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.
NOT TO BE MISSED IN VIENNA
If you are travelling to Vienna, these are the locations that should top your bucket list
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Josh Tuesday
02 February 2019
The ever-changing face of Vienna is a beautiful harmony between historical buildings and contemporary scenery. The Austrian capital is a city to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Vienna is one of the most enchanting destinations in Europe. While there are many architectural wonders in the very centre of the city, which carry certain advantages if visited in the cosy Christmas period, Vienna offers many options for all-year-long travellers, which you should make sure not to miss.
The St Stephen's Cathedral is one of the eye-catching views among the streets of the city. Located in the Stephansplatz, the cathedral was initiated on top of the ruins of two earlier churches dating back to 1147. Thought of by Duke Rudolf IV (1339-1365), the St. Stephen's Cathedral was built in a Gothic/Romanesque style and has become one of the symbols of Vienna through its recognisable multi-coloured tiled rooftop. Being the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, the cathedral has turned into the most religious building in the Austrian capital city.
The Belvedere Palace with its grand-scale garden layout and large palace ensemble is another location to put on your bucket list. Consisting of the Upper and Lower Belvedere, this historic building complex also hosts the Palace Stables, the Belvedere Museum and the large Orangery. Located on the south-eastern edge of Vienna, in the city's third district, the location can be reached by taking a bus from the centre of the city. The complex was built in the Viennese' characteristic Baroque style architecture, at times of extensive construction when the Austrian capital was part of the Habsburg dynasty and was considered an imperial capital city. Intended as the summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Belvedere Palace is laid out with extensive gardens, decorative fountains, Baroque sculptures and carefully designed alley layout, all hidden behind spectacular iron gates. Photographs of this magical location really do not do justice, so NOMADSofORIGIN recommends you visit the palace with the very first chance you get.
The Austrian National Library with its varied collections of over 12 million items is one of the must-see locations in Vienna. Located in the very centre of the city in the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg, the building is the largest library in Austria. Formerly known as the Imperial Court Library, founded by the Habsburgs, the complex currently features special archives, museums and the unique Imperial Butterfly House.
Located by the Albertina Art Museum only a couple hundred meters away from the famous Opera House, there is a location, known as the Imperial Butterfly House. Built at the beginning of the last century, during the Art Nouveu period, this tropical oasis is housed with one of the most beautiful palm houses in the world. This was the place where Sisi, Empress of Austria, and Emperor Franz Josef I used to relax and admire the wonders of nature. Currently around four hundred of the gentle and colourful butterflies inhabit the house, graciously floating past the exotic plants and waterfalls. Open for visitors the location offers an adventure in the natural environment of various butterfly species, which coexist freely and ready to be admired. Given the central location of the Imperial Butterfly House, visiting nearby locations of historical significance such as the Opera House and the gardens of the Burggarten Palace has been made easier than ever.
The Schönbrunn Zoo, situated at the famous Viennese Schönbrunn Palace, is the oldest operating zoo on the planet Founded in 1752 as an imperial menagerie, today its main purpose serves to fulfil the nature and animal species conservation. Much of the baroque era is still well preserved when it comes to the architecture of the Schönbrunn Zoo. Visitors will not only get to admire the variety of species around the facilities but will also notice that many elements of the architecture still reflect a true image of the 18th century Versailles buildings.
Stirring away from the historical buildings, and there are more than we can even list, Vienna offers a coffee house culture, which serves as a type of institution for intellectuals and creative individuals. Browse through the streets of the Austrian capital and you will find one of the many coffee places with charming atmosphere of friendly staff and customers, dim lightning and mahogany coat stands. Those venues will take you back in time when some of the country's greatest intellectuals and creative minds used to visit them. From Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, to Arnold Schoenberg, the expressionist-style composer, we recommend you spend some time in Vienna's iconic little cafés. With their vintage newspaper stands and waistcoat-dressed waiters Viennese locals have transformed with their fine taste all their coffee houses into a sort of living rooms that will fill your soul. Apart from the homes of hot beverages and the delicious cake displays, some of the venues in the Austrian capital also offer an impeccable choice of wine bars and elegant restaurants. Make sure to explore the history of Vienna but don't forget to also experience the spirit of the country through its iconic venues and local people.