The Aboriginal Cosmogony

At the beginning it was only darkness and a bare land… The Aborigines of Australia are considered one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world. Many different creation stories exist among the different Aboriginal groups. These ‘Dreamtime’ stories are considered to be a place where every person exists forever. According to the Aboriginals, the ‘Dreaming’ era preceded our own and was when spirit beings formed creation. It is believed that a culture of heroes (gods) travelled across a land without form and created sacred sites and other significant places, giving the language to people.

One of the legends describes only bare land existing in the beginning. There was no life on Earth—no animals, no plants, no trees and no humans. Wandjina (The Wandjina (sometimes Wondjina) are cloud and rain spirits from Australian Aboriginal mythology that are depicted prominently in rock art in Australia), the creator, brought our ancestors from within the earth and over the seas, and life began. Some of the ancestors were like men and others were like animals. In fact, according to the myths it is believed that our ancestors were able to change shape and become either man or animal. In some other versions, Wandjina was not one god but many gods, or spirit gods, which are depicted with big black eyes, no mouth, and a halo—certainly not representing human beings. Legends tell how Wandjina walked on Earth and created everything from rivers and mountains to plants and animals.

The god Baiame (Baayami or Baayama or Byamee) was the Creator God and Sky Father in the dreaming of several language groups (e.g. Wonnarua, Kamilaroi, Eora, Darkinjung, and Wiradjuri), of Indigenous Australians of south-east Australia ) later arrives from the skies with his wife Birrahgnooloo (Emu, goddess of fertility). They had a son named Darramulum. Baiame gave the first rules to humans, forbidding them to eat the animals. Τhe gods then spent time with the humans, teaching them and helping them evolve. Later, mankind began to kill and eat animals. They were caught and punished by the god. A few suggest that Christianity altered the original Aboriginal myths and included elements from The Bible.

In the Aboriginal tribes the name of the creator is forbidden to be spoken publicly. It is also forbidden for women to see any drawings depicting Baiame, or to go to any sacred sites. In other legends it is mentioned that the ancestors used to fight between themselves, and new things would be created during those fights, such as rivers, hills, mountains and lakes.

Again in the Aboriginal myths we have the same pattern of gods arriving from the sky—gods with powers—and creating humans, who then fight amongst themselves and are punished by the gods for disobedience. If we take into account that Australia is a completely isolated continent, it is curious that these common patterns would also appear in their myths.