Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cycle Aboriginal of Life                                                                                                           

For the Aboriginal People life began when the child's soul/spirit leaves its spirit home, such as a waterhole, and enters the mother's body, through the mystic experience of the father or one of his relatives, where it dwells in the material substance in the pregnant woman to become a person.

The next stage in a boy's life is initiation, or the age-grading rites. These rites can be in the form of a series of rites throughout his youth. For girls the next stage is puberty, with associated rituals that are often colourful and always socially significant.

Age-grading mechanisms separate the men from the women, the men taking part in or being initiated in particular ceremonies which exclude women, and girls being initiated into the women's ceremonies that exclude men.

The passage from childhood to near-adulthood takes place through age-grading or puberty rites, or some kind of initiation.

When she reaches puberty a girl may go to her husband, though she may already be living with him, but not yet as a wife until puberty. The further learning the girl receives in social and ritual life is more informal than with boys, who undergo a series of stages on the way to becoming a man, always associated with definite rituals. For a boy the series of rites he undergoes marks his gradual acceptance  as a practicing member of the most important cults of his tribe. Not all reach the ultimate goal at the top level of the cults, the level he reaches in dependent on the force of traditional life, the strength of his convictions, and the quality of his teachers.

Among the Aboriginal People, both men and women have a complex social and ritual life. Besides their small immediate family, they are also members of larger, less personal units - the clan, the tribe, linguistic group, moiety. They are also members of totemic system involving a scheme of ceremony, mythology and belief that they feel a direct and active responsible for. As a boy passes through the various stages of initiation he participates in an increasing amount of community life, becoming gradually more fully involved in the way of life of the tribe, which, unsuspected by all but a few of the white settlers, was very structured and complex.

The Aboriginal People believed that men and women start off as spirits, taking on their materialistic form at birth, returning to the spiritual existence at death, when their spirit returns to the spirit home to await its next incarnation, when it enters a pregnant woman to be reborn.

Sources & Further reading

  1. R. M & C. H. Berndt, The World of the First Australians, Ure Smith Pty Ltd, 1964
Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated: 30/09/2011
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