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Deep Retreat

The Frangipani Path

At the top of the hill, twelve white-robed women filed into a clearing in the forest. In the centre grew a frangipani tree in full bloom, emanating elegant fragrance. On the other side, veiled by a pink thicket of quisqualum, a dark entrance was barely visible.

“Wait, my sisters, and anoint yourself with the sacred oil,” said Elysia, the group’s leader. “We have arrived for your ascension. You first, Arcolia. Your vibrational energy is exceptional.”

Through the hoop pines, the solstice sun flickered its morning rays across the clearing, illuminating the mouth of the cavern. Arcolia smiled serenely at the other women, knowing her journey to the photon band had succeeded. Finally, she was to be initiated into the Frangipani Sisterhood.

Grasping her carved quartz sound bowl, Arcolia followed Elysia to the secret sanctum of the High Priestess Frantia.

….

“Just smell these high frequency aromas, Wendy, absolutely spectacular,” Carol gushed and beamed.

I had to admit they were delicious.

Carol had always loved yoga classes. She stumbled across the Frangipani Path through a goat meditation yoga workshop at Byron Bay. On her return, she paid up eagerly for the introductory 12 week online Franginitiate course. A cool thousand seemed like a lot to me for a couple of zoom sessions a week with Mother Frantia. And the scented oils and lotions to complement the meditation exercises cost a mint too, as did the Frangipani chakra toning tapes.

After the sixth week, Carol was hooked.

“Mother Frantia tells me I have perfect potential to become one of their best teachers. During meditation, she introduced me to my Archangel guide Razeel from the Pleiades. He spoke to me and promised to reveal all my past lives and merge them into me. First I must achieve the ceremonial initiation into the Frangipani Sisterhood.”

“What do you mean he ‘spoke’ to you. Did you actually see him?” I struggled to conceal my mirth.

“I saw a golden cloud in the zoomroom and his voice came from the cloud. They call it sound alchemy.”

Sounded like a lot of hooey to me.

“Where does the money go, Carol?”

“The Frangipani Sisterhood has a wonderful network of retreats, oracles, sound healers and spiritual trainers. It’s really exclusive. They only take women who are truly suited for the holy tasks. Because of my potential, they’re giving me a really big discount.”

Four weeks of arcane ministrations and meditations at these retreats would still cost her $60,000.

“Nothing but the best, look at the gorgeous website, Wendy. The High Sisters can levitate. I’ve seen them in my net sessions.”

“Carol, anything can be faked over the internet. More likely they lift your bank account and leave you with a credit card burden.”

“No, my darling, these are holy women who have gained their knowledge at the best ashrams in India and Native American sweat lodges. Mother Frantia even met the Dalai Lama and stayed in a real ancient Egyptian temple of Isis near Cairo. The sisters have thousands of years of experience with only the best mystic guides and past lives from all over the world and time. And their Archangels visit from throughout the galaxy. We come from the stars and return to them eventually, you know. I’m longing to bathe in my Archangel’s divine energy.”

None of my sensible questions could divert her enthusiasm, not even when I told her if she could prove any of this, the Australian Skeptics Association would give her a cool million.

“It’s not about the money, don’t be so crass, Wendy. These are sweet, loving, enlightened women!”

In a month, Carol had finished her course and attained her Franginame, Arcolia. She received a plaque of commemoration recognising her candidature which she displayed proudly in her tasteful meditation room.

The retreat itinerary was frantic. First, some Maori chanting with taonga puoro communication with the deities, then chakra tonings, frangiopathy, a didg and drum circle, frangireiki and a variety of yoga styles, karanas and kahuna massage. Set in lush rural seclusion, the lodgings seemed very luxurious, clean and white on the web, with shining devotee faces grinning ecstatically at each other as they carried scented candles through aisles strewn with frangipanis. The food at least looked interesting – a panoply of exotic oriental menus, with frangipanis ever present in the food or as decorations.

Still, I was worried. What if they wanted even more of her hard-earned savings? I searched the net and located the company which owned the web site in Sydney. I rang the number, pretending to be an Ayurvedic artisanal frangipani oil maker.

“Oh, we’re just an accountancy firm,” a woman’s efficient voice replied. “You will want to speak with the company direct. They are based in the US. We just handle their local branch business. You can email them from their site.”

I was running in dwindling, swindling circles.

In case, I kept a careful record of the information and took screenshots of the Frangipani site.

Next week, I farewelled my friend as she flew down to Brisbane to begin her adventure.

“Email me, Carol, let me know how you go.”

“No phones on this trip, darling, the G vibrations interfer with the cosmic floral light codes and disrupt my DNA transformation, but there’s net access at the retreats. Can you make sure you cuddle Pussums every day for me?”

Every few days I received another happy note from her and my fears began to subside.

At the end of the four weeks a longer message arrived.

“We’re at our final retreat now, somewhere near Bellingen, darling. It’s so gorgeous here, and the guru, Swami Bababaa, he’s a dream boat. He stands in the temple of the Goddess and sees women as they truly are. His Arcturan tantric techniques are out of this world. I’ve never experienced anything like it. After my ascension to immortality tomorrow, he says I can stay on and teach. He is sure I have the gift. Please look after my cat till I can pick her up. Sunshine and celestial moonbeams to you.”

Sadly I stared at Pussums. The grey cat blinked back at me. Though I trusted she was well, I missed my friend.

After that, I received short emails sporadically about her wonderful new life embedded in the Frangipani Path community, the glories of psychometric angelic instruction with new initiates and the sublime wisdom of Bababaa. Yet Carol never asked about Pussums and didn’t respond to my questions about her exact location. One of the emails hinted she was considering a mission post at a new floral ashram in Bali.

Months passed. Then one year. My curious concerns transmuted to unease and I began considering a jaunt to the covid-ridden Northern NSW wilds to search for my friend.

Then, out of the blue the phone rang. It was a mutual acquaintance, Lucy, another yoga enthusiast on whose husband Carol once practised her new tantric skills. Whether Lucy knew or cared, I’d kept my mouth shut.

“Quick, turn on the news, they’ve found Carol!”

At the bottom of a mineshaft around two hundred women’s bodies had been discovered by bushwalkers, who’d smelt something strange above and beyond the sweetness of a frangipani grove.

Immediately I checked the Frangipani Sisters website. It had vanished along with all associated social media.

I collected my saved information, copied it to a USB stick and headed to the police station. Though I may not be able to bring Carol back, I could pursue justice for her and the others.

Yet it turned out the Australian retreats had been sold and they never found the Frangipani grifters who’d completely emptied their victims’ accounts as well. FBI corporate searches hit a dead end since the parent structures had dematerialised along with their fraudulent progenitors. Perhaps they’d ascended to some far flung tax haven in the West Indies, or had set up another sting for gullible fools elsewhere. Like their floral namesake, also the emblem of Palermo in Sicily, the scammers were great survivors even under extreme heat.

Today I can’t look at or smell a frangipani blossom without feeling nauseous.

Jinjirrie
December 2021

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On The Plague of Grifters

Disdainful Black Cat

Wicky Woo

Wicky wicky wacky woo,
do as i say, do as I do,
spread disease, reject the vax,
embrace my bullshit alternate facts,
the sicker you get, the more you’ll need me,
your desperation is what feeds me,
western doctors, what do they know,
big pharma, like me, wants profits to grow.

Buy my potions, pills and prophecies,
there’s none so blind as do not see,
don’t forget your horse dewormer,
I’m your role model star performer,
freedom is my personal brand,
your body, your choice are in my hands,
wicky wicky wacky woo,
I have the snake oil just for you.

Us woo merchants are on the fiddle,
you sitting ducks are scared of needles,
this border lockdown really sucks,
burn your masks, free the trucks,
all the experts huff and blow,
let’s party like there’s no tomorrow,
wicky wicky wacky woo,
more money for me and pain for you.

Jinjirrie, August 2021

The Paradoxical Parable of Patriarchy

Rooxette

Be careful with women in a group which contains men. Many are colonised colonisers who perform shamelessly to attract male attention, neglecting to support airtime for and positions of other women.

If you call this out, don’t be surprised if you’re cast as a pariah.

Be aware you will never be appreciated by such shallow women. They are occupied, coddling the men they’re attempting to impress.

Your power to mollify these females can only be obtained by beating them at their own game which ironically reinforces the colonial paradigm. Try satire instead.

(June 2021 – experimenting with 100 written words.)

Mr Grabbit Has a Poetic History

C. J. Dennis

Unearthed from my library, this satirical poem by celebrated Australian poet, C.J. Dennis (aka “Den”) was published in his 1913 anthology Backblock Ballads and Other Verses – with its piercing, remarkably relevant political humour, it might stand up proudly today as a live slam performance.

The Martyred Democrat

A Recitation (with directions)

(Begin breezily)
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, where float the strains of Brahms,
While cultured caterpillars chew the leaves of potted palms –
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, upon a summer’s day,
The democrats of Toorak met to pass an hour away.
They hearkened to a long address by Mister Grabbit, M.L.C.,
While Senator O’Sweatem passed around the cakes and tea.
And all the brains and beauty of the suburb gathered there,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room – Miss Fibwell in the chair.

(With increasing interest)
Ay, all the fair and brave were there – the fair in charming hats;
The brave in pale mauve pantaloons and shiny boots, with spats.
But pride of all that gathering, a giant ‘mid the rest,
Was Mr Percy Puttipate, in fancy socks and vest.
Despite his bout of brain-fag, plainly showing in his eyes –
Contracted while inventing something new in nobby ties –
He braved the ills – the draughts and chills, damp tablecloths and mats –
Of Lady Lusher’s drawing-room: this prince of Democrats.

(Resume the breeze)
Upon a silken ottoman sat Willie Dawdlerich,
Who spoke of democratic things to Mabel Bandersnitch;
And likewise there, on couch and chair, with keen, attentive ears,
Sat many sons and daughters of our sturdy pioneers –
Seed of our noble squatter-lords – those democrats of old –
Who held of this fair land of ours as much as each can hold;
Whose motto is, and ever was, despite the traitor’s gab:
‘Australia for Australians – who’ve learned the art of grab.’

Good Mr Grabbit spoke his piece ‘mid glad ‘Heah, heahs’ and claps,
And Willie Dawdlerich declared he was the best of chaps.
Then the lady organizer, dear Miss Fibwell, rose to speak.
A fighter she, tho’ of the sex miscalled by men ‘the weak’.
And, tho’ they hailed her there and then as Queen of Democrats,
They privily agreed that she was something choice in ‘cats’.
She was, in truth, a shade passé a trifle frayed, but still,
She was an earnest Democrat who owned a sturdy will.

(In cultured tones)
‘Deah friends,’ began Miss Fibwell, ‘you – ah – understand ouah league
Is formed to stand against that band of schemers who intrigue –
That horrid band of Socialists who seek to wrest ouah raights,
And, with class legislation straive to plague ouah days and naights.
They claim to be the workers of the land, but Ai maintain
That, tho’ they stand for horny hands, we represent the bwain.
Are not bwain-workers toilers too, who labah without feah?’
(The fashioner of fancy ties: ‘Heah, heah! Quaite raight! Heah, heah!’)

‘They arrogate unto themselves the sacred name of Work;
But still, Ai ask, where is the task that we’ve been known to shirk?
We’re toilahs, ev’ry one of us, altho’ they claim we’re not.’
(The toiler on the ottoman: ‘Bai jove, that’s bally rot!’)
‘Moahovah, friends, to serve theah ends, they’re straiving, maight and main,
To drag down to theah level folk who work with mind and bwain!
They claim we do not earn ouah share, but, Ai maintain we do!’
(The grafter in the fancy socks: ‘They’re beastly rottahs, too!’)

(With rising inflexion)
‘Yes, friends, they’ll drag us down and down, compelling us to live
Just laike themselves – the selfish elves, on what they choose to give!
Nay, moah, they’ll make us weah theah clothes – plain working–clothes, forsooth!
Blue dungarees in place of these …’ ‘Mai Gahd! Is this the truth?

(With fine dramatic force)
A gurgling scream; a sick’ning thud … a flash of fancy socks –
And Percy Puttipate went down, felled like a stricken ox –
Crashed down thro’ cakes and crockery, and lay, ‘mid plate and spoon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room one summer afternoon.

(With a rush of emotion)
A scream from Mabel Bandersnitch broke thro’ the ev’ning calm
(The cultured grubs, alone unmoved, still chewed the potted palm).
Strong men turned white with sudden fright; girls fell in faint and swoon
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room that fateful afternoon.

(With tears in the voice)
But Puttipate? … Ah, what of him – that noble Democrat,
As he lay there with glassy stare, upon the Persian mat?
What cares he now for nobby ties, and what for fancy socks,
As he lies prone, with cake and cream smeared on his sunny locks?

(With appropriate mournfulness)
Good Mr Grabbit took his head, O’Sweatem seized his feet,
They bore him to an ambulance that waited in the street.
Poor Mabel Bandersnitch sobbed loud on Dawdlerich’s vest;
And lo, a pall of woe fell over all – Miss Fibwell and the rest.
A settled gloom o’erspread the room, as shades of ev’ning fell,
And, one by one, they left the place till none was left to tell
The tale of that dire tragedy that wrecked the summer calm –
Except the apathetic grubs, who went on chewing palm.

(Suggestive pause, then with fresh interest)
There still be men – low common men – who sneer at Toorak’s ways,
And e’en upon poor Puttipate bestow but grudging praise.
But when you hear the vulgar sneer of some low Labor bore

(With fine dramatic intensity)
Point to that pallid patriot who weltered in his gore!
Point to that daring Democrat, who, with a gurgling scream
And flashing socks, dropped like an ox into the clotted cream!
Point to that hero stricken down for our great Party’s sake,
His sunny locks, his fiery socks mixed up with fancy cake.

(With bitter contempt)
Then lash with scorn the carping wretch who sullies his fair fame,
Who, moved by fear, attempts to smear the lustre of that name.
Great Puttipate! The Democrat! Who perished, all too soon,
In Lady Lusher’s drawing-room, one summer afternoon.

(Finish with a noble gesture, expressing intense scorn, bow gracefully and retire amidst great applause)

C.J. Dennis
‘Backblock Ballads and Other Verses’
1913

The Aridity of the Settler Imagination

Queensland "Climate Science"

On Hearing a “Friend” has Voted for Hanson

You’ve never met a single Muslim
yet automatically you despise them,
your putrid tick for racist Hanson
betrays a guilty, greedy voice within.

What’s the bloody difference
between yours and Toadball’s border defence?
It’s vapid new age love you spout
and you want to keep those Muslims out.

How can I keep loving you
when you’ve embraced her scumbag spew,
imagining Muslims a sub-human race,
high on hate, you’re off your face.

You’re scared of non-European culture
but it’s you who is the savage vulture
picking at this country’s bones,
land thieved by England’s brutal throne.

July 2016, Post Federal Election.

Related Links

Excellent article – How we stopped Pauline Hanson last time:

Howard had toned down his anti-Asian racism in deference to business concerns. But Hanson helped create a climate that enabled him to carry out policies in the interests of the ruling class that meshed happily with his own prejudices and which he would have pursued anyway: the attacks on land rights and native title; the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC); cuts to immigration, especially family reunions; the ramping up of Islamophobia using the pretexts of “border security” and the “war on terror”.

Howard’s attitude to Hanson eventually changed for two reasons. First, he was the target of sustained criticism from sections of the media, the small-l liberal middle class and even some ruling class figures – prominent businesspeople and Liberal politicians like Victorian premier Jeff Kennett – for not taking a stronger stand against Hanson. This was a product of their concern about Australia’s international image. Hanson was receiving a great deal of media attention in Asia, and as with Howard’s anti-Asian comments in 1988, they were worried about the potential damage to Australia’s business interests and ability to play a dominant role in the region.

Second, and probably of greater concern to Howard himself, Hanson began to cohere a movement and set up an organisation, the One Nation party, that posed an electoral threat to the traditional conservative forces.

Mick Armstrong’s detailed, booth by booth analysis of who actually voted for One Nation in the Queensland election further erodes the notion that her support came mainly from the blue collar working class. He found that One Nation’s support was strongest in what had been National Party strongholds in south-east Queensland – polling 43.5 percent of the vote in Barambah, once the electorate of the right wing Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and over 30 percent in 11 other seats in this area, compared with a state-wide average of 22.7 percent. Moreover:

South-east Queensland has a high concentration of small farmers, and numerous small towns with a large number of small businesses – newsagents, petrol stations, real estate agents, pharmacists, accountants, farm equipment suppliers – but very few large workplaces with concentrations of unionised workers.[25]

The general pattern was that Labor did better in the bigger towns but One Nation overwhelmed them in the smaller centres. So the core support for One Nation was the “small town middle class, not – as so many commentators repeat ad nauseam – ‘ignorant’ workers.” Actually, very few blue collar workers defected from Labor to Hanson. Overall, 80 percent of the Hanson vote came from conservative parties and 20 percent from Labor. In addition, while its highest votes were in rural areas, One Nation polled better in affluent middle class areas of Brisbane and the Gold Coast than in poorer working class areas. Armstrong concluded: “It was not the ‘enlightened’ middle class that most strongly rejected Hanson, but unionised, traditional Labor-voting urbanised workers.”

The role of mass protest in the decline of support for Hanson, however, has been understated if not completely ignored. Indeed, there has been no account that I have been able to find of what was one of the most militant and sustained protest movements of recent times. Yet it was an important factor, playing a crucial role in preventing the growth and organisational consolidation of One Nation.

There was widespread opposition to Hanson from the outset. Many in the business community were alarmed by Hanson’s anti-Asian policies – not because they opposed racism, but because it was bad for business. This became clear when the Business Council of Australia, along with the Council of Social Services, religious leaders – and, disgracefully, the ACTU – issued a joint statement which condemned her stance on Asian immigration but ignored her equally vile racism towards Indigenous people. This was no oversight: anti-Aboriginal racism was the basis of the business community’s campaign against native title. Small-l liberals generally saw Hanson as dangerous. But they too were more concerned about the national interest and Australia’s international image than with the impact of racism on immigrant and Indigenous communities. Like Tony Abbott in more recent times, Hanson was considered to be an embarrassment.

But there was also a groundswell of revulsion and opposition from what Robert Manne might call “ordinary people”. From the moment Hanson made her maiden speech, people started mobilising against her. Everywhere she went she had to run the gauntlet of protesters.