I came across this piece of writing on my peoples religion it gives an insight into the way we viewed the spirit world
In 2002, Jeannie Herbert Nungarrayi, formerly a Warlpiri teacher at the Lajamanu School in the Tanami Desert of the Northern Territory, where I worked for many years first as a linguist and then as school principal, explained the central Warlpiri concept of the Jukurrpa in the following terms:
To get an insight into us – [the Warlpiri people of the Tanami Desert] – it is necessary to understand something about our major religious belief, the Jukurrpa. The Jukurrpa is an all-embracing concept that provides rules for living, a moral code, as well as rules for interacting with the natural environment.
The philosophy behind it is holistic – the Jukurrpa provides for a total, integrated way of life. It is important to understand that, for Warlpiri and other Aboriginal people living in remote Aboriginal settlements, The Dreaming isn’t something that has been consigned to the past but is a lived daily reality. We, the Warlpiri people, believe in the Jukurrpa to this day.
In this succinct statement Nungarrayi touched on the subtlety, complexity and all-encompassing, non-finite nature of the Jukurrpa.
he concept is mostly known in grossly inadequate English translation as “The Dreamtime” or “The Dreaming”. The Jukurrpa can be mapped onto micro-environments in specific tracts of land that Aboriginal people call “country”.
As a religion grounded in the land itself, it incorporates creation and other land-based narratives, social processes including kinship regulations, morality and ethics. This complex concept informs people’s economic, cognitive, affective and spiritual lives.
The Dreaming embraces time past, present and future, a substantively different concept from populist characterisations portraying it as “timeless” or having taken place at the so-called “dawn of time”. Unfortunately, even in mainstream Australia today, when and where we should know better, schmaltzy, quasi-New Age notions of “The Dreaming” frequently still hold sway.
“One cannot ‘fix’ The Dreaming in time: it was, and is, everywhen” wrote Stanner, adding that The Dreaming “ … has … an unchallengeable sacred authority".
Stanner went on to observe that: “We [non-Indigenous Australians] shall not understand The Dreaming fully except as acomplex of meanings” (my emphasis).