We are standing in an ancient rain forest which is a remnant of the super continent, Gondwanaland. Australia’s largest temperate rainforest, an unbroken connection with the pre-historic world, a gift from a bygone age. We are standing in takayna, the Tarkine.
The cool crisp air is invigorating and breathtaking. It is substantial. The darkness is more than the mere absence of light. It has weight, we wear it like a magic cloak and prepare ceremony on a carpet of dewy moss prior to our first merge. Tiny tealights illuminate the faces of four women positioned at each point of the compass.
North, South, East, West we pick an intention card, read, acknowledge, smile. I have chosen some stones, black and white and assembled piano keys. A nod to my childhood piano which has led to me being in this quiet, ancient forest.
Yesterday we found our tree. Today I will become the tree.
Hush; there is a calm peaceful quiet as the cloak of night sheds its sleepy skin and gives way to the dawning light. As we journey towards our tree I feel totally supported in the embrace of this ancient forest, from the lush green carpet of moss beneath my bare feet to the enveloping canopy above. We have left the world as we know it and entered a truly sacred space.
It is a very cold morning. The cameras are set in position and the paints are prepared as I take my position with our chosen tree. A gorgeous, tall, strong tree. I take a breath, close my eyes and shed my skin. A bird calls and the forest awakens, the merge begins.
The forest breathes and I am immersed in the moment.
My heartbeat has slowed and is now a faint background thump as the brush moves across my skin. I can hear the synergy between artist and camera, a soft footfall, the damp paint, the click of the camera, the girls talking softly in a smooth rhythm which sooths as I shiver. My fingers softly stretch out and feel like roots on the rough bark, I feel powerful and grounded. I am becoming one with the forest and one with the tree. I am present, and I have merged.
Once fully painted I open my eyes, dappled light filters through the canopy and dances on the forest floor. The warmth is delicious as the rays of sun touch my freshly painted skin. A soft green carpet of ancient moss supports my feet as I glide through this wild place and explore my new chameleon form.
I walk amongst incredibly tall trees and stand beneath manferns that spread out above me like a fan of peacock feathers. The huge moss covered trunks of fallen sentinels bear witness to the passage of time as they slowly break down and feed the forest floor.
There is a breathtaking sense of clarity as the beckoning call of the ancient feminine pulls me deeper into the forest. Under the artist skilful touch, the merge is complete. I am one with takayna.
Body artwork and photography directly above by Orly Faya. Watch Merging with takayna on Vimeo or YouTube.
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