Dumbo Feather Issue 62

Dumbo Feather is an iconic Australian magazine. Published quarterly for seven years, and hailed around the world as a design leader, it is a magazine like no other. Our readers are people who want to be told a different story than the one they hear every day. Each quarterly issue features five extended (20 page) profiles of people worth knowing, across enterprise, education, science, sport, politics, fashion and the arts. Whether they’ve touched millions, or just those around them, we take the time to get to know these people, and ask them to tell us their stories.

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3 Edities

in deze editie

2 min

Dear friend, It was hard not to feel the skepticism rise up when we decided on mysticism for this issue. Much of my education and cultural upbringing was to make small of what didn’t sit in the realm of reason. If it couldn’t be understood through the intellect or five senses, it was probably of little value to the world. For most of the family I grew up with, real achievement was in the acquirement of financial and intellectual capital: the more you knew and gained in a tangible, transactional sense, the better you could sleep at night. I know I’m not alone in this conditioning, and I know it’s still the modus operandi for most cultures today. And yet, there was also something about the way the word “mysticism” landed in…

5 min
a language beyond reason

“The fundamental tragedy of the human condition is that we are sentient, sensitive, meaning-driven beings in a universe that is overwhelmingly mindless, insensate and random.” I grew up in a scientific family. My grandmother Irene was the daughter of the physicist Max Born, who won the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum mechanics and was a close friend of Albert Einstein. She was herself scientifically well educated and had translated the correspondence between the two men—letters of great importance and interest to the history of science—into English. A proud atheist, she always rejected any talk of the spiritual as superstitious nonsense. And yet when I visited her on her deathbed, she admitted with some shame that her lack of faith was wavering. She was afraid to die, and the psychological…

5 min
encounters with the muse

“If we trace the stem of the word ‘inspire’ down to its seed, we find that it means to inhale a divine beauty and to become animated with this blessing.” A number of years ago, I started hearing whispers from a muse in the middle of the night. She met me on the page, asking me to write, write because the trees are begging to grow their limbs through your words and their foliage through your verses. This call continued to reverberate throughout my dreams, and over time, I began to listen. I welcomed the muse; she was responding to my yearning to unlock my voice, to break free from the chains of the inner critic and demolish the barriers that dammed my self-expression. I sensed that, buried somewhere in the…

9 min
every act a ceremony

“Ceremony is not an escape from the messy world of matter into a hocus-pocus realm of spirituality. It is a fuller embrace of the material.” I met a woman recently who works with a Kogi mama, or shaman, from the Sierra Nevada of Colombia. He came to California a few years ago and performed extensive ceremonies on a particular spot of land. He said, “You’d better do a ceremony here regularly, or there will be serious fires.” No one did the ceremonies, and the next year there were forest fires. He came back afterward and repeated his warning. “If you don’t do the ceremonies, the fires will be even worse.” The next year, the fires were worse. He came again and issued his warning a third time: “Do the ceremonies or…

24 min
claire dunn is nature’s apprentice

SUBJECT Claire Dunn OCCUPATION Facilitator and writer INTERVIEWER Sylvia Rowley PHOTOGRAPHER Gregory Lorenzutti LOCATION Melbourne, Australia DATE December, 2019 Claire Dunn leads the way, barefoot, down a winding track behind her house to the banks of Birrurung, or the Yarra river. As we sit on the dry grass in the late afternoon of a 40-degree day, the cicadas chirp and there’s a sense of ease despite the intense heat. The only giveaway that we are in Australia’s second largest city is the distant hum of traffic. As I talk with Claire in this little patch of nature, I start to sense how, as humans, we can also find our way back to the wilder parts within ourselves. The chatter of my domesticated mind begins to fade to a distant hum. Claire is a guide to the wilds inside and out, and her passion…

25 min
matthew fox is a cosmic priest

SUBJECT Matthew Fox OCCUPATION Priest and theologian INTERVIEWER Nathan Scolaro PHOTOGRAPHER Angela DeCenzo LOCATION Benicia, US DATE January, 2020 For more than 50 years, Matthew Fox has been studying and writing about the great Christian mystics through history, gleaning from them something much richer and more truthful about what it means to live a holy life than the Roman Catholic Church he was intimately connected with. At age 19, Matthew entered the Dominican Order of the Church and took an alternate route, earning a doctorate of spiritual theology from the Institut Catholique de Paris and becoming a champion of the Creation Spirituality tradition, which puts the sacredness of the Earth and cosmos at the centre of Christian life, and draws inspiration from social justice, science, Indigenous wisdom and other world religions. Importantly, Matthew recognised what many mystics before him had: that the…