The Aboriginal Dreamtime faith is native to the Aborigines of Australia, and is about the continual formation of all life – together with rules for living – out of a preexisting chaos of fertile potential. At the heart of this belief system, is responsibility in the community.
The Dreamtime is a potent mix of creation myth and ancestral lore, which dates back thousands of years in Australia. To them, the dreamtime is the foundation of Law and Lore for the living – It shapes how things are and how things should be. Dreamtime is also a fundamental aspect of Creation. Before creation, there was a dark, infinite, featureless space. Within it exists all potential realities.
In this lore, it was believed that from the swirling in that infinite space, elements would erupt with energy and create physical creation. Specifically aspects of the earth, creating hills, valleys, rivers, and springs, even bringing forth sunlight. The elements from which the physical erupted are the ancient ancestral forms of all of the living things on the earth, humans, kangaroos, bees, dingoes, everything.
The aboriginal name for this ancestral infinite place was called the Ancient Dreamtime, which today is known as the Dreaming.
Once creating physical creation, the spirit ancestors then returned beneath their newly formed land surface. Their descendants, ordinary humans, kangaroos, bees, and dingoes, and all of life, began to inhabit the land. They followed the lifestyles and rules established for them by their ancestral forms. The most important ones are those that require all inhabitants of countries to bear mutual responsibility for the well-being of that living community.
The Dreaming is often presented as a collection of “just-so” stories about the time of Creation. However, it is in fact a complex summary of the rights and responsibilities people have for dwelling cooperatively, without overconsumption, in specific regions.
It’s expression in art, from traditional rock art to body adornment and contemporary acrylics, and music, from funerary didgeridoo playing to urban fusions, now has global recognition. The Dreaming bears influence in legal land-rights cases as well as religious initiation rituals.
Some Mantras of the Dreamtime are as follows:
‘We don’t own the land, the land owns us’
‘The Land is my mother, my mother is the land’
‘Land is the starting point to where it all began. It is like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I will go’
‘The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity’
‘We don’t have boundaries like fences, as farmers do. We have spiritual connections’