Friday, June 27, 2014

Marlo Morgan: Untitled ["Forever Oneness"]

Forever Oneness,
who sings to us in silence,
who teaches us through each other,
Guide my steps with strength and wisdom.
May I see the lessons as I walk,
honor the Purpose of all things.
Help me touch with respect,
always speak from behind my eyes.
Let me observe, not judge.
May I cause no harm,
and leave music and beauty after my visit.
When I return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader.

Untitled ["Forever Oneness"] by Marlo Morgan, from Mutant Message Down Under. © HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.  

Art credit: Untitled painting by unknown aboriginal artist (originally color).

Curator's note: Much controversy surrounds Morgan's book, especially due to its fabrication of Australian aboriginal culture. This poem, which the fictional "aboriginal poet" named "Bee Lake" reveals in the book as a "ritual chant" of "[her] people in the Outback Nation," is now widely disseminated online, usually attributed to Bee Lake, who isn't a real person. The words are not without power; hence, their popularity. I chose original aboriginal artwork to companion them as an expression both of regret and respect toward the native peoples of Australia who felt violated by Morgan's work. You can learn more about the controversy surrounding Morgan and her book here.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. CURATOR'S NOTE: Some readers weren't pleased with this selection, given the poet's fabrication. I understand that. Using the words of Morgan was definitely a risk, and I pondered hard before posting them. Perhaps I erred, but please hear my reasons, of which these were primary:

    (1) I wanted to use this opportunity to clear up the attribution. I'm troubled by the fact that Morgan's poem is still being widely circulated as the words of a real (and aboriginal) poet. I wanted to help correct this, especially so that a fabricated representation of aboriginal culture couldn’t continue to be promoted as true.

    (2) I wanted readers to wrestle—mindfully--with the notion of whether wise words might still be received as wise despite their source. For I do believe that, despite the fabrication, there is an amount of wisdom in Morgan's writing.

    As I said, this selection was risky. But I feel that I would do it again, and perhaps be the wiser by explaining my choice.

    Care to respond?

    Deep peace,

    1. No harm has been done, nothing is wrong. Truth comes through, no matter what anyone has said or done. from Anne Hillman website

  3. Before canvas was introduced to the Aboriginal artists, they have been drawing images and stories in the sand. Later they started using various materials to preserve Aboriginal Art.

  4. SandraLama HanaAnaTuesday, April 18, 2017

    I thank you for posting this. My heart is moved deeply by these words and has been for years... and the source of all is Source, period, end of story, the rest is TOTAL FICTION for the joy of the One we are. Energy flows where attention goes... we give life.

  5. I hadn't encountered this poem before or the controversy, and I appreciate having it posted with the explanation as a counterweight to the incorrect attribution elsewhere. The one thing I would have done differently: I wouldn't have accompanied it with aboriginal art. That implicitly continues the association between the words and the people she exploited.

  6. I'm sorry about the "fabrification" in its initial publication, but this is a simple, but enormously powerful message I will keep in mind all day.


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