It was under a full moon that a magical moment passed in the forest of Arakwal country. Two babies were born together under Marang, the wise elder tree of the land – one was to become the next elder tree and the other to become brother Guardian of the forest cycles.
Curious are those to learn that one of these babies was not a newborn tree, but, in fact was a lizard with five eyes.
It was by the swamp that this lizard – Ngamahr - came to me and shared his story of how it came to be that he has five eyes.
You see, when Guardian Ngamahr was still yet unborn, sprouting in his rounded reptilian cocoon, he was abandoned by his parents under elder tree Marang. Marang saw this fragile egg and saw the beauty of this creature-to-be, as she did in all life - so she took the egg into her loving roots to be protected until its phase of awakening to the light.
Quickly Marang grew to love the egg as a mother to her own children and knowing that she could not provide the lessons of life that a lizard needs to survive growing up, she decided that she wanted to gift him in some way that could ease his life.
Upon this decision, Marang turned to Grandmother Moon and saw how every aspect of life seemed to flow with her phases.
She saw this and, in that moment knew exactly how to gift Ngamahr upon his birth.
So, when Grandmother Moon was at her brightest - a glowing portal of magic – Marang turned to her and asked that when baby Ngamahr hatched, he would learn to see the cycles of the forest that so followed the moon, and therefore would know the best times to hunt and harvest food and the best times to hibernate.
Grandmother Moon saw the love the Elder Tree had for this unborn lizard and so agreed to the request – however she knew that she did not possess the power to bequeath the creature with such a powerful gift.
So, she decided to ask for Spirit’s help in the matter.
Upon hearing the situation, Spirit understood the kindness in these acts and was inclined to help, however Spirit knew that if it was to simply give this gift to the lizard without an exchange of energies in return, the lizards karmic role in the world would be thrown out of balance. Spirit knew to protect and respect the harmony of life and so, it decided to grant Ngamahr this gift in return for a favour.
Recently it had heard calls of distress from the forest. The trees were being massacred and dragged away by alien weapons of destruction and they didn’t know what to do.
Spirit wanted someone who could sneak around and spy on the intruders: learn their ways so that they could be negotiated with – and realised the Ngamahr was perfect for the job.
And so it was that Spirit gifted Ngamahr with eyes to see the cycles of the forest, but also an eye that could look to Spirit and report back his sightings – helping to restore harmony to the Earthen community.
And thus balance was maintained:
True to the cycles of Grandmother Moon, Ngamahr awakened like a flower under the new moon, and next to him the next Elder Tree would bloom, and a new phase of life flowered throughout the forest.
Ngamahr lives on to this day as a guardian of harmony and karmic balance.
So, whenever you see him in the trees, make sure to check that you are respecting the natural cycles of the land and, if you are, you can rest easy that he will tell spirit of your grace.
This story pays respects to the indigenous people's of Australia. My work is intended to bring awareness back to connecting with the land in the most childlike and primal of ways, and to empower the beautiful ways that the indigenous have still carried this connection through generations of trauma.
Ngamahr is a word from the Bundjalung people, located around the Northern Rivers area in northern New South Wales and very lower Queensland - meaning "goanna".
Marang is a word from the Bundjalung people, meaning "old woman".