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The Effect Of Dreamtime On Aborigine Daily Life

1729 words - 7 pages

Despite the vast number of different religions in the world today, a single one stands out. This religion is the cumulative beliefs of the Australian Aborigine people, often referred to as Dreamtime. Dreamtime was a fascinating subject for the first European settlers of Australia, and for many generations after them. Children’s story books are still written about the topic. These tales portray the Dreamtime beliefs in a relatively accurate, yet extremely simplified, way. The truth is that Dreamtime is a very unique religion that is set aside from almost every other religion on the Earth. The religious traditions of the Australian Aborigines vary significantly from those of other religions in a few key ways: everything is somehow related to a deity, there is no distinction between things sacred and profane or real and imaginary, and there is a universal oneness in thought and in body; these differences show up everywhere in day-to-day life and heavily influence everything related to the Aborigines.
Although there are more facets to the religious aspects of the Australian Aborigines, the center of the beliefs is Dreamtime, which is a creation myth, a daily event, and a life-guide. The Aborigine religion mostly an animist framework, in that there is no set number of deities (Koepping 368). There are a few specific deities that are held higher than others, such as deities that created large land masses (Koepping 368). These deities created the universe in a period known as the Dreamtime, or also the Dreaming. These deities are ancestral totemic spirit being, who came to earth and made everything the way it is now (Australian Aboriginal Religion). Unlike some other beliefs, the Aborigines believe that these archetypal beings had and have a literal existence; they traveled across formless land, creating sacred sites, significant places of interest, and other plain landscapes during their journey (Smith 18-19). The tracks of these beings as they created the universe, called Dreaming tracks, are paths across the land, sky, or water. Knowledgeable people, such as village elders or shamans, can follow these paths by repeating the words of an ancient song and, often, dancing an associated dance (Smith 51). The paths are said to be evident from their petrosomatoglyphs, such as large depressions identified as footsteps (Smith 52). Although the specific details to the Dreaming track stories vary between different groups, almost all of them are related. For example, all Dreamtime stories have an overarching deity, but it’s – the gender of the deity varies between stories – name differs between each linguistic group (Australian Aboriginal Religion).
The Aboriginal worldview and religion of Dreamtime differs significantly from every other major religion. The main difference between Dreamtime, as an animistic religion, and poly- or monotheistic religions is obvious; the belief of Dreamtime has a virtually infinite number of deities as opposed to a limited...

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