Saturday, April 9, 2011

World Religion: Australian Aborigine Beliefs

This week in our World Religion class, we got to hear about the spiritual beliefs of the Australian Aborigine from Lorna Madill, a woman who had been accepted into their community and went on Walkabout with them.

Today's Australian Aborigine worship in much the same way as did their ancestors 40,000 years ago.  So learning about that culture is really a great insight to the ancient prehistoric Earth-based religions.

Lorna told the students many stories about the Aborigines, including their creation story of the Rainbow Serpent, their connection to their environment and to the animals, and their food, particularly eating the wichetty grub and the honey ants (which, of course, grossed the students out).

Perhaps most interesting, though, is the fact that the Aborigines remain a culture without a written language.  The continue to pass down the stories from 40,000 years ago the same way the ancients did--through oral storytelling, song, and dance.   Singing and dancing are particularly important ways to pray and tell stories, or even to remember information like the directions to the next water hole over miles of the barren (and virtually featureless) outback!

We got to experience that by painting our own clapping sticks, decorating them with symbols taken from the Australian culture.  Then we put on some face paint and clapped our sticks along with some Aborigine music that Lorna had brought.

Needless to say, a raucous and fun time was had by all!

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