The Dreaming

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In the Beginning Was the Dreaming

The Australian Aborigines speak of jiva or guruwari, a "seed power" deposited in the earth. In the Aboriginal world view, every meaningful activity, event, or life process that occurs at a particular place leaves behind a vibrational residue in the earth, as plants leave an image of themselves as seeds. The shape of the land—its mountains, rocks, riverbeds, and water-holes—and its unseen vibrations echo the events that brought that place into creation. Everything in the natural world is a symbolic footprint of the metaphysical beings whose actions created our world. As with a seed, the potency of an earthly location is wedded to the memory of its origin. The Aborigines called this potency the "Dreaming" of a place, and this Dreaming constitutes the sacred-ness of the earth. Only in extraordinary states of consciousness can one be aware of, or attuned to, the inner dreaming.

Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime
by Robert Lawler

Aboriginal oral traditions which describe the origin of Australia from ancient times are frequently dramatic, involving great beings and amazing events, however they do contain the essence of the truth. The legends when distilled create a story of the origins of man in Australia and of the Australian landscape as it is today of which much can be substantiated by scientific investigation. The ancient racial memory of a people whose traditions and culture remained largely unaltered for thousands of years can recount great geological changes—the rising of the seas, the change from lush vegetation to desert, and the eruption of volcanoes as well as the very first arrival of man on this continent.

Australian Dreaming: 40,000 years of Aboriginal History
by Jennifer Isaacs

Living close to nature and dependent on his powers of observation for survival, the Australian Aborigine might well be expected to have manufactured a number of myths and legends to account for the origin of animals, birds, insects, reptiles, and fish, and for their behaviour and appearance; but to those who are not familiar with Aboriginal folklore it comes as a surprise to discover how many of these stories have been inherited by the various tribes. Even more surprising is the wealth of imagination, the sense of humour, the ingenuity and variety of the camp fire tales that have been told and retold for hundreds of years in different parts of Australia.

The Dreamtime, that happy period of earlier days, is well known. It was a halcyon era when the world, and mankind, and all created things, were young. There was a natural innocence in this period when animals were still like men. The interchange of form between man and animal is often puzzling, and there are times when we cannot be sure whether the hero or the villain of a story is a man or an animal. Often enough, of course, the purpose of the tale is to relate how the animal gained its special characteristics and changed from a two-legged mammal to a bird, a lizard, or an animal. More important still is the connection with the origins of totemism, which was such an important feature of family and tribal life.

Aboriginal Fables & Legendary Tales (Aboriginal Library)
by A.W. Reed


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