Mythology is a complex system of beliefs.
It is passed on through generations by storytelling, and expressed in
dance, song and spiritual rituals. When Europeans first came to
Australia, they thought that
Aboriginal People didn’t have any religion, because they didn’t believe
They had however, and still have, strong beliefs and mythology.
Aboriginal mythology by Malcolm Williams via Flickr.com
Creation Story and Sacred Places
There were hundreds of different language groups scattered over
Australian continent. Because their beliefs are connected to land and
they lived in different environments, all those different groups had
different beliefs. They didn’t, however, live in total isolation from
each other, and there are some common things in their “religion”.
They believe that in the beginning, there was a dark, featureless
earth, until huge creation beings rose out of the ground and started
roaming around the countryside creating mountains, valleys, open plains
and water bodies. They also created plants, animals and humans. This
went on during a “creation period”, which lasted for an unknown time
(different sources vary).
In the end of the creation period, these huge creation beings went back
to the ground and turned into different landscape features, typically
mountains or spectacular rock formations like Uluru,
Devils Marbles, and many many more. Every tribe had at least one of
them, and they believe this is the being that created them. It is the
sacred place for them where they gathered for spiritual rituals, song
and dance. It was like being with their ancestors.
Different Beings in Aboriginal Mythology
They believe that those ancestors, sacred rock formations, have a soul,
and they also believe that all the things that these beings created
have a soul, not only humans and animals,
but also plants and rocks.
given a soul before they were created and then they were turned into plants,
rocks, humans or animals. This is how Aboriginal people feel that they
are part of the nature, part of the land. All the plants, animals and
landscape features have the same origin as themselves, and being in the
is like being amongst all the beings like themselves. They believe that
in their next life their soul may go into a plant, rock, animal or
another human being.
Aboriginal Mythology Expressed in Ceremonies
On their spiritual ceremonies, and nowadays, performances for tourists,
they express all those beliefs through dance, song and storytelling. In
their dance they often mimic kangaroos,
and other animals. Their body
paintings are not only decorations
but consist of different symbols that tell you a lot of different
things about the person wearing them; like what social status the
person has in the group etc.
What is Dreaming and Dreamtime?
Different sources contradict when they explain dreaming and dreamtime.
The most usual way of thinking about these terms is that Dreamtime was
the creation period, the period of time when the creation beings roamed
the countryside and created people, animals, plants and landscape
features. Dreaming refers to the time after it, which still continues
today. Some sources however state that Dreamtime is a wrong expression
altogether because Aboriginal
didn’t have a word for time, so the creation period should be referred
to as Dreaming instead of Dreamtime. In any case none of the
terms have anything to do with dreaming or daydreaming, they are
English words with no exact equivalents in Aboriginal languages, even
though they try to be as close as possible to the real meaning of these
expressions in Aboriginal languages.
Rainbow Serpent in Aboriginal Mythology
Another common misunderstanding is that Rainbow Serpent was the main
creator in Aboriginal mythology. While it was an important being for
most Aboriginal people in Australia, it was not in the creation myths
of all tribes. Rainbow Serpent (aka Rainbow Snake), was associated with
water, waterholes, rivers, rain and rainbows, and it was a creator
mostly for people in northern Australia where there is more water than
in the arid inland. Rainbow Serpent is a huge and often dangerous snake
that was believed to have come out of the water, created the landscape
and the beings, and gone back to the water (as opposed to the desert
creators that rose out of land and went back to the land). Today it
waterholes and controls and allows the distribution of the most
important resource, water.
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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is the rainbow serpent real Not rated yet well yes it is
it is the rainbow in the sky after it rains apears
it also is to swallow people who disobey the law
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