Religion Notes

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1.Religion and Belief Systems in Australia post-1945
Contemporary Aboriginal Spiritualties

Contemporary Aboriginal Spiritualties

* Aboriginal spirituality as determined by the Dreaming * discuss how Aboriginal spirituality is determined by the Dreaming * kinship
* ceremonial life
* obligations to the land and people

The dreaming is the key concept underpinning all aspects of ab spirituality. It explains how the world was made and how it should be looked after, as well as teaching about the Aboriginal lifestyle, laws of society, and spirit Ancestors.

* KINSHIP
* Kinship ties identify a complex system of belonging and responsibilities within a clan * Defines where person fits into society, their roles and obligations as well as determining systems of moral and financial support within the community. * Kinship is determined by both family relationships and a person's totem and is thus a connection with the ancestor spirits, land and Dreaming. * CEREMONIAL LIFE

* Ceremonies are a medium through which the dreaming is conveyed * The dreaming stories describe creation + foundation of laws. * Ceremonies show Morals + reinforce importance of ceremonies to keep dreaming alive * Although dreaming event is past, they believe also happening in present via the ceremonial activity itself * Totems represent the individual as they existed in the Dreaming and carry ceremonial responsibilities * Art communicates the dreaming with multiple levels of meaning * Balance rites- ceremonies that aim to ensure harmony within the land and assist the proliferation of a particular animal or plant * Initiation ceremonies- at a particular stage of peoples lves lead them into a deeper understanding of the dreaming

* OBLIGATIONS TO THE LAND AND PEOPLE
* Consider land, the people and the dreaming mutually dependent. * The land, people and dreaming comprise of a system of reciprocal obligations, all of which ensure the ongoing physical and spiritual wellbeing of one another * Eg human need land to survive, requiring water shelter and food. Humans must preform ceremonies in return to assist the land in living to its potential. If obligations not meant floods, fire, droughts * Land has obligation concerning recreation of dreaming events. Provides necessary tools eg ochre, charcoal

* Issues for Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to: 1. The effect of dispossession
* Discuss the continuing effect of dispossession on Aboriginal spiritualities in relation to: * separation from the land
* Separation from kinship groups
* The Stolen Generations
* Separation from the land
* Forced dispossession of ab people from land (due to terra nullius “empty land”) ab spirituality came under immense stress * Reasonable to say, for the most part, remains a very long way from recovering * Concept of “private property” meant illegal for aborigines to enter what had once been theur own ancestral territory. Squatters denied abs access to waterholes, hunting grounds and more important sacred sites * Could not preform ceremonies, could not visit birthplace or carry out their duties to spirits * Eventually moved out into unwanted land and lived in missions mostly church run * Separation from their dreaming lands meant they had lost their spirituality and totemic identity, becoming ‘non-beings’ * This spiritual despair manifested itself in a slow self-destruction that still exists today....
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