Although the term “Dreamtime” is often not considered an adequate translation of the cosmology, religion or spirituality of Indigenous Australians, Munya Andrews of the Bardi people from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, acknowledges this and chooses to name her recently published book with it, explaining that: “I love the term … For me, it conjures up a magical and mysterious world.”, and she feels that the term aligns perfectly with the common global religious concept that Diety is beyond words and human understanding. For me, as Munya Andrews describes “Dreamtime”, it seems resonant with the sense of “ever-present Origins”; that is, original space and time that is omnipresent. This is a space/place that I understand to be referred to as “between the worlds” and “beyond the bounds of space and time”, by Indigenous Europeans (Pagans), a tradition with which I am familiar. I understand it to be a sentient world in which we are immersed actually, and which may be revealed to the observant person in synchronous moments. With practice one may live with clearer everyday connections with this world, and Munya’s book is an important contribution to making those connections from within the cosmology of her people; and for “all beautiful souls to keep the Dreamtime alive”, as she says in the book’s dedication.
This book provides informative story that should be part of every Australian’s education at various levels: it lays a groundwork and also elicits deepening understandings. The teachings offered in Journey into Dreamtime should be considered essential knowledge for living on this land named Australia, whereas heretofore most present occupants have often not had easy access to such learning. This very readable and small book provides some basic facts: for example, that there are “250 or so Indigenous nations, each having their own language, their own names and ‘country’ or tribal lands.”; and that terms such as Koori, Nunga or Murri are “pan-Aboriginal” names taken on since colonisation, for the sake of asserting a distinct Indigenous identity, in the face of forced removal from families and land. In the course of the seven chapters Munya develops understanding of Dreamtime, and also understandings of Indigenous Law, Songlines, sacred sites, bush doctors/bush medicine, Rainbow Snake, and Kindredness. I found all of this really helpful, an invitation into a world of being and relationship; and it is told with frequent analogies from Western science and academic and spiritual texts, with which the reader may be more familiar, enabling the bridge into Indigenous science and worldview. There is a list of suggested readings offered, along with links and details for further connection and learning.
At the conclusion of each chapter of Journey into Dreamtime there are “Dreamtime Reflections”, posing questions for personal consideration, inviting personal participation and pathways into some actual sense of an alive self in relationship with the alive world described.
This book needs to be in spaces/places where everyday people can read it, like waiting rooms of all kinds (where there are frequently Bibles); as well as in every library, and especially Australian libraries. I highly recommend Journey into Dreamtime as an educational resource, for your self, for educational programs, and/or for any group that you may gather. Aunty Munya, as she names herself, has an impressive track record of speaking engagements, mentioned at the conclusion of the book, and invites you to have her speak to your organisation. She describes her life purpose as “to create better understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal people and to leave behind a legacy of Dreamtime wisdom for generations to come.” May it be so, as readers of Journey into Dreamtime absorb its teaching and resources.
To order a copy of Journey into Dreamtime visit Evolve Communities
“ever-present origin” is the English translation of Jean Gebser’s Ursprung und Gegenwart, Stuttgart, Deutsche Verlag, 1966.
A contributor: Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.
Glenys Livingstone Ph.D. has over thirty years experience on a Goddess path, which has included diverse spiritualities and a scientific perspective, inner work as well as academic scholarship. Her studies have been in theology, ritual, archaeomythology, social ecology, psychology, sociology and education.
Glenys is the author of PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion, which was an outcome of her doctoral work in Social Ecology from the University of Western Sydney. Glenys’ doctoral research was an experiential study of the three phases of the Triple Goddess – Virgin, Mother, Crone – as Creative Cosmological Dynamic, and the embodiment of Her in seasonal ritual as a catalyst for personal and cultural change. More recently, Glenys’ continued ritual practice of the seasonal Wheel of the Year and research, has deepened her identification of this Cosmic-Organic Creative Triplicity with the Triple Spiral engraved by the ancients at Newgrange (Bru na Boinne) in Ireland.
Glenys grew up in country Queensland Australia. Glenys considers herself a student of the Poetry of the Universe – a language expressed in scientific story, mythological metaphor, ancient and contemporary images of integrity, body movement and dance, stillness, chants and songs. By these means, she conducts geo-therapy – ecological reconnection – for herself and with others.
Glenys’ work is grounded in the Old European indigenous religious practice, integrated with evolutionary perspective and Goddess scholarship.
Glenys’ M.A. is in Theology and Philosophy and included education in liturgical practice at the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley California. She lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her beloved Taffy (Robert) Seaborne, who is also a graduate of the School of Social Ecology and rich life experience. Glenys teaches, writes and facilitates the seasonal rituals in her Place with an open community.