Aboriginal Spirituality

Essay by ellen123 July 2014

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Discuss how Aboriginal spirituality is determined by the Dreaming


Kinship is integral to Aboriginal spirituality, as it refers to the network of relationships that hold a clan together. It is based not only on familial relations but also on relationships with one's totem, which represents a person or group's connection to the ancestral beings within the land. The knowledge of the Dreaming is transmitted from elders to the younger generation through kinship ties. People are also initiated into the Dreaming by different degrees according to their age and position in the community. The specific kinship relationships determine a person's responsibilities within the group according to Aboriginal law as determined by the Dreaming.

Obligations to the land and people:

The Dreaming is inextricably linked to the land, as the land is the physical medium through which the Dreaming is lived and communicated. The Dreaming connects particular sacred sites with particular Aboriginal groups, which carry with them special ritual responsibilities and significance.

For example, Aboriginal people are responsible for performing prescribed rituals such as balance rights, which aim for the proliferation of a particular animal, plant or natural phenomena connected with a particular spirit being from the Dreaming. Ultimately Aboriginal people see in the land around them evidence of the work and presence of Dreaming spirits and thus place great emphasis on ensuring that they preserve and maintain the sacredness of the land. Traditional Aboriginal people are linked spiritually to a particular entity (plant, animal or natural object), which is believed to link them to the spiritual force responsible for their existence. Each person is obliged to promote the safety and preservation of their totem species.

Ceremonial Life:

The Dreaming stories provide the continuity between the present and the Dreaming. These stories are told and re-told and expressed in song, dance...