Dreaming up Mythologies


The above image has proven popular – it's a native pictogram in Anbangbang Rock Shelter, Kakadu National Park, Australia.

Some time after humans first arrived in Australia they invented explanations for their presence there, and those explanations came to be accepted as possessing literal truth:

"What is certain is that 'Ancestor Spirits' came to Earth in human and other forms and the land, the plants and animals were given their form as we know them today.

These Spirits also established relationships between groups and individuals, (whether people or animals) and where they traveled across the land, or came to a halt, they created rivers, hills, etc., and there are often stories attached to these places.

Once their work was done, the Ancestor Spirits changed again; into animals or stars or hills or other objects. For Indigenous Australians, the past is still alive and vital today and will remain so into the future. The Ancestor Spirits and their powers have not gone, they are present in the forms into which they changed at the end of the 'Dreamtime' or 'Dreaming', as the stories tell.

The stories have been handed down through the ages and are an integral part of an Indigenous person's 'Dreaming'."

Which, of course, is utter nonsense no matter how firmly some Australian Aboriginal people may feel about the myths concerning their origins. Genetic and archeological evidence indicates that humans began to migrate into Australia at least 50,000 years ago (estimates range from 60,000 to 40,000 years ago). Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, named for Lake Mungo, are the earliest known skeletal remains of Australia's indigenous inhabitants.

Australian Aborigine playing a dijiridu with Uluru (Ayers Rock) in background.

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