The Dreaming

KarimK

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I've been reading quite a lot about the Dreaming in Indigenous Australian mythology. All Indigenous Australian peoples share this concept of The Dreaming, which I find fascinating, but which I have such a hard time understanding. I can't honestly say I fully comprehend what The Dreaming is, apart that it is a sort of creation myth; a parallel universe (?); a certain concept of time ...

Basically, I don't really get it. So I was wondering is someone here could explain it to me, or give me a few reading tips, or whatever. I haven't found (okay, I didn't look for long but whatever :D) any threads discussing Aboriginal mythology which is really fascinating and really different from any other mythology. And the Wikipedia articles + the couple of sites discussing it don't really make it any clearer.

So. Help! :D What is the Dreaming (the Everywhen, Dreamtime, however we've tried to translate it) exactly? Is it just a generic word that designates a lot of different concepts in Indigenous Australian myths? And WHY is it so hard for me to understand what it's about?! :D
Also, I've heard that there was a somewhat similar concept in some Native American religions. Is that true?
 

wil

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My understanding is that it is the time before what we know.

It is the creation stories explaining the unexplainable.

We know what happened yesterday and the day before that.

We know what happened before we were born because our parent's told us.

What we don't know is a dream. There is the time we know about and dream time...
 

KarimK

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The Dreaming has nothing to do with "dreams' - if I understood that well. :)
I don't know. Part of it is what Wil said, creation myths. But it's also a worldview, a certain concept of time (the Everywhen, past, present and future together, are one...), a set of values and morals.

I found a couple of interesting articles/book excerpts

http://www.udel.edu/anthro/ackerman/dreaming.pdf

The Dreamtime - Aboriginal Art Online

But sadly, Aboriginal culture info (and especially this dreaming thingy) on the net is pretty scarce :( It's a shame, because it's so different - the aborigines have been completely isolated from the rest of the world for so long they shaped a worldview that was completely different from anything else. It seems that they don't really have the same concept of time (apparently, most Australian Indigenous tribes don't even have a word for time) - linear or cyclical and this plays a major part in the dreaming.

I'm actually looking for any resources on the dreaming because I think it's a very interesting notion to work on and explore more, I'm pretty sure it's full of potential.
 

dauer

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The wikipedia article on it makes it sounds like they're tapping into the collective unconscious to me: Dreamtime - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Whatever happens in the dreamtime establishes the values, symbols, and laws of Aboriginal society. Some people of unusual spiritual powers have contact with the dreamtime.

Getting to a place where archetypal images are more readily perceived.

The idea that The Dreaming is not just in the past but also happening now is I think pretty common to mysticism. For example for Judaism Shavuot can become not just a day to remember the revelation at Sinai but also as the day that the revelation at Sinai happens, is happening.

One thing that seems to differentiate them a little is the flexibility of their mythical canon in that they're much more connected to mythical thinking than most cultures so that new myth in the form of dreamings can be created. They also seem to profess an acosmic view of reality, something that is found in other traditions where the reality as we experience it is somewhat or completely illusory. Sometimes when this is the case Reality has been related to an entirely monistic view, with much nuance from tradition to tradition, but it appears that in the case of the indigenous australian communities the shamanic view is what is most real and significant. But despite their rejection of a purely monistic view they do seem to see everything as interrelated, if I'm reading this correctly in a type of metaphysical homeostatic relationship.

oh. lol. I just came to a passage in reading the wikipedia article that says,

"There is much in C.G. Jung's work on the Collective unconscious and Synchronicity which touches upon these dreamtime Aboriginal concepts as being functional theories."

It sounds like the rites, disciplines, and beliefs of the people are used to attune oneself to a greater sensitivity to the particular experiences associated with the dreaming as it says, "The condition that is The Dreaming is met when peoples live according to law, and live the lore: perpetuating initiations and Dreaming transmissions or lineages, singing the songs, dancing the dances, telling the stories, painting the Songlines and Dreamings." This does seem to have some parallel in other traditions where adherence to a certain path is meant to foster or provoke the awakening of a different awareness of reality.

I could be off on a lot of this. I'm just trying to break it down and parse it.

Dauer
 

earl

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I've been reading quite a lot about the Dreaming in Indigenous Australian mythology. All Indigenous Australian peoples share this concept of The Dreaming, which I find fascinating, but which I have such a hard time understanding. I can't honestly say I fully comprehend what The Dreaming is, apart that it is a sort of creation myth; a parallel universe (?); a certain concept of time ...

Basically, I don't really get it. So I was wondering is someone here could explain it to me, or give me a few reading tips, or whatever. I haven't found (okay, I didn't look for long but whatever :D) any threads discussing Aboriginal mythology which is really fascinating and really different from any other mythology. And the Wikipedia articles + the couple of sites discussing it don't really make it any clearer.

So. Help! :D What is the Dreaming (the Everywhen, Dreamtime, however we've tried to translate it) exactly? Is it just a generic word that designates a lot of different concepts in Indigenous Australian myths? And WHY is it so hard for me to understand what it's about?! :D
Also, I've heard that there was a somewhat similar concept in some Native American religions. Is that true?
Welcome to CR.
You could check out
Dreamtime: Information from Answers.com

have a good one, earl
 

earl

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I would add, that mythology about totemic beings aside, there's much spiritual truth for me in what this piece describes about the Dreamtime beliefs. I could probably have been an aboriginal believer/practitioner if it weren't for the hard -scrabble, "walk-about"-in-the-100 degree heat thing.:) earl
 

KarimK

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Wow, thanks Earl. Great link, really informative. I always thought answers.com was a shitty site, but apparently, I was wrong :p I think they took quite a few things from wikipedia (or was it the other way round?) but it completes the wikipedia article rather well.

I agree - it seems to me there is a lot of spiritual truth in the dreaming beliefs. And I like that it's unlike anything else, and gives us a refreshing and resolutely different view on life.

and hey, walkabout must be really fun to try out!


Dauer,
The idea that The Dreaming is not just in the past but also happening now is I think pretty common to mysticism. For example for Judaism Shavuot can become not just a day to remember the revelation at Sinai but also as the day that the revelation at Sinai happens, is happening.
But the difference is that for the aborigines, it's not mysticism. It's life - it's every day life, it's a basic fact of life.

The Shavuot comparison made me understand the dreaming a bit better :)

What is incredible it's that it's such a huge concept, the dreaming, and it covers such a lot of different ideas and concepts.

and it's true - they hold this belief that the dreaming is a higher reality. It shows in the fact that linear time is thought to be subjective whereas the Everywhen is considered to be objective. This is really incredible, the EXACT opposite of the way we perceive time.

I think you're right and it's probably because it's so much more connected to mythical thinking that it's hard to understand.
 

dauer

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Karim,

But the difference is that for the aborigines, it's not mysticism. It's life - it's every day life, it's a basic fact of life.

Isn't this also true for most devout mystics, or at the very least the goal of most mystical paths?

I think that the biggest difference in this case is that we're looking at a society whose view of the world is based on deeply shamanic principles instead of a materialistically-driven rationalism. It seems a bit like we're seeing right-angles everywhere and they're seeing organic shapes.

What is incredible it's that it's such a huge concept, the dreaming, and it covers such a lot of different ideas and concepts.

I find that fact very interesting. I don't think it creates a homegenised whole but instead relates a number of different ideas that are intimately related.

There's an excellent short story, now a movie that I haven't seen, called iirc All the Mimsy about some children who get their hands on toys from the future (sent back in time as part of an experiment) that teach non-euclidean geometry. It shapes the development of their minds in radically different ways. Their parents and other adults can't make sense of the toys because they already think in terms of euclid's geometry. But to the children it makes complete sense. Their minds are more maleable. Maybe this is some of what's going on too, not that either our way of observing the world or their is more advanced, but that we're much too well conditioned to easily make sense of it. And even coming to make some sense of it, it might well be impossible to come to see the world as they do.

Dauer
 

earl

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KarimK. I think it interesting that a variety of altered states of consiousness seem to give a glimpse of the reality spoken of in Dreamtime-relative to time itself-the everywhen you spoke of. It would appear that time is linear only in this realm of existence but perhaps in other states of concsiousness or other "realms" it is not. For instance, many near death experiences have involved very different insights into time:
Time - near-death experiences

have a good one, earl
 

KarimK

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Karim,

I think that the biggest difference in this case is that we're looking at a society whose view of the world is based on deeply shamanic principles instead of a materialistically-driven rationalism. It seems a bit like we're seeing right-angles everywhere and they're seeing organic shapes.


Maybe this is some of what's going on too, not that either our way of observing the world or their is more advanced, but that we're much too well conditioned to easily make sense of it. And even coming to make some sense of it, it might well be impossible to come to see the world as they do.


That's fascinating. We can never really fully comprehend it, but we can use it to enhance our own perception of things. I think it's something we've got to learn from the Indigenous Australian societies - rationalism is a good thing but maybe we've taken it a bit too far. and sadly, as you say, maybe we won't be able (unless we're mystics?? :p) to ever fully understand. Because our minds got conditioned into seeing the world from a certain angle, we can't live the Dreaming like the aborigines do. it's not that their way of relating to the world is better, but maybe it's a change - another point of view - that is necessary in a world ruled by rationalism.

I'm going to look up that short story, thanks :) who is the author?

It would appear that time is linear only in this realm of existence but perhaps in other states of concsiousness or other "realms" it is not.

interesting link, earl. I think we also experience this radical change in the nature of time when we're extremely tired/drunk/high. Maybe it's because time is something created by our own minds?
 

dauer

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I'm going to look up that short story, thanks who is the author?

This is a wikipedia article about the story:

Mimsy were the Borogoves - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The authors' shared pen name is Lewis Padgett. I read it in a volume called The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard SF that your local library might have a copy of. The whole volume itself is excellent but that particular story stuck with me especially.

Dauer
 

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There is a series of childrens books that give a fascinating insight into this subject starting with "The Song of Wirrun". Though written for, (or perhaps because they were :rolleyes:) written for children they are thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting and use many of the the genuine mythical 'spirits' of ethnic Australian folklore. I thoroughly recommend them.

Tao

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Dreaming is important in all Tribal People, from the Myths from the Abenaki Tribe from northern New England come from their Creation Myths -


http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/AbenakiCreationStoryandTheImportanceofDreaming-Abenaki.html

There are many brainwave altering products on the web & many are based on Tribal drumming, the rhythmic beat of the drum helps put people into a deeper state. The Beta State that we are in & we thought to be normal consciousness but I seen on one program were they put Native musician from Peru on an EEG machine & they went into a Delta State when they were playing.


Some studies on the affects of drumming & other instruments like the Didgeridoo on healing & other ways it affects us.


Didgeridoo - the healing sound of the didgeridoos


http://www.drumbeats.com.au/african_drumming_health_and_science.htm


"drumming enhances recovery through inducing relaxation and enhancing theta-wave production and brain-wave synchronization. Drumming produces pleasurable experiences, enhanced awareness of preconscious dynamics, release of emotional trauma and reintegration of self."​

As for Dreaming as the Native People mean is not just a different way of thinking it is being in a different state of mind.
 
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