Did you know that the word “magic” comes from the same word used for the wise men in the Christmas story?
What do the Magi (wise men) of the Christmas story and Disney’s story of Moana have in common?
They both are stories of courageously following navigating stars.
I can appreciate that the Magi did not know what they would find, but they believed it was worth the long journey to find out. Their star “stopped” signalling the completion of their journey and an end of their part in the story. They reached their goal and purpose when they brought the gifts to where the star had “stopped”. (We still see representations of the Magi in nativity scenes at this time of year).
I can also identify with Moana, who sets out to do an impossible task not knowing if she will succeed. Her stars pointed her to a place unknown. Her stars were always in the sky, but now see could see their meaning and understand their purpose - to return the heart of Te Fiti. Moana’s stars remain in the sky as a constant reminder that her work and purpose to lead her people always remains with her.
As a Samoan, I connect deeply with the star-following elements of these stories. In my culture, and many other Island cultures, we crossed the seas using navigating stars as “way-finders”. I feel strongly that the One Million Stars to End Violence Project is linked to my culture of following stars, like Moana and the ancient story of the Magi.
It is all about following your navigating stars.
Photo: Richard Gosling. 2017
The start of One Million Stars to End Violence Project feels like I was following navigating stars. I was inspired to follow stars not knowing what was ahead and not knowing what success would look like. I have been challenged to think about how the project is like the story of Moana and the Magi. In one sense the project will meet its goal and purpose and end. In another sense the project will continue to touch lives in communitiesd and be a constant reminder that we need to keep working to end violence.
This year was a milestone year for the project. We reached out target of One Million Stars! While this was a cause of great celebration, it also impacted many thousands of star weavers around the world with questions about what will happen next. Some people were happy to end their role in star-making. They are like the Magi, who followed the stars and then when they stopped, felt like they have completed their part. Others expressed their strong desires and plans to keep weaving stars. They are like Moana, who followed the stars and continues to see them as reminders to never give up.
I hope that when you look back on 2017 you will appreciate all the hard work that thousands of people have done to make the One Million Stars to End Violence Project achieve its goal and touch thousands of lives. I hope you will remember the heart-felt conversations from your fellow star-weavers and your tears of sorrow and tears of joy. I hope you look back on 2017 and feel like you have helped to bring some healing and hope into the world.
When we look ahead to 2018 I hope that you are as excited as I am to see the display by the Museum of Brisbane in King George Square as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April. When I think about the amazing spectacle of one million woven stars in one place I am overwhelmed by the memory of so many of you that have made this possible. This has never been done before and it is happening in our back yard! I am reminded that each one of those one million stars were made with purpose and hope. I hope that you will feel a sense of accomplishment that we have helped to bring light and hope on ending violence. We have done something extraordinary, to stand in solidarity with the millions of people who work everyday in jobs and volunteer positions to help people effected by violence in our communities. We stand in solidarity with all those impacted by violence in our communities. The One Million Stars to End Violence Project stands to shine our navigating stars to build better and safer communities.
Next April is another big milestone for the One Million Stars project. I’m not sure how I will feel when the final stars are taken down. I don't know if I will feel more like the Magi, that my work is done, or like Moana, that my work continues. What I do know is that I will be deeply moved by the moment. The One Million Stars to End Violence Project has blessed and touched thousands of people around the world and I am so honoured to have followed my navigating stars to bring it this far. My next work is to look to the stars to see what’s next.
Each of us will need to find our way once the One Million Stars to End Violence Project ends in April next year. Each of us will need to either see our part of the story completed or see our work continuing. We will need to follow our navigating stars and take comfort that it will be the right path for us. We need to cherish the voyage taken and trust in the next journey.
I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday season.
May you find joy in your memories of the year past and hope for your year to come.
May you find your way by following your navigating stars.
Love and peace
Maryann & Mark