September 28, 2016
People in every corner of the world and through every era of time have wondered much about the mysteries of life.
Tribal Aboriginal people in their many, separate groups, found answers and guidance in the intricate, in-depth, varied and creative teachings which came form their Dreaming.
The foundation of their beliefs was the Dreamtime or The Dreaming; they learned from their fathers and mothers over the centuries that the land was created through the movement and creation of spiritual people and creatures of nature. There are sites and stories that told them how their landscape has been given to them and the morals of the stories helped them not to miss use the land. They could not own the land, as they were only passing through, but they recognised that the land was given to them to care for and was totally SACRED. Each tribal landmark, each campsite, plus all that they could see into the distance, had been created specifically for them.
Each rock, each blade of grass, each water course, each free standing tree, indeed every aspect of the natural world was linked to their belief, to the mystical, yet totally certain and secure, spiritual realm.
The Dreamtime was both lore and law to them and remains so for many contemporary Aboriginal people as well.
Interestingly each separate language group, had it’s own stories/teachings which explained the creation of the all powerful; ‘all father’ spirit who had created the land, the people, the birds, the animals, the fish, the flora etc. Stories also told of the creation of the sun, the moon and the stars.
The Dreaming – as an eternal, all encompassing and empowering reality – involved far more than the actual telling of the Dreamtime Stories, however. Each story was used to reinforce the already existent, powerful and spiritual aura which controlled their lives.
Through the various teaching, Aboriginal people learned with fear the dreadful consequences of disobedience. They also experienced the wonder, the joy, the pure excitement, the peace and the emotional security of knowing that each one had a place and a real purpose in this world. Each of these separate emotions and more, are clearly shown through the many stories.
On most occasions, during the corroboree dancing – as part of a sacred ceremony – whole Dreaming stories were chanted by a storyteller, while being mimed by the dancers. Sacred corroborees were always well choreographed, well practiced and quite ritual.
Dance in it’s many forms, along with drama, miming, music, art and chanting were focal points in the day to day lives of tribal people. Whether the dancing was spontaneous and free or part of a ritual in sacred ceremony, this aspect of tribal lifestyle was always very much combined with the all encompassing Dreaming.
Specific ceremonies were also held whenever a special request was to be made by the creator. As dreaming stories reveal this occurred in times of severe drought, an epidemic of sickness or the facing of any unexpected, new and/or traumatic situation.
Before white settlement there existed more than 250 languages spoken across Australia and with these many other dialects existed. Unfortunately, very few of them – less than 50 in fact – are spoken fluently and/or fully interpreted today. Aboriginal language was only spoken, not written down, so with the rise of white settlement, there came the beginning of the brutal disruption of lifestyle, tradition, peace and security, for all Aboriginal people and has had major effects in the preservation of language, tradition, and many passed on cultural practices.
Traditional Dreaming stories being passed on to the next generations. In the present day, various forms of dance, drama, music and singing continue to be very much a part of contemporary Aboriginal lifestyle. There are a great many Aboriginal men and women today who are highly creative and very talented in one or all of these fields. Their strong, ongoing influence in this area is having a very apparent and pleasing affect on contemporary Australian culture as a whole.
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