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.
TALES IN THE MOONLIGHT
Join us as at the interdisciplinary, multicultural Moon Festival celebration in London this July
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photograohy: Luis Flores
11 June 2019
The Moon Festival is a very special celebration, which requires careful planning and a great team to put together. This year marks the 50th anniversary since Apollo 11 landed on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite and mankind walked on the Moon. The festival brings people together to celebrate the way we connect to one another and the cosmos that we are all a part of.
The Moon Festival aims to reflect people’s connection to the moon. Visitors can find a little something for themselves regardless of what their interests are. The organisers have prepared a variety of different activities that take place throughout the day. They vary from pop science lectures to moonlit film projections, art exhibitions and live music performances. People from all over the country join Londoners to appreciate the beauty of the bright rock in the sky.
Traditions like this have existed for a long time. We investigated which nations celebrated the moon in the past and when the worshipping rituals really started. Although times may change, people’s connection to their surroundings still plays a vital role in cultural evolution.
The moon is tightly connected to the Earth and we all constantly experience its powers. Humanity has gone a long way since the beliefs of gods and goddesses representing planets. However, the mythology has left a lot for us to study and learn from. People’s connection to what is beyond the skies has made them worship the planets above us. Later it challenged scientists to learn about the ways our Solar System functions. Astrology is a science on its own. Now we can make sense of how cosmos used to influence people and what they couldn’t fully comprehend.
Decades have passed since commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin stepped on the surface of the moon for the first time. Yet, people’s connection to the moon seems to be timeless. Around 3000 years ago the alphabet was invented, and soon all other forms of written communication were no longer used. Since earliest recorded times, people of Babylonia, China, Egypt and India have expressed varied beliefs in the powers of the moon. Some worshipping traditions still exist in the regions of Africa and among some Native American groups.
People who lived all those years ago, believed that Earth wasn’t a planet. It was thought as the home for humanity, and this set it apart from the Kingdom of Heaven. They started giving meaning to what was surrounding Earth. People were convinced that everything must have been connected to their home planet, including the stars. In the culture of many, the moon mainly symbolises justice, health and wisdom. This is represented by the Egyptian god Thoth and the Mesopotamian god Sin. Moon gods existed in people’s memory since the oldest of times. This can be explained with the fact that the Moon could easily be seen with a naked eye. At the dawn of human civilisation, the existence of other planets was not even considered. An interesting fact is that all planets, which can be seen with the naked eye, are named after gods and goddesses. The moon gods were among many other god-like creatures, whom mortals started worshipping.
The Moon was believed to have special powers. Its light was rumoured to be able to cure. The early speculations about the planet were based on the beliefs of people in Egypt, China, etc. The common notion was that everything – people, plants, animals – was connected to the moon and its different phases.
Each month marks a different stage for the moon. For example, January is the time of the Wolf Moon. October of the Blood Moon. December of the Cold Moon. It is believed by some historians that since ancient times the moon has had an important role in many aspects of the live of different nations. Disc-like forms have been used to describe things, in the written language and even as signs in drawings. People were aware of their connection to the moon and seem to have always been influenced by it. In modern days the worshipping of gods through rituals is a rare practice. Yet, we remember myths and legends of times when humanity depended on those beliefs to grow and evolve.
The Moon Festival, which takes place in London in July, aims to bring people together. Regardless of where they are from, participants gather to honour the past of civilisations from the past and to worship the relationship between cross-cultures and the Moon. Make sure to book your tickets. Head to London this July for the most important lunar event of the year. Learn more about the moon and celebrate 50 years since humanity established a physical contact with another planet.
Follow the Moon Festival on social media and become part of the celebration. The festival takes place from 19 - 26 July so make sure to save the dates. Check out the events of the Moon Festival and book your tickets now.