Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe
Turangawaewae–of belonging and tribe
by Toni Bridge
Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
– Matsuo Basho
Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Much is contained in the Turangawaewae card.
Turangawaewae has different levels of understanding. Its translation is: The Place Where I Stand. This is a card about centring, about Belonging. In many ways it is about how we define ourselves.
The meaning can be geographical, as in home place. The place of our birth may be the one place where we feel we belong. I was born in the Maniototo area of Central Otago, New Zealand. Whenever I go there, I feel a certain comfortable familiarity, a sense of belonging. The wide-open plains and vast bowl of the sky, the way the stars turn and swirl in the sky above me on a dark night, feels like home to me. To travel there is to return home. And it always will be home, although my life’s journey may require I live somewhere else.
The feeling may relate to the place where I work, to an organisation or institution. A farmer may well work and live his entire life in one place, on one piece of land. He is that land and that land is him. He is home.
Turangawaewae may be found within a spiritual tradition or community of faith. A Catholic priest lives his adult life within the body of the church and its teachings. The Church is his turangawaewae, as is the church/building/parish where he serves. And, of course, the community of which he is a part.
Turangawaewae may be found in family or within a tribe or culture. To say: I am a Cherokee or: I am French, carries layers of cultural belief, history, ritual and under-standings. And the fabric which interlinks all these aspects is the language of the tribe, for language both shapes the tribe and its members, and is shaped by it. It is an interdependent relationship.
Of course one’s profession is also an aspect of Turangawaewae. It is so common, when meeting someone for the first time, to ask the question: what do you do? O, I work for Google or: I am a lawyer. Much contained is in those two simple answers. You have defined yourself, named your tribe, and added layers of assumption and misunderstanding. You have also indicated social status. Imagine how different our relationships would be, how much more open if we were to replace that question with: please tell me who you are.
Turangawaewae may be found in a combination of all of these. It is an intricately-woven rope of many threads.
Its centre, however, lies at the heart, in the heart space.
And the card draws attention to this.
The green background, with its checkerboard pattern, alludes to the environment and the tapestry into which each of us is intricately woven.
Above this is the soul, here representing itself as a glowing gold oval toroid. The small red figure within the red space is surrounded by golden celestial wings. The golden path both emerges and yet recedes, an indication of the sacred contract between the Divine and the soul moving in the physical world. The journey is surrounded by a red ring, which points once again to the heart as being the centre of the journey.
Turangawaewae begins and exists within our hearts.
When this card appears for you, you are being asked to consider your place in the world and your place in all the tribes of which you are a part. Of course all cards have a shadow side, so it amy well be throwing up a question about your need to belong, and ways in which you may be self-sabotaging in order to belong.
You might well reflect upon the following questions:
Who am I?
Where do I belong?
What does Belonging mean to me?
What does Home mean to me?
Have I found that place?
Do I need to find that place?
Nga mihi ki a koe