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.
WHEN IN PRAGUE
Headed towards the Czech capital?
Make sure to read NOMADSofORIGIN's insight on the must-see places and the things you can do there
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
29 August 2019
Famous all over the world for cultural venues like the Prague Summer festival, when classic musical array sounds from ancient cathedrals, traditional theatres and historical buildings, the Czech capital has a lot to offer for visitors. Turned into one of the most loved locations in Europe, Prague bursts with fascinating artistic and historic scenes. If you ever wondered where the Czech Republic got its fame from, then read ahead. Just prepare to be planning a visit by the end of the article with insights on some of the most iconic visits across Prague.
In 1342 floods washed away the 12th-century Judith Bridge and over a decade later in 1357 Charles IV wished to replace it. He commissioned the architect of St Vitus Cathedral, a man called Peter Parler. When the work was completed in 1390, the name of the monument was Kamenný most, translating to Stone Bridge. In the 19th century the bridge took Charles' name and it took until post WWII times for it to be made pedestrian. The legend states the reason the bridge withheld floods and traffic for over five centuries, were the eggs added into the mortar, although this was later denied by experts.
With the soft stone statue, including the figure of St John of Nepomuk, lined upon the parapets and the baroque cathedrals overlooking the bridge, it has turned into one of the most satisfying locations to visit in the Czech capital city.
Between statues number seventeen and nineteen, you would notice a bronze cross. Its position is not accidental but marks the place where, according to local legends, Wenceslas IV dressed himself up in armour and threw himself off the bridge in 1393. Having been the queen's priest, he refused to reveal her confessions, while stirring away from the myth would point to the state-church conflict as the reason for Wenceslas IV's bold act
Another use of the bridge was made through Bradáč - a carved stone head translating to Bearded Man. Positioned at the Staré Město end of the Charles bridge, the monument would serve as flood marker for the citizens of Prague, who would know to head for the higher mountain areas once the river level rose above Bradáč.
When you visit the famous area of the Charles Bridge, make sure you go before down and be weary of pick pocketers. You would be able to take in the river scenery and ancient architecture without all the tourists, who seem to be flooding the place themselves as soon as 9am rolls around. Oh, and one more thing to put on your list. Don't forget to rub the bronze plaque of the Wenceslas IV's marker spot. The saying goes this would be your ticket for a return to Prague at least once in the future.
Old Town Square
Known as Staromák to locals, this location has served as the city's main marketplace until the beginning of the 20th century. Today it is one of Europe's largest urban spaces, cherished for its artistic scenery and well-preserved traditional outlook. Formerly Prague's principal area, the Old Town Square now hosts Christmas and Easter markets, fashion shows, musicians, and political meetings under the supervision of the 1915 statue of Jan Hus. The location also unveils the brass strip placed on the ground, known as the Prague Meridian. Qhat you would witness would be the upgraded version of the 17th century plague column, which was used as an indicator when it would cast a shadow upon the meridian at noon.
St Vitus Cathedral
A symbol of religious and cultural life not only in the Czech Republic but also in central Europe, the St Vitus Cathedral took nearly six hundred years to complete. Emperor Charles IV laid the foundation of the building in 1344, which was intended to have a completed French Gothic look. Charles' architect Matthias of Arras first started to work on the project, which was descended at his death by Peter Parler, who managed to complete the eastern part of the cathedral before his own death in 1399. The intentions for the monument to be finished were only restored in the late 19th and early 20th century after the Czech National Revival.
The cathedral houses wooden statues and rich in colour stain-glassed windows. The chapels have preserved a range of treasures including mosaics, the silver tomb of St John of Nepomuck, supported by a squadron of silver angels, and the baroque tomb of Charles IV. Carved wooden doors display bohemian saints, while colourfully told stories and legends associated with the Last Judgement decorate the south windows. The Royal Mausoleum build out of cold marble in the centre, keeps the remains of Ferdinand I with his wife Anna Jagellonska and son Maximilian II. Past the ambulatory and the old confessional booths lay the tomb of St Vitus - patron of actors, dancers and entertainers, and the Gothic Royal Oratory - a splendid, carefully carved out balcony. The Parler's Chapel of St Wenceslas, covered in semiprecious stones, 16th century wall paintings form the life of the Czech saint are just what precedes the Coronation Chamber. Hidden behind a seven-locks door above the Golden Gate, the chamber is the hiding place of the Bohemian crown jewels.
There is plenty to do in Prague, famous for being the cradle of Europe. And while history begs to unveil itself to you at every corner in this magical capital city, make sure to also go around the tourist hotspots. We can write about every monument, fortress and chapel, but recommendation is to also find the time to experience some of the old-fashioned venues, traditional bars and charming cafes scattered around the side streets and small alleys.