Thursday, October 1, 2009

explaining the dreamtime

one of the hardest parts of teaching Australian art is correctly explaining the idea of the dreamtime and the rainbow serpent. Many of the stories of the dreamtime are not to be told to non Aboriginal people and some storys are for only males or females. There are diffrent stories for diffrent tribes and some give conflicting information. It is hard to find a example of a dreamtime sotry and there are no childrens books about it as far as I know. I always start by explaining that is one groups creation story. A creation story is a story that explains how the plants, animals, people, even weather came to be. You may agree or disagree with a creation story personaly. This is the creation story of the aborgines:

Aboriginals believe in two forms of time; two parallel streams of activity. One is the daily objective activity, the other is an infinite spiritual cycle called the "dreamtime", more real than reality itself. Whatever happens in the dreamtime establishes the values, symbols, and laws of Aboriginal society. It was believed that some people of unusual spiritual powers had contact with the dreamtime

It was believed that, before humans, animals, and plants came into being, their 'souls' existed by themselves; they knew they would become physical, but not when. When that time came, all but one of the 'souls' became plants or animals, with the last one becoming human and acting as a custodian or guardian to the natural world around them.

Dreamtime. The Aborigines believe that the world began during a mythical period called Dreamtime, or The Dreaming. During this time, ancestral beings that slept beneath the ground emerged from the earth. They created the landscape, made people, established the laws by which people lived, and taught them how to survive. After the ancestral beings' work was done, they returned underground.

The Rainbow Serpent is seen as the inhabitant of permanent waterholes and is in control of life's most precious resource, water. He is the underlying Aboriginal mythology for the famous Outback "bunyip". He is the sometimes unpredictable Rainbow Serpent, who vies with the ever-reliable Sun, that replenishes the stores of water, forming gullies and deep channels as he slithered across the landscape, allowing for the collection and distribution of water.

Dreamtime stories tell of the great Spirits during creation, in animal and human form they molded the barren and featureless earth. The Rainbow Serpent came from beneath the ground and created huge ridges, mountains and gorges as it pushed upward. The Rainbow Serpent is known as Ngalyod by the Gunwinggu and Borlung by the Miali. He is a serpent of immense proportions which inhabits deep permanent waterholes.

A great dreamtime story with the rainbow serpent

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