The Dreamtime word is widely used, but not very well understood, the term describes key aspects of Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and life.
It is beyond dispute aboriginals survived for thousands of years. The Australian aborigines believed that the land they occupied was once empty. This belief was a great mystery to them, because the ancestors had said this was the way things were. Then during what has become known as the Dreamtime, the Sky above, the Land and all they contained were formed by mysterious and supernatural beings.
The Aborigines learned about the origins of the tribes (clans) through their Dreamtime creation of stories and myths that told of the significant actions of the creators. Aboriginal society was responsible for providing certainty about their existence by re-telling the stories that their forebears once told them.
The Aboriginal people understood the Dreamtime as a beginning. Here there is significant difference between Aboriginal thinking and that of others. In particular the belief that the Dreamtime is a period that is on a continuum of past, present and future.
Aboriginal people understood the Dreamtime as a “beginning” that has never ended.
In one sense it was the past, “sacred past” but also the present and future.
The land itself was an icon, because on the spiritual basis it was created and that some of the creators continued to live in the Sky or on the land. They told of the creation of the formation of the earth, the sky and all they contain. Every mountain, tree, water hole, every animal, bird and marine life along with every other living creature and natural phenomenon was believed to come into existence in the Dreamtime.
During the Dreamtime the creators made men and women, laws which all must obey. Their behaviour to one another, customs of food distribution, rules about marriage, rituals about initiation, ceremonies of death which must be performed that the spirit of the dead would travel peacefully to his or her spirit resting place. They believed that the creators disappeared from the sight of mortals, but continued to live in sacred places. Some lived in the tribe's territory in rock caves and crevices, in trees and water holes. Others went up into the sky as heavenly bodies. Others changed into natural forces such as rain, wind, thunder and lightning.
The Dreamtime itself has been explained in a number of ways. Some explanations refer to the creators being mysterious and supernatural beings. They include men & women “like us” who had the ability to change shape into fauna and other animals, creators like the Rainbow serpent and Minggah and also “all father and all mother figures”. There have also been creators that where heroes and heroines. The main point is that each tribe (clan) had a collection of Dreamtime stories.
Such is the Aboriginal people’s love of the land (Australia) and all it contains in the past, present and future. These hopes and dreams we also share at Dream-time nursery.
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