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 DAYTRIP TO THE DEAD SEA
From the historical significance of the area to the myth of where the name might have originated from, here is what you need to know about The Dead Sea before visiting
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Dave Herring, Konstantin Tretyak
22 November 2020
Known as the lowest point on Earth, The Dead Sea lays 1388 feet below sea level and is a favourite city break place for Jordanians and Israelis alike. There is nothing like a weekend getaway to recharge you and what better place to head to than the healing waters of The Dead Sea?!
The area is easy to get to. Even if you don’t have a car or haven't hired one whilst exploring Israel, scheduling a trip will be straightforward. Book an Uber as it is cheaper than a taxi and you won't have to argue for the price in advance. Once you get there, you will be grateful that you didn't skip this spot. From the historical significance of the area to the myth of where the name might have originated from, here is what you need to know about The Dead Sea before visiting.
It is over three million years old. Highway 90 runs nearby along the Israeli and West Bank shores of the sea. It is also the lowest road in the entire world.
Due to the extremely low location, the UV sunrays are not as strong in The Dead Sea. You can enjoy yourself without worrying about burning as you normally would at a different beach.
It is difficult to swim for long and the salty water can irritate your skin after a while so listen to your body and be mindful. A good tip is to not bring your best pair of swimming suit as the high concentration of salt discolours clothes quite quickly.
Kings and Queens and The Dead Sea
There are times in the past when the area was on the radar of kings and queens. King Herod the Great was convinced that The Dead Sea had a positive effect on his health and he started visiting more often. Later on, scientists proved that was truly the case. The healing effects of the water became notorious and the area is known as one of the first ever health resorts.
Cleopatra was also fascinated by the powers of the water. She had beauty factories as well as cosmetic resorts allegedly built along the shores so she could have a first-hand access to the healing land. Just imagine being able to swim in the same place that kings and queens once worshipped!
Then and now
Ancient Egypt also had use of The Dead Sea. As the salt level in the water is abnormal, asphalt rises naturally to the surface. It was used by Egyptians in the mummification procedures.
Back in 1947, a Bedouin boy discovered ancient Hebrew scrolls in Israel’s Judean Desert. Those scrolls became some of the most important finds of the modern archeology and later a collection of them was found scattered around the Judean Desert.
Now, travellers from near and far head to the area for relaxation and a day spent away from the city. A preferred spot by locals, The Dead Sea is a must-see for every nomad who is headed to Israel and Jordan.
It is no surprise that the water has health benefits. As it is nearly ten times saltier than the ocean, the salt concentration of the water doesn't allow you to sink and so you will only see people floating carefree on the surface. However, in the area even the air has healing powers. Its low concentration of allergens and pollens makes it an ideal spot to recover from the stress of your everyday routine in the city.
The minerals in the water and the mud make the place a health paradise. Make sure to apply the mud as many times as you can on your face and hair. They healthy powers of the land are proven to fight from cellulite to acne and more, so make the most of it whilst you are there.
The name 'Death Sea' was given to the place because no sea life, nor any animals can survive in the water. There are theories that the name refers to the lake being red when it was first discovered, which is not an unusual phenomenal and it might have occurred because of weather circumstances.
Even though water enters the lake from the Jordan River, no water goes out.
Despite being considered a natural wonder, we must do better to protect it. The Dead Sea is disappearing rapidly. We must take actions to preventbit from drying out or we risk seeing it disappear in our lifetime.