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 SECRETS OF THE MOUNTAINS
We walked deep into the mountains searching for the Meadows in the Mountains festival:
‘Where the land touches the sky and the sun cuddles nature’
Words: Emily Georgieva
03 August 2019
The mountains are an enchanted place. They have been a home to tribes since ancient times and continue to steal the hearts of many today. Those massifs have a lot of outspoken stories that they will never tell, secrets, which have been shared with them by travellers, who have come a long way to hike the trials in peace and quiet. They are definitely a place to distance yourself from everything else and find a peace of mind. The Rhodopes Mountains in Bulgaria have their own secrets to share with everyone who is curious enough to find out what wonders are hidden in there.
There is a festival held in the heart of the Rhodopes, where it feels as if the mountain itself is hugging the area. The festival, held each year in June, lasts for four days. Nomads from many places all around the world travel to Bulgaria over the summer to experience Meadows in the Mountains. If you are anything like us, once you get there, you will want to come back for the years to come. You will feel a kind of healing energy that will set your mind free and happiness, which will come from the spirituality of the land. An event like no other, Meadows in the Mountains reflects the locals' history, culture and identity and this is what makes the festival even more special.
The area in the Rhodopes Mountains, which leads to the festival, is often referred to as 'the valley of death'. It is a place so beautiful, some head there to die as they know they will be surrounded by pure beauty and tranquillity.
‘‘Where the land touches the sky and the sun cuddles nature.’’
The festival itself is held for people, who can see beauty in the details and who don't need a lot to feel happy. It is rather a connection to the mountains and oneself. The Meadows in the Mountains is very much situated around wellness and this has become one of the main stages. Yoga classes and talks about tarot and plant-based medicine involve everybody to participate in several workshops. Music is celebrated vividly. Musicians play instruments, performing in front of everyone and people are encouraged to feel at one with every aspect of the festival at any time.
Guests of the Meadows in the Mountains are hosted in the tiny village of Polkovnik, which reflects the charm and humbleness of this area in Bulgaria. People sometimes have a choice and if they are lucky enough, they might be invited to sleep in the homes of the locals. Accommodation is provided in the camp areas or travellers can even sleep in tents in the forests under the night-sky to experience the festival in its full authenticity.
The local 'babas' sing songs, which reflect the culture, passed from older to younger generations. The babas wearing traditional dresses that are typical for the country and are made with attention to each detail. Kukeri dancers perform their traditional routines, which is a very special thing to witness as they usually only perform once a year in the month of January and are believed to send the evil spirits away and protect the people from illnesses. This is the reason why attending the festival gives travellers the opportunity to get close to the past of the country, projected through the spectrum of the present. It is like participating in a special event that manages to capture the essence of the whole country in one place and it's what gets travellers to keep coming back.
At night time the festival transforms completely. DJs play electric tracks loud to get everybody in the mood. From all stages you can hear different kind of sounds and all around you there are likely-minded people. This is the time and place to dance and leave all your worries behind. It is a place to feel free and let the music guide your body. People stay up all night long, talking to the new friends they made, dancing the night away and gathering in the two-tiered tree house with a candled rooftop to experience somewhat of a private DJ party.
When the sun begins to rise the whole place changes as if by magic. All the people, who came to experience the Meadows in the Mountains welcome the rising of the morning together, like a tribe that came together to connect to nature. It is as if you are standing on the edge of the world, witnessing the down of something new. People, who were just strangers a few days ago end up sharing a moment in time, which they are not likely to experience in the same way ever again. It is a feeling of energy, a delicate kind of euphoria to which no words can do justice. It is a moment that simply needs to be experienced.
Follow Meadows in the Mountains on their social media to stay updated to what's new about the festival. Gather your friends, book a week off work and grab your tickets for one of the most bohemian festivals you will have the privilege to experience.
Have you been to Meadows in the Mountains yet? We would love to hear how it went! Write to us to share your experiences with our team!