The Importance Of Dreaming In Australian Aboriginal

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The Importance Of Dreaming In Australian Aboriginal Religion Essay, Research Paper The Dreaming is a term that refers to all that is known and all that is understood by Aboriginal people. It is central to the existence of traditional Aboriginal people and their lifestyle and culture, for it determines their values and beliefs and their relationships with every living creature and every feature of the landscape. It is the way Aboriginal people explain the beginning of life and how everything in their world came into being. It tells of the journeys and the deeds of Spirit Ancestors who made the trees, rocks, waterholes, and rivers, mountains and stars as well as the animals and plants, and whose spirits inhabit these features of the natural world today. It is the natural world

that provides the link between the people and the Dreaming, especially the land (or ‘country’) to which a person belongs. Aboriginal people see themselves as related to, and apart of, this natural world and know its features in intricate detail. This relationship to the natural world carries responsibilities for its survival and continuity so that each person has special obligations to protect and preserve the spirit of the land and the life forms that are a part of it. These obligations may take the form of conservation practices, obeying the law, observing codes of behaviour or involvement in sacred ceremonial activities. The influence of the Dreaming is embedded in every aspect of daily life. The Dreaming permeates song, dance, storytelling, paintings, artefact making,

hunting and food gathering activities as well as the social (kinship) system because it provides the framework within which Aborigines live. An example of the importance of dreaming can bee seen through this language group, The Krantji Kangaroo clan (northern Aranda Aboriginal people). They trace their spiritual lineage to the red kangaroo – this is their totem. To them, the powerful kangaroo is a beloved ancestor, shaper of the landscape, an immortal being of that timeless, instructive, and never-ending epoch of creation and earthly transformation widely known as the Dreamtime. The most sacred place to the Red Kangaroo clan is a small natural spring known as Krantji. It has long been the traditional duty of each generation of the Red Kangaroo Clan to honour ceremonially this

place. This spring is the birthplace and everlasting home of Krantjirinja their Original Ancestor, the leader of their Red Kangaroo clan. In December 1980, A E Newsome, a wild life biologist and respected authority on the natural history and ecology of the red kangaroo published an article in the journal “Mankind” reporting that the Red Kangaroo Dreaming may in fact have an underlying ecological rationale. Relying upon living Aboriginal elders and T.G.H Strehlow’s classic Aranda texts, Newsome meticulously pieced together segments of the meandering dreaming trails evoked in certain red kangaroo stories. He matched sacred Aranda sites mentioned in accounts of the mythological journeys of the ancestors with actual physical locations. Newsome found that Aboriginal tales of the

Dreamtime travels of Krantjirinja and other kangaroo ancestors during the Creation Time, revealed a sophisticated grasp of red kangaroo ecology. A map of the ancestors overland trek near Krantji – breathing life and form into the landscapes as they went – corresponded with uncanny correctness to maps of the preferred habitats of red kangaroo, which Newsome had assembled by scientific studies. Conversely, a map of the subterranean portions of the ancestors Dreamtime journeys, during which their radiant powers diminished, corresponded neatly with expanses of desert land largely inhospitable to red kangaroo populations. Newsome concluded that the ancient Aborigines must have been well acquainted with the ecology of the red kangaroo, and appear to have passed that knowledge into