The Spiritual Beliefs of Australia's Indigenous Peoples

Heidie Joo '93 (English 34 [now 27], 1991)

The Aborigines, the indigeneous people of Australia, believe that the individual is part mortal, part spiritual, and the human personality represents a synthesis of these components. Thus, their religion distinguishes itself from most others because they believe that the human personality or self exists not just in the spiritual but in both physical and spiritual realms. Consequently, they have no concept of a soul. When an Aborigine dies, his mortal half disintegrates while the spiritual portion returns to the land -- its source -- where it creates a child spirit. For the Aborigines, a women does not conceive as a result of sexual intercourse. Instead her body receives the child spirit from the land.

Not surprisingly, the Aborigines' fundamental principle rests on their dependence upon nature. They place animals, plants, and natural phenomena on the same plane as human beings. Each Aborigine clan has a special relation with certain animals, plants, and other natural objects. The clan refrains from harming or eating these particular natural species since they rely upon them for help and strength.

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