During her trip to Australia earlier this year, Diane had a chance to sit with and interview Josie Wowolla Boyle, an Aboriginal storyteller, singer and painter who has shared the stories and traditions of the Wongi people for five decades. That conversation is now in the Winter 2011–2012 issue (“Many Paths, One Truth”) of Parabola Magazine.
“Everyone is teaching the child, especially the storytellers. The stories give the child wisdom. A storyteller tells a story while moving a stick, a Mirlbindee, in the sand. When stories are told casually, the people sit around the storyteller, their feet in the sand, and with sticks draw the images of the story as the storyteller tells it. The children usually sit with their grandparents during ceremony. Stories have their special times and places to be told. As we walk across the land, we can feel that in certain places the ancestral spirits did certain things. As we walk through country, the stories come out, and so those stories are told, songs are sung, and dances are danced. The songs of the places where things happen make a song–map of the country. There is also a song–map of the sky. There are many stories that connect Wongi people and country to the cosmos, and as the stars reach significant positions ceremonies are held and stories are told in song and dance. So the stories ‘happen’ according to what parts of the country the people are walking through and according to alignments between the stars and the earth.”
You are encouraged to read the entire interview in the new issue of Parabola, on sale at Barnes & Noble or your favorite independent bookseller or better yet subscribe to Parabola online and support quality independent publishing.