The Death And Dying Beliefs Of Australian — страница 5

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beating or rape by the helmsman symbolizes the severe assault and trauma the consciousness undergoes in its initial separation from the body (Lawlor, 1991). Most of the initiation rituals in Aboriginal society follow a pattern of death and rebirth. For example, a novice dies to the profane world of childhood and irresponsible innocence, the world of ignorance, and prepares himself for rebirth as a spiritual being, much as Christians receive a new soul at First Holy Communion. The tribe understands this death literally and mourns over the novices as the dead are mourned (Eliade, 1973). The Aborigine sees life in death and is exposed to it throughout his lifetime in the initiation processes that allow an internal experience of the journey from life to the realm of the dead. The

African-American approach to death is also as a rite of passage where the soul passes into another phase (Parry, 1995). The American society denies death and views it as a threat to life. The Aborigine, on the other hand, understands the spiritual reality of death and its necessity. To the Aborigine, it is impossible to understand how to exist in this life without knowing howto exist in death and therefore it is once again apparent that the society’s views on death are reflected by their views of life. The world only has meaning to the degree that Death and the Unborn have meaning. To deny or distort the purpose and meaning of one is to deny the same for all (van Beek, 1975). The Aborigines have very defined rituals and expectations dealing with the death of a person. They also

have highly evolved meanings to accompany their rituals. Although this paper has shown many similarities between other religions and that of the Aborigines, they have their own distinct compilations of these beliefs and practices. Their standardized grief process, concepts of an afterlife and burial practices are not foreign to today’s American society when looking at the meaning and purpose behind their death and dying practices. Certain human emotions manifest themselves across many cultures in their death practices and in the end differences are often in the technicalities when the significance stays the same. However this is not always apparent to people from different religions and can cause certain religions to be labeled primitive and the people to be called savages.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Charlesworth, M., H. Morphy, D. Bell, and K. Maddock. Religion in Aboriginal Australia. Queensland, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1984. DeSpleder, L. A., A. L. Strickland. The Last Dance; Encountering Death and Dying. London: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1996. Eliade, M. Australian Religions: An Introduction. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1973. Elkin, A. P. The Australian Aborigines. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1964. Lawlor, R. Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions, 1991. Parry, J. K., A. S. Ryan. A Cross-Cultural Look at Death, Dying, and Religion. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1995. Spencer, B., and F. J. Gillen. The Native Tribes of Central Australia. New

York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1968. van Beek, W. E. A., J. H. Scherer. Explorations in the Anthropology of Religion. Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975. 36f