The Death And Dying Beliefs Of Australian — страница 3

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physical death, the most significant stage of the dying process begins: the spirit dies away from the earthly atmosphere in a process that can take months, even years (Lawlor, 1991). In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, the spirit takes only twelve hours to leave the corpse, but there is also the delay in the spirit leaving the body after death (Parry, 1995). After an Aborigine dies, the news is quickly communicated to all clan groups, no matter how distant, in which kin members are living. The messengers approach distant groups and display the collection of clan totemic designs with which the deceased was affiliated. The displays alert people in the camp of their kin relationship and their responsibilities to the dead person. The messengers may also sing songs that hint at the

person’s identity, but they never reveal the name (Lawlor, 1991). In some tribes, certain mourners must not speak for some time, and in all, the name of the dead may not be mentioned for months or even years. The taboo against pronouncing the name of the dead is strictly observed because it is believed that the vibratory pattern of the person’s name can act as a hook or anchor to which the spiritual energy of the deceased can attach itself and thereby remain on earth (Lawlor, 1991). In addition, any persons or objects bearing the same name must no longer be referred to by that name (Elkin, 1964). In traditional cultures, name avoidance may prevent provocation of the spirit. Whereas in today’s societies, avoidance of a name may avoidance of pain due to loss (DeSpelder,

1996). Widowed Aboriginal women also maintain vows of silence, even after remarriage, to publicly express sorrow. Many of these women will communicate to one another in sign language. In Indian yoga, vows of silence are believed to instigate rapid inner changes. This aspect of silence would benefit Aboriginal women, who must completely restructure their lives when they move from one marriage to another (Lawlor, 1991). In many other cultures, women have distinct restrictions placed on them after a death. An Islamic widow must wait four months and ten days before remarrying (Parry, 1995). Some generalizations found throughout the Aboriginal tribes are that the actions of those associated with a dying or dead person are regulated by certain forms of social organization, or in

particular, the kinship system, generation or age-levels, moiety and cult group. When a person is dying, people watch nearby or at a distance, according to relationship rules; they wail or chant, gash and draw blood from themselves, and maybe throw themselves on the sick person. After death, all of this emotion is usually intensified and often a state of frenzy is reached (Elkin, 1964). Sorrow and grief are highly dramatized in Aboriginal society. Much like Muslim women who are infamous for their dramatic wailings as a release of grief, both men and women wail and lament long after the death of a relative. The tearful demonstrations continue until ?they become empty of grief.? Grieving is sometimes accompanied by ritual wounding. Bloodletting, like emotion, is an outpouring of

spirit into a larger reality. In the dramatization of sorrow, both spirit and blood escape the body in an acknowledgment of the suffering and death that universally befell humankind (Lawlor, 1991). This is not only a sign of real or standardized grief but also of the disturbance of the general sense of well-being. It is also a reaction to the magical death-dealing forces that are ever about and had just been put into effective operation (Elkin, 1964). The feeling of sorrow expands from the individual and society to include a relationship to the land. When someone dies, the places of conception, birth, initiation, marriage, and death of the person receive as much respect and attention as the deceased relative. In this way, grieving moves beyond the individual’s death and becomes

more a catalyst for remembering places and events and myths associated with those places. The rule in Aboriginal society is to avoid, for a long time, the place where a kin has died, until the memory has faded in intensity. Approaching the death site of a recently deceased relative would imply disrespect. During their absence from these sites, the Aborigines dramatically express nostalgia for the features of that countryside. Often the demonstrations of grief need not be spontaneous or authentic, yet they express a continuing relationship that the living have to the dead. The emotion of grief must be fully released, since any sorrow withheld in the psyche would form alink to which the deceased spirit might cling (Lawlor, 1991). Gradually the heightened emotions and rage die down