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.
THE MYTHS THAT MADE THE SAND KINGDOM
Ancient time Egypt when gods and goddesses ruled the Earth and gave everything meaning. Explore the Sand Kingdom represented through its purest side of tales and myths that ancient Egyptians built their world around
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: James Ballard
03 February 2020
Egypt has one of the most complex and detailed history of gods and goddesses in the ancient world. Hundreds of them have been worshipped in the past, all of which have different contribution to modern-day Egypt. The culture of the country is multilayered and fascinating. Myths and tales are passed down from generation to generation having been turned to an anthem of the powerful cultural implication of Egypt. It is difficult to visit this place and not feel like you’ve been transported to a time you don’t belong in. Pyramids, tombs and sarcophagus are a breeze of civilisation we admire and still try to understand its core – and possibly never will.
Egypt is a place that historians and travellers alike have been tried to define and translate in its own ways. We turn towards the Egyptians to see their understandings of the universe in an attempt to capture the idyll of the country from what could possibly be defined as its most authentic side. Here are some of the myths that defined the Sand Kingdom.
Ra. The God of Sun.
Ra was believed to have travelled each day through the embrace of darkness known as Apep. Fire was often associated with the Sun where Ra was in its kingdom. Each day he would board a boat and rise from the east to battle the crocodile-like Apep so that the Sun could rise. Egyptians had the utmost respect for the God of Sun. On stormy days when the sky would be dominated by clouds and rainstorms would hide the sun away, Egyptians believed that Ra lost its fight against Apep and he couldn’t go any further as the crocodile masked god swallowed his boat.
Anubis and the Underworld
Anubis was Osiris’ son from his sister Nephthys. He belonged to the underworld. The god with a jackal head served the guardians of the world of the nonliving. Anubis was responsible to bring the souls of those who die to the underworld so that the ceremony of “The Weighting of the Heart” can be completed. The heart was then weighted in from of the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth on the Scales of Truth. The soul was only allowed to cross if the heart weighted less then it. If it was heavier, the demon Ammit would make sure that the person would die “a second time” and his soul would not pass in the underworld. Anubis is illustrated in many places where Egyptians left their mark.
Girl with Rose-Red Slippers
Rhodopis was a beautiful Greek girl, who was sold in slavery in Egypt. Her beauty and the kindness of a man resulted in him buying her out and giving her a nice house to live in. He gave her beautiful clothes, jewellery and expensive gifts until one day an eagle stole her red slipper. The magnificent bird brought the shoe to Pharaoh Amasis who found the girl and they fell in love. They got married and lived happily for the rest of their days to even die on the same day. This myth was the first story of what is known as the modern-day Cinderella tale.
Sphinx and the Prince
Everyone wanted to sabotage Thutmose, the great-grandson of Hatshepsut. He was the favourite child, who therefore possessed great freedom. Thutmose wanted to prove himself and his worth. He was angry at everybody, who saw him only as Hatshepsut’s favorite and one day he left the kingdom. He rode all across the desert until he reached the sphinx built for Pharaoh Khafra. The sphinx turned out to be no other than his father and predicted that Thutmose would become a great ruler, he must only free him from the trap of the sand. The prince promised to do so after he became the Pharaoh and kept his word. Later, he became known as one of the greatest Egyptian Kings in the history of ancient Egypt.
Khonsu. The God of Moon.
Together with Thoth by his side, Khonsu, son of Amun and Mut, marked the passage of time. He was the god of moon, praised by Egyptians for the Moon’s ability to travel across the sky. Khonsu’s name translates to “traveller” and he was illustrated as a man with lunar disk and a head of a hawk. In ancient Egypt, the moon was associated only with the most noble qualities such as honour and bravery. Khonsu was believed to have had powers against all things evil. Later on, he was also worshipped as the god of fertility and love.
Bastet and Cats
It is no secret that Egyptians worshipped cats. They are illustrated in many ways in different aspects representing the culture of ancient Egypt – from items used on daily basis to places that signified messages with which people send the dead in the underworld such as sarcophagus. Bastet was a woman with a cat head, who is one of the main reasons Egyptians are considered to have worshipped cats with such loyalty. She was a patroness of women and the protector of home. Even back in those days, cats were praised for their ability to protect the food by chasing away mice. Cats nature to be nice and at the same time vicious was the reason Bastet was known to have two personalities.