[permaculture] The Rainbow Serpent

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 00:21:46 EST 2018

Aboriginal Dreamtime

The Dreamtime is a commonly used term for describing important features of
Aboriginal spiritual beliefs and existence. It is not generally well
understood by non-indigenous people.

Aboriginals believe that the Dreamtime was way back, at the very beginning.
The land and the people were created by the Spirits. They made the rivers,
streams, water holes the land, hills, rocks, plants and animals. It is
believed that the Spirits gave them their hunting tools and each tribe its
land, their totems and their Dreaming.

The Aboriginals believed that the entire world was made by their Ancestors
way back in the very beginning of time, the Dreamtime. The Ancestors made
everything – The Aboriginal people, the rocks, mountains, rivers, creeks,
waterholes, plants and animals.

The Ancestors made particular sites to show the Aboriginal people which
places were to be sacred. The Aboriginals performed ritual ceremonies and
customary songs near the sacred sites to please the Ancestral spirits and
to keep them alive.

Distinct tribes had different philosophies and beliefs about the Ancestors
who made the world. Some believed that the Ancestors were animal-spirits.

Others in parts of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory believed the
Ancestors were huge snakes. In other places the spirit who created the
world was believed to be the Wanadjina.

Dreamtime is the foundation of Aboriginal religion and culture. It dates
back some 65,000 years. It is the story of events that have happened, how
the universe came to be, how human beings were created and how their
Creator intended for humans to function within the world as they knew it.

Aboriginal people understood the Dreamtime as a beginning that never ended.
They held the belief that the Dreamtime is a period on a continuum of past,
present and future.

The Aborigines learned about their beginnings through their Dreamtime
creation folklores that told of the momentous actions of the creators. The
myths were the foundation of Aboriginal society provided certainty about

The Australian aborigines believed that the land they occupied was once not
in existence like it is today. It was free from form or life, vacuous –

They unquestionably believed that this was the way things once were because
the ancestors had said so and they would never doubt their word. It was
during what has become known as the Dreamtime, the land, mountains, hills,
rivers, plants, lifeforms both animal and human and sky above were formed
by the actions of mysterious and supernatural spirits.

During the Dreamtime the creators made men women and animals, declared the
laws of the land and how people were to behave to one another, the customs
of food supply and distribution, the rituals of initiation, the ceremonies
of death which are required to be performed so that the spirit of the dead
travels peacefully to his or her spirit-place, and the laws of marriage.

Some Dreamings told of the mythical creators disappearing. They believed
that the creators disappeared from the sight of mere mortals, but continued
to live in secret places.

Some lived in the tribe’s territory in rock crevices, trees and water
holes. Others went up into the sky above as heavenly bodies. Others changed
into (or perhaps became) natural forces such as wind, rain, thunder and

It is believed that many of the creators continued to live on the land or
in the sky above watching over them. These supernatural enigmatic creators
were often referred to as men and women who had the ability to change shape
into animals and other creatures such as the Rainbow Serpent.

There are also stories of heroes and heroines and Father and Mother figures.

The Dreamtime may be difficult for many of us to understand fully but it is
part of who the Aboriginal people are, the very essence and reason for
being here. It is all encompassing and will forever be at the centre of
their existence as a people.
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lfljvenaura at gmail.com

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