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Jennifer Isaacs - Australian Aboriginal - Making storms

Identifier

000497

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Australian Dreaming 40,000 years of aboriginal history – Jennifer Isaacs

In the arid centre of Australia there is no one great Spirit Ancestor responsible for life, but numerous totemic beings who existed contemporaneously with each other. The path of each man’s ancestors as he wandered the land forms his own ‘Dreaming’ path and at various times of the year particular rocks, waterholes, trees or caves which mark the route are visited for the performance of ceremonies.
During successive days and nights of song-poetry chanted into the dawn, the dancers methodically stamp and move in rhythmic imitation of the events which befell the Ancestor at this point.
Their bodies are decorated totally with feathers, ochre and grass seeds stuck to their bodies with dried sacred blood let from their veins
Dancers at different Dreamings become Nintaka the perentie, Windaru the bandicoot, Kalara the emu, Kanga the crow, Malu the kangaroo or Mala the hare-wallaby. 

Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines – W Ramsay Smith

Now there was a tribe or family connected with the reptile clan that possessed the knowledge of rain-making.  Their totem was the elements – lightning, thunder, rain, hail and wind. These people were becoming important. They resolved that they would not consult anyone, but would act as they pleased. They were the frilled lizard family. So while the conference was progressing they sent representatives to various parts of the country with instructions that on the days and evenings of the week preceding the new moon every lizard was to begin singing the storm song, and when the time arrived they were to take their flint knives and cut the body and cause the blood to flow, and then were to smear the body with fat and red ochre and daub the face with pipe-clay. They were to begin chanting their prayer song, pleading that the Great Spirit of the lightning, thunder, rain ,hail and wind would grant this, their humble request.
They sang ‘Come O lightning; come, O thunder and wind come with all your force …They repeatedly sang their song of the storm until the Iast few days and evenings before the appearance of the new moon. Then great clouds began to mantle the clear sky, and out of the-black clouds the lightning flashed and rent the sky and earth, and struck terror into the hearts of the animals, birds, and reptiles. The thunder roared in reply to the angry lightning-flashes, and the winds came hurrying and tearing the limbs from the huge, towering gum-trees, uprooting smaller trees and shrubs, strewing them along its path, and driving the rain and hail into every hiding-place of the animals, birds, and reptiles.
… The animals struggled hither and thither in the blinding storm, seeking shelter, travelling up and up, and dodging behind trees and rocks and boulders on the mountain-side, until they reached the summit, where they sought safety. Thus the conference ended in desolation and death.
It rained and rained. The valleys and the low lying country were deluged. Nearly all life was destroyed in the great flood. But the cunning frilled lizards, while their medicine-men were singing their storm song, had sought the mountain-tops, and there had built homes to protect themselves against the storm.

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Symbols

Flood

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References