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Bruce Chatwin - Australian aboriginal - Walkabout



Type of Spiritual Experience


Type of experience unspecified

Walkabout refers to the technique of [usually ] male Australian Aborigines, who go into the desert at various points in their lives – initiation for example - and trace the path or songlines that their ancestors took.  They live in the wilderness for as long as it needs to get spiritual input.

The generic technique by which this works is simple dogged walking .

A long walk with your head down looking at the path or road, in which you are plodding along can produce quite intense spiritual experiences.  Add to this the effects of sensory deprivation produced by the desert and you have an ideal relatively benign technique.  If you are further deprived of food and water [fasting] the experience is even more likely to occur.

A description of the experience

Bruce Chatwin – Songlines

The man who went 'walkabout' was making a ritual journey.  He trod in the footsteps of the ancestors, he sang the Ancestor's stanzas without changing a word or note – and so re-created the Creation.  Like a vast loom, the entire Australian continent is criss-crossed by songs that are, at the same time, interwoven myths of creation, the harmonic residue of geological events, and elements of the earth's surface

The source of the experience

Australian aboriginal

Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps


Dogged walking