We Al-li is a trauma informed, trauma specific educational and practice based approach that promotes health, well-being, and sustainable pathways of positive change for individuals, families and communities at both a personal and professional level.
We Al-li embraces and promotes Indigenous cultural traditions and ways of sharing, caring and renewal. Our name We Al-li literally means fire and water, two forces that are culturally understood to embody Indigenous wisdom, knowledge and transformation.
Our focus at We Al-li is to cultivate and nurture the experience of exploring with curiosity a life long process of seeking and sustaining wholeness. We Al-li provides learning environments where this exploration happens in safety and without challenge.
About our name
In the Woppaburra language ‘We’ means fire. Fire is an awesome force in the natural world and a powerful spiritual symbol for Aboriginal people. It has the potential to both create, and destroy. It can nourish and comfort or it can threaten and harm. It can give life as easily as it can blind. Fire transforms solid forms into pure energy. In its most powerful form – the SUN – fire is a cosmic principle without which life would cease to exist.
Aboriginal people used fire to cleanse the earth, to make way for new spring growth, it was an act of caring upon country. Looking after country was a sacred responsibility, as was looking after its people. Fire was used in ceremonies to ensure the procreation and regeneration of all life forms. Some Aboriginal groups have fire ceremonies where the sparks fall in great clusters and cleanse all participants. Fire also provides warmth and light where the people can sit and share, resolve conflict and restore harmony.
Certain people were chosen to be the fire keepers, they were responsible to all others for keeping the fire alight that provided the space for sharing and the continued regeneration of community. This person was also often the healer and people would come to consult the healer in times of ill health. The healing knowledge and the responsibility to keep the fire alight were part of the whole.
Aboriginal people can easily create fire by rubbing two sticks together, but more often, when moving to a new camp, one person was responsible for carrying the embers which, when applied to dry tinder, would provide the evening campfire. We need to keep alive the healing way of fire, the way of coming together in a good way, sorting through conflict and sharing stories that make us stronger. ‘We’ signifies fire, the spirit of cleansing that is essential to healing, re-creation and regeneration. It also symbolises the spiritual and cultural strength of the Aboriginal life forms that have been kept alive since the beginning of time, and in particular over the last two centuries.
In the Woppaburra language ‘Al-li’ means water. Water is the source of all life. Without water we die. Our bodies comprise 70% water. In spiritual literature water is often used as a metaphor to describe mystical states of consciousness. The parallels drawn often derive from the pure fluid pristine qualities of water in its natural state, its lack of boundaries and its nature to flow into greater sources of itself.
Traditionally once a place has been burnt by fire (cleansed), the rains come and green shoots thrive to give evidence of new life. The rain enters the ground, cleansing, creating new growth, sustaining all life forms. Some water runs into small streams which then move across the landscape, creating paths that become waterways, interconnections. A small stream becomes a bigger stream, and finally a river, which eventually runs into the sea. The cycle of life continues in this way as it always has.
‘Al-li’ signifies the essential life giving force of water. It acknowledges the nurturing that takes place in and with water. It acknowledges the waters that are a source of food and nourishment to us and our lands. This country is crisscrossed by water tracks that show the journeying of Moonda Nghadda, the rainbow serpent. This journey has been celebrated by song, sacred ritual and dance for millennia, it is what renews and replenishes life for the country and its people.