Welcome to my Blog!

"For me, and, I am sure, for most of you, to be human is to always be in the process of becoming, to be in quest of openings, of possibilities." ~ Maxine Greene

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Dream Time

When we think of the history of Australia, we often assume that it started with the Portuguese, or the Dutch, French, Spanish, or British explorers. But we need to roll back the clock from the 1500-1600s to approximately 68,000 to 40,000 BC, when the Aboriginal tribes were thought to have traveled by boat from southeast Asia. Some historians put that date back to 70,000 BC! Before the Europeans invaded the continent, there’s no telling how many Aborigines lived there, but by the time the Europeans arrived, it is estimated that there were about 1 million native people. They lived in about 300 clans, and spoke 250 different languages; they traveled continuously in search of food and water, but maintained a special spiritual connection to specific pieces of the land. In spite of the great diversity between the clans living in the desert, the rainforests, the mountains, or along the shores, they all shared (and still do to some extent) a belief in what is called “The Dreamtime” ~ a mythological “era” in which ancestral beings (“totems”) formed the Creation.

I recently watched the film “The Last Wave” (1977), which offered this explanation of the Dreamtime: “Aboriginals believe in two forms of time; two parallel streams of activity. One is the daily objective reality, the other is an infinite spiritual cycle called the ‘dreamtime’, more real than reality itself. Whatever happens in the dreamtime establishes the values, symbols, and laws of Aboriginal society. It was believed that some people of unusual spiritual powers had contact with the dreamtime.”

I am fascinated with the concept of “time,” and enjoy learning about the perspectives of the Aboriginals who, even now, do not seem to operate in the one-dimensional 24-hour day cycle that a great deal of the world’s people build their lives around. But what IS “time”? And is there a Dreamtime for non-Aboriginal people? This is worth exploring …

For more images and a helpful overview of Australian Aboriginal history, go to: