THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
A BEEKEEPER LEGACY
Beekeeping is an art form that needs to be practiced with a balance of skills, confidence and elegance of movement to preserve the balance between nature and human touch. Take a sneak peek inside the life of a beekeeper family
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Bianca Ackermann
?? April 2020
When I was younger, my grandma used to take me and my sister to the village where her mother lived. Her house was situated on a small hill, overlooking the street and the rest of the front yards of the buildings across. The house was just about big enough for all of us to be able to spend time as a family, but the back yard was where my sister and I used to spend most of our time during the summer.
There, on top of another, slightly taller hill, was where my grandmother’s sister lived. Her house was bigger, and you had to push past an iron porch to make your way to the front yard. There was a garden on the left with some tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley. To the right, there were beehives. Sometimes I helped picking the ripe fruits and vegetables for the grandmas to make a salad for lunch and later on, when we had finished our meal, we would wash some grapes for everyone to have for dessert. Each time we went to any city’s fruit and veg market we would buy grapes, but nothing could compare. Never in my life had I tried sweeter, juicier grape than the one that grew in the front yard of my grandma’s sister’s house. It was all because of the bees. They were flying around, pollinating the flowers, fruits and vegetables. Each morning you could hear them buzzing, getting to work and not stopping until late afternoon.
They were a family of beekeepers. I remember watching as a kid as my grandma and her husband would put on the protective beekeeper overall suit and finish it off with the veiled helmet. They reminded me of astronauts getting ready for their mission. In many ways, that was true. Beekeeping is an art combined with science and skill. You need to be precise, aware and careful when you’re approaching a beehive. It is important to move in unison with the hive, so you won’t disturb the work of the bees.
Each time my grandma and granddad approached the beehives and got to work they became one with nature. Watching them work was like observing a very detailed dance and it was pure magic. Much like that, the honey they extracted from the houses of the bees tasted like liquid magic. I still remember the taste of beeswax – it was one of the most delicious and unique food I’ve tasted in my lifetime.
Beekeeping is a tradition that is usually passed on from a generation to generation. There is so much practice, attention and passion that is put into sustaining a beehive. Beekeepers usually pass on their knowledge to their kids because when seeing beekeepers in their element, it is easy to understand that this is a gift that needs to be treasured.
Nowadays, the number of bees, including honeybees and bumblebees is declining. This is mostly due to loss of habitat and an increasement of pesticides. Typically, insects are going extinct eight times faster than mammals, reptiles and birds. We need more beekeepers practicing this elegant craft.
There are regions around the world where 90% of the bees have disappeared.
Bees beat their wings 200 times per second and can fly with the speed of around 25km per hour.
To make one pound of honey, a bee travels 90,000 miles, which is an equivalent of going three times around the globe.
There are 20,000-60,000 honey bees and one queen bee in a colony.
During a collection trip a honeybee pays a visit to 50 - 100 flowers.