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A P Elkin - Aboriginal men of high degree - Threads and levitation

Identifier

003283

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

From Aboriginal Men of High degree - A P Elkin

During their making in southeast Australia, a magic cord is slung into the doctors. This cord becomes a means of performing marvelous feats, such as sending fire from the medicine man's insides, like an electric wire. But even more interesting is the use made of the cord to travel up to the sky or to the tops of trees through space. At the display during initiation - a time of ceremonial excitement - the doctor lies on his back under a tree, sends his cord up, and climbs up it to a nest on top of the tree, then across to other trees, and at sunset, down to the ground again. Only men saw this performance, and it is preceded and followed by the swinging of the bull-roarers and other expressions of emotional excitement.

In the descriptions of these performances recorded by R. M. Berndt and myself, the names of the doctors are given and such details as the following: Joe Dagan, a Wongaibon clever man, lying on his back at the foot of a tree, sent his cord directly up, and "climbed" up with his head well back, body outstretched, legs apart, and arms to his sides. Arriving at the top, twelve meters up, he waved his arms to those below, then came down in the same manner, and while still on his back the cord re-entered his body.

Apparently, in this case, his body floated up and down in the horizontal position with no movement of his hands or legs.

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Thread and cord

Science Items

Levitation

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References