Aboriginal Culture and the Dreaming

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Assignment 1: Reflective Paper (750 words) While a variety of factors have shaped the diversity of Indigenous Australian philosophy and practices across the Australian continent, one of the central characteristics of the Aboriginal worldview is the concept of the ‘Dreaming’. Outline some of the key aspects of this belief system and reflect on this in comparison to your own worldview. The Dreaming is described by the Aboriginal people as the era of their creation. The belief underlying the concept of The Dreaming helps them understand their very existence (Edwards 1988, p.17). According to Edwards (1988, p. 17), the Aboriginal people believe that they came from the land on which they live and have occupied the land since the era of The Dreaming. Dramatic events that occurred during that specific time interval have modelled the environment, the inhabitants and their way of life (Edwards 1988, p.18). According to Edwards (1988, p.17), The Dreaming assumes that there was a pre-existent, formless substance which led to the creation of all existent things. This substance, within which spirits beings existed, are described as being watery by people who leave near the sea or a featureless plain by inland people. It is believed that these spirit beings emerged from water or land, took a variety of forms such human, both human and animal or human and bird as well as both human and plant. Hence, the spirits beings in stories are described as kangaroo-man, shark-man, native fig-man, bowerbird-woman, crow-woman and snake-man (Edwards 1988, p.17). As these beings travelled over the face of earth, the activities they performed gave the model of how life is to be lived in traditional Aboriginal life or by the species they represent. As the ancestors beings travelled and performed various activities, they formed the earth, the rocks, etc. and hence the world that is now was

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