the dreaming

re-visioning Aboriginal Sense of Place


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Unless otherwise indicated, the quotes are from Robert Lawlor's "Voices of the First Day"

Please note there is no intention to offend by using the words "Aborigines" or "Aboriginal" or "Indigenous"

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Songlines and the Importance of Language

According to Aboriginal cosmology, the great Dreaming Ancestors shaped the earth, its continents, oceans, rivers and its veins of crystals, pigments and minerals.  Their activities still resonate in the shapes and energies that bathe the earth and all life processes.  These energies are often referred to symbolically as the Rainbow Serpent, which, like electromagnetism and all energy fields, exists as a spectrum of various colors, frequencies or powers.

Symbolically, energies are received initially by the North Pole and mixed with the magnetism of the Earth's interior.  These energies are then regenerated by the South Pole, acting like a catalyst or invisible organising principle in all processes of growth.  As they pass over a particular region, these energies organize the earth's condition and the ambient energetic fields of a region into a milieu for the emergence of particular forms of life.

The landscape of Aboriginal Australia mirrors a living organism.  Each tribe was / is a stationary expression of the region of the Earth from which it emerged; connecting these tribal regions throughout Australia is a circulation system called the songlines.  Directed by a complex unwritten calendar of ceremonies and rituals, tribal people would move along these songlines and interact with people of other regions.

The magnetic songlines guided the physical, ceremonial journeys of the tribes.  Initiated men and women learned to travel these subtle and invisible energy veins using their psychic or spirit body.  Thus they wee able to exchange songs, dances and mythic visions of the ever-unfolding Dream-time reality over great distances.  Tribal elders claim that not only Australia but the entire Earth, at one time, was linked through the songlines.

A way to image in a material sense, the subtle flow from south to north ( from potential to actualization ) is to remember that much of the raw materials used to feed the industrial manufacturing of the north are drawn from the so called Third World, the underdeveloped nations of the south.  Northern civilisations have moved, in stages, toward encasing themselves in glass and metal structures and rubber-soled footwear.  Glass and rubber are poor conductors of magnetism, and metal diffuses and disrupts human sensitivity to geomagnetic fields.  Cultural development in the north has been marked by separation and isolation from the geomagnetic and atmospheric currents.  Western civilization is now enveloped in artificially induced magnetic fields that disrupt the organic functions of the body and mute human sensitivity to the magnetic ambience of the natural world.

Electromagnetic pollution is a cause of many diseases that befall modern people, including cancer, heart disease, arthritis and schizophrenia.  Almost all of the functions of the autonomic nervous system slow down when one is enclosed in a building or vehicle, because these functions are tuned to the subtle changes of natural light and geomagnetism. The reduction in autonomic bodily responses encourages a shift away from sensory, intuitive awareness to an increased reliance on the cerebral, conscious, decision making mechanism of the central nervous system.

Movement north through time is characterized by clarity, separation, isolation, and a shift in focus toward the external material world.  Following the decline of the great temple traditions of India and Egypt, the principle of separative vision was manifested in Greek rationalism.  The Greek language adopted separative vision in its grammatical structure through the complete separation of subject and object.  This linguistic form shaped the emergence of the civilizations of the Mediterranean, northern Europe, and the colonized New World.  The languages of those cultures presuppose an observer who is sepaated from the observed world, the noun, or subject, of every sentnce is separated from the object by a verb, or action.  The language we speak every day forces us to suee ourselves as acting on a world that is other than and external to ourselves.  

Excerpt from "Voices of the First Day - Awakening the Aboriginal Dreamtime" by Robert Lawlor.


Chirstobel Swann, a speaker of Southern Arrernte, says that in 1788, there were about 250 separate Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia, plus dialects. Today, only two thirds of these languages survive and only 20 of them (eight per cent of the original 250) are still strong enough to have chance of surviving well into the next century.  The only strong Australian languages left are in the most remote and least urbanised areas of the continent; the Kinberleys, Arnhem Land, Far North Queensland and Central Australia. 

Many Australians refer to Aboriginal languages as 'dialects', thinking that they are all dialects of one all-embracing Aboriginal Language. In fact, all of the original 250 languages were mutually incomprehensible ; as different from each other as say French and German. 


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