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Mircea Eliade - Australian aboriginal ropes and stairs



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Mircea Eliade – Shamanism Archaic techniques of ecstasy

………….These initiatory rites and myths form part of a more general belief regarding the medicine man’s ability to reach the sky by means of a rope, a scarf or simply by flying or climbing a spiral stairway.  Several myths mention that the first men mounted to the sky by climbing a tree; thus the ancestors of the Mara were accustomed to climb a certain tree up to the sky and come down again. 

Among the Wiradjuri the first man, created by Baiame, the Supreme Being, could reach the sky by a path on a mountain and then by climbing a stairway to Baiame, just as the medicine men still do down to our day among the Wurundjeri and the Wotjobaluk.  The Yuin medicine men go up to the dwelling of Daramulun, the Supreme God, who gives them remedies.

A Euhayli myth tells how the medicine men reached Baiame.  They walked northeastward for several days until they reached the foot of the great mountain Ubi-Ubi, whose peaks were lost in the clouds.  They climbed it by a spiral stone staircase and at the end of the fourth day came to the top.  There they met Baiame’s Spirit Messenger; he summoned Spirit servants, who carried the medicine men through a hole in the sky.

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps