The Death And Dying Beliefs Of Australian — страница 2

  • Просмотров 355
  • Скачиваний 5
  • Размер файла 22
    Кб

the world, as well varieties not practiced anywhere else. Although these rites vary, all Australian Aborigines share many fundamental ideas about death and its relationship to life. The most fundamental concept of death in the Aboriginal tradition is the doctrine of three worlds, the unborn, the living, and the dying, and the Land of the Dead. Therefore their concepts of death are their concepts of life. Each individual passes through these domains only once. After death it is the profound responsibility of the living to ensure that the spiritual component of the dead person is separated from this world and can proceed to the next. The Aborigines believe, as do Native Americans, that the notion of reincarnation depends on two factors: (1) the obsession with the illusion of

individuality extends into the belief that the ego survives death and remains intact in the afterlife; (2) such cultures have lost the knowledge of burial practices that assist the spiritual energy of the deceased to separate from the earthly sphere, and so the spiritual atmosphere is polluted with fragmented, disembodied, energies of the dead. Fragments of spirit from the dead can interact with the living, sometimes inhabiting, shadowing or controlling conscious behavior and destiny. The Aborigines say that the atmosphere of the earth is now saturated with dead spirits and that this pollution parallels the physical pollution of the biosphere — both of which contribute to the self-destructive course of civilization (Lawlor, 1991). The second universally held Aboriginal belief

about death is that at the moment of death, the spiritual component of the individual splits into three distinct parts. This is similar to the Egyptian concept of the soul. Unlike Christian philosophy, in which the soul is a possession of the individual, the Egyptians conceived of the soul as an aspect of a cosmological process. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Aborigines consider the perceivable world an incarnation or projection of similar realities that exist in a universal, spiritual sphere. For them, the human soul shares the threefold nature of the soul of the creating spirits: a totemic soul, an ancestral soul and the ego soul. The totemic soul is related to the sources of the life of the body: the earthly location of the birth and the spirit of the animal and plant species

to which the person’s bloodlines are connected and from which he or she has derived nourishment throughout life. After death, the totemic soul essence, once incorporated in the psychic and physical makeup of a person, is returned in ceremonial ritual to the spirits of nature. Returning spiritual energy to the animating forces of the totemic species reciprocates the debt to all those living things that were sacrificed for the sake of humans. The second aspect of an individual’s spirit force that is released at death is called the ancestral soul. This is the aspect of the deceased’s soul that emanates from the Ancestor’s journeys to the constellations in a particular part of the sky. Each region of the heavens has not only a pictorial constellation, usually an animal, but

also a particular pattern of invisible energy. These patterns are symbolized in the geometric clan designs painted on the abdomen of the corpse during burial rites. The same clan design was painted on the person at the time of his or her first initiation. At the person’s initiation and at the time of death, the celebrants chant, ?May from here your spirit reach to the stomach of the sky.? The third aspect is referred to by the Aborigines as the Trickster. It is the spiritual source of the individualized ego and can be characterized as the ego soul. It is the spirit force bound to locality and to the finite. At the time of death, the Trickster is the most dangerous with which to deal. It resents death, because this change removes contact from the material or local world in which

it functions. It may become stuck in this world after the other aspects of the soul have departed. The ego soul works throughout its life to plant the possibilities of an earthly immortality. The totem soul, ego soul, and ancestral soul correspond to the cosmic trinity of the unborn, the living and the dying, and the Land of the Dead, as well was to the earthly order of species, place and clan (Lawlor, 1991). In many aspects of Aboriginal life, the concentration is on the interaction between the visible and the invisible, the external world and the Dreamtime reality. The Aboriginal view of death is not any different. The Aborigines consider dying to be a constant complementary process to life, both in a biological sense and in the sense of death throughout initiation. Following