The Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime
Tjukurpa - The DreamingTjukurpa - also sometimes spelt Tjukurrpa - is a complex concept. It is usually translated as "the Dreaming". The term also refers to the relationships and interdependence of all creatures and the land. Tjukurpa is also a collection of stories, knowledge and laws.
The Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime is essentially a creation myth. However it is also a lot more than that. Dreamtime is not just myth, legend or religion. It permeates all aspects of boriginal thought and has a profound effect on their world-view.
"As it was done in the Dreamtime, so it must be done today"
AncestorsIn the time before Time there was only the barren land and the empty sky. The sun, moon and stars slept below the land along with the spirits of the Totemic Ancestors.
On the First Day, the Sun was born from the land. He rose into the sky and his light warmed the land. Slowly the other Ancestors awoke and emerged onto the land. This marked the beginning of the Dreamtime.
As the Ancestors crossed the land they spoke names, calling into being all of creation - natural features as well as plants and animals and even abstract concepts such as death. Every prominent feature of the landscape is thus associated directly with the Dreamtime Ancestors. During their travels the Ancestors also scattered the gurawari seeds.
As the Ancestors moved across the land they sang songs which incorporated the names they had created. They thus left a web of songlines on the land which indicate their progress. These songs are sung today at sacred ceremonies.