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Astronomical Myths of Aborigines

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Aboriginal heritage and culture, in terms of its historical continuity, is one of the oldest on the planet. Rock paintings at Olary in South Australia have been dated as 34.000 years old. Aboriginal people themselves believe that they have lived on this continent since the beginning of time.

After the discovery of Australia by Europeans, the number of Aboriginal people has decreased continuously and in 1994, there were 300.000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.

There are many different tribes with different language. They have differences and similarities in their myths, life styles and cultures. The Anthropological surveys in the last five decades shows that there were 300-500 Aboriginal languages and ten percent of Aboriginal people still speak their indigenous language.

In Aboriginal Myths, there are many stories that tell relations between terrestrial beings and celestial beings. They are simply told but signify the celestial roots of human.

Myths invariable evoke a sense of awe because they are dealing with great and profound mysteries. The initiated Aborigines keep the secret meanings of their myths. There are some stages of initiation in Aboriginal societies. And in these initiations, secret meanings of myths and songs, rituals and ceremonies are passed to new initiate ones orally. Each song is a celebration of the unique role of a Spirit Ancestor within the sacred landscape, each song an integral part of Creation itself.

Dreamtime

Dreamtime is an important concept to understand Aboriginal myths related with creation. Supernatural beings, which will until that time had slept beneath the surface of the earth, rose to create the world in the Dreamtime. The Arrente term altjiranga ngambakala has the inference of 'having originated out of one's own eternity', 'immortal', 'uncreated'. This is the essential concept of the Dreamtime or the Dreaming. At the same time, 'altjirarma' means 'to see or dream eternal things' or 'to see with eternal vision'. Before the earth came into existence, there was a mass of dark and formless matter, a vast watery expanse or a somewhat featureless plain. Spiritual Ancestors

defines all spaces and all time out of what was potentially there in this dark, nameless matter, 'ngallalla yawun', everything soft like jelly. This is a very similar concept with the concept of Chaos in ancient Greek Mythology or Primordial Waters before the creation in Hindu scriptures. The stories of the Dreamtime are the foundation of all social and religious life. They recount the journeys of these primordial beings and show how the landscape was shaped, how fire was created, how plants, animals and humans were made, and even how necessities such as spears and grinding stones were invented to help Aboriginal men and women with their daily lives.

A variation of some theme is an Aboriginal myth, which tells that in the Dreamtime, people did not die, because each month the Moon gave them a magic drink that restored them to life. And soma is the blood of Moon.

In Aboriginal cosmology, everything and everybody, all space and all time is interwoven and interdependent and all are kin. It is interesting to find the concept of unity of Cosmos in some other teachings such as Buddhist and Hindi cosmologies.

Aboriginal people recognise that they have a spark of their Ancestors within them, which can be activated in ceremony and ritual, and thus they have an unbroken link to the Creation Epoch, known as the eternal 'Dreamtime' or 'Dreaming'. This very idea is similar to ancient teachings of east and west that we have a part from Divinity, a soul that is the God within.

The Spirit Beings created the sacred teachings of the Dreaming (The Law). They establish customs, they taught humans how to hunt, how to utilise fire and make cooking utensils, how to dance and perform ceremonies and they invented languages.

Rainbow Serpent

On of the other important concept of creation is Rainbow Serpent. You can see Rainbow Serpent in most of the creation scenes created by Aboriginal artists. The revered and feared Bolong (Rainbow Serpent) is recognised by Aboriginal tribes around Australia as being the Creator of Life. When the Bolong (who has female and male aspects) created life, she placed all living things into categories. In the Dreamtime all the earth lay sleeping. Nothing grew. Nothing moved. Then one day the Rainbow Serpent awoke from her slumber and pushed her away through the earth's crust, moving the stones that lay in her way. When she emerged, she looked about her and then travelled over the land, going in all directions. She travelled far and wide, and she grew tired, she curled herself into a heap and slept. Upon the earth she left her winding tracks and the imprint of her sleeping body. When she had travelled all the earth, she returned to the place where she had first appeared and called to the frogs, 'come out'. The frogs were very slow to come from below the earth's crust, for their bellies were heavy with water, which they had stored in their sleep. The Rainbow Serpent tickled their stomachs and when the frogs laughed, the water ran all over the earth to fill the tracks of the Rainbow Serpent's wanderings and that is how the lakes and rivers were formed. Then grass began to grow and trees sprang up and so life began on earth. All the animals, birds and reptiles awoke and followed the Rainbow Serpent, the Mother of Life, across the Land...

Aboriginal people kept their traditions orally so the only written traditions we reach are stories told to white man in the last two centuries. These stories clearly show that they had the profound knowledge of cosmos and human and tried to live according to law that rules the cosmos. They kept alive their relation with the celestial beings and the earth, the mother of all living creature in the world. The traditions we've learnt from Aboriginal myths have many things to say to the people of modern world to direct his way to the sky, to realm of Ancestral Beings again.

Guner Orucu
Sydney

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«Золотая площадь». Международный журнал культурной и деловой жизни.
The Golden Plaza. International Magazine of Culture and Business.
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