Dreamtime

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Illustration entitled “The Dream of Gilgamesh” by John Campbell, 1912. Fortean Picture Library.

Dreamtime

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Australian Aborigines trace their religion into prehistoric times. In their belief system, everything that exists is part of a vast, interlocking network, a relationship beginning with the ancestors of the Dreamtime. The Dreamtime continues today and is accessible to people when they "dream the fire," or enter into spiritual communion with the reality of the invisible plane supporting the visible one. The power of Aboriginal spirituality has been called both telepathic and mystical, in direct contrast to typical Western pragmatism. When Australia was discovered and exploited by European society, the Aborigines were considered primitive, people in need of "elevation" to modern cultural standards. Typically, the rich Australian spiritual heritage, existing on a plane unappreciated, misunderstood, and underestimated by Europeans, was considered nothing more than superstition. Only in the last part of the twentieth century did it begin to dawn on Westerners that Aborigines understood the dangers inherent in the trajectory of modern Western society far better than their European counterparts. When anxieties and stresses built up, when life got to be too complex and perspective was needed, it was the habit in Australia to "go walkabout," to pare down and sort things out, to spend an open-ended amount of time simply "being" until perspective was regained. Aboriginal religion intuitively understood that life can sometimes layer up, making it difficult to remain in touch with the very essence of the Dreamtime connection, the feeling of what it means to be alive, in touch with all things in the web. Through mythology, through the ritual of the dance, accompanied by the unique sounds of the didgeridoo or clap sticks, through the very act of observing, living close upon the sparse land in ways no Westerner could, Aborigines lived their religion moment by moment. When they came together to share their histories, telling the old stories, they released the power of the Dreamtime into presentday reality, informing new generations and carrying on the wisdom of the ancestors who had lived for so long on the land.

It can be argued that Dreamtime was experienced when early pioneers told stories around fires in the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett "went walkabout." American Indians danced and felt the presence of the divine in their environment. Indigenous Australians were no different.

Of course there existed those Aborigines who abused Dreamtime, walkabout, and the spiritual heritage that existed in Australia. There can be found, within the culture, abuse of women, laziness, drunkenness, and lack of direction. Probably no religious tradition has ever existed that personified a "golden age" when everyone was wise and spiritually fully developed. But spiritual traditions must be judged on their merits, not on their problem children. Dreamtime connected people with their heritage, supported and informed countless generations of people over the course of thousands of years, and is perfectly logical. Aboriginal customs have stood the test of time,

coming to the aid of people who have seen their world turned upside down in a matter of a few short years. And, the greatest test of all, Dreamtime has been validated by people who feel the pressures of modern life and want to establish spiritual roots in a rapidly changing world. When the pressures of life build up and threaten to overcome us, when too much information floods our souls, perhaps we all need to "go walkabout" or spend some quiet time "dreaming the fire."

References in periodicals archive ?
The Dream Time technique gets parents and their babies singing, doing yoga and gymnastics.
3 Dream time begins with the whimsical new Cruise Dream collection by TechnoMarine, featuring three dial designs: a seahorse with 69 pave diamonds set in mother-of-pearl ($1,300), a fortune fish and a treasure map.
Perth Fashion Week Director, Sylvia Giacci, has been putting the infrastructure in place for the past year to bring the Dream Time Project to life.
Set in the Dream Time, this is the story of a little parakeet unhappy with his plain brown feathers.
Enough dream time, get a sniff of Java and deal with someone who may not be doing you any favours.
This paper illustrates the design and implementation of ECG telemetry system used to automatically estimate the dream time of a health subject.
In the interim he has had an absolute dream time and on Saturday night brought his tally of winners since April 15 to 151.
Ironically the crib we trusted for our babies' dream time was the only piece of baby's first furniture that we were happy with from the moment it was delivered.
The film was directed by Shana Feste and was co-produced by Brosnan's Irish Dream Time film company.
There are many activities that can be therapeutic, and Dream Time continues to show people how.
It snowed through bed time, sleep time and dream time.