, an experience which not surprisingly has had a profound effect on her.

At the same time, as an artist inspired by the Aboriginal art she is studying, Gisela’s own creative style has been evolving and growing. Here’s an unfinished version of hers which has now become an absolutely glorious painting called “Men and Women in Sacred Circle”:

At some point Gisela found herself wanting to write about what she was learning and experiencing (while respecting the ceremonies she’d been part of and protecting what needs to be kept secret). She also wanted to share her creative process in a culturally sensitive way, using her experience and deepening knowledge to forge a path of understanding between cultures.

She began to look around for a collaborator – someone to help her realize her ideas in an interactive form. Around that time a mutual friend re-introduced us (we’d met before) and I found myself blessed to be working with Gisela on Liminal Songlines.

Using Skype’s video VOIP to bridge the distance between California and Australia – at 5pm my time it was 10am the next day for her – it was quite an adventure! An artist herself, Gisela knows what she wants to see, and I was determined to give it to her. I remember one epic 4.5 hour process tweaking the banner of her blog to get it exactly right that left us both punch-drunk with fatigue and at the same time deeply satisfied with the result.

I warmly invite you to become a part of what Gisela is doing with Liminal Songlines – I think you will be entranced with the beauty she sees in the desert and its people, and touched the way it is impacting this German-born academic and seeker. You may even find your own perceptions beginning to shift.