He had an early fascination for nature in the surrounding bush, learning from Zulu and! Kung bushmen. He enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand in , where he earned degrees in botany and zoology, before securing an apprenticeship in palaeontology under Raymond Dart , leading on to anthropological studies in Germany and the Netherlands. Later he earned degrees in geology, chemistry, marine biology, ecology and anthropology.

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Shelves: books , asia-related , indonesia-related , southeast-asia , non-fiction , biography I have wanted to read this book for some time now already.

The title seemed mesmerizing. But first I had to make a trip to the library and find the book. Lyall Watson is a South African biologist, who was also very fascinated by and tried to make sense of the supernatural. In I have wanted to read this book for some time now already.

In the early seventies, he was travelling around Indonesia. He was on a boat with 2 Javanese crewmen when a storm suddenly raged and swept them off course. They ended up in an island which he calls Nus Tarian, but which subtly hints at a place in Maluku. He makes references to Gunung Api volcano , which is the name of the volcano in the Bandas.

Moreover, much of the premise of this book revolves around the local creation myth of Hainuwele. I have never heard of Hainuwele before but it was fascinating to learn about this creation myth view spoiler [The first people lived in a land to the west.

The world was the same in those times as it is today; it has always been the same. There were nine families of mankind, just as there are nine clans now in our village.

He was neither married, nor had he any children. He went off hunting one day and chased a deer into a pond where it drowned.

When he pulled the body out, he found a coconut impaled on its antler, though at that time there were no cocopalms anywhere in the world. Returning to his hut, Ameta planted the nut n the earth and next morning a palm began to grow.

In three days it was tall and bearing blossoms. He climbed the tree to collect palm juice, but slashed his finger and blood fell on to a leaf where it mingled with the sap from the stem.

When he returned three days later, the leaf had changed into a little girl. Hainuwele grew quickly and in three more days she was tall and beautiful. But she was lonely and restless too. Fortunately at about that time there was to be a great maro dance in the place of the Nine Dance Grounds. Then, as always when the people start to dance the maro, the women sit in the centre and pass betel nut to the men who stamp out a large ninefold spiral around them.

Hainuwele was chosen to be amongst those in the middle on the first night of this festival. On the second night, on the second dance ground, she was chosen again; but this time instead of passing out betel, she gave each dancer a gift of a beautiful porcelain dish. And on each new ground her gifts became more and more precious. On the third, it was copper boxes; on the fourth, gold ear-rings; and on the fifth, glorious bronze gongs.

By the time the festival reached the ninth and last night, the other dancers were so jealous of Hainuwele that they conspired together and trampled her to death beneath their whirling feet. When Hainuwele failed to return home at dawn the next day, her father cast an oracle of cocopalm leaves, discovered the death, recovered her body and cit it into many pieces which he buried again all over the island.

By the time of the next full moon, each adn every portion had turned into an unknown thing that up to that time had never existed anywhere else on earth. One of these gifts was a crop of rice, so that ever since then, all dancer have been reminded of their crime three times every day. A parallel is drawn between Hainuwele and Tia full name Tiamat Kutam , the young village dancer, whom Watson meets and is inspired by. I loved reading the stories of Tia and what Watson experiences on this remote island, where the inhabitants are nominally Muslim, but still closely tied to their animist beliefs.

They live very close to nature and what the West calls supernatural, is just part of their reality and accepted as it is. The scene with the whale was heart breaking.

The scene with the tsunami incredible. The scene with the illuminated squids is something I hope to see with my own eyes someday!

I know the author is a scientist by training and he wants to make sense of the things that he cannot explain for himself, but for me the pace of the story always slowed down when we reached such a part. However, I loved the story of Tia and I will always remember her in my heart. You can see it every time she moves, but it is not yet complete. When all is ready, the connection will be made and then you will see! There will be dancing such as this island, this world has never seen.

Dancing of the kind that even I can only dream about. It will be life on another level. Then perhaps we shall have a dance of power, the maro as it was meant to be. I believe it is only though earth-awareness that we can reach higher levels of consciousness. Without a deep and full appreciation and understanding of your environment, there is no possibility of extending yourself beyond it to a place with meaning and relevance.

Both poet and scientist deal in human truths, but we have relinquished control of our destiny to science alone - and that is a mistake because scientists are missing something. I reread it over the last few days to use some quotations in a journal I was making an entry in, and it is still my favourite book of all time. I liked the ants that track across the pages too.


Gifts of Lyall Watson

Faukasa His book is really a teaching unknkwn, urging us literally to come to our senses and, in his terms, to turn on our whole body and tune in to the entire spectrum of information the world sends out. It is hard to believe that this story is true, but even harder to believe that Watson made it up. Notify me of new comments via email. Price may vary by retailer. People which live in a traditional spirit based way, at one with nature, seem to have the ability to gain valuable insights about watdon from their dreams and even precognitions.


Gifts of Unknown Things Quotes


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