Australian Aboriginal Spirituality

Report
Australian Aboriginal Spirituality
The Dreaming
Origins


2
Aboriginal Spirituality is founded in the
dreaming stories of creation.
The Dreaming is the central and deepest
reality of the Aboriginal world. This spiritual
reality has existed from the beginning and
exists within and beyond the ordinary world.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Dreaming includes:

3
The reality of the spirit ancestors which was
active in the creation time and continues to
sustain events and places in the present.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Historical Origins




4
Australia is the most ancient land on earth.
For tens of thousands of years, the indigenous
inhabitants of this country have felt that the land is
sacred ground.
The first Australians were semi nomadic hunter
gathers with Stone Age technology. The arrived from
South East Asia at least 60000 years ago.
The word ab origine means ‘from the beginning’
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Historical Origins (continued)




5
Indigenous Australians adapted to the land with its
unique food and climatic conditions.
They spread across the land, finding ways to survive
even in the harshest climate.
Aboriginals spoke approx 250 languages. Before
European settlement, Australia could be considered
as containing more than 250 separate nations.
There are many differences in language and culture.
Each language group comprised numerous ‘mobs’
that occupied various natural catchment areas that
could support around 500 people.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Historical Origins (continued)



6
Groups came together for ceremonies, marriages
were arranged and knowledge was passed on to
members of the group depending on their age,
gender, status and relationship to certain sites.
Male and female elders were custodians of their
tribal knowledge. Some knowledge was taboo to
members of the opposite sex ie. Women’s business.
Some knowledge was passed on in general life while
other knowledge was only available during
ceremonies such as initiation ceremonies.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Historical Origins (continued)


7
As hunters and gathers, the Aboriginals would move
systematically within their tribal lands to take
advantage of the seasonal availability of things to eat
(animals and plants).
As groups travelled, they would come across familiar
features of the landscape such as rock and hillside
formations, rivers, waterholes and trees. These
were usually known by name. These features would
act as a roadmap to where they could find food
resources.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Supernatural Origin


8
In traditional Aboriginal society, human
culture and the natural environment are
intimately linked.
The life of Aborigines was governed by the
movements of animals, the seasons and
geographical features and therefore culture
became integrated with the environment.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Supernatural Origins


9
Over thousands of years, Aborigines
developed a personal relationship with the
generative (creative) forces that produced
the natural orders and rhythms of the land.
The Universe came into being through the
creative activity of primordial spirits. The
natural world was filled with signs of the
spirit’s kindly intentions.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Supernatural Origins

10
Aboriginal people themselves see
themselves as being created by the same
spirits.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Spirit and Reality



11
The world of Aboriginal culture affirms the
sacredness of nature. Therefore, Aboriginals do not
make a sharp distinction between the sacred and
secular.
The creative spirits are present in, throughout and
beyond the physical realm they have created.
The natural environment is therefore saturated with
sacred significance and spiritual life.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Spirit and Reality

12
Transcendence is from their life and
environment not from a separate sacred
space.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Nature of the Dreaming


13
The Dreaming is the central and deepest
reality of the Aboriginal world; it is the
spiritual dimension of reality which has
existed from the beginning and continues to
be present in all aspects of life.
It can be considered to be the essence of
Aboriginal beliefs about creation and
existence which gives meaning to all life
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Dreaming



14
It establishes the rules that link the relationship
between people, land and life.
It is not time specific. It involves past, present and
future.
It provides knowledge about territorial rights and
boundaries, spirit beings and their lives, rituals and
ceremonies, technology, totem plants and animals,
Sacred sites, forms of art, songs and stories and all
aspects of intra and inter-tribal social organisation
and kinship obligations
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Dreaming



15
Is used now rather than the English
expression ‘Dreamtime’, which suggests a
fixed chronological time or event.
Some Aboriginals prefer to speak of “the
Law”.
Try and understand how the Dreaming
compares to the real-time to cinema-time
illustration (p.18-19).
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Dreaming

16
Each Aboriginal is intimately related to the
spirit ancestor and to the totemic animals or
plants associated with that spirit. Through
this spirit and its creations the particular
Aboriginal group has a spiritual relationship
with a particular area of land and with
defined sites within that land. This land then
represents their personal identity and
religious belief.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
The Dreaming


17
The Dreaming encompasses everything to do with
the spirit ancestors, including the first beings
(creators), their creative activity in forming the world,
and the continuing relationship between the
ancestors and the natural environment they created.
The Dreaming stories of creation differ from one
language region to another, but each story consists
of a founding drama that has a certain general
pattern.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Dreaming Creation Stories
(Typical Format)






18
Before time began, there was only a formless mass of dark and
featureless matter.
The spirit ancestors arose from out of an eternal sleep from the
earth.
These beings took on various shapes, traits and appearances
(human or animal).
They then moved over the featureless earth, shaping the
contours and details of the landscape.
The spirits then brought into being all living creatures
A line of descendants comprising a natural species and
corresponding human group is founded by the spirits. The are
linked with a single totem or dreaming.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost
Dreaming Creation Stories
(Typical Format)



19
The spirits negotiated the terms of existence (law and morality)
as they encountered each other in their travels.
Each spirit gives each line of descendants the most appropriate
way of life (how to hunt, make fires and perform ceremonies
etc) and the behaviour (law) to follow. This was set for all time
and written on the landscape.
When finished their tasks they became weary and returned to
their slumber. Some disappeared into the earth while others
became features of the landscape. The spirits left trails of their
existence which are marked by monuments of geography in
tribal lands and are recreated in traditional songs and
ceremonies.
17/01/2009
Summarised from Spotlight (SOR
Prelim) by N. Coleman. Prepared
by Adam Frost

similar documents