The fundamental tenet that underpins Aboriginal spirituality is a concept known as the Dreaming. The Dreaming is a term referring to Aboriginal spiritual beliefs about origins of the universe and existence of all life and objects. It determines all relationships and responsibilities for Aboriginal people. The Dreaming is inextricably connected to the land as the land is the physical medium through which the Dreaming is communicated – through art, song, dance, story and ritual It is a metatemporal concept - incorporates the past, present and future into a complete and present reality. It involves all knowledge and understanding in Aboriginal societies. According to Aboriginal belief, all life as it is today – human, plant and animal – is a part of a vast unchanging network of relationships which can be traced to the ancestral spirits of the Dreaming. The process of Dreaming is a life-long pursuit.
The Dreaming is embedded in all aspects of life and is intrinsically connected to kinship, obligations to land and people and ceremonial life. Kinship is a complex system of belonging and responsibility within a clan. It is not only based on familial relations but also totem relations. Kinship ties govern day to day activities as they govern basic rules such as assigning the responsibility to transmit the knowledge of the Dreaming from the elders to the younger generation.
Rituals are a moment of reliving in the present moment, the creative activities of the ancestor spirits. The ancestors are made present through the people, objects, words and movements of the ritual. For example, the smoking ceremony is used to heal and cleanse.