The Myth of Aboriginal Life - Free Essay for Your Purposes

Published: 2019-06-25
The Myth of Aboriginal Life - Free Essay for Your Purposes
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Anthropology Ethnography
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 986 words
9 min read

The identification of myth in our case is from David Maloufs work, where he presents the myth of Aborigine life. There exists a myth that states that all Aboriginal people have dark skin. Before invasion of Tasmania land by colonizers in the 17th century, the myth argues that all the Aboriginal people that occupied the land had dark skin. Their possession of dark skin ensured that they achieved protection from the effects of scorching sun.

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On the same note, they also offered explanation as to how sons and daughters of mixed descent could have resulted from sexual abuse committed by white men in their missions, foster homes and stations. With time, establishment of mixed relationships (especially romantic ones) led to an increase in the numbers of Aboriginal people having fair skins. The myth strongly attested that for one to be identified as of Aboriginal descent, one needed to have dark skin. The myth also stipulated that when an individual had Aboriginal grandparents, and largely identifies with their side of culture then they could call themselves Aboriginal.

Prelim of ritual:

Rituals were part of the Aboriginals ways of life. They adhered to the rituals as a fulfillment of obligations, and to give a sense of belonging. The preliminary activities to a ritual acted as a precursor to a ritual. The prelim of these rituals started from the swearing of oaths itself, and celebrations that involved meat eating and drinking of beer. In this case, the individuals took oaths of remaining true to the ways of their lands and connecting with the ancestors. One had to attain the ages of 16 or 17 in order to be received in the world of ritual performance. The period got marked by lots of teachings that based on the ways of their lands. The teachings involved a mastery of the rules that were instituted by the ancestors and knowing all the significance. During the period, they went through different forms, objects that represented their connection with the ancestors.

Lim stage:

At this stage the actual performance of the ritual takes place. All the parties involved gather to mark the specific ritual to be done. The rituals were marked in specific sites like graveyards, next to rivers and on the mountain peaks. Ceremonies accompanied the marking of rituals through song and dance. The notable rituals associated with the Aboriginals included the practice of circumcision, scarification or tattooing of the body.

Post-lim stage:

It is marked at the end of the ritual performance. It was also marked by ceremonies accompanied through songs and dances. A significant phase showed good relations between the Aboriginal people and their ancestors. The singing and ululations also showed that the spirits and ancestors had been appeased. It was open for all groups of people from the little and the grown as blessings assumed to be got after the event.

Object of analysis:

Our object of analysis as per the myth and rituals of the Aboriginal people is the knife. The knife was an important defense tool that these people used in their wars with enemies and protecting themselves from animal attacks. They also used the knives in rock art where they used them to mark ancestral territories and drew images of perceived spirits and ancestors. They were for scarifying the bodies of initiates during initiation ceremonies. In these ceremonies, knives were used to cut meat during festivities of marriage marked by eating and marrying. Sacred action analysis:

A sacred action that Aboriginal involved them in was scarification of the skins of the members. The tattooing was mostly done for purposes of identification mostly to boys who had attained the ages of 16- 17. Scarification performed to the initiates back, the chest, bellies and the buttocks, proved painful. It became a mark of identity, since it allowed one to be involved in the tribes rituals as a grown up individual. Without the marks, one could not get to trade or even sing to ceremonial songs of the Aboriginal. Dance was incorporated as an aspect of linking the ancestors in such heroic deeds. Entertainment was offered through music and dance in order to appease the ancestors in one way or another. They involved songs that encouraged bravery to the individuals undergoing scarification, which was a very painful process.

Analysis of the setting, plot, symbolic archetypes:

The plot of the complete ritual scene was embedded in areas such as rocky sites, mountaintops, along riverbanks and under trees. The setting is in remote parts of mountainous Eastern part of Australia. They were involved in the acts and activities of singing and dance and ululations formed part of the scenes. The dominant symbolic archetypes found were elements of paintings of rain spirits on rocks and the ground, there were also footprints belonging to ancestors in most cases.

The myth & ritual teaching its people about the world & universe

Aboriginal myths and rituals have a philosophy called dreaming. Most teachings about the origin and the sustenance of life are found here. It is a set of beliefs formulated 60,000 years ago, that upholds spirituality and outlines the pattern of life of the Aboriginal people. The teachings assert that before life was in place all beings were in spirit form. The existence of souls was not fulfilling hence the physical nature of humanity was to replace the soul. The plants remained as souls, and powers given to humanity to acts as custodians of other creations such as plants and animals. The teaching offered the Aboriginal people the conviction that they take a special place in the world as custodians and a special creation.

The whole time it was the role of culture heroes, who appraised all these works of creation. The culture heroes believed to hover around an empty face of the earth. It therefore encouraged the Aboriginal people to take care of the lands they found themselves in as it is specially decorated just for them.

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