Gaṉma

We arrived at the beach just south of Narooma in the morning, well, the estuary that leads to the beach (not the one in the picture, I didn’t take my camera). As soon as I stepped out onto the sand I said, ‘This is like gaṉma!’ Our group was there with Uncle Max and his family to perform whale ceremony, on the small patch of sand that was left by the confluence, as the tide came rushing in. The creek was running out, mixing with the salt water from the sea, flotsam on top and lots of bubbling action under the water’s surface. A deep mixing… How apt then that all of us lot from all corners of the world should come to these banks to make and celebrate ways of being and connection. Only days before I had gone back to readings about gaṉma theory and metaphor.

This piece on gaṉama is from Marika (1999, p. 7) in her Wentworth Lecture :
 
“The water circulates silently underneath, and there are lines of foam circulating across the surface. The swelling and retreating of the tides and the wet season floods can be seen in the two bodies of the water. Water is often taken to represent knowledge in Yolngu philosophy. What we see happening in the school is a process of knowledge production where we have two different cultures, Balanda and Yolngu, working together. Both cultures need to be preserved in a way where each one is preserved and respected.”
 
Watson-Verran and Chambers (1989) articulate the gaṉma metaphor as ‘… the forces of the streams combine and lead to deeper understanding and truth’ (p. 5). 
 
I was so happy then to discover that Carol, who I met at the end of this ceremony by this confluence, used gaṉma to help frame her research with Uncle Max (see Meeting country : deep engagement with place and indigenous culture, http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/20459).  
 
So what possibilities does this metaphor hold for me and my research?

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Filed under Metaphors, Theory

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