John William Waterhouse ~ Jason and Medea (1907)
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The Dreaming, or timeless time, has different meanings for various Aboriginal groups, which are divided into more than 500 tribal groups. Dreamtime refers to the belief of Australian Aborigines that the world was created during the Dreamtime, and tribes people entered this imaginal realm through altered consciousness, dreams and death.
Dreamtime is considered the final destination before journeying to reincarnation. The rules and embodiment of Creation gives meaning to the collective.
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE DREAMING
A Dreaming is a story owned by different tribes, explaining the Creation, and is passed on as it is owned when people live according to tribal law, and lore. The songs, dances, and stories are transmissions or lineages of the Songlines, Murals of Dreaming or Creation. These transmissions are not to be painted without the authorization of the Dreaming’s owner. Otherwise, it is considered stealing.
Four Aspects of Dreamtime
- The beginning of all things
- The life and influence of the ancestors
- The way of life and death
- The sources of power of life
The four aspects of Dreamtime include a condition, “all-at-once” instead of the “one-thing-after-another” time, which is beyond time and space other than everyday life. Dreamtime is experienced as the past, present and future co-existing in altered states of consciousness.
When tribal members live according to tribal rules, they are initiated through rituals, and hearing the mythology of the tribe.
The experience of Dreamtime may sound mystical or mysterious to the Western mind. It is based on comprehension and observable facts of social and mental life, which are unfortunately held with little regard in Western society. The present is observable as a result of past actions or events. Present society is based on a foundation of past great men and women’s heroic deeds.
In Aboriginal tribes, and many ancient races, the past heroic deeds of ancestors are remembered with great veneration.
The tribal members believed the present life, personal skills and character of all members, arose out of the deeds and life of the ancestors, and passed on to the tribe in the present, which are held in the Dreamtime, beyond shifting events happening “one-after-the-other.” The belief that each individual’s life is eternal, and pre-existed, until becoming a living being born to the mother.
Entering the Dreamtime
The individual who enters the Dreamtime feels no separation between themselves, and the strengths and resources of their ancestors. The limitations of time and space are overcome through Dreamtime.
Death in Dreamtime
Death is considered a cycle of life, and one emerges from Dreamtime through birth, and returns to the timeless, only to emerge again. It is a common belief that a person temporarily enters the Dreamtime during sleep.
The Aboriginal tribes are deeply connected and dependent upon their beliefs, strength, and the identity of their inner landscape, perhaps more than any race of recent times, and the inner world is an externalization of the individual’s landscape.
Aborigines are vulnerable to anything which disrupts their beliefs, and have a great psychic sense of wholeness and identity with their tribe and environment than is common in Western individuals.
Lastly, how do you resonate with Dreamtime? Do you call, sing, chant, journal, or visualize it into your consciousness?
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines (Mr. Chatwin explores the Australian Aboriginal custom of “singing the world out of Dreamtime”)
Philip K. Dick, VALIS
David Gulpilil’s Stories of the Dreamtime. Mr. Gulpilil is a tribal musician, dancer, writer, actor, of aboriginal descent, and appeared in the films,
Crocodile Dundee I and II
Neil Gaiman, graphic novels, The Sandman
Alexia Wright, Carpentaria