Wisdom from the Earth: The Living Legacy of the Aboriginal Dreamtime

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9781570623257: Wisdom from the Earth: The Living Legacy of the Aboriginal Dreamtime

Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are the oldest continuous living traditions on Earth. This book celebrates the deeply felt relationships between these Aboriginal peoples, the land, and their sacred heritage of the Dreamtime.

All aspects of Aboriginal life derive their ultimate context from the Dreamtime—the primordial creation epoch that Aborigines have reenacted in ceremony since time immemorial—and from the essence they share with their Spirit Ancestors. This sacred source, known as the Law, underlies every activity of these people, fills all aspects of daily life with sacred purpose, and creates an enduring sense of connection for them to the land and to each other. Myth, kinship, song, dance and ceremony are all interwoven within a spiritual tradition that extends back into the timeless past and forward into an eternal future. Women and men occupy distinctly separate yet complementary spheres, each with its own unique traditions. And rituals celebrate every transition in life—from conception and birth, through entry into adulthood, to the ceremonies that make up "women's business" and "men's business," to the various stages of maturation, old age, and death.

Wisdom from the Earth illuminates many facets of Aboriginal cultures and explores a number of the major Dreamtime songlines, ceremonies, and other spiritual practices, through eighty-two stunning color photographs accompanied by text—including some unforgettable dialogues with Aboriginal elders.

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Review:

Bruce Chatwin's The Songlines brought the magic of Australian Aboriginal dreamtime to an audience far beyond the shores of the great island continent. Now Anna Voigt and Nevill Drury re-create this complex spirituality through photographs and accounts of ritual and social life in Wisdom from the Earth. The photographs jump off the pages: Uluru (Ayers Rock), the sacred convergence of the songlines, "a huge red monolith" abruptly rising 400 meters above the land; painted women singing the ancient myths; pointillist paintings of the exploits of the spirit ancestors; men dancing in ceremonial regalia; wildlife and sites along seemingly barren landscapes, each with its own story and place in the scheme of life. The text fleshes out the photographs, detailing dreamtime events, describing nonsecret ceremonies and their roles in Aboriginal life, and recording interviews with elders. The effect is an eye-opening glimpse of the rich and enduring traditions of Aboriginal spirituality. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

Nevill Drury is the author of more than forty books, including Elements of Shamanism, Echoes from the Void, The Visionary Human, and Images in Contemporary Australian Painting.

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Anna Voigt, Neville Drury
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