The 2021 Meeka Moorart Full Moon Ceremony and Ni! Bilyada Waanginy Listen! The Rivers are Speaking had around 1000 registrations, with several hundred attending despite the damp and cloudy evening, and many more watching the live stream online.
The evening began with everybody introducing themselves to the river, before Dr Noel Nannup gave the Welcome to Country.
Kobi Morrison then led a singing of the Boolarang Meeka Full Moon Song as Meeka the Moon rose behind the clouds.
This was followed by dancing and music led by Dr Richard Walley, with the rain beginning to come down towards the end of the dances.
“When you get rain like this, there are two ways you can look at it,” Noel said. “One of them: it’s cleansing rain, the spirit is so happy that it is now crying.”
“One thing I’m so pleased that humans cannot do is control the weather - we’d really be in trouble then,” Noel said. “So the moon has well and truly risen behind those dark clouds - we’ve served our purpose.”
Noel went on to discuss the vision for Meeka Moorart Full Moon Ceremonies.
“The plan for the evenings like this - by 2029 we have each local government along the river hosting the full moon ceremony - not independent of each other, but collectively. So if you’re a member of any of the local governments near or even close to the river, when you go home begin to think about meeting with your local members and talking to them about the possibility of making sure that they’ve got a storytelling area, a dance ground, places where the children can play safely as everyone goes about thinking about the full moon song...and then you can welcome the moon in your locations.”
Noel also spoke about next year’s Meeka Moorart Full Moon Celebration.
“As time goes by we shift each one of these, and the next one that is coming up is a much warmer season - and that season is called Birak - and, during that season, guaranteed you’ll have a beautiful warm evening and you will actually see the moon rising. “We were very lucky last year, and those of you that were here will remember how the clouds parted and we saw the moon come up. So those of you who braved it tonight….thank you for your support.
“And remember we need to now start building this relationship, strengthening this relationship, and as you saw the dancers dancing there, we would expect that as time goes by you would join us because we’re about story, song, dance, and art, and that means you could join us, and you could start to dance, and sing.”
Carol Innes also thanked everyone for braving the weather, and spoke of the importance of coming together. “I think a big part of what we’re trying to do is bring everyone here together to celebrate our country for all of us, our waterways, the importance of our river, the rain that comes through to replenish all of us. We all love the water.”
Richard closed the evening by asking the Noongar men to place leaves on the fires so that everyone who wanted to be smoked could be smoked. He also reminded us again of the moon.
“Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean to say it’s not there,” Richard said. “You feel it, the energies are there. That moon did rise. Because we didn’t see it, we weren’t meant to. But it did rise, and it’s there. The spirit of the people around us are important. Thank you for coming.”