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A P Elkin - Aboriginal men of high degree - Goanna totem



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Aboriginal men of high degree – A P Elkin

 Another Bandjelang elder, W. P., from Woodenbong near the Queensland border, said that a postulant for this higher degree goes into the bush and camps near a spring, where he fasts for several weeks.

There he feels and hears the "clever things" coming on him during the night. These things are the ropes. For crystals (nyurum), however, he goes to the mountains, and while camped there he hears something come up to him, which could be his protector his individual totem. So he picks it up.

A practicing Bandjelang clever man, A. C., from Tabulam, 65 kilometers south of Woodenbong, whom I met in 1946, confirmed this. In his making he went to the mountains for revelations. He fasted for two or three months. His father took him there but after a while left him by himself. His teacher was Biruganba, the sky cult-hero, while two of Biruganba's sisters (the Koinganbi) showed him everything. He saw a carpet snake coiled up on the water in a cave and went to touch it for medicine (magic power), but the snake took him under the water and then up to the top of the mountain.

 A. C. had a goanna for his assistant-totem, which he kept inside himself. He also had a rope (nandiri) and crystal. His powers included the ability to fly at night to distant places

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps