Archive for March 23rd, 2011


Wash. Wring. Hang.

March 23, 2011

Waterfall fountain made with old washboard and wash tub

Image Credit: jandclindenbaum

One of the hardest punishments is to be thrown into the world with aspirations and dreams that cannot be fulfilled for want of education….

I received only a few weeks’ schooling. Ignorant and alone

I lived in a world of make-believe.

~ Winifred Steger

Winifred Steger was born in England in 1882. To break the cycle of poverty her father takes part in a land grab and books a passage for his family to head for Australia, work the land and strike it rich.

Arriving in Australia, Winifred and her father find that their land grant is covered with a prison of prickly pear and is worthless. Faced again with poverty, endless backbreaking work and isolation in an unfamiliar country, Winifred’s father spirals into depression and alcoholism, leaving Winifred emotionally alone. From skivvy in a bawdy house to a loveless marriage, Winifred battles almost insurmountable odds to maintain her dignity and sanity, finding solace as she creates fictitious scenarios to ease her hardship.

Copper wash tub with hand operated clothes wringer.

Image Credit: Pine-Strawberry Museum

At the age of twenty-six, she is forced to abandon her four small children. Finding work in a hotel bar, she meets and falls in love with an Indian man, Ali, who treats Winifred with respect and decency. She bears him three children and the small family travels to outback Australia where they run a camel line. A new phase begins in Winifred’s life, taking her to places and meeting people she has only ever dreamed of.

if you're going to stop for long periods in mean-spirited roadhouses; then choose a pink one ~ Rumi

Image Credit: The Pink Roadhouse, Oodnadatta, Desert Mandala

The first cameleers arrived in the 1860s and remained a part of the Australian rural landscape for over 60 years, until the railway track to Alice Springs was laid in 1929 (it was extended to Darwin in 2004). Their numbers are estimated to have been three thousand. Most were unmarried; others had left their wives and families behind. Some married aboriginal women. They lived in settlements called ‘ghantowns’, complete with halal butcher, imam and mosque.

Nearly all the cameleers were from the western parts of British India (present-day Pakistan), most being Punjabis, the rest Pathan (Afghans), Baloch and others. However, the appellation Afghan was stuck to them and has stayed ever since, although it is a misnomer insofar as it attributes the cameleers’ origin to Afghanistan.

The fate of one white woman of extraordinary grit, Winifred Steger, became intertwined with that of the cameleers, first as the wife of Ali Ackba Nuby (Ali Akbar Nabi) and then of Karum Bux (Karam Bakhsh), both Punjabi Muslims from near Lahore.  [REad more…….]

The Book by my Bedouin

The Washerwoman’s Dream: The extraordinary life of Winifred Steger 1882-1981

Camels carrying poles for the Overland Telegraph, c.1870s

Image Credit: Objects Through Time, migrationheritage


The Bid, the Box and the Screen

March 23, 2011

Buffalo Bridge Club circa 1950s

Image Credit: Lisa Baitz

People who carry strong Buffalo medicine often find themselves called upon to shoulder some very heavy burdens by others. For some, this can be a joy, though even so, many end up feeling drained and exhausted if they find they are trying to do for everyone and leaving little time and energy left over for themselves. All of us need a shoulder to cry on or support now and again yet for Buffalo people too often there are simply too many folks who want the Buffalo energy to shoulder all their problems while they do little to help themselves. The tragedy is not only does the Buffalo person feel drained, but also those that rely on them never learn how to empower themselves through dealing directly with their own issues. Both parties lose in the long run.

It is important that Buffalo people in general learn early on how to teach others to be empowered and to rely on their own abilities and strengths. Buffalo people are outstanding at showing others how to clear doubts and fears out of the way so others can get on with things.

Just as during the winter months a Buffalo will use it’s massive head and shoulders to move snow out of the way so it can feed on the plants below, so too do we need to learn how to move those things in our lives that are blocking what we are seeking. Buffalo medicine and people can teach us how to do this, though we must be prepared to shoulder the inner work ourselves if we are to gain maximum benefit.

Image credit: 20th Century History

One of the ways that Buffalo people can teach others is by their own lives as examples. They simply get on with needs to be done, day in and day out, they perservere and always they stand their ground. They refuse to give in if they honestly feel that what they are pursuing has merit and possibility.

It is important that those who carry Buffalo medicine remember to use their energy and resources wisely. Often these people have a tendency to be overly generous, they feel so blessed in their own lives that their desire is to share what they have with others! This is a wonderful trait and yet the Buffalo person must also learn whom to share with and to what degree. Sometimes the best gift one can give another is a push to stand on their own two feet and learn from their mistakes.

If one is always charging in to “rescue” someone, that person never has the opportunity to learn that they CAN do it on their own! Show support by helping people find ways to help and empower themselves. As the saying goes “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”.

White Buffalo Calf Woman~ artist Aaron Paquette

Image Credit: Aaron Paquette on deviantart

 Buffalo people do have such a deep, innate sense of trust in the Universe, knowing that they have the power and strength within to manifest so much that is good and beautiful in the world! Affirming that belief to others can do so much more than you may ever know in terms of helping others to manifest more good for themselves.

~ Text Lynx Graywolf, Morningstar Flower and Vibrational Essences