The Dreaming

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Bilyara's Dream

Bilyara c Naiua 'Dan' Purches

© Naiura "Dan" Purches

Bilyara, which means eagle, felt the thrill of exhilaration as he prepared for sleep. It had been the day of his bora, the initiation ceremony that marked him as a man, and he was now permitted to hunt with the men of his tribe.

Bilyara found it difficult to go to sleep, such was his excitement, but sleep finally claimed him, and so did his dreams. One dream in particular disturbed him and he woke in a sweat.

Of course, Bilyara had dreamed before, and apart from the occasional nightmares that invade our sleep during our early years, most of them had been rather pleasant. This dream, however, was the strangest of dreams, yet not quite as frightening as the usual nightmare, although no less disturbing.

Bilyara dreamed that after leaving camp he suddenly found himself walking in the desert. He was aware that he was hunting because he carried his spears, and a nulla nulla, which is a fighting club, was tucked into his girdle. What seemed strange, however, was the fact that he was in a desert.

To begin with, there was no desert in his part of the country, and if there had been, what was he hunting there? Apart from a few snakes and lizards, there was nothing else.

Suddenly, a campsite appeared before him where several old people raised their arms and pointed in different directions. Bilyara instinctively knew that these people were not of this life. "Which one do I obey?" he thought.

Unable to make a decision, he chose his own path. Bilyara walked until the sun was low on the horizon, but had seen nothing but red dust and low, dry scrub. So why was he there? He stopped to appraise the situation, and then decided to make a camp and settle down for the night. Unfortunately, that was not to last because he suddenly found himself standing upon ground that was burning. No flames, just red hot dust and, to his horror, he was rapidly sinking into it. It was then that he awoke.

The strange dream occupied Bilyara's thoughts throughout the day, so he decided to seek the advice of his father, who was also the tribe's wirrinun, or wise man. Bilyara sat with his father and related his dream. The wirrinun listened and nodded occasionally until his son had finished. Then he smiled.

'You are fortunate, Bilyara,' he said. 'You have received a visit from the spirits. A very rare thing for one so young.'

'Why?' Bilyara asked.

The wirrinun shook his head. 'Who knows? What I can tell you, however, is that your dream is a warning of what you will have to face throughout your life. And as frightening as it may have been, you came through safely.'

Bilyara considered what his father had told him, then asked, 'why a lifeless desert?'

'The times that you will return from hunting with nothing but a few lizards and snakes.'

'The ancient ones?' he asked.

'Those who are quick to offer their advice. You chose your own path, as it should be.'

'But my path led me into burning quicksand, so surely I was wrong.'

'As you will be many, many times throughout your life, son. Just learn from it.'

Burramadagal clan of the Dharrug tribe

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