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.
AN ODE TO THE LAND DOWN UNDER
Australia's demographic scenery has shifted majorly since the continent has been discovered. There is still so much to discover in the land of surf and fun
Words: Emily Georgieva
25 April 2019
Australia got discovered when European explorers began searching for a continent located underneath Asia. Before its name was given, it was known as the unknown southern land. Today numerous people head to The Land Down Under, searching for a sense of direction or simply wanting to get lost and leave the rest of the world behind for a while. If you are on a mission like that, we've got your back. But before you start packing and head there searching for your adventured en route, here are a few things that it would be good to know about the country.
Australia is the land of the three 'S's - Sun, Sand and Surf. In fact, the beaches take up to 52 km of the land's surface so there is lots of spots to choose from if you want to soak up some sun with nothing else but the ocean in front of you.
The Gold Coast or 'Goldie' as the locals call it is the coolest way to explore and see everything. Walking is a guarantee that you will feel at one with nature, but hiring a van is on the top of our list as it gives you freedom to go anywhere and it makes you a bit more authentic in your Australian travels.
It is important to know that long before the modernisation influenced the Oceania's country so much, things used to be very traditional. Tribes of aborigines used to live on those lands. Those were people, who had strong family values and traditions, which were honoured and respected by all. They were communities, which passed on what they knew and believed in to their children and this knowledge is not completely lost. Even though a very small part of the current population, some Australians identify themselves as descendants of the aborigine tribes and keep some of the traditions alive, believing that the land is sacred.
Australia offers plenty of opportunities to get around. Travel the 14 500 km across the country if you can. Start at Port Douglas where sugar canes are placed around the highway, go through the deserted spots along the ocean bays and head to Mackay, Queensland. The journey around the land's scenery will satisfy even the most sophisticated of tastes as it makes you feel very humble and grateful to be alive.
Australia has kind of tropical atmosphere, which just adds more to its original charm. You can enjoy the deserted shores and the wildlife as sights of kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles are not that unusual. Australia really is an animal kingdom. This might be traced back to its origin as the nation, even the first inhabitants of the land used to believe in harmony and that nature was a source of peace. The country has 700 species of birds. Traffic quiets down away from the cities and it's easy to experience inner peace when you head towards the more distant locations where the songs of the birds replace the sound of civilisation.
Australia is also known for their wines. Sourced from Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley, the grape juice of the gods has an unforgettable taste. If you ever happen to find yourself in one of those valleys, you will feel as if time has stopped and the Earth has stopped turning around. Nothing else, but the view matters... and of course the delicious glass of wine you are holding in your hand. Tasmania is well-known for their whisky.
Coffee culture is something else. Everybody who knows coffee, goes to Australia. There you can smell the scent of roasted beans pretty much everywhere you go in the cities. Independent coffee houses keep opening their door to amaze with quality coffee, sourced directly from the farmers and crafted beautifully by skilled, professionally trained barista.
Australians are welcoming as they are used to tourists. They have a very laid-back attitude and have the tendency to feel at home wherever they go, so they want you to experience the same when you visit their homeland. It is polite to bring a gift, such a good bottle of wine and a smile, to their house if they invite you over for a meal. They like sharing and love telling stories and because of their adventurous lifestyle, they have a lot of them.