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“The Dreaming” and the politics of translation

Ancestor beings rose and roamed the initially barren land, fought and loved, and created the land's features as we see them today. After creating the 'sacred world' the spiritual beings "turned into rocks or trees or a part of the landscape.

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These became sacred places, to be seen only by initiated men. The spirits of the ancestor beings are passed on to their descendants, e. Spirits don't belong to anyone and can be accessed by everyone. It is interesting to note that many Aboriginal people also use the term 'Dreaming' to refer to their concepts about spirituality.

This might be because some of them find ceremonies or songs in a state of dreaming, a state between sleeping and waking [1]. Strictly speaking, dreaming and mythology can be considered as the same thing: the deep mental archetypes and images of wisdom which we take on to be guided by them when the conscious mind is in a state of quietness [8].

In Christianity, for example, the spiritual world is 'heaven', and many Christians believe it is reachable only after death and never while the person is still alive.

Those who find heaven inside might disagree, but such a discussion is beyond this article. Aboriginal man Midnight Davies describes how all-encompassing the Dreaming can be for Aboriginal people: [9]. The Dreaming is a complete guide to life and living - it is an encyclopaedia of the world. It is not just stories - it is art, songs, dance; it is written into the land itself.

It serves as a guide to day-to-day life, a guide to the spiritual side of life. What we draw on from our memories, and think, imagine and create in our daily lives is our dreaming. One person can have multiple Dreamings [11]. Each form shares the spirituality from the 'Dreaming'.

Welcome to the Dreamtime

It is during ceremonies that the trance-like dreaming state seizes the Aboriginal people and they connect with the ancestral beings [12]. Watch three Aboriginal men explaining what the Dreaming tjukurrpa means for them and how Dreaming stories encode information:. Watch more Dreaming stories: Sam Taylor has put together a few Dreaming videos. Read more Aboriginal poetry. This site uses cookies to personalise your experience.

If you continue using the site, you idicate that you are happy to receive cookies from this website. Jump to main navigation Jump to content Close this Wishing you knew more about Aboriginal culture? Search no more. They made the people themselves, who are descendants of the Dreamtime ancestors. They made the natural elements : Water, Air, Fire.

They made all the celestial bodies : the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.

What is Aboriginal Dreamtime?

Then, wearied from all their activity, the mythical creatures sank back into the earth and returned to their state of sleep. Sometimes their spirits turned into rocks or trees or a part of the landscape. These became sacred places, to be seen only by initiated men. These sites had special qualities. It is like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I will go ' ' The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity ' ' We don't have boundaries like fences, as farmers do.

We have spiritual connections '. Land means many things to many people.

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To a farmer, land is a means of production and the source of a way of life. It is economic sustainability.

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To a property developer, it is a bargaining chip and the means of financial progress and success. To many Australians, land is something they can own if they work hard enough and save enough money to buy it. To Indigenous people land is not just something that they can own or trade.

Land has a spiritual value. We are the Indigenous people of Australia. The term "Aboriginal" has become one of the most disputed in the Australian language. The Commonwealth definition is social more than racial, in keeping with the change in Australian attitudes away from racialistic thinking about other people.

An Aboriginal person is defined as a person who is a descendant of an Indigenous inhabitant of Australia, identifies as an Aboriginal, and is recognised as Aboriginal by members of the community in which she or he lives. This definition is preferred by the vast majority of our people over the racial definitions of the assimilation era.

Administration of the definition, at least by the Commonwealth for the purposes of providing grants or loans, requires that an applicant present a certificate of Aboriginality issued by an incorporated Aboriginal body under its common seal. Sometimes non-Aboriginal people get confused by the great range and variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, from the traditional hunter to the Doctor of Philosophy; from the dark-skinned to the very fair; from the speaker of traditional languages to the radio announcer who speaks the Queen's English.

The lesson to be learned from this is that we should not stereotype people ; that people are different, regardless of race.

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