Dreamtime


Dreamtime

In the animist framework of Australian Aboriginal mythology, The Dreaming is a sacred era in which ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings formed The Creation.

Contents

The Dreaming of the Aboriginal times

"Dreaming" is also often used to refer to an individual's or group's set of beliefs or spirituality. For instance, an indigenous Australian might say that he or she has Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreamings pertinent to their "country". Many Indigenous Australians also refer to the Creation time as "The Dreaming". The Dreamtime laid down the patterns of life for the Aboriginal people.[citation needed]

Dreaming stories vary throughout Australia, with variations on the same theme. For example, the story of how the birds got their colours is different in New South Wales and in Western Australia.[citation needed] Stories cover many themes and topics, as there are stories about creation of sacred places, land, people, animals and plants, law and custom. It is a complex network of knowledge, faith, and practices that derive from stories of creation. It pervades and informs all spiritual and physical aspects of an indigenous Australian's life.

They believe that every person essentially exists eternally in the Dreaming. This eternal part existed before the life of the individual begins, and continues to exist when the life of the individual ends. Both before and after life, it is believed that this spirit-child exists in the Dreaming and is only initiated into life by being born through a mother. The spirit of the child is culturally understood to enter the developing fetus during the fifth month of pregnancy.[1] When the mother felt the child move in the womb for the first time, it was thought that this was the work of the spirit of the land in which the mother then stood. Upon birth, the child is considered to be a special custodian of that part of his country and is taught the stories and songlines of that place. As Wolf (1994: p. 14) states: "A black 'fella' may regard his totem or the place from which his spirit came as his Dreaming. He may also regard tribal law as his Dreaming."[2]

It was believed that, before humans, animals, and plants came into being, their 'souls' existed; they knew they would become physical, but not when. And when that time came, all but one of the 'souls' became plants or animals, with the last one becoming human and acting as a custodian or guardian to the natural world around them.

Traditional Australian indigenous peoples embrace all phenomena and life as part of a vast and complex system-reticulum of relationships which can be traced directly back to the ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings of The Dreaming. This structure of relations, including food taboos, had the result of maintaining the biological diversity of the indigenous environment. It may have helped prevent overhunting of particular species.[citation needed]

The Dreaming, tribal law and songlines

The Dreaming establishes the structures of society, rules for social behaviour, and the ceremonies performed to ensure continuity of life and land. The Dreaming governs the laws of community, cultural lore and how people are required to behave in their communities. The condition that is The Dreaming is met when people live according to law, and live the lore: perpetuating initiations and Dreaming transmissions or lineages, singing the songs, dancing the dances, telling the stories, painting the songlines and Dreamings.

The Creation was believed to be the work of culture heroes who travelled across a formless land, creating sacred sites and significant places of interest in their travels. In this way songlines were established, some of which could travel right across Australia, through as many as six to ten different language groupings. The songs and dances of a particular songline were kept alive and frequently performed at large gatherings, organised in good seasons.

In the Aboriginal world view, every event leaves a record in the land. Everything in the natural world is a result of the actions of the archetypal beings, whose actions created the world. Whilst Europeans consider these cultural ancestors to be mythical, many Aboriginal people believe in their literal existence. The meaning and significance of particular places and creatures is wedded to their origin in the Dreaming, and certain places have a particular potency, which the Aborigines call its dreaming. In this dreaming resides the sacredness of the earth. For example, in Perth, the Noongar believe that the Darling Scarp is said to represent the body of a Wagyl – a serpent being that meandered over the land creating rivers, waterways and lakes. It is taught that the Wagyl created the Swan River. In another example, the Gagudju people of Arnhemland, for which Kakadu National Park is named, believe that the sandstone escarpment that dominates the park's landscape was created in the Dreamtime when Ginga (the crocodile-man) was badly burned during a ceremony and jumped into the water to save himself. He turned to stone and became the escarpment. The common theme in these examples and similar ones is that topographical features are either the physical embodiments of creator beings or are the results of their activity.

In one version (there are many Aboriginal cultures), Altjira was the god of the Dreamtime; he created the Earth and then retired as the Dreamtime vanished. Alternative names for Altjira in other Australian languages include Alchera (Arrernte), Alcheringa, Mura-mura (Dieri), and Tjukurpa (Pitjantjatjara).

The dreaming and travelling trails of the Spirit Beings are the songlines (or "Yiri" in the Warlpiri language). The signs of the Spirit Beings may be of spiritual essence, physical remains such as petrosomatoglyphs of body impressions or footprints, amongst natural and elemental simulacrae. To cite an example, people from a remote outstation called Yarralin, which is part of the Victoria River region, venerate the spirit Walujapi as the Dreaming Spirit of the black-headed python. Walujapi carved a snakelike track along a cliff-face and left an impression of her buttocks when she sat establishing camp. Both these dreaming signs are still discernible. In the Wangga genre, the songs and dances express themes related to death and regeneration.[3] They are performed publicly with the singer composing from their daily lives or while Dreaming of a nyuidj (dead spirit).[4]

Portrayals in media

Literature

Non-native writers and artists have been inspired by Dreamtime concepts.

  • Grant Morrison's character King Mob in his comic The Invisibles visits Uluru and speaks telepathically with an aboriginal elder, he remarks that this is possible because he is a 'Scorpion dreaming'.
  • Philip K. Dick uses Dreamtime, among a plethora of other concepts, to describe his breakdown in his novel VALIS.
  • Bruce Chatwin wrote the fiction/ non-fiction blended novel,The Songlines in exploration of some important aboriginal concepts.
  • Alexis Wright's novel Carpentaria weaves Dreaming narrative from the Gulf of Carpentaria through her stories of contemporary Aboriginal characters, a form of Australian magical realism.
  • Tad Williams four-volume science fiction epic Otherland touches upon Dreamtime and other aboriginal myths.
  • Spider Robinson's trilogy Stardance touches upon this in the second volume.
  • Richard McKenna's 1960 speculative fiction novelette, "Fiddler's Green", also touches upon Alcheringa, or Dreamtime.
  • Sam Kieth's comic Maxx relies heavily on the psychology and concept of Dreamtime.
  • Neil Gaiman's graphic novels The Sandman are partially set in "The Dreaming", referred to in early volumes as "Dreamtime", and also reference "Fiddler's Green"
  • Jeff Smith says that aspects of his cartoon/fantasy epic Bone were inspired by Dreamtime, amongst other things.[5]
  • Queenie Chan's manga The Dreaming takes place in Australia and deals with students from a boarding school who mysteriously go missing. Aboriginal legends feature in the series.
  • Joan Lindsay's novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and its unpublished ending deal with some girls who disappear while hiking Hanging Rock, near Melbourne. It is heavily implied in the book and in the ending that the girls disappeared into Dreamtime.
  • Sandra McDonald's novels, The Outback Stars, The Stars Down Under and The Stars Blue Yonder, use Aboriginal myth extensively.
  • The Star Trek novel Strangers from the Sky by Margaret Wander Bonanno has Captain Kirk using Dreamtime to investigate an altered reality.
  • Betty Clawman from DC Comics' New Guardians was an aboriginal girl chosen to be part of the next stage in man's evolution - i.e. the New Guardians. Dreamtime figured in the story.
  • In issues #89-90 of DC Comics' Hellblazer, John Constantine ventures into the Dreamtime.
  • Wildstorm's Planetary issue #15 briefly deals with the Dreamtime.
  • In the graphic novel Y: The Last Man, the protagonist's love interest, Beth, spends time in Australia. Events in the Dreamtime are presented as a possible reason for the worldwide plague that killed almost all male mammals.
  • In Patrick Skene Catling's "John Midas in the Dreamtime" the protagonist visits the site of sacred cave paintings in the middle of the Australian outback, slipping back thousands of years, ultimately finding himself among a prehistoric aboriginal tribe.
  • Also, Colby Herchel's new opera "The Dreamtime" tells a story of aboriginals who dream, and the battles fought against the British.

Film

  • Peter Weir's The Last Wave and Picnic at Hanging Rock dealt with Dreamtime.
  • Frog Dreaming (1986) (renamed The Quest when released in the USA) included certain aspects of Aboriginal Dreaming.
  • The film Australia included aspects of aboriginal Dreaming (songlines).
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker's Our Country's Good refers to Dreamtime throughout the play.
  • Colby Herchel's new opera The Dreamtime tells a story of Aboriginals who dream and the battles fought against the British.

Other media

  • "Project Alchera" from the computer game Dreamfall: The Longest Journey draws heavily from the concept of Dreamtime, as well as from other Aboriginal mythologies.
  • During the 1980s, the UK band The Stranglers recorded an album called Dreamtime, with a title track inspired by the Aboriginal concept.
  • In the episode "Walkabout" of the animated series Gargoyles, an Aborigine mentor to Dingo teaches him of the Dreamtime. In the same episode, Goliath and Dingo enter the Dreamtime in order to communicate with an AI nanotech entity called the Matrix.
  • In Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio drama, Dreamtime, the Seventh Doctor and his companions deal with Aborigine mysticism and Uluru.
  • Kate Bush's 1982 album is entitled The Dreaming. The title track deals with the upheaval of the Aboriginal people.
  • The Cult's 1984 album is entitled Dreamtime. The album deals with Aboriginal themes, owing to singer Ian Astbury's interest in the book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
  • Daryl Hall had a hit song called "Dreamtime" in 1985.
  • The Dreamtime Rugby League team is a team of the best aboriginal players, who play certain exhibition matches.
  • The Finnish band Korpiklaani recorded a track called "Uniaika" (Dreamtime) on the album Karkelo in 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bates, Daisy (1996), Aboriginal Perth and Bibbulmun biographies and legends, Hesperion Press
  2. ^ 'Fella' is a colloquial contraction of 'fellow', though like the Australian colloquial usage of 'guys', often refers to women as well as men.
  3. ^ Marett, Allan (2005). Songs, Dreamings, and Ghosts: the Wangga of North Australia. Wesleyan University Press: Middletown, Connecticut. p. 1. ISBN 9780819566188.
  4. ^ Povinelli, Elizabeth A. (2002). The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism. Duke University Press: Durham, North Carolina. p. 200. ISBN 9780822328681
  5. ^ Smith, Jeff. Bone #46, Tenth Anniversary. Self-published. Bone-A–Fides section. 

Other sources

  • Wolf, Fred Alan (1994). The Dreaming Universe: a mind-expanding journey into the realm where psyche and physics meet. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-74946-3
  • Australian Dreaming: 40,000 Years of Aboriginal History. Compiled and edited by Jennifer Isaacs. (1980) Lansdowne Press. Sydney. ISBN 0-7018-1330X
  • C. Elbadawi, I. Douglas, The Dreamtime: A link to the past
  • Max Charlesworth, Howard Murphy, Diane Bell and Kenneth Maddock, 'Introduction' in Religion In Aboriginal Australia: An Anthology, University of Queensland Press, Queensland, Australia, 1984.
  • Anna Voigt and Neville Drury (1997). Wisdom Of The Earth: the living legacy of the Aboriginal dreamtime. Simon & Schuster, East Roseville, NSW, Australia.
  • W.H. Stanner, After The Dreaming, Boyer Lecture Series, ABC 1968.
  • Spencer, Walter Baldwin and Francis James Gillen (1899; 1968). The Native Tribes of Central Australia. New York, Dover.
  • Stanner, Bill (1979). White Man Got No Dreaming: Essays 1938-1973. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University Press.
  • Lawlor, Robert (1991). Voices Of The First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, Ltd. ISBN 0-89281-355-5

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dreamtime — Студийный альбом …   Википедия

  • Dreamtime —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différentes œuvres portant le même titre. Dreamtime est le titre de trois albums de rock des années 1980 : 1981 : Dreamtime (album de Tom Verlaine) 1984 : Dreamtime (album de The Cult)… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Dreamtime — Traumzeit (engl. Dreamtime) bezeichnet in der Mythologie der Aborigines die Zeit der Schöpfung. Die Traumzeit Legenden bilden ihre Schöpfungsgeschichte. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Etymologie 2 Darstellung 3 Literatur 4 Einzelnachweise …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • dreamtime — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ noun Etymology: probably translation of Australian alchera, alcheringa : the aboriginal time of creation in the mythology of the Australian natives : the mythical beginning time when all things were created, including the first human… …   Useful english dictionary

  • dreamtime — noun Usage: often capitalized Date: 1896 the time of creation in the mythology of the Australian aborigines …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • dreamtime — /dreem tuym /, n. the ancient time of the creation of all things by sacred ancestors, whose spirits continue into the present, as conceived in the mythology of the Australian Aborigines. Also called alcheringa, the dreaming. [1905 10; DREAM +… …   Universalium

  • Dreamtime — noun The time of the creation of the world, by the ancestors out of their own essence. Syn: Dreaming …   Wiktionary

  • Dreamtime — n. time of creation in the mythology of the Australian aborigines, time during which the earth was formed and living things were created …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Dreamtime — (also Dreaming) noun another term for alcheringa …   English new terms dictionary

  • dreamtime — dream•time [[t]ˈdrimˌtaɪm[/t]] n. pan ant (among Australian Aborigines) the ancient time of the creation of all things by sacred ancestors Also called the dreaming. Etymology: 1905–10 …   From formal English to slang


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